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ICYMI: Apparel manufacturing coming home, shopping by voice, French brands focus on startups

Is apparel manufacturing coming home?
Is apparel manufacturing coming home?

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

TOP STORIES
  • Is apparel manufacturing coming home? [McKinsey]
  • Voice command: is it the future of online shopping? [FashionUnited]
  • French retail and fashion groups deepen focus on startups [WWD]
  • Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger are sending a clear signal that Amazon is the future of fashion, and it’s terrible news for department stores [Business Insider]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Magic Leap is real and it’s a janky marvel [TechCrunch]
  • Fast Retailing signs deal to fully automate warehousing [WWD]
  • ‘Building the digital factory’: 3D printing comes to Shopify [Digiday]
  • Chinese investment into computer vision technology and AR surges as US funding dries up [TechCrunch]
  • Amy Winehouse is going on tour as a hologram [Hypebeast]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Dove gets certified cruelty-free [FashionNetwork]
  • Why fashion’s anti-fur movement is winning [BoF]
  • The Maiyet Collective’s concept store: reshaping ethical lux [Stylus]
  • You buy a purse at Walmart. There’s a note inside from a “Chinese prisoner.” Now what? [Vox]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Amazon Fashion to launch London pop-up [Drapers]
  • Brandless is launching a pop-up shop in NYC [TechCrunch]
  • Supreme envy: The drop model gets used for burgers, tacos, toothbrushes [Digiday]
  • Jenna Lyons is back, and she’s returning with a brand-new multi-platform venture [Vogue]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Three Nasty Gal ads banned by watchdog [FashionNetwork]
  • ASOS unveils campaign and collection for new Gen-Z label Collusion* [TheIndustry]
  • Adidas launches new membership program [HighSnobiety]
  • Why brands are launching secret apps for superfans [BoF]
  • Snapchat becomes the mobile HBO with 12 daily scripted Original shows [TechCrunch]
  • Superdry unveils disabled mannequin shop window for Invictus Games [TheIndustry]
PRODUCT
  • Alexander Wang is launching a new Uniqlo collaboration that’s all about underwear [Vogue]
BUSINESS
  • Judge removes Deciem founder from CEO role [BoF]
  • Sears files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy [WSJ]
  • Superdry issues profits warning [Drapers]
  • Coast falls into administration and is bought by Karen Millen [TheIndustry]
  • Walmart acquires online lingerie retailer Bare Necessities [Reuters]
  • Lyst launches French version after LVMH investment [FashionNetwork]
CULTURE
  • The most diverse fashion season ever on the runway, but not the front row [NY Times]
  • Met Costume Institute embraces ‘Camp’ for 2019 blockbuster show [NY Times]
  • ‘Gender Bending Fashion’ to be focus of new show at Museum of Fine Arts in Boston next March [WWD]

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.

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

ICYMI: Inside Target’s test store, algorithms threatening jobs, L’Occitane’s AI personalization

Target
Target

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

TOP STORIES
  • Inside Target’s top secret test store [Co.Design]
  • How algorithms are threatening fashion’s white-collar jobs [BoF]
  • L’Occitane boosts mobile conversions by 159% with AI-powered personalization [Mobile Marketing]
TECHNOLOGY
  • What blockchain can’t do [HBR]
  • Think you know how disruptive artificial intelligence is? Think again [Forbes]
  • Top Japan fashion site bets big on custom-fit fast fashion [BoF]
  • Baidu’s self-driving buses will hit Japan’s streets next year [TNW]
  • How SK-II disrupted the beauty industry in Japan with emerging technology [TheDrum]
  • Watch MIT’s blind robot run, jump, and climb stairs [TNW]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Factory Tour: Eileen Fisher helps make the eco-fashion dream of circularity come true [Fashionista]
  • Wrangler and MyFarms talk ‘field-level’ sustainability in new report [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • 27% of apparel sales are now online [RetailDive]
  • Why virtual reality won’t revolutionize retail, but scan-and-go will [RetailDive]
  • Sophia Webster puts her spin on experiential retail with second London boutique [WWD]
  • Reporter’s notebook: A quest for experiential retail [RetailDive]
  • Walmart.com launches 3-D virtual reality tour [WWD]
  • Amazon claims it doesn’t want to take on UPS and FedEx. So why is it introducing tons of its own Amazon delivery vans? [Recode]
  • Samsung brand experience opens its doors in the heart of Paris [BrandChannel]
  • Kirsten Green’s survival guide for the ‘retail reckoning’ [BoF]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Inside Instagram’s social shopping masterclass [BoF]
  • Hilfiger’s next TommyNow runway show to touch down in Shanghai [WWD]
  • Are influencers really worth the money? [BoF]
  • Roger Federer signs $300 million sponsorship deal with Uniqlo [BoF]
PRODUCT
  • These people with disabilities have ideas for making shopping more accessible [TeenVogue]
  • Tiffany & Co. will now let you personalize with custom symbols and monograms [Town & Country]
  • What FDA approval of CBD could mean for the beauty industry [Racked]
  • Walmart pulls “Impeach 45” t-shirts after Trump supporters threaten boycott [FastCompany]
BUSINESS
  • Paris Fashion Week’s front rows speak to fashion’s complicated stance on #MeToo [TheFashionLaw]
  • Chanel’s digital strategy takes shape amid executive shuffle [BoF]
  • Subscription box market fights fatigue [AdAge]
  • How Revolve has built a billion-dollar fashion company for millennial women [Inc]
  • Fans of ModCloth and Bonobos were aghast when Walmart bought the brands. But they’re still shopping [Quartzy]
Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce product Retail technology

ICYMI: The resale market grows, reporting gender pay gaps, augmented reality at retail

Thredup - resale
Thredup

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

TOP STORIES
  • Resale is expected to be bigger than fast fashion within 10 years [Fashionista]
  • Major fashion names among worst offenders in Britain gender pay gap [NYTimes]
  • 10 retailers leading the way in augmented reality [RetailDive]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Retailers race against Amazon to automate stores [NYTimes]
  • Will brands start selling digital apparel in video games? [LSN Global]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Tencent shows off their vision for the future of retail [JingDaily]
  • Why Sephora merged its digital and physical retail teams into one department [Digiday]
  • How Men’s Wearhouse became a bright spot in the declining retail space [AdWeek]
  • Could entering a lottery be the future of shopping? End Clothing thinks so [Vogue]
  • These 25 companies are revolutionizing retail [Business Insider]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Ssense shuts down Polyvore, sparking outrage among fans [BoF]
  • Tommy Hilfiger’s new campaign features models with disabilities [Teen Vogue]
  • The day Warby Parker lost its cool [FastCompany]
PRODUCT
  • Counterfeiting makeup is a new trend in Chinese how-to videos [JingDaily]
  • Louis Vuitton now sells a pricey tracker for your designer luggage [Engadget]
BUSINESS
  • Why Virgil at Vuitton only begins to combat industry racism [HypeBeast]
  • Comme des Garçons is launching a direct-to-consumer brand [GQ]
  • How Zegna caters to today’s novelty-obsessed Chinese consumers [JingDaily]
Categories
Editor's pick product technology

Fashion’s space race: Why the spacesuit is a huge future branding opportunity for designers

Chanel's spacecraft at Paris Fashion Week (Image: Vogue Paris) - space technology - space race
Chanel’s spacecraft at Paris Fashion Week (Image: Vogue Paris)

Space travel has long been a source of inspiration to the fashion industry. When the space race between the Soviet Union and the US was underway in the 1960s, it influenced designers including Paco Rabanne, Courrèges and Pierre Cardin into all manner of both sculptural and streamlined looks.

High fashion houses since have regularly referenced everything and anything related to the galaxy, the fantasy of its contents and the way in which we could navigate it.

One giant leap to modern day and little has changed. This time around it’s the likes of Chanel and Gucci taking their cues directly from exploring our solar system and beyond.

In March 2017, the former went so far as to showcase a rocket (as above) complete with mock launch during Paris Fashion Week, while astronaut prints and lashings of metallic looks took to the runway alongside. The latter then followed up on its otherworldly Milan show with a campaign film featuring everything from UFOs to multiple Star Trek references just last month.

Accessories brand Coach, meanwhile, recently unveiled a limited edition capsule collection of NASA-themed pieces, including handbags, purses and sweatshirts. Said creative director, Stuart Vevers, at the time: “The collection is very nostalgic. There’s something about the time of the space program that just gives this feeling of possibility. The space references, rockets, and planets are symbolic of a moment of ultimate American optimism and togetherness.”

In today’s political environment, that feeling of hope may be particularly sought after once more, but the renewed interest in space goes beyond just nostalgia. Head over to Forbes to read all about the space travel on the horizon fuelled by private companies, and what that means for designers in terms of potential branding opportunities as the spacesuit for Elon Musk’s SpaceX is revealed.

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digital snippets technology

Digital snippets: all the wearable tech news from #CES

under-armour-hb-2

Trawling the halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center during CES is the equivalent of perusing 38 football fields of shoulder-to-shoulder booths featuring endless displays of new technology.

The great news about the internet: you don’t have to actually do that hard work yourself. So here’s a round-up of all the fashion-related and wearable technology news that came out of the week, as written by other people all over the web (I too gave it a miss this year!)…

  • How Under Armour plans to turn your clothes into gadgets [Wired]
  • Under Armour’s Gemini 2 sneakers are fitness trackers for your feet (as pictured) [Mashable]
  • Misfit’s wearables hide their tech behind cool minimalism [Wired]
  • Fitbit Blaze launches as $200 Apple Watch competitor [TechRepublic]
  • Samsung unveils ‘Smart Suit’ as part of family of wearables [Mashable]
  • Samsung made a smart belt that doesn’t suck [The Verge]
  • Fossil to roll out 100 wearables [WWD]
  • OMbra biometric smart sports bra woos women [BrandChannel]
  • L’Oréal patch measures UV exposure [TrendWalk]
  • Fashion icon Iris Apfel debuts luxury smart bracelets that track health [MedicalDaily]
  • Mira’s new smart jewellery combines tech and high fashion [DigitalTrends]
  • Futuristic sneakers tighten automatically, warm your feet and are controlled by an app [MailOnline]
  • Casio maps out smartwatch territory in cyclists and hikers [FT]
  • SCOTTeVEST’s new jacket lets users cleverly store a laptop inside their clothing [iDigitalTimes]
  • Clothes at the CES fashion show actually looked pretty normal [CNET]
  • A look at some of the wackiest wearables on show [Wareable]

Image via Mashable

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Comment Editor's pick film mobile social media

From the archive: How Hermès is winning with creative online content

Hermes_Ostrich_Birkin_Bag-e1408563424299

Last year’s list of the 100 most innovative companies, according to Forbes, saw French luxury brand Hermès sitting at number 13. Though it dropped to 22 in 2015, it can still be credited as a leader in creating desire coupled with mystique.

This article documenting why, and originally published in Forbes in October 2014, remains as relevant now as it was back then. Yes the elusiveness of its famous handbags is one important factor, but the part you may know less about is the way it consistently defers to creativity online.

While Burberry might be shouted about as a digital pioneer or Chanel heralded for its elegant YouTube channel, not to mention statement-worthy catwalk shows, Hermès should be regarded for the creative content it is pushing out across channels. It regularly, and always quietly, releases everything from quirky illustrated videos to pop-up e-stores that tick every box associated with the brand craftsmanship it is engaged in, setting it apart from many others in the space.

The Forbes list is determined by measuring which companies trade at a level incongruous to their underlying financials and assets, leading to an Innovation Premium (IP). Hermès set a record in 2014, reporting an operating profit of $1.69 billion with $5 billion in sales – the fastest growing business in its industry over the past six years. In fact the only others categorized as ‘luxury goods’ on the list from Forbes were Li & Fung at 41 and Luxottica Group at 51 (in 2015, Luxottica sat at 65, while Li & Fung dropped off the top 100 entirely).

0902_FL-hermes-axel-dumas_2000x1125-1152x648

An article in the September 8, 2014 issue of Forbes magazine accompanying the list highlighted the fact Hermès doesn’t have a marketing department. “Why should it? McKinsey doesn’t have a consulting department nor does Microsoft have a software department. Marketing is Hermès’ core business,” writes author Susan Adams.

She quotes the company’s CEO, Axel Dumas (as pictured above): “Our business is about creating desire. It can be fickle because desire is fickle, but we try to have creativity to suspend the momentum.”

Taking it to that online space therefore, one such exercise in creativity in 2014 could be seen in the pop-up virtual store launched, dedicated to the brand’s silk squares, shawls, twills, scarves and stoles. Illustrated in typical Hermès style by Pierre Marie, Lamaisondescarrés.com looks like a grand house with an intricate interior and a diverse series of characters and creatures all featured. There’s a gardener floating on a hot air balloon, sunflowers twisting in the breeze, a play slide atop a large giftbox, a gentleman lying in a hammock and more.

The team behind it referred to it as “playful, welcoming, immersive and surprising”. Created in partnership with agency AKQA, it allows users to explore different rooms featuring 600 models of Hermès signature silks, all of which can be clicked to purchase.

1027_FL-Hermes-masiondescarres_1956x1100-1152x647

There’s also a link through to two of the brand’s apps – further explorations of creative content, this time with a functional edge. The first, called Silk Knots, is a how-to guide on 24 different ways to tie your scarf through images and videos. The second, the Tie Break app, is aimed at men and includes a variety of GIFs, games and comics as well as collection insights.

There’s a real sense of fun permeating Hermès’ work, and the same can be said for film. Stop motion has been a go-to for the brand for some time, from China plates playing ping-pong while handbags spectate, to pairs of shoes leapfrogging one another. Previous holiday seasons meanwhile have seen illustrated versions of its infamous orange boxes captured iceskating. Each clip is far worthier than the 20-60,000 views they’ve received (for reference, 2015’s holiday clip has been viewed over 600,000 times to current date).

Earlier in 2014 there was also a campaign starring Ballet de l’Opéra National de Paris dancer, Jérémie Bélingard. Directed by Romain Laurent, the 60-second spot – called Man on the Move – saw Bélingard walking around an “urban playground”, as he did so automatically transforming from one outfit to the next.

Like a fashionable shafeshifter, when he bumps into a lamppost, his jacket and granddad-collar shirt are replaced with a white printed shirt and green trousers; when he hits the wall with the chime of a pinball machine, the green jacket to match those trousers arrives… and so it continues.

Each piece is peppered with an eccentric, playful and quirky feel. Above is another strong example – Hermès taking its signature equestrian reference, and bringing it to life in an unexpected manner. Despite the fact that means models acting out being a horse (#jesuisuncheval is the hashtag), somehow there remains a chic French sophistication to it.

Hermès’ US CEO, Robert Chavez, is quoted in Adams’ piece: “We’ve always said we don’t take ourselves too seriously at Hermès.”

Arguably it’s this combination of creativity and light-heartedness that is making this 177-year old brand relevant in today’s digital world. A beautiful sense of humour anchors it, all the while an air of aspiration is maintained, resulting in content that is some of the best we’re seeing out there from a luxury house to date.

As the intro to the magazine article reads: “Quietly and diligently, the family behind Hermès has become one of the world’s richest, to the tune of more than $25 billion. They’ve done it by not only selling beautiful luxury items but also by selling aura as beautifully as any company on this planet.”

Categories
Blocks Editor's pick technology

Google and Levi’s talk Project Jacquard, their all-new smart fabric

ProjectJacquard_levis1

Google is stepping into the world of smart fabrics with the introduction of “Project Jacquard”. The tech giant is partnering with Levi Strauss & Co, the clothing manufacturer known for Levi’s denim, to make conductive yarn that will be weaved into garments–from our jeans to our jacket. The goal is to enable touch and gesture interactivity so we can do things like press our sleeves to turn a light bulb on or off, and activate our phones to make a call (as the concept video below shows).

It’s one-way communication, but it’s so embedded into what we wear it’s completely unobtrusive. In fact, whether you like the idea of the functionality at this stage or not, it’s the first true example of what might end up really being “wearable technology,” and that’s because the result looks exactly like the clothes we already own. That was a point Paul Dillinger, vice president of innovation at Levi’s, drove home when speaking at the Fashion Tech Forum in New York last week. He was joined by Ivan Poupyrev, technical program lead at Google’s Advanced Technology and Products (ATAP) group.

Head on over to Forbes for the full story highlighting the four big things they talked about: this isn’t a gadget, creating something people want to wear, why Levi’s, and scaling up.