GHOSTED: Less than 24 hours after stating that it would continue to sell a collaborative collection with Justin Bieber — despite the musician publicly criticizing those designs and saying he did not approve them — H&M has reversed course and has stopped selling the pieces.
On Monday, Bieber posted to Instagram Stories that he hadn’t approved any of the H&M collection, posting “All without my permission and approval [SMH] I wouldn’t buy it if I were you.”
He later posted to his 270 million Instagram followers: “H&M merch they made of me is trash and I didn’t approve it. Don’t buy it.”
The Swedish fast-fashion chain countered that claim on Monday, telling WWD that “as with other licensed products and partnerships, H&M followed proper approval and procedures.” At that time, the company said the merchandise would remain on sale but said “we need to look into this more to understand, before we take action.”
By Tuesday, however, H&M had changed its tune a bit. In a statement, the retailer reiterated Bieber’s involvement, but noted that the designs are no longer being sold. A company spokesperson told WWD Wednesday, “As mentioned in our previous statement, H&M has followed proper approval procedures. Out of respect for the collaboration and Justin Bieber, we have removed the garments from our stores and online.”
Representatives did not respond immediately to requests for comment Wednesday.
Bieber’s image was featured on a dress, sweatshirt, T-shirt and tote bag. A phone case and one $40 hoodie were imprinted with “I miss you more than life” — a reference to the lyrics from his song, “Ghost.”
The alliance was not a one-hit wonder for the Grammy winner and the Swedish retail behemoth. The two parties had teamed up back in 2017 for a “Stadium Tour” collaboration, after Bieber had canceled the last leg of his “Purpose” tour dates. The assortment consisted of hoodies, T-shirts with graphic designs, bomber jackets and sweatpants that were reminiscent of his official tour merchandise.
Given their social media reach, global superstars like Bieber have the influence to sway millions of consumers toward or away from a brand. In the past few years, select incidents have led to legal action, including a lawsuit that Ariana Grande brought against Forever 21 in 2019.
The H&M spokesperson did not respond immediately as to whether the retailer is considering or has taken any legal action against the 28-year-old musician. A representative for Bieber did not respond Wednesday to a request for comment regarding any potential legal action against H&M.
He and his wife Hailey have an abundance of endorsement deals and business ventures, including her recent launch of Rhode Beauty. — Rosemary Feitelberg
SHOW MORE: Haute couture week may end on Jan. 26 but the shows will go on, with Patou and Zadig & Voltaire holding off-calendar shows on Jan. 27 in undisclosed locations in Paris.
Starting the day will be Patou, with a 10 a.m. show, the second under the tenure of artistic director Guillaume Henry.
The brand’s chief executive officer Sophie Brocart said the date segued with a desire to create “an enjoyable event, a true ready-to-wear show the morning just after couture, a friendly moment with coffees awaiting attendees, for example.”
The morning after couture is “an alternative moment that suits well Patou, less crowded day when we can do things differently, when there is less pressure for attendees and models to run from one show to another, when the agenda isn’t packed” like the womenswear schedule of Paris Fashion Week, she continued.
Patou’s debut show last July was held in the brand’s Ile de la Cité offices, with Julia Fox closing the show in a formfitting dress in a Belle Époque-inspired print.
Zadig & Voltaire, on the other hand, staked the 8:30 p.m. spot on Jan. 27.
Its return last June after five years of showing in New York marked the French label’s reinvention and a doubling down on its roots as a “French fashion house with French DNA,” according to designer Cecilia Bönström.
She told WWD at the time that Zadig & Voltaire had “really grown into an international company” and that it was important for the brand to return as they “really want to be anchored there.”
To follow up June’s scaffolding-inspired set in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs that symbolized its brand being under construction, communication and image director Jordan Henrion said the “effortless luxury” brand would “set everything on fire” for fall 2023. — Lily Templeton
MOVING UP: Matt Rock has been named president, Americas, at Pentland Brands. The role oversees Speedo as well as Pentland’s full portfolio, which includes Endura and Mitre for the Americas region.
Rock succeeds Jim Gerson, who is retiring at the end of this year after the successful transition of the Speedo North America business from PVH Corp. into Pentland Brands. Tom Whitmer, previously executive vice president, operations, Americas, has been promoted to chief operating officer, Americas.
Rock, who was formerly president, Asia Pacific, began his career working in sales for Puma and joined the Pentland Brands business in 2005 as sales director for Ted Baker footwear. He was promoted to managing director in 2007 and during that time, increased Ted Baker footwear sales by more than 800 percent and grew distribution from eight to 28 markets. Rock joined the Pentland Brands executive team as global supply chain director in 2015 and was appointed president, Asia Pacific, in 2018, responsible for both the global supply chain and the regional commercial teams. During this time, Rock transformed both functions into multibrand operations and led the development of a “digital-first” China strategy, resulting in a 100 percent growth in sales.
Chirag Patel, chief executive officer of Pentland Brands, thanked Gerson for “his steady leadership throughout the transition. His knowledge, expertise and deep understanding of people were instrumental in successfully onboarding the Speedo North America business,” he said.
Succeeding Rock as president, Asia Pacific, is Abhy Thomas Joseph, and Charlotte Cox continues in her role as president, EMEA.
“The acquisition and transition of the Speedo North America business means we are now a truly global organization. With strong leadership teams now in place across our three key regions — North America, Asia Pacific and Europe — we’re in a great position to deliver on our ambition to build a global portfolio of pioneering brands that make life better,” Patel said.
In 2020, following its acquisition of the Speedo North America business from PVH for $170 million in cash, Pentland Brands outlined its plans to drive an increased emphasis on sustainability and bigger opportunities for its core brands — Speedo, Berghaus, Endura, Ellesse and SeaVees — in the U.S. market. — Lisa Lockwood
IN-HOUSE EXECS: The Fashioneering Lab, a Dallas-based fractional consultancy and think tank that aims to help brands grow, has added eight new executives in residence to offer advice and directions in a number of areas.
Kate Sheldon, Fashioneering’s chief executive, said the new executives include Lars Nilsson, a CFDA member and founder and creative director of Mr. Nilsson; Daryl Kerrigan, a CFDA Perry Ellis award winner and founder of Daryl K., and Kristen Sosa, a former executive of Saks Fifth Avenue.
Other recently added executives in residence are Sharon Graubard, Michael Cleghorn, Elena Bertone, Irene Bernadis and Timothy Parent.
The Fashioneering Lab was launched last year by Sheldon, who has worked as a designer, a design consultant and spent a decade at Neiman Marcus as a buyer of designer collections including Chanel and Christian Dior.
She started her business after noticing her consulting clients, big and small, needed advice on a range of topics, not just design, but also sourcing, optimizing e-commerce, regional expansion, supply chain issues and tech.
The Fashioneering Lab was conceived as a way to offer growth insights from a number of experts for less than the price of full-time hires and to create more communication between strategic advisers.
“When launching The Fashioneering Lab’s consultancy and think tank, I sought to build an entire ecosystem of strategists, thought leaders, and tacticians focused on preparing both emerging and heritage brands for the future,” Sheldon said. “Leveraging our deep-rooted and broad industry expertise, culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing, we are focused on accelerating the adoption of sustainability, circularity, inclusivity, fashion technology and adapting to shifts in work culture and business models.” — Deborah Belgum