If the company sticks to its schedule, next year will mark industrial giant DuPont’s exit from the synthetic-fibers business, an industry it created when it introduced nylon at the 1939 World’s Fair and enlarged in the following decades...
If the company sticks to its schedule, next year will mark industrial giant DuPont’s exit from the synthetic-fibers business, an industry it created when it introduced nylon at the 1939 World’s Fair and enlarged in the following decades with the invention of polyester and acrylic.
After years of paring back the fibers components of its various divisions, the 200-year-old DuPont said in February it had decided to merge all its fiber operations into one unit, DuPont Textiles & Interiors. The plan is to spin off DTI from its Wilmington, Del.-based parent next year through an initial public offering, if possible.
DuPont executives have taken great pains to emphasize that the timing of any IPO will be influenced by market conditions. The stock market as a whole is well off its highs, as a result of the slowdown in the economy and accounting scandals at several public companies. Those developments, combined with overall negative sentiment among investors on U.S. textile companies, makes the question of whether investors will be open to a textile IPO a tenuous one.
Still, executives within the $6.5 billion DTI unit have emphasized they believe their unit’s economies of scale, international scope and portfolio of brands, which includes Lycra, Coolmax and Teflon, will make their business solid as an independent entity.
Under the leadership of group vice president Steve McCracken, who previously headed the Lycra spandex unit, and Bill Ghitis, who serves as president for its apparel-related products, DTI has set itself up as a marketing company focused on identifying consumer needs and developing fiber technologies to meet them. That’s a switch from DuPont’s classic approach of developing technologies and then trying to find customers who are interested in them.
McCracken has described the old approach: "We’ve got a bunch of molecules here. How can we sell them?"
The DTI unit has been profitable this year. For the first nine months of 2002, it recorded an aftertax operating income of $28 million, which includes $153 million in one-time charges for restructuring, on sales of $4.73 billion. That compares with a $339 million operating loss on sales of $4.99 billion a year earlier.
DTI officials contend their greatest advantage as a standalone company will be focus. Since their sole business will be textiles, for apparel and the home, they won’t fall into the pattern of developing new markets and letting their textile investments languish, a danger at more diversified companies. Next year will put their confidence in that belief to the test.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty