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Vivienne Westwood calls to ban land ownership, Shiseido acquires Drunk Elephant, Hong Kong protests hit luxury

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

Top Stories
  • The ‘only way to save the world’ is to ban land ownership, says Vivienne Westwood (Dezeen)
  • Why Shiseido bought Drunk Elephant for $845million (BoF)
  • Hong Kong protests could hit Burberry sales by up to £100million (Quartz)
Technology
  • Adidas 1st to sell shoes via Snapchat game (Mobile Marketer)
  • 5G smartphone sales will top 1B by 2025 (Mobile Marketer)
  • Unicef now accepting donations through bitcoin and ether (The Guardian)
  • 3D-printed smart textiles consume less energy, water & chemicals (Sourcing Journal)
  • GOAT showcases world’s rarest sneakers with AR try-ons (Mobile Marketer)
  • Personal stylists are using data to strengthen relationships (Vogue Business)
  • O2 launches ‘worlds first live ad’ powered by 5G (Campaign)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • California bans animal fur products (Drapers)
  • Kat von D launches vegan footwear line from apple ‘leather’ (Sourcing Journal)
  • Farfetch partners with Thrift+, a second hand donation platform (Retail Gazette)
  • Chloe forges three-year partnership with UNICEF (WWD)
  • Forget carbon neutral, Patagonia wants to be ‘carbon positive’ (Sourcing Journal)
  • Little Mistress launches sustainable packaging (Fashion United)
  • John Lewis launches sustainable ‘buyback’ trial (Retail Gazette)
Retail & Commerce
  • Stance opens Carnaby Street flagship store (Retail Gazette)
  • Morphe launches in-store Youtube studios to drive foot traffic (Glossy)
  • H&M outlet brand Afound shifts focus towards online (BoF)
  • Rental service HURR Collective to stage pop-up shop (The Industry)
  • Vans brings new boutique concept to Covent Garden (Fashion United)
  • Givenchy unveils US e-commerce site (WWD)
  • HMV launches Europe’s largest music store (Retail Week)
Business
  • Ganni’s guerrilla approach to global growth (BoF)
  • New CEO at Stella McCartney (Drapers)
  • Race to buy Barneys heats up (WWD)
  • Toys R Us relaunches website amid Target partnership (Charged Retail)
  • Victoria’s Secret store exec departs (Retail Dive)
  • LVMH luxury venture fund invests in streetwear brand Madhappy (Fashion Law)
Marketing & Social Media
  • Instagram launches Threads, a close friend chat app with auto-status (TechCrunch)
  • The next generation of menswear designers might be on Youtube (Fashionista)
  • Teens choose Youtube over Netflix for the first time (CNBC)
  • Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister launch Instagram checkout (Retail Dive)
Product
  • Mens beauty grooming retailer Beast Inks deal for U.K rollout (WWD)
  • SprezzaBox and Esquire team up to launch subscription box (Fashion United)
  • Everlane launches ReCashmere sweater collection (Dezeen)
Culture
  • Adidas teams up with Universal Standard for a truly size-inclusive collaboration (Adweek)
  • Why 5,000-year-old fashion is making a comeback (BoF)
  • Lululemon partners with United Nations Foundation (Fashion United)
  • Kellogg’s autism-sensitive packaging for kids (Stylus)
  • Victoria’s Secret hires first plus-size model (Fashion United)
  • Havas and CALM team up to create self-care labelling for Topshop and Topman (Campaign)
  • The business of casting queer models (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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Editor's pick Retail technology

BAFTA awards introduces CGI model as first ever 5G AI-powered red carpet stylist

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) is introducing the world’s first 5G-powered AI stylist at this weekend’s 72nd British Academy Film Awards, in the shape of a hologram of a CGI model. The model will act as a bridge to allow consumers to shop for red carpet looks at home.

Powered by telecoms company EE technology, Shudu, the CGI model, will be brought to life on the red carpet in the shape of a hologram and allow guests at home to shop for evening looks similar to those of the celebrities attending through Instagram Stories.

The experience will work when red carpet guests stand next to the hologram and have their photographs taken by a Google Pixel 3 phone. This is then posted on EE’s Instagram Stories, where users will be able to ‘swipe up’ to begin a conversation with Shudu, the chatbot.

Users can then discuss their personal styles with Shudu, while AI be deployed to find similar, more affordable looks to recommend to users and enable them to “Shop the Look”.

On the red carpet, Shudu will be joined by host and TV presenter Laura Whitmore. “I love the fact that she will give everyone the opportunity to learn more about and even shop the looks of the stars on this year’s BAFTA red carpet right from the comfort of their sofas,” she says. “I know everyone is going to be blown away by her. I’m looking forward to seeing all the glamour and chatting to all the nominees.”

Last year, TheCurrent Global’s Liz Bacelar and Rachel Arthur debated the what the potential that CGI-generated models, such as Shudu, may have for luxury brands on an episode of the Innovators podcast.

How are you thinking about digital innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current Global 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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Campaigns data e-commerce product technology

Levi’s partners with Pinterest on personal styling tool

Levi’s has partnered with Pinterest on a personal styling tool that generates a custom inspiration board depending on the user’s taste. 

Called “Styled by Levi’s”, the feature exists on a microsite, where users can select the gender they would like to shop in, and five product images that they relate to the most. Next, they are prompted to log into their Pinterest accounts to receive personalized, shoppable boards. 

Apart from editorial campaigns and product images, boards also refer customers to its customization service and chatbot feature, which the brand launched in 2017.

The feature works both when the user is logged in to their Pinterest accounts or not. However, users that are logged in will be served a more relevant experience as the platform also uses data from their past browsing behavior. 

Over the past couple of years, Pinterest has pushed to monetize the behavior of its audience of 250 million with a series of brand partnerships that feature an e-commerce element. For this holiday season, it is introducing Gift Globes, a gift-finding solution where consumers can enter information to receive customised gift guides. Participating brands include Macy’s, Lowe’s and Kohl’s.

How are you thinking about digital innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Campaigns social media technology

Rimmel’s fights cyberbullying with AI driven-tool

Rimmel
Rimmel

Rimmel is aiming to fight beauty cyberbullying with a new online tool driven by artificial intelligence called the Cybersmile Assistant.

The initiative aims to create a safe space for those bullied about their appearance through negative or abusive comments on their social media channels. It enables them to share their experience and find solutions, with the chatbot assistant recommending approved organizations, helplines and local resources.

The Coty-owned cosmetics brand created the tool as part of a long-term partnership with the Cybersmile Foundation, a non-profit aiming to end all forms of cyberbullying. It will live on the Cybersmile website from early 2019 in English, with additional language versions launching at a later date.

Sara Wolverson, vice president of global marketing at Rimmel, commented: “As a global beauty company, Coty wants to contribute solutions that can positively impact prejudice and discrimination that stand in the way of self-expression and to raise awareness to affect positive changes in behaviour.”

The activation is part of a larger initiative launched this week by Rimmel called #IWILLNOTBEDELETED, which aims to empower victims who would otherwise feel pressured to delete their social media accounts.

As part of this, the brand released a report together with Coty, which interviewed 11,000 young women across the ages 16-25 in 10 countries and identified that one in four had experienced beauty cyberbullying.

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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Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce film Retail Startups sustainability technology

ICYMI: Balenciaga’s futuristic show, Nike as the biggest fashion brand, robots to beat US tariffs

Balenciaga's SS19 Show
Balenciaga’s SS19 Show

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

TOP STORIES
  • Back to the future: a futuristic theme was present at Balenciaga’s spring/summer 2019 show [Vogue]
  • “The vibe of the times”: How Nike became the biggest fashion brand in the world [GQ]
  • Hong Kong shirtmaker Esquel turns to robots to beat US tariffs [SCMP]
  • Can Paris grow its fashion-tech game? [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
  • How biotechnology is reshaping fashion [BoF]
  • Walmart requires suppliers to use traceability system for leafy greens [Supermarket News]
  • You know nothing AI, that’s why you’re bad at conversation [The Next Web]
  • EasyJet tool lets people use photos to search for flights [Digiday]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Germanier unveils sustainable Christian Louboutin collaboration [WWD]
  • Patagonia uses recycled wool for ‘woolyester’ fleece [Apparel Insider]
  • ‘Sustainability means nothing’: How atelier Repairs’ Maurizio Donadi approaches responsible fashion [Glossy]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Finnish department store launches gender-neutral floor [FashionUnited]
  • Inside the J. Crew-Universal Standard collaboration [RetailDive]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Gap chatbot enlists ‘wear testers’ for men’s athleisure line [MobileMarketer]
  • MyTheresa and Miu Miu celebrate women’s empowerment with playful Rebel, Rebel film [FashionUnited]
BUSINESS
  • Michael Kors acquires Versace [Fashionista]
  • Converse is ready to rebound after a streak of struggles [FootwearNews]
  • Next beats UK heat as it raises full-year profit outlook [Bloomberg]
  • Chanel acquires Orlebar Brown [BoF]
  • Investors are pouring millions (and millions) of dollars into streetwear startups [Fashionista]
CULTURE
  • Kim Jones thinks it’s time to retire the term “streetwear”  [Highsnobiety]
  • Why companies like Bumble and 7-Eleven are trying to sell you skin care and makeup [Vox]
  • Instagrammable pop-ups are everywhere. What does that mean for art? [Vox]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology. We deliver innovative integrations and experiences, powered by a network of top technologies and startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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

ICYMI: Bitcoin millionaires love streetwear, voice shopping on the rise, solving the last mile

Bitcoin millionaires are coming for streetwear
Bitcoin millionaires are coming for streetwear

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

TOP STORIES
  • Bitcoin millionaires are coming for streetwear [GQ]
  • Alexa, I need … everything. Voice shopping sales could reach $40 billion by 2022 [USAToday]
  • Solving for the last mile is retail’s next big disruption [RetailDive]
  • What Gucci’s gun stance says about the end of corporate neutrality [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Levi’s revolutionizes finishing process, driving more sustainable supply chain [TCDaily]
  • Unilever and IBM’s blockchain experiment: a silver bullet for digital or a ‘glitzy’ quick fix? [TheDrum]
  • JD.com’s new accelerator focuses on blockchain startups [TechCrunch]
  • JD.com upgrades AR/VR capabilities for beauty [WWD]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Why is it so hard for clothing manufacturers to pay a living wage? [Racked]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Wear now, pay later: credit shopping goes digital [BoF]
  • ‘To find it, just Boohoo it’: How the fast-fashion retailer is making a go of visual search [Glossy]
  • Stitch Fix CEO Katrina Lake talks data, Amazon—and hot tubs [FastCompany]
  • Macy’s just confirmed the end of department stores as we know them [Business Insider]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • The Outnet is using its chatbot to push out influencer content [Glossy]
  • The Gap wins over Instagram with this empowering breastfeeding ad [FastCompany]
  • Allbirds is selling a limited-edition shoe exclusively on Instagram [Glossy]
PRODUCT
  • Hunter teams up with Target for limited edition collection [TheIndustry]
  • The US is now buying more stretchy pants than blue jeans [QZ]
BUSINESS
  • Why Burberry chose Riccardo Tisci [BoF]
  • How Guess mismanaged its #MeToo crisis [BoF]
  • Marks & Spencer publishes gender pay gap and pledges to extend monitoring to age, ethnicity and disability [TheIndustry]
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Michael Kors launches smartwatch-focused chatbot

Michael Kors introduces chatbot to smartwatches, tech, fashion tech, smart technology, chatbots
Michael Kors introduces chatbot to support smartwatches

Michel Kors has launched a chatbot on Facebook Messenger and Google Assistant, designed to support its Access Sofie smartwatch for women.

The bot aims to teach users about the smartwatch’s features and functionalities, guiding new owners on the set-up process of their device when they first purchase, enabling them to get the most out of it thereafter.

It also provides style inspiration curated from user-generated content and shopping information about items to buy within the experience, including interchangeable bands for the watches. That is done within the Facebook Messenger feed, or via a voice-activated option available through the Google Assistant.

Should the user need help, the bot is also equipped with FAQ support and the ability to hand users off to a human customer service representative when the moment arises.

The chatbot is also available for non-watch owners, enabling them to explore the different Sofie smartwatch styles, then inviting them to either make a purchase on the spot or head to their nearest Michael Kors location.

This sort of move for chatbots as a key part of customer service is becoming increasingly commonplace among brands and retailers. Part of the reason, beyond the marketing drive it has facilitated initially, is the scale it enables. As the technology itself improves, this is only going to get smarter.

Across verticals, there are now more than 100,000 bots on the Facebook Messenger platform, all of which have the potential to reach the platform’s 1.3 billion users.

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business data digital snippets e-commerce Startups sustainability technology

What you missed: retail’s existential reckoning, Echo Dot is the Christmas best seller, bots on the rise

2017 was the year of retail’s existential reckoning
2017 was the year of retail’s existential reckoning

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech industry news over the final fortnight of 2017.


TOP STORIES
  • 2017 was the year of retail’s existential reckoning [Quartz]
  • The Echo Dot was the best-selling product on all of Amazon this holiday season [TechCrunch]
  • Bots are about to get better at customer support than humans [Wired]
  • The last days of Colette [Garage]

BUSINESS
  • Retailers feel shoppers’ Christmas cheer [WSJ]
  • Jonathan Saunders steps down from DVF role [Guardian]
  • Meet Oscar Olsson, the mind behind H&M’s new brand for millennials [TheCut]
  • Reformation raises $25 million to fuel brick-and-mortar growth [BoF]
  • Clothing companies are trashing unsold merchandise instead of donating it [TheOutline]
  • With Phoebe Philo leaving Céline, what’s next? [BoF]
  • UK cotton back in production in Manchester [BBC]

MARKETING
  • Adidas brings all-star talent and tech to the table [BrandChannel]

E-COMMERCE
  • Prada launches e-commerce platform in China [Reuters]
  • The fake news of e-commerce [Racked]
  • There’s money to be made in returning e-commerce orders [LA Times]
  • What fashion brands can learn from Nike’s first six months as an Amazon partner [Glossy]
  • E-commerce company ThredUP rolls out AI-powered ‘goody boxes’ to rival discount clothing chains [AdWeek]

STORES
  • Walmart is developing a personal-shopper service for rich moms — and a store with no cashiers [Recode]
  • Sephora mastered in-store sales by investing in data and cutting-edge technology [AdWeek]

TECHNOLOGY
  • This is Magic Leap’s mixed reality headset [Engadget]
  • If the bitcoin bubble bursts, this is what will happen next [Wired]
  • Mall of America gets high-tech with chatbot and humanoid robots [Racked]
  • Ikea is stepping into virtual reality by creating a game for new store openings [AdWeek]
  • Beauty tech made major strides in 2017, and it’s only the beginning [Fashionista]

START-UPS
  • Target to buy Shipt for $550 million in challenge to Amazon [Bloomberg]
  • Meet the nanotech scientist who used her mad skills to build a better party clutch [FastCompany]
Categories
Editor's pick mobile social media technology

Louis Vuitton becomes latest luxury brand to launch a chatbot

Louis Vuitton AW17 campaign
Louis Vuitton AW17 campaign

In a bid to think “client first”, Louis Vuitton has launched an AI chatbot on Facebook Messenger that advises shoppers on products, aiming to provide meaningful feedback during the busy holiday period.

The bot is powered by mode.ai, which has also partnered with the likes of Levi’s with its artificial intelligence, visual search and machine learning technology.

It aims to give clients a more “sophisticated, personalised, visual and conversational online shopping experience” via Facebook, where Louis Vuitton currently has more than 20 million followers.

The main focus is on search – users can converse with the bot to discover the brand’s full line of products, as well as use it to get suggestions on specific items. It uses natural language processing to facilitate a more advanced search experience.

They can also share items with friends directly through it, and get votes in return on what to buy. Additional services include info on stores worldwide, access to product care instructions and a conversational view on the brand itself, from its fashion shows to its history and the craftsmanship behind its products.

Louis Vuitton's new chatbot with mode.ai
Louis Vuitton’s new chatbot with mode.ai

Louis Vuitton CEO, Michael Burke, said: “At Louis Vuitton, we always think client first. Today, our clients like to be connected to the Louis Vuitton universe wherever they are. They shop in our stores worldwide and are often in contact with their personal shoppers. They also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and find our products on louisvuitton.com. It became evident that we should create the Louis Vuitton Virtual Advisor powered by mode.ai, a 24h/7 service to be able to fully meet their needs.”

“We are still in the very early stage of AI technology adoption in the retail industry. The dominance of e-commerce isn’t just a trend, but an ever-growing arena, giving luxury brands like Louis Vuitton the opportunity to reach and sell to their customers in new and exciting ways. As shoppers continue to move online, the most forward-thinking companies will turn to AI chatbot technology to meet these shifting client demands,” said mode.ai CEO Eitan Sharon.

Burke added: “The [bot] is designed to increase the quality of the relationship we have with our clients by enhancing and personalising the shopping experience. We see messaging platforms as future key drivers of conversations with our clients, and potential for the integration of artificial intelligence and chatbot technologies to further enhance service to clients across these new channels.”

The experience is currently only available on Facebook Messenger in the US, but there are plans to roll it out to Europe and Japan next, as well as across additional platforms including WeChat and Line.

This post first appeared on Forbes.

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e-commerce Editor's pick mobile social media technology

All the tech plans for Tommy Hilfiger’s LFW show

Tommy Hilfiger's London Fashion Week TommyNow show is called RockCircus
Tommy Hilfiger’s London Fashion Week TommyNow show is called RockCircus

Tommy Hilfiger calls its seasonal fashion week show an “innovation incubator” – a place to experiment with new experiences for the consumer by layering digital and technology on top of entertainment.

This week, that concept heads to London for a show inspired by rock-and-roll. Rockcircus, as the #TommyNow event is called, is the third showcase of the brand’s partnership with supermodel Gigi Hadid, as well as a continuing “see now, buy now” format, meaning every look presented on the runway is available immediately to buy.

Facilitating that shoppable aim and drive toward the future, is everything from augmented reality to image recognition technology, an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot and more.

“[We’re] breaking all the rules and disrupting the fashion industry with new authentic experiences for consumers around the world,” said Tommy Hilfiger. “As we continue our leadership role in democratising the runway, we are driven by our passion to come up with new all-inclusive ways to involve and empower consumers, male and female, to take part in these unique experiences.”

Here are the details on all that will be happening:


Entirely shoppable

Focusing on the idea of “instant gratification” every look from the show will be shoppable. This isn’t just on the website however, where a live stream (and later on-demand) video will indeed facilitate that exact experience, but across a multitude of other channels too. A click-to-buy function will appear on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Pinterest. Also look out for custom emoji on Twitter and branded filters on Snapchat.

The Tommy Hilfiger chatbot
The Tommy Hilfiger chatbot

AI-powered

On Facebook Messenger that shoppable experience is enabled via a chatbot. TMY.GRL, which launched in September 2016, is now joined by TMY.BOY to offer virtual styling advice based on the user’s style preferences and event occasions. More than 100,000 messages have been exchanged using the TMY.GRL chatbot since launch, according to the team. Further stats revealed show that users return to Facebook Messenger to ask for styling advice three or more times on average, spending four minutes interacting with the chatbot.


AR for conversion

Tommy Hilfiger is also using augmented reality for the first time in order to bring the catwalk experience to life for consumers outside of the show. Using the TommyNow Snap app, an image recognition tool that debuted last season, viewers can use a new AR commerce function in order to see and then shop their own private version of the runway. All they have to do is point their phone at a flat surface to view the AR experience, then tap to shop thereafter.

The Tommy Hilfiger augmented reality tool
The Tommy Hilfiger augmented reality tool

The Snap app has also evolved into a 360-degree offering, meaning users can use image recognition to pull up any of the pieces from the TommyNow show, including men’s, women’s, kids and accessories. They can do so from photos of the models walking the runway, products physically in the store, ad placements, editorial shots and even user-generated content in the app’s own feed. The tool will recognise each style and link directly to Tommy.com for purchase.

This post first appeared on Forbes