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

Microsoft’s $1bn carbon reduction investment, ASOS’ AR tool, men’s makeup at John Lewis

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

Top Stories
  • Microsoft will invest $1 billion into carbon reduction and removal technologies (MIT Technology Review)
  • Asos trials augmented reality fit tool (Drapers)
  • War Paint and John Lewis launch first ever men’s makeup counter (Fashion Network)
Technology
  • The tech driving next-gen customer service (Vogue Business)
  • Revolve integrates Snap+Style technology for digital communication (Fashion United)
  • How luxury retail can become a tech accelerator (Jing Daily)
  • Google Cloud launches new solutions for retailers (TechCrunch)
  • How Starbucks uses AI to counter mobiles isolating effect (Mobile Marketer)
  • Walmart expands robots to 650 additional stores (Retail Dive)
  • Stein Mart introduces ‘smart button’ for BOPIS shoppers (Retail Dive)
  • Augmented reality contacts are real, and could be here sooner than you think (Mashable)
  • Robots are changing retail, but not where you can see them (Modern Retail)
  • Gaming dominates the $120bn spent on mobile apps in 2019 (Warc)
  • Amazon is reportedly developing a hand-scanning payment option (Adweek)
  • Walgreens is training staff in virtual reality (Charged Retail)
  • How digital garment printing answers the call for customization (Sourcing Journal)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • What’s your fashion footprint? ThredUp’s quiz will tell you (Adweek)
  • Stella McCartney introduces biodegradable stretch denim (Fashion United)
  • Walpole launches its British luxury sustainability manifesto (Retail Gazette)
  • Your e-commerce addiction means delivery emissions could increase 30% by 2030 (Fast Company)
  • H&M’s AI operation helps make its supply chain more sustainable (Supply Chain Dive)
  • Jacket Required dedicates third of show to sustainable brands (The Industry)
  • Dyehouses are cleaning up their act (Vogue Business)
  • Could fashion’s next major fabric brand be green? (BoF)
  • Fast Retailing signed the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action (Retail in Asia)
  • Quorn introduces carbon-footprint labelling (Stylus)
  • Lush’s Mark Constantine: the retail rebel fighting climate change before Great was born (Retail Week)
Retail & Commerce
  • Walmart opens cashierless store in Florida (Grocery Dive)
  • Shiseido opens ‘beauty innovation hub’ in Shanghai (Retail in Asia)
  • Bose is closing all of its retail stores (The Verge)
  • Dior, Rimowa take over Harrods (WWD)
  • Opening Ceremony to close all stores (Drapers)
Marketing & Social Media
  • Instagram begins hiding photoshopped images (Hypebeast)
  • Burberry launches online game to celebrate Lunar New Year (Fashion United)
  • Facebook rethinks plan to insert ads into WhatsApp (Campaign)
  • Segmentation is dead! (Retail Dive)
Product
  • Ugg launches monthly product drops (Drapers)
  • New Under Armour sneaker will offer connected coaching (Sourcing Journal)
  • Hermès launches beauty (Fashion United)
  • Nike’s Vaporfly marathon shoes face a potential ban from competition (Quartz)
  • Is 2020 the year men’s makeup will go mainstream? (Evening Standard)
Business
  • Louis Vuitton buys the second largest rough diamond in the world (Fashion United)
  • Old Navy will stay under Gap umbrella (Adweek)
  • Pitti Immagine CEO on the future of trade shows (BoF)
  • Casper files for IPO (Retail Dive)
  • Off-White operator acquires Opening Ceremony (Drapers)
  • Amazon ramps up counterfeit reporting (BoF)
  • Boohoo to surpass forecasts after 44% jump in quarterly revenues (Retail Gazette)
Culture
  • The idea of beauty is always shifting. Today, its more inclusive than ever (National Geographic)
  • How the gaming industry is changing across the world (Quartz)
  • Redefining plus size – dressing the ‘average’ woman in Europe (Fashion United)
  • Why this community of hypebeasts only buy fakes (Dazed)
  • Comme des Garçons accused of racism in AW20 menswear show (Fashion United)
  • A-COLD-WALL* isn’t making streetwear anymore (i-D)

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 product Retail technology

6 brands driving consumer engagement through customization

The availability of data and an increased purchasing power has pushed retailers to create products and services beyond the standard selection. Whilst traditionally customization was seen as a luxury feature, the democratization of fashion has led to many high street retailers offering the service as another way to engage consumers.

In today’s digital era, the abundance of data has made it easier for retailers to personalize marketing content, but this is now going one step further to individual design and styling. Consumers want products tailored to their own specific needs and style, and by offering customization, retailers can increase their value and differentiate from the competition. 

From a business perspective, offering customization can be financially rewarding too, as 1 in 5 consumers will pay a 20% premium for personalized products or services. Customization can also be a sustainable method of production, as products are created to meet the exact demand, thus minimizing the risk of excess stock. 

Meanwhile, as manufacturing processes become more sophisticated and streamlined through features like 3D printing and automation, customization is something we will see more of in the future. As we continue to watch this trend develop, here are 6 brands driving engagement  through customization.

Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton custom Run Away sneaker

The sneaker industry is expected to be worth $95.14billion by 2025, and Louis Vuitton is another luxury brand hoping to tap into that booming market by offering consumers customized sneakers. Consumers will have the option to customize the Run Away sneaker by changing its colour, material and stripes and for an extra personal touch, get their initials printed or hot stamped on the shoe.

Fame & Partners
Fame & Partners bridemaids dresses

Fame and Partners is a contemporary womenswear brand based in LA trying to combat overproduction in the fashion industry by offering made-to-order garments. Through their Custom Clothing studio, consumers can customize any item by choosing the silhouette, sleeve length or neckline. The brand’s strategy eliminates the need for excess stock, helping to reduce waste that would otherwise be sent to landfill. 

Function of Beauty
Function of Beauty custom hair care

This DTC beauty brand has taken over social media with its Instagrammable hair care line that target Gen Z consumers who are seeking products unique to their needs. Consumers can go online and take a quiz to determine their hair profiles, selecting up to five hair goals, ranging from color protection to curl definition. They can also choose both the scent and color of their products, creating a customized product from design to function. Each bottle is then formulated using clean ingredients, which are cruelty-free and 100% vegan.

Rapha
Rapha custom collection

Cult British brand Rapha is disrupting the cycling market by partnering with Unmade to create a customizable team collection. Customers are given the opportunity to create their own unique jersey designs, including team logos, which are then manufactured into a bespoke product. Poor user experience and long lead times are usually a set back when it comes to customization, but Unmade’s print solution allows for quick bespoke manufacturing on a smaller scale.

Puma
Puma’s new NYC flagship

To enhance customer experience in store, Puma has created an exclusive customization studio at its new flagship store in New York. Customers can customize a range of footwear and apparel using paints, patchwork, embroidery, 3D knitting, laser printing and material upcycling. The studio also collaborates with new artists on a bi-weekly basis, with Sue Tsai, BWOOD and Maria Jahnkoy being the most recent.

Levi’s
Levi’s customization patches

Levi’s brand strategy has revolved around making products your own since the original blue jean was patented in 1873. These days, many Levi’s shops have a dedicated tailor shop that can customize and repair products, such as adding patches, studs, embroidery, stencilling and distressing, so consumers can have a one-of-a-kind product. To align with its sustainability initiatives, the brand also offers a full repair service which does anything from fixing rips and holes to color fading, helping well-worn jeans gain a new lease of life.

How are you thinking about 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 digital snippets e-commerce mobile product Retail social media sustainability technology

Kering commits to carbon neutrality, retail surveillance, Instagram supports drop model

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

Top Stories
  • Kering commits to carbon neutrality (Drapers)
  • The new ways retailers are watching you shop (BoF)
  • Instagram launches ‘reminders’ to support product drops (Vogue Business)
Technology
  • Boston Dynamics robot dog Spot is going on sale for the first time (MIT Technology Review)
  • Cryptocurrency’s huge potential in China’s luxury retail (Jing Daily)
  • Kraft Heinz brings mobile-activated packaging to Walmart (Mobile Marketer)
  • Oculus eclipses $100million in VR content sales (TechCrunch)
  • Amazon to launch smart home inventory sensors (Retail Dive)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Burt’s Bees and National Geographic partner for climate campaign (Fashion Network)
  • Can Stella McCartney make faux fur sustainable? (Vogue)
  • M&S and Tesco take top spots in climate change report ranking (Retail Gazette)
  • Taylor Stitch garment restored in Restitch’s workwear capsule (Sourcing Journal)
  • LVMH gets competitive about sustainability (BoF)
  • UK government moves to end ‘vague and misleading’ bioplastic terminology (Dezeen)
  • Clean jeans are the future of denim (Vogue Business)
  • Peta launches campaign to get Farfetch to ban angora (Fashion Network)
  • DPD inks sustainable contract with Asos (Drapers)
  • ‘No planet, no sports’ says Nike Sustainability Chief (Sourcing Journal)
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
BUSINESS
  • Forever 21 files for Bankruptcy (Bloomberg)
  • Ebay CEO steps down (Retail Dive)
  • Rent the Runway executive steps down after delivery failures (BoF)
  • Marks & Spencer’s director of supply chain & logistics departs (Drapers)
  • Boohoo interim revenues up by 43% as annual sales break £1bn (The Industry)
  • Calvin Klein names Nadege Winter SVP brand experience (Fashion Network)
  • Boohoo appoints Missguided brand boss as MissPap CEO (Drapers)
  • British manufacturing: back in fashion (The Guardian)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • MAC Cosmetics targets gamers with TwitchCon sponsorship (Glossy)
  • Walmart challenges TikTok users to share dance moves (Mobile Marketer)
  • Honda debuts animated comic book on social media (Mobile Marketer)
  • Oculus introduces social virtual reality world Facebook horizon (Adweek)
  • Facebook tries hiding like counts to fight envy (TechCrunch)
PRODUCT
  • Reebok and Adidas collaborate to launch Instapump fury boost (Fashion Network)
  • Amazon expands Alexa with voice-powered wearable (Mobile Marketer)
  • Amazon fashion teams with Puma on new athleisure brand (BoF)
  • Selfridges partners with British CBD body and wellness start-up Grass & Co (Fashion Network)
  • Nestle launches luxury KitKat bars in direct-to-consumer move (Campaign)
  • Diesel partners Coca-Cola for eco-savvy clothing range (Campaign)
  • Amazon pushes further into healthcare with Amazon Care (Adweek)
CULTURE
  • Indian women are Youtube-ing their way out of gender stereotypes (Quartzy)
  • Rebecca Minkoff on the business of representation (Glossy)
  • Mattel release line of gender-neutral world dolls (Adweek)
  • Avon can’t escape lawsuit accusing it of discriminating against pregnant women (Fashion Law)

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

Shutting down LFW, Farfetch acquires New Guards Group, the UN’s agriculture alert

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

TOP STORIES
  • Scrap the catwalk: Extinction Rebellion is right – LFW is unsustainable (The Guardian)
  • Farfetch acquires Off-White owner New Guards Group (BoF)
  • UN states we have to transform how we use land and grow food (Fast Company)
TECHNOLOGY
  • Nike buys an AI startup that predicts what consumers want (Tech Crunch)
  • Can artificial intelligence help society as much as it helps business? (McKinsey)
  • How fashion retailers are using artificial intelligence in 2019 (Edited)
  • Google implements augmented reality in maps (Mashable)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Only 1/8 Bangladesh garment factories passed international safety inspections (Fashion Network)
  • Sustainable retail: do shoppers love it or hate it? (Retail Week)
  • Volcom launches ‘Water Aware’ denim collection (Fashion United)
  • The challenges of building a socially conscious band (Vogue Business)
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Depop opens pop-up store in Selfridges (Fashion United)
  • Live stream apps are changing the way people shop (BoF)
  • Boohoo wants to beat Zara at its own game (BoF)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Climate change activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is the face of a new fashion campaign (Teen Vogue)
  • The future of fashion will be run by influencers (Quartzy)
PRODUCT
BUSINESS
  • Barneys files for bankruptcy as rents rise and visitors fall (BoF)
  • Boohoo to snap up Karen Milen & Coast in pre-pack (Retail Week)
  • Adidas posts jump in sales and profit (Fashion United)
  • Michael Gove orders HMRC to help small retailers in no-deal Brexit (Retail Gazette)
CULTURE
  • Victoria Secret cancels its runway show (Retail Dive)
  • Heist asks whether shapeware can be feminist in new campaign (Campaign)
  • Versace loses Chinese brand ambassador amid t-shirt controversy (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.

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

Robot photographers, questioning the new UK PM, is fashion-tech going to burst?

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

TOP STORIES
  • Are robot photographers the future of e-commerce? (BoF)
  • Industry questions new UK PM’s priorities (Drapers)
  • Is the fashion-tech bubble going to burst? (Vogue Business)
  • Don’t scoff at influencers. They’re taking over the world (NY Times)
  • The $400 billion adaptive clothing opportunity (Vogue Business)
TECHNOLOGY
  • This AI is helping scientists develop invisibility cloaks (Futurism)
  • Elon Musk’s robot surgeon will sew electrodes into human brains, starting in 2020 (Mashable)
  • The technology that makes the fashion Rental business tick (WWD)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • How fashion is helping suppliers fight climate change (Vogue Business)
  • Bally reveals Mount Everest clean-up initiative (WWD)
  • H&M, Microsoft, PVH Corp collaborate in circular fashion initiative (Vogue Business)
  • The Ellen MacArthur Foundation wants to redesign the denim industry (Vogue)
  • Lush debuts ‘carbon-positive’ packaging (Edie)
  • As Zara announces its latest sustainability goals, three of its design team weigh in on going slower and creating responsibly (Vogue)
  • YKK leads the way in sustainability with Natulon® range (Fashion United)
  • This site will show you exactly how ashamed you should be of flying (Fast Company)
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Amazon’s revolutionary retail strategy? Recycling old ideas (Wired)
  • The toys are back in town: A reimagined Toys R Us returns (Forbes)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • How Tik Tok is changing beauty standards for Gen Z (I-d Vice)
  • Fashion doesn’t know what to do with YouTube. Derek Blasberg is trying to help (Vogue Business)
  • Why brands are sliding into your DMs (BoF)
  • How will fashion find validation without instagram likes? (BoF)
  • Hermès reveals behind-the-scenes to its craftsmanship via WeChat (Jing Daily)
  • Gucci gamifies house codes in retro-style mobile arcade (Luxury Daily)
PRODUCT
  • This jewelry is a brilliant shield against face-recognition intrusions (Fast Company)
  • L’Oréal is launching a new skin-care brand with paper packaging (Allure)
  • Napapijri to launch 100% recyclable jacket (Fashion United)
  • Alice + Olivia to expand beauty and wellness with CBD partnership (Fashion United)
BUSINESS
  • Gucci growth slows but Kering still posts near 19% sales growth (The Industry)
  • Asos issues third profit warning in seven months as shares fall (The Guardian)
  • Charity shops, antiques behind surprise UK retail sales jump in June (Reuters)
CULTURE
  • Hong Kong’s entrepreneurial protesters are crowdfunding everything from doctors to legal fees (Quartz)
  • Forever 21 accused of body-shaming after giving out free diet bars with orders (Hype Beast)
  • Mr Porter commits to mental, physical health (WWD)

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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Campaigns mobile product social media

Wrangler activates scannable denim in ‘Old Town Road’ tie-up

Scanning a pair of Wrangler jeans will now unlock exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from the hit single of the year, the hip-hop-country crossover “Old Town Road”, featuring Billy Ray Cyrus and rapper Lil Nas X.

The brand created a web app called WranglerOnMyBooty.com, which invites users to take a picture of the back pocket of their jeans to activate the experience. Doing so allows them to not only see the footage from the five-minute music video, but also the option to shop the exclusive capsule collection of the collab with Lil Nas X.

Fans are encouraged to share their Wrangler selfie on social media using the hashtag #WranglerOnMyBooty. That line comes from the lyrics “Cowboy hat from Gucci, Wrangler on my booty” in the song.

“As an iconic brand in fashion, we have shown up in music, film and popular culture for decades, but this is the first time our jeans are actually the key to unlocking a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a chart-topping hit,” said Jenni Broyles, VP/GM of Wrangler North America. “We’re incredibly excited about the success of ‘Old Town Road’ and our partnership with Lil Nas X. It is another great example of the power music – and in our case, fashion – has to unite and inspire us all.”

The partnership and the mobile interactive function came after the single reached Number One in the United States for five weeks straight, gaining momentum on social media.

“The phenomenon surrounding the track has broken boundaries and allows for a brand like Wrangler to hone in on its Western DNA while tapping into current culture,” said Jennifer Frommer, SVP of brand partnerships at Columbia Records.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. 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. 

Categories
digital snippets Retail sustainability technology

ICYMI: Puma’s sustainable material goals, retailers team up to improve AR/VR, guide to ethical certifications

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

TOP STORIES
  • Puma aims for 90% of materials to be sustainable sourced by 2020 [Fashion Network]
  • Retailers, tech companies team up to improve AR/VR [Retail Dive]
  • Fashionista’s complete beginner’s guide to ethical fashion certifications [Fashionista]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Retailers are tracking where you shop—and where you sleep [Bloomberg]
  • How Amazon automatically tracks and fires warehouse workers for ‘productivity’ [The Verge]
  • Japanese taxis are using facial recognition to target ads to riders [Futurism]
  • AI could replace 42% of UK wholesale and retail jobs [Drapers]
  • IBM, FIT to train future designers on AI [WWD]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Levi Strauss launches denim recycling program [Fashion Network]
  • UK retailers might have to pay all their packaging waste costs [WWD]
  • Can cheap fashion ever be ethical? [Quartz]
  • T-shirt recycling is here, and it could transform fashion [Fast Company]
  • True blue: Denim has to change to save the planet [Retail Dive]
  • Packaging is killing the planet—these start-ups offer luxe, sustainable solutions [Vogue]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Alibaba’s Tmall chief establishes ambitious 3-Year plan [Bloomberg]
  • The rise of live-streamer style [NYT]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
PRODUCT
  • Zozo’s experiment in customized clothing was too early [Quartz]
  • Lululemon bets on product innovation, expansion for 5-year growth plan [Fashion Network]
BUSINESS
  • Shares of US retailers drop following Amazon’s one-day delivery announcement [BoF]
  • Goldman Sachs says dragged-out Brexit is doing deeper damage to UK economy [Fashion Network]
  • Puma enjoys ‘best ever’ quarter as it ramps up stocks [Reuters]
  • Debenhams names 22 stores to close [BBC]
CULTURE
  • Patagonia has only 4 percent employee turnover because they value this 1 thing so much [Inc]
  • Tapping the men’s wellness opportunity [BoF]
  • How a niche designer brand won Coachella [BoF]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. 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. 

Categories
product Retail

Zara introduces denim customization service

Zara is launching a pop up customization service at three global stores where customers will be able to embroider words on a selection of the brand’s denim products.

Launching on March 27, the service, titled Zara Edited, will be available at specific stores in Barcelona, Amsterdam and Milan. Customers will be able to choose from 13 different denim pieces, from shorts to jackets, and embroider them with letters from a selection of fonts and colors. Meanwhile those shopping in Italy, Britain, Holland and Spain will be able to order personalized items online.

In-store personalization services have become an effective way to engage with consumers who are seeking products that allow them to express their individuality. Brands across the spectrum – from Coach to Levi’s and GAP – have deployed it for years. Zara’s sheer size as a fast fashion brand, however, coupled with the service also being available online, speaks to the potential experiences like this may have as on-demand technologies mature.

The Spanish brand is increasingly focusing on add-on services and technologies to enhance the in-store experience. Last year, it hosted a tech-enabled pop up at London’s Westfield mall ahead of the opening of its first new concept in the same location months later; meanwhile also in 2018, it introduced an interactive AR experience to over 100 stores worldwide.

How are you thinking about product customization? 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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Editor's pick product technology

In wearables, design needs to come before tech, says Levi’s

The wearables industry is expected to double in market value to $27bn+ by 2022, according to CCS Insight. But for Paul Dillinger, VP of Global Product Innovation at Levi’s, consumers will only fully invest in these tech accessories if they look good once turned off.

“We aren’t building a product just for the technology”, he said at a conversation during the Fashinnovation conference in NYC this week. “This has to be a technology integrated with things that you already want to wear because even if the technology isn’t engaging, people still want to wear their Levi’s jean jacket,” he later told TheCurrent Daily.

He was joined on stage by Ivan Poupyrev, Google’s Head of Advanced Technology and Projects, who worked with the denim brand on the original Project Jacquard jacket, which uses a sensor on the cuff to control music, screen phone calls, and even receive notifications from Uber or Lyft. Google famously thought tech-first when it designed its now defunct Google Glass, but it (naturally) believes trial and error is part of the process: “You put the product in the market, learn from mistakes, and do it again.” According to Poupyrev, however, unlike the Glass, there was a strong focus on the physical appearance of the smart jacket, wherein technology came in to simply extend its functions.

Now, instead of creating a product from scratch, Google is focusing on working with established brands in the industry, who can teach the tech giant a thing or two about what fashion customers want. “We realized that if you want to change the nature of apparel, as a connected and intelligent garment, you need to work with someone who has expertise in making apparel,” said Poupyrev. “Not just a prototype, but someone who understands how to scale all the way from the design to the supply chain and marketing. That was a shift  in thinking in the company as well.”

The Levi’s Commuter x Google Jacquard jacket
The Levi’s Commuter x Google Jacquard jacket

Since Levi’s is one of the world’s biggest brands in denim, a partnership with the brand was an important strategic decision. While the classic Levi’s jacket retails at $150 or less, the smart model retails at $350. For Dillinger, customers who chose the premium alternative should expect the technology to continue to evolve with time.

In 2017, six months after it was first introduced to the market, it received a series of updates, such as enabling it to work with Uber and Lyft. Just before Christmas, it added a functionality where the jacket sent the user a pin drop notification in case the owner left it behind. “That was a new value that no one was expecting for it or paid for it,” he said. “That promise of sustained improvement puts the purchase in the context of a lifetime, instead of a moment.”

Just like a smartphone, the jacket keeps improving. But unlike a shiny new iPhone, a Levi’s jacket customer is looking for design that is timeless and not forced into obsolescence. “You can talk about improvements of a phone, but eventually that phone won’t be the one you want to have any more. This garment, this jean jacket, stays in perpetuity, so the value will continue to go up”, added Dillinger.

For all its innovation, this is still an early attempt at a mass-market smart denim jacket. But as the technology becomes more deeply integrated into people’s lives, the wearable category may well begin to move beyond its early adopters.

How are you thinking about 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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business Editor's pick sustainability technology

Levi’s and Harvard University launch blockchain pilot for worker welfare

Levi Strauss & Co. has partnered with Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health to pilot a worker’s welfare initiative that will utilize blockchain technology.

The aim of the program is to better understand the wellbeing of its factory workers in real time and react accordingly because, according to the denim brand, “what’s good for workers is also good for business”.

The program features an annual worker survey, with questions developed by the School’s Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise (SHINE) center. The garment worker’s responses will then live on a blockchain platform powered by ConSensys, thus enabling a transparent and secure way for workers to share their experiences anonymously, with no fear of consequences.

It will be piloted this year at three factories in Mexico who produce for the brand, and together employ 5,000 workers.

“For the last 25 years, work in supply chains has been monitored mainly by audits,” said Dr. Eileen McNeely, director at SHINE. “A distributed system of inquiry on the blockchain that goes right to the source (workers) offers a new solution.”

The initiative is part of Levi’s’ existing Worker Well-being (WWB) program launched in 2011, which sees the company partner with its suppliers and local organizations to implement change focused on giving its workers financial empowerment, health and family wellbeing, and equality and acceptance. The program, which since its inception has reached over 200,000 workers globally, is available open-source.

“One of the aspirations of Worker Well-being is to influence the apparel industry and make WWB the standard for the sector,” says Kim Almeida, director of WBB at the Levi Strauss Foundation. “We believe that the SHINE work, in partnership with LS&Co., will provide an important tool that gets us one step closer to making this goal of scaling our approach a reality.”

How are you thinking about sustainability? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners for your sustainable innovation strategy.TheCurrent 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.