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LVMH’s $16bn Tiffany&Co deal, Coty’s Kylie Cosmetics takeover, H&M’s size-free denim

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

Top Stories
  • LVMH confirms deal to acquire Tiffany&Co for $16.2 billion (CNBC)
  • Coty acquires majority stake in Kylie Jenner’s beauty business for $600million (Retail Dive)
  • H&M’s Weekday Denim to sell ‘size-free’ jeans in 2020 (WWD)
  • The State of Fashion 2020 report (BoF)
Technology
  • Adidas AR activation drops shoppers into a trash-filled virtual ocean (Mobile Marketer)
  • 4 ways to address gender bias in AI (Harvard Business Review)
  • Chipotle rolls out Alexa voice ordering (Mobile Marketer)
  • Tesla’s new Cybertruck smashed during demo (BBC)
  • JC Penney rings in holiday proposal season with AR ad driving virtual try-ons (Retail Dive)
  • Amazon launches a Dash Smart Shelf that automatically restocks supplies (TechCrunch)
  • 3D configurators aren’t a gimmick – they’re the future of shopping (The Next Web)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • New senate bill proposes animal-testing ban for cosmetics (WWD)
  • Sainsbury’s opens ‘giving store’ to collect food and gift donations (Campaign)
  • Etihad, Boeing announce first-of-its-kind eco-friendly plane (Khaleej Times)
  • Gucci boos Marco Bizzarri urges CEOs to fight climate change (Retail Gazette)
  • Everlane has eliminated 75% of virgin plastics from its supply chain (Vogue Business)
  • Retailers take a stance on ‘dirty viscose’ (Drapers)
  • Air Co launches as ‘worlds first carbon-negative vodka’ (Dezeen)
  • Conde Nast to rethink plastic packaging (WWD)
  • Boots scraps plastic pharmacy bags for compostable bags (Retail Gazette)
Retail & Commerce
  • Patagonia opens first Worn Wear store (Retail Dive)
  • Cartier unveils digital platform: Cartier Care (WWD)
  • Mulberry to open new store concept at Victoria Leeds (Fashion United)
  • Amazon opens four-day Black Friday pop-up (Campaign)
  • Collagerie is a new online shopping platform that will take the confusion out of what to buy (Vogue)
  • Posti to open a new parcel centre, with fitting rooms, for online shoppers (Helsinki Times)
  • Whistles collaborates with Goldfinger Factory for sustainable Christmas window (The Industry)
Business
  • Estée Lauder companies to acquire k-beauty company Dr.Jart+ (Fashion United)
  • Nike invests in adaptive footwear (BoF)
  • Uber wants to deliver drugs to your home (Mashable)
  • PayPal acquires Honey for $4billion (Adweek)
  • After Barney’s Bankruptcy, ex-CEO joins Tiffany&Co (Bloomberg)
  • Jennifer Lopez named global ambassador of Coach (WWD)
  • Victoria’s Secret cancels fashion show amid ratings drop (BBC)
  • Arcadia appoints Andrew Coppel as new chairman (Retail Gazette)
  • Inside Iran’s underground fashion industry (BoF)
  • Il Makiage acquires Israeli tech start-up NeoWize (WWD)
  • Subscription bag rental service Cocoon launches (Fashion United)
Marketing & Social Media
  • Pantene teamed up with the Dresscode Project for Trans Visibility Campaign (Teen Vogue)
  • Dove drives change in beauty ads with ‘Project #ShowUs’ (WARC)
  • European Retailers Lure Chinese Shoppers with WeChat Pay (Jing Daily)
  • Oasis converts with social proof messaging (Retail Technology)
  • How to sell fashion on Instagram without traditional influencers (Vogue Business)
Product
  • Stella McCartney and Adidas are releasing vegan Stan Smiths (Teen Vogue)
  • Missguided extends brand into travel market with MISSGUIDED VACAYS (The Industry)
  • Victoria Beckham expands into skincare, plans fragrance launch for 2020 (Fashion Network)
  • Advent calendars are big business for beauty (Vogue Business)
  • Louis Vuitton debuts customizable sneaker trunk (Highsnobiety)
  • Serena Williams debuts first jewelry line (Fashion Network)
  • Prada & Adidas unveil first set of limited editions bags and sneakers (WWD)
Culture
  • Vogue Mexico spotlights transgender ‘muxe’ women (BoF)
  • Is ‘incubating’ influencers the future? (Glossy)
  • Why fashion needs chief diversity officers (Vogue Business)
  • The future is fluid as labels sign up for gender-free fashion (The Industry)

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.

Categories
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.

How are you thinking about sustainability? 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.

Categories
Editor's pick sustainability

Stella McCartney announces open source sustainability initiative and UN partnership

Designer Stella McCartney
Designer Stella McCartney

Vegan designer Stella McCartney has announced a new sustainability initiative, as well as a partnership with the United Nations, hoping to encourage the industry to take more actionable steps towards sustainability.

Speaking on stage at the Business of Fashion’s VOICES conference in the UK, the designer announced Stella McCartney Cares Green, which will offer open source information to empower other businesses, students and policymakers to fight for change.

“One of the things I’m most excited about is creating some sort of fund for lawyers and NGOs, creating some sort of policy change,” said McCartney. According to the designer, there is only so much fashion brands can do before they encounter obstacles put in place by lawmakers. For example, the brand does not market its perfumes in China, as the country enforces a law whereby any makeup or skincare needs to be tested on animals. Meanwhile in the US, the label is taxed 40% for bringing in non-leather goods into the country.

The initiative will also give incentives such as scholarships and support to new designers, as well as educate the general industry on how technology can be best deployed to spur sustainability on.

This is the sister arm to the Stella McCartney Cares Pink initiative, launched in October, which focuses on another big passion of the designer’s: breast cancer awareness.

Also announced at the conference was a charter developed between Stella McCartney and the UN, which details 16 commitments to help fashion companies curb the damage they do to the planet. The full charter will be launched at the COP 24 sustainability convention on December 10 in Poland, but the designer used her platform to already urge fashion executives in the room to join.

“Everything is at stake,” said Stella. “It’s really about bringing everyone together as an industry, and instead of having a few people talk about it, it’s having everyone talk about it and the leaders actually taking responsibility, putting our money where our mouth is and making an amazing change together.”

How are you thinking about sustainability? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners for your sustainability strategy. 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.

Categories
data e-commerce

Gucci tops first hottest brands list from Lyst and The Business of Fashion

Lyst3


E-commerce player Lyst has teamed up with The Business of Fashion to introduce a new ranking of fashion’s hottest brands and biggest products.

The Lyst Index relies on information pulled from the Lyst site – which tracks 4.5 million data points per hour from over 65 million annual consumers, 4 million products and 12,000 brands – as well as Google search data. The formula takes into account search, page views (across devices), engagement, intent rate and conversion.

For Q2 of this year, Gucci comes out top, rising three places since April 2017 to overtake Yeezy and Vetements, which ranked in second and fourth place respectively, with Balenciaga rising from ninth to number three. Gucci also sees four products listed in the 10 best-selling products globally, with its GG Blooms slides topping the list overall.

The Business of Fashion puts that rise down to Gucci’s ability to connect with millennial and Gen Z consumers. The report reads: “Alessandro Michele’s maximalist-magpie aesthetic translates extremely well to digital channels, while the brand’s marketing strategies, such as the meme-led campaign for Gucci watches in March, and Glen Luchford’s recent ‘50s sci-fi inspired video have proved successful experiments.”

The Lyst Index
The Lyst Index

It highlights the fact sales to millennial and Gen Z consumers grew at double-digit rate in the first of the 2017 fiscal year, and retention is high. It also outlines that Gucci sales rose to €1,48 billion in Q2, up 39.3% year over year and beating analysts’ expectations by 7%. Operating profit for H1 was over €907 million, up 69% from about €537 million last year.

Yeezy at number two it puts down to the ongoing buzz around founder Kanye West and the fact he’s married to one of the most photographed women in the world, as well as the clever pricing and distribution strategy that Adidas has deployed.

Meanwhile, Balenciaga at number three is attributed to the streetwear attitude to couture that Demna Gvasalia has introduced as well as some clever marketing plays. But it was reportedly its inadvertent part in the Ikea shopping bag viral meme that caused its biggest search increase in the quarter.

Other brands listed in the top 10 include Givenchy, Valentino, Y-3, Prada, Nike and Fendi, while those with winning products further include Saint Laurent, Chloé, Diane Von Furstenberg, Common Projects and Comme Des Garçons.

This is the first in a series of four quarterly Lyst Index reports.

The Lyst Index
The Lyst Index

Categories
Editor's pick social media

Political messages dominated NYFW’s social media trends

Prabal Gurung's feminist statement t-shirts at New York Fashion Week - NYFW political messages
Prabal Gurung’s feminist statement t-shirts at NYFW

Fashion week might be a means to showcase new collections, but this season’s New York shows have also proved a key platform for political messages.

According to social data intelligence company Talkwalker, the big conversations across both social media and broader internet platforms tied to New York Fashion Week, have surrounded causes close to the issues currently dominating broader US headlines thanks to President Donald Trump’s incoming policies.

The CFDA’s Planned Parenthood campaign, which encouraged the industry to wear “Fashion Stands with Planned Parenthood” pins in protest of moves to defund the organisation, saw more than 34,000 mentions over the week for instance. In doing so it beat out individual leading brands like Calvin Klein (11,000 mentions thanks to Raf Simons’ debut), Alexander Wang (8,300 mentions) and even model Gigi Hadid (4,300 mentions).

Those stats specifically relate to the use of the name tied to NYFW (e.g. Gigi Hadid references at large are likely higher at any given moment in time given her fanbase). These are also direct mentions, not impressions, which will clock in significantly higher also. Talkwalker compiled the data from 150 million global websites, including access to 850,000 news sites and more than 10 social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Weibo, and YouTube.

Olivia Wilde wearing the CFDA "Fashion Stands with Planned Parenthood" pin - NYFW political messages
Olivia Wilde wearing the CFDA “Fashion Stands with Planned Parenthood” pin

Celebrities helped push the Planned Parenthood campaign further, with actress Olivia Wilde’s Instagram post about it garnering 64,000 likes alone, and Chelsea Clinton’s Tweet on the eve of fashion week similarly drawing significant attention. Key hashtags attached to the campaign, including #IstandwithPP and #PP, peaked at noon on February 11.

Further focus on such social causes followed suit throughout the week. Christian Siriano’s People are People runway show, which celebrated diversity, body positivity and self-acceptance, was mentioned over 3,700 times, for instance. Top references alongside included “Planned Parenthood”, #representationmatters and #voiceofthecurves. His “People are People” t-shirts saw all proceeds going to the ACLU.

Christian Siriano's People are People campaign at NYFW - NYFW political messages
Christian Siriano’s People are People campaign at NYFW

Mentions of Prabal Gurung’s initiative, meanwhile, which saw models in the finale wearing t-shirts with slogans including “The future is female”, “I am an immigrant” and “Break down walls”, hit close to 2,500.

Beyond “t-shirt” as a key word alongside, the top hashtag referred to in this instance was #tiedtogether, which links to The Business of Fashion’s campaign encouraging those at fashion week to wear a white bandana as a form of unity. The models in Prabal’s finale were all wearing one.

In fact, the #TiedTogether campaign has been mentioned over 12,700 times since the start of NYFW in total, with an Instagram post from Tommy Hilfiger (at its LA show) leading engagement with 35,600 likes. Talkwalker was also able to reference the top emojis people are using tied to this term, which included hearts, hands and cameras.

Prabal Gurung's feminist statement t-shirts at New York Fashion Week - NYFW political messages
Prabal Gurung’s feminist statement t-shirts at NYFW

Further politically-charged shows this season included Mara Hoffman, who invited the organisers of the Women’s March on Washington to participate in an opening discussion; Public School, who also showed t-shirts, this time with statements like “Make America New York”; and Jonathan Simkhai, who gave out “Feminist AF” tees.

Said Talkwalker CEO Todd Grossman: “All of the above shows us that these campaigns are all truly tied together. In conversations about Siriano, you find people also mentioning Gurung’s t-shirts. In conversations about Gurung, you find mentions of #TiedTogether. In conversations about #TiedTogether, you find mentions of Planned Parenthood. Each politically driven campaign on the runway does not stand alone during NYFW, rather each individual statement becomes part of a much larger dialogue – each a piece of fabric making up an (oh so stylish) quilt stitched with freedom of speech.”

Better yet, out of the 708,200 total mentions of NYFW, the hashtag #hope proved a main theme, with 19,300 references.

Tommy Hilfiger models in LA wearing the #tiedtogether bandanas - NYFW political messages
Tommy Hilfiger models in LA wearing the #tiedtogether bandanas

Categories
business e-commerce technology

LVMH’s Ian Rogers on viewing ‘digital’ as oxygen, focusing on ‘internet’ as culture

LVMH Ian Rogers
The Business of Fashion’s Imran Amed interviewing LVMH’s Ian Rogers during #BoFVoices (Image: BoF)

The fashion industry has to get rid of digital as a silo and integrate it throughout its organisations, said Ian Rogers, chief digital officer at LVMH, during the Business of Fashion’s Voices conference this weekend.

“When you make sure [digital] is a part of communications, a part of retail… that’s when companies do well,” he explained. But more than that, he urged for everyone to actually stop calling it digital.

“It doesn’t mean anything,” he continued. Hailing from the music world where he was senior director at Apple Music and before that CEO of Beats Music, he added: “We didn’t talk about digital when we were at Apple, that’s like talking about oxygen; it’s everywhere.”

Instead, he suggested we use the word “internet” instead. “A lot of what’s happening right now… there’s a technological part that people are really scared of. This is not a technological revolution, it’s a cultural one. It’s about the internet, which is much more specific.”

The internet, he explained, has fundamentally changed culture, and changed humans in the process. “If you replace digital with the word internet, then you start talking about this thing that connects people. So you’re contextualising it properly. Or use the word innovation where you would have used digital. So how is the internet changing culture and how do we innovate to get to the next place?”

What’s great about that, is that fashion is, at its core, also a culture business, he noted. “We sell culture as a prerequisite to selling product. If you don’t buy into the culture of a brand, you’re not going to buy a €3,000 handbag.”

Since arriving at LVMH, Rogers said the main bulk of his work has been around “untangling knots” – presumably tied to the silos the group works in across its brands including Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Loewe, Céline, Givenchy and others. But he also spoke positively about the future of the industry based on this idea of digital or the internet, as a shift in culture. “The great thing for me, is that underneath [the knots at LVMH], there are still the same lessons that we learnt in music about how culture has changed.”

The positive side for the luxury business, he added, is that the disruption music felt when consumers shifted to digital, will be less impactful.

“[Luxury] doesn’t suffer from the same fundamental value loss as music, because you can’t put that product on a thumb drive and hand it to a friend. You have these products that are made traditionally and I think there is more value to handmade and craftsmanship than ever in a digital world.”

His shift to working for a luxury business lies in the fact he believes the industry is in a great position in terms of the way the world is going. “This is a super smart industry that understands culture better than any other,” he added.

Categories
business

BoF moves to walled content model, intros monthly and annual subscriptions

 

BoF Professional
BoF Professional

The Business of Fashion is introducing a paywall in front of much of its content in a bid to move forward with monetisation, it announced today.

From October 25, BoF Professional, as the subscription setup has been dubbed, will be the only way to get unlimited access to its content as well as exclusive analysis, special briefings and networking events. There are both monthly and annual payment plans available.

“For almost a decade, The Business of Fashion has been a trusted source of independent, authoritative analysis on the global fashion industry, arming fashion professionals all over the world with a powerful competitive advantage in today’s turbulent times. Now, it’s time for BoF to take the next step in our journey as a business,” founder Imran Amed wrote in his post about the plans.

Students and occasional readers will continue to have access to five articles per month free of charge, as well as unlimited access to the site’s Daily Digest Newsletter, BoF Fashion Week galleries, the BoF 500 and BoF Careers.

There will also be a special discount to students who wish to upgrade to BoF Professional, as well as special group rates to companies and other organisations of 10 people or more.

BoF has been steadily moving towards more of a revenue-driven model over the past couple of years, with services including a careers site, education platform and offline events under the header BoF Voices all bringing in money to the growing company.

The team raised £1.3m in seed funding from a group of investors in 2013, including Index Ventures, LVMH, Carmen Busquets and Felix Capital. This was followed by a Series A round in 2015.

For those looking to subscribe, the team is offering a 50% early bird discount to the annual subscription of £9 per month. The monthly subscription is £18 per month.

Categories
business Comment Editor's pick

The big writers you should know about in #fashiontech

writers

I’m always asked how I do my research. Short of listing every event I go to, and speaking about how to network and maintain contacts, the easiest answer is almost always about reading.

On the right hand site of this site you’ll find a list of go-to sources for other entities covering either fashion or technology, and occasionally both. I curate the highlights of many of these through the digital snippets posts on Fashion & Mash each week.

But otherwise, I ensure I keep tabs on my fellow writers in this space too. I do so not only through their writing, but what they curate via their own social media channels. Here’s a breakdown of some names to know about:

Lauren Sherman

Perhaps the most prolific writer currently out there, Sherman became New York editor for The Business of Fashion in August 2015. She continues to write for a number of other outlets, and put us all to shame with a tweet on January 6 (third day back at work after the New Year) linking to, yes, her third big story of the year. She brings a fresh perspective to BoF, a wider stream of thought and more embracing view. She also curates a regular newsletter with other must-read articles, and produces a podcast with hubby Dan Frommer, who also happens to be tech editor over at Quartz.

Lauren Indvik

Former associate editor at Mashable, then editor-in-chief of Fashionista.com, Indvik has been bringing the worlds of business and technology together under the fashion heading since the early days of her career. She has recently ventured into the freelance world in a bid to get back to writing more again, so expect to see some great pieces popping up from her all over the shop.

Vanessa Friedman

It goes without saying that Friedman of The New York Times is a must-read. She continues to critique fashion as much as she provides a true business view on developments in the industry as varied how fashion week is shifting through to what she really thinks about wearable technology. Elizabeth Paton, who worked with her at the Financial Times and now serves as European Styles correspondent for the NY Times, based in London, is also one to follow. She too contributes to the newspaper’s On The Runway blog.

Hilary Milnes

As retail reporter at Digiday, Milnes churns out stories 10 to the dozen, varying from the likes of How Tiffany found its Twitter voice to Retailers spending 200% more on skippable YouTube ads. Her work is a credit to Digiday and its willingness to wholeheartedly cover the fashion and retail space as much as it does many other industries. Milnes’ in-depth coverage serves as one of the strongest resources for keeping on top of which brands are doing a good job in digital. She also only graduated in 2013.

Marc Bain

As fashion reporter at Quartz, Bain broadly covers the business side of the industry, with some great stories ranging from Bangladesh’s factories still being ‘death traps’ years after the Rana Plaza tragedy, to The huge underclass of ghost workers making shirts in their homes. He also has his finger on the pulse across things like endorsements, advertising and market movements. Another one ticking the ‘prolific’ box, and keeping us all updated in the process.

Adam Wray

If this list so far doesn’t give you enough to get through each day, then Adam Wray’s curation abilities will. He pulls together everything one absolutely must digest daily about the fashion industry in the Fashion REDEF newsletter – an absolute necessity to sign-up to if you haven’t already. It literally does what it says on the tin, providing you with a full daily understanding of what’s happening in fashion from every angle. His rantnrave section at the top is usually very entertaining too.

Also worth checking out:

  • Rachel Strugatz has held the position of digital news and features editor at WWD for some time, and continues to write in-depth analysis on the impact of social media on the industry, as well as exclusives on what US fashion brands like Rebecca Minkoff or Ralph Lauren are doing with digital.
  • As retail editor at Business Insider, Ashley Lutz reports on a large cross section of consumer goods companies (including fast food), but there’s a good sprinkling of fashion in there too.
  • Natalie Mortimer at The Drum is another one who covers a wide variety of subjects, including food and drink as well as broader retail, but more often than not, a strong dose of fashion. She gets some good UK exclusives too.
  • Kate Abnett is a more junior member of The Business of Fashion team, but the one curating many of the best fashion and tech stories for the site.
  • And if you’re into wearable technology, most of the team over at Wareable are also worth checking out. Features editor Sophie Charara does a great curation job via Twitter too.
  • Last but not least, keep tabs on everything I’m writing either here on Fashion & Mash, or via Forbes.
Categories
business

The Business of Fashion launches new event series for “big thinkers”

BusinessofFashion_Voices

In what comes as little in the way of a surprise, The Business of Fashion has announced it will enter the event space in a big way with the launch of Voices, a three-day invitation-only affair to be held on the outskirts of London next year.

Referred to as an “annual gathering for big thinkers”, it will bring industry leaders, entrepreneurs and inspirational individuals together from December 1-3, 2016. Its aim is to explore new frontiers and challenge received wisdom about this ever-changing business through a programme of rousing talks, interactive presentations and immersive experiences.

The news was announced during a satellite Voices event held in Hong Kong today. “Fashioning China’s Future”, as it was called, was run in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, and supported by principal partner QIC Global Real Estate, with additional support from DFS. QIC Global Real Estate will also be the partner for satellite versions in Sydney and New York, as well as the main event in the UK.

Attendees will be hand-selected, with the aim being to gather figures not just from fashion and other creative fields, but from science, technology, health and wellness, food, finance, politics, urban planning, film, philosophy and philanthropy. “Through a cross-pollination of personalities and industries, Voices aims to spark new ideas and solve real-world challenges impacting the global fashion business,” reads the write-up.

Categories
Comment Editor's pick technology

How the fashion press critiqued the all-new #applewatch

AppleWatch_anchor

It’s somewhat hard to imagine the scene in Cupertino earlier this week – savvy tech journalists alongside a bevy of Apple employees, a handful of celebs and some of the world’s most-established fashion editors.

Like a who’s who of Angela Ahrendts’ fashion contact book, everyone from Olivier Zahm, founder of Purple magazine, to Vogue editor-in-chiefs including Alexandra Shulman of British Vogue, Angelica Cheung of Vogue China, Emmanuelle Alt of Vogue Paris and Franca Sozzani of Vogue Italia willingly took a break from their New York Fashion Week schedules to fly in especially. When Apple calls…

But what all did the industry’s critics think of the much-anticipated Apple Watch? Here are some choice highlights:

  • Lisa Armstrong at the Daily Telegraph suggested if the Apple Watch is to seduce us, first it must be able to woo us with its looks rather than its brains. Was she impressed? Ultimately, yes. Like others, the customisation factor particularly resonated: “Where Apple’s watch leaves others standing is in the almost infinite ways it can be further individualised.” Indeed to many, this was the surest sign of Apple attempting to align itself with the way the fashion industry treats accessories.
  • It was this very focus on customisation, however, that led to Time magazine giving one of the toughest reviews out there. Author Misty White Sidell referred to the launch of the Apple Watch as an attempt to kill the joy of personal style. “In a worst-case scenario for fashion, Apple will not only attain a monopoly on the timepiece market, but also the confidence to wield a larger impact on how we dress ourselves each day. The watch is no doubt an indication of how Apple will approach future fashion products, offering the masses a constrictive framework in which to dress themselves, all under the guise of customizable ‘self expression’. And that places personal style in its purest form at risk—inhibiting a consumer’s right to varied choice.” She referred to every additional fashion creation from Apple as inadvertently likely to create a less diverse shopping landscape. “The more Apple invades the fashion market, the more it will look to create a robotic consumerist culture (something it’s already done with tech)—in turn manipulating the greatest enjoyments of style and personal expression.”

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  • Vanessa Friedman at The New York Times, though providing a positive review overall, went in relatively hard as well. “It’s definitely a step forward,” she wrote. “But does it rewrite the rules of our aesthetic expectations? No.” On that customisation element, she added: “The funny thing is, while I understand why they find this sort of choice extraordinary in the tech world, it’s par for the course in fashion, which points up some of the gulf between the two sectors; What they find revolutionary makes us want to yawn.”
  • Over at Vogue International, Suzy Menkes wasn’t overly fussed by the design either. “From a fashion point of view, the external aesthetic seemed neutral: neither super-stylish nor repellent. I would imagine that geeks would love it more than aesthetes,” she wrote. But she peppered her story with what feels almost like conceding to its inevitability: “Yet smartphones have already transformed the fashion world in a way we never imagined, bringing backstage to the wide world and turning shows into a forest of phones and instant images and videos. The phone and the computer have been responsible for bringing fashion to everyone. I suspect that I, as a non-digital specialist, would fail to use this device to its full capacity. But I like the idea of setting the visual aspects according to my mood. And perhaps my wardrobe.”
  • In comparison, Fashionista very openly referred to the Apple Watch as one of the best wearable tech offerings out yet. It also praised its design, associating it very smoothly with the luxury market. “We may have just been imagining things, but the combination of the display’s smooth gradients, the leather band and the high-shine metallics gives the watch a distinctly Burberry feel. Not that Apple changed its design philosophy based on hiring Angela Ahrendts, but the vibe is there. In any case, all those luxury hires seem to have paid off.”
  • WWD [subscriber access] questioned whether Apple’s marketing savvy and brand reputation would be enough to beat out the more accessories-focused brands like Swatch group (due to unveil its own smartwatch next year), or even Will.i.am, who is plotting his own for introduction in 2015. But the fashion trade publication also highlighted an important point for retailers — the fact Apple has created an entire platform that provides new methods of interaction in the retail environment. “The Apple Watch allows a consumer to confirm a purchase via fingerprint with iTouch and now with the release of Apple Pay, there is a financial system and a platform that allows developers and retailers to integrate this into their payment transactions,” wrote digital news and features editor, Rachel Strugatz.

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  • The Business of Fashion provided a comprehensive overview of the device, outlining six underlying principles it believes form the foundations of the company’s strategy for “igniting and dominating the rapidly emerging wearable technology market, just as the iPod did for music, the iPhone did for smartphones and the iPad has done for tablets”. In doing so, it likewise highlighted some other areas of consideration beyond design, one of the most interesting ones of which was in its analysis of the need for new selling spaces for the more luxury version of the watch. “Can Apple really expect to sell a luxury-priced Apple Watch Edition in crowded stores staffed by personnel in blue t-shirts and khakis?” editor-in-chief Imran Amed asked. He expects Apple’s hire of Angela Ahrendts to lead to the brand rolling out a unique selling environment that lives up to the new product – perhaps a luxury Apple Watch shop-in-shop or a standalone deemed high-end and tailored enough to support it. From a design perspective, he also said he didn’t expect the impact on the fashion and luxury watch market to be too significant just yet. “Having seen and touched Apple Watch in person, I think traditional Swiss luxury watchmakers can rest easy — for now,” he wrote.

That “for now” comment from the BoF is particularly pertinent. As I myself wrote for WGSN [subscriber access]: “Apple has, time and time again, taken a category that already exists (mp3 players, smartphones and tablets as the most obvious examples) and redeveloped it in such a way, with design so succinctly at the heart of it, that it becomes a game changer. Comparative to all the other options out there in the wearable tech / smart watch / fitness tracking device market, this absolutely feels like that again.”

Indeed to return to Amed: “This is just the beginning for the Apple Watch and like its iPod, iPhone and iPad predecessors, I’d expect the product to evolve significantly over time.” Down the road, there’s a wealth of disruption looking likely, especially when you turn to the Millennial market (and under), who are no longer used to wearing a traditional watch, but rather relying on their smartphone. Here’s betting Apple doesn’t have too much trouble getting them back to looking at their wrists.

As Sir Jonathan Ive, SVP of design at Apple, narrates in the video: “I think we’re now at a compelling beginning – actually designing technology to be worn and to be truly personal.”

Let’s not forget, this is just version 1.0.