April 2021 Monthly News Roundup

We are pleased to share with you our roundup for April 2021. This month we explore how traditional luxury competitors are joining hands to take a collective step forward and lifestyle and sportswear giants joining the circular economy. 


The public and private markets continued to thrive in April with a variety of IPOs across different sectors. The highly anticipated Coinbase began trading at $381, valuing the crypto exchange company at nearly $100B. Many popular consumer brands also announced plans for upcoming IPOs. Prescription eyewear seller Warby Parker is in discussions with advisers on a potential listing later in the year, plant-based meat company, Impossible Foods, is possibly preparing to go public with a listing that could list it at $10B or more, and Jessica Alba-backed Honest Co. targets over $1.5B valuation in its US IPO. This month, some of the most noteworthy deals included Affirm's acquisition of returns startup Returnly for $300M, The Carlyle Group's purchase of a majority stake in the clean beauty movement leader, Beautycounter and Signet Jewelers' acquisition of rental jewelry subscription platform Rocksbox. Notable investments this month included: sneaker marketplace StockX ($255M), Spain's delivery app Glovo ($525M), home gym startup Tempo ($220M), discount grocery startup Misfits Market ($200M), travel and booking platform TravelPerk ($160M), creator community platform Patreon ($155M), Harry's ($155M), lab-grown leather company Modern Meadow  ($130M), online education platform OpenClassrooms ($80M), virtual therapy company Kaia Health  ($75M), French restaurant platform Taster ($37M), cultivator of designer weed strains Cannabis Co. ($30M), gamified connecting rowing machine Ergatta ($30M), restaurant checkout flow platform Sunday ($24M), customizable frame offerings company PAIR eyewear ($12M), and wellness start-up for pets Barkyn ($9.6M). 



Traditional Luxury Competitors Joining Hands to Take a Collective Step Forward 



Adding to the accelerated consolidation in the luxury sector last year, traditional luxury competitors join hands to reimagine how they can innovate upon their current business models and move the industry forward together. One of the most exciting changes this month was the announcement of three major European rivals, LVMH, Richemont, and Prada Group, creating Aura, a blockchain consortium to help consumers trace the provenance, authenticity, and product history of the luxury goods they purchase. This initiative not only enables brands to tell the unique stories of craftsmanship and creativity tied to products, but it also acts as a tool to build trust because it enables brands to touch on a multitude of factors of how products are made: sourcing, sustainability, and the people behind it. This unprecedented collaboration enhances the industry as a whole because it sets an industry standard with one trusted platform, rather than forcing each brand to create its own approach to addressing transparency and authenticity. Fosun Fashion Group, the Chinese owner of Lanvin, Wolford, St. John, and Caruso formed an alliance with e-commerce firm Baozun and marketing solutions provider, Activation Group. This strategic alliance is a first in the Chinese fashion industry and aims to help Fosun better capture the fast-growing demand for luxury brands in China.


Other interesting happenings in the luxury sector this month included Tiffany's announcement to introduce a collection of engagement rings for men next month. In addition, Chanel announced a three-year partnership with the University of Cambridge Institue of Sustainability Leadership (CISL) to help create a leadership program and accelerate the R&D pipeline with innovative prototypes. As part of this partnership, Chanel will also sponsor students from underrepresented backgrounds for a Master's education at CISL. These initiatives reflect how leaders in the luxury sector are taking steps to ensure that their brands reflect their diverse audiences and how the luxury sector is becoming increasingly more aligned with hot topics that are in conversation today such as, the rise in gender-fluid collections across the fashion and beauty industry, the importance of diversity and representation, and the focus on sustainability. 


Lifestyle and Sportswear Giants Joining the Circular Economy 


The latest company to join the circular economy is sportswear and lifestyle giant, Nike. In early April, Nike announced its new program "Nike Refurbished", which takes back gently worn shoes, fixes them, and re-sells them at a discounted price to new shoppers. Since Nike footwear has long been an extremely popular and consistent item in resale markets, the Nike Refurbished program helps Nike capture resale profits that have long gone to other platforms, such as StockX or Fight Club. At the moment, this program is offered in 15 stores across the United States with plans to expand. Similarly, Lululemon launched its re-ecommerce program called "Like New", which allows consumers to trade gently used products for gift cards. Lululemon then resells these items in the same stores and online. In addition to taking back imperfect items, many lifestyle brands are experimenting with interesting innovations to ensure that their products are not contributing to fashion's issue of pollution and waste. In its latest capsule collection, Streetwear label Pangia in collaboration with Graviky Labs, turned toxic particles in air pollution that would otherwise contribute to global warming into a black printing ink they used to print logos onto their clothing. 

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