A NEW BARBIE: Barbie has teamed with Chinese couturier Guo Pei for the second time to release a limited-edition doll for the upcoming Chinese New Year on Jan. 22, marking the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit.
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The doll comes with a cute bob cut and is dressed in a midsleeved blue satin top with a coordinating knee-length skirt, both embroidered with dragon and auspicious motifs such as tidal waves and clouds.
The limited-edition model has gone on sale in Barbie’s online store in China and is available worldwide as well.
Guo has previously released two dolls with Barbie. One was an updated version of the viral giant yellow dress Rihanna wore to the 2015 Met Gala, and the other one was a red ensemble with golden phoenix embroideries for the last Chinese New Year.
Barbie, manufactured by Mattel, has had a long history of collaborating with top brands such as Moschino, Vera Wang, Karl Lagerfeld and Diane von Furstenberg. Most recently, Balmain and Barbie collaborated to create a limited-edition, 70-piece collection.
With Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” movie, which stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling as Barbie and Ken, hitting cinemas on July 21, Barbiecore style is set to continue its viral status well into 2023. — TIANWEI ZHANG
IN THE LOOP: H&M has launched an immersive gaming experience called “Loooptopia” on Roblox. The game allows players to experiment with materials and patterns and create a virtual garment and wardrobe for their avatar. H&M has partnered with metaverse studio Dubit.
“People who shop and wear H&M garments and accessories are increasingly spending time in virtual spaces and digital worlds. The H&M Loooptopia Experience on Roblox is now allowing us to explore new ways to engage with our current and new customers in the places they love to be, both online and offline,” said Linda Li, head of customer activation and marketing at H&M Americas. “In the coming years, H&M will continue to explore this fast-growing expanse of virtual and augmented realities.”
The experience is an immersive 3D experience that includes social interaction, mini games, styling sessions and alternate worlds. It allows users to experiment with their digital identity and learn about fashion and circularity.
“We loved collaborating with H&M to build the H&M Loooptopia Experience on Roblox — the place on Roblox where anybody can be a fashion designer,” said Andrew Douthwaite, chief commercial officer at Dubit. “”H&M wanted to offer an experience that promotes fun and sustainability, in keeping with their brand DNA of style, creativity and culture.”
The focus of the interactive world is a vibrant city square, which sets the stage for visitors to embark on play sessions in alternate worlds like Rainbooow Fields, Neon Studiooo and Fabric Fooorest. Users can style their avatar with newly created clothes and complement these with accessories, dance moves, music tracks and special effects to create a performance on the runway. They can also catch up with friends to trade clothes and take selfies or admire each other’s creations. Users can recycle old clothes to earn super-rare elements.
“At H&M we want to encourage the emerging generation of digital natives to express themselves through fashion both off and on screen. H&M Loooptopia Experience on Roblox is an exciting new world that unleashes creativity and lets players create and evolve their virtual wardrobe on Roblox, so they can feel the most like themselves through their avatar,” said Max Heirbaut, global head of brand experience, metaverse, for H&M. — LISA LOCKWOOD
TOM’S HELPS OUT: Gen Z environmental leaders are getting their shot at change in a new incubator from Tom’s of Maine unveiled Wednesday.
Like Patagonia, the B Corp has been a corporate sustainability leader since the ’70s (although in the personal care space), and its latest endeavor preserves its giveback status.
Five young entrepreneurs were selected for their ongoing work in creating equity in the outdoors, be it elevating Black women in sustainability, initiating climate change hackathons for forest conservation or establishing green spaces on historically Black college and university (HBCU) campuses.
“The Tom’s of Maine Incubator was created to elevate the next generation of BIPOC climate leaders who are rarely reflected or engaged in finding climate change solutions. Each of our winners has already accomplished so much, and we are honored to work with them toward even more impact,” said Cristiane Martini, general manager at Tom’s of Maine, in a statement. “With the additional funding and mentorship our incubator provides, Tom’s of Maine looks forward to helping our incubator members drive environmental solutions and empower others to make a positive impact.”
Each inaugural member is awarded $20,000 and will receive a host of mentoring opportunities over the program’s run of seven months. Winners include Aliyah Collins (a masters student at Harvard University and grassroots community organizer); Wawa Gatheru (founder of Black Girl Environmentalist); Alexia Leclercq (cofounder of the Colorado River Conservancy and Start:Empowerment); Bodhi Patil (a U.N. recognized ocean activist), and Sanjana Paul (cofounder of The Earth Hacks Foundation). The members are from all over the U.S., including Texas, Connecticut, Virginia and Massachusetts.
The members will participate in virtual workshops, trainings, as well as one-on-one meetings with their mentors to continue collaboration and amplification efforts. Incubator members are also invited to the Tom’s of Maine incubator in-person summit in Kennebunk, Maine, this spring.
As with the Gen Z prize winners, there are also a handful of young mentors on the mentorship board. The full list includes Ciara Imani May, chief executive officer and founder of Rebundle (eco-hair extensions); Kristy Drutman, climate activist and cofounder of Green Jobs Board; Lizzie Horvitz, CEO and founder of Finch (a consumer ratings platform); Isaias Hernandez, educator and creator of QueerBrownVegan, and Michelle Theodat Waring, sustainability steward at Tom’s of Maine. — KALEY ROSHITSH
NEW DEAL: Count Hickey Freeman as the latest brand to ink a deal with Peerless Clothing for the design, manufacture and distribution of its tailored clothing in North America.
The license for the U.S., Canada and Mexico had previously been held by Samuelsohn.
The new deal for Hickey, which is owned by Authentic Brands Group, is intended to reinforce the brand’s “elevated position in tailored clothing while extending [it] to a new generation,” the companies said.
Peerless also holds the license for other Authentic brands including Hart Schaffner Marx men’s and boys’ tailored clothing, Van Heusen men’s tailored clothing and outerwear, and Shaquille O’Neal XLG men’s tailored clothing. Authentic and Peerless are preparing to unveil a partnership for Brooks Brothers children’s wear in the coming weeks, they said.
“We are very pleased to announce our newest partnership with Peerless for Hickey Freeman,” said Jarrod Weber, group president lifestyle and chief brand officer at Authentic. “Alvin Segal, who passed away last year, built Peerless into one of the largest and most prestigious tailored clothing companies with an impressive stable of designer labels. Dan Orwig, president of Peerless, and Douglas Raicek, executive vice president and principal of Peerless, are doing an incredible job upholding and extending the company’s legacy of unmatched tailored clothing expertise, unwavering dedication to its brand partners and strong retail relationships.
“We are confident that through our partnership with Peerless, Hickey Freeman will continue to deliver the same high quality and value for which the brand is known and loved.”
Orwig added: “Our shared vision with Authentic is to uphold Hickey Freeman’s commitment to the art of fine tailoring. Hickey Freeman is an enduring American heritage brand, and we are excited to partner with Authentic to help progress the brand’s long-term strategy and legacy.”
Authentic is a global brand development, marketing and entertainment company that owns more than 40 brands and generates about $24 billion in annual retail sales globally. — JEAN E. PALMIERI
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