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

Gaultier’s goodbye to fashion, the fine line with ‘woke’ merch, BAFTA’s sustainable dress code

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

Top Stories
  • Stars turn out for designer Jean-Paul Gaultier’s final show (BBC)
  • Woke brands walk a thin line with ‘moral merch’ (Vogue Business)
  • Celebrities have been asked to ‘dress sustainably’ at this year’s BAFTA awards (Harper’s Bazaar)
Technology
  • Davos 2020: WEF unveils digital currency governance consortium (Finextra Research)
  • EE creates 5G-powered dress (Campaign)
  • Apple’s ‘finger device’: wearable computing’s next big thing? (CB Insights)
  • UPS is betting big on drone delivery and autonomous trucks (Business Insider)
  • How artificial intelligence is making health care more human (MIT Technology Review)
  • Digital supply-chain transformation with a human face (McKinsey & Company)
  • Realistic 3D apparel models can be shared anywhere online now (WWD)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • Ikea builds eco-store with hanging gardens in Vienna (Retail Detail)
  • Aerie expands ‘real’ role model push with social contest, eight new ambassadors (Marketing Dive)
  • Gucci Changemakers Impact fund names first round of grant recipients (WWD)
  • Starbucks commits to a resource-positive future (Starbuck Stories)
  • The future of sustainable materials: milkweed floss (Fashionista)
  • Worn again technologies opens subpilot making step to industrialization (Fashion United)
  • Step inside an apartment from the climate change-ravaged future (Fast Company)
  • Bally reveals new mountain preservation efforts (WWD)
Retail & Commerce
  • Inside Prada’s pop-up private club (NYT)
  • Tiffany & Co. to open a blue box cafe in London (The Telegraph)
  • Inside the Williamsburg penthouse made for Instagram influencers (Glossy)
  • Neutrogena offers skincare advice in salon pop-up (Campaign)
  • Is existential retail the next wave in fashion? (WWD)
  • E-commerce could kill 30k stores and half a million jobs by 2025 (Retail Dive)
Marketing & Social Media
  • Instagram deprecates IGTV button as mobile streaming bet fails to take off (Mobile Marketer)
  • Meet The Drum’s latest cover star: a virtual influencer named Floresta (The Drum)
  • Social Chain launches livestream shopping for Facebook videos (Campaign)
  • Foot Locker consolidates eight loyalty programs into one (Glossy)
  • Can fashion PR make cannabis a luxury good? (Vogue Business)
Product
  • Virgil Abloh channels brutalism for concrete efflorescence furniture series (Dezeen)
  • Nike to launch modest swimwear range Victory Swim (The Industry)
  • Thom Browne teases collaboration with Samsung (Fashion United)
  • Superfeet licenses New Balance brand for high-tech custom insoles (Sourcing Journal)
  • Redemption launches sustainable athleisure collection (WWD)
  • Happy99 creates futuristic clothing for a post-consumer world (i-D)
Business
  • Amazon becomes first to pass $200bn brand valuation (Campaign)
  • Gap’s Alegra O’Hare exits as brand ‘redefines CMO role’ (Campaign)
  • Fashion industry sets out post-brexit immigration priorities (The Industry)
  • Could Shopify be the new Amazon? (Fashion United)
  • Tailored brands to sell Joseph Abboud brand for $115m (Retail Dive)
  • Why DTC marketing is no longer about accessible price points (Modern Retail)
  • US to crack down on counterfeit goods (Fashion United)
  • Do US luxury designers have a future? (Vogue Business)
Culture
  • L’Oréal exec will lead initiative to end gender bias in ads (Adweek)
  • Louis Vuitton teams up with the NBA to influence luxury buyers (Quartz)
  • Banana Republic celebrates artistic visionaries in campaign for Black History month (Marketing Dive)

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.

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business Editor's pick product Retail technology

Why Nike is betting on an Amazon-free future

Last month, Nike announced it would be pulling all of its products from Amazon in a bid to refocus its distribution strategy and “elevate consumer experiences through more direct, personal relationships”. 

Leaving one of the world’s biggest e-commerce platforms after a two-year pilot is a bold move. So what does the divorce mean for the sportswear giant?

In leaving Amazon, the company is joining a roster of others, from IKEA to Birkenstock, who have tried and failed to make it work on the platform. Amazon has developed a poor reputation when it comes to how it treats its sellers – and it’s doing very little to change it. But as retailers depart the platform to deliver a more personal customer experience – while keeping a tight leash on their product offerings – the e-commerce giant needs to start thinking damage control.

Selling on Amazon comes with an ever-changing set of challenges. While it has been busy expanding its fashion offering, the website is still designed for the convenience shopper, and not the one looking to be wowed or to discover a new favorite brand. Search ranking results can be confusing – for example, searching for sports shoes will not necessarily bring up the Nike sneakers immediately at the top of the page, even though it is a market leader. It is also often hard to find out whether you are buying the item directly from the brand, or a third-party seller.

Then there is the big elephant in the room: counterfeiting. Recently, The Wall Street Journal wrote that the website “increasingly resembles an unruly online flea market.” For the US site, it is now attracting Chinese sellers to post their goods directly to consumers, rather than through North American middlemen. This means a proliferation of sold goods that are deemed either counterfeit, or banned or unsafe for consumption, which are virtually impossible to keep track of.

But Nike’s exit is coming from a privileged position. It has built a community outside the retailer’s website, and will exist just fine without it. For brands of its caliber, this is a good chance to take a leaf out of the direct-to-consumer rulebook and create a distribution approach that not only gives it more say, but enables more direct conversations. 

Nike is now working on strengthening its relationship with other smaller retailers. At Foot Locker’s new NYC flagship, for example, NikePlus app users can reserve shoes in advance and pick them up from dedicated lockers.

On a direct-to-consumer level, it is launching services like the Nike Adventure Club, a sneaker subscription for kids aged 2-10 where for a monthly fee, they receive a certain number of sneakers a year. The brand is targeting time-strapped parents who live in areas that perhaps don’t have a shoe store nearby. Instead of restoring to the convenience of Amazon when their child has moved up a shoe size, Nike is hoping these parents will choose a box service with a trusted brand instead.

This is also a chance for the brand to test out the subscription model, and potentially apply it to other consumer groups in the future, says David Cobban, general manager of Nike Adventure Club.  “We’re starting to think about what other athletes have problems that could be very easily solved by a subscription,” he said. “This is the beginning of something pretty exciting for Nike.”

For all of the sales volume that Nike will be losing by exiting Amazon, the sports brand is hard at work building a tight strategy where convenience meets personalization, which will likely pay off in the near future. 

This is perhaps where Amazon continues to falter – both in the eyes of its vendors and consumers. Next day delivery and low prices come at the price of the user experience, which still leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to discoverability and bringing up (relevant) recommendations. 

Consumers may currently be fully onboard with the endless hamster wheel of speed and low value, but only time will tell if that will be enough to fulfill their more nuanced needs, such as creating emotional connections. Nike is betting on the latter.

How are you thinking about experience? 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. Each of the rules referenced above is matched by one of our products and services. Interested in how? Get in touch to learn more.

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Nike exits Amazon, Shoptalk’s all-female lineup, Ralph Lauren tackles counterfeits

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

Top Stories
  • Nike to stop selling on Amazon (Business Insider)
  • Shoptalk invites only women to speak at its 2020 event (Retail Dive)
  • Ralph Lauren offers consumers a DIY counterfeit-checking tool (Retail Wire)
Technology
  • Apple plans 2022 release for first AR headset, followed by AR glasses in 2023 (The Verge)
  • Mixed reality apps will quintuple ad revenue to $118bn by 2024 (Mobile Marketer)
  • Walmart launches voice shopping for grocery on Apple (Grocery Dive)
  • Casca plans to decentralize its supply chain with 3D printing (Sourcing Journal)
  • Wayfair introduces mobile app with visual technology features (Retail Dive)
  • Why the new generation of wearable tech has legs (Glossy)
  • Apple just released an app that tracks your heart, hearing, and menstrual cycles (MIT Technology Review)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • New Balance crafts a sustainable sneaker using surplus material (Hypebeast)
  • Timberland opens first ‘purpose-led’ flagship store in Europe (Fashion United)
  • Seek app builds biodiversity database as users identify plant and animal species (Dezeen)
  • Ted Baker joins Wrap Up London charity campaign (The Industry)
  • YNAP joins forces with Prince Charles’ Foundation (WWD)
  • Fairbnb.coop launches, offering help for social projects (The Guardian)
  • Finisterre teams with Aquapak for sustainable packaging (Finisterre)
  • Inditex, Unions strike deal to create a Global Labor Committee (WWD)
  • How the climate crisis is killing us, in 9 alarming charts (Wired)
Retail & Commerce
  • Inside the physical store that only offers digital clothes (Vogue Business)
  • John Lewis & Waitrose launch experiential concept store in Southampton (Retail Gazette)
  • Sephora, Kiehl’s, Vichy and Bobbi Brown are using ‘virtual advisors’ to drive ecommerce (Glossy)
  • Quiz keeps investing in its AI-driven personalization capabilities through True Fit (Fashion United)
  • How Revolve uses personalization to help customers find that perfect dress (WWD)
  • Louis Vuitton is now delivering luxury to your door – via men in sharp suits (CNA Luxury)
  • Dior launches e-commerce in Japan (Fashion United)
Business
  • Adidas to close Speedfactories, transfer technologies to Asian suppliers (Fashion United)
  • Burberry growth inches forward despite Hong Kong setback (Vogue Business)
  • Mulberry losses nearly double in challenging UK market conditions (WWD)
  • Retailers commit to Purple Tuesday (Drapers)
  • Farfetch sinks as analysts warn it is ‘no uber of luxury goods’ (TheIndustry)
  • VC Sonya Brown on how to stand out as a DTC startup (Vogue Business)
  • ShopYourFit launches to make finding fit and size a seamless experience (WWD)
Marketing & Social Media
  • Why brands should pay even more attention to social media (Vogue Business)
  • PopSugar opens ‘sugar chalet’ shopping experience (Campaign)
  • WhatsApp adds shopping catalog feature, courting e-commerce (Fashion Network)
  • Samsung boosts awareness with microinfluencer campaign defending green chat bubbles (Mobile Marketer)
  • Instagram Stories launches TikTok clone Reels in Brazil (TechCrunch)
  • Consumers 35x more likely to see brands’ texts vs emails (Forbes)
  • Facebook Pay lets you buy goods and send money inside Facebook’s apps (Engadget)
  • Gucci transports Snapchatters to a virtual psychedelic tropical island (AdWeek)
  • Saks, Sephora pilot Google’s local ads to drive store traffic (Mobile Marketer)
Product
  • Zara launches fragrance collections in partnership with Jo Malone (WWD)
  • Patagonia’s new line is made from old clothes damaged beyond repair (Fast Company)
  • Supreme and Rimowa unveil new luggage collaboration (Fashion Network)
  • Shane Dawson, Jeffree Star makeup collab earns $54million in MIV (WWD)
Culture
  • How ‘VSCO Girls’ are killing makeup sales and reshaping the beauty industry (Fortune)
  • Is ‘OK boomer’ a merchandising opportunity? (Retail Wire)
  • How fashion can fix its cultural appropriation problem (i-D)
  • Parade wants to make a cultural impact with creative basics (Fashionista)

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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digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick Retail sustainability

8 brands turning to responsible packaging solutions

 

The rapid rise of the e-commerce era has seen an equally colossal increase in plastic packaging used by brands around the world, something those at the forefront of sustainability are now looking to change. 

US residents alone use more than 380 billion plastic bags and wraps every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. A large portion of those go into the ocean, polluting the waters and damaging wildlife with nonbiodegradable materials. 

Those facts, and many more beside them, are resulting in a desperate need for change. What’s key is that the public is paying attention. A 2017 survey shows packaging professionals and brand owners hear the most complaints about unsustainable or excessive packaging. 

Meanwhile, bans on things like plastic bags are starting to pay off in certain markets – in the UK, over 15 billion of them have been saved from going into landfill since it was introduced nearly four years ago. That stat is particularly significant when you think about the fact these items can take around 500 years to breakdown. 

We’ve already talked about the market opportunity that exists for refillable packaging solutions for those in the health and beauty space, but this challenge is also applicable to broader retail. The good news is brands across all manner of industries, are now doubling down on eco-friendly packaging alternatives as a result. From luxury retailers to online stores, check out these eight examples of those adapting to lower their use of plastics at the delivery stage of the supply chain…

PVH
Calvin Klein packaging

Apparel company PVH, which owns brands including Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, has ambitious sustainability goals that include using 100% sustainably and ethically sourced packaging by 2025. “As a global apparel company, we recognize that we have a responsibility to reduce waste, and one key way to do so is by minimizing our packaging and making it recyclable,” said Marissa Pagnani-McGowan, group VP of corporate responsibility at the corporation. 


The company is already making strides; according to its 2018 corporate responsibility report, 74% of its packaging is now recyclable. Moreover, the PVH Dress Furnishings Group has saved nearly 200 tons of plastic by reducing the thickness of its packaging polybags. PVH also became the first apparel company to join How2Recycle, a project of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. This initiative provides standard labels with clear instructions for customers on how to recycle packaging materials, such as whether to consult a local recycling program or use a store drop-off station at a participating retailer in order to save from throwing the wrapping straight into landfill.

Toad&Co
Toad&Co partnered with LimeLoop

California-based sustainable fashion brand, Toad&Co, partnered with US startup LimeLoop to replace cardboard boxes and disposable mailers with recycled vinyl packages. Customers can request the new packaging at checkout. When the product arrives, the empty container can be dropped in the mail for return and reuse. 

Kelly Milazzo, director of operations at the company, estimates 2,500 LimeLoop bags – each of which supposedly last 2,000 uses – could supply the company’s entire e-commerce business for 83 years. “That saves the equivalent of 5 million plastic mailers,” she told Outside magazine.

MatchesFashion.com
MatchesFashion’s iconic boxes

Last year, London-based global luxury retailer, MatchesFashion.com, began developing a strategy and a timeline for reducing the environmental impact of its packaging. The retailer is known for the beauty of its boxes by its loyal customer base, meaning change comes with the additional challenge of maintaining the quality and aesthetic appeal for which it has become known. 

The company made three pledges: first, to ensure all packaging is widely recyclable; second, to introduce a half-size box with less material; and third, to incorporate sustainably-sourced materials including FSC-certified card and post-consumer waste.

PrAna
PrAna’s eco-friendly labels

Premium lifestyle clothing prAna uses recycled paper and soy-based ink for its packaging, tying its garments with strips of raffia palm tree. The company had to conduct an extended series of tests to make sure the raffia strips kept products in great shape during processing and delivery. The strategy paid off, with the company becoming 80% polybag-free by 2016. 
Quality control is everything however. “We have different guidelines laid out for each type of garment to show our factory how to fold, how to get the hang tag in the right position and how to put the raffia tie on”, explained Meme Snell, men’s product developer at the brand.

Amazon
Amazon’s brand Tide’s new eco-box

Amazon India is committed to eliminating single-use plastic from its packaging by June 2020. The first step is to replace plastic wraps like air pillows and bubble wraps with paper cushions, a recyclable material, by the end of this year. The company also launched Packaging-Free Shipments (PFS) last year and expanded the practice to 13 cities. By securing multiple shipments together in a reusable crate or corrugated box, Amazon can minimize the secondary packaging required for individual shipments.

Meanwhile, Amazon US began encouraging brands to change their packaging design to facilitate shipping, making the process more sustainable. For example, Tide is planning to switch from its existing bottle to a new “Eco-Box” with 60% less plastic.

Reformation
Reformation’s vegetable bags

Reformation is paving the way for other young, trend-led brands to be sustainable, implementing an environmental consciousness into every aspect of its business.  Reformation delivers its e-commerce orders in vegetable bags which are 100% compostable. Once the bag has been used, it was simply break down like organic waste, leaving no harmful chemicals behind. 

The packaging is plastic-free and made from 100% recycled paper products and compostable bio-based films, with even the hangers being bio-based too. With the average lifespan of a plastic or metal hanger lasting only 3 months, Reformation has opted to use recycled paper hangers to minimise the demand for new materials and reduce landfill waste.

Asos
ASOS packaging

E-commerce giant ASOS has put packaging and waste at the forefront of its environmental policy. After a cradle-to-gate assessment revealed that plastic bags produce 60% less GHG emissions than cardboard, the company decided to reduce the number of cardboard boxes in favour of the former.

To mitigate the environmental damage of its plastics, ASOS uses 25% recycled content for the bags. The company has also reduced the thickness of the bags, which is saving approximately 583 tonnes of plastic annually.

The retailer is also working towards having a closed-loop system, recycling consumer packaging into new packaging. Having 10% post-consumer waste integrated into the new bags helps to reduce virgin plastic usage by 160 tonnes annually.

Maggie Marilyn
Maggie Marilyn

New Zealand based womenswear designed Maggie Marilyn is focusing on an often forgotten part of the supply chain when it comes to sustainability, using compostable bags to ship wholesale items. The bags which are made from cornstarch and synthetic polymer, represent a 60% reduction in C02 emissions compared to traditional plastic bags. The bags are produced by The Better Packaging Company, who have achieved one of the toughest standard regulations in Australia, the AS5810 for compostability.

How are you thinking about sustainability? 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 Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce Events product Retail social media Startups sustainability technology

Instagram’s new AR feature, France introduces anti-waste laws, BoF inclusion backlash

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

TOP STORIES
  • Instagram adds new AR experience to checkout (Mashable)
  • France to introduce anti-waste law to promote circular economy (Fashion United)
  • ‘Inclusion is a trend for these folks’: Kerby Jean-Raymond calls out ‘insulting’ BoF 500 Gala (Fashionista)
TECHNOLOGY
  • Microsoft debuts foldable smartphone for 2020 holiday season (Mobile Marketer)
  • Sky News is broadcasting on Amazon Twitch (Digiday)
  • Google shoppings gets redesign with price tracking and personalization (The Verge)
  • Levi’s and Google’s smart jacket upgrade (Wired)
  • Paralyzed man ‘walks’ using mind-reading exoskeleton (Futurism)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Evrnu raises $9million to close the textile lifecycle loop (Sourcing Journal)
  • The rise of hemp as a sustainable alternative to cotton (Vogue Business)
  • Zalando ‘boosts green credentials’ with sustainability initiative (Retail Week)
  • Vegan fashion week returns to Los Angeles (Fashion United)
  • Biogarmentry are clothes that can photosynthesise like plants (Dezeen)
  • Sketchers has reduced plastic use in packaging by 85% (Sourcing Journal)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • America’s first cannabis cafe is open for business (Futurism)
  • Auxiliary opens augmented reality pop up at Selfridges (Glossy)
  • Banksy launches range of branded merchandise (Dezeen)
  • Kardashian Kloset takes on the resale market (Vogue Business)
  • The Row opens debut London flagship store (Fashion United)
  • Vagabond extends e-commerce site to the US (Glossy)
  • L’Oreal launches Hair.com in direct to consumer move (Glossy)
BUSINESS
  • Vivienne Westwood plunges into the red (Drapers)
  • H&M reports strong rise in Q3 sales and profit (Fashion United)
  • Stitch Fix expands beyond the ‘fix’ (Vogue Business)
  • Ted Baker swings to half-year loss (Drapers)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Adidas, Levi’s, Michael Kors test Instagram launch alerts (Mobile Marketer)
  • With Drest, digital clothing is one step closer to mainstream (Vogue Business)
  • E.l.f Cosmetics launches first TikTok hashtag featuring original song (Mobile Marketer)
PRODUCT
  • Reformation and New Balance partner for sustainable sneaker collaboration (WWD)
  • Saint Laurent unveils new contraceptive creation (Fashion Network)
  • Neiman Marcus introduces ‘clean beauty’ (Retail Dive)
  • Asos taps hip-hop artist Swae Lee for exclusive edit (Fashion United)
CULTURE
  • Valentino’s ‘opulence of diversity’ (BoF)
  • Melinda Gates pledges $1billion to boost the ‘power and influence’ of women in the US (Fast Company)
  • Debenhams partners with National Autistic Society for autism hour (Retail Gazette)
  • Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty supports breast cancer survivors (Fashion Network)
  • Vans competition pulls sneaker brand into Hong Kong political row (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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Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce mobile product Retail social media sustainability technology

Kering commits to carbon neutrality, retail surveillance, Instagram supports drop model

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

Top Stories
  • Kering commits to carbon neutrality (Drapers)
  • The new ways retailers are watching you shop (BoF)
  • Instagram launches ‘reminders’ to support product drops (Vogue Business)
Technology
  • Boston Dynamics robot dog Spot is going on sale for the first time (MIT Technology Review)
  • Cryptocurrency’s huge potential in China’s luxury retail (Jing Daily)
  • Kraft Heinz brings mobile-activated packaging to Walmart (Mobile Marketer)
  • Oculus eclipses $100million in VR content sales (TechCrunch)
  • Amazon to launch smart home inventory sensors (Retail Dive)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Burt’s Bees and National Geographic partner for climate campaign (Fashion Network)
  • Can Stella McCartney make faux fur sustainable? (Vogue)
  • M&S and Tesco take top spots in climate change report ranking (Retail Gazette)
  • Taylor Stitch garment restored in Restitch’s workwear capsule (Sourcing Journal)
  • LVMH gets competitive about sustainability (BoF)
  • UK government moves to end ‘vague and misleading’ bioplastic terminology (Dezeen)
  • Clean jeans are the future of denim (Vogue Business)
  • Peta launches campaign to get Farfetch to ban angora (Fashion Network)
  • DPD inks sustainable contract with Asos (Drapers)
  • ‘No planet, no sports’ says Nike Sustainability Chief (Sourcing Journal)
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
BUSINESS
  • Forever 21 files for Bankruptcy (Bloomberg)
  • Ebay CEO steps down (Retail Dive)
  • Rent the Runway executive steps down after delivery failures (BoF)
  • Marks & Spencer’s director of supply chain & logistics departs (Drapers)
  • Boohoo interim revenues up by 43% as annual sales break £1bn (The Industry)
  • Calvin Klein names Nadege Winter SVP brand experience (Fashion Network)
  • Boohoo appoints Missguided brand boss as MissPap CEO (Drapers)
  • British manufacturing: back in fashion (The Guardian)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • MAC Cosmetics targets gamers with TwitchCon sponsorship (Glossy)
  • Walmart challenges TikTok users to share dance moves (Mobile Marketer)
  • Honda debuts animated comic book on social media (Mobile Marketer)
  • Oculus introduces social virtual reality world Facebook horizon (Adweek)
  • Facebook tries hiding like counts to fight envy (TechCrunch)
PRODUCT
  • Reebok and Adidas collaborate to launch Instapump fury boost (Fashion Network)
  • Amazon expands Alexa with voice-powered wearable (Mobile Marketer)
  • Amazon fashion teams with Puma on new athleisure brand (BoF)
  • Selfridges partners with British CBD body and wellness start-up Grass & Co (Fashion Network)
  • Nestle launches luxury KitKat bars in direct-to-consumer move (Campaign)
  • Diesel partners Coca-Cola for eco-savvy clothing range (Campaign)
  • Amazon pushes further into healthcare with Amazon Care (Adweek)
CULTURE
  • Indian women are Youtube-ing their way out of gender stereotypes (Quartzy)
  • Rebecca Minkoff on the business of representation (Glossy)
  • Mattel release line of gender-neutral world dolls (Adweek)
  • Avon can’t escape lawsuit accusing it of discriminating against pregnant women (Fashion Law)

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 product Retail social media sustainability technology

Amazon 10 years ahead of UN Paris agreement, Nike’s first hijab ambassador, Facebook’s AI styling

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

Top Stories
  • Amazon plans to meet UN Paris agreement 10 years early (CNBC)
  • First Nike hijab ambassador on breaking barriers for women in fitness (Evening Standard)
  • Facebook experiments with AI-powered styling program (Vogue Business)
Technology
  • Google and Jennifer Lopez reinvent the Versace dress that created Google Images (The Verge)
  • L’Oreal’s Color&Co adds AR hair color try-ons (Mobile Marketer)
  • The quiet robot revolution that can unlock a trillion dollars in retail efficiencies (Forbes)
  • Starbuck taps Alibaba’s Tmall Genie for voice ordering (The Drum)
  • Facebook teams up with Ray-Ban on smart glasses (Mobile Marketer)
  • Google opens a new AI research centre in India (The Next Web)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • Moncler tops Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Drapers)
  • Waste2Wear presents world’s first collection of ocean plastics verified with Blockchain (Fashion United)
  • Ikea invests in solar farms (Fast Company)
  • Nike opens distribution center fully powered by renewable energy (Highsnobiety)
  • Toast launches clothes-swap scheme (Drapers)
  • Salesforce is building an app to gauge a company’s sustainability progress (Tech Crunch)
  • Green money: AmEx joins fight against plastic waste (Stylus)
  • Avery Dennison teams up with plastic bank to further the circular economy (Sourcing Journal)
Retail & E-commerce
  • Body Shop opens refillable concept store (The Guardian)
  • Sandro opens first US flagship store in New York (Fashion United)
  • Psyche launches standalone childrenswear site (Drapers)
  • Quinn Harper opens first store on the King’s Road (TheIndustry)
  • Pandora unveils new store concept in Birmingham (Fashion United)
Business
  • Ocado and M&S’ new joint venture enjoys double digit growth (Charged Retail)
  • H&M to test selling external brands in strategy shift (BoF)
  • Thomas Cook collapse leaves thousands stranded as bailout fails (Bloomberg)
  • Burberry appoints non-executive director (Drapers)
  • In London, fashion takes a break from Brexit (BoF)
  • Toby Bateman steps down from Mr Porter (Retail Gazette)
  • Bluemercury founders depart Macy’s (Retail Dive)
Marketing & Social Media
  • The danger for luxury brands that fail at story telling (Jing Daily)
  • Urban Decay dishes out makeup samples to Bumble app users (Mobile Marketer)
  • As Gucci trips up on social media, sales fall (WSJ)
  • Louis Vuitton launces LVTV (Fashion United)
Product
  • Caspar jumps on the CBD bandwagon with sleep gummies (Retail Dive)
  • HP debut first computer made with ocean-bound plastics (Adweek)
  • Victoria Beckham launches beauty line at LFW (Fashion United)
  • Italy’s Opera Campi to launch stretch hemp apparel (Sourcing Journal)
Culture
  • Instagram adds new restrictions on weight-loss products and cosmetic procedures (Adweek)
  • Banana Republic looks to skin tone and size inclusivity for turnaround (BoF)
  • Refinery29 and Eloquii team up to create a crowdsourced plus-size collection (Adweek)
  • Gucci faces backlash for straightjackets at Milan show (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.

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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data Editor's pick mobile Retail technology

5 ways 5G will impact retail

Last month, mobile phone network Three ‘switched on’ its 5G service in London through an immersive experience with fashion designer Henry Holland.   

The “Living Room of the Future” initiative saw visitors able to try on mixed reality headsets from Magic Leap, to enter into a world consisting of everything from a mindfulness moment, to a gaming experience and the delivery of (virtual) House of Holland shoes by drone to your door. 

5G is expected to ramp up in 2020 on a global level. Further cities in Switzerland, Spain, Germany and Italy have already begun adopting it. Meanwhile, in the US, although four cities have turned on the signal, the technology is tied up in a trade war, since China’s Huawei is the dominant 5G supplier. Regardless, the latest Ericsson Mobility Report predicts there will be more than 10 million 5G subscriptions globally by the end of this year, and that 5G population coverage is forecast to reach 45% by 2024.

In it simplest sense, 5G is just a faster version of 4G – about 20x the speed in fact. That coupled with almost no latency, means the new networks will nearly eliminate lag time. This is big news for mobile of course – opening up paths to purchase in even the busiest of crowds for everyday shoppers. 

But its existence will also help power other tech advances, from machine learning to digital realities. Add in features like low energy consumption and higher reliability, and it brings an opportunity for the retail industry to enhance the consumer experience in the physical store with a number of seamless real-time functionalities, leading to increased engagement and conversions. 

As a result, now is the ideal time for retailers to start planning how their stores and interfaces will look when 5G becomes widely available. Here are 5 ways we see it having an impact… 

Connected Spaces

Connectivity in our physical stores, means devices that can constantly exchange data with each other – also known as those under the header of the Internet of Things (IoT). To do so, they need a fast, reliable network that doesn’t require too much power. 5G networks will achieve a 90% reduction in power consumption, guaranteeing up to 10 years of battery life for low power IoT devices. This means, for example, that more retailers will have access to smart shelves like the ones Amazon implemented in its Amazon Go stores. This technology uses dozens of sensors to provide real-time inventory visibility and update pricing according to demand. 

Key tech we’re tracking: dynamic pricing, automated checkouts, connected fitting rooms, automatic replenishment

Amazon Go Store
Immersive Experiences

Augmented and virtual realities use a lot of processing power and cellular data. With the increased capacity of 5G networks, retailers will be able to create richer, more detailed experiences when integrating their physical and digital worlds. This will make technologies that we’re already experimenting with, and seeing consumer adoption of, only more of a possibility. The result will mean shoppers are able to immediately check product materials or ingredients through the use of smart glasses or their smartphones, for instance. Those same apps will also guide customers to the products they want by projecting directions into their field of view in real-time as they navigate the store space.

Key tech we’re tracking: immersive interfaces, gamification, wayfinding

Puma’s new flagship store with gamification
Higher Efficiencies

Artificial intelligence will also thrive on IoT devices via 5G. That’s not to say the AI algorithms themselves will change, but that the higher network will enable more accurate real-time data to flow, ultimately facilitating smarter systems. In retail, for instance, managers will be able to delegate more operational and inventory decisions to automation. This means greater efficiencies as well as accuracies on things like forecasting inventory quantities so as to optimize stock levels, leaving sales associates to spend more time on customer care. Having stock in the right place at the right time will also decrease the risk of losing customers to competitors, as product availability will be more accurate. 

Key tech we’re tracking: retail analytics, inventory visibility, demand forecasting, endless aisle  

Walmart’s endless aisle
Personalization

With lower latency, retailers will also be able to respond to purchasing patterns and behaviors with immersive, tailored content in real-time. Implementing 5G in-store will allow for greater interactions and data collections between sales associates and customers. Real time data could be tracked to create personalized adverts or offers based on the preferences of individual customers, helping to increase the incentive to buy. 

Key tech we’re tracking: marketing automation, personalized promotions, AI recommendations, product search tools, clienteling

Nike’s Melrose store
Fulfilment

The implementation of 5G will also revolutionize logistics by improving  efficiency in fulfilment tasks and increasing the speed of transportation. Greater connectivity and improved reliability will help communications between brands, couriers and consumers. The full capacity of 5G will eventually also enable the roll out of automation in transport and warehouses, thanks to improved processing of the vast amounts of data required in real-time. 

Key tech we’re tracking: smart warehousing, robotics, automated vehicles

Lowebot assisting a consumer

Additional reporting by Larissa Gomes.

How are you thinking about retail 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.