Optimism, in short, was a characteristic of the day. “It feels like progress is being made. There is not the same sense of angry frustration as was [at the EEF National Conference] last year,” said Craig Naylor managing director of precision tooling company NTR.
The opening presentation from Jim O’Neill of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, showed that such optimism is not without reason. He carefully laid out evidence to show that the global economic outlook is not as dire as most believe.
Mr O’Neill, who coined the term BRIC in reference to the world’s fastest growing economies, clarified the business imperative of becoming involved in those markets. He also defined a global economic rebalancing of power between the US “which used to consume too much and produced to little,” and China “which used to consume too little and produce too much.” Analysing data on national retail sales and consumer spending shows that we are moving towards an equilibrium says O’Neill.
Glossing over concern in some quarters that China’s growth is slowing, O’Neill stated some stunning facts about its continued expansion – between 2010 and 2012 China’s growth equalled the entire value of India’s economy, worth over $4 trillion.
Countering naysayers who moan that the UK still exports more to Ireland than it does to the lucrative BRIC markets, Mr O’Neill stated that “this is no longer true”. Canny firms are changing the balance and O’Neill revealed that UK exports to the eurozone have in fact declined by 10% since 2000. In the meantime, UK exports to the BRICs have grown to account for 8% of what Britain sends overseas and Goldman Sachs’ guru says this should reach 17% by the end of the decade.
The message to those with a thirst for growth was this – grab your competitive advantage while you can.
High-End Fashion Startup Material Wrld Makes Its Official Debut.
Material Wrld, the fashion startup seed funded by Warby Parker and Bonobos investor Great Oaks VC, is today making its public debut. The e-commerce site has come a long way since the beta it had running late last year, and to kick off its launch, the company is introducing a number of new features to help its fashion community discover new styles, ideas and people to follow.
The marketplace was founded by Rie Yano and Jie Zheng, who met while in grad school at Harvard. Both had worked in the fashion industry themselves – Yano in digital media marketing at Coach, and Zheng at Ralph Lauren and J Crew.
As the company name hints, the site plans to go after an international audience. And Yano tells us that currently, some 30 percent of the service’s traffic comes from outside the U.S., despite the Material Wrld’s still heavy New York focus.
“We’re aggressive about entering new markets,” explains Yano, “because at the end of the day, a marketplace is only exciting when it’s international. More than half of eBay sales are done internationally,” she adds. “From the beginning, our business model has been about allowing people to discover and purchase from anywhere in the world.”
The service is going after the high-end fashion consumer, allowing them to photograph and share the items in their closet, and then sell those items to other users in a peer-to-peer marketplace setting. It’s a concept that’s been tried before from startups like Poshmark, Threadflip, Twice, and even kids’ clothes marketplace like ThredUp. But Yano notes that Material Wrld isn’t going after “fast fashion,” as she calls it; it’s very brand and quality conscious. Price points for clothes on sites like Poshmark tend to fall in the $20 to $30 range, she remarks, while on Material Wrld, it’s much higher.
“We’re not disclosing our sales figures yet, but our average order price is around $100,” Yano says. “And we’re actually focused on bringing that average order price up. We’re differentiating ourselves from the rest of the resale space, which is much more like ‘thrifting’ than ‘luxury consigning,’”
With today’s official debut, the site is offering its early adopters half a dozen new features, including real-time notifications of site activity, in a style similar to what you would see on Facebook, a personalized “live feed” of the closets and groups you’re following, also reminiscent of Facebook’s News Feed, and more.
Fashion Week: Models dare to bare in cut-away dresses!
The latest line from label Vizyon, showcased at the LFW, picked up on the current trend of cut-away dresses. Photographs: Uttam Ghosh
Called ‘Enlightened Shadows’, the newest line by duo Shradha Murarka and Ninon Palisse of label Vizyon is inspired by modern art and Gothic references and consists of cocktailwear, structured short dresses and sophisticated red carpet gowns.
Unusual silhouettes, complemented by a myriad palette that varies from earthy brown to electric blue, sport geometric and architectural influences, as well as insect inspirations through cobbled web structures and beetle shell embroideries.
And thanks to this theme, the outfits also managed to mirror the 2012 trends of cut-aways and colour-blocking. To know what we’re talking about, take a look at this slinky yellow and sparkling black number.
Josh Hutcherson: How ‘The Hunger Games’ has affected my dating life.
Whether you’re Team Peeta or Team Gale, one thing is for sure: “The Hunger Games” has boosted the profiles of both Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth. But while Hemsworth, who plays Gale in film, can’t benefit from all the female attention he’s now getting (He’s been dating Miley Cyrus since 2009), single Hutcherson could … but he’s not. “You know it’s been a little crazy right now,” the 19-year-old, who was linked to Vanessa Hudgens last year, told omg! at the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles. “I haven’t been out in the dating world all that much. It couldn’t hurt I don’t think, so that’s good.”
Over the weekend, Hutcherson became the youngest person to be honored with GLAAD’s Vanguard Award for his work with Straight But Not Narrow, an LGBT ally organization he helped create. The accolade, which has also gone to Elizabeth Taylor and Charlize Theron, was “so important” to the young actor because he has two gay uncles who died of AIDS. “They literally passed away as I was being born unfortunately, so I never got a chance to meet them,” adds Hutcherson. “They were such a huge influence on my mom’s life, and my mom is such a huge influence in my life, so they’re a big influence to me. It means a lot to take this award home and know it’s in their honor and for everybody else who has lost somebody to AIDS or any other kind of disease.”
Before the teen even made his way to the stage on Saturday night to accept his award — which was presented by actor Benicio del Toro — he was already receiving a standing ovation. “I can honestly say I’ve never been more proud in my life,” Hutcherson began his speech. He then talked about his two uncles, a topic which clearly choked up the young actor, who played the son of two lesbians in “The Kids Are All Right,” starring Annette Benning and Julianne Moore. “I’m so sick of saying the words ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian,’” he continued. “We’re just people. One day I want my son to come home from school and say ‘I found this guy and I love him’ and I’ll say, ‘Yes you do and that’s OK.’” After giving a shout-out to the people who helped him form Straight But Not Narrow, Hutcherson concluded, “I’ll make hopefully a million more movies, but this is what I want to do with my life: just changing the world and changing the way people think.”