Edition No. 51  Wednesday, Dec 7, 2016

AYR co-founders Maggie Winter and Jac Cameron | Photo: AYR

Lean Luxe Intelligence

How new luxury specialists like Cuyana, AYR, and Cienne are killing off designer diffusion brands.

The Breakdown
Modern luxury upstarts have made designer diffusion lines utterly pointless. Here's why the model, a carryover from the 1990s, is dying out.

*Read the full story at

Wednesday's Talking Points.
*Ed. Note: Decided to move Dave Barton's "Made in the USA" op-ed to Friday (in case you're wondering).

Guys, Gear Patrol just launched a store yesterday.
The team got in touch to let me know the new Gear Patrol Store was officially unveiled yesterday. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited by this. With so much talk of media companies faltering by believing they're only in the content game––and not the connections, commerce, or community building game––they've become over-reliant on dwindling digital ad rates. But it's clear to me, as it has been for a long time, that GP understands this. Their store is further proof that retail (be it physical or online) and publishing, can, when done correctly, be a winning combination. The smart publishers know that it's not enough to just rely on advertising, and it's abundantly clear GP gets this.

Now, back to the store. They described it to me as a corner store (rather than a general store), which certainly has my attention. And they're selecting all items by hand, and virtually everything in stock is a GP collaboration, whether it's a Travelteq x GP weekender...or a 1980 Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser (special edition for GP!!), with most items pointing to adventure and travel. Which, in case you don't know anything about the site––and shame on you if that's true––is as 'Gear Patrol' as it gets. Time to update your christmas list.

Richie Siegel is the real Wyatt.
That's a Westworld reference for those of you who aren't up to speed. This week Richie's got an outstanding new series at Loose Threads called The Scale Series––a deep dive exploring how brands scale, successfully (and unsuccessfully) in today's market. Like bullets in the chamber, he's releasing one new report each day, he said. Rapid fire. All this week. Guns blazing. (Part one came out on Monday. Part two arrived yesterday.) Richie continues to kill it, and he's taking no prisoners. He's ruthless, and his analysis is especially refreshing at a time when BoF is stuck talking about (what year is this, 2005?), and how fashion has lost its way (or whatever). We should all thank Richie for picking up the slack.

Re: The LVMH / Rapha deal...
Continuing with our report Monday on Rapha's potential buyout by LVMH, there's this new update. LVMH (by way of L Catterton) just took a majority stake in Italian bicycle firm, Pinarello, yesterday. Very interesting. Does this mean Rapha's up next?

Racked went H.A.M. yesterday.
So. Much. Modern. Luxury. Goodness. #mindexplosion.

The Mansur Gavriel of Australia.
Sydney-based Mon Purse is surging. It launched in 2014, is due to hit $20M in revenues this year, and just signed a deal to be stocked at Selfridge's and Bloomingdale's. Aesthetically, the brand reminds me of Mansur Gavriel––except that it offers customization. I've hinted multiple times that Australia, while far from a traditional luxury player, is putting out some serious modern luxury talent that have the guts and confidence to throw their weight around in the global marketplace. Most of them are online-based, and most, critically, would not have up survived 10-15 years ago if they were forced to rely on the Australian domestic market alone. Mon Purse might have been able to pull it off back then, but even so, it's certainly benefited from global online sales. Ladies, you now have a new place to max out your cards.

Friday: Dave Barton's critique on the "Made in America" message.
The David Kind CEO pens another insightful (and biting) piece, this time about the insincerity behind the "Made in the USA" hype train. Catch up on Dave's previous editorials for us here.

–– Paul Munford / Editor

1. The Lens / Closer looks.

*Must listen: Mark Cuban sits down with NPR.
NPR’s new entrepreneurial show, How I Built This, is excellent. Their latest guest, Mark Cuban, goes deep, sharing how we went from bartending to millions to billions. This isn’t modern luxury, just great motivation, which many of you, especially you business owners, can appreciate.
–– NPR
*Great read: A quick peek at ADAY.
Says ADAY co-founder and subscriber Nina Faulhaber: “We don’t really see ourselves as an athleisure brand.” Well said, Nina. Just another reason why ADAY is one of our favorite activewear upstarts today. Smart, technical, independent. More insight into what makes them special here.
–– The Observer
*Great read: Andy Dunn gets the Coveteur treatment.
Over the years, The Coveteur made its name through its pretty pictures. It's not exactly known for its depth––not that that's a slight against them. But this piece with Bonobos' Andy Dunn is actually jam packed with insights, and is very well written. Job well done.
–– The Coveteur

2. Soundboard / Quotes.

–– B.H. (Economist): "Networks use declining viewing figures as the impetus to cancel a show, not the coming of a natural and logical conclusion." The Economist

–– Ray Kurzweil (Google): "By 2020 there will be a whole host of product available immediately to buy for pennies on the dollar and to print straight away." NYT

–– Julie Zerbo (The Fashion Law): "The [VS] Angel contract has changed quite a bit over time, at least when it comes to compensation. Over the past couple of years, a number of big-name Angels have 'hung up their wings' due to diminishing pay. 'The money isn’t what it used to be. . . . Older contracts like Alessandra Ambrosio were in the millions, now they’re $100,000.'" TFL

3. The Ticker / Bulletin.

Good to know...
Intel’s wearables business flops 
A sector was driven by a faulty premise. Doesn't bode well. Tech in Asia

Larsson and Jennings made $11.4M in 2015
The watch brand's co-founder Andrew Jennings talks fast global growth. Appear Here
Don't flash your money
Nearly 64% of Americans aged 18-29 say that personal wealth is an outdated measure of success. Fortune

Fun bits...
Tyler Brule makes traveling in Munich sound like a dream
Note to self: Germany seems...ideal. FT (paywall)

Peek inside Wall Street's innovation labs
BNP Paribas, Barclays, and Goldman Sachs have opened up in-house tech hubs. Bloomberg

Verve Wine launches today
Better wine picks, by way of a (sommelier approved) algorithm. Gear Patrol
** News or tips for The Ticker?  
Send tips on news, quotes, coverage, mentions in the media to They'll be included in the next letter.

Comments, questions, tips?
Send a letter to the editor –– Paul Munford / @leanluxe

Copyright © 2016 Lean Luxe Inc.

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