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Dispatch #00001101

posted: 31 May, 2019

Welcome to edition thirteen of Dispatches, our meticulously hand-picked collection of the most interesting ideas, innovations, and insight from the global retail, fashion, and tech industries… and other loosely-related stuff we feel compelled to share.

We have seven of the best for you this week, including a look at some of the ingredients going into Primark’s trend-bucking special sauce, the battle between tech innovation and novelty in the beauty industry, a long read on how J. Crew’s vision of preppy America faded, and consider how soon robots will be able to manipulate objects like humans (if this is anything to go by, we have a little time).


  • Cheap and cheerful: why there’s more to Primark’s success than you thought
    While Debenhams and LK Bennett go the wall, sales are up at Britain’s most popular fashion retailer. But it’s not all down to price…
  • Five tech trends shaping the beauty industry
    Beauty brands are using everything from artificial intelligence (AI) to augmented reality (AR) to keep their customers engaged in a fiercely competitive market. But do such innovations actually work or are they simply marketing hype?
  • Hand in glove
    Improving robots’ grasp requires a new way to measure it in humans.
    [The Economist]
  • Can J. Crew find itself – and its customers – again?
    With Jenna Lyons and Mickey Drexler long gone, Chris Benz is stepping in as the company that was built on privilege and prep tries to get back on its feet.
    [Vanity Fair]
  • Lady Gaga, Tyra Banks, and the Disneyfication of fashion
    Shopping has always been about amusement. Now it’s going to be about amusement parks.
    [New York Times]
  • New York’s vanishing diners
    The death of diner culture has been predicted for years, but there’s still some life remaining.
    [New York Times]
  • Monsoon mogul Peter Simon caught in the high Street deluge
    Retail reality has caught up with a fashion boss who started out on the hippy trail.
    [Sunday Times]

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