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Moncler explores emotional intelligence with Sophia the Robot

Moncler - "Emotional Intelligence"
Moncler – “Emotional Intelligence”

Moncler has enlisted Sophia the Robot to launch a digital campaign exploring the relationship between man and machine.

The campaign, which was developed by the New York Times’ creative agency T Brand Studio, promotes the label’s newest collection under the Genius line, this time by Japanese designer Kei Ninomiya. In the short film, Sophia is accompanied by actress and musician Ryan Destiny in a garden, exploring the definition of friendship.

“Sophia’s presence catalyzes new questions about the future of the social zeitgeist,” reads the accompanying copy. “In a new age of art and technology, will A.I. beings — all far more advanced than Sophia — become our friends? Will they develop their own capacity for thought and free will?”

The choice of Sophia comes down to not only its realistic features, but how it was conceived in the first place: the robot has been developed to portray emotions and warmth, not too dissimilar from a real human.

Moreover, the man versus machine theme is particularly relevant to Ninomiya’s collection as its clothing merge traditional origami traditions with futuristic designs, thus converging craft and technology.

The short ad campaign is available to watch on Moncler.com and through paid advertising on Instagram Stories.

This is Moncler’s sixth iteration of the Genius line, which takes inspiration from the ‘drop’ model made popular by streetwear labels, where merchandise is released on a recurring basis, rather than the traditional seasonal retail model. In following suit, the Italian brand hopes to engage with a younger generation who has become accustomed with having faster and more differentiated access to fashion.

As for Sophia the Robot, the humanoid has quickly catapulted into pop culture for its extensive coverage across TV and print. Earlier this year, it graced the cover of UK-based Stylist magazine, which dedicated an entire issue to machines. In June, TheCurrent’s founder Liz Bacelar interviewed her on stage at Impact festival in Krakow, Poland.

This month, the Italian luxury label also launched Moncler Beyond, a wider advertising initiative highlighting 19 men and women who are “pushing the limits”, including British actor John Boyega and Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown.

Are you thinking innovatively enough in your brand messaging? 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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business Comment data e-commerce Editor's pick

“Data Center Chanel” observes the most important aspect of luxury’s future at #PFW

Data Chanel PFW
Data Center Chanel at Paris Fashion Week (Image via Chanel)

Chanel has long been known for bringing elaborate set designs to Paris Fashion Week. Tapping into a sense of Instagram-ready curation, Karl Lagerfeld has introduced everything from a supermarket to an airport terminal and casino in recent seasons. In other words, backdrops that the audience will love to capture for the sake of social media, almost irrespective of the collection itself.

Today was no different, except this time there was an extra layer to the proceedings, arguably a metaphorical one about the future of luxury.

“Data Center Chanel” was the theme, with a series of data storage units (a supercomputer if you will) acting as the set for the spring/summer 2017 collection.

Multicoloured wires sprung from the machines, replicated in both the invitation to the show – which saw the interlocking C’s formed from cables – as well as some of the detail in the clothing line itself, a reworking of the brand’s traditional tweed. The flashing green lights from the data farm were even mirrored in LEDs that appeared on some of the brand’s handbags.

Meanwhile, “bots” walked the runway too. Two models opened the show wearing a headpiece largely reminiscent of Pepper – the small humanoid robot by Aldebaran Robotics and SoftBank, which has been working in various retail stores this year. Other coverage also referenced the idea of Storm Troopers or even virtual reality headsets.

Data Chanel fashion PFW
A bot walks in front of the Data Center Chanel setup at Paris Fashion Week (Image via @SusieBubble)

The big focus was on hardware, but it was of course a greater nod to all things digital. On the one hand, the entire setup could have been a narrative on modern consumers’ lives – the idea we’re all ruled by data; an awareness of just how much we individually share, a tangible replication of the servers behind our connected worlds. As Robin Givhan, fashion critic at the Washington Post, tweeted: “We’re all just bits of data.”

Perhaps it was also a more conceptual thought about all of us operating like bots in the screen era too, or even that bots themselves are becoming more prevalent in our communications and beyond – the algorithms shaping our lives. It was a look to the future some might say, and indeed a reflection on current day.

But there seemed an even greater underlying reference, and that was around the idea that Chanel’s roadmap lies in becoming itself just a series of data. And this is where the future of luxury comes in.

Any brand thinking about long-term growth strategy knows that data is at the very heart of finding that success. But data must fundamentally come from e-commerce, for which many luxury brands are still a stranger – Chanel included.

For many of them, this has been because they could find growth elsewhere, notably in China. As Luca Solca, managing director of luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas, told me for a story for the Business of Fashion last year: “[With a slowing China market] e-commerce is one of very few ways luxury goods companies can now grow.”


A video posted by CHANEL (@chanelofficial) on

The numbers make sense to do so: from 2009 to 2014, online sales of luxury goods grew four times faster than offline sales. In fact, in 2014, nearly all luxury market growth came from e-commerce, up 50% from 2013. And yet that figure is still only at 6% of total sales demonstrating how much space digital still has to grow. McKinsey expects it to triple to 18% by 2025.

Chanel has previously promised it will launch its e-commerce site by the end of 2016. For the same BoF story, Lindsay Nuttall, CDO at advertising agency BBH, which has worked with brands like Burberry, said going direct-to-consumer in a bid to have control over customers’ online data is essential. “The fact [many luxury brands have] given part of their supply chain away to third parties like Net-a-Porter could prove an increasing problem over time. It can affect really practical things, like their margins, and really huge things like their route to the customer. By not collecting data on them, you don’t understand how they’re evolving,” she explained.

In short then, the Chanel show really could be a precursor to the fact it’s finally about to go headfirst into e-commerce. It’s a true nod to the future of luxury and to a much more integrated, customer-first and data-led strategy, enabled by a final push into online transactions.

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business digital snippets e-commerce mobile social media technology

Digital snippets: Brexit fallout for fashion, big brands hit Reddit, Uniqlo’s digital identity

sibling_brexit
Sibling’s designers showing their support to stay in the EU during their menswear fashion show ahead of the referendum

We’re back with another round-up of everything you might have missed in fashion and technology news (and beyond) over the past week or so. Needless to say, Brexit has been the big subject as the industry tries to weigh up what such a result means for them going forward. We’ve highlighted some of the must-read pieces on the subject. Beyond that there’s an update on the value of Reddit for brands, insight on Uniqlo’s evolving digital identity and to cheer everyone up, Amazon’s new #saysomethingnice campaign…


  • Britain votes to exit EU, unleashing untold damage on the fashion industry [BoF]

  • Brexit: Retail chiefs must lead in the creation of a prosperous future [Retail Week]

  • What Brexit means for British fashion brands [Esquire]

  • Here’s why Brexit might not be so bad for… Burberry [Yahoo]

  • E-commerce winners and losers in the wake of Brexit [Glossy]

  • Why big brands are suddenly getting cozy with Reddit [AdWeek]

  • How fashion brands are starting to design like tech companies [Co.Design]

  • How Uniqlo plans to establish a digital identity [Glossy]

  • Amazon Fashion launches #saysomethingnice social campaign [The Industry]

  • Online fashion curator FarFetch, which links shops to customers, grows in China [SCMP]

  • Nicola Formichetti on subcultures, digital life & advertising on Pornhub [Oyster]

  • Augmented reality bot brings virtual lipstick try-on to Facebook Messenger [Forbes]

  • Target shoppers love this superfan account [Racked]

  • Snap, swipe, like: The mobile future of fashion retail [BBC]

  • The evolution of the mobile payment [TechCrunch]

  • E-commerce is supposedly capital intensive. So why do the companies that raise the least tend to do the best? [Pando]

  • How social media turned into shoppable media [The Industry]

  • Pinterest adds a shopping cart and visual search to challenge Amazon [AdWeek]

  • Refinery29 is building a 10-person Facebook Live team [Digiday]

  • Meet the new wave of wearables: stretchable electronics [Fast Company]

  • Iris Apfel emojis are happening with Macy’s [Fashionista]
Categories
e-commerce Editor's pick social media Startups technology

Augmented reality bot brings virtual lipstick try-on to Facebook Messenger

Modiface_ augmented reality bot
The new Modiface AR chatbot on Facebook Messenger

Chatbots in the fashion and beauty space are increasingly commonplace thanks to the launch of simple bot tools on the likes of Facebook Messenger and Kik. But how about one that not only has a conversation with you about what to purchase, but can show you what said item looks like on you in real-time too?

Modiface, an augmented reality (AR) company serving the beauty industry with custom try-on apps, has integrated its simulation technology into a conversational beauty advisor on Facebook Messenger.

The AR bot enables users to discover lipsticks specifically at this stage, providing them with the ability to virtually try different options on by uploading a selfie of themselves directly into the chat. Using advanced facial tracking and simulation technology, the bot then shows them what they look like in that exact product.

Find out more via the full story on Forbes.

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digital snippets e-commerce mobile social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Inside the Vogue x Apple relationship, Gucci’s digital strategy, Farfetch raises $110m

Gucci

It probably goes without saying you’re well and truly over the plethora of stories covering the cyber-themed Met Gala looks (including the true wearable tech pieces), but if you haven’t read Racked’s piece on the relationship between Vogue and Apple in the build-up to the event – as below – then do take the time. Also buzzing in fashion and tech news over the past couple of weeks is everything from further advertising plans on Snapchat to Gucci’s digital strategy and the wearable revolution taking place in Brooklyn. Read on for a complete rundown…


  • Unravelling Vogue and Apple’s self-serving relationship [Racked]

  • The digital strategy driving Gucci’s growth (as pictured) [Glossy]

  • Farfetch raises $110 million in ‘strategic’ move [BoF]

  • William Gibson and Andrew Bolton on the future of fashion and technology [Document Journal]

  • Decoding ‘Manus x Machina’ [BoF]

  • Westfield launches room service retail with interactive mirror [Retail Gazette]

  • Target and Lancôme produce Snapchat’s first e-commerce ads [AdWeek]

  • Old Navy ad with interracial couple sparks a social media firestorm [BrandChannel]

  • Louis Vuitton and Snapchat team up to bring live coverage of world class sailing event [The Drum]

  • Lyst inspires post-work shopping therapy with subway placements [Luxury Daily]

  • If you don’t get social media-only brand ‘Obsessee,’ you probably aren’t its target audience [Fashionista]

  • Bushy eyebrows and $50k per day on Facebook ads: How a small beauty brand blew up [Forbes]

  • How Snapchat won the Met Gala [WGSN Insider]

  • 10 of the best brands on Snapchat right now (and why they’re so great) [Hubspot]

  • How to build a brand on Instagram [Fashionista]

  • Brooklyn’s wearable revolution [NY Times]

  • Why Silicon Valley VC firms fund online retailers like Dollar Shave Club [Seattle Times]

  • Is Flipkart turning into the perfect example of what a tech startup must not do? [Quartz]

  • The future of shopping: trapping you in a club you didn’t know you joined [Bloomberg]

  • The future of the fashion show, according to MatchesFashion.com’s Ruth and Tom Chapman [Vogue]

  • This new tool wants to make the off-price clothing business easier [Fast Company]

  • Digiday launches new fashion and luxury publication, Glossy [Digiday]

  • Heated coats and Kate Moss holograms: the key moments fashion and technology have collided [Daily Telegraph]

  • This video of Anna Wintour introducing the @Voguemagazine app is oddly threatening [Fashionista]

  • The sneakerhead bot problem is getting worse and Nike has the only answer (so far) [HighSnobiety]

  • What fashion brands can learn from Beyoncé’s Lemonade [BoF]
Categories
e-commerce Editor's pick mobile social media

Shopping start-up Spring launches one of first bots on Facebook Messenger

Spring_messenger_bot

Facebook announced the launch of its bot store during its F8 developer conference Tuesday, and m-commerce start-up Spring was one of the first businesses demonstrated using it.

The shopping app founded by David and Alan Tisch, is introducing what it calls a “personal shopping assistant” powered by Facebook’s new send/receive API. Already live in Messenger, it operates as a very simple conversation based on a series of multiple-choice questions, much like Sephora’s chatbot, recently launched on Kik, also does.

“Hey Rachel! What are you looking for today?” Spring asks, before providing numerous buttons to direct your responses. That conversation continues through product category, specific products, price point you’re willing to spend, and eventually, a carousel featuring five items you might want to buy. Clicking on one opens up a shoppable page to checkout from, before it sends you back to the message thread and surfaces up your receipt.

Head over to Forbes to read more about it, including the role artificial intelligence plays in building out such future natural language interactions, and the ability for personalisation at scale that it offers retailers.

Categories
e-commerce Editor's pick mobile social media

Sephora launches chatbot on messaging app Kik

sephora_kik


Snapchat users following beauty retailer Sephora may have noticed it pushing its presence on messaging app Kik this week.

A series of videos saved to its “Story” demonstrated exactly what it is you can do on this other platform so heavily favoured by US teens. That might sound somewhat counterintuitive, but you can bet doing so managed to migrate a great number of followers accordingly.

Sephora, for reference, is strong on Snapchat. Seemingly, it’s looking like it’s figured out Kik too, and it’s doing so by using a chatbot, rather than humans to feed its communications.

Head on over to Forbes to read the full story of what it’s doing and how such moves fit in with the growth trend for “conversational commerce“.