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business Campaigns data digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick mobile product Retail social media sustainability technology

Walmart and Tiffany’s reveal sustainability plans, Uniqlo’s styling app, Chanel issues bond

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

TOP STORIES
  • 6 ways the pandemic has changed how people shop (BoF)
  • Department stores have failed customers. Here’s how to fix them. (Fast Company)
  • Can luxury fashion ever regain its luster? (NYT)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Are exotic skins out of fashion? (NYT)
  • Walmart says it will reach zero emissions by 2040 – without using any offsets (Fast Company)
  • Tiffany reveals 2025 sustainability plan, milestones (WWD)
  • Amazon launches program to help customers identity sustainable products (Fashion United)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • AR takes a more functional role in consumer experience (WWD)
  • Overcoming excess inventory challenges with a digital approach (WWD)
  • How luxury brands are leveraging the power of data in China (Jing Daily)
  • Uniqlo launches Stylehint search engine app (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • Face mask vending machines are now a thing (Fast Company)
  • Footlocker launches new interactive hub for Nike Air Max (WWD)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Gap expands loyalty programs across core brands (Fashion United)
  • Why media strategies matter (WWD)
  • Garnier tests new virtual experience to debut sustainability plans (Glossy)
  • Shiseido partners with Nintendo Switch’s Animal Crossing (TheIndustry.Fashion)
PRODUCT
  • Ben Sherman launches sustainable eyewear collection (Fashion United)
  • Walmart tries again in apparel with new private label (Retail Dive)
  • Jenna Lyons reimagines false eyelash category with LoveSeen (WWD)
BUSINESS
  • The ins and outs of selling a fashion or luxury business (WWD)
  • Chanel issues bond linked to climate targets (Reuters)
  • The pandemic isn’t Stitch Fix’s only problem (Retail Dive)
  • LVMH vs Tiffany: Deal or No Deal? (BoF)
  • Saks Fifth Avenue’s CEO on what’s next (WWD)
CULTURE
  • Reinventing fashion week for a new era (WWD)
  • Can China save travel retail in 2020? (BoF)
  • Saks Fifth Avenue launches “Register to Vote” initiative (Fashion United)

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business Campaigns data digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick product Retail social media sustainability technology

Cos launches second-hand retail, retail’s pandemic imperative, Nike launches maternity line

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

TOP STORIES
  • Will American retail rise again? (BoF)
  • Struggling retailers brace for a muted holiday season (NYT)
  • Global fashion weeks adapt to post-coronavirus landscape (WWD)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Tommy Hilfiger commits to going circular. Will it work?  (Vogue Business)
  • French fashion players ask consumers for help with sustainability (WWD)
  • Cos launches second hand platform, Resell (Fashion United)
  • Timberland’s products will be fully circular by 2030 (Fast Company)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • Retailers embrace outdoor-oriented events and features to boost pedestrian traffic (WWD)
  • Will travel retail rebound? Beauty says yes (Vogue Business)
  • How invisible technology and infrastructure overhauls will save retail (Digiday)
  • Retail’s pandemic imperative: reinventing the front end (Retail Dive)
  • Why poor service will destroy your luxury brand (Jing Daily)
  • Wholesale isn’t dead, it just needs to take risks, return to its roots (WWD)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • What the future of TikTok means for retail (Retail Dive)
  • Retailers are turning to AI for in-store marketing (Modern Retail)
  • Instagram’s livestream shopping sees early beauty adopters (Glossy)
  • How to improve digital fashion shows (WWD)
PRODUCT
  • Tommy Hilfiger taps into modest fashion market, with launch of first hijab (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • Nike launches a maternity line (Fast Company)
  • UGG gets into apparel in a more serious way with launch of seasonal ready-to-wear collection (WWD)
BUSINESS
  • Will Bloomingdale’s grab hold of the luxury products market? (Retail Wire)
  • Levi’s reshapes BTS strategy with group video and augmented reality (WWD)
  • PVH posts surprise profit as stay-at-home lifts casual clothing demand (Reuters)
  • Increasing prices during Covid-19? Chanel, Louis Vuitton show it works (Vogue Business)
  • Zalando expands its luxury offering (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • Victoria’s Secret’s next move (WWD)
CULTURE
  • Shift in consumer behavior post-lockdown (Fashion United)
  • Domestic luxury shopping is here to stay in China – to the dismay of overseas retailers (Jing Daily)
  • How influencers are protecting themselves against misbehaving brands (BoF)

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business Campaigns data digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick product Retail social media Startups sustainability technology

Contactless payment adoption, US WeChat ban, beauty trends during Covid-19

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

TOP STORIES
  • Relationship goals: luxury retail and technology make a perfect combo for customer (Forbes)
  • Retailers on the store of the future: Uncertainty is the biggest challenge (Glossy)
  • Will COVID-19 change fashion shows forever? (BoF)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • How the pandemic is hurting progressive manufacturing (Vogue Business)
  • The future of fashion is in biomaterials and circularity (Sustainable Brands)
  • Ecommerce is saving fashion but destroying the planet (BoF)
  • Covid-19 chaos or not, consumers want brands to have purpose (Sourcing Journal)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • How convenience store chains like Circle K and 7-eleven are morphing in the COVID-19 era (Fast Company)
  • High-end fashion is finally joining the shift to digital (Digiday)
  • Covid-19 boosts contactless payment adoption (Retail Dive)
  • Virtual try-on is catching on among fashion consumers (Glossy)
  • The beauty trends customers are buying during Covid-19 (Vogue Business)
  • Animal Crossing creates live shopping experience with Klarna (WWD)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Spin Live launches shoppable video service in Shopify’s app store (Retail Dive)
  • Pinterest expands its skin tone search feature (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • What does a US ban on Wechat mean for fashion? (BoF)
  • What fashion and beauty needs to know about Reels (Vogue Business)
PRODUCT
  • Steph Curry is getting its own brand at Under Armour (Footwear News)
  • Edit+ mixes athleisure, sustainability (WWD)
  • Ganni launching rental denim collaboration with Levi’s (Fashion United)
BUSINESS
  • Farfetch sales soared as online shopping took off during lockdowns (BoF)
  • Zalando see strong demand for logistics, fewer returns (Reuters)
  • Casper expands physical presence through tie-up with Sam’s Club (Retail Dive)
  • Luxury clobbered by Covid-19 (BoF)
  • John Lewis launches first ever virtual beauty tech department (TheIndustry.Fashion)
CULTURE
  • 3 key trends of China’s young luxury consumers (Vogue Business)
  • Why China will become the driving force of luxury (Jing Daily)
  • The future of the modelling industry (BoF)

 

 

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

TikTok’s beauty potential, Allbirds sustainable partnership, post-COVID luxury strategy

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

TOP STORIES
  • All the major fashion brands and retailers severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic (WWD)
  • How JD.com leveraged new technologies to overcome COVID-19 (Jing Daily)
  • No tourists, no commuters, no customer: thinking beyond the shopping district (BoF)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Michael Kors, Tory Burch linked to “unfair” factory dismissals (Vogue Business)
  • China to open market to beauty brands that don’t test on animals (Fashion United)
  • Diesel becomes member of Better Cotton Initiative (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • Allbirds, Chinatown Market unveils multi phased sustainability partnership (WWD)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • Swarovski launches London “Crystal Studio” concept store (TheIndsutry.Fashion)
  • Are pop-up shops more relevant in a pandemic-altered world? (Retail Wire)
  • How the coronavirus altered DTC’s relationship with brick and mortar (Retail Dive)
  • Will post-pandemic markdowns hurt luxury brands long-term? (Jing Daily)
  • Dissatisfaction with online retailers runs deep (WWD)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Nordstrom uses influencers to promote safety and draw anxious shoppers (NYT)
  • PetSmart gamifies reptile adoption with Snapchat AR quiz (Retail Dive)
  • TikTokers see big beauty potential – if there’s no ban (Vogue Business)
  • Mulberry’s new marketing approach in China may not be enough (Jing Daily)
PRODUCT
  • Puma teams with MIT on new cushioning technology (WWD)
  • Gillette Venus debuts ‘skinclusive’ clothing on Animal Crossing (WWD)
  • Chipotle launches sustainable fashion line (Fashion United)
BUSINESS
  • Farfetch, New Guards Group on future, technology (WWD)
  • North Face owner ready for post-COVID era (Retail Detail)
  • What the pandemic has done to Nordstrom’s revamp (Retail Dive)
  • LVMH, Kering and the new luxury strategy post-COVID-19 (Jing Daily)
  • How Estée Lauder is pandemic-proofing a legacy brand (Vogue Business)
CULTURE
  • Is streetwear a machine that turns insecurity into money? (High Snobiety)
  • What an inspiring digital fashion week looks like (Vogue Business)
  • Are Chinese travelers not buying at the airport? (Jing Daily)

 

 

 

 

Categories
business Comment data e-commerce Editor's pick Retail Startups technology

Buy, build or partner: A new model of working with startups

Earlier this summer Nike announced it was acquiring AI startup, Celect, in order to “beef up its predictive analytics strengths”. It’s a smart move. A data move. Like all things artificial intelligence, this solution needs a lot of consumer or retail data to get smarter. And Nike, with its $36.4 billion in revenue last year, has a lot of data. 

A tech acquisition is a complicated beast that comes with as many challenges as it does advantages. And it should not be seen as an innovation silver bullet by most corporates. 

Take augmented reality by comparison for instance, an area where we’ve seen multiple acquisitions over the past couple of years. This space is changing so rapidly, the tech you buy is almost immediately obsolete. There is higher image quality every day, new capabilities in what it can read – like skin diagnostics and not just makeup in beauty for instance – and constant challenges to stay ahead in the market as a result. 

For a company that has pulled such startups in-house, there needs to be serious commitment to advance the technology. Unfortunately, what tends to happen is that a lot of the potential development work gets lost. A startup on the outside, by comparison, has to keep evolving in an aggressive way in order to survive. But how can an acquired startup remain competitive if they can’t seek out your competitors as clients? 

Another approach to innovation is building, where brands create solutions in-house, or with agency partners, from the get go. More often than not, this sort of work comes under the experiential header: a tech solution based on the creative. What we frequently see as a result, is big investments (six figures and above) for little return due to the fact the technology just doesn’t rise to the task. 

Not that there aren’t successes within all this – there are many examples of building solutions internally, especially foundational or backend tech – that do make sense. But in our experience with the companies we work with and have gotten to know, it often doesn’t work. Even for basic technology needs, building in-house can frequently be met with many of the same challenges as an acquisition does, namely the fact progress and development gets caught up in the politics and daily grind of everyday business. 

It doesn’t matter what size of organization you are in this case either. We work with large public companies that are leaders in the industry – and we see the same challenges time and again. Things don’t evolve quickly enough and objectives are not met. Eventually, no one is watching that investment any more and innovation gets a bad rep. 

So we believe in a third option. 

With the challenges presented by buying and building, not to mention a lack of progress in internal culture making room for innovation to be successful, we decided to create a platform for partnerships. This middle step is known as open innovation. 

Very simply, this is about setting objectives internally, creating a blueprint of what you want, and then searching exhaustively for the best external partners that fulfil that brief. 

One of the benefits of this tends to lie in the quality of output you receive. When working with an outside partner – particularly at the startup level – a new large corporate client could become the centrepiece to the startup’s growth. This often means the team will continue to update the product and guard its integration after launch. It becomes part of their story. Having the chance to work with an established brand or retailer is almost sacred to an entrepreneur, which is a very different mindset to what you may find in an employee. 

But startups struggle to deliver work ethic with a full understanding of execution needs, deadlines and ability to navigate the red tape in corporations that could hold back the project. That’s why we believe open innovation is most successful when it comes with an assigned partnership manager. Our ultimate role is about providing the framework that can lead to success. 

What we’re increasingly being asked for more recently however, and thus now offering, is essentially a hybrid model – one that is all about partnerships, but unique ones that more closely align with the optimal version of building. This is where we start talking about having your cake and eating it too. 

Many companies have figured out that working with curated top startups is the most cost-effective and efficient option. But then last year, we started to see a new conversation emerging around the fact that often what retail executives look for just doesn’t exist as yet. The kind of solution you have in mind is not what is being pitched to you. You look at all the possible startups in the space and all of them are missing that one thing. You don’t want an incomplete approach. You want the full package.

How are you thinking about new 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. Each of the rules referenced above is matched by one of our products and services. Interested in how? Get in touch to learn more.

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business Campaigns Editor's pick sustainability

From G7 to fashion weeks – why the industry needs to cut the sustainable chat and take action

One minute we’re talking all about saving the planet, the next, it’s onto the indulgence and excess of fashion weeks. No wonder there’s so much questioning around what the industry is about right now. 

At the G7 Summit last month, François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of luxury group Kering, introduced the Fashion Pact, a deal that saw 32 brands from Adidas to Prada, coming together to commit to stopping global warming, restoring biodiversity and protecting the oceans. 

The initiative was mandated by French President Emmanuel Macron, who asked the industry to set practical objectives for reducing its environmental impact.

Practical is the keyword here. While collaboration between so many different players is in itself great progress, reflections on many of the goals are that they have been light on detail as to how they’re going to be achieved. 

Meanwhile, as has been pointed out by others this past fortnight, fashion week season has kicked off and we’re back into that completely contrasting feeling of celebration and excess once more. “Fashion month is a party,” Orsola de Castro, co-founder and creative director of non-profit Fashion Revolution, told the Business of Fashion. “It’s huge fun, but it’s the kind of fun that is no longer funny.” 

Within that is of course the volume of waste and climate impact generated from the shows themselves, but in addition, the culture of consumerism they continue to feed.  

In London we have Extinction Rebellion protesting against the very existence of fashion week itself, while in New York, the biggest stories have conversely been about the large-scale theatrics of shows from the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty. Let’s not forget, fashion weeks are about marketing – appealing to buyers, press and consumers individually to encourage them to buy and buy-into the new collections in one or other of their relative ways. 

By their very nature, they therefore clash with a more sustainable approach to supply and demand. All of which makes one question how much hot air really surrounds the topic of sustainability – no matter how much it’s “trending” – when looking across the industry at large. 

Back to the G7 pact and the biggest question that sits there then, is how will any of these promises turn into reality? As in, literally what are the methodologies behind them? 

The fact is, what we really need is less talk more doing. To put it into the simplest terms, the contradiction of fashion week doesn’t sit well with the notion of ‘actions speaking louder than words’. But neither do promises that aren’t backed by some tangible outputs to follow. 

The same goes for the sheer volume of broader sustainable pledges being made by the industry. Everywhere you turn you see promises to use 100% renewable energy by 2020, to become carbon neutral by 2022, to reduce water consumption by 2025. The same can be said for chemicals, materials, recycling, waste… the list goes on. 

That’s all well and good, but only if progress towards those things actually happen. On our side, we’re tracking them all, and the list of promises is growing at a substantially faster rate than that of the actions being made in response. This is absolutely key. It means that currently the announcements are serving in the main as PR initiatives – a way of hiding behind something that is several years away, or about buying time while you figure out what to actually do. 

The result is that we either have too many pledges that risk not being met, or those offering too little too late – such as to be carbon neutral by 2050. In Greta Thunberg’s words, this is a climate emergency

Last year, Fast Company reviewed various environmental goals set for 2020 by large corporations as well as countries, questioning which of them were on target to actually be met in time. It reads like a mixed bag, though does demonstrate progress in parts. 

The same can be said for fashion. Kering itself has always been one of the most vocal about its goals, setting them out in 2012, then reporting back on what it had and hadn’t achieved in 2016. It reset its targets in 2017 with a broader 2025 sustainability strategy in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Included in that was cutting the group’s carbon emissions by 50% and reducing its overall environmental impact by at least 40%. Not small aims. An update is expected in 2020. 

H&M is another that’s always gone big. It’s reportedly on target to hit its goals of both using 100% organic or recycled cotton, and eliminating hazardous chemicals in its production, by 2020. Future aims include becoming climate positive by 2040. 

The difficulty with all this is the sliding scale of what attaining such goals mean, not to mention how they’re measured. 

One of the ones I have the biggest issue with in the industry broadly is the idea of moving to entirely “sustainable cotton” by 2025. This isn’t so much in the goal itself by any means, but in the naming of it. What is sustainable cotton? Strictly speaking, most of the time what we’re talking about is rather “better” cotton. As in, it is literally better for the environment than that which is otherwise farmed in the conventional manner. Usually this falls under those certified via the Better Cotton Initiative and others including Organic and Fair Trade. 

This sort of language use is critical because of how misleading it can be to the consumer. It instantly gives the impression that fast fashion, like Zara as well, for instance, will be absolutely fine by 2025 because the materials used will indeed be entirely sustainable. Not true. They’ll just be less bad at that early part of the supply chain. Arguably, that’s not enough. 

The same goes for what is the lesser of two evils when we hear certain companies have managed to achieve zero waste to landfill targets, yet are continuing to incinerate items. Does the ban on incineration in France mean landfill will then be on the up? 

When it comes to greenhouse gases, there was a feeling in a recent meeting I had with some members of UK parliament, that regulation for companies to declare their emissions makes the industry immediately more accountable.

What didn’t seem to be acknowledged is that the fashion industry doesn’t know the true numbers around its emissions. As I’ve written about before, it’s not completely possible right now because there is simply not enough accurate information out there for it to report this – and it doesn’t have direct control of its supply chain in the majority of cases to discover any of it itself further. 

We know this from our work with Google to build a tool that shines a light on the raw materials stage of the supply chain – Tier 4. What’s available right now is at best globalized averages, at worst, completely unknown. The result, therefore, is guesswork. How for instance can H&M become climate positive in a true sense, if it can’t trace back the impact it is actually having? It can’t. You can apply the same to Burberry, to Nike, to whoever else you like.

A few years back there were headlines about 2020 being the “magic year for fashion” based on the industry embracing sustainability. Arguably, even in the midst of fashion week season, that has already happened. But it doesn’t mean anything if it’s just being talked about.  

Change can only take place if these goals become tangible. That’s our entire mantra as a business – drive transformation by enabling action. Enough with the pledges therefore, what we’d rather see is the industry diving deep, staying quiet, building new solutions and starting to show us some results. 

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.

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

Analyzing fashion’s G7 pact, Gen Z’s streetwear needs, the rise of rentals

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

TOP STORIES
  • Can fashion’s latest sustainability drive at the G7 summit make a difference? (BoF)
  • Gen Z wants something very different from streetwear (Vogue Business)
  • Everyone is launching rental service. Is there enough demand? (BoF)
  • Fashion’s growing interest in recycling clothing (Vogue Business)
TECHNOLOGY
  • 52% of retailers feel ill-prepared to support emerging mobile tech (Mobile Marketer)
  • Facial recognition will be watching and storing your emotions and data (Ad Week)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Gucci and Saint Laurent face an uphill battle to get green (BoF)
  • Why Levi’s new water strategy represents an ‘evolution in thinking’ (Sourcing Journal)
  • How Copenhagen plans to reach carbon-neutral status in just six years (Fast Company)
  • Amazon under fire for new packaging that cannot be recycled (The Industry)
  • Tiffany & Co releases it’s new sustainability website (CSR Wire)
  • Fast Retailing’s jeans innovation center ramps up efforts to reduce water use (Sourcing Journal)
  • France to prohibit the destruction of unsold stock: who is going to pay for that? (Fashion United)
  • Gore-Tex. Lycra. Could fashion’s next major fabric brand be green? (BoF)
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Hero Cosmetics doubles down on TikTok after results dwarf Instagram’s (Mobile Marketer)
  • Nike, New Balance, and USTA serve up ads celebrating female stars for US open (Fast Company)
  • Benefit and Deliveroo dish out beauty experience (Campaign)
  • PrettyLittleThing wants podcasts to take it from fashion retailer to ‘entertainment brand’ (The Drum)
  • Rihanna plans Savage X Fenty event to be broadcast on Amazon Prime Video (Fashion United)
  • Is WeChat’s growth over? (Walk the Chat)
PRODUCT
BUSINESS
  • Ulric Jerome exists Matchesfashion.com (WWD)
  • ThredUp gets $175 million in funding as resale market continues to boom (Fashion United)
  • Victoria Secret’s parent company’s stock price continues to plummet (The Fashion Law)
  • What Shanghai Tang’s rise, fall and return means for luxury fashion (Vogue Business)
CULTURE
  • The return of the hyper-sexualised male (BoF)
  • Appropriation or appreciation? Unpacking South Korea’s fascination with black culture (I-d)
  • Will Gen Z make non-binary fashion mainstream? (Sourcing Journal)
  • The future of male grooming is gender neutral (Vogue Business)

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 data e-commerce Editor's pick Events Retail sustainability technology

SXSW 2020 trends: From big tech to the explosion of cannabusiness

Artificial intelligence, sustainability, cannabis, gaming – just four examples of major areas impacting the fashion and retail industries today. As always, the key questions our clients want to know is in what way, and by when? Or in other words, at what point do I need to pay attention enough to jump into this space myself too?

Every August we take a pause and think about direction of travel for the industry. What within these trends really matter and how will they be shaped as we work towards 2020? 

We then like to reach out to our community about it to bring them to life at one of the industry’s leading festivals when it comes to the intersection of technology and culture today. 

Yes, we’re talking about SXSW.

Whether you’re a regular attendee, have the intention of being a first-timer, or just want to support great content from afar, this is your chance to bring to life the talks you’re interested in for next year. All you have to do is vote on the SXSW Panel Picker by August 23, 2019.

We’ve taken to heart those themes mentioned above, sourced some of the world’s foremost expert speakers on each subject, and we’re pitching for a total of five big sessions on stage. See them all below and click on each to place your votes.

Defending our humanity: The war on big tech
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie

This revealing interview with Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, Christopher Wylie, will discuss how in a world overrun by disinformation, increasingly segregated by algorithms and steadily dulled through tech disruption, the very essence of our humanity is at risk. We’ll explore why it’s naive to rely on government or big tech to do the right thing, and how our culture can be defended as a result. Vote Here

Nike revealed: Sustainability through skateboarding
Stefan Janoski, Nike

This insightful panel featuring skateboarding and sustainability superstars including Stefan Janoski, Elissa Steamer and the brand’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Noel Kinder, will explore how Nike is opening up to reveal its changing labor practices and to launch a new documentary series shot in China. Vote Here

Desire-driven data as the future tastemaker
Stitch Fix

With data increasingly impacting everything consumers do, is machine learning becoming the tastemaker of the future? Learn from experts at L’Oréal, Stitch Fix and Hulu on how they’re using data to shape creativity and almost everything they do. Vote Here

Dope retail: The luxury opportunity for cannabis
Beboe

The global legal cannabis trade is expected to hit $77bn in value by 2022. Join us to hear about the exploding retail opportunity in this space from luxury cannabis brand, Beboe, and iconic New York retailer, Barneys. Vote Here

Shopper engagement? Gamification is the answer!
Harry Potter Wizards Unite

Gaming is having a moment – not just on our smartphones but in our stores. This session will see shopping center Simon Malls, which is tapping into Harry Potter with gaming company Niantic, and luxury brand Kenzo, which is driving exclusive product access through gaming, diving into how “play” is reshaping brand engagement. Vote Here

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business Campaigns data digital snippets e-commerce product Retail

Stella McCartney and LVMH, Amazon Prime Day, brands missing sustainability targets

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

TOP STORIES
  • Why LVMH struck a deal with Stella McCartney (Bof)
  • Amazon Prime Day brings sales, and risks, for retailers (NY Times)
  • Fashion brands have only met 21% of their circularity targets for 2020 (Fashion United)
  • Inside the Victoria’s Secret pipeline to Jeffrey Epstein (NY Post)
  • Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian: “data and creativity are not mutually exclusive” (Vogue Business)
  • The battle of the sneaker bots (BoF)
TECHNOLOGY
  • Facebook counts $5bn cost of Cambridge Analytica scandal (The Drum)
  • What brands are getting wrong about AR (Mobile Marketer)
  • The band aid of the future knows when you’re healed (Fast Company)
  • Forget synthetic meat, lab grown dairy is here (Bloomberg)
  • In China, facial-recognition technology is being deployed to take out the trash (Quartz)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Should we stop washing our clothes? (BBC)
  • Can rented clothes save the fashion industry (and the planet)? (Highsnobiety)
  • The big fashion fight: can we remove all the toxic, invisible plastic from our clothes? (The Guardian)
  • Norway challenges H&M on its sustainability claims (Tree Hugger)
  • Triumph invites its customers to recycle together (WWD)
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Under Armour utilizes 3D avatar technology to develop digital sizing standards (Fashion United)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • How TikTok is testing in-app e-commerce  (Digiday)
  • Topshop launches digital dating programme (Drapers)
  • Michael Kors launches scavenger hunt experience for NYC consumers (Fashion United)
  • Celine builds a mini-site via WeChat mini program  (Jing Daily)
PRODUCT
  • Lady Gaga’s new beauty line for Amazon (Bof)
  • Glossier to drop limited-edition fashion line (Fashion United)
  • G-Star Raw announces sustainable ‘dyed by nature’ collection (WWD)
  • Camper and Ecoalf launch sustainable footwear collaboration (Fashion United)
BUSINESS
  • UK manufacturers call for action on migration (Drapers)
  • Luxury retailer Barneys New York may file for bankruptcy, report says (Fashion United)
  • Kanye’s second coming: inside the billion-dollar Yeezy empire (Forbes)
  • Primark founder Arthur Ryan dead at 83 (Fashion United)
CULTURE
  • The year of ‘woke-washing’: How tone-deaf activism risks eroding brands (Marketing Dive)
  • Chanel hires first head of diversity & inclusion (Hypebeast)

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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business Editor's pick Events product

ComplexCon: key takeaways from the streetwear mecca

Takashi Murakami at ComplexCon
Takashi Murakami at ComplexCon 2018

Now in its third year, Complexcon, a consumer-focused event targeting streetwear fanatics, took place to much expected hype last weekend in Long Beach, California.

The event, which is a spin-off of media company Complex, focused on feeding its Gen Z and Millennial community through a series of retail experiences, activations and panel discussions. Here we highlight the key takeaways of the weekend:

Retail frenzy

An adidas cube at ComplexCon
An adidas cube at ComplexCon 2018

For the consumer, the biggest goal of the two-day event was to shop, plain and simple. But for an audience that is prone to forming lines outside of stores for days before a drop, brands had to think creatively on how to create shopping experiences that blended that thrill of the chase with physical and digital tools.

Adidas was arguably the biggest name on the floor, hosting two experiences – one which involved a physical booth and another which took visitors on a wild goose chase for physical cubes that unlocked a new sneaker drop every hour. These gigantic cubes were seen throughout the venue, and on the hour, the user had to stand under the cube to scan it using the Complexcon app to unlock the ability to shop for the specific style. Unsurprisingly, Adidas fanatics were seen standing under the cube for hours before their preferred drop would take place.

Gradual product drops kept the customer engaged and most importantly, wanting to attend both days of the Con for fear of missing out. Reebok’s booth featured perspex cubes filled with fog, while timers underneath each individual plinth counted down the hours until the content inside the cube (a sneaker) was revealed.

The festival also teamed up with Frenzy, a location-based drop app, to allow consumers to shop for exclusive collabs through their phones while at the venue. The fulfilment of that experience left room for improvement, however, as shoppers could only pick up their goods four hours after purchase, a wait which for many stretched to 24 hours.

Experiential moments

HBO's The Shop
HBO’s The Shop at ComplexCon 2018

In such a noisy environment of endless queues and product drops, independent brands worked hard to stand out with booths that encouraged discovery and social sharing. Cult streetwear label Lotas, for example, chose to spend its budget not on an attractive booth, but by casting a group of The Sopranos lookalikes to play poker throughout, creating an unusual opportunity for visitors to snap and share.

The Pangaia, a global collective investigating the future of sustainable clothing, showcased its inaugural collection among a floor of empty plastic bottles, encouraging visitors to dispose of the same as they walked past. On Sunday, the collective also co-hosted a beach clean-up nearby with the support of ComplexCon.

Meanwhile beyond fashion, brands across food, automotive and media were on hand to talk about the bigger lifestyle that this community is a part of. Cadillac created a booth that showcased one of its models amid a digital jungle of screens and a photo backdrop; similar to SXSW, HBO recreated the classic barbershop experience to promote the launch of LeBron James’s new unscripted series, The Shop, featuring free haircuts and sneaker cleaning; and to promote the release of Creed II, guests could join in a VR experience, as well as watch boxing matches taking place in a life-sized ring.

Finally, McDonald’s quickly became a fan favorite as it hosted a customization station with special guests and, most importantly, free hamburgers for all.

Practical conversations

Issa Rae at ComplexCon 2018
Issa Rae at ComplexCon 2018

Conversations on the floor flip-flopped between who ‘copped’ the latest drop and what new endeavor someone may have been working on, from promoting their new podcast to monetizing their photography work. As a result, ComplexCon worked hard to promote conversations that had an underlying entrepreneurial spirit and was particularly relevant to the younger generation that is multifaceted in their goals.

“How to make it in America”, saw entrepreneur and social media star Gary Vaynerchuk talking about how to avoid the pitfalls and be part of the small percentage that does succeed in the country. Meanwhile actresses Issa Rae and Yara Shahidi, joined a conversation on females in media and how to overcome hurdles and balance public and personal life. And Louis Vuitton and Off White designer, Virgil Abloh, brought on stage three designers he believes are the next generation of fashion.

The spirit of giving visitors the tools to succeed and thrive also permeated throughout the festival booths. Entrepreneur Karen Civil was on hand at the Simple Mobile stand to offer one-to-one career advice, while the festival’s creative director, Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, worked with six relatively unknown footwear designers to reimagine his artwork on limited edition sneakers, which were being auctioned off on eBay.

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