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Campaigns Retail

Hollister hosts Twitch live stream in-store to celebrate video game launch

Hollister is taking to live streaming video gaming platform Twitch to celebrate the launch of a new videogame in its Los Cerritos store in California tomorrow.

The teen fashion brand is inviting two Twitch streamers called Fuslie and J.D. Witherspoon, to play the new Crash™ Team Racing Nitro-Fueled (or CTR for short) video game live in-store at 5pm. The game comes from Activision, which also created popular titles such as Call of Duty.

Shoppers will be able to watch them online via Twitch or in real-life at the Los Ceritos store. A series of activations are also taking place across three Hollister locations including Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, all of which will host gaming lounges and PS4 systems connected to video screens to create a more immersive experience for customers.

The last part of the activation has Hollister influencers, including Adelaine Morin, supporting the launch of the video game by appearing at one of the three stores to host a friendly game competition and interact with shoppers.

“We’re constantly seeking opportunities to provide authentic engagement with our customers that align with their interests. We’re looking forward to bringing this unique experience to our customers,” said Michael Scheiner, SVP of marketing at Hollister. “These events will create a collaborative, inclusive group activity for all customers to connect with our brand, and each other.”

For those that can’t make it to any of the locations, Hollister will make the the CTR game available to download in an additional 100 US-based stores, as well as online.

As the boundaries between physical and digital spaces are blurring, the world of gaming is becoming increasingly important to the fashion industry. The video game Fortnite, for example, made headlines in February when 10 million people tuned in for a live stream from DJ Marshmello. Meanwhile, in April, fashion label Moschino partnered with The Sims for a digitally-inspired capsule collection.

Are you thinking innovatively enough in your brand messaging? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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product sustainability

Native Shoes is releasing a plant-based sneaker fit for composting

Vancouver- based sustainable shoe brand, Native Shoes, is launching a sneaker made of fully plant-based and biodegradable materials, which can even be composted at the end of its life.

For the design of the new sneaker, dubbed the Plant Shoe, the brand focused on including exclusively natural materials, down to the stitching and glue used to put the individual materials together.

By making the Shoe biodegradable and suitable for composting, Native Shoes aims to fight the increasing problem of shoe waste, citing that nearly 300 million pairs end up in landfill every year.

The design is purposely kept simplistic and embraces a vintage look. The upper material is made up of a mix of organic cotton and Pinatex, which is made of discarded pineapple waste. As an industry first, the material mix uses no polyurethane coating, a process that is usually applied to textiles to make them more durable.

The shoe’s sole further builds on the sustainable credentials of the brand, using pure hevea latex, a derivative of the rubber tree. However, it uses no artificial additions such as fillers or petrochemical catalysts, which are traditionally used in other “natural” rubber soles.

The brand, which originally launched in 2009 with a sustainable ethos and focused on mainly rubber-based shoes, also collaborated with Goop in 2018 and 2019 to provide rubber slides to the lifestyle brand’s annual In Goop Health events.  

Over the past year, labels including Nike, Adidas, Reebok and Everlane have released their own versions of more sustainable sneakers, experimenting with different, more sustainable materials and tapping into circular design principles.

Nike’s Flyleather design, for example, uses 50% recycled natural leather fiber, while Adidas’ Futurecraft Loop sneaker is made up of only one material and therefore is the first to be fully recyclable. Reebok furthermore launched its biodegradable Cotton + Corn shoe in 2018. Everlane launched its Tread shoe this year, using a combination of natural and recycled rubber for its sole.

Meanwhile, direct-to-consumer start-up Allbirds launched its SweetFoam material initiative last year, an environmentally friendly- alternative to the traditionally used acetate compound that is used in shoe soles today.  Marking a collaborative spirit, Allbirds also made its new solution open-source, hoping to encourage competitors to also adopt this material.

How are you thinking about sustainable innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

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Retail sustainability

UK brands push for government support in sustainability

The UK fashion industry is calling for the government to support further sustainable development, according to a new report.

The study, released today by trade publication Drapers, asked the respondent’s opinions on the recommendations made after the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) completed its inquiry into the environmental and social impact of the fashion industry in February 2019. This focused specifically on the disposable nature of the fast fashion industry.

While almost all of the 370 business leaders and professionals agreed to the committee’s proposed implementations, 85% of them said the government is currently not doing enough to support the industry’s development in this regard.

94.9% of respondents supported the EAC’s recommendation that calls for mandatory sustainability targets for retailers. Furthermore, 97.1% support the introduction of fines for companies that fail to comply with the Modern Slavery Act. The same consequences are to apply to retailers that do not meet zero-emissions targets (96.4%).

But, when asked what additional actions the government should take to encourage the industry to become more sustainable, respondents also called for more investment in recycling infrastructure (84.1%) as well as the outlawing of unsustainable practices (71%).

Interestingly the majority of retailers (92.2%) reached a consensus that sustainability is a commercial imperative for their businesses. This statement is clearly driven by changing customer demands, with 91.6% saying there is a growing interest in sustainability from their customers.

Mary Creagh MP, chair of the EAC, also commented on the necessity of government intervention in the fashion industry at the Draper’s Sustainability Conference earlier this year.

How are you thinking about your sustainable strategy? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more. 

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Editor's pick sustainability technology

Kering launches interactive EP&L for World Environment Day

To mark World Environment Day on June 5, Kering launched a digital, interactive version of its 2018 Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) report.

Kering’s annual EP&L was originally launched in 2011. It allows the group to measure its environmental footprint across its internal business operations, business activities and supply chain.

The new report is accessible on a dedicated digital platform. This is divided into four different sections, two of which allow data from the 2018 EP&L to be visualized in different interactive formats. The third allows users to download all of the raw material aggregate data Kering used to create the report, while the fourth provides access to the full methodology.

Together, these four sections create unprecedented access into Kering’s sustainable strategy.  

“Sharing the underlining EP&L data will complement the methodology we open-sourced in 2015 to further help other companies gain greater transparency of their supply chains and clarify their impact on the environment,” said Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer and head of international institutional affairs at Kering.  

Kering’s hope for this new EP&L is also that industry players will be able to build on the data and create their own environmental analysis reports.

In more detail, the first section, called 2018 results, displays the environmental impact insights that were gathered and displayed on the original report in an interactive map format. This allows users to visualize how different environmental impact factors, such as greenhouse gas emissions and land use, impact different geographical locations in which Kering operates.

Through a filter function, users can further customize searches. For example, they can narrow down specific raw materials they are interested in, as well as different product categories such as “couture” or “jewelry”.

Kering’s EP&L “2018 results” map visual

The second category, Material Intensities, allows users to visualize the impact of specific materials in graph format. Again, the data can be customized by using a filter function that allows users to find out very specific information on material type, process step and country.

The third allows users to access and download the raw aggregate datasets that form the backbone of the interactive functionality of the report. These can again be customized to suit the search requirements of a user, they can also be analyzed and then downloaded.

Simultaneously to Kering launching its new EP&L, daughter brand Gucci has also launched its adapted EP&L report in the same interactive format, the first of the Kering brands to do so.

The group aims to further augment the report in October 2019 with a Hackathon in Paris. Inspired by Kering’s successful implementation of its “My P&L app”, this will invite tech experts, sustainability specialists and developers,  to build out apps and other digital solutions.

“Our Hackathon will leverage this data to innovate new tech solutions, which will undoubtedly support us in achieving our 40% EP&L reduction target,” comments Marie-Claire Daveu. “I hope this will also encourage a broader adoption of the resulting tools to facilitate the reduction of luxury and fashion’s impact on the environment and on biodiversity.”

How are you thinking about your sustainable innovation strategy? Want to learn more about how we worked with Google? The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to hear more.

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Campaigns

Balmain to host public music concerts around menswear show

Balmain is adding a musical element to its spring/summer 2020 menswear runway show in Paris, with a series of live concerts that will follow the close of the catwalk.

In the spirit of Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing’s ambition to “democratize and modernize fashion”, the events will also be accessible to the public. A total of 1,500 free tickets will be made available on the Balmain website.

The show’s musical elements tie into the annual Fête De La Musique, a celebration that takes place on the same day, June 21, throughout the French capital.

For the activation, Balmain is set to take over the Jardin des Plantes, erecting a temporary space for its audience. The runway show’s soundtrack will be provided by French DJ Gesaffelstein, whom Balmain dressed for his show at Coachella.

Olivier Rousteing has in the past already championed his ambition to democratize customer’s access to the brand’s universe. In January he launched a dedicated app that allowed fans to see the houses couture live on their phone, as well as play with augmented reality content. In 2015, the French luxury brand also collaborated with fast-fashion retailer H&M on a capsule collection at affordable prices.

This menswear show also encompasses a philanthropic element, supporting the fight against AIDS through the RED organization. All revenue made from food and drink served at the event, alongside merchandise of limited-edition products, will be donated to the fund.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more

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e-commerce Editor's pick Retail technology

Westfield to launch AI-powered pop-up stocking trending items

Westfield London is set to launch a pop-up powered by data based on what is trending online, as determined by an artificial intelligence (AI) system.

Every morning, Westfield staff will stock the brick-and-mortar space with 100 items from throughout the mall – across menswear, womenswear and accessories – that the AI has determined to be most popular online that day.

“We know that the UK is shopping online, but we’re also seeing and hearing from consumers that they crave the human factor that shopping in person provides – the ability to touch, feel, try and seek advice, to ensure the products are right for you,” says Myf Ryan, chief marketing officer for Westfield. “The Trending Store provides the best of both worlds via a unique shopping experience, one that we believe represents the way we will all be shopping in the future.”

The pop-up, dubbed The Trending Store, will open from July 3-7. The AI system, which was developed by NextAtlas, a company focused on using the tech to determine emerging trends, chose merchandise for it by tracking 400,000 of the hottest influencers, which the platform refers to as “trend innovators”. The platform then analyzed what these influencers were wearing, filtering out the 100 items that it deems to be most trending on that given day.

The data gathered by NextAtlas is then communicated to the in-house stylist team at Westfield London. The finished range includes pieces from across the price spectrum, from entry-level to premium.

The pop-up also supports Westfield’s humanitarian mission, helping to raise funds to support its long-established charity partner, Save The Children.

The Trending Store pop-up reflects the need for big retailers to adapt to a changing consumer that shops both online and offline. Activations such as this one are potentially effective ways of attracting customers to the store, as the physical retail channel has suffered from falling footfall in recent years.

British department Harvey Nichols, is another example of this. At the end of 2018, it created an installation that also combined online, offline and philanthropic elements in the spirit of the Christmas season. For the experience, a real-life choir assembled in the store whose looks were available to shop via Instagram, with proceeds supporting the Smart Works charity.

How are you thinking about immersive experiences? Want to learn more about how we worked with Google? The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to hear more.

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Campaigns product Retail technology

Nars launches immersive ‘playground’ pop-up in London

Nars Cosmetic celebrated the 20th birthday of its iconic “orgasm” products with an interactive pop-up experience in London this weekend meant to evoke female pleasure in a fun playground environment.

Dubbed ‘The O by Nars’, the pop-up featured five pink rooms, each of which tapped into a different sense – touch, smell, sound, taste and sight. The result connected to the idea of pleasure in a subtle and somewhat abstract manner.

The Taste Me Room, which contained candy floss and edible bubbles, and the Touch Me Room, which featured 120 latex spheres, were most directly linked to their relative sense, while other rooms were less so. The See Me Room, for instance, featured a merry-go-round, while the Smell Me Room hosted indoor swings and clouds. The Hear Me Room meanwhile contained a content orb.

Nars’ ‘See Me Room’ featured a merry-go round

The cosmetics brand also engaged technology to enable customers to capture and share their experiences via social media. When entering the experience, visitors were given an RFID (radio-frequency identification) key-card, which could be activated by touching a specific area. It then captured images and videos of participants, which were sent via email to users.

This is not the first time Nars has created an immersive pop-up experience. Previously, in September 2018, the make-up brand launched its House of Climax pop-up in New York, which supported the launch of a new mascara.

“We drew from our key learnings and successes surrounding the ‘House of Climax’,” Barbara Calcagni, president of Nars Cosmetics and Shiseido’s Makeup Center of Excellence told Glossy. “Among the most compelling learnings [was that] each guest was spending, on average, nearly 30 minutes within the experience, which was more than we had expected. Knowing our consumers’ appetites, we wanted to further expand and deepen the consumer journey.”

Like its previous pop-up experience, “The O by Nars” pop-up was ticketed, but free of charge. The focus was to immerse customers in the brand’s identity, rather than push product sales. On this occasion, the event also allowed customers to purchase a blush at the end.

How are you thinking about immersive experiences? Want to learn more about how we worked with Google? The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to hear more.

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product sustainability technology

Nike creates circular design guide

Nike has created a circular design guide that aims to give the fashion industry a common language for circularity.

The guide comes with 10 principles of circular design, including topics such as “material choices” and “waste avoidance”.

Nike’s 10 principles of circular design

Each of these are explained in more depth within it, including via case studies of successful design innovation by Nike and other brands.

They include video footage of a Central Saint Martins student and Nike staff talking on the principles, as well as an inspirational quote.

What follows are thought-starters for designers to think about the concept in more depth. Under the “material choices” principle for instance, it asks: “How could your material choice increase the lifecycle or durability of the product?”

A number of case study examples then follow, such as an outline of Nike’s Flyleather material, a sustainable leather alternative made of leftover factory off-cuts. Other case studies come from brands such as Levi’s, Fjallraven, Patagonia, Outerknown and Eileen Fisher.

The last section features inspirational publications, including “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things” by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, which outlines the founding principles of the circular economy, according to the non-profit Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

It is freely accessible to anyone interested in knowing more about circularity. The launch coincides with the annual Copenhagen Fashion Summit, one of the industry’s most important sustainability events of the year.

How are you thinking about your sustainable innovation strategy? Want to learn more about how we worked with Google? The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to hear more.

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product technology

Google brings AR to product search, opening up fashion possibilities

Google is introducing a new augmented reality technology for its mobile search engine that will allow customers to see 3D renderings of a number of visual product results.

Users will also be able to place these into the real world through their phone cameras, using AR.   

According to the tech conglomerate, partners from the world of fashion, tech, automobile and more, will be making their products available for the mobile search enhancements. These include names such as New Balance, Target Corp, Samsung and Volvo.

The new feature was announced at Google’s developer conference on Tuesday alongside a flurry of other developments such as extended privacy, new smart speaker features and more. The new AR technology feature will be released later this month.

It was demonstrated on stage with the example of shopping for a pair of sneakers. A customer searching for a pair of New Balance shoes, for instance, will come across a visual search result that has the option of a “view in 3D” button. When tapped this will transform the image into a three-dimensional rendering that can be moved by swiping on the phone screen.

Another tap on a “view in your space” button pulls up the user’s phone camera and drops the sneaker into their immediate environment using AR technology. The user can then move closer to the sneaker and see it from different angles by walking around it.

“Say…you’re shopping for a new pair of shoes. With New Balance, you can look at shoes up close, from different angles, again, directly from search,” explained Aparna Chennapragada, vice president of Google Lens & AR on stage. “That way, you get a much better sense for things like, what does the grip look like on the sole, or how they match with the rest of your clothes.”

With the new launch, Google makes it easier for retailers to tap into AR technology by offering the service directly through its search engine, with no additional development beyond the 3D rendering needed by the brand itself.

Recent examples of other brands using AR technology include Puma. The brand just launched a sneaker that activated AR content through a dedicated app.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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product technology Uncategorized

Zac Posen 3D-prints celebrity looks at this year’s Met Gala

Zac Posen used 3D printing techniques to create four custom outfits for celebrities attending the annual Met Gala yesterday, including two gowns and two accessory pieces.

Jourdan Dunn and Nina Dobrev wore dresses that were 3D printed using their exact body measurements; Deepika Padukone wore 3D printed embroidery on her design; while Katie Holmes and Julia Garner were outfitted with 3D printed accessories.

Posen collaborated with GE Additive and Protolabs for 12 months to design, engineer and print the concepts respectively, for the Costume Institute’s annual event at New York’s Metropolitan Museum.

“We flew to Pittsburgh to see a printing facility, and learned about plastics and polymers and polyamides and all these different materials,” Posen explained to CNBC. “Then I started to learn with different materials what was possible, what’s not possible. And really the answer is, almost everything is possible.”

The custom dresses took a long time to create especially, he explained, with multiple versions being designed and improved upon over the course of the year. Both gowns were fitted exactly to the wearer’s body, using body scanning technology that took up to an hour of standing still each.

Jourdan Dunn’s rose-petal gown took over 1,100 hours to print and finish. The dress is made up of 21 individual durable plastic petals that are fastened together through a titanium cage. Every batch of three petals took up to five days to print.

For Nina Dobrev’s translucent mini dress, 200 hours were spent on the bustier alone – one of the four pieces that made up the dress. To give the dress a glassy appearance, it was then sanded and sprayed with a clear coat, going through two iterations before it was deemed transparent enough by Posen. The final dress was assembled in New York ahead of the Gala, requiring five people to put the bustier onto Dobrev due to its extremely delicate nature.

Katie Holmes and actress Julia Garner wore 3D printed accessories; a collar and a headpiece, which took 56 and 22 hours to print and finish respectively. Meanwhile, Deepika Padukone’s gown was embellished with 408 printed 3-D embroidery, which took over 160 hours to print and finish.

The designs were inspired by the idea of capturing natural forms in motion, befitting the “camp” theme of this year’s gala and corresponding museum exhibition, which celebrates all things “artifice and exaggeration”, as interpreted by Susan Sontag in her 1964 essay, Notes on camp.

The technology used for the dresses, as well as Katie Holmes’ headpiece and Deepika Padukone embroidery, is called stereolithography (or SLA), which involves layering very thin pieces of liquid plastic (thinner than a piece of hair) on top of each other. These are then shaped by a laser to take incredibly intricate shapes. The gowns and accessories were manufactured in Protolab facilities in Germany as well as North Carolina.

This year is not the first time the designer has put a focus on using technology to bring innovative new design ideas to life for the gala. In 2016, he made headlines for creating a dress for actress Claire Danes, which glowed in the dark.

How are you thinking about product innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. The Current Global is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more