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What you missed: Tim Cook on AR for fashion, the future of visual search, open sustainability

Apple CEO Tim Cook on the future of AR for fashion
Apple CEO Tim Cook

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


TOP STORIES
  • Apple’s Tim Cook on the future of fashion and shopping [Vogue]
  • Retailers continue to experiment with visual search [Glossy]
  • Fashion needs an open-source sustainability solution [BoF]
  • Alibaba to spend $15 billion exploring ‘moonshot’ projects [Bloomberg]

BUSINESS
  • Giorgio Armani speaks on restructuring and succession plans [BoF]
  • Coach is changing its name to Tapestry [Bloomberg]
  • How Supreme grew a $1 billion business with a secret partner [BoF]

SOCIAL MEDIA & MARKETING
  • Fashion week engagements on Instagram nearly tripled compared to February’s fashion month [AdWeek]
  • Snapchat is twice as popular as Instagram when it comes to teens’ favourite social apps [AdWeek]
  • Will Dove’s ‘Pepsi moment’ affect the brand in the long term? [The Drum]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Walmart and Target are banding with Google to take on Amazon [AdWeek]
  • Black Friday shoppers more likely than ever to go online this year [Retail Dive]
  • ASOS launches same-day delivery service [The Industry]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Mastercard offers first checkout option for VR with Swarovski [AdAge]
  • What Sephora knows about women in tech that Silicon Valley doesn’t [WSJ]
  • Marie Claire and Mastercard showcase the future of shopping [BrandChannel]

PRODUCT
  • What goes into making an earth-friendly $68 pair of jeans at Everlane [Bloomberg]
  • Spider silk and stem-cell leather are the future of fashion [Engadget]
  • Stella McCartney is pioneering synthetic spider silk in high fashion [QZ]
  • Kering announces 2017 sustainable winners [FashionUnited]

START-UPS
  • With the launch of a lower-price subscription service, how Rent the Runway’s ‘closet in the cloud’ is changing the face of sustainability [Fashionista]
  • Digital closet start-ups want to give you the Cher Horowitz experience [Racked]
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social media

Hedi Slimane’s Twitter rant on all things (Yves) Saint Laurent

Saint laurent YSL Hedi Slimane logo twitter rant
The YSL logo used during Hedi Slimane’s tenure at the brand

Hedi Slimane took to Twitter yesterday for a 22-post rant about his use of the YSL logo while in place at Saint Laurent, which he famously (and controversially) rebranded from Yves Saint Laurent during his tenure as creative director.

“FACT CHECKING / THERE HAVE BEEN INACCURATE STATEMENTS ON RECENT ARTICLES REGARDING HEDI AND THE USAGE OF THE YSL HISTORICAL LOGO,” he began, in all capitals. “FOR THE RECORD, THE USAGE OF THE CASSANDRE LOGO WAS ENTIRELY PART OF HEDI’S REFORM PROJECT FOR THE HOUSE FROM THE EARLY DAYS OF 2012 TO 2016.”

The tirade goes on to demonstrate all of the occasions he did indeed use the YSL logo throughout, including in store design, accessories, ad campaigns, fashion shows and more. “IN CONCLUSION, IT IS ACCURATE TO SAY THAT THE YSL ICONIC INITIALS WERE IN FACT CELEBRATED AND CHAMPIONED BY HEDI,” it ends.

So why the sudden rant?

As pointed out by Fashionista, this is the first time Slimane has returned to Twitter since closing his account down in 2012 following an open letter calling fashion critic Cathy Horyn a “schoolyard bully”.

This season she wrote a review of Anthony Vaccarello’s first collection for the brand, stating: “Apparently, Vaccarello has restored the Y, which had been excised by his predecessor, Hedi Slimane, as both a throwback to the brand’s original name and an attempt to modernize it. (The truth is, despite Slimane’s efforts, most people still say YSL.)”

The assumption is Slimane is reigniting the feud between the duo. WWD also notes it comes following reports he is seeking additional funds from former employer Kering, owner of Saint Laurent, to the tune of $2.2 million. A French commercial court previously ordered the company to pay him$13 million. He is also now reportedly looking for Kering to apply a partnership agreement giving him certain rights as a minority shareholder in the brand.

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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]
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business Comment Editor's pick

Abercrombie’s mistake has been about evolution, not just sex

abercrombie

Abercrombie & Fitch is looking to ditch its focus on “sexualised marketing”, moving away from the half-naked models it has used across its website, store windows and shopping bags for years.

By July, both the Aberbrombie & Fitch and Hollister brands will also no longer hire their sales staff based on body type or attractiveness, nor refer to them as models, but rather brand ambassadors.

Frankly, it’s about time. “Sex sells” might still be a relevant concept (the recent runaway success of 50 Shades of Grey as proof), but nowhere near as blatantly as it was in the 90s and early 00s, and Abercrombie hasn’t evolved much since.

Back then, it was powering forward through a world that also saw Tom Ford dominating at Gucci; reviving a brand based on another version of that very same sexualised notion. Its 2003 campaign featuring model Carmen Kass with a ‘G’ shaved into her pubic hair is still one of the most memorable.

For both brands at that time, associating clothing and accessories with a touch of the controversy worked. Gucci under Ford evolved from near bankruptcy to a group valuation of $10bn in 2004. Abercrombie led by CEO Michael Jeffries became one of the most recognisable global teen retailers, with 965 stores in 20 countries.

gucci

Comments in a 2006 interview are indicative of Jeffries’ focus on this sexualised, or if you’d rather, “exclusionary”, marketing. On sex and sexual attraction, he said: “It’s almost everything. That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.”

He continued: “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”

His formula however didn’t stand the test of time. Abercrombie sales have plummeted since – falling in six of the past eight years, with profit down 5.1% for 2014, and same-store sales by 10% last quarter. Shares have tumbled accordingly, down 39% over the past 12 months; all of which led to Jeffries departure in December of last year.

But the error Abercrombie made wasn’t in this strategy – it did after all work for quite some time – it’s in the fact it’s never changed it (the same could be said for the product, though that’s almost another story). In fact, walking into one of its stores in Manhattan this weekend, it might as well have been 15 years ago. Not only for the models, but also for the fact its powerful trademark aroma and exceptionally dark lighting were still the same – two other features also on their way out.

Marketing and communications have significantly evolved in the age of Instagram and other social media platforms. Where once it was all about the hard sell on aspirations to look like one of those oiled, buff bodies, now it’s arguably more about the “selfie”. There’s still aspiration there, but on a much more attainable level.

It’s your consumer’s contemporary, their friend next door, not the model hired to work the door. That’s why Brandy Melville does so well in this same market for girls, or why Nasty Gal took off to such an extent – products consumers want, sold to them in a way that absolutely makes sense to their lifestyle today. It’s hashtag marketing: your brand through the eyes of the very person you’re selling to.

In short, Abercrombie missed one vital thing in its revolution… evolution.

victoriassecret

But its time warp is representative of a whole wave of other US retailers at risk of meeting a similar fate. American Apparel is forever in the headlines for the same reason.

Even Victoria’s Secret, though still a marker leader, continues to run the same campaigns, with the same Angels, with the same fashion show. It’s becoming a tired model on the one hand, but it’s also one consumers are starting to push back against. A campaign in the UK featuring the line “Perfect Body” splashed across a shot of supermodels led to 27,000 signatures on a petition about body shaming in late 2014.

At some point, these brands will realise it’s not the same world it was 15 years ago, even if a hint of sex will always go a long way in marketing.

This post first appeared on WGSN.com/blogs

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business Editor's pick social media

Calvin Klein CCO outlines ‘brand truths’ at Cannes Lions festival

Calvin Klein Melisa Goldie, Cannes Lions

Creating consumer engagement today depends on the passion and courage put in by the brand, said Melisa Goldie, CCO of Calvin Klein at the 61st annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this past week.

“Talent and truth, and craftsmanship and creativity, are all really important, but they’re only important if you’re passionate about your beliefs… and then brave enough to say it,” she explained.

That thought followed a presentation outlining the four ‘brand truths’ of Calvin Klein – principles she referred to as the underpinning of its marketing messaging for nearly four decades, and the very focus that enables it to be both passionate and accordingly brave. They include seeking simplicity, dancing with controversy, leveraging tension and embracing culture.

Simplicity is a straightforward one, she said. “Think simply, but with rigorous attention.” She referenced Michelangelo’s statue of David – when asked how he carved it from a single piece of rock, he said it was simple: he just removed everything that wasn’t David.

“Calvin and controversy have long been friends,” she quipped for the next truth, highlighting such campaigns as it’s 1982 men’s underwear ad in Times Square starring Olympic pole vaulter Tom Hintnaus that literally stopped traffic. “It ushered in a new era of objectifying men,” she said. “It led to the acceptance of the male form in mainstream American advertising.”

Importantly, controversy can mean relevancy, making a brand seem modern and interesting, she highlighted. “From a business perspective, [that] then means very high ROI.”

Leveraging tension – the next brand truth – does of course sit very neatly hand-in-hand with this at times. For Calvin Klein it’s often been about leveraging visual or sexual tension, such as between Mark Wahlberg and Kate Moss with their iconic shoot in 1992.

katemoss_markwahlberg_CalvinKlein

But Goldie also suggested examples of other brands who dutifully play off different tensions. Nike leverages the idea of who a consumer wants to be and their couch: Dove sits between self doubt and a truer definition of beauty; and Apple has always looked to self actualisation and conforming, between the individual and the organisation, and between us and them. The latter’s now infamous 1984 ad is “one of the best examples of leveraging tension the industry has ever created”, Goldie said.

The brand’s final truth is about embracing culture, something Goldie said Calvin Klein has both been shaped by and has helped shape. “We have always been willing to get into bed with popular culture. It has allowed us to create deeper and more committed relationships with our consumers.”

That idea is ever more relevant today, she said, as we evolve into a world where culture happens ‘digital first’. “The dawn of the digital age means culture is more relevant [for brands] than ever before. You have to look at culture through a digital lens, then decide which changes are meaningful for you and which ones can help you shape and grow.”

Importantly, digital enables a brand to see relationships and communities being formed at far greater speed, she emphasised. “It’s now on their terms,” she said with regards to how consumers engage with your brand and the value of allowing them to feel increasingly involved in it. The #mycalvins campaign, which crowdsources selfies of fans in their Calvin Klein underwear, is her team’s efforts to respond to that.

“Today [consumers] have a personal role to play in the Calvin Klein story. We don’t want to be their parents, we want to be their partners.”

Stay tuned for a full round-up of the fashion campaigns that won at this year’s Cannes Lions festival later this week.

Photo credit: Getty Images 

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digital snippets social media

Digital snippets: Burberry, Gucci, Kenneth Cole, Onitsuka Tiger, Google Glass

Here’s a highlight of recent stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital. Look out for another round-up later this week specific to all the digital activity from New York Fashion Week…

Angela-Ahrendts-by-Michael-Hemy_BURBERRY

  • CEO Talk: Angela Ahrendts on Burberry’s connected culture [BoF]
  • Gucci links with Google Maps for interior view of Milan men’s flagship [WWD]
  • Onitsuka Tiger launches digital film and Instagram campaign [Campaign]
  • The next version of Google Glass might actually look normal instead of ridiculous [Business Insider]
  • Twitter hires first commerce chief to start shopping via tweets [Bloomberg]
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digital snippets e-commerce mobile social media Uncategorized

Digital snippets: H&M, Christian Louboutin, Klout, Wonderbra, Angry Birds

Some more great stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital over the past week:

  • H&M’s controversial computer-generated lingerie models (as pictured) [The Cut]
  • Christian Louboutin to launch European transactional website in early 2012 [Vogue.co.uk]
  • Opinion piece: should Klout really have clout? [DKNY PR Girl]
  • Twitter launches brand pages [AdAge]
  • Online holiday spending fueled by mobile and tablets transactions [WWD]
  • Wonderbra’s new social media campaign encourage women to “take the plunge” [NewMediaAge]
  • Wife of Rovio boss Peter Vesterbacka, wears Angry Birds dress to Finnish Palace [Telegraph]
  • UK Marie Claire to launch first iPad app [The Drum]
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social media Uncategorized

Benetton to activate sentiment of Unhate campaign online

In case you haven’t seen the film that accompanies the Unhate campaign images from Benetton that have gone viral in the past 24 hours or so, check it out below.

Directed by Laurent Chanez, it aims to tell the “precarious balance and complex interweaving between the drive to hate and the reasons to love”:

 

While it might be the controversy of the world leaders kissing that has grabbed headlines – something Benetton is renowned for doing well – it’s the sentiment behind this campaign that will continue to drive it forward.

Alessandro Benetton, deputy chairman of Benetton Group, explained: “It means not hating… In a moment of darkness, with the financial crisis, what’s going on in North African countries, in Athens, this is an attitude we can all embrace that can have positive energy.”

The campaign is backed by the company’s new Unhate Foundation, which seeks to contribute to the creation of a new tolerance and make a significant impact on the international community.

Accordingly, it is set to continue with a number of live actions and projects that aim for participation. It will do so by inviting people to play an active and central role through the internet, social media, and other digital applications, the company explained.

Alessandro added: “Ours is a universal campaign, using instruments such as the internet, the world of social media, and artistic imagination, and it is unique, in that it calls the citizens of the world to action.”

The initial launch has a great interactive angle. On the Unhate microsite, users are invited to add their own messages of “unhate” by posting to a list facilitated via Twitter, for instance. “Global love might be a utopian dream, but global unhate is maybe something we can hope for. So here’s a list of UNHATE messages,” it reads.

Users are also encouraged to upload their pictures to the Unhate Kiss Wall to see themselves placed opposite and as though kissing someone random, as below:

If you haven’t yet been privy to the kissing leaders, click here to see US President Barack Obama and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas; North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak; German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy, and Obama again with China’s Hu Jintao.

There was also a shot of of Pope Benedict XVI kissing a senior Egyptian imam, Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb of Cairo’s al-Azhar institute, the pre-eminent theological school of Sunni Islam, but it was withdrawn after being denounced as unacceptable provocation by the Vatican.