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Marc Bain

Marc Bain

Fashion reporter at Quartz
  • These DTCs are based on the idea of cutting out the middleman (aka retailers) to offer customers better prices while making better margins. But all the other costs involved can be high when you're handling sales and everything else yourself, which could be part of the reason so many of these companies

    These DTCs are based on the idea of cutting out the middleman (aka retailers) to offer customers better prices while making better margins. But all the other costs involved can be high when you're handling sales and everything else yourself, which could be part of the reason so many of these companies are taking that VC money. A lot of traditional retailers have not done great in recent years for a variety of reasons. But maybe having them as customers wasn't such a bad way for small brands to slowly and sustainably grow profitable businesses.

  • Not so long ago corporations were still desperately trying to remain neutral on social issues. Those days are gone. Companies are practically expected to pick sides now. There are benefits and drawback—one being that it can be hard sometimes to know where the line is between activism and marketing. Or

    Not so long ago corporations were still desperately trying to remain neutral on social issues. Those days are gone. Companies are practically expected to pick sides now. There are benefits and drawback—one being that it can be hard sometimes to know where the line is between activism and marketing. Or maybe that line doesn't really exist anymore. You see it in other cases too like brands using their sustainability credentials to attract shoppers. Buying Kaepernick sneakers isn't the same as siding with him on injustice against black Americans or supporting his right to speak out. On the other hand shouldn't we want to see corporations backing people and causes we believe in? Some people may feel corporations (and athletes) should stay out of politics and social issues. But that seems increasingly unlikely. Consumers have to decide whether they believe corporations are genuine, while corporations have to navigate a tricky course themselves, or they can end up like Pepsi after that Kendall Jenner ad.

  • I didn't realize Jordan himself was still actively involved in the brand, but a Nike spokesperson told me he very much is. He's on the advisory board and still likes to get involved with product too, especially the performance product. It's not just the Jordan brand in name only.

  • One thing that struck me while reporting this was realizing courts consider statements by brands in things like sustainability reports, supplier codes of conduct, or even on their websites to be basically aspirational. It's extremely hard to hold a company accountable for pledges and statements in those

    One thing that struck me while reporting this was realizing courts consider statements by brands in things like sustainability reports, supplier codes of conduct, or even on their websites to be basically aspirational. It's extremely hard to hold a company accountable for pledges and statements in those. Companies stand to get a PR benefit from big sustainability promises, but they don't face many consequences if they fail to follow through. Worth keeping in mind.

  • The consensus estimate is 180k jobs added in November. I'm feeling a little pessimistic, mostly because I somehow injured my back and got the flu on the same day this week. I'm taking it as a sign: 140k is my prediction.

  • This was a big surprise for me. I've been following Adidas's efforts on Speedfactory for years now and got to visit the German factory in 2017. It was obviously a big investment in time and energy (not to mention money). Everyone at the company seemed to genuinely believe it was paving the way for the

    This was a big surprise for me. I've been following Adidas's efforts on Speedfactory for years now and got to visit the German factory in 2017. It was obviously a big investment in time and energy (not to mention money). Everyone at the company seemed to genuinely believe it was paving the way for the future at Adidas. But the company also admitted from the start it was learning as it went. Ultimately it seems it just made more sense logistically, and probably financially, to keep its supply concentrated in Asia, where even with the Speedfactories the company still made 97% of its footwear in 2018, according to its annual report.

  • Fashion loves to idealize this idea of "timeless" style. But it's very closely connected to time, as Andrew Bolton, the curator of the Met's Costume Institute, notes here. The idea here is to present the evolution of modern fashion, while also presenting "counter-chronologies" that disrupt the idea of

    Fashion loves to idealize this idea of "timeless" style. But it's very closely connected to time, as Andrew Bolton, the curator of the Met's Costume Institute, notes here. The idea here is to present the evolution of modern fashion, while also presenting "counter-chronologies" that disrupt the idea of fashion evolving in a straight-forward way. Bolton always puts a smart frame on fashion and I'm sure this exhibit will be no different.

  • One of my favorite bits from the unveiling that didn't make it into the story was when Tom Westray, creative director at Virgin Galactic, likened the space suit to a wedding dress. "We realized that this suit is created for this one day," he said—like a wedding dress. It led them to consider reusability

    One of my favorite bits from the unveiling that didn't make it into the story was when Tom Westray, creative director at Virgin Galactic, likened the space suit to a wedding dress. "We realized that this suit is created for this one day," he said—like a wedding dress. It led them to consider reusability in the design. Not sure how many people will be wearing them around after, but the designers hope they will at least sometimes.

  • When I asked Josh Luber at StockX Day a few weeks ago whether he would confirm Recode's report that the company was now valued at $1 billion he said, "Nope, but that would be pretty amazing."

    Well, here it is. Sneaker resale has come a long way.