Are Music Festivals The New Fashion Runways?

Are Music Festivals The New Fashion Runways?


“We did our first Revolve festival at Coachella several years ago. It’s the new fashion show for millennial consumers.”   Jesse Timmermans, CFO Revolve.


Coachella has influenced not only popular online retailers like Revolve but also luxury brands like Balmain.

WWD has been covering festival fashion for years, but this is the first time I’ve heard festival dressing called “the new runway.” And, of course, it is. Brilliant call!

Revolve started their Coachella activations as a house party with a few influencer friends back in 2013. It’s now become one of the most sought after invites during Coachella week. Revolve works with the biggest names in social media from fashion blogger Aimee Song (5.3 million Instagram followers) to Kendall Jenner (112 million followers).

Revolve itself has 3.1M followers on Instagram, and their #RevolveFestival has 39K followers. The company made a splash when it IPO’d earlier this month. The stock soared because this was considered the hottest Instagram fashion brand. But don’t get too excited it’s still apparel after all.

Balmain, following in Revolve’s “music festival as runway” footsteps, also just announced, per WWD, that they’ll be doing their men’s spring 2020 collection as part of the Fête de la Musique, an annual all-night musical celebration taking place in the streets of Paris on June 21 to coincide with Paris Men’s Week.

Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing often cites music as a key inspiration in his creative process. After wardrobing Beyoncé and Rihanna for Coachella, he dressed French DJ Gesaffelstein in a custom-made Balmain suit for his performance at the festival this April (photo above, lower middle).

Expect more brands to follow. I’d especially keep an eye on Gucci and Vuitton.


Bottom Line.

I’m intrigued by this move away from traditional fashion shows. They cost an arm and a leg to produce, and I’m not sure if they ultimately deliver.

It’s exciting to see this new generation of designers shake things up in the staid, old world of fashion. The biggest disruptors will be the edgier streetwear designers now ascending the luxury ranks (e.g., Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton).

Exciting times ahead. Hopefully, profitable as well!

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Luxury Home Sales Are Hurting. Why? Not Enough Billionaires.

Luxury Home Sales Are Hurting. Why? Not Enough Billionaires.


Millionaires are now a dime a dozen, but the number of billionaires is dropping. As of 2018, there were 2,604 billionaires in the world – not enough to support all the super-luxury condos and mansions being built.


Even Bernie Sanders, who has made a career out of bashing the wealthy is a millionaire. Since he started running for president in 2015, his wealth has tripled. He also owns three homes (two in Vermont and one in DC).

Per The Real Deal, the super-luxury market is soft, and it’s not about to get any better. It now takes twice as long to get a deal done. Luxury housing sales were down 3.2 percent during the first quarter of 2019, while days on the market rose 23.5 percent.

In Los Angeles, 50 ultra-high-end spec houses developed in posh neighborhoods like Beverly Hills, and Brentwood, are languishing because there aren’t enough ultra-wealthy buyers. Price chops of $100 million are the new norm. (Source: Business Insider)


Millionaires vs. Billionaires

There are 11 million millionaire households in the U.S., i.e., approximately 8 percent of U.S. households.

  • The United States added 700,000 new millionaire households in 2017 (up 6 percent from 2016), according to a new report from the Spectrem Group.
  • 172,000 households have a net worth higher than $25 million (i.e., less than .01 percent of households).
  • The jump in millionaires came from rising stock prices and increased housing prices.
  • The number of millionaires has almost doubled since 2009 when there were 6 million millionaire households.
  • Spectrem defines a millionaire as someone who has at least $1 million in investable assets, not including their primary residence.

Globally, there are 36 million millionaires — a 170% jump in total numbers from the year 2000. Together, these millionaires hold as much wealth as 46% of the population according to Credit Suisse’s new Global Wealth Report 2017.

The number of billionaires around the world is dropping, according to the research firm Wealth-X – one of the reasons we have this glut of luxury housing sitting on the market for years at a time.

  • Globally, the number of billionaires dropped 5.4 percent to 2,604
  • The number of billionaires in Asia dropped 13 percent to 677 in 2018
  • The number of billionaires in the U.S. grew 3.7 percent to 705, thanks to a strong U.S. dollar, interest-rate hikes, and tax reform
  • Fifteen cities were home to 30 percent of the world’s billionaires in 2018 — including New York, with 105.
  • Interestingly, the Nordic countries, on a per capita basis, have the most billionaires vs. the U.S.


Bottom Line.

There’s way too much luxury housing being built for the number of multi-millionaires who can afford to buy it.

In NYC, for example, the number of condos with at least 1,000 square feet, and priced under $1.5 million, is minuscule. And yet, for households with good jobs, there is no inventory in this relatively affordable price range. The number of people who can afford $2 million and up apartments (along with the accompanying carrying charges) is tiny.

Time for developers to get real! They’re killing the goose that laid the golden eggs by focusing solely on condos priced in the millions. Even billionaires are not going to want to live in NYC, if everyone is leaving because it’s too expensive.


Scroll down for some of the top luxury real estate purchases in NYC over the last 12 months. And note while these crazy deals give developers hope, they are anomalies. They do not portend a market shift to the ultra high end.

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Is It My Imagination Or Are People Starting To Embrace Their Age?

Is It My Imagination Or Are People Starting To Embrace Their Age?

Left: Michele Lamy, 75, with her husband, Rick Owens (56), Top Right, Lustre Founders, Bottom middle: Linda Rodin (68); Bottom Right: Joani Johnson (67)


“Seventy is NOT the new fifty. But it is the NEW seventy.”


The above quote from Karen Wagner and Erica Baird, co-founders of Lustre stopped me in my tracks. So spot on. And love that photo of them (top right). Absolutely gorgeous.

I’ve been reading Lustre since January and find it extremely relevant and inspiring. The two founders, Karen and Erica, are longtime friends, both former lawyers, partners at prestigious firms.

And then, as will happen to many of us, they found themselves retired and realized there were no role models for them. So, they set about reinventing what modern retirement would look like for the modern career woman.

I cannot wait to meet these two dynamos. We are getting together for lunch next week.

Staying on this topic, I also read the great interview the NYT did with Emma Thompson. She spoke at length about how shocking it was to turn 60. Not because of the years but because she was suddenly unsure of who she was and where she would fit in. As she saw it, the culture had shifted, and roles for women went, seemingly overnight, from domestic doyens to badasses and nothing on the badass spectrum resonated with her. What I also relate to is Emma Thompsons’ total disdain for all that “60 is the new 40” or “70 is the new 50” nonsense. I’m with Thompson when she calls out the denial of aging as being unhealthy. It’s total bollocks in her opinion, and I could not agree more.


Read on below for the $15 trillion opportunity that the “new business of growing old” represents.

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Disruptor Brands Get The Job Done – And Blow Your Mind In The Process!

Disruptor Brands Get The Job Done – And Blow Your Mind In The Process!


“Disruption” is bandied about way too often. However, when a company comes up with a product that fundamentally improves your life, that’s pretty amazing!


I recently came across this great article about what it means to be a disruptor brand.

It made me reflect on what products or services in my brandset have disrupted not only my brand preferences but my lifestyle and everyday routines.

In pulling together this list, I focused on items I’ve been using for a while. I wanted to filter out the shortlived fads I’ve obsessed over and which ultimately didn’t stick.


Here are my top 5:

#1: iPhone:

When I turned in my Blackberry for an iPhone, my world changed.

The iPhone replaced so many other devices and services, and while I sometimes gripe about Apple, its iPhone, and all the apps, I access through it changed and improved my life immeasurably.

Here’s what it disrupted/replaced: Canon Camera, phone books, Kinko’s (when traveling), landline, GPS systems in rental cars, watch, notebooks, calculator, address book, calendar, alarm clock/timer, flashlight. The list goes on and on.


#2: Apple Pay:

Apple Pay is one of my favorites, and in this instance, it is also a stand-in for all of the electronic banking and digital payment apps that I use, e.g., Zelle, Venmo, Curb.

The number of checks I write in a year can now be counted on the fingers of one hand, as can my use of ATMs. The latter has gone from once or twice a month to a few times a year.

Disrupted/replaced: credit cards, checking accounts, cash, and ATMs.


#3: Soho House/Ludlow House

Soho House is my workplace and my social hub. I don’t need an office these days but looking back on my years of running a business and leasing office space, I cannot imagine going through that grind today. And although I still have a home office, it is a shadow of its former self as I have gotten rid of my desktop computer, printer, etc.

Any company with fewer than ten people can use a coworking space – whether it’s WeWork or any of the other firms offering flexible, short-term space.

Disrupted/replaced: office rental, home office.


#4: Uber and Via (NYC only)

I don’t take taxis much so I didn’t get into Uber for a while. But I finally got hooked while traveling. I never anticipated that I would spend a week in LA without a rental car. However, over the last five years, all of my trips to LA have been vastly improved by my ability to Uber when there.

In NYC, on the other hand, I find Uber way too expensive and have recently gotten turned on to Via which is a ride-share company where you share a vehicle (often a Mercedes Benz Van which Via formed a joint venture with in 2017).

I use Via frequently – it’s not fancy, a bit more like taking an airport shuttle but for a flat fee of $5-$10 for anywhere in Manhattan or Brooklyn it is a significant improvement over the outrageous fares Uber charges. Of course, I know I’m enjoying these bargain prices because of the largesse of the VCs behind the brand, but I’ll take it while I can.

Disrupted/replaced: Uber has replaced Hertz. Via has replaced both Uber and the increasingly unsavory and homeless-infested NYC subway system.


#5: Keratin Treatment

I’m a recent convert to the very pricey but so worthwhile keratin treatment (thank you, Rodrigo Padilla). Keratin is the secret to smooth, non-frizzy hair. It lasts about five months because I am not a frequent shampooer. The more often you wash your hair, the more often you need to get a treatment.

Disrupted/replaced: Weekly or even biweekly blowouts at Drybar or my local Chinatown salon.

Bottom Line.

A genuinely disruptive brand or service is just mind-blowing. You wonder how you ever lived without it.

I’ve listed my top 5 (above) but could easily add more, e.g.; I cannot imagine living without Seamless. Google Maps is another gamechanger for me.

I didn’t list Amazon because I am currently so dissatisfied with the service and don’t see a solution on the horizon. Shopping online is a fantastic concept, but getting a delivery, safely and securely, seems to be a bridge too far for most online retailers. It makes you reconsider the disruption as being more of a nightmare than a dream come true.

I would love to hear about some of your top disruptor brands.


Read on below for a quick recap from the article I referenced above. Or read it in its entirety here.

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Top Posts On The Blog For May 2019 – By Platform

Top Posts On The Blog For May 2019 – By Platform


I’ve been doing a monthly recap since March, tracking what is most popular, by platform. Amazing to see the difference in what people want to engage with on each.


This month, the single most widely read post, was the one about the women in construction in NYC. It was also widely shared on LinkedIn and Instagram thanks to Brandon Patterson from the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines. He initially put the subject of women working in skilled trades on my radar. So thank you, again, Brandon!


Read on below for the rest of May’s recap.

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Two Big Health Care Stories This Week: Let The Disruption Begin.

Two Big Health Care Stories This Week: Let The Disruption Begin.


Significant changes are coming to U.S. healthcare from billing practices to where we’ll seek out medical care.


J.P. Morgan Chase just bought InstaMed for $500 million, and it’s pure genius. InstaMed is rapidly growing, and it’s profitable. Its two founders still run it.

  • Last year, it processed $94 billion in healthcare payments, more than doubling its volume in three years.
  • 90% of all health providers still use paper billing. There’s a lot of growth ahead for InstaMed.


Instead of filling out paper forms at a hospital reception desk and paying by paper check, a consumer enters information via the InstaMed app and pays with a credit card. Data flows seamlessly between doctors, payers, and users.

  • InstaMed has created both the platform and the network to simplify and streamline payments across the health care ecosystem.
  • Along with its cloud-based platform, the company has created a network that many of the country’s health providers, from large hospital groups to small doctor practices, have signed on to, as well as most U.S. health plan insurers.

Here’s how Takis Georgakopoulos, JP Morgan’s head of wholesale payments described the deal:

  • “We always look at whether we should build something or buy it. In this case, what InstaMed has done is not just the platform, but it’s also the network, which took them 15 years to build. We thought it would probably take us that long to build, and so it was a unique opportunity.”

Chase will offer InstaMed to its entire universe of clients, from huge corporations to smaller businesses, and potentially integrate it with its J.P. Morgan Chase bill-paying apps.

InstaMed will continue to be run out of Philadelphia, and there are no plans to change its branding.


Read on below for info from Axios on the retailization of health care.

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Clothes Have Gotten Too Cheap According To The Fed

Clothes Have Gotten Too Cheap According To The Fed


I’m not a big shopper, which is why I was shocked to hear the Fed blame low inflation on “very, very low apparel prices.”


Per Yahoo Finance, the Federal Reserve is having trouble stimulating higher prices, and the central bank is blaming our shirts, pants, dresses, and even shoes.

And where it gets really interesting is that while Jerome Powell and his staffers at the Fed anticipate this drop in apparel prices to be transitory, industry experts believe that falling clothing prices reflect long-term trends that are not transitory, e.g., an aging population.

Aging or not, I just made a significant commitment to rag & bone’s amazing jeans. Bought three pairs and they are definitely on the spendy side at over $200 a pair. Am I late to the game, or am I a harbinger of an apparel turnaround?

Not like me to be so indulgent but hey, I love those jeans, and it’s my “look” this year.


Read on below for more on the key reasons why apparel prices are sinking and why they’re not expected to rebound any time soon.

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Is Recycling Over? In America, It’s Absolutely Collapsing.

Is Recycling Over? In America, It’s Absolutely Collapsing.


This past Wednesday (our recycling day), I was up early and observed – firsthand – all trash and recyclables being tossed into the same sanitation truck. Game over apparently for NYC recycling.


As of January 2019, China stopped accepting “loathsome” foreign garbage. The impact of this new policy has been dramatic.

In digging into this further, I’ve found that hundreds of US cities are killing or cutting back on their recycling programs. Everyone is scrambling to figure out what to do now that China is restricting the amount of foreign garbage it will accept (and, of course, America is the world’s #1 garbage producer).

  • In January 2018, the US exported more than 208,000 tons of mixed paper and nearly 75,000 tons of scrap plastics to China.
  • A year later, those numbers plummeted, with China accepting only 11,000 tons of mixed paper and 5,000 tons of plastic scrap.

America initially sought to replace China with Malaysia. That has been a short-lived solution. Once the Malaysian authorities caught wind of it, they cracked down hard, shuttering hundreds of unlicensed plastic recycling factories.

China aside, there are additional problems with recycling as a viable business model in the US:

  • Last year recycling companies, which separate the paper, metals, and plastic, then send them to processing plants, earned between US$95 and US$100 per ton.
  • This year, the value will be US$5 per ton.


Read on below for more.

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