Tuesday 31 August 2021

Zakenprins . The hunt for success of Bernhard van Oranje

Book Prince Bernhard junior

A reckless business prince with a poorly developed ethical compass


Prins Bernhard jr., son of Princess Margriet and mr. Pieter van Vollenhoven, is repeatedly 'reckless' in the pursuit of his business ambitions. This is the conclusion of journalists Michiel Couzy  and Maarten van Dun in their book Zakenprins.


Eric Brassem31 March 2021, 01:00



According to the authors, 'the prince seeks out borders and does business at home and abroad with partners whose reputation has demonstrably been contaminated'. For their book Business Prince, they investigated well-known and lesser-known business enterprises of the prince, in the Netherlands and Serbia. The authors give striking examples of Bernhard's business instinct and good ideas, but his 'ethical compass' is 'insufficiently strong', they believe on the basis of deepened pieces and conversations with people who know him. Bernhard himself did not want to cooperate.


The authors explain his ambitions from his efforts to put an end to the idea that he owes everything to his royal origins – which, according to the authors, he does throw into the fray when it suits him. Asked about the relevance of a book about a prince who has not been a potential heir to the throne since 2013, author Michiel Couzysays: "He is still a member of the royal family. His actions could harm the royal family and fuel discussions about the role of the royal family. This became clear during the publicity that erupted in 2017 about Bernhard's house ownership in Amsterdam."



Couzy and Van Dun wrote for Het Parool about Bernhard's real estate company, and about the effect of large homeowners on the Amsterdam housing market. It also turned out that Bernhard violated the rental rules. Other media called him 'pawnshop prince'; the PvdA proposed a 'prince Bernhard tax'.


Less well known is the business adventure that the investment company of Bernhard and his business partners Menno de Jong and Paul Mol entered into with the media company of Hans Pérukel. In the mid-nineties he gained the reputation of Dutch 'founder of internet pornography' by putting shows of sex club Casa  Rosso  online.


In 2012, Bernhard and his companions bought 30 percent of the shares of a media company of Pérukel,which mainly revolved around radio station Wild FM. Shortly before the bankruptcy of that company,  Pérukel transferred the most valuable part to a new company. Bernhard and his partners have also become shareholders of this, according to the book. 'Paulianeus', punishable, the receiver assesses the shifting of business units.



The authors also found Bernhard's 'infected' business partners in Serbia. In Novi Sad, known at the beginning of this century as a money laundering centre for drug criminals, the prince and his partners and their real estate company got into a construction project, which turned into a fiasco. According to the authors, they fell victim to a shady Serbian bank manager and project developer with whom they teamed up.


A real estate project in Belgrade ended better for Bernhard and his partner De Jong. But there too, according to Couzy and Van Dun, they did business with the 'infected' then mayor and city planner.


At the end of 2018 Bernhard will leave the publicity around the circuit of Zandvoort he purchased. After all the commotion about his real estate, he understands that this is more convenient, but he does not understand the commotion himself, the authors write, because 'he has done nothing but so many other businessmen, hasn't he?'.

The career of 'business prince' Bernhard is full of moral minefields


The housing affair haunts Bernhard van Oranje to this day. He violated the rules for rental in Amsterdam. This fits into a pattern, as can be seen from the book Business Prince by journalists Michiel Couzy (Het Parool) and Maarten van Dun.


Michiel Couzy  and Maarten van Dun30 March 2021, 12:00



They are on a prince hunt. Bernhard is convinced of this when he ends up in a media storm at the end of 2017 because of his Amsterdam real estate property and violating the rental rules. Posters with his image appear all over the city, comedian Youp van 't Hek calls him 'mafia real estate prince.' Millions of people see how he is ridiculed in the popular TV show Sunday with Lubach. He is called out on the street. Bernhard doesn't understand the fuss. He doesn't do anything other than so many other real estate investors, right? "They're out for me, they want to destroy me," he tells confidants. "Just because I'm a prince."


In 2021, more than three years later, the storm still hasn't subsided. If, just before this month's parliamentary elections, the PvdA releases the plan for a 'Prince Bernhard tax', in which investors have to pay more tax, that will immediately grow into national news. The combination of the prince and real estate still guarantees a stir to this day.


The book Business Prince, which will be published on Thursday, highlights the business career of Prince Bernhard of Orange, son of Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven. For the book, about a hundred sources were spoken at home and abroad about Bernhard, from business partners to former employees, politicians and acquaintances. Research was done in all kinds of archives, at the Chamber of Commerce and the Land Registry and in thousands of pages of government documents that were obtained thanks to appeal to the Freedom of Information Act. The book contains, among other things, a reconstruction of the house affair that got out of hand and how it fits into a career full of moral minefields.


No permit

At the end of 2017, the fuss erupted about his home ownership when Het Parool publishes a list of private home investors with more than a hundred addresses in Amsterdam. The reason is the growing influence that investors exert on the housing market. One of the names on the list is that of His Highness Bernhard Lucas Emmanuel Prince of Orange-Nassau, Van Vollenhoven, as he is mentioned in the Land Registry as the 'rightful owner' of 102 addresses in the city (there are now 96). He owns them with three partners: Coen Groeneveld, Paul Mol and Menno de Jong. In addition, through real estate company Pinnacle, in which he is involved, he has even more addresses: at that time 590 in the Netherlands, of which 349 in Amsterdam.



The initial surprise at this extensive real estate property turns into outrage when it turns out that the rental of his properties does not go according to the rules. Het Parool describes how sometimes five or six tenants live together in the houses of Bernhard and his business partners, who do not have a permit for this. Municipal enforcers confirm this. Some tenants have to live with their parents on paper and therefore have hardly any rights. How can someone from royal blood break the rules so badly and treat his tenants so badly?


After several reminders, the municipality sends an order subject to penalty payments. If the property owners continue to break the rules, they will have to pay 50,000 euros. Only after this ultimate pressure do the four property owners arrange a permit.


Ugly rules

This affair contains various elements that ensure that Bernhard grows into, as he calls it, 'mascot in the housing market discussion.' The first statement is a political one. In 2017, various parties in the Amsterdam city council are worried about the role that investors play in the overheated housing market, but the subject does not come to life. Because of the publications, the problem suddenly gets a face. And what a one: a prince helps ensure that less fortunate Amsterdammers have to pay the main price for housing. Progressive Amsterdam jumps on top of it. 'Protect Amsterdam from wealthy fathers who buy up the city,' writes Marjolein Moorman, at the time still chairman of the PvdA party, in Het Parool. The city council even organizes a hearing on the role of investors in the city, for which they invite the prince.


Bernhard is no longer in the line of succession to the throne, but still belongs to the royal family. His origins matter in this affair. 'Prince Bernhard junior will undoubtedly work hard, but you would expect more solidarity from someone in such a privileged position,' moorman writes. The Dutch can appreciate that Bernhard earns his own living and leads a fairly normal family life in Amsterdam, as long as he colours within the lines. And there's the rub.


From his first company, founded during his student days in Groningen, it appears that he considers rules to be flexible. His courier company Ritzen  Koeriers, which uses students with a public transport annual card to transport parcels by train, pays too little tax on wages that have been paid out. He  narrowly avoids a criminal case for fraud with a settlement. That settlement makes it to the NOS Journaal, so that the press conference, a few days later about the engagement of Bernhard and Annette Sekrève, is mainly about this case. This kind of publicity damages the reputation of the royal family and therefore leads to dissperformment among his aunt, then Queen Beatrix.


Dubious business partner

In 2012 things go wrong when Bernhard invests in a company that owns radio station Wild FM. That goes bankrupt. The trustee later finds that the business stinks, according to various bankruptcy reports. Valuable business units have been diverted in a prohibited way, from which Bernhard and his companions benefit. The receiver submits a claim, also with Bernhard's investment company. It eventually comes to a settlement.


The stakes outside the Netherlands are also high. Shortly before the financial crisis, Bernhard entered into extremely risky project development in the Balkans. Serbia is still focusing on it after the devastating civil war and numerous experts warn of the widespread corruption, which makes doing business difficult. Bernhard enters into projects with controversial business partners there, according to research in numerous Serbian documents, such as bankruptcy reports, judgments, real estate deeds and the register of the Chamber of Commerce.


A key Serbian business partner of the prince is later the subject of police investigations into tax evasion and corruption. He is arrested after a chase, but later they get into a new project together: the construction of a residential area in Belgrade. Bernhard and his regular business partners finance the whole thing, benefiting from the excellent contacts that their local partners maintain with the mayor and the city architect of Belgrade, who have been linked to corruption in the Serbian press for years.


Another factor in the relentless fuss about the housing affair is bernhard's own actions. He doesn't understand the fuss. The management of his real estate is outsourced to a professional party, with the assignment to rent it out according to the rules, so what does he have to do with this? Bernhard's media advisers take the fuss very seriously and suggest that he should do something to boost his image. Is it an idea that he says goodbye to his real estate and instead sets up a social or green fund? This would shed a very different light on the prince. That is not an option, says Bernhard resolutely. The houses form his pension, because he does not receive a state allowance. He has just as decidedly rejects the suggestion to renounc his princely title and thus take away the attention for his origins. His loyalty to the family is too great for that, although King Willem-Alexander is 'not  amused' about all the publicity.


When Bernhard receives the invitation to the hearing of the Amsterdam city council, his spokesman Charles Huijskens  insists on writing a neat letter of thanks: a prince cannot afford an arrogant attitude towards elected representatives. Because Bernhard does not give a mess, Huijskens decides to write the letter himself. He is even willing to buy stamp and envelope.



But when Huijskens  submits the letter to Bernhard, he informs him that he has already sent a short e-mail to the council clerk: he does not consider himself to be an expert and thanks. Huijskens  realizes that this is a huge pr blunder. Bernhard's rejection feeds the interest of the press. That evening, PvdA group chairman Moorman is allowed to tell on national television what she thinks of bernhard' s knowledgeable, despite his 102 addresses in the city. When he is asked by Het Parool about the order for incremental penalty payments from the municipality, he says he does not know it, because he does not open his post himself.


As is often the case, Bernhard is especially outraged by the fuss. He sees himself as a businessman, who is separate from his origins. The fact that the Van Oranjes have an exemplary role does not play a major role for him. He deliberately chooses the precarious position of business prince.


Read the book: Business Prince: The Hunt for Success of Bernard of Orange.


Bernhard and his business partners, despite repeated requests, did not cooperate with the book, which serves as the basis for this article. They also did not respond to questions and did not use adversarial response. Also the request for a response to this article, Bernhard has ignored

Prince Bernhard Jr. became an entrepreneur at a young age and

develops into a business centipede. When he got the

violates rules, he grows into the national symbol of the

overstretched real estate market. With bringing in

of formula 1, Bernhard jr. delivers his ultimate performance,

which confirms its unique position in the global business world:

a prince in business.


Michiel Couzy  and Maarten van Dun take the reader along

Bernhard's companies – from the internet to real estate, from the Netherlands

to Serbia, from luxury boats to fast cars. They show

how his business talent regularly turns out to be incompatible with the

public morality and legal authority.


Business prince is the story of a prince who feels that his origins

doesn't matter, but it's still constantly confronted

with its royal background. When does the hunt collide

to the success of the ambitious prince with his origins and his

social responsibility?

Bernhard of Orange

- Born: 25 December 1969, son of Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven, nephew of King Willem-Alexander.


- Bernhard studies in Groningen and starts his first company there, Ritzen  Koeriers.


- In 1996 he set up internet company Clockwork,  which he sold to Achmea in 1999, buys back in 2001 and sells again in 2003, this time to Ordina


- After the sale, he invests in real estate, both privately and through real estate company Pinnacle. He also sets up Levi 9, which develops software in the Balkans. He also does real estate development in Serbia.


- In 2016 he takes over the race circuit in Zandvoort with business partners. In 2019 he will experience his greatest business success, when he brings Formula 1 to Zandvoort. The first race, in May 2020, was cancelled due to corona.


- Bernhard has with business partners and via bv's also the real estate in the hands of a luxury beach bar in Zandvoort and he is the owner of boat brand Waterdream. He is founder and director of  Lymph&Co,a fund that raises money for research into the fight against lymph node cancer.

Sunday 29 August 2021

‘Rebranding’ Prince Andrew? Now there’s a real mission impossible / VIDEO: Prince Andrew & the Epstein Scandal: The Newsnight Interview - BBC News

Hadley Freeman's Weekend column

‘Rebranding’ Prince Andrew? Now there’s a real mission impossible

Hadley Freeman



The task of making the prince even vaguely palatable to the public has been called ‘the rebranding job from hell’. But I’ve got a few ideas


Prince Andrew

Being forced to deny sexually assaulting a minor is not a great look for a prince. Photograph: Liam McBurney/PA


Sat 28 Aug 2021 09.00 BST


History is unfolding all around us. Tragedies are occurring every day. So I was very taken with a recent article addressing the most urgent issue of our time: what can be done to help Prince Andrew’s reputation? As even the staunchest royalist papers have accepted, being forced to deny sexually assaulting a minor – Virginia Giuffre, then 17 – is not a great look for a prince; an even worse one is a prince who insists he “can’t remember” meeting her, despite the inconvenient photograph of Andrew wrapping his mitt around Giuffre’s waist while Ghislaine Maxwell – currently awaiting trial for sex trafficking, a charge she denies – grins in the background, Aunt Lydia with a Cheshire cat smile. Andrew’s “friends” (his what?) insist the photo is clearly faked because “the prince has chubbier fingers”, which, as alibis go, is as ironclad as being at Pizza Express in Woking. The task of making the prince even vaguely palatable to the public is, according to the article, “the rebranding job from hell”, given that, as one strategist beadily noted, he “has no accomplishments or public admiration he can leverage, no day job he can go back to”. Treasonous talk there from the PR industry, and yet not even the Queen could defend her favourite child against any of it.


There is another problem for Andrew’s PR, aside from sheer uselessness, personal unlikability and general idiocy that have wafted off him for most of his adult life. It’s that he doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong. This has been a lifelong problem. When interviewed in 2017 , he was asked about his various “gaffes”, which included allegedly giving Maxwell and – naturally! – Kevin Spacey a tour of Buckingham Palace and allowing them to sit on thrones; inviting Maxwell and later convicted sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and – but of course! – Harvey Weinstein to his daughter Beatrice’s 18th birthday party; selling his house to the Kazakh oligarch, Timur Kulibayev, for £3m over the asking price, which seemed strangely generous of the buyer, given it had been on the market for years. The prince, as per, denies he has done anything wrong.


How, the journalist asked, did he keep getting himself into these little scrapes? “Everybody should be given an opportunity. Sometimes you find that somebody’s done something after the event, or you find that perhaps that wasn’t quite as wise. You don’t get it right all the time. It doesn’t bother me, really. It’s just part of life’s rich tapestry,” Andrew replied. Indeed. Although Andrew increasingly seems to be re-enacting the Bayeux tapestry, specifically the section depicting the royal flailing around with an arrow stuck in his eye.


Like Andrew, former prime minister David Cameron was born blessed with only gilded opportunities, and then, with almost impressive determination, plunged his reputation through a shredder. Cameron has insisted he lobbied ministers during the pandemic to prop up Greensill Capital because “he sincerely believed there would be material benefits for UK businesses at a challenging time”. And “UK businesses” appears to have meant “myself”, given he banked £7m, whereas taxpayers are footing the bill for Greensill’s collapse of up to £320m. Good to see Cameron’s judgment is just as sharp as when he gave the go-ahead to the Brexit referendum.


What can be done with such men? PR executives insist that Andrew must make “almost a full, authentic and credible apology”, although either man doing anything “authentic and credible” is as likely as the two of them growing matching quiffs and becoming the new Jedward. One PR quoted in the article suggests that Andrew “devote himself to good works and public service for the rest of his life”, but that’s what he was already supposed to be doing before, and look how that turned out. Eddie Murphy once wisely observed “the best way to hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people”. But poverty, or even normality, is a strange concept in Andrew and Cameron’s worlds, when it applies to themselves. Prince Harry insists he moved to California because he wanted a “normal” life, although his version of normal turned out to mean living in an £8m mansion, hitting up his father for cash and flogging tales of his royal family. Well, it’s all relative. Or in Harry’s case, all about the relatives. Meanwhile, Cameron’s off living the humble life in his various £25,000 shepherd’s huts , which surely cost more than his book, which he famously wrote in them, has made in profit.


There really is only one solution. These men won’t change personally, so they need to change geographically. One PR suggested Andrew should “devote himself to charity work, perhaps in Africa”, but Britain has inflicted enough pain on Africa already. Instead, both men should build a time machine and go back to when useless posh politicians could be snout-deep in the trough and no one would notice, and the royals could do anything they damn well pleased. So maybe the 19th century for Cameron and the 16th century for Andrew? It’s for their sake as much as ours; they’ll feel so much more at home there. Bon voyage, guys.


Friday 27 August 2021

Hawes & Curtis / Jermyn Street, London. / VIDEO: Proud Tailors of Northampton Saints Rugby, West Ham United & Wales Footb...


Hawes & Curtis was founded by two accomplished outfitters, Ralph Hawes and George Frederick Curtis, who opened the first store at 24 Piccadilly Arcade in February 1913. From the beginning the heritage brand has been acclaimed by aristocracy and Hollywood's elite. Notable customers have included the Duke of Windsor, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Lord Mountbatten, Frank Sinatra and Fred Astaire.


Hawes & Curtis is a British fashion company founded in 1913, currently operating 29 stores in the United Kingdom including two in Jermyn Street, London. The brand is best known for their shirts and jackets.


The company was founded by two tailors, Ralph Hawes and George Frederic "Freddie" Curtis, who opened the first store in Piccadilly Arcade, at the corner with Jermyn Street, in London in 1913.


On 1 December 1922, Hawes & Curtis Hosiers was granted a royal warrant by the then Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VIII and Duke of Windsor). In July 1938, King George VI awarded the company a second royal warrant, and then, in 1948, a third one to Hawes & Curtis Tailors. This warrant lasted throughout the King’s reign. In 1957, the Duke of Edinburgh awarded Hawes & Curtis with a fourth Royal Warrant which remained until 1985.


Businessman Touker Suleyman[5] acquired the company under the group Low Profile Holdings in 2002 for the symbolic amount of £1.


Designers' legacy

Hawes & Curtis are known for having introduced the backless evening waistcoat.[7] It was an innovation of the ‘dress soft’ era popularised by the Duke of Windsor. The waistcoat was designed without a back and held in place by means of bands, fastened with a buckle or button across the back at the waistline. When worn, the waistcoat always remained in position under the tailcoat and was renowned for its comfort. Fred Astaire allegedly approached Hawes & Curtis to have one made, only to be regretfully refused due to the high demand for such garments from the British aristocracy.[8]


According to the Review of Savile Row Tailors, by the 1930s, "Mr. Curtis was an authority in evening dress and had done more to keep shirts from bulging out of up-creeping waistcoats than any other young man in London. Evening shirts and waistcoats were made on scientific mathematical lines – yet were chic withal."


Hawes & Curtis also assisted the Duke of Windsor in creating his now famous Windsor knot, by introducing an extra layer at the inside of the tie.[citation needed]


Notable customers

Notable customers have included Cary Grant, the Duke of Windsor, Earl Mountbatten Frank Sinatra, and Fred Astaire.

How Hawes & Curtis built an online international business

By Veebs Sabharwal -February 12, 2015



Founded in 1913 and favoured by royalty, including the Duke of Windsor, an icon of English style, Hawes & Curtis is a well-known Jermyn Street shirt-maker. Its clientele has included Earl Mountbatten, Cary Grant and Fred Astaire. Over the past century, the firm has built on its reputation for quality and service. Today, it has twenty five UK stores, an overseas stores in Germany and a franchise in the Middle East; its first store opened in Dubai last month.


Hawes & Curtis realised that developing a successful e-commerce site would enable it to extend its geographic reach as far as its reputation. For this to be effective, the firm needed to ensure it could provide its online customers with the same service and assurance that it offered within its stores.


Head of e-Commerce Antony Comyns joined Hawes & Curtis in 2007 with a brief to build Hawes & Curtis‘ online business. Seeing that overseas customers readily used the firm‘s UK site, Antony took an evolutionary approach to developing international sales. Monitoring the source of overseas, he investigated and invested increasing amounts in those markets that offered the greatest opportunity.


The first step was to ensure that goods could be shipped safely and quickly to customers who purchased them.


Understanding local requirements and preferences for online shopping and for shipping was important. Countries have different postal and courier services as well as different address formats.


There are also varied levels of comfort with using an English-language site. Russia has become Hawes & Curtis‘ second largest international market and the firm was surprised to find that bloggers had translated all the important sections of the site to help fellow Russians use it. The firm rewarded the bloggers concerned with shirts and accessories to say thank you.


Once Comyns‘ team had optimised the service that customers can get from the .co.uk site, a local site was created. Currently, Hawes & Curtis has dedicated sites for Australia and Germany.


Comyns explains, “Our initial aim for 2007, the year we launched our online store, was to see if we could take a million pounds online. We achieved that in the first year and we‘ve been increasing the range and growing the business since then.” Hawes & Curtis started offering PayPal as a payment method, three years ago.


“PayPal has amazing reach,” explains Antony, and it is used by a range of upmarket sites. Customers accept it as safe and secure. A lot of people respect the brand, and it‘s easy to use.


Especially when selling internationally, you need to have some points on your website that build customers‘ confidence. One of those is association with a trusted brand – PayPal is one of the biggest payments brands that people will know. Hawes & Curtis may mean very little to a man sitting in the middle of America, but they will know PayPal. That gives them the security they need to complete their purchase.”


Equally important for customers is ease of use. As Comyns points out, “With PayPal, customers know the ‘rules‘. They don‘t need to read a new set of rules with each merchant; they know they can easily make a secure payment with PayPal.”


Businesses often find that offering PayPal as a payment method increases conversion rates at check-out. Enabling customers to pay in their local currency has also boosted sales.


Hawes & Curtis‘ online business has grown strongly. Today, 25% of its business is conducted online. 45% of the online business is international and Hawes & Curtis now sells to over 50 different countries.


“The service we get from PayPal is really very, very good,” says Antony, and it is easy to push out in a new market. Having one payment service provider that covers a lot of countries and is quick and easy to integrate across all devices is absolutely key for our expansion.

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts dies aged 80 / VIDEO: Paul McCartney honors Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts

Charlie Watts obituary

Dapper and elegant drummer who was the rock-steady heartbeat of the Rolling Stones

Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts dies aged 80

The crisp economy of his drumming, both swinging and muscular, was remarkable for its absence of frills, freeing the rest of the band to express themselves around it.


Adam Sweeting

Tue 24 Aug 2021 20.39 BST



Despite becoming one of the greats of rock’n’roll, the dapper and deadpan Charlie Watts, who has died aged 80, spent more than 60 years doing his second-favourite job. Watts applied himself diligently to the task of being the rock-steady heartbeat of the Rolling Stones, but what he always yearned to do was play jazz. Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis were his musical idols, and his playing was inspired by jazz drummers such as Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes and Philly Joe Jones.


Watts’s career with the Stones ran from the cramped clubs of Britain’s early-1960s blues boom to the international stadium tours that became their metier. Through it all, he seemed determined to be as self-effacing as anybody could be as a member of perhaps the world’s most high-profile rock band. Nonetheless, the group fully understood his value to them. Keith Richards, in particular, often acknowledged how fundamental Watts was to the Stones’ sound, perhaps not least because he was prepared to make space for the churning rhythmic drive of his guitar. The crisp economy of Watts’s drumming, both swinging and muscular, was remarkable for its absence of frills or fuss, freeing the rest of the band to express themselves around it.


Watts, who trained in graphic design, also contributed a lot to the Stones’ marketing and presentation, which came to the fore as they evolved into a global brand and their performances grew increasingly spectacular. He created artwork for some early Stones releases and collaborated with Mick Jagger on the design of their elaborate stage sets for such tours as Steel Wheels/Urban Jungle (1989-90), Bridges to Babylon (1997-98), Licks (2002-03) andA Bigger Bang (2005-07).


Any conversation with Watts was likely to rove amiably across topics such as Savile Row suits, cricket – he often attended Test matches at Lord’s or the Oval – and the Arabian horses he reared with his wife, Shirley, at their Halsdon Arabians farm in Devon. But he would invariably come back to jazz.


“The first person whose playing I was aware of was [the baritone saxophonist] Gerry Mulligan, and the track was Walking Shoes, with Chico Hamilton playing drums,” Watts recalled in 2012. “That’s what made me want to play the drums. Before that I wanted to play alto sax because I loved Earl Bostic.”


Charlie was born at University College Hospital, London, to Charles Watts, a lorry driver, and his wife Lillian (nee Eaves). The family (including his sister, Linda) lived in Wembley, north-west London, in a prefabricated home.


He became lifelong friends with his neighbour Dave Green, who would become a jazz bass player. The young Charlie (dubbed “Charlie Boy” by his parents) became fixated on hard bop and cool jazz during the 50s. He bought himself a banjo when he was 14, but rather than learn how to play it he converted it into a snare drum.


He was given his first drum kit as a Christmas present in 1955, and while other kids were shaking a leg to Bill Haley or Elvis Presley, he dreamed of playing drums with Davis, or stepping into Art Blakey’s shoes with the Jazz Messengers.


His first band was the jazz outfit the Jo Jones All Stars, which he and Green both joined in 1958.


After Tyler’s Croft secondary modern school in Kingsbury, Watts studied at Harrow School of Art, where he drew, as part of an assignment, a 36-page children’s book called Ode to a High Flying Bird, depicting the life of the saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker. The book was later picked up by a London publisher and printed in 1964.


After art college Watts secured a job as a designer with a London advertising agency, Charlie Daniels Studios, in 1960.


While working at the agency he was lured away from jazz by Alexis Korner, who recruited him for his band Blues Incorporated in 1962.


In the small pool of the nascent British “blues boom”, the future Stones Jagger and Brian Jones (then calling himself Elmo Lewis) made appearances with Korner’s band, before Jones branched off to start his own group that included the Stones’ unsung but faithful pianist, Ian Stewart.


A meeting with Jagger and Richards prompted the formation of the Rolling Stones, although it was a few months before the cautious Watts could be induced to leave Korner’s band to join them, which he eventually did in January 1963.


Watts would observe the Stones’ remarkable trajectory from his vantage point at the back of the stage, occasionally permitting himself a quizzical smile but always remaining detached from the cavalcade of sex, drugs and spectacular headlines that followed the band around the world.


Renowned as the quiet, sensible one, he never strayed into the limelight if he could avoid it, though the title of Peter Whitehead’s documentary film Charlie Is My Darling, shot when the Stones visited Ireland in 1965, acknowledged that Watts projected his own quiet mystique. While Jagger, Jones and Richards would be out on the town in London, Watts quietly married Shirley Shepherd in 1964 without telling his bandmates, and their relationship remained solid until his death.


Only for a brief period during the mid-80s did his natural self-reliance fail him. During recording of the Stones’ Dirty Work album in 1985, Jagger and Richards were at loggerheads, the future of the band looked shaky, Charlie’s daughter Seraphina (born in 1968) had been expelled from school for smoking dope. Watts began hitting the bottle, and – shockingly for anyone who knew him – developed a heroin habit, though never on a scale to match that of Richards.


“Maybe towards the end of 1986, I hit an all-time low in my personal life and in my relationship with Mick,” he admitted later. “I was mad on drink and drugs. I became a completely different person, not a nice one. I nearly lost my wife and family and everything.”


However, the ever-practical Watts quietly weaned himself off drugs even before his problem had become public knowledge, and concentrated on building a family life focused around horses and breeding sheepdogs at a country estate he had purchased in Devon.


He also distracted himself from the squabbles and struggles of the Stones by putting together the Charlie Watts Big Band, which featured many top British jazz players.


They toured the US and recorded an album, Live at Fulham Town Hall, released in 1986. In 1991 he formed the Charlie Watts Quintet, which recorded a string of albums including From One Charlie, a tribute to Charlie Parker, and in 2000 he teamed up with fellow sticksman Jim Keltner for the Charlie Watts/Jim Keltner Project, a tribute to the pair’s favourite jazz drummers.


In 2004 came Watts at Scott’s, a live recording of the Charlie Watts Tentet at Ronnie Scott’s club in London. The disc appeared as news emerged that Watts had been undergoing surgery and radiotherapy for throat cancer. The treatment proved successful and the cancer went into remission.


While touring and studio work with the Stones continued as ever, in 2009 he began playing with the ABC&D of Boogie Woogie – the name came from the first-name initials of its members, who were the pianists Axel Zwingenberger and Ben Waters and bassist Dave Green. They recorded the albums The Magic of Boogie Woogie (2010) and Live in Paris (2012). Charlie Watts meets the Danish Radio Big Band was recorded live in Copenhagen in 2010 and belatedly released in 2017.


He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Stones in 1989, and was voted into Modern Drummer magazine’s Hall of Fame in 2006. Also in 2006, Vanity Fair voted the impeccably tailored Watts into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.


Shortly before his death it was reported that he had undergone surgery and that Steve Jordan would be taking his place on the Stones’ No Filter tour of the US.


He is survived by Shirley, Seraphina, and a granddaughter, Charlotte.


 Charles Robert Watts, drummer, born 2 June 1941; died 24 August 2021

"You cannot mass produce fashion or consume 'sustainably' as the world is shaped today. That is one of the many reasons why we will need a system change," Thunberg tweeted.


A backlash against the industry's environmental impact has been highlighted by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg who was recently on the cover of Vogue Scandinavia | John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Fast fashion’s waste model is going out of style


Recycling won’t solve the rag trade’s waste problem.



August 13, 2021 3:53 pm



Waste is an undeniable part of the fast-fashion business model: The industry fills clothing racks with new items at lightning speed, creating and capitalizing on new trends to be worn and discarded on a massive scale.


But as Vogue readers will know, heavy carbon footprints are out.


A backlash against the industry's environmental impact — as recently highlighted by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg on the cover of Vogue Scandinavia — has upped the pressure on companies to cut back on waste and rethink how and what they produce.


“The carbon footprint [of the fashion industry] is extortionate, especially because it’s global,” said Chetna Prajapati, a researcher in textiles at England's Loughborough University.


Clothing and footwear production is responsible for 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions — more than “all international flights and maritime shipping combined,” according to a European Parliament report published last year.


Spanish giant Inditex, owner of the fashion brand Zara, pumped 120,992 tons of CO2 equivalent into the atmosphere in 2020 — a year marked by lockdowns linked to the COVID pandemic — and 350,101 tons in 2019. The H&M Group emitted 72,580 tons of CO2 equivalent in 2020 — 18 percent more than in 2019.


The industry also creates huge amounts of waste: In the EU, the average consumer throws away some 11 kilograms of textiles every year, according to the European Environment Agency.


Very little of that ends up being recycled. Globally, less than 1 percent of clothing material is recycled into new clothes, and only 13 percent is recycled into other products, the Ellen McArthur Foundation found. In the EU, the bulk of collected textiles is exported to countries without proper collection infrastructure, meaning much of it ends up being landfilled or incinerated.


The EU is expected to launch new targets for recycling and textile reuse this fall and will require countries to set up separate collection mechanisms for textiles by 2025 as part of its Waste Framework Directive. Meanwhile, growing consumer appetite for more sustainable solutions is pushing big brands to set ambitious new recycling targets, according to Mauro Scalia, director of sustainable businesses at the European Apparel and Textile Industry Confederation (EURATEX), which last year launched an initiative to establish European textile recycling hubs.


But researchers, activists and policymakers warn that the industry can't count on recycling alone to mitigate its environmental impact.


"You cannot mass produce fashion or consume 'sustainably' as the world is shaped today. That is one of the many reasons why we will need a system change," Thunberg tweeted.


Recycling pitfalls

In response to growing pressure to cut their carbon footprint, a number of big brands have come out with new pledges to green their business and increase their share of recycled content.


Inditex, the world's largest fast-fashion company, has committed to using only sustainable, organic or recycled cotton by 2023 and only recycled polyester by 2025.


Fashion retailer Primark last year pledged to more than double the number of products made from recycled materials to 40 million. It has also launched an in-store recycling scheme, where all donated clothes "are reused, recycled or repurposed, with nothing going to landfill," a Primark spokesperson said.


But these commitments risk falling flat if advances in recycling technology can't be scaled up quickly.


"We know fashion brands are setting really ambitious targets to stop using, for instance, virgin polyester and only use recycled polyester, but there isn't enough recycled polyester," said Holly Syrett, senior sustainability manager at Global Fashion Agenda, an industry collective focused on sustainability.


Most textiles are recycled using a process known as mechanical recycling that tears apart the fabric and creates “an amalgamation of all different yarns and properties that are unknown," said Prajapati. These can't be used for new clothes as the resulting fibers are shorter and produce fabrics of lower quality that can only be used for items like emergency blankets or insulation — a process known as downcycling.


To be turned into clothes of the same quality, old textiles need to be recycled chemically in a process that restores fiber strength. The technology is already being used on a small scale with fabrics made of a single fiber but "will take at least five years to go industrial" and becomes more complex with blends of natural and synthetic fibers, according to Prajapati.


Chemical recycling has also come under fire from green groups for being energy-intensive, as it requires large amounts of heat or pressure. But alternative approaches being developed — including biological recycling, which uses enzymes to break apart certain materials — are not yet ready to be used at scale, she said.


That's why recycling is "part of the solution" but not "the only solution" when it comes to reducing fashion's environmental impact, according to Prajapati.


The H&M Group said it has established several partnerships to drive innovation in textile recycling technologies, but stressed it only considers recycling one of "many ways" to become more sustainable and is conducting "several pilots of new business models involving print-on-demand, customisation, repair, rental and re-commerce."



Future design

Some NGOs warn that too much emphasis on recycling could undermine long-term efforts to green the sector. Instead, policies should push companies to invest in durable design.


“We don't want to create the kind of industry which will require new products to be placed on the market regularly enough to fit in the recycling industry,” said Mathieu Rama, senior policy officer at the NGO RREUSE, which represents organizations active in reuse, repair and recycling efforts.


The EU's upcoming textile strategy risks prioritizing recycling over reuse, which has a lesser environmental and social impact, he warned.


“We need to make sure that the policies that will encourage recycling won't compete with the necessity to make sure that every piece of textile that can be reused is actually reused,” he said.


Policies should incentivize brands to focus on designing for longevity, he said. Clothes using only natural blends and a single fabric are easier to recycle but are also easier to resell second-hand as consumers tend to consider them as being of higher quality.


The European Environmental Bureau, an NGO, has called on Brussels to include textiles in its Ecodesign Directive, which sets requirements on products' environmental performance, in order to block "unsustainably produced, inefficient, toxic, wasteful, and polluting textile products" from gaining access to the EU market in the first place.


The scope of what the EU can "control and enforce" when it comes to sustainable product design is limited, according to Scalia, given that 80 percent of garments circulating in the EU are imported.


Ultimately, for recycling to be useful in curbing fashion's pollution, there needs to be a greater shift toward sustainability at all levels, including the initial design and a company's supply chains, said Syrett, of Global Fashion Agenda.


The industry has to ditch its "take, make, dispose" approach and embrace a new mentality, she said.

Monday 23 August 2021

Corona hits fashion house Suit Supply hard: mega loss of 110 million euros


Fewer suits sold

Corona hits fashion house Suit Supply hard: mega loss of 110 million euros

18 August 2021 15:05

Updated: 18 August 2021 20:46



Due to corona, the turnover of the fashion company plummeted. Image  © ANP


Fashion house Suit  Supply has booked a mega loss of almost 110 million euros in the corona year 2020. The financial buffers evaporated. Nevertheless, the Amsterdam-based company thinks it can keep its head above water.


This is evident from the annual figures filed with the Chamber of Commerce, about which Quote was the first to report.


Hard hit

Suit Supply was founded in 2000 by entrepreneur Fokke de Jong and grew into an international fashion house with a turnover of 336 million euros in 2019. The company had 126 stores worldwide at the end of last year and accounted for 1300 full-time jobs.


But last year Suit Supply appears to have been hit hard by the corona crisis. In the annual report, De Jong writes that the stores remained closed for a large part of the year, resulting in substantially less sales.


Decline in turnover

Also because offices and other workplaces remained closed and weddings, fairs and other social events were canceled, far fewer consumers were fitted with a new suit or shirt.


As a result, turnover plummeted by 39 percent in 2020 to 205 million euros. Of this turnover, 37 percent was recorded in the US and 18 percent in the Netherlands.


Mega loss

Despite state support and cost savings, Suit Supply posted serious losses last year. The annual accounts show that the net loss amounted to almost 110 million euros.


That giga loss completely wiped out the company's financial buffers. The company's equity decreased from 46 million euros positive at the end of 2019, to 53 million euros negative at the end of last year.


To ensure suit supply  would have enough cash in hand to deal with the problems, the company signed an additional financing deal last year. This consisted of 50 million euros in additional loans, deferrals of payments and capital injections by shareholders.


Also for this year, the company, which is partly owned by investment company NPM Capital,expectsCovid-19 to negatively affect its results. In the first quarter, turnover was 45 percent lower than in the comparable period last year.


Possible rescue plan needed

In the unqualified opinion accompanying the financial statements, auditor Deloitte warns of 'uncertainties regarding the continuity' of the company.   However, Suit Supply claims to be able to survive thanks to state aid, cost savings and last year's financing deal.


However, this assumes a recovery in turnover in the rest of the current year and in 2022. If the company cannot meet the criteria for the loans, it expects to conclude a new bailout plan with the banks and shareholders.


Suit Supply CEO Fokke de Jong

© ANP / photo by Patrick MacLeod/WWD/REX/Shutterstock

Fokke de Jong: 'strong recovery'


In a response from the US, major shareholder and director Fokke de Jong points out that suit supply's net loss is partly the result of one-off costs. "For example, due to corona, we had to take provisions on our stock positions, and write off loss-making stores."


The market has also picked up considerably over the past six months, he says. "The first quarter was still bad, but since then we have seen a strong recovery in all the regions where we operate. There is, of course, a postponed question. Eventually, marriages and bar mitzvahs  go on anyway. As a result, there are rows in front of the door here and there. So we are much more positive than we were at the beginning of this year."


According to De Jong, Suit Supply did not find himself in the situation in recent months that additional financing became necessary. "If necessary, I and NPM are of course ready to support the company. But for now, our biggest challenge is to have enough staff and enough stuff."