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ICYMI: The rise of watchdog culture, new zero-waste platform, Under Armour’s spacewear

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

TOP STORIES
  • Diet Prada, Estée Laundry and the rise of watchdog culture: harmful or helpful? [BoF]
  • A coalition of giant brands is about to change how we shop forever, with a new zero-waste platform [Fast Company]
  • Under Armour to create ‘spacewear’ for Virgin Galactic astronauts [Fashion United]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Amazon’s new robot delivers packages to rich people [Quartz]
  • Marks & Spencer launches AI-powered photo search on mobile site [The Industry]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Fast fashion exploits everyone it touches [Quartz]
  • The world’s largest packaged food company will ditch single-use plastic [Fast Company]
  • Exploitation ‘rife’ in UK textile industry [BBC]
  • The Kate Spade brand is donating $1 million to mental health organizations [Racked]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • The Body Shop to turn its stores into ‘activist hubs’ to combat the high street [Marketing Week]
  • A look inside Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton pop-up in Miami [Hypebae]
  • Net-a-porter, Mr Porter enhance personal shopping services [WWD]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Avon apologizes for anti-cellulite ad after being accused of ‘shaming women’ [The Guardian]
  • Amazon knows what you buy. And it’s building a big ad business from it. [NYT]
  • Brand purpose advertising will be the making – or breaking – of Stylist [The Drum]
  • Celebrities and social media influencers sign transparency pact [The Industry]
  • CVS unveils initiative to label retouched images [BoF]
PRODUCT
  • Is 2019 the year men’s make-up goes mainstream? [Vogue]
  • Asos to launch its first own-brand homeware collection [Fashion United]
BUSINESS
  • How serious is luxury’s China crisis? [BoF]
  • Burberry upbeat despite Q3 sales dip, monthly drops are strong [Fashion Network]
  • The RealReal in talks with banks for IPO [BoF]
  • Avery Baker stepping down at Tommy Hilfiger [WWD]
  • Karl Lagerfeld was a no-show at both Chanel couture shows [Reuters]
CULTURE
  • Dolce & Gabbana advert completely ruined my career, says Chinese model Zuo Ye as she breaks her silence over race row [SCMP]
  • How bots ruined buying sneakers [Complex]
  • This is what the future of sneaker reselling looks like [Highsnobiety]

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. 

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business Podcast

Tommy Hilfiger on embracing innovation

Liz Bacelar and Avery Baker
Liz Bacelar and Avery Baker

Risk, authenticity and understanding your consumer are the keys to innovation, says Avery Baker, chief brand officer of Tommy Hilfiger, on the latest episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast.

“When you’re trying to do something that really creates an impact and is somewhat revolutionary, then you’ve got to put all the chips on the table,” she explains to TheCurrent’s founder Liz Bacelar, at a live recording at Neuehouse in New York.

LISTEN HERE:

She was referring specifically to the brand’s Tommy Now runway experience, which first launched in February 2017 and most recently took place in Shanghai for Fall 2018. A tech-enabled interactive fashion event, she refers to it as “the right sweet spot in terms of being aspirational and accessible” for the Tommy brand.

Across the market, its set the benchmark in terms of what a digitally-enabled, see-now-buy-now runway experience could, and should, look like; arguably by putting both entertainment and commerce at its heart.

“From the beginning we didn’t think of it as a fashion show as we know fashion shows to be. We see this as a totally shoppable fashion ecosystem that at its heart is a media and content platform. It has a moment of theater, but it also has many layers in terms of engagement and shopability and experience and shareability. It is a multilayered platform,” Baker explains.

And importantly, that got big internal buy-in, catapulting the team behind the launch to make it happen: “What I found was that everyone was so excited about being part of something that was innovative, risk-taking, that was breaking the rules and writing our own story. There was a tremendous amount of excitement, rather than fear and pride to be a part of a program that was trying to be groundbreaking.”

That mentality of how to create experiential fashion show moments targeted to a Gen Z audience, is only a small manifestation of Tommy’s bigger ambitions towards innovation, however.

Beyond digitally-enabled retail experiences, the brand has also been investigating new ways to communicate with consumers through its evolving product – from smart clothing that rewards users per wear, through to speaking to a highly underserved audience through an adaptive line for people with disabilities.

During the live conversation, Baker also talks about how the brand has translated its American roots and values to a global audience, how it overcame the unexpected lull, and why magic and logic need to work together.

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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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business Editor's pick social media technology

Tommy Hilfiger on why embracing risk is the key to innovation

Gigi Hadid in Tommy Hilfiger's Tommy Now show
Gigi Hadid in Tommy Hilfiger’s Tommy Now show

Tommy Hilfiger underwent one of the biggest business model shifts in its history when it moved to a “see-now, buy-now” runway show called Tommy Now in 2016. That meant shortening a typically 18-month production process into just six months, as well as launching its product live in 70 countries around the world simultaneously as brand ambassador Gigi Hadid hit the catwalk.

Speaking at Lions Innovation, a division of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this week, chief brand officer Avery Baker referred to the change as leaping off from a traditional S-curve. “When success is achieved, companies have the hardest choice to make – do we stay on that current path and hope we’ll continue ever upwards or take the leap to new levels of relevance?”

She referenced the fact consumer gratification is arriving much sooner than ever before today, with expectations set and met by other industries, meaning fashion has no choice but to try and keep up or be increasingly deemed irrelevant. “The first sign of madness is repeating the same behaviour over and over again and expecting a different outcome. We had to change the way that we thought and most importantly the way that we behaved,” Baker explained.

The resulting Tommy Now show generated over 2.5 billion impressions worldwide. “Our biggest learning of all is that embracing risk is powerful; it’s liberating. We have to retain the guts to keep pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone again and again; keep pushing ourselves to keep up with the pace of consumer expectations. By doing so we can rewrite the rules around creativity and innovation,” Baker explained.

She highlighted a nine-step process that she said enabled the business to do this, grounded in an entrepreneurial spirit that allowed everyone in the organisation to make decisions, while still ensuring the brand would land safely. Head over to Forbes to read the steps.