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Purposeful innovation leads British Fashion Council award winners


“Purpose is the new luxury,” said Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans, at the British Fashion Council’s annual awards last night, which celebrated creativity and innovation from across the industry. 

He picked up the Special Recognition Award for Innovation, for his work recycling plastics recovered from the ocean into new products for brands including adidas, G-Star and Stella McCartney.

He echoed a theme that resonated throughout the evening focused on pushing for a positive revolution in light of climate change. “The planet is broken, the oceans are nearly dead and we need a dream of a magic blue universe that is well protected – something that we actually fight for together,” he said.

Also focused on this message was Dame Vivienne Westwood, who picked up the Swarovski Award for Positive Change. She used the occasion to give an impassioned speech about capitalism and the industry’s enormous responsibility to protect the planet.

Activism continued as a theme throughout the evening, with references made to Brexit, the Paris riots and even the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data scandal revealed earlier this year.

Miuccia Prada, on reception of the Outstanding Achievement Award, added: “Just a little note for fashion, I think more and more we should feel a responsibility for defending human rights and freedom.”

Dame Vivienne Westwood
Dame Vivienne Westwood

A surprise for guests meanwhile came when HRH The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, arrived on stage to present the British womenswear designer of the year award to Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy, who was of course the designer behind the dress for her wedding to Prince Harry.

Meghan took the opportunity to reference female empowerment: “As all of you in this room know, we have a deep connection to what we wear. Sometimes it’s very personal, sometimes it’s emotional. But for me, this connection is rooted in really being able to understand that it’s about supporting and empowering each other, especially as women. When we choose to wear a certain designer, we’re not just a reflection of their creativity and their vision, but we’re also an extension of their values, of something in the fabric, so to speak, that is much more meaningful. I recently read an article that said, ‘The culture of fashion has shifted from one where it was cool to be cruel to now, where it’s cool to be kind’.”

Other awards during the evening went to Craig Green as menswear designer of the year, Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga as accessories designer of the year, Marco Bizzarri for Gucci as business leader, and Virgil Abloh for Off-White, in the Urban Luxe category. Gucci won the brand of the year, while Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino picked up the overarching designer of the year award.

Emerging talent accolades went to Samuel Ross for A-COLD-WALL* and Richard Quinn, while Kaia Gerber picked up model of the year. There were also special recognition awards to Kim Jones as the 2018 trailblazer and to Mert & Marcus, who won the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator.

This year also marks the first time the awards have celebrated a young global creative community with the launch of the“NEW WAVE: Creatives”, which recognized 100 of the most innovative and inspiring young creative talent from around the world.

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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What you missed: Rebecca Minkoff’s LA show, Ivanka Trump’s Nordstrom response, exec musical chairs

Rebecca Minkoff (right) with blogger Aimee Song at the designer's LA show
Rebecca Minkoff (right) with blogger Aimee Song at the designer’s LA show

Rebecca Minkoff kicked off the first of the LA fashion shows this season (Tommy Hilfiger, Tom Ford and Rachel Zoe to follow), with a shoppable collection as well as a series of connected handbags on offer. There was also entertainment galore, which gives Tommy something to try and outdo later this week.

Meanwhile, other news this week has focused heavily on the execs movements at various brands, including Stefan Larsson out as CEO at Ralph Lauren, Riccardo Tisci leaving Givenchy, rumoured headed to Versace, and Clare Waight Keller exiting Chloé. Also worth reading is detail on the John Lewis delivery trials straight to your car boot, insight on everything you need to know about the Snapchat IPO and Gap’s new 90s inspired campaign.


TOP STORIES
  • Rebecca Minkoff teams with Like to Know It to make LA show shoppable [WWD]
  • Ivanka Trump’s brand responds to Nordstrom [Racked]
  • John Lewis and Jaguar Land Rover are trialling shopping deliveries straight to your car [Forbes]
  • LVMH sets up new investment vehicle for emerging brands [Fashion United]

BUSINESS
  • Ralph Lauren CEO Stefan Larsson quits after dispute with founder over creative control [WSJ]
  • Riccardo Tisci is leaving Givenchy [BoF]
  • Clare Waight Keller exiting Chloé [BoF]
  • Hudson’s Bay reportedly in talks to acquire Macy’s [Retail Dive]
  • Farfetch sets share options scheme for all employees [WWD]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • 8 things marketers need to know about Snapchat’s IPO [AdAge]
  • How social media turned Hollywood’s beauty prep into marketing gold [BoF]
  • Step inside the YouTube-fuelled, teenaged extravaganza that is Beautycon [Wired]

MARKETING
  • Gap debuts ’90s-inspired ads starring the children of its former campaign stars [Fashionista]
  • Adidas tells the stories of female athletes’ struggles with ‘Unleash Your Creativity’ campaign [The Drum]
  • Luxury brands leverage custom emojis for peer-to-peer communication push [Luxury Daily]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • DKNY taps Farfetch to revitalise e-commerce strategy [Glossy]
  • How Lululemon and Adidas use RFID to set the stage for omnichannel [Apparel]

TECHNOLOGY
  • The promise of augmented reality [Economist]
  • Why retailers struggle to adopt mobile payments [Digiday]

START-UPS
  • Caraa CEO Aaron Luo: Startups have given up on good, old-fashioned (non-tech) product innovation [LeanLuxe]