business Editor's pick sustainability

Purposeful innovation leads British Fashion Council award winners

“Purpose is the new luxury,” said Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans, at the British Fashion Council’s annual awards last night, which celebrated creativity and innovation from across the industry. 

He picked up the Special Recognition Award for Innovation, for his work recycling plastics recovered from the ocean into new products for brands including adidas, G-Star and Stella McCartney.

He echoed a theme that resonated throughout the evening focused on pushing for a positive revolution in light of climate change. “The planet is broken, the oceans are nearly dead and we need a dream of a magic blue universe that is well protected – something that we actually fight for together,” he said.

Also focused on this message was Dame Vivienne Westwood, who picked up the Swarovski Award for Positive Change. She used the occasion to give an impassioned speech about capitalism and the industry’s enormous responsibility to protect the planet.

Activism continued as a theme throughout the evening, with references made to Brexit, the Paris riots and even the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data scandal revealed earlier this year.

Miuccia Prada, on reception of the Outstanding Achievement Award, added: “Just a little note for fashion, I think more and more we should feel a responsibility for defending human rights and freedom.”

Dame Vivienne Westwood
Dame Vivienne Westwood

A surprise for guests meanwhile came when HRH The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, arrived on stage to present the British womenswear designer of the year award to Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy, who was of course the designer behind the dress for her wedding to Prince Harry.

Meghan took the opportunity to reference female empowerment: “As all of you in this room know, we have a deep connection to what we wear. Sometimes it’s very personal, sometimes it’s emotional. But for me, this connection is rooted in really being able to understand that it’s about supporting and empowering each other, especially as women. When we choose to wear a certain designer, we’re not just a reflection of their creativity and their vision, but we’re also an extension of their values, of something in the fabric, so to speak, that is much more meaningful. I recently read an article that said, ‘The culture of fashion has shifted from one where it was cool to be cruel to now, where it’s cool to be kind’.”

Other awards during the evening went to Craig Green as menswear designer of the year, Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga as accessories designer of the year, Marco Bizzarri for Gucci as business leader, and Virgil Abloh for Off-White, in the Urban Luxe category. Gucci won the brand of the year, while Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino picked up the overarching designer of the year award.

Emerging talent accolades went to Samuel Ross for A-COLD-WALL* and Richard Quinn, while Kaia Gerber picked up model of the year. There were also special recognition awards to Kim Jones as the 2018 trailblazer and to Mert & Marcus, who won the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator.

This year also marks the first time the awards have celebrated a young global creative community with the launch of the“NEW WAVE: Creatives”, which recognized 100 of the most innovative and inspiring young creative talent from around the world.

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.


H&M Foundation calls for digital innovations in latest sustainability awards

H&M Foundation Global Change Award
H&M Foundation Global Change Award

H&M Foundation – the non-profit arm of the H&M Group – has launched the next round of its circularity awards, this time honing in on startups focused on digital innovations.

The fourth Global Change Award, will be open as usual to those breaking barriers with new materials and recycling – as has been seen with many previous winners – but there will be an extra eye on those using digital processes to make a significant impact on efficiency, planning and resource use.

“In previous years we ?ve seen brilliant and unexpected entries on recycling and new materials. Orange Fiber, Grape Leather and last year’s winner Crop-A-Porter are just some of the teams developing bold ideas and making great progress. And maybe more importantly, they make us rethink what a fabric is and what it can be made of. But to scale fashion’s transformation, new materials alone will not be enough,” explains H&M Foundation’s innovation lead, Erik Bang.

He pushes instead for those thinking about digitalization for the entire supply chain – from making raw materials to a garment’s end of life. “Digitalization has the potential to disrupt at the root, reinvent how things are done and help producers, sellers and customers to become circular,” he comments.

Such a call comes at a time when the fashion industry is being increasingly held to account for the impact it has on the planet. Both the H&M brand and other players such as Burberry, for instance, have recently hit headlines for the vast volume of unsold inventory they have, and the lengths they’re going to in order to get rid of it.

Meanwhile, a recent report by Quantis called Measuring Fashion, shows that fashion stands for 8.1% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is about the same footprint as the European Union.

“To speed up the shift to a circular fashion industry, we must find solutions changing how we buy, ship, produce, use, dye and design fashion garments,” Bang notes.

The Global Change Award is accordingly about impact and scalability. Five chosen winners each year receive a split of EUR 1m, and join a yearlong accelerator program. Previous years have seen over 8,000 entries from 151 countries.

Applications for this year’s entry are open until October 17, with the winners to be crowned at the Grand Award Ceremony in Stockholm City Hall in April 2019.

How are you thinking about circular 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.

Editor's pick sustainability

Italian design competition rewards fashion sustainability

Green Carpet Fashion Award judging panel
Green Carpet Fashion Award judging panel

Italy’s fashion body, the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana (CNMI), in partnership with Eco-Age and the Italian government, is investigating the future of sustainable fashion and the notion of “Made in Italy” with a design competition for up-and-coming designers.

The contest, which is also being supported by the Bicester Village Shopping Collection by Value Retail, will culminate at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards, Italia, happening at the end of Milan Fashion Week on September 23.

Judges include British Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, Derek Blasberg (who has recently been appointed as the head of YouTube’s new fashion & beauty content partnerships division), Eco-Age founder and creative director Livia Firth, and singer Ellie Goulding. Between them they have handpicked five finalists who will be showing their creations at the award ceremony in September.

“The design talent and innovation this year has blown me away,” said Firth. “The designers we’ve seen are not only highlighting traditional Italian craftsmanship but also creating their own materials when they can’t find sustainable solutions on the market. Through their creativity, drive and passion they are setting a clear challenge to the wider industry.”

Finalists include Teatum Jones, who created a dress made from recycled polyester and other materials such as laser cut sequins made from recycled plastic water bottles; Gilberto Cazolari, whose look was created from jute coffee bags originated from Brazil and bought at a navigli (flea) market in Italy; Behno, who created a gown made of GOTS certified organic silk and ECONYL® regenerated nylon (a yarn made of discarded fishing nets and carpets); Davide Grillo, who created a cape covered in silk ‘feathers’ and a gown with a hand-painted design using onion skin, logwood and walnut shell; and Wrad, who created a ‘mint fabric’ made from 50% mint bamboo viscose and 50% GOTS certified organic cotton.

“This year’s entrants are making deep connections that run into the Italian supply chain but also offer commentary and in a way solutions to the global plastic pandemic or climate change,” said Carlo Capasa, president of the CNMI. “Young designers invested in sustainability are pushing the limits of fashion further every year. It is stunning to see.”

All five finalists are now embarking on a mentorship program with the Bicester Village Shopping Collection by Value Retail, which will include interactions with mentors spanning across Europe and China, whose expertise range from fashion, retail, supply chain management, consumer insight, brand building and marketing, among other topics. The final designs will also feature in The Creative Spot, a platform showcasing new talents at Fidenza Village outside Milan.

At the award ceremony in September, one designer will receive the Franca Sozzani GCC Emerging Designer Award and be given the opportunity to present at Milan Fashion Week in February 2019 with the support of the CNMI.

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Cannes Lions 2018: the award winning campaigns to know

Trash Isles' official currency, 'Debris'
Trash Isles’ official currency, ‘Debris’

At this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the most awarded campaigns echoed the sentiment that consumers want to engage with brands with a higher sense of purpose.

Sustainability and the environment came out top in that regard, with two initiatives scooping five of the top prizes. But other concepts continued a broader marketing focus particularly relevant to those in the consumer retail fields, from playing with the rules of what conventional advertising looks like, to evolving the notion of online and offline commerce in new ways.

Here, we highlight the ones to know from this year’s festival:

Stories with purpose

The idea of purpose and its continuing impact on creativity isn’t new to Cannes Lions. While the big talk on stage this year was around how brands can stand for something authentic all the while driving true action, award winners throughout the week highlighted some particularly innovative ways to do so. 

The small nation of Palau took home not one, but three Grand Prix awards  (Direct, Sustainable Development Goals and Titanium), for Palau Pledge, for instance, a campaign that asked tourists visiting the Pacific Island to sign a pledge to protect its environment. Those arriving in the country now have their passports stamped with a pledge to be considerate of the environment they are visiting. The campaign extends further with a video playing on every flight arriving, and the nation’s Ministry of Education creating a program to educate their children on sustainability.

Meanwhile, Trash Isles, a campaign partnership between Plastic Oceans (a plastics pollution organization) and media company LADbible, also took home two of this year’s top awards – the Grand Prix for PR and for Design. It did so for its aim to highlight the problem of plastics in the ocean by registering the patch of trash as its own country, including a flag, (recycled) passport and currency, and then taking the concept to the United Nations.

The idea was that as soon as the area was registered as a country, people would start taking the problem seriously. Within the first week the country had 100,000 people signed up to become citizens, making it the 26th smallest country in the world – honorary citizens include former US Vice President, Al Gore, and Dame Judi Dench.

This notion of purpose and sustainability also trickled down to fashion where Lacoste won a Gold award in the Design category for the way in which it played with its iconic logo in a bid to help raise awareness about species’ conversation. The limited edition “Save our Species” collection it created, saw the crocodile logo it is known for replaced with 10 of the world’s most endangered creatures. To add a level of urgency, the number of polo shirts available for each species corresponded to the number of them known to remain in the wild.

Rewriting the rules

adidas x Alexander Wang
adidas x Alexander Wang

The second trend this year came from brands challenging public perception of what is known about them – from remixing their visual identity, to speaking to such niche audiences that they risked alienating a majority.

Nike has particularly played in that field by tapping into niche cultures with its Nothing Beats a Londoner campaign, which took home a Grand Prix in the awards’ new category, Social & Influencer. This initiative honed in on London youth culture with an energetic spot that pays homage to urban living, highlighting how challenging it is to practice sports in the city. The campaign was well received as an anthem to young brand fans who recognized many of the 258 athletes and influencers featured in the full three-minute piece.

Meanwhile, Diesel’s Deisel launch, which popped up in New York’s Chinatown with a series of real ‘fake’ goods, took home Gold in the Outdoor category. The campaign showcased the brand’s sense of humor, which has been a part of its DNA since its inception, while modernizing it for a younger generation who is keen to tap into irony and subversion.

The Adidas Originals by Alexander Wang season two launch was also noted by the way it took inspiration from underground culture to create a shopping chatbot, in doing so taking home Bronze in another new category at this year’s awards – Creative E-Commerce. Consumers had to text a number found on billboards across the city to begin communications with the bot and complete their purchase. Items were then home delivered by bike couriers wearing the collection head-to-toe. The idea of bootlegging retail follows on from the collaboration’s season one launch, in which shoppers could only purchase items off the back of a truck, and then carried them home in trash bags.

Retail 3.0

As retail giants including Amazon and Alibaba set the benchmark for what a good retail experience is, this year’s winners from Cannes also brought differentiation by navigating between creating learning experiences in brick-and-mortar, to playing up to the consumer’s digital nature.

As previously covered, Apple took home the Grand Prix in the Brand Experience & Activation category for its Today at Apple programme, which hosts over 18,000 in-store classes globally a week. On-stage at Cannes Lions, Angela Ahrendts, SVP of retail at Apple, described the retail spaces as Apple’s biggest product, explaining: “Retail’s not dying, but it has to evolve, it has to continue to move – and I think it has to serve a bigger purpose than just selling, because anybody can do that faster, cheaper.”

The Creative E-Commerce category inevitably also brought relevancy here, with Xbox taking home the Grand Prix for its “The Fanchise Model” project, a store that allowed gaming fans to not only design and buy their own controllers, but earn commission through subsequent sales to their peers. Users who customized their own controller could claim ownership of it and share their artwork on social channels and forums. By co-creating with consumers, the brand encouraged a sense of ownership and opened up the conversation to a much bigger story that spoke to their fans’ lifestyles.

Nike’s AR Jordan launch on Snapchat otherwise picked up a Gold in this new category. The campaign, in which fans could purchase limited edition sneakers on Snapchat and get them delivered in under two hours, reached 2.7 unique users and 9.7m lens views, according to agency R/GA. The activation featured four major elements: augmented reality through the Snapchat partnership, 3D modelling of Michael Jordan, mobile commerce and lastly, express delivery fulfilled by Darkstore. Together, they created a fleeting experience that saw the sneakers sell out in 23 minutes.

Technology’s impact

Other notable Grand Prix winners highlighted the power of artificial intelligence and the use of data to spread a bigger message. Creative Data winner “JFK Unsilenced” by The Times UK, analyzed 831 speeches by the former USA president to create a AI-powered speech 50 years after he was due to talk at an event before getting killed in Dallas, Texas.

Similarly the ALS Association took home the top honor in the Good category for giving Pat Quinn, the person behind the viral “Ice Bucket Challenge”, his voice back through using a bank of audio recordings to create an artificial voice. Elsewhere in Colombia, the Ministry of Communications and Technology took home the Grand Prix for Innovation for allowing people in remote areas – who only have access to legacy phones – to call a phone line and ask questions to a Google voice assistant, thus connecting them to the Internet and wider pool of information.

Unlike public perception and debate about the threat of AI to humankind, it is quickly becoming clear that for advertising, the technology is more friend than foe. As the majority of this year’s winners show, deploying technologies can only serve to enhance connections, and often add an additional layer of emotion between brand and viewer.

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UK fashion entrepreneurs take note: $1.5m up for grabs via WeWork’s Creator Awards

WeWork's Creator Awards will take place in London on September 14
WeWork’s Creator Awards will take place in London on September 14

Co-working business WeWork is offering a grant of over $1.5 million to UK entrepreneurs, SMBs, non-profits and artists as part of its Creator Awards this summer; a global initiative that will hand out a total of $20 million worldwide to innovative projects and the people behind them.

The team is looking to recognise and reward those who are thinking in new ways, building fresh projects and achieving real change across all industries. Fashion falls comfortably within that bracket, but what’s better is any stage of growth is relevant; whether you have an established business or even just the beginnings of a good idea.

Prizes from $18,000 to $360,000 are up for grabs across three categories in a bid to offer opportunity to as many different types of creators as possible. The Incubate award is for individuals with an idea or project that needs funding; the Launch award is for start-ups and non-profits that have launched but are still learning; and the Scale award is for those with a record of success that are ready for the next level.

“We’re a company that wants to provide people with an energy source. We want to provide people with motivation, excitement. We want them to love what they do,” Miguel McKelvey, co-founder and chief creative officer of WeWork, says in the above video. This is the first year of what’s set to be an annual programme.

The barrier to enter is low too – all you have to do is fill out a form and submit a 90-second video by the deadline of August 24. The regional finals will then take place in London on September 14, before the Creator Awards Global Finals in New York in November.

At the first three regional finals in the US, Emily Kane won $36,000 for GirlForward to bring her English Language Learning curriculum online to support girls who have been displaced by conflict and persecution around the world. Donovan Morrison won $72,000 for Luna Lights to help bring the safety light solution to 20 assisted living communities and 600 older adults this year. And Samuel Bain won $180,000 for Imerman Angels to take the one-on-one Cancer Support Community beyond the US.

London’s event on September 14 will also include a full day of public programming, a pop-up market with local sellers and a job fair. Further Creator Awards will be hosted in Berlin, Mexico City and Tel Aviv.

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Retail and technology battle it out as the big winners at this year’s Cannes Lions

Cannes Lions
Cannes Lions 2016

If you’re not yet sure of the role technology plays in the future of our industry – or any industry – just look at the Grand Prix winners at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Virtual reality, artificial intelligence, wearables and data visualisation all got a nod. There was a VR film from The New York Times sweeping up both top awards in the entertainment and mobile categories; the use of data to create The Next Rembrandt for ING Bank taking the cyber and creative data titles; and AlphaGo artificial intelligence beating the world’s best human player of Go, winning for innovation.

Even fashion got a look in with Google Project Jacquard picked up the Grand Prix in the product design category for the launch of its interactive textile technology. Levi’s was introduced as founding partner, which has since led to the introduction of a smart jean jacket for urban cyclists.

The big winners otherwise were far more traditional in concept, though heavily weighted to those in the retail and apparel industries for once. REI, Under Armour, John Lewis, Harvey Nichols and Toms all walked away with top prizes.

Outdoor retailer REI won the coveted Titanium Grand Prix (as well as the promo & activation title) for its #OptOutside campaign, which took the US by surprise on its biggest shopping day, Black Friday, when it shut all its stores and invited consumers to head outside instead. By taking a stand against the chaos of shopping straight after Thanksgiving, REI was also able to share its value that a life outside is a life well lived.

Sir John Hegarty, founder of BBH, and jury president for the Titanium category at Cannes Lions, said: “We were looking to credit something that has gone beyond; that’s perhaps daring, courageous and different. This involves all of those things. Lots of things are advertising, what we loved about this idea was how profound it was as a thought, and how daring it was to carry it through.”

Over 170 organisations showed support for the idea, with many of them also closing their doors in solidarity. The campaign, created by Venables Bell & Partners, earned 33 straight days of media coverage with 6.7 billion impressions, while the #OptOutside hashtag also generated 1.2 billion social impressions.

Under Armour meanwhile won in the film craft category for its Rule Yourself campaign by Droga5. A celebration of the fact US Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has come out of retirement to compete for gold again, it shows the hard work put into training in a relentless pursuit of sporting greatness. The film outlines the brand message: “It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light.”

In the film category overall, Harvey Nichols also followed up on the success of its Sorry I Spent it on Myself campaign from 2014 (which won four Grand Prix awards), and won this time around for its Shoplifters spot. Created by adam&eveDDB to launch the luxury retailer’s new loyalty app, it uses real CCTV footage of thieves getting caught in the act, albeit with animated cartoon heads protecting their identity.

As jury president Joe Alexander, CCO of The Martin Agency, said: “What’s funny is this film is actually really ugly, but it does what great filmmaking and storytelling does, it brought to life an idea.”

Given the fact retail is a struggling sector at present, it’s always a positive thing when a piece of work is awarded for the impact it actually has on the business; the sales or ROI it leads to. On that basis, John Lewis won in the Creative Effectiveness category for a second year this year, this time for its Monty the Penguin campaign from 2014 (which won the Grand Prix in film craft in 2015).

Another by adam&eveDDB, this two minute Christmas film was viewed 29m times across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, over 6m of which were before the advert even aired on TV. Better yet, the Monty merchandise sales generated alone paid for the campaign, while sales across the department store rose a record 5.8% on Christmas 2013. Econometrics showed that advertising was the single biggest factor driving this growth, accounting for nearly 25% of all sales. In all, the 2014 Christmas campaign generated £132m worth of extra sales and £33m of extra profit.

A special award also went to Toms founder Blake Mycoskie. The Cannes LionHeart recognises an individual who has innovatively harnessed commercial brand power to make a significant and positive difference to people or the planet. Said Terry Savage, chairman of Lions Festivals: “Blake’s unstoppable passion and commitment has driven him to create a brand model that has made a positive impact on millions of people’s lives across the world. His vision to develop a new kind of conscious consumerism has transformed into a global movement.”


Overall, it was a great year for the industry at Cannes Lions, with other winners including Nike, adidas, Canada Goose and Björn Borg all winning gold awards, as well as Forever21, H&M, Issey Miyake, Pacific Brands, David Jones and Puma scooping silvers.

But there’s something to be said here too about the division between tradition and technology being seen in the Grand Prix names. What we need now is for those two to combine; for the retail and apparel vertical to gracefully integrate technology to develop even more award-winning work. But importantly to do so with a heavy dose of creativity, and not just gratuity.

As Hegarty said: “We’ve got to remember that technology enables opportunity, but it’s creativity that enables value. We say to clients [they] must not under invest in that, that’s what’s really important; that’s what will lead to success.”

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Fashion Future Awards celebrates US visionaries and disruptors

Stefano Tonchi Misha Nonoo Liz Bacelar
Stefano Tonchi of W magazine, designer Misha Nonoo and Liz Bacelar of Decoded Fashion

Rebecca Minkoff, Misha Nonoo and Tictail were among the winners at the inaugural Fashion Future Awards in the US; an event co-hosted by W magazine and Decoded Fashion.

Recognising innovators across the fashion, retail and technology space, the evening celebrated the best across 10 categories including mobile, customer experience, start-ups, e-commerce, fashion week campaigns, data and analytics, omnichannel, and more.

There was also a visionaries award given to both Snapchat and Tory Burch for the way in which they’re pushing boundaries in technology and fashion.

“Fashion and technology are both about the future—forecasting and influencing it as it relates to retail, designing and driving it forward when it comes to tech,” said Stefano Tonchi, editor in chief of W. “As a judge, it was refreshing to see so many inventive ideas and such an appetite for experimentation. The winners are great examples of innovative thinking at the intersection of fashion, retail and technology.”

A full list of winners is below:

A Killer Experience – Most innovative way of enhancing the consumer experience.Winner: Covet Fashion

Beyond the Runway – Most engaging campaign launched at Fashion Week.Winner: Misha Nonoo

New e-Store on the Block – Best new e-commerce launch. Winner: MM.LAFLEUR

Real-Time Innovator – Best use of data and analytics for fashion and retail. Winner: Combatant Gentleman

The Big Idea – Most promising new digital fashion project. Winner: +rehabstudio

The Game Changer – Startup set to disrupt fashion in 2015. Winner: The RealReal

The Master of Mobile – Most innovative use of mobile. Winner: Tictail

Digital Coalition – Best brand and startup collaboration. Winner: Nineteenth Amendment & Macy’s

Bytes and Bricks – Best omni-channel experience. Winner: Rebecca Minkoff

The Visionaries – Selected by W magazine, these two honorees are pushing boundaries in technology and fashion: Snapchat and Tory Burch

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Fashion and tech to be celebrated in new Fashion Futures Awards


The British Fashion Council has teamed up with Decoded Fashion to launch the Fashion Futures Awards, which celebrates how the industry is pushing the boundaries through tech-based ideas, solutions and tools.

Due to be held on May 21 in London, the awards span categories including customer experience, mobile, e-commerce, best of start-ups and more.

They aim to “identify and highlight the brands who are creatively using tech to make their businesses smarter, their production lifecycle leaner, their brands stronger and their customer experiences more fulfilling”.

Judges announced so far include Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council; Dylan Jones, editor of British GQ; Peter Fitzgerald, country sales director for Google, and more.

Here’s a full list of categories for entry:

  • A killer experience: most innovative way of enhancing the consumer experience
    Customer experience is at the heart of all interactions between brands and their consumer, with technology now playing a huge part in how this conversation evolves. This award aims to highlight the role technology plays in how our consumer interacts with us, whether through in-store, online or across multichannel.
  • The master of mobile: most innovative use of mobile
    Mobile is one of the most disruptive changes affecting the industry, this award aims to recognise those leading the revolution in fashion and retail. Whether it be through a mobile app, a payment solution or new communications, this category celebrates the unique innovations that mobile technology is creating for fashion and retail.
  • Bytes and bricks: best omni-focused in-store experience
    From mobile experience to the desktop to an in-store visit, we are entering an omni-channel world, where consumers seek a whole experience. This award will recognise who is integrating the different channels to deliver the most seamless in-store experience and answering consumer’s expectations.
  • Beyond the runway: most engaging digital marketing campaign
    Once a platform for connecting fashion brands with buyers, Fashion Week has now become a powerful tool for B2C marketing activity, and technology has increasingly become the catalyst for creativity and ROI. This award recognises the most creative use of technology to engage with, promote and connect with a brand during and beyond the runway.
  • New e-store on the block: best new e-commerce launch
    Over the past year, we’ve seen more and more designers take control of their own online experience, now understanding the global platform that the digital world offers. This category will recognise the newcomers to e-commerce, and the launches that are both thoughtful and show the most potential in creating an online portal to their product.
  • The game changer: start-up set to disrupt fashion in 2015
    Technology evolves every quarter opening up new possibilities for fashion and retail, and a lot of the ideas come from small unfunded start-ups with incredible tech. This award highlights a start-up set to impact the fashion and retail industry in 2015.
  • Digital coalition: best brand and start-up collaboration
    Many brands are seeing the potential and opportunities that technology partnerships present to create something quite special that shows innovation in their offering. This category aims to recognise some of the collaborations that are closing the gap between fashion brands and emerging start-ups to create a closer connection between the two worlds.
  • The big idea: most innovative new digital project
    The fashion industry is teeming with bright ideas, new project launches and brand new tech. This award aims to take a look at some of the newer ideas that have not necessarily been in the market long enough to see big results on ROI, but we recognise as having great potential in the market.
  • Real-time innovator: best use of data and analytics for fashion and retail
    Understanding data and analytics gives brands and retailers the opportunity to propel their position in the industry and put them ahead of the competition in today’s industry. This award looks to recognise the most visionary and impactful use of data in fashion and retail, whether from in-house teams or from partnering with the most innovative new start-ups in the space.
  • The visionary: pushing the boundaries in fashion and technology
    This award recognises a company or individual who is spearheading innovation and is a true visionary in the fashion and retail industry.
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Cannes Lions 2013 round-up: fashion and beauty winners


It was a big year for fashion at the 60th annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity – the ad industry’s version of the Oscars if you will. As already reported, Burberry, Vivienne Westwood and Annie Leibovitz were all on stage, as was Justin Cooke, CMO of Topshop (as pictured), in a guest appearance during YouTube’s slot.

He talked to the idea of emotion in marketing: “When people feel happy, they want to influence others to do the same. At Topshop we refer to the three I’s; ignite a conversation, inspire our customers and then use that influence to build our UK-centric brand into a global entity.”

Topshop walked away with a bronze Media Lion for best use of social media for its Future of the Fashion Show campaign in February.

Here are some of the other fashion and beauty campaigns that won:

Dove Real Beauty Sketches: No surprise here – this campaign picked up the Titanium Grand Prix at Cannes as well as gold Lions in nearly every other category. Created by Ogilvy Brasil, it aimed to prove to women they’re more beautiful than they think they are by conducting a social experiment whereby an FBI-trained sketch artist drew their portraits based first on their own descriptions and then a stranger’s. The resulting film, which captures their reactions to the sketches, racked up over 4.5bn social media impressions. Dove also won a gold in the Film category for its Camera Shy campaign.

Nike Find Your Greatness: Always a big winner at Cannes, this year was no exception for Nike. It won a silver in the Titanium category for its Find Your Greatness campaign that surrounded last year’s Olympics. Ambush marketing at its finest (given Nike wasn’t an official sponsor), it highlighted that greatness isn’t reserved for just the elite athletes participating in the big event in the chosen city, but can be found worldwide – importantly in all the other places around the world also called London. Nike also won a silver for its Jogger campaign, and bronzes for She Runs the Night and Voices.

adidas Window Shopping: Not to be outdone, adidas also walked away with an armful of awards, this time for its adidas Neo Window Shopping initiative created by TBWA Helsinki. This saw a fully functional virtual store accessible from on the street by combining windows with the brand’s already existing e-commerce. Users could connect their smartphones via a simple URL and a pin (no need for an app or QR codes here), and then interact with the products on screen, dragging them into a shopping bag to make them appear on their own device to buy. It won both gold and silver Cyber Lions, as well as three bronzes in the Media and Mobile categories.

Macy’s Yes, Virginia the Musical: Macy’s localised its long-standing Yes, Virginia campaign in 2012 with a musical for schools in the busy run-up to the Christmas period. That initiative, created by JWT New York, saw it winning both a gold and a silver Lion in the Branded Content and Entertainment category.

Uniqlo Storms Pinterest: A smart move by Uniqlo over Pinterest also scooped a gold Lion in the Design category at Cannes this year. To promote its new Dry Mesh T-Shirts the Japanese retailer, along with Firstborn New York, created an impossible-to-miss, branded mosaic on the virtual scrapbooking site. As users scrolled through Pinterest’s public feeds giant blocks of branded images appeared and seemed to animate. It was done using 100 shell accounts on the platform that were later switched to branded Uniqlo ones. Uniqlo also won a bronze Media Lion for its Wake Up campaign.

Kmart Ship my Pants: You may have spotted this one already – Kmart’s humourous new video ad that plays on the phrase “Ship my Pants” to tout its new free shipping service. A winner for me on element of surprise alone, and at Cannes with silvers and bronzes in both the Film and Promo & Activation categories.

Geox Amphibox: Geox’s campaign for its everyday waterproof shoe walked away with gold, silver and bronze awards in the Cyber category as well as a bronze in Media. The aim was to prove the performance qualities of the shoes, so the team took four Facebook fans to the wettest place on earth, Cherrapunjee in India (which receives 11.7m of annual rainfall) to put them to the test. An online interactive documentary resulted.

Asos #bestnightever: I’ve commented a lot on shoppable films in the past, but there’s no escaping the fact they’re slowly making an increasing impact in the advertising space. Asos won a silver Media Lion on that basis this year for its #bestnightever campaign (even if the stats that went alongside aren’t necessarily directly the result of it to be honest), which saw three shoppable music videos created.

Bronze awards otherwise went to:

  • Louis Vuitton in Film for its Core Values campaign starring Muhammad Ali
  • Converse in Outdoor for its Highways campaign

And here’s a particularly nice message from Christopher Bailey, chief creative officer of Burberry, to close: “You have to take a leap of faith to move into a world that your industry or sector is not used to, but if you believe in it, and can feel it, it will be stronger and more believable in itself.”

film mobile social media

All the winners from the 2013 Fashion 2.0 Awards

Fashion 2.0 Awards host Robert Verdi; Style Coalition founder and CEO Yuli Ziv; Simon Doonan, Barneys New York creative ambassador at large - pic by Patrick McMullan

Marc Jacobs took the top innovator award at Style Coalition’s fourth annual Fashion 2.0 Awards in New York last night, an event dedicated to celebrating the best in communications strategies across digital media platforms.

Voted for by the public, the event also saw Jacobs taking the best Facebook title. Saks Fifth Avenue won two awards too: best blog by a fashion brand, and best website.

DKNY was named best Twitter for the fourth year in a row, while the Fashion 2.0 visionary award was presented to Rent the Runway founders Jennifer Hyman and Jenny Fleiss in acknowledgment of their “achievements in disrupting the retail industry and democratizing luxury fashion”.

Here’s the full list:

Pic courtesy of Patrick McMullan