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VF acquires Supreme, Ulta and Target partner, at-home beauty boom

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

TOP STORIES
  • Fashion is set for an M&A frenzy in 2021 (BoF)
  • What a vaccine could mean for retail (Retail Dive)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Clothing businesses urged to protect their profits and the planet with ambitious climate change pledge (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • The UK watchdog is tackling greenwashing. Will others? (Vogue Business)
  • Allbirds to raise prices on Black Friday to fight climate change (Retail Dive)
  • Barbour places sustainability at the heart of Christmas campaign (Fashion United)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • How Aesop plans to keep it culty (BoF)
  • Walmart taps self-driving vehicle startup for autonomous deliveries (Retail Dive)
  • At-home beauty tech see a lockdown boom (Vogue Business)
  • DTC brands reimagine the mall (Glossy)
  • Can fashion finally crack the ‘last-mile’? (BoF)
  • Misguided ramps up contact-free collection ahead of Christmas (Fashion United)
  • Is click-and-mortar the future of China’s luxury retail? (Jing Daily)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Olding is the new blanding: luxury brands look back to get ahead (BoF)
  • Taking advantage of multi-level marketing MLM in China (Jing Daily)
  • L’Oreal offers first line of makeup for social media, video calls (Retail Dive)
  • How Rite-Aid’s rebranding takes cues from digital competitors (Modern Retail)
PRODUCT
  • H&M Home taps DVF for interior collection (Fashion United)
  • Judith Leiber launches customizable fragrance (WWD)
  • This sweater was grown in a bioreactor (Fast Company)

BUSINESS

  • VF to acquire Supreme, valuing brand at $2.1 billion plus (WWD)
  • Mytheresa plans for US IPO (Bloomberg)
  • Alibaba boasts over $70 billion sales as first post-virus Singles Day nears end (Reuters)
  • Farfetch talks “Luxury New Retail” initiative (WWD)
  • How the Farfetch-Alibaba-Richemont alliance could change the game in the world’s largest luxury market (BoF)
  • Ulta Beauty and Target announce partnership (WWD)
CULTURE
  • Seizing Shanghai Art Week’s fashion opportunity (WWD)
  • Millenial women lead as China’s most important customer (Jing Daily)
  • How to market to a divided America (Business of Fashion)
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business Campaigns data digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick mobile product Retail social media sustainability technology

5G and digital fashion, Miu Miu’s sustainable collection, IKEA enters resale

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

TOP STORIES
  • How fashion brands are preparing for lockdown 2.0 (BoF)
  • Retailers brace for more pandemic trouble (Retail Dive)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Tommy x Mercedes capsule zeroes in on sustainability (WWD)
  • Selfridges launches sustainability focused Christmas shop (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • Long snubbed, secondhand luxury catches on in the Middle East (Vogue Business)
  • The sustainability goals Chanel, Kering and H&M could all agree on (BoF)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • How 5G will change AR and digital fashion (Vogue Business)
  • How digital beauty brands make wholesale work (BoF)
  • How small retailers are doing Amazon Prime Day amid pandemic (CNBC)
  • The pre-order model: why it’s working (Vogue Business)
  • Who you need to hire for te e-commerce boom (BoF)
  • Amazon’s AR app turns boxes into shareable AR experiences (WWD)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • In the age of COVID-19, social media proves a savior for sales (WWD)
  • Allure designs holiday shopping issue around virtual try-on experiences (Retail Dive)
  • Why luxury brands are desperate for digital desire (Jing Daily)
  • What does winning a post-COVID marketing plan look like? (BoF)
PRODUCT
  • Banana Republic re-releases necklace to honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Fashion United)
  • Miu Miu launches upcycled collection (WWD)
  • Hyundai just released a sustainable fashion collection (Fast Company)

BUSINESS

  • Kohl’s pivots in the pandemic (WWD)
  • Fate of formal fashion hangs by a thread (Reuters)
  • Shiseido’s Carol Zhou builds on innovating beauty (Jing Daily)
  • IKEA just entered the resale game (HighSnobiety)
  • Will Amazon luxury stores really attract high-end shoppers? (SCMP)
  • John Lewis outlines five-year digital heavy strategy (Fashion United)
CULTURE
  • Creativity is dead, long live curation (HighSnobiety)
  • Is it streetwear or is it art? (NYT)
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business Campaigns data digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick product Retail social media sustainability technology

Gucci goes into resale, future of fashion week, Burberry and IBM collab

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

TOP STORIES
  • The pros and cons of virtual showrooms (BoF)
  • Department stores’ decade of decline (Retail Dive)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Burberry, IBM interns collab on product tracing system (WWD)
  • H&M launches the first and only-in-store recycling machine (Fashion United)
  • How the climate crisis is reshaping luxury (BoF)
  • How Tommy Hilfiger is working toward a more sustainable and inclusive fashion industry (Fast Company)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • Has the Gen Z gender neutral-store arrived? (Vogue Business)
  • H&M launches virtual assistant, live chat with Google services (Retail Dive)
  • Browns introduces new services, from fitness to hypnotherapy (WWD)
  • David’s Bridal debut AR, 3D dress shopping (Retail Dive)
  • Why Gucci is getting into resale (BoF)
  • Will luxury players embrace China’s D2C’s revolution? (Jing Daily)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Will beauty’s TikTok love affair last? (BoF)
  • Party City tapped by Nextdoor for Halloween AR ‘treat map’ (Retail Dive)
  • Instagram expands shoppable beauty commerce for IGTV and Reels (Glossy)
PRODUCT

BUSINESS

  • Levi’s returns to profitability (WWD)
  • Arnault buys influence through media deals in France (Bloomberg)
  • Should luxury build resale into its business model? (BoF)
  • Rent The Runway CEO discusses how coronavirus impacted business (WWD)
CULTURE
  • The future of fashion week? Look to Shanghai (Vogue Business)
  • What will consumers really want to wear come spring? (WWD)
  • Petwear: the emerging marketing in the fashion industry (Fashion United)
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business data digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick mobile product Retail social media Startups sustainability technology

Future of pop-ups, preparing for holiday, Eileen Fisher and West Elm collaborate

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

TOP STORIES
  • Fashion’s new playground: Esports and gaming (Vogue Business)
  • Retail is ‘scrambling’ to keep up with accelerated disruption in the COVID-19 era (Retail Dive)
  • How to prepare for the toughest holiday season ever (BoF)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Fashion is hurting biodiversity. New guidelines could help.  (Vogue Business)
  • Fashion Positive launches industry’s first circular materials guidelines (WWD)
  • Alexander McQueen launches MCQ, a blockchain-powered creative platform (HighSnobiety)
  • How mobile technology can encourage sustainability (Environment Journal)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • Is pre-sale the future of luxury retail? (WWD)
  • Popup power: why short-term stores are set to thrive (Vogue Business)
  • John Lewis launches virtual queuing system trial (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • The case for opening a new store right now (BoF)
  • Even as the pandemic persists, the future of retail is not locked down (WWD)
  • Tmall Luxury unveils new features to connect brands with Gen Z (Retail Dive)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • TikTok unveils first shoppable livestream with Ntwrk (Retail Dive)
  • 4 post-COVID marketing tips that will save luxury brands in China (Jing Daily)
  • The “Gucci Model Challenge” is taking over TikTok (Teen Vogue)
  • How Summer Fridays pivoted its marketing due to Covid-19 (Glossy)
PRODUCT
  • Disney Store launches clothing recycled from Walt Disney World plastic bottles (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • Eileen Fisher, West Elm launch sustainable home line using denim discards (WWD)
  • Reiss launches new “Luxe Leisure” collection to answer to the “new normal” (TheIndustry.Fashion)
BUSINESS
  • Walmart sells two more ecommerce brands in digital reshuffle (Bloomberg)
  • Ulta Beauty says makeup category ‘challenged’ amid coronavirus (WWD)
  • How Sephora prepped for an ecommerce onslaught (Retail Dive)
  • Why aren’t more Chinese department stores going bankrupt? (BoF)
  • Alibaba wants American brands. The same ones as Amazon (Vogue Business)
  • Amazon says forging ahead with luxury platform (WWD)
CULTURE
  • Why Gen Y & Z continue shopping despite crisis (Fashion United)
  • When controversy hits in China, luxury brands bank on short attention spans (Jing Daily)
  • How Yeti beat streetwear at the business of making things…cool (High Snobiety)

 

 

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business Campaigns data digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick product Retail social media Startups sustainability technology

Selfridges sustainability program, Henkel’s digital strategy, Instagram launches QR codes

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

TOP STORIES
  • Clienteling takes fashion retailers directly to shoppers (WWD)
  • What it means to be a Gen Z beauty brand today (NYT)
  • How to salvage back-to-school season (BoF)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Who’s wearing vinyl pants in the quarantine? How the pandemic could kill fashion trends for good  (Fast Company)
  • Tiffany & Co. now offers a complete lens into diamonds’ origins (WWD)
  • Is sustainable loungewear the future of fashion? (Refinery29)
  • Selfridges launches Project Earth sustainability program (TheIndustry.Fashion)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • Pre-orders are becoming a popular tool for fashion brands. But are they a good idea? (BoF)
  • Store innovations: which store tech makes business sense now? (Fashion United)
  • Here is the only good pricing strategy for luxury brands (Jing Daily)
  • How turning malls into fulfillment centers can reshape towns (Modern Retail)
  • Amazon, DIY and fitness rule in pandemic-related spending (WWD)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Hoke One One opens virtual pop-up shop with Snapchat AR (Retail Dive)
  • Why growth marketing will help retailers stay afloat (WWD)
  • Instagram to launch QR code feature allowing shoppers to connect with retailers’ profiles (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • Luxury faces up to US-China tech wars (Vogue Business)
PRODUCT
  • Burberry launches range of reusable and sustainable face masks in iconic checkprint (Independent)
  • Pat McGrath Labs announces Supreme collaboration (WWD)
  • Adidas collaborates with Noah NYC on recycled collection (Fashion United)
BUSINESS
  • Inside the corporate responsibility strategies shaping PVH (BoF)
  • Payless relaunches online, with plans for hundreds of stores (Retail Dive)
  • When the mall owns the retailer (Retail Dive)
  • Inside Henkel’s digital ambitions (Glossy)
  • Walmart’s focus shifts to retention as ecommerce grows 97% (Modern Retail)
  • Sephora’s Jean-André Rougeot reveals is strategic vision (WWD)
CULTURE
  • Why counterfeit beauty products are booming amid Covid-19 (Vogue Business)
  • What China’s affluent consumers want post-COVID-19 (Jing Daily)
  • The pandemic changed the way people live. How can fashion adapt? (BoF)
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business data digital snippets e-commerce mobile product Retail social media Startups sustainability technology

TikTok’s beauty potential, Allbirds sustainable partnership, post-COVID luxury strategy

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

TOP STORIES
  • All the major fashion brands and retailers severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (WWD)
  • How JD.com leveraged new technologies to overcome COVID-19 (Jing Daily)
  • No tourists, no commuters, no customer: thinking beyond the shopping district (BoF)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Michael Kors, Tory Burch linked to “unfair” factory dismissals (Vogue Business)
  • China to open market to beauty brands that don’t test on animals (Fashion United)
  • Diesel becomes member of Better Cotton Initiative (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • Allbirds, Chinatown Market unveils multi phased sustainability partnership (WWD)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • Swarovski launches London “Crystal Studio” concept store (TheIndsutry.Fashion)
  • Are pop-up shops more relevant in a pandemic-altered world? (Retail Wire)
  • How the coronavirus altered DTC’s relationship with brick and mortar (Retail Dive)
  • Will post-pandemic markdowns hurt luxury brands long-term? (Jing Daily)
  • Dissatisfaction with online retailers runs deep (WWD)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Nordstrom uses influencers to promote safety and draw anxious shoppers (NYT)
  • PetSmart gamifies reptile adoption with Snapchat AR quiz (Retail Dive)
  • TikTokers see big beauty potential – if there’s no ban (Vogue Business)
  • Mulberry’s new marketing approach in China may not be enough (Jing Daily)
PRODUCT
  • Puma teams with MIT on new cushioning technology (WWD)
  • Gillette Venus debuts ‘skinclusive’ clothing on Animal Crossing (WWD)
  • Chipotle launches sustainable fashion line (Fashion United)
BUSINESS
  • Farfetch, New Guards Group on future, technology (WWD)
  • North Face owner ready for post-COVID era (Retail Detail)
  • What the pandemic has done to Nordstrom’s revamp (Retail Dive)
  • LVMH, Kering and the new luxury strategy post-COVID-19 (Jing Daily)
  • How Estée Lauder is pandemic-proofing a legacy brand (Vogue Business)
CULTURE
  • Is streetwear a machine that turns insecurity into money? (High Snobiety)
  • What an inspiring digital fashion week looks like (Vogue Business)
  • Are Chinese travelers not buying at the airport? (Jing Daily)

 

 

 

 

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business data digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick product Retail social media Startups sustainability technology

Kering’s sustainability strategy, 7-eleven bets on voice, NYFW scaled down

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

TOP STORIES
  • The not-so-grand reopening on retail (Retail Dive)
  • Why now is the right time to invest in luxury (Jing Daily)
  • What’s next for retail and luxury? (BoF)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • Why shopping centre owners remain hopeful for retail rebound (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • Gen Z’s evolving retail priorities (BoF)
  • Why 7-Eleven is betting on voice commerce to keep customers loyal (PYMNTS)
  • Fit:Match bringing contactless apparel shopping experience to Brookfield Properties (WWD)
  • From same-day exchanges to style options: How retailers are bringing the in-store experience to homes (Glossy)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Gucci launches AR Snapchat lens allowing users to virtually try on shoes (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • The clock is ticking for luxury brands post COVID-19 (Jing Daily)
  • The fashion, beauty and media brands pulling ads from Facebook (WWD)
  • How JW Anderson’s cardigan went viral on TikTok (Vogue Business)
PRODUCT
  • How will L’Oreal’s elimination of ‘whitening’ from products impact its China beauty market? (Jing Daily)
  • Neon Cowboys introduces light up face masks (WWD)
  • Gucci launches sustainable collection on Farfetch (TheIndustry.Fashion)
BUSINESS
  • Google, Gap, Inc. discuss navigating the ‘path forward’ (WWD)
  • LVMH expects pandemic to dampen sales for some time (Reuters)
  • New York Fashion Week is shortened to three days for Spring 2021 (Fashionista)
  • Diesel CEO seeks to revive 90s success with slimmed down brand (Bloomberg)
  • Why Microsoft is bailing on retail (Fortune)
CULTURE
  • ‘Discounting is not a luxury strategy’ – the voices behind an open letter to retail address fashion’s full price future (Vogue)
  • How haute couture comes together from quarantine (Fashionista)
  • “Brand Value” is still increasing in the luxury space despite COVID-19 (The Fashion Law)

 

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

COVID-19: Stores plan for reopening, Fashion goes virtual, Brands support in relief efforts

wealthy-americans-coronavirus-e1583184976710

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

TOP STORIES
  • Macy’s to reopen dozens of stores, sets timeline for full return (Bloomberg)
  • A peek into the new mindset of fashion post-lockdown  (Forbes)
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic is pushing brands to connect digitally (Retail Dive)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • VeChain Partners with Fashion Brand H&M to Use Blockchain for Supply Chain Traceability (Bitcoin Exchange Guide)
  • Mango launches first capsule collection based on recycled fibers (TheIndustry Fashion)
  • Fashion needs “Creative Resilience” to come out on the other side of COVID-19 (Sourcing Journal)
  • Can sustainable fashion and inclusive sizing coexist? (Harper’s Bazaar)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • Tmall announces its online outlet, Luxury Soho (Jing Daily)
  • Zalora says it is a “data first, then fashion” company (The Drum)
  • Will digital showrooms save fashion’s wholesale brands? (Fashion United)
  • Sandy Liang is hosting a virtual pop-up on Animal Crossing (High Snobiety)
  • What will stores look like when they reopen? (BoF)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Michael Kors gets digitally creative with “My Way” China Capsule (WWD)
  • How luxury is reaching customers during lockdown (Jing Daily)
  • NBCUniversal boosts shoppable content efforts with new Checkout platform (eMarketer)
  • Marketing to Gen Z during COVID-19 (Vogue Business)
PRODUCT
  • After Clarisonic, Mr Robb is at it again (WWD)
  • Sustainable sneaker brand Allbirds debuts its first running shoe (Evening Standard)
  • Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton and more French brands to support healthcare workers with one-off auction (Harper’s Bazaar)
  • Yuima Nakazato Offers Made-to-Order Garments Virtually (WWD)
BUSINESS
  • Covid-19 is set to unleash a wave of corporate mergers and acquisitions (Quartz)
  • Biggest mall operator in the US plans to reopen 49 of them (NYT)
  • Thinking positive: fashions coronavirus relief efforts (Drapers)
  • Luxury firms find signs of hope in Asia (Vogue Business)
  • Diesel North America taps Patrick Valeo as CEO (WWD)
  • Suppliers are feeling retail’s pain, too (Retail Dive)
CULTURE
  • Their Met Gala, their way. You’re invited.  (NYT)
  • Skin-care flextarians: a new wave of beauty enthusiasts (WWD)
  • Live experiences need brands now more than ever (AdWeek)
  • How luxury fashion shopping habits are shifting in a time of pandemic (Fashionista)

 

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business data e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

2019 highlights: The year in innovation news

2019 was a big year for innovation and the Current Daily has been tracking it all throughout – from the rise of 5G-enabled experiences to the continued push towards a circular economy. 

Here, we highlight some of the most interesting stories from the year, outlining why they are an important indication of where the industry is moving in 2020 and beyond.

5G will drive 100m people to shop in AR

Augmented reality took center stage this year as its user-friendly features meant a growing number of brands – and social media platforms like Instagram – started adopting it as a core engagement strategy.

In April, a Gartner report highlighted that 100 million people will shop in AR once high-speed 5G mobile services roll out more extensively. This means the experience is going to be more seamless than ever, giving it better real-time rendering, shorter download times and reduced latency. Retailers seem to be on board, as 46% of them plan to deploy either AR or VR. Check out our piece exploring what other benefits 5G will bring retail.

Fashion brands have only met 21% of their circularity targets for 2020

If there’s one thing to be sure, there’s no escaping the growing momentum around shifting to more sustainable practices as an industry. But is there really progress being made? In July, the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) launched its second yearly assessment of fashion brands and retailers to find that only reached 45 (21%) of the 213 targets the industry has set for 2020 will be met. 

This means the 90 signatories of the GFA’s 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment, which includes fashion companies like adidas, PVH Group and Inditex, will have to hurry if they want to achieve more in the next year. We talked a lot about the need for action in this space when a further collaborative group was announced: the G7 Fashion Pact. If you ask us, it’s time to say enough to the pledges, rather give us some tangible outputs.

H&M to trial clothing rental for the first time

Talking of sustainability, one are where we have seen a lot of action and experimentation this year is in new business models. Rental is making serious strides at all ends of the market, but perhaps most interestingly within fast fashion just recently as the H&M Group announced it will trial clothing rental at one of its H&M Stockholm stores. Members of its customer loyalty program can now rent selected party dresses and skirts from its 2012-2019 Conscious Exclusive collections.

Recently, its brand COS also launched a pilot where it is renting out clothes through Chinese subscription rental platform YCloset, which customers can access through a monthly flat rate. We also published a deep-dive into the different opportunities we see for the industry in rental, here.

Allbirds CEO calls out Amazon product copying

In November, Allbirds’ co-founder and CEO, Joey Zwilinger, wrote an open letter to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos after discovering the e-commerce platform was producing its own wool sneakers similar to the brand’s most popular style.

Instead of going the usual lawsuit route, the founder took this as an opportunity to highlight his brand’s sustainability mission. In the letter, Zwilinger highlights that Allbirds’ sustainable philosophy is open source, and it has thus far helped over 100 brands who were interested in implementing its renewable materials into their products, suggesting Amazon might like to do the same. It was a bold move but one that sparked a conversation around the role of collaboration once more, and its critical place in true innovation.

Gen Z loves TikTok. Can fashion brands learn to love it too?

Gen Z quickly adopted Chinese social media platform TikTok as their app du jour this year for its bite-sized video content. Currently, 66% of the platform’s 500 million global users are under 30, according to data analytics firm, Business of Apps.

Brands have started to follow suit, tapping the app to drive engagement and ultimately sales. Content varies from crowdsourced, as in a recent Burberry campaign that saw users challenged to create the brand’s logo with their fingers, through to more refined, such as in a snippet of an interview with singer Shawn Mendes for Calvin Klein. We explored various other brands setting TikTok precedent, here.

Lush abandons social media

While TikTok has been taking off, elsewhere social media is slowing for some. Vegan cosmetics brand, Lush, for instance decided to shut down all of its activity in the UK as it became “tired of fighting with algorithms” or paying to appear on news feeds. Instead, it suggested a hashtag where fans would still be able to speak to the brand.

Lush’s bold move speaks to fight playing out for anything still resembling organic reach. As consumers become jaded over being ‘sold to’, brands are having to find novel ways to reach them, beyond the influencer route. One other area we’re tracking here is those owning their own conversation channels, as with both Glossier and H&M of late.

Coty acquires majority stake in Kylie Jenner’s beauty business

2019 was the year of major acquisitions in both beauty and fashion. While LVMH recently announced it was snapping up Tiffany & Co for $16bn, other names included Farfetch buying New Guards Group, which operates streetwear favorite Off White for $675m; Shiseido acquiring cult skincare brand Drunk Elephant for $845m; and more recently, Coty acquiring a majority stake in Kylie Jenner’s beauty business, Kylie Cosmetics, for $600m. 

The latter served as particular confirmation of how brands build and grow in this day and age. Jenner, who was 18 when she started a single ‘lip kit’ line, used Instagram to form a direct conversation with her audience. In 2019, this seems like an obvious strategy, but the reality star’s foresight to do so in 2015 has undoubtedly been her recipe for success.

How luxury fashion learned to love the blockchain

Amid growing concerns over the proliferation of counterfeit goods, luxury brands also began to embrace blockchain as an important authentication tool this year. 

Earlier this year, we heard about how LVMH launched its own platform, Aura, which is currently being piloted with some of the brands in its portfolio and will further expand in the future. Kering and Richemont meanwhile are said to be exploring this too, while De Beers is using it to trace its diamonds. Once matured, the technology will undoubtedly make its way into the hands of the consumer, who will be able to better understand where their possessions are coming from. We also tracked some of the other innovations in the transparency space; an area that continues to heat up.

Automation in retail: an executive overview for getting ready

Automation was another big tech focus this year, particularly for its potential impact on retail, from supply chain management to last mile delivery. This shift is putting pressure on retailers to rethink their operating models, distribution centres and headquarters, with McKinsey warning that brands that fail to implement it into their strategy risk falling behind. 

Automation is something we’ve long been talking about for the sake of efficiency, but there also comes a significant ethics conversation to be had here, which the industry is exploring. We agree, now is the time.

What Fortnite could mean for fashion

The global gaming market is expected to reach $180bn by 2021, and fashion brands are realizing the valuable potential in this. Free-to-play video game Fortnite has grown into a multi-million dollar business by selling clothing to image-conscious gamers, for instance. This monetization of player aesthetics, more commonly known as ‘skins’, has opened the door for retailers to cash in on the virtual world. 

Going forward, we expect more brands to invest in digital garments or utilize gaming to drive product discovery. We accordingly explored how gamification is being used in the shopping journey by brands like Kenzo and Nike to both increase engagement and build brand loyalty.

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 Retail sustainability technology

The greater need for transparency: 7 brands regaining consumer trust

Sustainability has been a major talking point for the fashion industry over the past couple of years. In this year’s State of Fashion report, radical transparency was highlighted as one of the major trends retailers should be implementing. But following rising concerns of greenwashing, from misleading PR-led campaigns to the increase of fake news, consumer trust is at an all-time low and brands are having to work harder to prove their authenticity in the matter.

The Gen Z generation is particularly pushing for this change, with 90% believing companies should take responsibility to address environmental and social issues. Meanwhile almost three-quarters of Millennials are willing to pay a premium for sustainable products, demonstrating how there is tangible value in transparent produce. In order to regain their consumers’ trust, brands must therefore be explicitly open with information regarding data protection and how sustainable their supply chains truly are.

Technology is playing a major role in helping promote transparency, from blockchain helping shed light on the supply chain, to holistic e-commerce interactions. Here, we highlight some of our favorite examples of brands disrupting the space by going that extra mile in regards to transparency:

Patagonia
Patagonia: The Footprint Chronicles

Patagonia is one of the pioneering brands when it comes to sustainability, fully disclosing its textile mills, factories and farms through its website. The ‘footprint chronicles’ is a visual map showing information about the supply chain including the numbers of workers, gender mix and items produced there. Patagonia was the first outdoor brand to be certified to the Advanced Global Traceable Down Standard for maintaining excellent animal welfare standards for birds. 

As a result of its ongoing efforts, Patagonia was identified as one of the leading brands on Fashion Revolution’s most recent Transparency Index, receiving a score of 64%. 

Nestle
Nestle trialing blockchain

Nestle is the first major food and beverage company to utilize the use of blockchain technology, allowing consumers to trace the origin of their food. The company is aiming to eventually reach full supply chain transparency, with this move shedding light on 95% of its annual sourcing of raw materials. 

Products will have a QR barcode that when scanned, provides consumers with Tier 1 information on product, such as harvest date, farm location, packing date, as well as information on how to prepare it. To determine the feasibility and viability of the technology, an initial pilot scheme testing the traceability of milk will be created first, with plans to expand into palm oil production.

Walmart
Walmart beef supply chain

As it stands, only 33% of consumers trust the food system. Following the Tesco horsemeat scandal in 2013, consumers have become increasingly skeptical of where their food has come from, particularly when it comes to meat produce. In the US, Walmart is addressing this by developing the first beef supply chain. The system, which took 2 years to develop, follows a previous blockchain pilot on lettuce and spinach, which aimed to reduce contamination rates, following an increase in vegetable-related illnesses.

H&M
H&M product transparency

In the UK, retailers are only required to disclose where the garment was made, but this year to increase its transparency, H&M made the decision to go one step further by sharing specific details about their individual suppliers. Consumers can now access information on the production country, supplier name, factory name, and even the number of employees in that factory. H&M is setting the bar in the industry by allowing consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing, helping them to shop responsibly. 

For H&M’s sister brand Arket, sustainability has been a primary consideration from its inception. Beyond showcasing suppliers, the brand also aims to design long-lasting garments, while informing its customers on how to care for them and prolong their lifespan.

Volition
Volition’s clean products

Volition is democratizing the beauty industry with products designed from crowdsourced ideas that are voted by the general public before making it into production. The brand uses scientific ingredients to deliver safe and effective products, from skincare to bath and body. Volition gives all of its products the ‘safe science’ seal of approval, catering to the 42% of consumers who feel they do not get enough information on ingredient safety. 

Following consumers request of non-toxic but highly effective products, Volition’s experts created a blacklist of harmful ingredients, giving consumers peace of mind about what they are putting onto their skin.

Selfridges
Selfridges Buy Better Campaign

Department store Selfridges is doubling down on its Buying Better labels, which aim to aid consumers in their purchasing choices.  The labels highlight sustainable product attributes, such as vegan, forest-friendly or supporting communities. The labels are part of the retailer’s commitment to ensure that 50% of its products are better for people and the planet by 2022. Currently, over 3000 products across homeware, fashion and beauty feature the labels, helping guide consumers away from the disposable, fast fashion mindset.

Drunk Elephant
Drunk Elephants holistic products

Skincare brand Drunk Elephant may be new to the market, having launched in 2014, but it is already catching both the eye of consumers and major beauty conglomerates alike. Consumers have gone wild for its transparent, no-nonsense approach to skincare. The products are based on biocompatibility, and use clinically-effective natural ingredients. Each product listed on its website has a detailed breakdown of all the ingredients and their purposes, creating a holistic user-friendly experience. 72% of consumers want brands to explain the purpose of ingredients and Drunk Elephant is leading the with their holistic product breakdowns. 

As a result of this education-led approach, and its popularity with younger consumers, the brand has recently been acquired by Japanese giant Shiseido for $845million.

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