This Week: Waiting for the Shein IPO

If Shein moves ahead with an initial public offering in the coming days, as it is reportedly preparing to file to do in London, it would be the largest ever for the UK financial capital, and by far the biggest in dollar terms for the fashion industry. The company reports it is growing faster, and is more profitable than Zara owner Inditex, by way of justifying a $64 billion valuation, far more than the market capitalisations of even Kering or Adidas. Yet there will be doubts about whether the deal of the decade will really happen, right up until the moment shares start trading.

The UK government and the country’s financial sector have reportedly lobbied hard for Shein to list in London instead of the more robust New York. The company could certainly benefit from a less-hostile environment. US lawmakers take turns alleging the fast fashion giant’s mostly Chinese supply chain relies on forced labour (Shein denies this), and threatening to close a customs loophole that has helped fuel its growth.

While it’s true that the UK is eager to draw a monster IPO to London’s struggling City, it’s unlikely Shein’s troubles can be contained on the other side of the Atlantic. UK politicians, consumers and investors are, if anything, more attuned to ESG issues — the conservative backlash against “woke” investing is mostly an American phenomenon. Even if Shein avoids any major blowback for labour or environmental reasons, it still needs to come up with an answer to the rise of rival Temu in order to draw investors.

Shein may file its IPO paperwork this week. But whether the company can convince the market to overlook the risks to its business is the $64 billion question.

Men’s Shows in London, Florence and Milan

Men’s shows kicked off this weekend in London. But with many of Britain’s most recognisable designers now showing elsewhere, the season begins in earnest with Marine Serre’s show at Pitti Uomo on Wednesday, then men’s week in Milan starting Friday (along with the usual Italian anchors like Fendi and Prada, a trio of prominent British brands — Martine Rose, Dunhill and JW Anderson — all show there next Sunday; Gucci shows a week from Monday). The menswear market is in flux, with streetwear definitely (probably? maybe? ) over as a dominant force, and a global luxury slowdown casting a pall. The conditions are ripe for someone to set menswear on a new course, but the question is who, and when?

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