ICYMI: Levi’s makes the hotline bling, plus sustainability in the time of COVID

Hi Friends,
How are things in your corner of the world? We’re plugging along. 

Dunno if you’ve heard, but we’ve just announced that we’re doing KINGPINS24 again in June. We had a team meeting and decided we don’t need to sleep anymore and we can just focus on making online shows until this crisis is behind us. It’s our new thing ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. This next edition will focus on the US denim market and we’ve tweaked our format a bit to better serve our audience. If you want to see some details about attendance and engagement with our first KINGPINS24 event, we published them here.

Last week, we asked for tips about brands who are making PPE for medical workers and a reader submitted Mohop, an Illinois-based accessories brand making face shields. They are donating a face shield for every one purchased. Our buddy Beau Lawrence of California-based Ace Rivington is donating meals to his local food bank. At the time of this writing the brand had donated enough funds to buy 34,626 meals. To help, click here.

Be sure to visit our website next week – we have some great content planned.

Stay safe out there.

-The Kingpins Team

Links to keep you informed and inspired:

The call is coming from inside the Levi’s

Turns out we’re not the only ones making more phone calls these days. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that San Francisco-based Levi Strauss & Co. executives are hopping on the phone to collect cash from retailers. “I’m the chief debt collector,” Harmit Singh, Levi’s CFO, told the WSJ. “I am calling the big retailers, saying, ‘You are owing me money; when are you paying me?’”
And even though retailers have shuttered their stores, it appears the calls are working: “even the most distressed retailers are paying,” Singh said.From the article: “Still, liquidity is at the top of Mr. Singh’s mind. “I learned through the last four recessions…you should raise cash when you don’t need it. I have learned that cash is always king,” he said.
At the same time, the company is taking longer to pay some of its suppliers, in an effort to preserve cash and balance payables and receivables, Mr. Singh said. He also has slashed planned capital expenditures, reduced discretionary spending and raised $500 million in additional funds to shore up Levi’s finances.”

Read More: Levi’s CFO Picks Up the Phone to Remind Retailers to Pay Their Bills

Time to bring back letters of credit?

Letters of credit used to protect garment manufacturers in the event that retailers or brands declined to pay for goods. Essentially, they meant that a buyer’s bank agreed to pay suppliers for the cost of goods should the retailer decline or be unable to pay, once the goods were shipped.

But retailers have opted instead for an open-account system, which the Wall Street Journal described as “essentially an honor system” where factories have to trust retailers to pay. Now, in the worst of times, the lack of letters of credit is leaving suppliers holding the bag and retailers cancelling orders left and right. The consequences for workers in the emerging countries where many of these garment factories are located are disastrous.

While some garment manufacturers are reluctant to name names or pursue legal action, longtime Kingpins exhibitor and collaborator Mostafiz Uddin of Denim Expert, is vocal in his advocacy for change and his criticism of retailers’ cancelled orders and refusals to pay suppliers. 

Read More: Retailers Canceling Apparel Orders Amid Coronavirus Torments Clothes Makers
Read More: Op-Ed by Mostafiz Uddin about what’s wrong with the apparel industry’s payment terms

This could go one of two ways for sustainability: better or worse

Nothing about how anyone will respond to COVID-19 is clear – and there is lots of room for divergent analysis of how the economy, consumers and the fashion industry will ultimately emerge.

Just this week and just on the topic of sustainability, we read two different articles about what the effects of the pandemic will be on the fashion industry – one was hopeful that the pandemic would be an engine for transparency, sustainable design and manufacturing; the other sees the pandemic as a negative force that will slow our progress toward sustainability.

So, great. More uncertainty.

Read More: COVID-19 Could Galvanize Retailers to Become More Sustainable
Read More: Fashion’s Sustainability Goals Threatened By the Crisis

BUT! We also came across some steps in the right direction, including more interest in the concept of circularity and some technology that can help consumers understand what we’ve been going on about all these years. 

Read More: More denim supply chain members are signing up to help make the industry circular
Read More: Traceable fashion – educating consumers on supply chain and sustainable care for their garments after purchase

Image via CNN

Sneakerheads split on whether denim Air Jordan 1 Low
design is 

Self-described Sneaker/Sample Specialist/Collector @solebyjc released a sneak peek of the new Air Jordan 1 Low design this week on his Instagram feed and the hot takes from sneakerheads were all over the place. Some debated the virtue of denim in a high top, others expressed glee to have a finishing touch for their Texas tuxedo. No word yet on what Mr. Jordan thinks of the “Washed Denim” style, that will be out some time this summer.

Read More: First Look at the Upcoming ‘Washed Denim’ Air Jordan 1 Low
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