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business e-commerce Editor's pick product Retail social media sustainability technology

Analytics reshaping fashion, the lucrative world of sneaker resells, Snapchat’s return

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

TOP STORIES
  • Analytics are reshaping fashion’s old-school instincts (Vogue Business)
  • Inside the wild, shockingly lucrative world of sneaker reselling (GQ)
  • Snapchat is back in fashion (BoF)
  • Dr Martens’ profits up 70% with success of new ‘vegan’ range (The Guardian)
TECHNOLOGY
  • Facebook latest tech giant to admit to using human review of user audio conversations (Campaign)
  • What Deepfakes actually are (Gizmodo)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Stand out brands in The RealReal’s annual resale report (Fashion Law)
  • How Econyl became fashion’s favorite eco-friendly material (Vogue Business)
  • Microplastics are airborne, polluted artic snow reveals (Earther)
  • There’s never been a better time to buy used clothes (Quartzy)
  • Luxury goes back home: Giants strengthen their sourcing proximity (MDS)
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Nike launches subscription service that targets kids (AdWeek)
  • Online retailers are transforming warehouse construction (Construction Drive)
  • As customers begin to shop through voice assistants, what can brands do to stand out? (Harvard Business Review)
BUSINESS
  • Markets tumble in light of trade wars and poor retail results (BoF)
  • Alibaba results beat estimates on cloud, e-commerce growth (Reuters)
  • Steve Madden acquires DTC sneaker brand Greats (Glossy)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Instagram now allows users to create their own AR filters (Hypebeast)
  • Youtube’s AR beauty try-on goes live (Forbes)
  • Luxury brands use video games to speak to China’s Millennials (Jing Daily)
PRODUCT
  • The Farm Bill’s effect on CBD beauty (Glossy)
  • Stuart Weitzman releases limited edition customizable sneakers (Marie Claire)
  • Volcom launches ‘water aware’ denim collection (Fashion United)
CULTURE
  • Nike got called out for discriminating against pregnant athletes. Now it’s changing its policy (Fast Company)

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 sustainability technology

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower joins H&M to lead AI research

Christopher Wiley
Christopher Wylie

Christopher Wylie, the man known as the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, has joined H&M as its director of research, where he will work on using data and analytics to drive sustainability.

Speaking on stage at the Business of Fashion’s VOICES conference in the UK this week, he said artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to reduce waste in the industry and drive efficiency through the supply chain.

“A lot of fashion companies look at the supply chain and the mechanics from production to distribution, but actually understanding consumers will help you optimize the supply chain because you will better understand what it is they want to buy or they don’t want to buy,” he explained.

That comes off the back of the fact that H&M reported it had a stockpile of $4 billion in unsold clothing earlier this year. Meanwhile, Burberry also came under fire over the summer for news it burnt $37.8 million in excess inventory last year.

But Wylie argued that turning to data is not only good for the environment, but also good for business.

“Investing in AI will allow you to not only better match your units of clothing to your customers, and therefore make more money, but be able to make more money with less units of clothing. So there’s an argument in profit and profitability to invest in AI, and also an argument in sustainability to invest in AI.” That means that being more sustainable is not only an environmental decision, but a business one, he noted.

Wiley will join the H&M Group on December 1 to bring these insights to the fast fashion giant, where he will work alongside Arti Zeighami, the company’s head of AI and advanced analytics.

“If we put this data on top of what we have, then we can be more precise. It means you can stop guessing what you can calculate. It helps you be [sharper] with decision-making,” Zeighami added.

“Tech is cool. There are amazing things you can do with data, it doesn’t have to be evil,” said Wylie.

That followed a keynote he gave earlier in the day in which he outlined the way in which Cambridge Analytica used data from fashion brands as a weapon to help elect President Trump in the US in 2016. Facebook ‘likes’ from brands including Wrangler and LL Bean were used as a primary input for the algorithms that then targeted people with pro-Trump messaging. He referred to this as repurposing technology originally designed for cyber warfare to influence politics.

Earlier this year, Wylie also gave an exclusive interview to Vogue Italia in which he spoke further about why the similarities between fashion and politics are stronger than people think.

How are you thinking about AI for 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
business data digital snippets e-commerce Retail sustainability technology

ICYMI: Nobody is buying Vetements, Walmart’s high tech store, reviving H&M

Vetements
Vetements

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

TOP STORIES
  • 2 years after they broke the internet, it looks like nobody is buying Vetements [HighSnobiety]
  • Walmart opens first small high-tech supermarket in China [Reuters]
  • ‘It lost its focus’: Why an e-commerce push won’t be enough to revive H&M [Glossy]
  • What Trump’s trade war means for fashion [BoF]
  • Alibaba and Ford launch China’s first Tmall car vending machine [BrandChannel]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Apple’s groovy iPhone spot shows how you can now pay with a glance [Creativity]
  • Museums are the best place to find innovation in AR [VentureBeat]
  • How Tumi is using AI in marketing campaigns, online and in stores [Digiday]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Fashion’s 7 priorities to achieve sustainability [BoF]
  • Eileen Fisher will use Salone del Mobile installation to remind the fashion world to ‘waste no more’ [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Former Walmart CEO, of all people, says Congress should break up Amazon [Racked]
  • Ted Baker launches experiential pop-up at London’s Old Street station [TheIndustry]
  • Nike opens Unlaced, a sneaker boutique for women [BrandChannel]
  • 6 tips for taking your brand direct-to-consumer [BoF]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • What Nike’s analytics platform buy says about the future of brand-consumer relationships [AdWeek]
BUSINESS
  • Kering confirms Stella McCartney split [BoF]
  • Why a potential $5bn valuation at IPO for luxury unicorn Farfetch may not be crazy after all [CB Insights]
  • Louis Vuitton’s new appointment marks an important victory for marketing hype over design [StyleZeitgeist]
  • Raf Simons’ first year at Calvin Klein delivers for PVH [BoF]
  • Lululemon stretches digital marketing wings, sees success [AdAge]
  • What’s driving retail’s sneaker obsession? [RetailDive]
  • 7 takeaways from Shoptalk 2018 [RetailDive]
Categories
data Editor's pick Podcast technology

How Google Zoo is thinking about machine learning

Tomas Roope and Rachel Arthur

There’s a very simple filter that comes with working at Google, and it’s about putting the user first, says Tomas Roope, creative lead at Google Zoo, the tech giant’s think tank focused on pushing the limits of creativity through technology.

Talking to Rachel Arthur in a live recording of TheCurrent Innovators podcast from the FashMash Pioneers event in London, he said: “The way we think is always user-first. Are we really solving something for somebody here? …At Google we’re about solving problems at scale.”

That attitude should be applied to every business, including those in the fashion and retail vertical, he explains. The Zoo is a small team that is designed to be a conduit between creative agencies and Google’s own products, its engineering teams and its data. The result is all manner of both creative and technology-driven projects for different industries, from a coded couture dress for H&M’s Ivy Revel brand, to an advertising campaign redefining what masculinity really looks like today from Axe.

While Roope admits some are more PR or headline-driven than others, his process, whether the result incorporates buzzworthy terms like augmented reality, artificial intelligence or beyond, always comes back to whether the solution is something that answers a consumer need. “What shifts the bottom line is making things more relevant, and making them simpler. [It’s about answering] what do people really want?” he asks.

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

Anchoring much of that work these days however, comes data. “[At Google], we have seven to eight products that have over one billion users monthly, and so we have a really great understanding of what people are doing… and what they’re thinking,” he explains.

That insight is what informs the work his team does as a result, while machine learning (ML) then takes it to the next level, Roope notes. He refers to ML as an area that’s not yet being explored to its full potential.

“We’re in the middle of two massive revolutions – one of which is still the smartphone coming from 10 years ago, and now the rise of machine learning.” He refers to this as not only a powerful and extraordinarily interesting tool that allows you to fix problems in a way you couldn’t have done before, but as the most exciting underpinning to the future we’re currently building.

It’s completely reshaping what our world looks like, and what opportunities there are for brands in it as a result, he explains.

To get there, he says experimentation for all industries – including fashion and retail – is key. “For me, you’re not going to sit and discover the future by dwelling on it… it’s all about test and learn,” he explains.

As to where it will take us, he adds: “There’s a great quote by Bill Gates that says we tend to overestimate what’s going to happen in two years, but underestimate what will happen in the next 10. If you look back 10 years, we didn’t have smartphones, but in two years nothing’s happened. Only when we look over a good chunk of time do we see how much it’s changed.”

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.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

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Blocks social media

Burberry won in the Twitter stakes this #LFW

Burberry1

Burberry beat out Topshop on Twitter this London Fashion Week season thanks to the introduction of its #Tweetcam initiative.

The British heritage brand more than doubled the 8,000 tweets attached to its September show, hitting a huge 19,000 mentions between February 20 and 24, according to social analytics company SocialBro.

Its #Tweetcam campaign, which provided fans with a personalised, automated image live from the show in response to tweeting to the brand with the hashtag, generated 7,220 tweets alone.

Topshop meanwhile received 6,100 tweets during the same time period tied to both its show and its #livetrends campaign run in conjunction with Twitter.

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Categories
Blocks data social media technology

Social media conversation fuels real-time fabric design for Christian Siriano dress

Christian-Siriano-Verizon-socialimprint-looks

Fashion designer Christian Siriano turned to social media to inform the print of a fabric for two garments unveiled this past week.

The #socialimprint project, in partnership with Verizon, quite literally tracked conversations around music and fashion during the Fashion Rocks event held in New York in early September, and translated them into different patterns that were printed onto a silk charmeuse cloth in real-time.

Online social tools were employed to aggregate and analyse the content throughout the night. From there, the top eight trending topics for music were paired with the highest trend for fashion every 30 seconds to determine a specific set of shapes and colors in the design. The show, its performers, designers and more all impacted the result therefore, with varying symbols and shades becoming a different part of the print each time they were mentioned.

Find out more about each look and which celebrities influenced the fabric via Forbes.com.