Fashion’s Favourite Sport Returns to New York | The Week Ahead, BoF Professional

The US Open tennis tournament opens in New York on Aug. 30

Naomi Osaka, the sport’s top earner in terms of endorsement deals, returns after a leave of absence; she’ll also co-host the Met Gala shortly after the tournament ends

Tennis enjoyed a surge in popularity during the pandemic, and is now enjoying renewed interest from a younger audience.

The US Open usually ends right around New York Fashion Week. And while the timing may be coincidental, there’s plenty connecting the two events. These endorsements are highly sought-after because of their elite tennis players. fashionBrands. Mega-contracts with sports brands are table stakes for the biggest stars. Brand ambassadorships with luxury watchmakers are also possible. Naomi Osaka, whose first Grand Slam victory was at the 2018 US Open, has signed deals with a murderer’s row of luxury, sports and tech giants.

Like other celebrities in tennis, tennis players are increasingly using their star power for their own products. Serena Williams is a great example of this. fashionSerena Ventures, which invested in start-ups like Lola and Noom. Roger Federer is heading for a stunning payout as On, the Swiss brand he backed, moves towards an IPO. Osaka is launching a skin-care line for people of color. With $55.2 million in annual earnings — all but $5 million from endorsements, according to Sportico — it won’t take her long to match her veteran peers off the court.

The Bottom Line: Osaka’s meteoric rise on and off the court reflects the changing demographics of both tennis and fashion. At 22 she is a Gen Z star in a sport still dominated largely by athletes like Williams and Federer, who straddle the Gen X/Millennial divide. Her candid discussions of her struggles with racism and depression have won her new fans. They and her brand partners — including Louis Vuitton, Nike and Tag Heuer — will no doubt be rooting for a deep run at Flushing Meadows.

Changes in Plans

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Rakuten Fashion Week begins Aug. 30 in Tokyo

Some designers are moving from physical shows to virtual shows as Covid cases in the country soar

Tokyo’s shows often targeted a domestic audience pre-pandemic; they’ll do so by necessity this year as travel restrictions limit international attendance

Rakuten Fashion Week is coming earlier than usual this year; typically, Tokyo’s shows are scheduled after those in America and Europe, rather than at the start of the month. Until recently, the schedule shift looked to be a wise move, putting the week more in sync with domestic buyers’ schedules while their international counterparts were mostly barred from entering the country. The Delta variant has altered the equation and Japan now has the worst Covid-19 outbreak. Designers are trying to adapt to the rapidly changing environment. Headliners such as White Mountaineering are dropping plans for in-person events. Organisers claim that the shows will continue in some form. They can point to recent festivals like the Olympics and Fuji Rock as examples of long-planned large-scale events that were adapted to unexpected times. Still, the upheaval is an inauspicious omen for brands planning to party like it’s 2019 in New York or Paris.

The Bottom Line: It’s been said before, but there’s reason to hope this is Japan’s last fashionThis week will see widespread disruption. After a slow start, the country’s vaccination campaign is ramping up, with over 40 percent of the population fully dosed. Japan is now close to America and Europe, which were able to relax lockdown restrictions and openly embrace international tourism.

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Zoe Suen contributed to the creation of this item

The American Fashion Formula

PVH Corp., owner Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger reports quarterly results on August 31

Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and Coach all recently reported strong sales numbers and improved operating margins.

PVH sold brands that were dependent on department stores earlier in the year to allow it to concentrate on growing its core labels.

American was sucked into the pandemic. fashionConglomerates are thriving again. Tapestry, Capri Holdings, and Ralph Lauren all reported better-than expected results, as well as progress on long-gestating turnaround projects. Each company is following a different formula: nudge customers to brand-owned stores, away from ailing wholesale retailers, invest in ecommerce, expand internationally, and keep tight control over inventory and pricing. PVH, the next to be reported, has been following the same strategy under both Manny Chirico as Stefan Larsson, who assumed the role of chief executive in February. The company, which sold labels like Van Heusen and Izod through department stores, sees its future in digital sales as well as fast-growing markets such China.

The Bottom Line: PVH’s “focus on the core” strategy has its own hurdles — consumers have stubbornly resisted attempts to move Calvin Klein upmarket — but the strength of the rebound at the company’s main rivals bodes well.

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