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

Shutting down LFW, Farfetch acquires New Guards Group, the UN’s agriculture alert

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

TOP STORIES
  • Scrap the catwalk: Extinction Rebellion is right – LFW is unsustainable (The Guardian)
  • Farfetch acquires Off-White owner New Guards Group (BoF)
  • UN states we have to transform how we use land and grow food (Fast Company)
TECHNOLOGY
  • Nike buys an AI startup that predicts what consumers want (Tech Crunch)
  • Can artificial intelligence help society as much as it helps business? (McKinsey)
  • How fashion retailers are using artificial intelligence in 2019 (Edited)
  • Google implements augmented reality in maps (Mashable)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Only 1/8 Bangladesh garment factories passed international safety inspections (Fashion Network)
  • Sustainable retail: do shoppers love it or hate it? (Retail Week)
  • Volcom launches ‘Water Aware’ denim collection (Fashion United)
  • The challenges of building a socially conscious band (Vogue Business)
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Depop opens pop-up store in Selfridges (Fashion United)
  • Live stream apps are changing the way people shop (BoF)
  • Boohoo wants to beat Zara at its own game (BoF)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Climate change activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is the face of a new fashion campaign (Teen Vogue)
  • The future of fashion will be run by influencers (Quartzy)
PRODUCT
BUSINESS
  • Barneys files for bankruptcy as rents rise and visitors fall (BoF)
  • Boohoo to snap up Karen Milen & Coast in pre-pack (Retail Week)
  • Adidas posts jump in sales and profit (Fashion United)
  • Michael Gove orders HMRC to help small retailers in no-deal Brexit (Retail Gazette)
CULTURE
  • Victoria Secret cancels its runway show (Retail Dive)
  • Heist asks whether shapeware can be feminist in new campaign (Campaign)
  • Versace loses Chinese brand ambassador amid t-shirt controversy (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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business Campaigns data digital snippets e-commerce product Retail

Stella McCartney and LVMH, Amazon Prime Day, brands missing sustainability targets

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

TOP STORIES
  • Why LVMH struck a deal with Stella McCartney (Bof)
  • Amazon Prime Day brings sales, and risks, for retailers (NY Times)
  • Fashion brands have only met 21% of their circularity targets for 2020 (Fashion United)
  • Inside the Victoria’s Secret pipeline to Jeffrey Epstein (NY Post)
  • Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian: “data and creativity are not mutually exclusive” (Vogue Business)
  • The battle of the sneaker bots (BoF)
TECHNOLOGY
  • Facebook counts $5bn cost of Cambridge Analytica scandal (The Drum)
  • What brands are getting wrong about AR (Mobile Marketer)
  • The band aid of the future knows when you’re healed (Fast Company)
  • Forget synthetic meat, lab grown dairy is here (Bloomberg)
  • In China, facial-recognition technology is being deployed to take out the trash (Quartz)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Should we stop washing our clothes? (BBC)
  • Can rented clothes save the fashion industry (and the planet)? (Highsnobiety)
  • The big fashion fight: can we remove all the toxic, invisible plastic from our clothes? (The Guardian)
  • Norway challenges H&M on its sustainability claims (Tree Hugger)
  • Triumph invites its customers to recycle together (WWD)
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Under Armour utilizes 3D avatar technology to develop digital sizing standards (Fashion United)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • How TikTok is testing in-app e-commerce  (Digiday)
  • Topshop launches digital dating programme (Drapers)
  • Michael Kors launches scavenger hunt experience for NYC consumers (Fashion United)
  • Celine builds a mini-site via WeChat mini program  (Jing Daily)
PRODUCT
  • Lady Gaga’s new beauty line for Amazon (Bof)
  • Glossier to drop limited-edition fashion line (Fashion United)
  • G-Star Raw announces sustainable ‘dyed by nature’ collection (WWD)
  • Camper and Ecoalf launch sustainable footwear collaboration (Fashion United)
BUSINESS
  • UK manufacturers call for action on migration (Drapers)
  • Luxury retailer Barneys New York may file for bankruptcy, report says (Fashion United)
  • Kanye’s second coming: inside the billion-dollar Yeezy empire (Forbes)
  • Primark founder Arthur Ryan dead at 83 (Fashion United)
CULTURE
  • The year of ‘woke-washing’: How tone-deaf activism risks eroding brands (Marketing Dive)
  • Chanel hires first head of diversity & inclusion (Hypebeast)

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

From Pharrell to Barneys: the importance of collaboration

Pharrell Williams at the Fast Company Festival
Pharrell Williams at the Fast Company Festival

Collaborations were a recurring theme at the Fast Company Innovation Festival, which took place in New York this week, with a push for retailers to increasingly step out of their comfort zones.

On a panel about strategies for wooing younger customers, Daniella Vitale, CEO of Barneys New York, said that finding good partners to collaborate with is hard. “They need to have a willingness to look outside the model that already exists, but there’s this desire to control the brand a certain way,” she explained. “It’s not all the time that it’s easy to convince people to do it our way.”

This is an even bigger challenge when working with legacy brands that have been successful with the same approach for 30 years, she added. “Brands have to think about how Barneys can add value when they participate in a drop, or by doing an exclusive capsule line with us, or doing something online when normally they don’t sell their product online. We need partners to come on this journey with us.”

The creative industry has a lot to teach retail about the importance of taking a risk in order to achieve success through collaboration, other speakers noted. Pharrell Williams, for example, talked to taking a leap of faith when he recorded Happy, the 2014 best-selling single that earned him an Oscar nomination. “The career risks we take are the ones most rewarding,” Williams remarked in a panel about creativity and collaboration.

Pointing across the stage to Chris Meledandri, founder and CEO of film and animation studio Illumination, and his collaborator on the track, Williams added: “I’m grateful when people see things I can’t see.” The two worked together on Happy for 2010’s animated film Despicable Me. This was the first time the artist had ever recorded a soundtrack.

Melendandri, who was previously president at the 20th Century Fox Animation studio, also weighed in on the importance of constant self-disruption. “The natural tendency when you hit a period of success is to stop taking risks because you think there’s safety in replicating what you’ve done before. That’s the greatest danger,” he warned.

“Comfort is very sneaky,” agreed Williams. “It feels good, and sometimes you don’t even realize you’re comfortable. But to get the best out of yourself, you have to put yourself into positions where you’re uncomfortable or vulnerable.”

Collaborations between brands that complement one another from a lifestyle perspective have long been a successful recipe for many brands, as also noted earlier this year at the SXSW festival, in a discussion between SoulCycle, Madewell and Milk Bar.

Increasingly, however, legacy brands and retailers are deploying a collaborative approach to target a younger consumer who thinks beyond seasons, and shops and discovers brands in a much less linear fashion. Many would argue that collaborations with younger, more cult brands are also a shortcut into getting the consumer to think differently about a more established player, as recently seen by the announcement of Ralph Lauren’s first collaboration with British skatewear label Palace.

How are you thinking about brand collaborations? 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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Retail

Barneys and Neiman Marcus embrace new retail experiences

thedropLA@Barneys
thedropLA@Barneys

The idea that consumers require more than just product to drive them into department stores in the current retail climate, is being heavily backed by the likes of Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus of late.

Both have recently launched experience-led pop-ups, designed to drive customer engagement, create hype via social media and ultimately translate visitors into purchasers.

While the two department stores differ in their approach, the aim for both is clearly driven by their realization that modern consumers require more than one-off events to continuously drive footfall and conversion.

In the spirit of thinking outside the box, Barneys New York has launched a strategy inspired by streetwear’s “drop” culture and how to build hype back into retail. The initiative launched in October 2017, but it has recently matured into a two-day event titled thedropLA@Barneys, where the retailer once again teamed up with media publisher Highsnobiety to offer over 90+ brands and 20+ exclusive partnerships with streetwear-meets-luxury designers, as well as to host designer appearances and immersive installations.

Spread across five floors, the event was attended by 12,000 people and saw a 50% uplift in sales compared to the same weekend in 2017.

Neiman Marcus is similarly translating its new strategy with the “Idea Factory” concept, which launched with a variety of in-store activities that aim to bring customers and creatives together through one-off services such as product personalization and classes. The event is happening over the next two weeks in five stores across the US.

These installations are supposed to only be the beginning for a series of initiatives, with phase two anticipated in September. For the second instalment, the retailer is looking at concepts in epicure, food & beverage, travel, wellness and social consciousness, in a bid to become more culturally relevant, says Ed Burstell, Neiman Marcus’ SVP of product innovation

The new approach shows that ultimately, the future of retail, particularly when it comes to multibrand stores, depends on embracing the values of the younger consumers, as their high spending power can’t be denied, says Jeff Carvalho, managing director of Highsnobiety.

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Campaigns Editor's pick film technology

Barneys unveils VR film with Samsung and contemporary dance company

Mantle by Barneys New York
Mantle by Barneys New York

Barneys New York has launched Mantle, a virtual reality film and experience in collaboration with New York-based Martha Graham Dance Company and Samsung as its tech and distribution partner.

The film aims to blend fashion, technology and contemporary dance as it showcases dancers wearing exclusive designer looks straight from the runway.

“Barneys New York has always been centered around fashion and its role within culture,” said Matthew Mazzucca, creative director of Barneys New York. “By partnering with another iconic New York institution, the Martha Graham Dance Company, along with Samsung, we are proud to give our customers an immersive experience in our stores and on Barneys.com that fuses high design with art, performance, and technology. All of these elements are pillars of the experiences Barneys New York is known for.”

Mantle features four principal dancers from the Martha Graham Dance Company, each embodying different parts of the human psyche – power, ethereal, possessed and the cleaner – as well as former company members ranging up to 70 years of age. The cast wears designs by Prabal Gurung, The Row, Rick Owens, Loewe and Craig Green, all of which will be on display in the department store’s windows, as well as in the Mantle viewing experience inside.

The film is available to watch in virtual reality in-store with Gear VR powered by Oculus headsets through the Samsung VR app, and online on Barney’s online platform The Window. Users of Samsung’s VR content service app can also access it from home through their own headsets.

“No other medium can really envelop consumers into a brand universe and create brand affinity like virtual reality. We are thrilled that Barneys New York was inspired by our Gear VR technology and the immersive storytelling that VR can facilitate,” said Zach Overton, VP of brand experience at Samsung Electronics America. “At Samsung, we aim to create innovative partnerships, like our relationship with Barneys New York, to help brands reinvent how they connect with consumers.”

Filmed using a 360-degree camera, the short film was by Theo Stanley and choreographed by former MGDC teacher Cynthia Stanley. Additional collaborators include set designer Stefan Beckham and composer Sam Wagster.

“We’re creating a new experience,” Mazzucca told WWD. “We’ve gotten into pursuing what the idea of storytelling means. There’s a lot of great innovations happening in AR and VR. We understand what the retail experience can be. Seeing apparel in a VR space and how it’s captured will start something. Having immersive experiences is something we’re going to keep hammering at.”

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business data digital snippets e-commerce social media sustainability technology

What you missed: A new textiles economy, competing with Amazon, Patagonia vs Trump

Stella McCartney and Dame Ellen Macarthur
Stella McCartney and Dame Ellen Macarthur

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech industry news over the past fortnight.


TOP STORIES
  • Stella McCartney and Ellen Macarthur team up to tackle waste in fashion [The Industry]
  • A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future [Ellen Macarthur Foundation]
  • The future of retail in the age of Amazon [Fast Company]
  • Patagonia is suing the Trump administration [GQ]
  • 2017: the year of Gucci (and logos, slogans & sleeves), according to Lyst data [The Industry]

BUSINESS
  • Europe’s biggest mall owner buys Westfield for $25bn [Guardian]
  • Victoria Beckham raises $40 million in private equity investment [NY Times]
  • Amidst new optimism, emerging markets to overtake west in 2018 [BoF]
  • With Aday investment, H&M hopes to ‘leave stigma of fast fashion behind’ [Glossy]
  • Eileen Fisher makes strides towards circularity with ‘tiny factory’ [BoF]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Unwrapping Barneys’ holiday social media strategy [Glossy]
  • These retailers are #crushingit on social this holiday season [RetailDive]
  • Facebook is testing a way for brands to send mass messages via Messenger [AdWeek]

MARKETING
  • Luxury brands embrace experiential marketing to stay relevant [Skift]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • eBay now lets you start shopping with a Google Assistant smart speaker and finish on your phone [VentureBeat]
  • Death of retail? 2017 was all about the empire of luxury e-tail [NY Times]
  • Céline enters e-commerce with release of French site [WWD]
  • Everlane is opening its first stores, after years of swearing it wouldn’t [Washington Post]
  • Fruit of the Loom tries on subscription underwear [Bloomberg]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Online e-commerce giants get personal [BoF]
  • Rebecca Minkoff uses VR for planning stores [Glossy]
  • The new Reformation store is a real-life Clueless closet [TheCut]
  • BoF and Google partner on artificial intelligence experiment [BoF]
  • Facial recognition is tracking customers as they shop in stores, tech company says [CNBC]

PRODUCT
  • These were 2017’s wildest innovations in clothing technology [HighSnobiety]
  • Trending: algae, ocean plastics pave the way for more sustainable consumer products [Sustainable Brands]
  • This natural liquid silk is starting to replace oil-based plastic [Fast Company]
Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce film mobile social media Startups sustainability technology

What you missed: Mobile 2.0, Raf Simons for Calvin Klein, plastic bottle fashion

What you missed - mobile 2.0, Raf Simons for Calvin Klein
Raf Simons’ debut for Calvin Klein

An absolute must-read this week (away from fashion specifically but heavily based around tech and consumer behaviour and therefore highly relevant to anyone in this space), is this view on “mobile 2.0” from Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz. If there are a billion people with high-end smartphones now, what assumptions can we leave behind in terms of what that means, and what does the future look like accordingly? With AR and machine learning, it’s a pretty fascinating one.

Elsewhere, the latest news is of course geared to New York Fashion Week, with everything from Raf Simons’ successful debut for Calvin Klein and ongoing analysis of what exactly a see-now, buy-now model looks for those partaking. There’s also an update on new features from Pinterest and a big push from Instagram for its Live tool during the shows.


TOP STORIES
  • Benedict Evas on the Mobile 2.0 era [Ben-Evans]
  • Fashion shows adopted a see-now, buy-now model. Has it worked? [NY Times]
  • Raf Simons’ Calvin Klein debut is a hit on social media [Glossy]
  • Lone bidder Boohoo snags bankrupt Nasty Gal for $20m [Retail Dive]
  • H&M’s new Conscious Exclusive Collection turns discarded plastic into evening gowns with Bionic Yarn [Vogue]
  • What see now-buy now means for the production side of fashion [Apparel]

BUSINESS
  • Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent shine for Kering [Reuters]
  • Prada revenue falls again as house attempts to revamp [The Fashion Law]
  • Ethics controversy grows over Trump-Nordstrom spat [WWD]
  • Yoox Net-a-Porter on the downswing, FarFetch on the up [LeanLuxe]
  • Tiffany CEO Cumenal exits following sales slump [Retail Dive]
  • Sophisticated shoplifting gangs are costing US retailers $30 billion a year [Quartz]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Instagram Live makes fashion week debut [WWD]
  • Pinterest bets visual search can drive shoppers from inspiration to purchase [Internet Retailer]

MARKETING
  • Fendi just launched a new digital platform targeting millennials [Fashionista]
  • These five fashionable brands have mastered content that sells [Fast Company]
  • Barneys takes powerful stance on female equality, empowerment [Luxury Daily]
  • Adidas’ latest Y-3 fashion film is inspired by a futuristic dystopia [LS:N Global]
  • See Nike’s stirring ‘equality’ ad from the Grammys [AdAge]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Should Amazon challenge Hudson’s Bay for Macy’s? [BoF]
  • New Neiman Marcus in Fort Worth built with tech and convenience layered on top of art and fashion [Dallas News]
  • Nifty app links with New York Couture Fashion Week [WWD]
  • Mon Purse CEO Lana Hopkins: “We’re treating Bloomingdale’s, Selfridges as marketing and branding opportunities” [LeanLuxe]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Why fashion brands should think more like tech companies [Fast Company]
  • Magic Leap’s patented an augmented reality price-checker [The Verge]
  • New York designer Ab[Screenwear] combines fashion with light-responsive holographic panels and operable touchscreens [BrandChannel]

START-UPS
  • Techstars Q&A: How start-ups can accelerate retail innovation [Retail Dive]
  • Rêve en Vert to launch £300,000 crowdfunding campaign [The Industry]
Categories
technology

More detail on what the Opening Ceremony x Intel smart bracelet may look like

OpeningCeremony_YokoOno

While the exact details of Intel’s new smart bracelet, created in partnership with Opening Ceremony and carried by Barneys New York, are yet to be determined, a few hints were revealed during CES as to what it might be like.

Speaking at a press conference during the Vegas show, Susan Barber, art director at Opening Ceremony, said: “We want to emphasise the tech aspects of the bracelet but so that it doesn’t feel like hardware. It has to be something we’ll be excited to wear [ourselves].”

This fits in with a broader theme at CES this week for more appealing design in the wearables space. Speaking on a separate occasion, Mike Bell, VP and GM of Intel’s New Devices Group, said: “If we want the premise of wearable technology to come forward we really have to think about going back to the drawing board with the hardware, moving beyond the idea of a square block on your wrist.”

While Intel reportedly has a rough prototype already developed, Opening Ceremony will have full input on both the functionality and the design to go to market with. Barber said work is yet to truly start on it, but ideas are percolating.

The team will be looking to both the past and the future for inspiration, she revealed. The aesthetic for instance will be informed by other partnerships the company has been involved in, including a project with Yoko Ono based on a series of her drawings titled ‘Fashions for Men” from 1969 (as featured above).

The recent capsule collection Opening Ceremony created for Spike Jonze’s new film, Her (as featured below), will also serve as inspiration. Said Barber: “This product is supposed to make your life more seamless and more effortless, and be beautiful at the same time. If technology and design are totally separate you don’t get to bridge that gap.”

Matthew Woolsey, SVP digital at Barneys, agreed: “A lot of functionality is very appealing, but the design elements are going to be paramount in terms of how our customer engages with it. The product needs to stand on its own, and the Opening Ceremony creative vision will be incredibly important to making that happen.”

As for who it’s aimed at, Barber said they are exploring all options at the moment, but are unlikely to make it gender specific. “It certainly won’t be pink or purple,” she said, mocking the stereotyped approach the technology industry often has to appealing to women. The goal with the device is also to speak to a broad generational audience. It is expected to hit in the autumn.

OpeningCeremony_SpikeJonze3 OpeningCeremony_SpikeJonze1OpeningCeremony_SpikeJonze2

Categories
technology

Wearables key message at CES, Intel leads fashion charge

Intel_wearables_OpeningCeremony_Barneys

If there’s one key theme at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, it’s wearables. Smart watches, fitness wristbands, earbuds, the works. Functionality is being heavily discussed, but even more so is design. The tech industry, it seems, has finally figured out that aesthetics are what’s going to make the difference when it comes to something people actually want to wear if we want to move this sector forward. An obvious statement to those of us in the fashion industry, but arguably not something anyone has yet done something about.

Enter Intel, who is aiming to change all of that, and with any luck in a beautiful way. It’s launching a smart bracelet later this year in partnership with Opening Ceremony and carried by Barneys New York.

Rather than “fashion” being an afterthought, as is more common with technology partnerships – a bit of branding slapped on, or some neat product placement during fashion week – Opening Ceremony will play an integral part in what the item looks like as well as how it functions using Intel’s tech.

“Our shared vision is to accelerate wearable technology innovation and create products that both enhance peoples’ lives and are desirable to wear,” said Ayse Ildeniz, vice president of business development and strategy at Intel’s New Devices Group. Speaking at the press conference today, she added: “The smart wearables we see on the market today are very much led by technology companies. But what we wear are personal things, reflections of ourselves and we often get emotionally connected to them. The fashion industry must therefore be in the driving seat. Without the aesthetics and the design, wearables are not going to become a big thing.”

Daniella Vitale, COO of Barneys New York agrees: “One of the greatest opportunities for wearable technology as a concept to be successful is fairly simple – to design a beautiful accessory that our customers would desire.”

Intel’s initiative will not be exclusive with Opening Ceremony and Barneys, suggesting further brands are being approached. The CFDA is accordingly also involved, having entered into a strategic collaboration with Intel to create a community for technology developers and fashion designers to network, match-make, cultivate and exchange ideas on wearable technology.

Interestingly Ildeniz said the most important thing for all those involved was to be humble. Once the egos go out the room, there’s a good chance technology and fashion can work pretty well together, she suggested.

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digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups

Digital snippets: The North Face, Instagram Direct, Target, Barneys, Harrods, Karmaloop

The big news over the past couple of weeks in the retail and fashion tech space was of course the concept of Amazon drones, but multiple other stories grabbed the headlines too. Here’s a highlight of the best ones…

instagram-direct-2

  • IBM’s Watson explores the great e-commerce unknown with The North Face [AdAge]
  • What Instagram Direct means for fashion brands (as pictured) [Fashionista]
  • Barneys creates holiday .gif guide to appeal to younger consumers [Luxury Daily]
  • Harrods’ Christmas Weibo campaign engages London’s Chinese tourist influx [Jing Daily]
  • Karmaloop targets millennials with YouTube and Snapchat holiday plan [AdWeek]
  • Kmart’s ‘Ship My Pants’ gets the Dickens treatment for Christmas [AdAge]
  • Native advertising: the pros and cons [WWD]
  • Designing the next generation of wearables, with women in mind [Fast Company]
  • With 3-D printing, clothing that leaves out the sewing machine [NY Times]
  • Mallzee is a Tinder-esque shopping app that lets your friends play fashion police [TechCrunch]
  • Start-up Thread is building a scalable personal styling service, blending human stylists and intelligent algorithms [BoF]
  • Instagram is the ‘best platform for brands’ in 2013, beating out Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ [Venture Beat]
  • Retailers look to their best customers, not bloggers, as the new influencers [Fashionista]
  • Gap’s ad with Sikh model Waris Ahluwalia defaced with racist graffiti, drawing incredible response from company [Huffington Post]