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Events technology

Vote for us at SXSW: The future of connected beauty

L'Oréal My UV Patch
L’Oréal My UV Patch

In 2019, TheCurrent will be returning to SXSW in Austin, Texas – but we need your support! Beyond gathering insights and producing events like podcast recordings, we are aiming to host three panels. But we can only get on the official schedule with your vote. And today is your last chance to do so!

One of our panels, “The future of connected beauty”, will look at how digitally native consumers are increasingly relying on technology to meet their ultimate beauty goals, and how brands are catering to that by focusing on delivering efficacy and personalization. The result is a beauty experience that blurs the lines between retail and at-home.

Our CEO Liz Bacelar will be hosting this conversation with Guive Balooch, global VP of the Technology Incubator at L’Oréal, a company that has been a pioneer in the beauty tech space. Together, they will help the audience better understand the beauty consumer’s increasingly digital behaviour, as well as how self-optimisation in beauty is becoming more and more reliant on tech. The audience will also learn about new technologies that aim to deliver highly convenient and personalized experiences, and what the future holds for the beauty industry.

Click to vote
Click to vote

So if you want to see this panel at SXSW 2019, please vote! But be quick, as public voting closes today. Doing so is easy, just login or create a quick PanelPicker® account via panelpicker.sxsw.com. Then find our The future of connected beauty panel and all you have to do is click on the “Vote Up” button in the top lefthand column.

Beauty technology is one of the industry’s most pertinent conversations, as brands develop the tools and services to correspond to their consumer’s high levels of expectation. TheCurrent has been watching this space for years: most recently in May, we interviewed Paul Peros, the former CEO of Foreo, a beauty device company who as of that month was on track to turning over $1bn a year; and in March, we talked to Balooch himself on the future of beauty technology. The beauty industry has also been presenting some of the most interesting innovations at trade shows we attend throughout the year, such as CES in Las Vegas.

Our other panels at SXSW include Blockchain for radical transparency and How streetwear turns hype into $$$. Please vote for them too!

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Editor's pick product technology

CES 2018: L’Oréal’s latest UV sensor is designed to look like nail art

L'Oréal's UV Sense
L’Oréal’s UV Sense

L’Oréal has unveiled UV Sense at CES this week, a battery-free wearable electronic that provides consumers with individual information of their ultraviolet (UV) exposure through a small design worn on the nail.

The product will launch for dermatological skincare brand La Roche-Posay this summer. It has been created in collaboration with visionary designer Yves Behar, founder of fuseproject, and comes from L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator.

“L’Oréal research shows that overexposure to UV rays is a top health and beauty concern of consumers worldwide,” says Guive Balooch, global vice president of the incubator. “With this knowledge, we set out to create something that blends problem-solving technology with human-centered design to reach even more consumers who require additional information about their UV exposure. Whenever we develop a new technology, our goal is to make an enormous global impact by enhancing consumers’ lives.”

He adds: “Beauty trends show that adoption of wearable nail art accessories is on the rise, with a more than 65% increase in nail art trends over the last five years. Our innovation taps into this growing trend, while illustrating our deep commitment to sun safe behavior and protection.”

The launch follows the first stretchable skin sensor measuring UV exposure from the group unveiled at CES in 2016, called My UV Patch. Since then, La Roche-Posay has distributed more than one million patches to consumers in 37 countries free of charge to encourage sun safe behaviors.

This new launch follows feedback from users showing that although they changed their behaviour – 63% reported less sunburn, 34% apply sunscreen more often and 37% try to stay in the shade more frequently – they wanted a smaller wearable with longer wear and real-time data.

UV Sense is less than two millimeters thick, nine millimeters in diameter and designed to be worn for up to two weeks on the thumbnail, compared to just several days for My UV Patch. It can also store up to three months of data.

It is powered by the user’s mobile phone and activated by UVA and UVB rays. An accompanying app translates and transfers data from the sensor using Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled technology.

“Design and technology are inextricably linked, and as products become more personalized to individuals, both elements are integral to providing people with seamless experiences,” says Behar. “By working with L’Oréal, we are able to pair deep expertise in beauty tech with an effective design that enhances consumers’ wellbeing without distracting from their everyday lives.”

Both UV Sense and a new limited-edition redesign of My UV Patch draw from research L’Oréal conducted in conjunction with MC10 Inc, a leading wearable technology company, and professor John Rogers at Northwestern University, through his portfolio of intellectual property (IP) and innovation around flexible, stretchable electronics.

They will both be available via www.laroche-posay.us on a limited basis in the US for the 2018 summer season with a global launch following in 2019.

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data digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Iris van Herpen on designing the future, TAG Heuer’s luxury smart watch, Alibaba’s Singles Day smashes records

Here’s a round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

irisvanherpen_ss16

  • Iris van Herpen’s astonishing designs don’t look like ‘clothes.’ They look like the future (as pictured) [The Washington Post]
  • TAG Heuer Connected: the first ‘legitimate’ smart watch? [Wired]
  • How Alibaba turned an obscure, made-up Chinese holiday into a $14.3 billion shopping extravaganza that’s bigger than Black Friday [Business Insider]
  • Dior breaks its e-commerce ban [WWD]
  • REI’s Reddit experience shows brands need to be ready to take the tough questions [AdWeek]
  • Canada Goose debuts first global campaign [AdAge]
  • High-tech Sephora flash boutique in Paris has a robot greeter [Brandchannel]
  • Farfetch tries to reach a little further [Bloomberg]
  • The Minkoffs want to disrupt the dictatorship in fashion with digital innovation [Fast Company]
  • Fashion platform Zalando wants to be Europe’s top tech company [Wired]
  • Macy’s CEO defends role of stores in e-commerce era [Fortune]
  • Apple’s Angela Ahrendts on where the company is taking retail next [Fast Company]
  • Natalie Massenet’s Imaginary Ventures proves she’s ready for next venture after exit from Net-a-Porter [Independent]
  • How Revolve Clothing uses data to create a global brand [Digiday]
  • Adam Selman, Rihanna’s favourite designer, enters the wearables war with Mastercard [NY Times]
  • As luxury brands embrace data, will they use it like a butler or a stalker [AdWeek]
  • Retail’s best Snapchat campaigns [L2]
  • Tel Aviv’s booming tech start-up community is expanding its focus to fashion [Fashionista]
  • Singapore’s postal service provider is developing a futuristic shopping mall to house online retailers [TechCrunch]
  • “People don’t buy stuff in actual stores” – the future of retail, as explained by Gen Z [Quartz]
  • Wary of the next ‘Warby Parker’ [TechCrunch]
  • Refinery29, Dazed and i-D battle for millennials [BoF]
  • Essena O’Neill quits Instagram, rewrites her self-promoting history [The Guardian]
Categories
Comment Editor's pick technology

How the fashion press critiqued the all-new #applewatch

AppleWatch_anchor

It’s somewhat hard to imagine the scene in Cupertino earlier this week – savvy tech journalists alongside a bevy of Apple employees, a handful of celebs and some of the world’s most-established fashion editors.

Like a who’s who of Angela Ahrendts’ fashion contact book, everyone from Olivier Zahm, founder of Purple magazine, to Vogue editor-in-chiefs including Alexandra Shulman of British Vogue, Angelica Cheung of Vogue China, Emmanuelle Alt of Vogue Paris and Franca Sozzani of Vogue Italia willingly took a break from their New York Fashion Week schedules to fly in especially. When Apple calls…

But what all did the industry’s critics think of the much-anticipated Apple Watch? Here are some choice highlights:

  • Lisa Armstrong at the Daily Telegraph suggested if the Apple Watch is to seduce us, first it must be able to woo us with its looks rather than its brains. Was she impressed? Ultimately, yes. Like others, the customisation factor particularly resonated: “Where Apple’s watch leaves others standing is in the almost infinite ways it can be further individualised.” Indeed to many, this was the surest sign of Apple attempting to align itself with the way the fashion industry treats accessories.
  • It was this very focus on customisation, however, that led to Time magazine giving one of the toughest reviews out there. Author Misty White Sidell referred to the launch of the Apple Watch as an attempt to kill the joy of personal style. “In a worst-case scenario for fashion, Apple will not only attain a monopoly on the timepiece market, but also the confidence to wield a larger impact on how we dress ourselves each day. The watch is no doubt an indication of how Apple will approach future fashion products, offering the masses a constrictive framework in which to dress themselves, all under the guise of customizable ‘self expression’. And that places personal style in its purest form at risk—inhibiting a consumer’s right to varied choice.” She referred to every additional fashion creation from Apple as inadvertently likely to create a less diverse shopping landscape. “The more Apple invades the fashion market, the more it will look to create a robotic consumerist culture (something it’s already done with tech)—in turn manipulating the greatest enjoyments of style and personal expression.”

applewatch2

  • Vanessa Friedman at The New York Times, though providing a positive review overall, went in relatively hard as well. “It’s definitely a step forward,” she wrote. “But does it rewrite the rules of our aesthetic expectations? No.” On that customisation element, she added: “The funny thing is, while I understand why they find this sort of choice extraordinary in the tech world, it’s par for the course in fashion, which points up some of the gulf between the two sectors; What they find revolutionary makes us want to yawn.”
  • Over at Vogue International, Suzy Menkes wasn’t overly fussed by the design either. “From a fashion point of view, the external aesthetic seemed neutral: neither super-stylish nor repellent. I would imagine that geeks would love it more than aesthetes,” she wrote. But she peppered her story with what feels almost like conceding to its inevitability: “Yet smartphones have already transformed the fashion world in a way we never imagined, bringing backstage to the wide world and turning shows into a forest of phones and instant images and videos. The phone and the computer have been responsible for bringing fashion to everyone. I suspect that I, as a non-digital specialist, would fail to use this device to its full capacity. But I like the idea of setting the visual aspects according to my mood. And perhaps my wardrobe.”
  • In comparison, Fashionista very openly referred to the Apple Watch as one of the best wearable tech offerings out yet. It also praised its design, associating it very smoothly with the luxury market. “We may have just been imagining things, but the combination of the display’s smooth gradients, the leather band and the high-shine metallics gives the watch a distinctly Burberry feel. Not that Apple changed its design philosophy based on hiring Angela Ahrendts, but the vibe is there. In any case, all those luxury hires seem to have paid off.”
  • WWD [subscriber access] questioned whether Apple’s marketing savvy and brand reputation would be enough to beat out the more accessories-focused brands like Swatch group (due to unveil its own smartwatch next year), or even Will.i.am, who is plotting his own for introduction in 2015. But the fashion trade publication also highlighted an important point for retailers — the fact Apple has created an entire platform that provides new methods of interaction in the retail environment. “The Apple Watch allows a consumer to confirm a purchase via fingerprint with iTouch and now with the release of Apple Pay, there is a financial system and a platform that allows developers and retailers to integrate this into their payment transactions,” wrote digital news and features editor, Rachel Strugatz.

applewatch3

  • The Business of Fashion provided a comprehensive overview of the device, outlining six underlying principles it believes form the foundations of the company’s strategy for “igniting and dominating the rapidly emerging wearable technology market, just as the iPod did for music, the iPhone did for smartphones and the iPad has done for tablets”. In doing so, it likewise highlighted some other areas of consideration beyond design, one of the most interesting ones of which was in its analysis of the need for new selling spaces for the more luxury version of the watch. “Can Apple really expect to sell a luxury-priced Apple Watch Edition in crowded stores staffed by personnel in blue t-shirts and khakis?” editor-in-chief Imran Amed asked. He expects Apple’s hire of Angela Ahrendts to lead to the brand rolling out a unique selling environment that lives up to the new product – perhaps a luxury Apple Watch shop-in-shop or a standalone deemed high-end and tailored enough to support it. From a design perspective, he also said he didn’t expect the impact on the fashion and luxury watch market to be too significant just yet. “Having seen and touched Apple Watch in person, I think traditional Swiss luxury watchmakers can rest easy — for now,” he wrote.

That “for now” comment from the BoF is particularly pertinent. As I myself wrote for WGSN [subscriber access]: “Apple has, time and time again, taken a category that already exists (mp3 players, smartphones and tablets as the most obvious examples) and redeveloped it in such a way, with design so succinctly at the heart of it, that it becomes a game changer. Comparative to all the other options out there in the wearable tech / smart watch / fitness tracking device market, this absolutely feels like that again.”

Indeed to return to Amed: “This is just the beginning for the Apple Watch and like its iPod, iPhone and iPad predecessors, I’d expect the product to evolve significantly over time.” Down the road, there’s a wealth of disruption looking likely, especially when you turn to the Millennial market (and under), who are no longer used to wearing a traditional watch, but rather relying on their smartphone. Here’s betting Apple doesn’t have too much trouble getting them back to looking at their wrists.

As Sir Jonathan Ive, SVP of design at Apple, narrates in the video: “I think we’re now at a compelling beginning – actually designing technology to be worn and to be truly personal.”

Let’s not forget, this is just version 1.0.

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digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick social media technology

All the digital activity (outside of live streaming) happening this #NYFW

If watching dozens of Hyperlapse videos from day one of New York Fashion Week is already starting to grate, here are some of the other digitally-enabled or tech-themed plans that might appeal instead…

OpeningCeremony_Intel

  • For those in New York looking to explore what else wearables currently offer, it’s worth checking out Chelsea concept store, Story’s new Style.tech installation in partnership with Intel. There’s everything from Ringly to Cute Circuit pieces on show, as well as 3D-printed heels from Continuum and more. It’s open until October 5
  • Back to Rebecca Minkoff, and social media is helping with decision making for tomorrow’s show. The designer posted an Instagram shot featuring two looks from the spring 2015 collection – a printed or an indigo pair of dungarees. The one that got the most likes will walk down the catwalk
  • Tommy Hilfiger is also focusing on social with the announcement of an initiative called First Timers, which will bring together “a diverse group of digital influencers from different fields and areas of expertise outside the fashion industry to document the unique experience of viewing a fashion show for the first time”. More details are reportedly set to follow on that soon
  • BCBG Max Azria meanwhile partnered up with Liketoknow.it to make its new collection shoppable instantly via Instagram today. Followers were encouraged to first sign up to Liketoknow.it and then to ‘like’ any image featuring the LTK link in the caption to receive an email with details of how to buy said piece online. This initiative came together in the end, but was a little confusing initially – reports around the campaign didn’t make it entirely clear the images wouldn’t be posted on the BCBG account but on that of a series of influencers involved. Finding them wasn’t therefore as straightforward as it could have been, although a significant number of them are now all featured on the @liketktit page as well
  • Michael Kors is expanding its All Access Kors social program this season – with behind-the-scenes photographs, in-depth stories on design inspirations and videos of the show all featured on Destination Kors. New for SS15 however is also the announcement of a campaign specific to China-based platforms Weixin and WeChat. Here users will be able to personalise a range of All Access Kors imagery – adding their name or uploading a photo that then becomes a bold silhouette against the New York City skyline. Shaking the phone or swiping the screen then reveals a different silhouette or city angle
  • Last but not least, here’s a particularly fab reminder from Véronique Hyland at The Cut for editors to spare us the typically poor fashion week images on Instagram. “The blurry runway photo is not really, strictly speaking, a picture — anyone who wants to can see better photos instantaneously online. No, the blurry runway shot is a trophy. It says, ‘I came, I saw, I sat front row, within 100 feet of Vanessa Hudgens’,” she writes.
Categories
Blocks Editor's pick technology

Designers are jumping into the wearable tech space this #NYFW – should we care?

RalphLauren-smart-tshirt

Tomorrow marks the first official day of New York Fashion Week, and with it a month-long series of runway shows that will next travel to Europe – to London, Milan and Paris – to highlight what all we’ll be wearing for spring/summer 2015.

Attention won’t just be on the new clothes in New York on this occasion however, but on the wearable accessories set to hit the catwalks too. Designers including Rebecca Minkoff and Opening Ceremony are each expected to unveil new tech-enabled pieces, while simultaneously over at the US Open, Ralph Lauren’s biometric t-shirts are already being worn.

The question is, after all the hype that will no doubt follow – will any of the new releases actually provide something that has true market appeal beyond the early adopter set?

Read the full story via Forbes.com to find out.

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mobile technology

Saks unveils interactive holiday windows, offers Makerbot 3D-printed snowflakes

Saks_yeti5

Consumers are invited to flick personalised digital snowflakes onto the windows of Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store in New York this Holiday season.

The initiative, developed in partnership with creative digital agency, The Science Project, and sponsored by MasterCard, is part of the retailer’s wider focus on the legendary Yeti rumoured to reside on its roof making snow during the festive period, this year.

The Yeti Snow Workshop as this particular window is called, invites passersby to visit saks.com/snow on their mobiles where they can find out their own Yeti name, add it to a snowflake design and then flick it from their device to instantly see it gently falling down the window.

In-store those who spend over $150 or more with their MasterCard, can then receive a 3D-printed snowflake created by the MakerBot. Harry Cunningham, senior VP-store planning and visual at Saks, also told AdAge: “3D printing has been a big of late, so some of the figures in our window this year are actually 3D printed. As technology advances and as things move forward, we’re looking for opportunities to inject that into our process.”

Six of the other store windows depict different scenes of the Yeti’s life, from being “an under-appreciated snowmaker in Siberia to his starring role as a true snowflake artist in New York”. Each also features the hashtag #SaksYeti.

They were unveiled last week with a 3D light show mapped onto the façade of the store created by Iris Worldwide (as in the YouTube video below). It runs every seven minutes each night from 5-11pm over the Holiday season.

Saks_yeti3Saks_yeti1Saks_yeti4Saks_yeti2

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technology

Nina Garcia switches up SXSW opinion, goes for Google Glass at #NYFW

GoogleGlass_NinaGarcia_benina

Project Runway judge and Marie Claire creative director, Nina Garcia, has just announced she will be wearing Google Glass at New York Fashion Week this September.

#BeNina, as the initiative is being called, will see photos and videos taken using the device beamed across both her personal and Marie Claire’s social media outlets, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine, as well as the magazine’s website.

It’s a bit of an interesting change of heart from the editor who only a few months ago somewhat screwed her nose up at the idea of wearable technology.

Speaking at SXSW, Garcia – who has over 800,000 followers on Twitter and 55,000 on Instagram – was asked whether wearables were for the “kingdom of nerds” or a sign of where fashion is going.

“If you can get Tom Ford to design [Google Glass],” she said, “I might wear them. But until then…”

Well, Ford isn’t on board. And those rumours about Warby Parker are still not confirmed. Google Glass definitely doesn’t look as fashion-forward as one like Garcia might hope, but it seems that’s no longer deterring her.

Reports state she doesn’t have a formal relationship with Google on this project – though the video below does show her in the internet giant’s offices – but there’s no denying Google will hope to benefit from this. NYFW has of course previously played host to the device with Diane von Furstenberg’s show last September.

“What I find fascinating is that this may be the beginning of a technology that changes how we interact and how we process and gather information,” said Garcia.

“Usually I have lots of devices during fashion week. Google Glass Expedition is controlled by your voice or a tap of your finger. It’s a very different device than the iPhone. It’s like wearing a little computer. It’s a hands-free experience which is kind of liberating. I can go to a show and just be and not be looking down at my iPhone all the time.”