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Around the Web: Boohoo’s College Bound, Kit & Ace’s Retreat and Speed to Market’s Unintended Consequences

This week’s headlines looked at how the oversaturated athleisure market squeezed out one brand, how another turned off fans by marching to its own drum, the importance of newness in capturing consumers and how meeting that demand could be harming the workers who make our clothes.

We all know on some level that retail is suffering from a sea of sameness, but this new research proves that the brain needs new experiences in order to be stimulated. And the better your consumers’ memories, the faster you have to present new products. It’s one scientific explanation for why fast fashion is winning.

(Related on SJ: Fast, Cheap and Out of Control? Balancing Supply Chain Speed and Costs)

The New York Times took a look at cross-border marketplaces, using Wish as an example of how easy, safe, and yes, cheap it is to buy directly from sellers in the product’s country of origin. Thanks to rules that allow most of these items to ship via USPS at a fraction of what they would cost otherwise, its possible this influx of goods could give even behemoths like Amazon a run.

(Related on SJ: DHL: How Asos Cracked the Cross Border E-commerce Code)

This investigation into the state of the 45,000 garment workers in Los Angeles shows that overseas factories don’t have a monopoly on underpayment and dangerous working conditions. Further, the undocumented status of many of these workers keeps them quiet and compliant, and the Trump administration’s stance on immigration is only serving to heighten fears—and factory owners’ leverage. Learn how the industry’s focus on speed to market is only serving to exacerbate the issues.

(Related on SJ: Four Years After Rana Plaza Just 17 Brands Agree to New Transparency Pledge)

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Call it a case of once bitten, twice shy. When the chairman of a private equity firm that owns retailers professes to giving up on any similar investments, things can’t be good. That’s the case for David Bonderman, chairman and founding partner of TPG Capital, owner of J.Crew and former owner of Neiman Marcus. He recently shared his feelings about apparel retail with the New York Post, and it’s not favorable.

(Related on SJ: These are the 10 Retailers Likely to go Under Next)

U.K.-based Boohoo is proving to be a quick study of the American market thanks to its focus on college campuses, where it operates pop-up shops to get in with its core demographic. It also bought some quick cred with the acquisition of Nasty Gal. While brick-and-mortar is helping it get face time, the company’s focus is still firmly online. See what’s next for the fast-fashion phenom.

(Related on SJ: Boohoo Raises Guidance, Closes Nasty Gal Deal)

It doesn’t seem like the activewear lightening will hit twice for the founder of Lululemon. Kit & Ace announced its retreat from physical stores outside of Canada last week, and Leanluxe purports to know why. The publication breaks down what went wrong with Chip Wilson’s latest run for athleisure, starting with bad timing.

(Related on SJ: Trend: Activewear Brands Embrace Plus-Size Apparel)

The New Yorker cites J. Crew’s “overreach” as a prime reason why the brand has fallen out of favor with the very fans that used to fawn. The other is the end of brands (and branding) as the retailer knew it—and dominated it. Read the article to find out how J.Crew lost by not changing with the times.

(Related on SJ: J. Crew Slashes 250 Jobs, Reorganizes Management Team)

Experts seem to be in agreement that the writing’s on the wall for B and C malls, which account for about a third of the malls in the U.S. This article envisions a second life for most of these former retail meccas—though some, it says, are destined for demolition.

(Related on SJ: Don’t Write That Mall Obit Yet)