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ICYMI: Starbucks’ blockchain rewards scheme, luxury in the age of digital Darwinism

Starbucks’ Rewards scheme
Starbucks’ Rewards scheme

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

  • Starbucks’ Rewards scheme is part of its much bigger vision for a blockchain-backed digital currency [TheDrum]
  • Luxury in the age of digital Darwinism [McKinsey]
  • Meet fashion’s first computer-generated influencer [BoF]
  • Instagram appeal: How social media is changing product development in beauty [Digiday]
  • Retail spending on AI to reach $7.3B by 2022 [Retail Dive]
  • MIT scientists created accessories that change color to match your outfit [QZ]
  • The Grammys brought IBM Watson’s artificial intelligence to the red carpet [AdWeek]
  • Walmart’s new robots are loved by staff—and ignored by customers [TechnologyReview]
  • Bonobos CEO Andy Dunn explains the Walmart acquisition: ‘We have a safe and permanent home’ [Glossy]
  • Personalization is a priority for retailers, but can online vendors deliver? [AdWeek]
  • H&M moves into the off-price marketplace with Afound [FashionUnited]
  • Selfridges launches world’s first in-store boxing gym [FashionNetwork]
  • Mashable and eBay team up for launch of shoppable images pilot [TheDrum]
  • Adidas Boost: the sneaker technology that changed a company’s fortunes [GQ]
  • to launch 3D printable glasses [FashionUnited]
  • Amazon just patented some creepy “Black Mirror”-esque tracking wristbands [FastCompany]
  • After 15 years, eBay plans to cut off PayPal as its main payments processor [Recode]
  • Ralph Lauren is discovering how hard it is to fix a brand [Fortune]
  • H&M admits ‘mistakes’ in handling shift to online shopping [FT]
  • puts France at the heart of its internationalization strategy [FashionNetwork]
Editor's pick sustainability technology

London store upcycles 60,000 plastic bottles into 3D-printed interior

Bottletop's 3D-printed flagship store in London
Bottletop’s 3D-printed flagship store in London

If you’re battling through the crowds on Regent Street in London, desperately seeking some inspiration this holiday season, you might want to stop and take a look at a very small, but very interesting new store opening called Bottletop.

Located at the southern end of the busy road – nearest to Piccadilly Circus – it stands out first and foremost for the Kuka robot in its store window; a 3D-printing mechanical arm that is live-producing all manner of bag charms and keyrings for shoppers stopping in.

Inside, however, things only get more fascinating. In partnership with AI-Build, and using the more industrial-sized Kuka robots, the team has also begun to 3D print the interior design itself. Using Reflow filament, which is made entirely from plastic waste, the result is a repetitive three-dimensional pattern across the ceiling and down each of the walls.

As you read this, different segments are still being produced. When I was there last week, the design was only partly underway (the render above shows it in its full form). The conclusion will incorporate 60,000 upcycled plastic bottles. Head over to Forbes to read the rest of the story, including insight from the Bottletop founders on their aims with the store.

product technology

Project Runway designer launches 3D printed shoe collection

Seth Aaron's 3D printed footwear line with Feetz on show at FashioNXT
Seth Aaron’s 3D printed footwear line with Feetz on show at FashioNXT

Seth Aaron, two-time winner of Lifetime’s Emmy award-winning TV show, Project Runway, has introduced a line of 3D printed designer shoes.

Teaming up with 3D printing footwear company, Feetz, the collection launched at fashion and technology event, FashioNXT, in Portland on Friday, October 13.

The concept is all about enabling custom-fit designs for consumers. As Feetz founder and CEO, Lucy Beard, said: “Seth Aaron’s creative design vision will explore the reach of 3D printing in fashion, enabling him to produce what only could have been imagined. That vision will be translated into ready-to-wear, customised for each customer’s unique needs.”

In the past, much of the experimentation with 3D printed footwear remained as concept pieces – rigid resin designs that were impossible to wear for their lack of flexibility. As the technology and materials have improved, that’s begun to shift quite rapidly forward. Adidas for instance, has started to 3D print the soles of a sneaker called the Futurecraft at scale; the first in the sportswear industry to do so beyond prototype or bespoke stage. It aims to produce 100,000 of them by the end of 2018.

Feetz meanwhile, uses proprietary polymers to 3D print the entire shoe; uppers and tread. Head over to Forbes to hear more about how Feetz produces its shoes, the details of the Seth Aaron collection and the sustainability focus that such footwear also provides.

Editor's pick product technology

Loewe unveils 3D printed bracelet in new menswear campaign

Loewe's autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign featuring the 3D printed bracelet by VOJD Studios
Loewe’s autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign featuring the 3D printed bracelet by VOJD Studios

Loewe has teamed up with Berlin-based VOJD Studios, which specialises in 3D printed luxury goods, to produce a bracelet made from a newly developed ceramics material. The design was unveiled as part of the Spanish brand’s autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign shot by Steven Meisel.

Made from VOJD’s ceramics compound, a durable and flexible powder-based material processed via selective laser sintering, it is printed in one piece as an oversized interlocking chain, which then requires no assembly.

“Loewe approached us with the idea of a bracelet they really wanted to work on but couldn’t realise with other technologies because it would have been too heavy if made of metal. We managed to realise it through 3D printing in our ceramics compound – once metalised the final piece looks like metal,” VOJD Studio explains.

Loewe's autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign featuring the 3D printed bracelet by VOJD Studios
Loewe’s autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign featuring the 3D printed bracelet by VOJD Studios

The company offers consulting on material, finishing and technology suitability, as well as design, development, prototyping, manufacturing and finishing. It has already worked with other fashion houses including Alexander McQueen, Carolina Herrera and Akris on integrating 3D printing into their collections. A big long-term focus centres around personalisation.

“3D printing is already starting to re-shape several industries, including fashion, by introducing new possibilities and concepts. Probably one of the most talked-about features of the technology is its ability to build customised and personalised pieces, since each one is printed separately and there is no mold requiring the manufacturing of a large number of identical products. In the near future, this can lead to an increased role of the consumer in the ideation and creation of the final product they desire,” the team adds.

“Besides that, 3D printing enables design solutions and complexities impossible for other technologies. This, combined with the introduction of new materials and material properties over the next years, can direct the aesthetics of the future and transform most creative industries.”

Loewe's autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign featuring the 3D printed bracelet by VOJD Studios
Loewe’s autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign featuring the 3D printed bracelet by VOJD Studios
Loewe's autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign featuring the 3D printed bracelet by VOJD Studios
Loewe’s autumn/winter 2017/18 menswear campaign featuring the 3D printed bracelet by VOJD Studios
product technology

This collection is based on 3D-printed textiles resembling traditional fabrics


While 3D printing isn’t a complete stranger to the fashion week catwalk, it’s usually in a conceptual, sculptural form, rather than anything we’d yet consider too wearable. Increasingly however, that technology is getting more sophisticated, and as it does, items more suited to everyday wardrobes are slowly beginning to emerge.

Step aside Iris van Herpen then, and enter The University of Hertfordshire in the UK, which has announced a collection of 3D-printed garments that it says are both wearable and highly customisable.

Modeclix as the line is called, is made from “printed” textiles that are flexible enough they resemble traditional fabrics, and indeed are then assembled in traditional ways – dyed, weaved, stitched and knitted.

The concept collection features eight dresses and two headpieces, and was created by Dr Shaun Borstrock, associate dean and head of the Digital Hack Lab at the university, in collaboration with renowned 3D specialist and designer Mark Bloomfield of Electrobloom.

“We have strived to create stylish 3D printed garments that have sufficient movement to ensure they are fluid, eye-catching and comfortable to wear. These prototypes are made, dyed and finished by hand and our aim now is to produce them for a wider market,” says Borstrock. “It will only be a matter of time before we see 3D collections on the high street and 3D printing technology in stores as part of everyday life. We’re pleased to be part of the movement that is exploring how this might become a reality.”

Bloomfield added: “I’ve spent the last 25 years exploring how technology and 3D printing can enhance production techniques for jewellery and accessories, and this has been a fantastic opportunity to take this research even further. There is a huge amount of potential to develop complex construction techniques that defy traditional pattern cutting and create garments that are multi-functional, customisable and wearable.”

The collection will premier on April 21, 2016 at the Mercedes-Benz Bokeh South Africa International Fashion Film Festival. It will then be available to view online from May 1 on the Modeclix website. It will also be available to view in store from May 23 at Electrobloom in London.

Check out the making-of video below: