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Sunday, May 10, 2020

Fashion Reseller Poshmark Fast Tracks Video Feature, Targeting Shoppers Stuck At Home

Poshmark is joining the social media juggernauts capitalizing on a captive consumer base by adding a video feature to its fashion marketplace that aims to make shopping for used clothing on your phone feel more like, well, shopping.


With stores and restaurants shuttered and millions of people stuck at home, platforms like Zoom, TikTok and Instagram are thriving, and now the San Francisco-based business, which sells used clothing, shoes and accessories, will allow its eight million sellers to post live 15-second videos or upload footage from their phones that links directly to the items they are selling.
Poshmark was founded by Manish Chandra, Tracy Sun, Gautam Golwala and Chetan Pungaliya in 2011 as a way for women to sell clothes they no longer wore. The app lets them “like” and comment on other people’s listings, which helped make Poshmark a more personal experience than shopping for secondhand stuff on eBay. It has since expanded into categories like menswear, kids and home d├ęcor, taking a 20% cut on sales. In 2019, it said it paid out $2 billion to sellers, double the previous year. It was reportedly valued at $1.25 billion after some existing investors sold shares in a secondary transaction last year, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The company has been building and testing a video option for over a year and planned to roll it out in the second half of 2020 but fast-tracked the launch due to the pandemic so it could offer more of a “real-world experience” to shoppers. The new feature allows sellers to show off the ways they styled an outfit they have for sale or give the backstory on how they acquired a particular item, for instance. The content will automatically disappear after 48 hours.
The feature mimics Instagram, which lets influencers and brands tag clothing, furniture or other items in their posts and link to a website where it is available for purchase. Instagram has been doubling down on its shopping features and last year began allowing customers the ability to checkout from some retailers without leaving the app. Social shopping apps such as LikeToKnow.It also offer people the ability to shop the looks that they see on celebrities and influencers. However, none allow for the purchase of secondhand clothing, a segment that is growing 21 times faster than the overall apparel market.
“Physical retail is challenged in this environment,” says Chandra, 52, CEO. “People are looking and turning in so many ways to online.”
Chandra is hoping that video will increase engagement and sales among its 60 million registered users, who spend an average of 23 to 27 minutes per day on the Poshmark app. With purchases generally correlating to time spent on a service, Poshmark sees this as a way to forge a better connection between buyers and sellers, and help move the $175 million worth of inventory that gets uploaded to its platform every week (Poshmark doesn’t hold any inventory, leaving users to buy and sell directly from each other).
While many retailers are struggling amid prolonged store closures and a looming recession that has cut into discretionary spending, Chandra says that Poshmark’s business has been fairly steady. A wave of new sellers have turned to the platform for supplemental income after cleaning out their closets or even as a main source of income. The bigger challenge is demand. Poshmark is reliant on apparel sales, which dropped a whopping 52% on a national level in March, according to the Department of Commerce. Chandra declined to provide specifics, but says demand has picked up after lagging at first.
“We were concerned in the early days of the crisis,” says Chandra. “But it seems to have balanced out.”
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Sunday, May 3, 2020

Counterfeit Fashion-Manufacturers Now Making Counterfeit Masks

Christian Dior, Chanel, Gucci, Givenchy and Prada are among some of the most well-known names temporarily pivoting away from making (some of their) high fashion garments and revenue-boosting fragrances in order to manufacture hand sanitizers and face masks, as shortages continue to plague medical professionals and other individuals across the globe. These luxury brands are not the only ones whose factories are churning out relatively out of the ordinary products in light of the continued spread of COVID-19, though. Counterfeiters are working overtime in response to the sweeping health pandemic, as well.

How To Tell If N95/KN95 Mask From China is Real or Fake - War On FluIn response to a spike in demand for protective masks as the COVID-19 virus continues to impact individuals on a worldwide basis, claiming tens of thousands of lives in the process, “hundreds of thousands of counterfeit medical masks are being peddled,” and such fake masks are being made “in unsterile sweatshops previously used to make phony handbags or designer jeans.” According to a lengthy report from the Independent, counterfeit-manufacturers are looking to bank on rising need for surgical and high-tech respirator masks and the large-scale shortage of them by saturating the market with black market alternatives that look a whole lot like the real thing.
From manufacturing products and even packaging that bears the counterfeit trademarks of “well-known medical supply companies” like Minnesota-based conglomerate 3M to carefully mimicking the certification stamps and documents that commonly come with these goods (such as the “CE” stamp that indicates that the mask is “approved by the European Economic Area for safety, health, and environmental protection standards”), these unauthorized products look perfectly legitimate. However, recent seizures by law enforcement agencies tell a different story: the global market is rife with counterfeit masks.

Related Article: Can Coronavirus Live On Clothes? Your Fashion Questions, Answered

The Independent’s Borzou Daragahi reports that the “fake masks may pose a threat to the wellbeing of [their wearers] because they are not made with the correct materials or in sterile environments.” Unlike their authentic counterparts, counterfeit alternatives are not being made from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health-approved textiles used by 3M, which are precisely what enable its respirator masks to boast a “95 percent or greater filtration efficiency” against solid and liquid particles, such as the ones that transmit the COVID-19 virus.
So, while many of these batches of counterfeit masks may be coming from factories formerly used to make fake Dior handbags or imitation Gucci sneakers, the stakes are quite a bit higher when it comes to counterfeit face masks, which is why law enforcement agencies say they are focused in cracking down on the marked proliferation of such products.
In a release dated March 11, Interpol revealed that counterfeit facemasks, substandard hand sanitizers and unauthorized antiviral medications were all seized under Operation Pangea XIII, an Interpol-led effort that saw “police, customs and health regulatory authorities from 90 countries take part in collective action against the illicit online sale of various medicines and medical products.” The Lyon, France-based organization stated that it had seized “more than 34,000 counterfeit and substandard masks,” among other products, and warned that this is merely “the tip of the iceberg for this new trend in counterfeiting.”
More recently, Turkish police seized 1 million masks and arrested five people in a raid last week on a sweatshop making unauthorized medical supplies in Istanbul, a move that comes on the heels of Chinese officials disposing of more than $1 million worth of substandard masks that had been imported from Turky, which boasts a $2 billion medical supply manufacturing sector.
All the while, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been on high alert after its agents intercepted shipments at Los Angeles International Airport and at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in March containing counterfeit COVID-19 test kits, which had been shipped from the United Kingdom. Both U.S. Customs and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have issued warnings that the health care products, in particular, are at an increased potential for fraudulent activity in light of the global health pandemic.
As Jay Kennedy, an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University, wrote earlier this month, “Counterfeiters have long preyed upon consumer vulnerability in order to make a quick profit, and the current coronavirus crisis will likely be no different, except instead of the usual names – such as Louis Vuitton, Nike and Rolex – being among the hardest hit by counterfeiters, the primary targets will likely be 3M and other medical goods suppliers.
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Can Coronavirus Live On Clothes? Your Fashion Questions, Answered

 



The coronavirus pandemic continues to significantly affect the lives of people across the globe. Major events are cancelled or postponed, travel is restricted, employees are work remotely, and face masks have become a part of our daily wardrobe. And while many grapple with disruptions to their everyday routine, some coronavirus patients suffer far worst fates as hospital beds fill up and the death toll rises.

A lot remains unknown about the virus, specifically when it comes to one of the mainstays of daily life: your clothing. Can coronavirus live on clothes? How about shoes? Is it safe to rent clothing or shop online? Here’s what experts are saying:

Can coronavirus live on clothes? If so, for how long?

Information on whether coronavirus can live on any surface is still unclear, but there are a few reassuring things to remember. Harvard Health says the disease is more likely to survive on a hard surface than a soft surface like fabric. Smoother surfaces, like patent leather, may be safer to wear. The length of time that coronavirus can live is also still under speculation. The World Health Organization estimates the lifetime of the disease is between a few hours and a few days.
Saralyn Mark, American Medical Womens Association leader and Senior Medical Advisor to HHS, tells Bustle it’s best to practice good clothing hygiene. “If one is living with a person who is vulnerable — age, pre-existing conditions — it may be worthwhile to change clothing once inside your home and wash items.” She recommends washing clothing in detergent in hot water, and washing surfaces with alcohol-based products.

Can coronavirus live on shoes?

Dr. Joseph Allen, professor of exposure assessment science at the Harvard School of Public Health and author of Healthy Buildings, says most people don’t need to be concerned about transporting the virus via shoes.
“The general public shouldn’t be worried about tracking the virus in on the bottom of their shoes,” Allen explains.
Still, it’s good practice to take your shoes off at the door when you’re home. For those in healthcare who may be exposed to an infectious person who’s shedding the virus — which can land on their pants or top of the shoes — it’s advisable to leave your work clothes and shoes outside when you get home.
“It’s also really important not to forget all of the other important public health advice out there,” Allen says. “Like frequently washing your hands, covering your cough, keeping a six-foot buffer from others, and wearing a mask in public.”

Where to buy face masks?

There are plenty of places to buy cloth face masks online, many of which are donating all or a portion of sales to coronavirus relief efforts. You can also flex your DIY skills by making one at home using a few household items like an old T-shirt, scissors, and string. It’s easier than you think, it requires little to no effort, and it’s a more sustainable approach.

Can coronavirus survive the laundry?

Currently, there’s conflicting information about whether the coronavirus can be killed at a certain temperature or if it can survive through a laundry wash. To be on the safe side, wash items in hot water when possible. You should also consider wiping down your washer and dryer with a disinfectant.
“People can practice infection control through basic hygiene,” Mark says. “Wash surfaces with alcohol-based products — at least 60% — and clothing in detergent in hot water.”
If you don’t have your own in-unit washer and dryer — which is especially common in major cities — you should take extra precautions when heading to your building’s laundry room or laundromat. Experts recommend wearing gloves and sanitizing all of the shared spaces you might use. You may also want to dry your clothes on high heat and for a little longer than usual.

What are the benefits of hand washing clothes versus machine washing?

“Unless you invest in a high-end washing machine and dryer, hand washing is the best method of cleaning for your delicate items,” advises Katie Brown, owner of Rytina Fine Cleaners in Sacramento. “By hand washing, one can control those extremely damaging conditions that break down fibers — i.e. heat, mechanical cycles, etc. — therefore prolonging the lifespan of the garments.”

How often should I wash PJs and sweats, even if I only wear them inside?

Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, explains that the closer fabrics come to directly touching your skin, the more frequently they should be washed.
“If you are sweating heavily from exercise or you are not showering as often as you should, the garments may become soiled more easily,” Zeichner says. “Undergarments should be changed and washed daily, ideally so should your sweatpants. Especially in the areas between the legs and in the groin, sweatpants may become contaminated with microorganisms, including yeast and bacteria.”

How do I protect myself from coronavirus when shopping?

Some good news: For the most part, you should feel free to shop away. The likelihood that a person can infect a package — and that the infection will last through the shipping process long enough to infect the recipient of the package — is relatively low.
“The biggest risk from shopping is going to come from interaction with other people, not the product,” says Brian Labus, assistant professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas School of Public Health. “If you minimize direct contact, you will reduce your risk of disease. As it is a rapidly changing situation, there may be numerous changes in recommendations as to how we go about our day-to-day lives, and that will include our shopping behaviors.”

Can you get coronavirus from packages?

All official government sources estimate the risk of infection via a package is low, even if an infected person has handled it.
“By the time products reach your store shelves, it has usually been a few weeks since they were manufactured,” Labus explains. “The virus might be able to survive a few days given the right environment, but it will be long dead by the time you purchase that product. Even if something you order online is shipped to you the next day, it has been sitting in a warehouse somewhere long enough for the virus to die.”

Can coronavirus be spread through renting clothes?

In a statement provided to Bustle, the clothing rental service Nuuly explained how it’s working to ensure the safety of its customer base.
“Even before the coronavirus, we have had precautions in place when handling newly returned and therefore unwashed garments and bags,” the statement read. “During the receiving and unpacking process, our employees have always worn gloves and we have fully stocked our fulfillment center with hand sanitizing stations. Additionally, one of our areas of expertise at Nuuly is cleaning and sanitizing clothing.”
The company also uses both wet and dry cleaning for all of its garments and bags to eliminate dirt and germs, and it sends everything through a steam tunnel at 250 degrees. “The end result: clothing that is clean, free of germs or bacteria, and safe for the next consumer to use,” Nuuly said.
Another player in the rental space, Armoire, is doing the same.
“All Armoire clothing is cleaned and sanitized prior to shipping,” says the company’s founder and CEO, Ambika Singh. “We use both wet and dry methods for cleaning, and utilize a steam process, which heats to 250 degrees. We are also doubling down on our standards and quality control around shipping.”
According to Singh, Armoire hasn’t seen major changes in customer usage yet. “As the situation evolves and more people are working from home, that could change,” she says. “We would like to urge our customers to keep supporting the services you rely on normally. Your support of small businesses matters.”

How are retailers dealing with coronavirus?

Retailers are taking the spread of coronavirus day by day, but they are in a critical position: supplying the public with much-needed everyday items. Walmart, known for its response to Hurricane Katrina, has pledged to remain open as long as possible. The retail giant wants the ability to provide necessary materials to those who need them like antibacterial soap, food, water, disinfectants, among other items.
Target released a statement informing customers it would be increasing the inventory of priority products (disinfectant, hand soap, toilet paper, etc.) and cleaning times to every 30 minutes in accordance with CDC recommendations.
Several retailers, including Nike, Lululemon, and Aritzia, have closed stores due to the coronavirus, but their e-commerce sites are still running.
Luxury brands aren’t faring as well as the big box brands. Brands like Burberry are experiencing closures all over China — where the outbreak began — that have affected global supply and demand. COVID-19 will likely have consequences for the luxury space for years to come.
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