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Blocks film social media

LFW to hit outdoor screens across the UK

issa_SS16

London Fashion Week will be screened on billboards across the UK in collaboration with Ocean Outdoor for the first time this season.

The British Fashion Council will be showing LFW footage to over 35 million people, through 60 screens in Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, and Newcastle as well as around London.

The content will run from February 15-23. In the build-up it will include the spring/summer 2016 shows, before switching to daily round-ups from the new catwalk collections and presentations.

Caroline Rush CBE, CEO of the BFC, said: “Collaborating with Ocean Outdoor means that we are able to bring British talent and London Fashion Week to more people than ever before. At a time when many conversations are taking place around connecting fashion weeks with consumers, this is a perfect opportunity to reach both new and existing fashion fans throughout the UK.”

Ocean has previously worked with both Hunter and Topshop to screen content from LFW on its outdoor network. Hunter broadcast its autumn/winter 2015 collection live, while Topshop teamed up with Twitter for a shoppable billboard initiative.

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Blocks Comment social media

Seven ways big-time bloggers are changing

Chiara Ferragni The Blonde Salad

It goes without saying that the digital landscape and where fashion brands fit into it, is evolving around us. Simultaneously, so are the influencers that are increasingly helping those stories get told and products get seen.

Here are seven predictions from Morgan Kaye, VP of community at Bloglovin’, about what all is happening, and what to expect from some of the biggest names this fashion week season:

Bloggers launching more brands than ever before

As bloggers become even more influential, they evolve as entrepreneurs. Emily Weiss’ GlossierJulie Sarinana’s Sincerely Jules Clothing Line and Michelle Phan’s ipsy are just a few examples of bloggers who have successfully launched their own brand. We’ll likely see more fashion bloggers announce their own brands and lines at shows and events during this year’s fashion week! For more on this trend, check out Bloglovin’s recent post: 8 girl bosses killing it in the fashion industry.

Emily Weiss Glossier

Big-time bloggers shifting their focus

Many of us have watched bloggers go through personal milestones from brand launches and website redesigns, to engagements and babies. With that said, many of our them are also shifting gears and branching out either to new categories and/or focusing their attention on being lifestyle experts. Lindsey Calla and Hannah Bronfman are just two girls leaving their fashion and lifestyle posts behind to rebrand themselves as fitness experts. This fashion week, we’ll see their expertise called on more than ever before as athleisure continues as a key trend.

Real time content and pulling the curtain back

While precisely planned and staged content still holds worth, the move for real-time/behind-the-scenes content is gaining momentum and receives unprecedented engagement. With the rise of Snapchat and Periscope, our favourite bloggers are lifting the hood to allow their audience to see them in real-time and real life. These platforms will be huge during this fashion week season. As we saw Tommy Hilfiger and Vera Wang embrace its use in September, we can only expect more fashion designers and bloggers to hop on the bandwagon. Behind-the-scenes fashion week content, outtakes, and personal experiences are superseding perfectly planned outfit posts.

chriselle_lim_elie_saab_spring_2016-4

Call me an influencer

The debate continues – how do bloggers want to be identified? It seems we have landed on the term “Influencer” for the time being, which is a much broader term than blogger or content creator and that’s why it works. During fashion week season, we’ll see a TON of influencers – such as twins Cailli & Sam Beckerman of Beckerman Blog, Chriselle Lim of The Chriselle Factor and Courtney Trop of Always Judging – in attendance at the hottest shows.  As Influencers grow their businesses and grow their audiences on different platforms, it’s important to associate them with a name that can evolve and expand as quickly as this industry itself.

Mid-form content with embedded media

This fashion week, it’s all about words AND images. Bloggers are gearing back toward mid-form and longer form content – even Twitter is getting on board with additional character counts. The key to making their content super engaging is including embedded media. No fashion week post will be complete without a photo, video or gif.

leandra

Time for an upgrade

Have you noticed everyone’s shiny new websites? Everyone is stepping up their game this year. Blog formats are a thing of the past and new website designs with a magazine feel are taking over – ultimately raising the bar for new and emerging influencers. Specifically, we love what our friends at Man Repeller and MiniMode have done with their sites. These new layouts coincide with the trend for more diverse content and revenue opportunities such as influencer shops popping up.

Audience is everywhere

Now is a perfect time to get discovered. Never before has there been such a well-rounded variety of platforms to discover content and new influencers. Bloglovin’, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Vine and YouTube allow people of all demographics to engage digitally and discover new influencers and inspiration. Influencers now find it easier than ever to gain new audiences. This fashion week, we’ll see influencers engage their audiences via a combination of all these platforms. Although these audiences may be fragmented, the ability to reach engaged consumers online is highly accessible.

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Blocks technology

Smart glasses: Finally ready for take-off?

googleglass

If you thought smart glasses began and ended with Google Glass, you’re mistaken. At least according to the wearable tech analysts at Juniper Research. They’ve launched a new report that says shipments will top 12m by 2020, with a growth spurt coming after 2017.

While admitting that the market has stalled somewhat and is actually 15 months behind previous expectations due to Google pulling (then re-starting) its much-hyped Glass product, Juniper is expecting big things due to some new technology and re-focus in the market.

And the growth it expects will be some feat given that only around 1m products in this category are likely to be shipped this year.

So what’s the tech that’s going to make it happen? Microsoft’s HoloLens. Juniper expects it to kick-start further development and interest in the category.

Announced at the same time as Windows 10, HoloLens will finally start shipping (for developers, not the general public) in Q1 this year. HoloLens is an augmented reality headset that’s basically a cordless Windows 10 computer. We’re not exactly talking about a fashion accessory here. But it’s interesting nonetheless. Check out this video to see what it can do:

So is there any other development happening in smart glasses? Of course there is. ODG (with its R7 product based on an Android operating system), Sony, Meta and potentially Magic Leap, also have products set to move beyond developer-only devices and into more general availability.

And then there’s Google Glass 2, which is meant to launch this year, this time targeted at business rather than leisure users.

But will they have much more success than Google Glass 1 did? I actually tried out a pair of Googles Glasses back in mid-2014 and really wanted to like them. But while the Google rep said they’d liberate me from staring at my smartphone all day, having to tilt my head up and down to scroll through web pages didn’t feel very liberating! Nor did having everyone stare at me because of the strange glasses I was wearing.

In fact, it felt like this was yet another tech product (just like the smartwatch) where the tech guys didn’t so much meet a consumer demand, as developed the tech and hoped it would be appealing enough to create the demand later.

sony

But tech firms have learnt their lessons, it seems. What’s different about the newer breed of smart eyewear is that they’ve realised trying to integrate them seamlessly into our everyday lives isn’t really on. They’re not fashion items with added functionality, and they’re not mini computers that can be made to look fashionable and feel like ordinary glasses.

This time round, their makers are targeting the business market and the augmented reality users, which means the products will be used in very specific scenarios, not to look generally cool while also giving you directions to the nearest bus stop.

Maybe one day we really will see smart glasses like those Geordi LaForge wore in Star Trek Next Generation. Now that would be smart…

star-trend-geordi-laforge

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

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Blocks social media

Couture’s best social media moments

chanel_insta

Fashion can seem to be a strange world when you’re not at its heart. It’s impractical, obsessed with things that the rest of the world thinks trivial, it’s frequently silly, and sometimes seems designed to make us all feel totally inadequate. But it’s also one of the world’s biggest employers and in so many ways it defines us – think of any era from the past and you’re most likely to think about it in terms of what people wore, whether it’s the 1960s, the 19th century or the Roman Empire.

Haute couture is about as impractical as fashion can possibly get and its chances of survival seem to ebb and flow. It’s not what it was, obviously, with fewer fashion houses, and prices that are stratospheric so that only the mega-rich (not simply the rich) can afford it. But big name fashion labels don’t want to give it up. Plenty of RTW labels also have a custom arm (Gucci, Saint Laurent, for instance) while some designers have given up RTW altogether to focus on couture (Gaultier, Giles).

Out of step with the world most of us live in it may be. But there’s one area in which couture is keeping up with the fashion pack and that’s social media. Whether it’s tweeting about who’s worn which dress on the red carpet or pulling back the curtain to give us a glimpse into the rarefied world of Paris during Couture Week, fashion houses are now very social media-focused.

So, here’s a pick of some of the best Instagram posts from the latest round of couture shows:

#ChanelHauteCouture #ChanelHC16

A photo posted by CHANEL (@chanelofficial) on

What better way to pass the time when trapped in hair and makeup #Backstage ?

A photo posted by Zuhair Murad Official (@zuhairmuradofficial) on

Haute Couture 10. Regram @voguerunway Ph. @kevintachman

A photo posted by Giambattista Valli Official (@giambattistapr) on

#Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2016 collection #backstage #live #pfw #HauteCouture #Paris

A photo posted by Schiaparelli official (@elsaschiaparelli) on

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

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Blocks business e-commerce mobile technology

Mobile wallets: Really ready for take-off?

birds-taking-off

2015 was the year of the mobile wallet. But despite the fast take-up, the payment method didn’t quite take off. However, the conditions are right for mobile wallets to really take flight this year.

Mobile payments are set to expand fast over the next 12 months with Samsung in the vanguard, especially in the US where it’s market leader, and in China where it will debut next year.

Now I know a lot of people think “Apple” when you talk about mobile payments. That’s just one consequence of Apple’s image as an innovator and it has meant Apple Pay’s rollout in 2015 got A LOT of attention.

But it would be wrong to ignore other players because, a bit like the rise of Android phones compared to the iPhone, they’re often the ones making the tech truly universal rather than just cool.

So, back with Samsung. The Korean tech giant is going to expand its Samsung Pay ‘mobile wallet’ to its lower-priced phones within the next year, according to a Reuters interview with Thomas Ko, global co-general manager of Samsung Pay.

samsung-pay-3

The service debuted in 2015 in South Korea and the US via the company’s newer high-end phones only. But with Samsung offering a huge number of phones across the price range and it being the global smartphone leader, Samsung Pay’s extension to more (and more affordable) phone models will be key in helping to democratise mobile payments.

Samsung will also be helped by the fact that it uses technology already widely used by stores, rather than requiring special equipment like Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Will the expansion mean the US becomes more mobile wallet-friendly? That’s hard to call. So far, it’s one country that has been relatively slow to adopt new payment technology. Not only that, it’s not as if swiping a smartphone to pay is really any easier than swiping a credit/debit card.

But… the situation is changing. And with Samsung already the mobile wallet market leader in the US and planning to add an online payments service (thus competing with current king PayPal), it’s determined to make America sit up and take notice.

The US may not be anywhere near the stage of Sweden, where consumers are increasingly walking around with no cash at all because digital payments are so easy. But, it’s on its way and this new development is one more blow against cash.

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

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Blocks business Comment e-commerce Editor's pick social media

Digital has irrevocably transformed fashion weeks, is it finally time to change the model?

givenchy_ss16

Over the past few weeks and months, fashion brands Matthew Williamson, Hunter, Rebecca Minkoff and Thakoon (to name a few) have made strategic decisions that will not only redefine their business models, but impact the fashion industry as a whole.

Each of them has opted to either withdraw from participating in fashion week, or make their fashion week endeavour a more consumer-facing experience.

At the heart of such plans lies the challenge that social media has presented. As Linda Fargo, senior vice president of fashion and store presentation director at Bergdorf Goodman, told WWD: “We give [the customer] shearling coats in June when she’s just starting to think about shorts. We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to create excitement and buzz for beautiful products and brand image with runway shows, allowing fast retail to copy it within weeks, while it takes us five months to get deliveries to her. By then, she’s tired of it because it’s been seen in too many posts and images. If you described the fashion cycle from a marketing, seasonality, desire/fulfillment perspective to anyone with any common sense, they would look at you like you were crazy.”

Needless to say, the industry is slowly but surely feeling the need to do something about it. Read the full in-depth story via Forbes, where experts weigh in on whether shifting to a direct-to-consumer model is something that makes sense across the board, or a fit for more contemporary, commercial brands compared to their heritage, Paris-based counterparts. One thing’s for sure, it’s a debate that will take some time to resolve.

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Blocks technology

Guess which brand is top in wearable tech

fitbit

What’s the top wearable technology brand? No, it’s not one named after a fruit. It’s the (relatively) humble Fitbit (as pictured), which managed to keep its lead in the global wearables sector in Q3, despite both Apple and Xiaomi giving it a run for its money in second and third places.

The latest sector report from research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), said Fitbit’s total shipment volume was 21 million units, with a massive rise of nearly 200% year-on-year.

Apple’s presence on the list is no surprise given that it finally released its much-hyped Apple Watch this year. And Xiaomi is unsurprising too as China is the fastest-growing wearables market globally and that’s where most of its sales are made.

So what devices were the stars of the sector? Fitbit’s Charge and Surge models proved to be topsellers, as did Xiaomi’s ultra-affordable Mi band. And of course, THAT watch.

Interestingly, despite all the hype around the high-end version of the Apple Watch and Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendt’s work to make the company’s stores a more luxury experience, the device that sold best was the entry-level Sport line. Anyone who bought a more expensive one might be a little miffed at the moment, given that Best Buy has dropped Apple Watch prices by around $100 as part of a Holiday season promotion and rumours are flying that Apple will announce an improved, next generation watch in March 2016.

Whether Apple Watch 2 offers anything truly new we won’t know for a few months. But for now it seems that between the Apple Watch Sport, the Mi band, the Fitbit Charge and Surge, and fourth-placed Garmin’s wide range of fitness devices, wearable technology still hasn’t made a big-league leap out of the fitness sector… yet.

But in order to meet the ambitious growth that’s expected for it, wearable tech will have to fit more into our everyday non-fitness-focused lives too. IDC forecasts that 72.1 million wearable devices will have been shipped by the end of this year, compared with only 26.4 million last year.

But in the next five years, there should be annual volume sales of 150 million devices. Whether those 150 million items a year will be more than just new types of fitness tracker, we’ll have to wait and see.

IDC_table

IDC_wearables

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

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Blocks e-commerce

Alibaba’s Taobao gets serious about luxury

taobao1

Alibaba’s getting serious about the quality of the goods on its platforms and wants to attract more high-end brands. How’s it going to do it? The poacher is turning gamekeeper. The e-commerce giant frequently criticised for allowing counterfeit or low quality goods onto its sites is teaming up with four third-party inspection agencies to boost the quality of products sold on its C2C Taobao site.

The company has already boosted the high-end credentials of its B2C platform Tmall and last year Burberry became the first luxury brand to open a virtual shopfront there (as pictured below).

Now it’s Taobao’s turn. The aim is to help Taobao satisfy consumer demand for better quality and also help local manufacturers improve their offer. In the process Taobao could shift slightly from its original C2C marketplace concept. As more reputable manufacturers see it as a channel through which they can sell their products (without being tainted by an image of poor quality and rampant counterfeiting) change is inevitable.

Anyway, the four agencies Taobao is linking with all have heavyweight credentials and include Swiss inspection & certification agency SGS, Germany’s TUV, French agency Bureau Veritas, and the China Certification and Inspection Group.

burberry-tmall

The company is spending billions in order to attract over 10,000 higher quality manufacturers to set up shop on Taobao and it has a target of CNY100bn (that’s nearly $16bn) for such goods.

Earlier this year Taobao set up a vertical channel for high-end Chinese manufacturers and more than 4,500 of them have set up stores already, with sales of over CNY15bn expected by year-end.

The move makes good business sense. Taobao itself has said its growth has been slowing down as it’s struggled to remove low quality goods and counterfeits from the site. It should also reduce the chances of it being sued as it has been in the past. Only this year Gucci owner Kering sued Alibaba, claiming over 2,700 different Taobao sellers were offering 37,000 counterfeit Gucci bags in one month alone.

The challenge ahead for Taobao is huge. Will luxury labels think it’s doing enough? We’ll have to wait and see.

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

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Blocks business e-commerce Editor's pick Startups technology

From land robotics to drones – the future businesses set to impact retail deliveries

delivery

The last mile is often the most inefficient and costly part of getting online purchases into the hands of the consumers who ordered them. Once packages are off the plane, boat, train or truck, how do they get to the shopper’s home in the quickest and most effective way possible, especially at this holiday time of year? With e-commerce on the rise and expectations around such deliveries only increasing – from days, to hours, to minutes – retailers are exploring all sorts of new opportunities to ensure more seamless processes.

At the Wired Retail conference in London this week, three businesses outlined ways they’re disrupting what we traditionally expect retail delivery to look like. Head over to Forbes to read the full story about Uber’s new on-demand courier service, Starship Technologies’ land-based autonomous robots, and Flytrex’s thoughts on the future of drones.

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Blocks data e-commerce Editor's pick Startups

Data anchors Lyst’s tongue-in-cheek debut campaign

Lyst Ad- Pointless

Fashion e-commerce platform Lyst has launched its first-ever ad campaign, cleverly tying data insights into a provocative series of images.

An irreverent take on traditional fashion advertising, it sees glossy high-production model shots teamed with overlaid phrases pulled from intelligence in the site’s search terms.

“Pointless” and “Rip Off” are just some of the unexpected headlines. They in turn refer to ideas like the six-fold increase of shoppers searching Lyst for Velcro shoes, or the growth in square and round-toe shoe sales.

campaign_lyst

There are 10 images in total, each of them shot by British fashion photographer Charlotte Wales. Other tongue-in-cheek taglines include “Bell End”, “Get High” and “On Your Knees New York”, relating to kick-flare trousers, high-waisted skirts and over-the-knee boots.

Chris Morton, CEO and co-founder of Lyst, said: “Our success to date has been driven by marrying insights from data science with the emotional nature of fashion. The campaign is a manifestation of this; in it these two worlds are combined in a seemingly dissonant form, celebrating the power of beautiful fashion imagery and the intelligent insights into the fashion consumer’s behavior. As a challenger brand we wanted to ensure our marketing was as disruptive as our product.”

Though an online-only brand, the campaign, which was executed with creative agency Anomaly, will appear in “real life” on billboards and wild postering in both New York and London over the next month, as well as in print, on taxi wraps and through some experiential street marketing.

Lyst Ad- On Your Knees

Lyst Ad- Wrong

Lyst Ad- Get A Wax

Lyst Ad- Rubber Up

Lyst Ad- Drop More Acid