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Brexit is here, Vogue.com’s return to e-commerce, fashion copes with Coronavirus

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

Top Stories
  • Brexit is here. What’s next for fashion? (Vogue Business)
  • Vogue.com to launch new shopping vertical (WWD)
  • How the fashion industry is coping with the Coronavirus crisis (Jing Daily)
Technology
  • AI-powered robot warehouse pickers are now ready to to work (MIT)
  • H&M and Magic Leap redefine the customer experience (Magic Leap)
  • Fashionphile is turning luxury authentication into a science (Fashionista)
  • ‘We can’t scale humans’: Why startups are raising millions to build AI avatars (Fast Company)
  • Smart tags seen as next marketing tools (WWD)
  • The Future of Fintech: AI & Blockchain (Business Insider)
  • Walgreens is expanding its digital cooler doors ad network (Digiday)
  • Birmingham’s Thomas Crown gallery to be city’s focal point for AR & street art (VR Focus)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • BRC announces new voluntary vegan guidelines for fashion (Drapers)
  • Guardian bans ads from fossil fuel companies (Campaign)
  • Copenhagen Fashion Week unveils ‘radical’ sustainability plan (Fashion United)
  • Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield achieves top score for climate action (Retail Gazette)
  • Pandora commits to carbon neutrality by 2025 (Fashion United)
  • The drive toward sustainability in packaging – beyond the quick wins (McKinsey&Company)
  • Adidas debuts sustainable football field made out of ocean waste (Highsnobiety)
  • H&M Conscious becomes first retail collection to feature Circulose® (The Industry)
  • Worn Again technologies opens R&D plant in England (WWD)
Retail & Commerce
  • Estee Lauder, Sephora unveil shoppable AR makeup try-ons on Pinterest (Mobile Marketer)
  • H&M’S new boss says its 500+ ‘stores will change’ as it focuses on digitalization (Charged Retail)
  • Allbirds set to open its second UK store (The Industry)
  • E-commerce deliveries will overrun cities in 1 to 3 years (Retail Dive)
  • UK retail space could shrink by 20% (Retail Gazette)
Marketing & Social Media
  • How fashion brands like Off-White and Balenciaga are getting in on Super Bowl 2020 (WWD)
  • 42% of people believe ads can change the world, despite trust crisis (The Drum)
  • Danish fashion is withstanding Instagram’s test of time (Vogue Business)
  • As TikTok looms, Youtube plans to remain the ‘clear founding ground’ of British talent (The Drum)
  • Sephora and Chipotle want to go viral on TikTok. Their employees already are (Vox)
Product
  • Nike sells out of Kobe Bryant products (Hypebeast)
  • Nordstrom launches secondhand clothing sales (BoF)
  • This makeup primer is Revlon’s first clean-certified beauty product (Fast Company)
  • Will we buy mostly vintage clothes in the future? (WSJ)
  • Atolla receives patent for adjustable skin analysis system (WWD)
Business
  • LVMH revenues rise 15% in 2019 but uncertainty in Asia looms (Vogue Business)
  • J.C Penney gets NYSE warning on possible de-listing (WWD)
  • LVMH, Kering, Anta and Alibaba pledge donations to battle Coronavirus (WWD)
  • How fashion can navigate 2020’s political minefield (BoF)
  • New CEO and chairman for H&M Group (Drapers)
  • Levi Strauss boosts digital credentials with new board member appointment (Fashion United)
  • A new model for crowdsourcing innovation (HBR)
  • L’Oreal launches Employee Human Rights policy (WWD)
Culture
  • ‘Angels’ in hell: The culture of misogyny inside Victoria’s Secret (NYT)
  • Disney partners Secret Cinema to create global immersive experiences (Campaign)
  • Camille Walala decorates “kid’s dream house” with more than two million Lego pieces (Dezeen)
  • Atari is opening eight video game hotels across the US (Input)
  • Is the gaming world become more trans-inclusive? (i-D)

How are you thinking about innovation? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more.

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business data e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

2019 highlights: The year in innovation news

2019 was a big year for innovation and the Current Daily has been tracking it all throughout – from the rise of 5G-enabled experiences to the continued push towards a circular economy. 

Here, we highlight some of the most interesting stories from the year, outlining why they are an important indication of where the industry is moving in 2020 and beyond.

5G will drive 100m people to shop in AR

Augmented reality took center stage this year as its user-friendly features meant a growing number of brands – and social media platforms like Instagram – started adopting it as a core engagement strategy.

In April, a Gartner report highlighted that 100 million people will shop in AR once high-speed 5G mobile services roll out more extensively. This means the experience is going to be more seamless than ever, giving it better real-time rendering, shorter download times and reduced latency. Retailers seem to be on board, as 46% of them plan to deploy either AR or VR. Check out our piece exploring what other benefits 5G will bring retail.

Fashion brands have only met 21% of their circularity targets for 2020

If there’s one thing to be sure, there’s no escaping the growing momentum around shifting to more sustainable practices as an industry. But is there really progress being made? In July, the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) launched its second yearly assessment of fashion brands and retailers to find that only reached 45 (21%) of the 213 targets the industry has set for 2020 will be met. 

This means the 90 signatories of the GFA’s 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment, which includes fashion companies like adidas, PVH Group and Inditex, will have to hurry if they want to achieve more in the next year. We talked a lot about the need for action in this space when a further collaborative group was announced: the G7 Fashion Pact. If you ask us, it’s time to say enough to the pledges, rather give us some tangible outputs.

H&M to trial clothing rental for the first time

Talking of sustainability, one are where we have seen a lot of action and experimentation this year is in new business models. Rental is making serious strides at all ends of the market, but perhaps most interestingly within fast fashion just recently as the H&M Group announced it will trial clothing rental at one of its H&M Stockholm stores. Members of its customer loyalty program can now rent selected party dresses and skirts from its 2012-2019 Conscious Exclusive collections.

Recently, its brand COS also launched a pilot where it is renting out clothes through Chinese subscription rental platform YCloset, which customers can access through a monthly flat rate. We also published a deep-dive into the different opportunities we see for the industry in rental, here.

Allbirds CEO calls out Amazon product copying

In November, Allbirds’ co-founder and CEO, Joey Zwilinger, wrote an open letter to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos after discovering the e-commerce platform was producing its own wool sneakers similar to the brand’s most popular style.

Instead of going the usual lawsuit route, the founder took this as an opportunity to highlight his brand’s sustainability mission. In the letter, Zwilinger highlights that Allbirds’ sustainable philosophy is open source, and it has thus far helped over 100 brands who were interested in implementing its renewable materials into their products, suggesting Amazon might like to do the same. It was a bold move but one that sparked a conversation around the role of collaboration once more, and its critical place in true innovation.

Gen Z loves TikTok. Can fashion brands learn to love it too?

Gen Z quickly adopted Chinese social media platform TikTok as their app du jour this year for its bite-sized video content. Currently, 66% of the platform’s 500 million global users are under 30, according to data analytics firm, Business of Apps.

Brands have started to follow suit, tapping the app to drive engagement and ultimately sales. Content varies from crowdsourced, as in a recent Burberry campaign that saw users challenged to create the brand’s logo with their fingers, through to more refined, such as in a snippet of an interview with singer Shawn Mendes for Calvin Klein. We explored various other brands setting TikTok precedent, here.

Lush abandons social media

While TikTok has been taking off, elsewhere social media is slowing for some. Vegan cosmetics brand, Lush, for instance decided to shut down all of its activity in the UK as it became “tired of fighting with algorithms” or paying to appear on news feeds. Instead, it suggested a hashtag where fans would still be able to speak to the brand.

Lush’s bold move speaks to fight playing out for anything still resembling organic reach. As consumers become jaded over being ‘sold to’, brands are having to find novel ways to reach them, beyond the influencer route. One other area we’re tracking here is those owning their own conversation channels, as with both Glossier and H&M of late.

Coty acquires majority stake in Kylie Jenner’s beauty business

2019 was the year of major acquisitions in both beauty and fashion. While LVMH recently announced it was snapping up Tiffany & Co for $16bn, other names included Farfetch buying New Guards Group, which operates streetwear favorite Off White for $675m; Shiseido acquiring cult skincare brand Drunk Elephant for $845m; and more recently, Coty acquiring a majority stake in Kylie Jenner’s beauty business, Kylie Cosmetics, for $600m. 

The latter served as particular confirmation of how brands build and grow in this day and age. Jenner, who was 18 when she started a single ‘lip kit’ line, used Instagram to form a direct conversation with her audience. In 2019, this seems like an obvious strategy, but the reality star’s foresight to do so in 2015 has undoubtedly been her recipe for success.

How luxury fashion learned to love the blockchain

Amid growing concerns over the proliferation of counterfeit goods, luxury brands also began to embrace blockchain as an important authentication tool this year. 

Earlier this year, we heard about how LVMH launched its own platform, Aura, which is currently being piloted with some of the brands in its portfolio and will further expand in the future. Kering and Richemont meanwhile are said to be exploring this too, while De Beers is using it to trace its diamonds. Once matured, the technology will undoubtedly make its way into the hands of the consumer, who will be able to better understand where their possessions are coming from. We also tracked some of the other innovations in the transparency space; an area that continues to heat up.

Automation in retail: an executive overview for getting ready

Automation was another big tech focus this year, particularly for its potential impact on retail, from supply chain management to last mile delivery. This shift is putting pressure on retailers to rethink their operating models, distribution centres and headquarters, with McKinsey warning that brands that fail to implement it into their strategy risk falling behind. 

Automation is something we’ve long been talking about for the sake of efficiency, but there also comes a significant ethics conversation to be had here, which the industry is exploring. We agree, now is the time.

What Fortnite could mean for fashion

The global gaming market is expected to reach $180bn by 2021, and fashion brands are realizing the valuable potential in this. Free-to-play video game Fortnite has grown into a multi-million dollar business by selling clothing to image-conscious gamers, for instance. This monetization of player aesthetics, more commonly known as ‘skins’, has opened the door for retailers to cash in on the virtual world. 

Going forward, we expect more brands to invest in digital garments or utilize gaming to drive product discovery. We accordingly explored how gamification is being used in the shopping journey by brands like Kenzo and Nike to both increase engagement and build brand loyalty.

How are you thinking about innovation? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more.

Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

Is footwear fueling the Amazon fires, NYFW’s evolution, Zalando trials robots

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

TOP STORIES
  • Is footwear funding the burning of the Amazon? (Vogue Business)
  • Under Tom Ford, New York Fashion Week undergoes an evolution (Vogue Business)
  • Zalando trials robots to pick shoe orders (Charged Retail)
  • Glitz, glamour & garbage: Why fashion week needs to clean up its act (BoF)
TECHNOLOGY
  • Sizing tech takes on fashion’s expensive returns problem (Vogue Business)
  • IBM serves up an ace with AI at the US Open (AdWeek)
  • Nike just created a high-tech shoe that you can control with Siri (Fast Company)
  • Amazon apparently wants to turn your hand into an ID store purchase (The Next Web)
  • ‘Deepfake’ app causes fraud and privacy fears in China (BBC)
  • Alibaba storms NYFW with data driven design (Nikkei)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Climate activists ask Jess Bezos to buy the Amazon rainforest (Ad Week)
  • Primark to train 160,000 cotton farmers in latest sustainability move (Retail Gazette)
  • H&M’s COS launched Restored Collection, ‘saves damaged garments’ (Fashion Network)
  • The Amazon fires stops Vans & Timberland buying Brazilian leather (Quartz)
  • H&M boycotts Brazilian leather following Amazon fires (Fashion United)
  • Why Levi’s new water strategy represents an ‘evolution in thinking’ (Sourcing Journal)
  • Gap sets new sustainability design focus with atelier & repairs capsule (WWD)
  • ‘Misleading’ Peta ad claiming ‘wool is just as cruel as fur’ banned by ASA (The Drum)
  • Timberland is planting 50 million trees (Fast Company)
  • How IoT and AI can enable environmental sustainability (Forbes)
  • Allbirds & Just Water’s new capsule collection supports Amazon firefighting efforts (Sourcing Journal)
  • John Lewis looks for water source (Drapers)
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Zalando launches resale pop-up store in Berlin (Fashion Network)
  • First look: Puma’s New York flagship (Drapers)
  • Burberry delves into chat-based commerce (WWD)
  • American Eagle takes on Sephora in an effort to be a one-stop shop for teens (Fast Company)
  • Amazon pushes fast shipping but avoids responsibility for the human cost (NY Times)
BUSINESS
  • Tapestry CEO ousted for poor performance, per internal email (Vogue Business)
  • Fake Allbirds & Glossier dupes: DTC brands are battling counterfeits and knockoffs (BoF)
  • Le Tote online retailers buys venerable Lord & Taylor for £100m (SF Chronicle)
  • Zara distances itself from Hong Kong protest controversy (The Industry)
  • M&S to be kicked out of FTSE 100 for first time (Fashion Network)
  • Walmart to stop some ammunition sales in response to shootings (Retail Dive)
  • Moda Operandi gets a makeover- by data and design (Vogue Business)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Is TikTok a time bomb? (Fast Company)
  • Ralph Lauren moves onto TikTok platform with US Open campaign (WWD)
  • Reebok drops Cardi B sneakers on Alexa, Google Assistant (Mobile Marketer)
  • Fortnite star Ninja signs multi-year apparel deal with Adidas (The Verge)
  • Molton Brown unveils perfume range via scent experience (Campaign Live)
  • Why Estee Lauder are spending 75% of their marketing spend on influencer marketing (The Drum)
PRODUCT
  • Google’s Project Jacquard returns on an YSL backpack strap, for $880 (The Verge)
  • How Fenty beauty is selling cruelty-free products to China (BoF)
CULTURE
  • Dior pulls ‘Sauvage’ campaign after facing appropriation backlash (BoF)
  • Walmart comes under fire for ‘segregating’ products (Fashion Law)
  • Has inclusivity skipped fashion’s front row? (Vogue Business)
  • The future of the cannabis industry (Quartz)
  • How Tommy Hilfiger thrived on hip hop (without being accused of cultural appropriation) (BoF)

How are you thinking about innovation? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. 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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digital snippets Events sustainability technology

ICYMI: Met Gala, sustainability progress has slowed, fashion’s love affair with podcasts

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

TOP STORIES
  • Capitalising on the Met Gala moment is harder than it looks [BoF]
  • Progress in sustainable fashion has slowed by a third in the past year [Forbes]
  • What’s driving fashion’s love affair with podcasts [Vogue Business]
  • Fashion’s diversity problem has real costs [Vogue Business]
TECHNOLOGY
  • How augmented reality put five Madonnas on stage at once [Engadget]
  • Professor: Total surveillance is the only way to save humanity [Futurism]
  • Delivery robots will soon be allowed on Washington sidewalks [Engadget]
  • Your phone isn’t really spying on your conversations—the truth might be even creepier [Quartz]
  • Forget about artificial intelligence, extended intelligence is the future [Wired]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • After weeks of protests, UK becomes first country to declare ‘climate emergency’ [ABC]
  • It’s time we ended the ridiculous millennial trend of constantly buying new clothes [Independent]
  • ‘The consumer is pushing them’: How fast-fashion brands are responding to sustainability [Glossy]
  • Indonesia could be the first country to move its capital because of climate change [Global Citizen]
  • Why fashion doesn’t pay fair [BoF]
  • A.P.C. now allows you to exchange old A.P.C. pieces for credit [Highsnobiety]
  • Shunning bad luck, Hong Kong buys into ‘pre-loved’ fashion [Reuters]
  • Forever 21 ‘steals’ anti-fast-fashion art [BBC]
  • H&M stops the presses, shreds its print catalog after 39 years [Sourcing Journal]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Alibaba gets creative with three new Tmall genie speakers [Alizila.com]
  • Why the expansion of Nordstrom Local is important [Forbes]
  • Macys.com tops list of most trafficked retail apparel sites [WWD]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Instagram will now let creators and influencers sell items directly [TechCrunch]
  • How fashion brands are tapping into the exclusive Reddit community [Glossy]
  • Will the future of shopping be livestreamed? [Mobile Marketer]
  • How Instagram transformed the fashion industry [i-D Vice]
  • ‘This is for Men’ – L’Oreal Paris unveils clever ads calling for more women in leadership [The Drum]
  • Gucci and Snapchat offer taste of MET Gala [WWD]
PRODUCT
  • Puma is working on a shoe featuring living microbes [Puma]
  • Allbirds moves away from sneakers with new launch [Fashion United]
BUSINESS
  • The future of Chanel [BoF]
  • Gucci on track to hit €10 billion in 2020 [Vogue Business]
  • Sonia Rykiel enters receivership [WWD]
  • High-end slipper brand Mahabis goes into administration [Independent]
  • Zalando still loss-making but sales and site traffic surge [Fashion Network]
  • Adidas profits climb 17.1% in Q1 [WWD]
  • Jason Wu acquired by Chinese firm Green Harbor [Fashion Network]
  • Valentino is luxury fashion’s fastest-growing company [Vogue Business]
CULTURE
  • The age of political correctness will kill great fashion [Highsnobiety]
  • Maria Grazia Chiuri on her inclusive vision for Christian Dior [Fashion Network]
  • Virgil Abloh is in the midst of backlash for lack of diversity on his Off-White staff [Fashionista]

How are you thinking about innovation? 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. 

Categories
business digital snippets Retail sustainability

ICYMI: Allbirds imposes carbon tax on itself, what Fortnite means for fashion, luxury pledges to rebuild Notre Dame

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

TOP STORIES
  • Allbirds imposed a carbon tax on itself–and your brand should, too [Fast Company]
  • What Fortnite could mean for fashion [Sourcing Journal]
  • Louis Vuitton and Gucci owners pledge more than $300 million to rebuild Notre Dame after fire [CNBC]
  • London retailers hit out at protesters [Drapers]
  • Can recycling fix fashion’s landfill problem? [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
  • The high-tech new standard for sampling [Drapers]
  • As supply chains get tech savvy, is cybersecurity keeping pace? [Supply Chain Dive]
  • Some apps use design to trick you into sharing data. A new bill would make that illegal. [Vox]
  • We built an ‘unbelievable’ (but Legal) facial recognition machine [NYT]
  • River Island adds AI tech, claiming it can boost sales by 10% [Fashion Network]
  • H&M harnesses AI to test online tailoring feature [Fashion United]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • How to make sustainable fashion people will actually buy [BoF]
  • Clouds on the horizon: What climate change means for retail [Retail Dive]
  • Everlane’s founder vowed to remove all new plastic from the brand’s supply chain by 2021. Now he has to figure out how [Fast Company]
  • Brioni launches ‘zero-mileage’ sustainable menswear capsule collection [Fashion Network]
  • This new technical fabric replaces polyester with banana plants [Fast Company]
  • How green is your lipstick: beauty brands and the fight against plastic waste [The Guardian]
  • PrettyLittleThing partners with recycling app [Drapers]
  • With millennials in mind, outdoor retailer REI doubles down on rentals and used gear sales [Forbes]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Neiman Marcus invests in luxury reseller Fashionphile, proving power of re-commerce and millennials [Forbes]
  • Offering shoppers new experiences isn’t helping: Malls hit with store closure tsunami, falling traffic [CNBC]
  • The complex link between retail and packaging [Retail Dive]
  • 4 reasons why luxury rentals could be a hit with Chinese millennials [Jing Daily]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Welcome to the new era of high fashion and video game collaborations: Inside Moschino and The Sims partnership [Fortune]
  • More than 100 brands collaborated with Game of Thrones. Here are the best stunts [AdWeek]
PRODUCT
  • Top jewellery CEOs say lab-grown diamonds are fashion, not luxury [Fashion Network]
BUSINESS
  • Valentino revenue growth slowed in 2018 [BoF]
  • Why fashion and beauty brands should take note of Pinterest’s IPO [Vogue Business]
  • Kering shares slide as Gucci’s growth slows [BoF]
CULTURE
  • Gen Z crave a world without borders, boundaries and binaries [WWD]
  • With a rapidly growing market, the trans-masculine community Is forging its own path in fashion [Fashionista]
  • Champion accidentally hit the fashion jackpot [Houston Chronicle]
  • China’s sharing economy now includes make-up, but hygiene doubts are hard to brush off [SCMP]

How are you thinking about innovation? 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. 

Categories
digital snippets Retail sustainability technology

ICYMI: Lush abandons social, buyers send sustainability message, learning resale from Nike

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

TOP STORIES
  • Lush abandons social media: it’s ‘getting harder’ to talk to customers [The Drum]
  • The world’s fashion buyers are sending a strong message to designers about sustainability [Quartz]
  • What Chanel can learn from Nike about the resale market [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Amazon readies Alexa-powered earbuds [Retail Dive]
  • Ikea’s new smart speaker looks like a HomePod crossed with a lamp [The Next Web]
  • Everything you need to know about the Pinterest IPO [NYT]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • ‘Buy local’ seeks to reduce fashion’s environmental footprint [Vogue Business]
  • Salvatore Ferragamo promotes sustainability with art and fashion exhibition [WWD]
  • Galeries Lafayette launches second-hand fashion platform [Fashion Network]
  • Fur supporters plan to keep fighting New York City’s proposed ban on fur sales [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • According to Amazon’s new horoscopes, the stars want you to go shopping [Vox]
  • The line between social media and e-commerce is beginning to disappear [Fashionista]
  • Gucci opens doors to pop-up apartment [Campaign]
  • The new retail: today’s China is tomorrow’s America [Jing Daily]
  • Singapore’s $1.3 billion airport expansion is half botanical garden, half mega-mall [Fast Company]
  • H&M subsidiary to start trialing secondhand sales next week [WWD]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Ermenegildo Zegna introduces new fragrances with special installations [WWD]
  • New Balance invests in gamified mobile ads to win over young, global customers [Glossy]
  • Asos ‘upweights’ digital spend as it puts focus on acquisition [Marketing Week]
PRODUCT
  • Rodarte unveils a collaboration with Universal Standard [Vogue]
  • Guess to sell vintage capsule via Fred Segal [Fashion Network]
  • How Cos is changing the way we think about design [Vogue]
BUSINESS
  • Asos pre-tax profits plunge 87 percent [Fashion United]
  • Why Tommy Hilfiger is selling better than ever [Vogue Business]
  • Sales surge at LVMH [Drapers]
  • Allbirds goes all-in on China [WWD]
  • Debenhams falls into administration [Drapers]
CULTURE
  • Estée Laundry: the Instagram collective holding the beauty industry to account [The Guardian]
  • The shady truth about inclusive beauty (and how brands can improve) [BoF]
  • Virgil Abloh’s real value to Louis Vuitton isn’t about the clothes he can sell [Quartz]

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. 

Categories
e-commerce Editor's pick Podcast Retail sustainability

Allbirds on why sustainability is a non-negotiable

Tim Brown of Allbirds with Rachel Arthur
Tim Brown of Allbirds with Rachel Arthur

It’s not incumbent on the consumer to change behaviour, but on businesses to take responsibility, says Tim Brown, co-founder of direct-to-consumer footwear brand Allbirds, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast, by TheCurrent.

Speaking to Rachel Arthur, Brown stresses that brands need to show leadership on the issue of sustainability, and not expect their customers to be the ones to do it for them. “People don’t buy sustainability, they buy great products,” he explains.

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

Brown started his career as a professional soccer player in his native New Zealand, which he says is what got him understanding the comfort needs in footwear. It was when he met co-founder Joey Zwillinger, a San Francisco-based biotech engineer and renewables expert, that the idea of creating a shoe that focused on sustainability and comfort together began to take shape.

Fast forward to 2016 and Allbirds launched its very first product, a pair of wool sneakers. Word of mouth quickly spread about the shoe’s simple design, level of comfort and sustainable use of textiles: a winning combination of good product and good storytelling that is at the core of any DTC brand’s strategy, and as a result, so attractive to the Millennial shopper.

Allbirds in London
Allbirds in London

Two years on, the brand has recently announced a new round of funding worth $50m, now valuing it at $1.4bn. With the investment, Brown says, comes the pressure to deliver on the many things they have imagined for the future, with a focus on physical retail, international expansion, and constant material innovation.

The latter has already included everything from a collection using ethically-sourced Eucalyptus fibres and a new flip-flop with a renewable sugarcane sole. The brand has also just opened up its first flagship store in London, as its first international move.

During this conversation, Brown explains how DTC brands succeed by owning every consumer touchpoint, how the narrative of retail being dead is greatly exaggerated, and why, in line with the UN’s recent report on climate change, every brand should strive to be sustainable in 2018.

This episode was recorded at Entale’s studio in London. Entale is a new podcasting app that allows you to interact with exclusive extra content like images, links and maps as you listen to your favourite podcast. You can download Entale from the iOS app store today.

Catch up with all of our episodes of TheCurrent Innovators here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by TheCurrent, a consultancy transforming how 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 product sustainability

9 brands rethinking textiles for the circular economy

Fashion's Impact on Water
Fashion’s Impact on Water

From sustainability guru Stella McCartney to German premium label Hugo Boss, brands across the spectrum have been experimenting with textile innovations that aim to push the industry towards a greener future.

This mission comes with a sense of urgency, with several reports predicting the uncomfortable reality of resource scarcity. A statistic from The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that humans were using the equivalent of 1.7 planets’ worth of natural resources in 2017.

Such resources, and water specifically, are central to the fashion industry’s supply chain. From planting and irrigating cotton fields, to dyeing and washing fabric – a world without enough water and raw materials spells out an uncertain future.

Infographic of The Circular Economy - Ellen MacArthur
Infographic of The Circular Economy – Ellen MacArthur

“In the worst case, the fashion industry will face distinct restrictions on one or more of its key input factors, leaving it unable to grow at the projected rate and in the long run unable to continue under its current operating model,” said the Global Fashion Agenda in its The Pulse of The Fashion Industry report.

It’s for that reason, the industry is exploring the circular economy, which takes the traditional, make-use-dispose model in fashion, and rather promotes a closed-loop where items are reused, recycled and reduced.

We’ve seen numerous startups playing in this space for years, experimenting with different natural ingredients and formulas to create textiles ready for market. Today, a number of brands are jumping on board and partnering with such teams in order to replace traditional materials.

Here are nine of the strongest examples…

STELLA MCCARTNEY

Stella McCartney has been championing sustainable fashion since the formation of her namesake label, pushing the envelope of what circular textile innovation means for the industry at large.

One stand-out circular textile from the brand is Re.Verso™, a regenerated cashmere made from post-factory cashmere waste in Italy. According to the brand’s self-implemented Environmental P&L account, using this alternative material reduced its impact by 92%.

EVERLANE 

Everlane's ReNew Line
Everlane’s ReNew Line

Direct-to-consumer brand Everlane, which pioneered the concept of a transparent supply chain through its “radical transparency” approach, announced its newest sustainable material just this month – a fleece called ReNew, which is made from recycled plastic bottles.

The brand also pledged to replace all materials made of virgin plastic (including polyester and nylon) with material made of plastic water bottles and renewed materials by 2021. It expects to be recycling 100 million water bottles through its supply chain.

ADIDAS X PARLEY FOR THE OCEANS

Adidas x Parley
Adidas x Parley

Adidas’ partnership with Parley for the Oceans, a non-profit organization set to remove and recycle waste from the ocean, has been an elemental part of the brand’s sustainability strategy.

In 2015, the two companies teamed up to make a sneaker that was made entirely of yarn recycled from ocean waste and illegal deep-sea gill nets. While the shoe was impressive in both design and sustainability, the partnership really started to come to fruition last year when sneakers like the Parley x Adidas Ultra Boost became more widely available to the public.  Eric Liedtke, head of global brands at the company, said each pair of shoes uses the equivalent of 11 plastic bottles, which means that Adidas has recycled some 55 million plastic bottles this year.

ALLBIRDS

Allbirds' SweetFoam flip-flops
Allbirds’ Sugar Zeffer flip-flops

In August 2018, direct-to-consumer footwear brand Allbirds announced the launch of “SweetFoam”,  a biodegradable and environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum-based materials traditionally used in the manufacturing process of shoe-soles. The first product the brand created with SweetFoam was a range of sustainable flip-flops called Sugar Zeffers.

The new material, which is made up of a sugarcane base, marks an important achievement in the industry, as it is the first ever carbon-neutral green alternative to the traditional EVA foam. To inspire industry-wide change, Allbirds also made this technology open-source and therefore available to everyone.

REEBOK

As part of its Cotton + Corn initiative, sportswear brand Reebok released its first-ever biodegradable sneaker range in August of this year. The product launch was part of the brand’s larger aim to reduce the brand’s environmental footprint with biodegradable products.

The shoe, which is also called the Cotton + Corn sneaker, is made with a cotton top and a bioplastic sole created from a corn-derived alternative material. It is also the first in its category to be certified by the United States Department of Agriculture to consist of 75% bio-based content.

REFORMATION

Reformation Intimates
Reformation Intimates

Los Angeles-based sustainable fashion brand, Reformation, has been making fashion using end-of-roll fabrics for years, but through its newest category, underwear, it’s taking things a step further.

The intimates collection is made using a mixture of sustainable fabrics such as recycled lace, eco mesh (a recycled type of yarn) and Lenzing TENCEL, a patented fabric derived from a wood cellulose material.

ADAY

Fashion's Impact on Water
Fashion’s Impact on Water

For its new Plant Bae collection, direct-to-consumer fashion brand, Aday, wanted to trial a new fabric composition using SeaCell, a fiber created from seaweed from the Icelandic coast.

Every four years, the seaweed is harvested and spun into fiber together with lyocell to stabilize. For the Plant Bae collection, it was also enhanced with cellulose and modal to create an additionally soft fabric composition. The innovative material has seen previous incarnations in Falke socks and Lululemon sportswear in its VitaSea collection.

SALVATORE FERRAGAMO

Salvatore Ferragamo
Salvatore Ferragamo

Salvatore Ferragamo created a capsule collection in 2017 made from an innovative new material derived from leftover orange peel. The brand partnered with Italian company, Orange Fiber, to product the silk-feel line, which included apparel such as t-shirts and delicate scarves.

This material is, for now, aplenty: a recent figure from the Italian Agricultural Department revealed that waste from the juice industry resulted in 700,000 tonnes of discarded orange peel on a yearly basis in Italy alone.

HUGO BOSS

Hugo Boss "Boss"
Hugo Boss “Boss”

German brand Hugo Boss released limited collection footwear in April 2018 using discarded pineapple leaves that imitate the texture of leather. The material, called Piñatex, has been used by smaller footwear brands such as Bourgeois Boheme, although Hugo Boss is one of the first mainstream brands to adopt it.

Piñatex is derived from the leaves of the pineapple plant, a byproduct of the pineapple harvest that has no other use for farmers. The creation of the textile therefore provides local farmers with an additional income.

How are you thinking about sustainable innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent 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.

Categories
Editor's pick product sustainability

Allbirds makes sustainable shoe material open source

AllBirds, B-Corp, Flip-Flop, Sustainability, Footwear
AllBirds

Allbirds has announced the launch of a new sustainable material that will replace the acetate alternative traditionally used in shoe soles. The direct-to-consumer brand is also planning on making this technology, titled SweetFoam, freely available to other companies.

“Our goal was to innovate and show the industry that this could be done,” said Jad Finck, the brand’s VP of sustainability and innovation to Fast Company. “But if this is actually going to take hold and have an impact, it is critical for this to scale beyond ourselves.”

Shoe soles have been commonly known to be harmful to the environment as one of its raw materials, a foam known as EVA, is derived from petroleum, a non-renewable and polluting material. The company’s solution to this problem was to replace the petroleum for sugarcane, a plant-based and renewable material.

This marks an important achievement in the industry, as the material is the first ever carbon-neutral green alternative to EVA foam. By collaborating with Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem, the company has produced its first SweetFoam shoe range, a line of flip flops called Sugar Zeffers.

At a price point of $35, the range further emphasizes how the sustainable material does not have a significant impact on pricing, or ultimately design, which the company hopes will help convince others in the industry to follow suit.

The motivation for Allbirds to develop this technology can be easily traced back to its company values. As a B-Corp certified company, the brand has been continuously improving the sustainability credentials of its product range, such as ensuring ethical sourcing and renewable energy sources for its popular wool slippers.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent 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.