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What you missed: Burberry’s ARkit, AI transforming Shop Direct, Stella McCartney and The RealReal

Burberry's new ARkit integration
Burberry’s new ARkit integration

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

  • Burberry turns to Apple for augmented-reality fashion app [Bloomberg]
  • AI will transform every retailer, says Shop Direct boss [Drapers]
  • Stella McCartney wants you to resell her goods in new partnership with The RealReal [Fashionista]
  • Could kelp be the future of sustainable fashion? [Observer]

  • Direct to consumer brands vs commodities: who will prevail? [LooseThreads]
  • Decoding Chanel’s Gen-Z strategy [BoF]
  • More luxury stores closed in China over the last year than in any other country [Jing Daily]

  • Target will begin incorporating Pinterest’s Lens visual search technology [AdWeek]
  • John Lewis pioneers Facebook’s 360 shoppable ad [Campaign]
  • Dior debuts Weibo story, stays in lead with Chinese millennials [Jing Daily]
  • Inside Birchbox’s 40-person social media war room [Glossy]
  • Snapchat debuts Sponsored 3D World Lenses at Advertising Week New York [The Drum]

  • Gant to launch ‘Couple Thinkers’ TV show on YouTube [Fashion Network]
  • Nas brings street cred to effortlessly cool animated ads for Timberland [AdWeek]
  • Why United Colors of Benetton is parting with catwalk convention to showcase its brand DNA [The Drum]
  • Fashion brands still succumbing to the high-priced artsy film [Glossy]

  • Patagonia has launched its own online thrift store [PSFK]
  • New Macy’s loyalty program nudges customers to spend more [Retail Dive]
  • Uniqlo’s retail empire embarks on a digital revolution [Nikkei]

  • AR is now a must-have in retail [Business Insider]
  • A way to repeatedly recycle polyester has just been discovered [Eco-Business]
  • These high-tech knitting machines will soon be making car parts [Bloomberg]
  • Fashion’s future may rest on an old technology: glue [Fast Company]
  • Modiface is becoming the go-to provider of augmented reality to beauty brands [Glossy]

  • Google and Levi’s ‘connected’ jacket is now on sale [TechCrunch]
  • To make a new kind of shoe, adidas had to change everything [Wired]
  • How these female engineers reinvented the bra [Fast Company]

  • With lab-grown leather, Modern Meadow is engineering a fashion revolution [BoF]
  • Amazon has acquired 3D body model startup, Body Labs, for $50M-$70M [TechCrunch]
data digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: L’Oréal’s incubator, Bolt Threads teams with Patagonia, confessions of a social media exec


There are lots of updates this past week on interesting textile developments – from the spider silk of Bolt Threads to Spiber, both of which have announced new deals with Patagonia and The North Face respectively. Also worth a read is the anonymous social media exec spilling secrets to Digiday, not to mention the idea that we will all indeed be buying our designer clothing in the future on Amazon. If that’s not enough, further fashion and tech news from the past fortnight spans Birchbox’s use of Facebook Live to a breakdown of how brands are using Snapchat. Read on for all…

  • L’Oréal invests in Founders Factory digital start-up incubator [BrandChannel]

  • Bolt Threads raises $50 million to brew spider silk, inks deal with Patagonia [TechCrunch]

  • Confessions of a social media exec on influencer marketing: ‘We threw too much money at them’ [Digiday]

  • People will eventually buy their designer clothing on Amazon, because they buy everything there [Quartz]

  • Everlane’s Shoe Park interactive pop-up offers self-guided shopping [Footwear News]

  • How Birchbox uses Facebook Live videos to engage consumers [Retail Dive]

  • How Frank + Oak built a modern loyalty program for men [Glossy]

  • Google DeepMind killed off a little-known fashion website [Business Insider]

  • SpaceX has hired a legendary costume designer to create their own spacesuits [Gizmodo]

  • The North Face to sell parka made out of synthetic spider silk by Japanese start-up Spiber [Bloomberg]

  • Thesis Couture is bringing the engineering savvy of rocket science to the design of the high-heeled shoe [The Atlantic]

  • The rise of robot tailors [Glossy]

  • L’Oréal created this training program to keep its marketers on the cutting edge [AdWeek]

  • How fashion and retail brands are using Snapchat [Fashionista]

  • Will the ‘sharing economy’ work for fashion? [BoF]

  • Bots, Messenger and the future of customer service [TechCrunch]

  • Condé Nast is launching a beauty network [Racked]

  • How a data scientist (who studied astrophysics) ended up in fashion [Fashionista]

  • Infographic: here’s how Gen Z girls prefer to shop and socialise online [AdWeek]

  • What is going on with fashion and zines? [Racked]

  • How online shopping is cannabilising mall stores [Associated Press]

  • REI’s ‘#OptOutside’ Black Friday campaign wins award [AdAge]
Editor's pick technology

Fantastic plastic: How synthetic plastics are driving fashion industry innovation

Exciting growth is being seen in the textiles space thanks to advanced research and development around engineered plastics, writes Fashion & Mash contributor Darryl Lewis.


Over the years, synthetic plastics have created new pathways in the world of fashion. Today they’re a staple in our clothing and accessories, with one of the most traditional forms, fluoropolymers, often used in the production of shoes and jackets.

New innovation and ongoing research means their capabilities are vast, with properties spanning durability, versatility and efficiency. With a little ingenuity, they’re accordingly spurring some exciting growth in the textiles market.

Today, manufacturers, retailers, and start-ups are taking these materials and inventing new concepts that will eventually become a part of our everyday wardrobes. Read on for six innovators producing on-trend and purposeful “plastic”-based fashion apparel.

ODO Denim

ODO Denim, a fashion start-up created by Salaman Chaudry, unveiled the first clothing line featuring self-cleaning jeans (pictured top). The products are manufactured using a synthetic plastic material that is almost 100% pure metallic silver bonded polymer. It eliminates odour from bacteria in the apparel, allowing it to remain clean. As a result, customers will no longer have to wash their jeans… ever. Salaman states: “We’re weaving silver right inside the fabric. It’s permanent.” According to Odo’s website, with every pair of its jeans, customers can potentially save over 7,000 glasses of water. The above video provides a visual of the jeans’ self-cleaning technology.

The North Face and Spiber

With assistance from Spiber, a biomaterials company in Japan, The North Face recently produced a Moon Parka jacket composed of synthetic fibers called Qmonos. These materials mimic spider webs, which are naturally durable and light. Qmonos appears on the entire outer shell of the Moon Parka and is the first clothing to feature artificial protein material, which was developed through Spiber’s patented process. The company remains secretive about explaining this process thoroughly. However, according to the above video: “We’ve developed advanced methods to create new, tailor-made protein materials designed at the molecular level.”

Bolt Threads

Bolt Threads is similarly engineering polymers to produce material that resembles spider silk. The fashion start-up plans to use its technology to create more sustainable clothing. “We’re working toward a world where non-toxic fabrics are the norm, not the exception,” Dan Widmaier, CEO and co-founder of Bolt Threads indicates. The venture-backed, San Francisco-based company, is aiming to produce performance-level silk – silk that is not only more durable, but also machine-washable. It does so by growing microorganisms in fermentation tanks, taking out the protein it created and spinning it into fabric thereafter.



Tamicare, a UK textiles manufacturer, patented the first wearable technology produced by a one-step only 3D printing process. Cosyflex is now in mass production following 10 years of development. The material features a blend of synthetic plastics such as Teflon as well as fully biodegradable natural rubber latex. According to technology entrepreneur and graphene consultant for Tamicare, Tim Harper: “The Cosyflex system builds a garment layer by layer. Any one of those layers can be textile, polymer, latex or printed electronics.” The manufacturer also claims that the material is versatile with the ability to generate a variety of colours and patterns.

Hex Tie


Using synthetic plastics, this tie company recently launched the world’s first polymer gold tie. The Honeycomb Emirates Tie is composed of 84 reflective gold polymers in the shape of gold hexagons. The handcrafted ties also feature an adjustable neck strap for a custom fit. “I created Hex Tie to appeal to my artist soul while also using my passion and drive as an entrepreneur,” says founder and CEO of Hex Tie, Enrique Alejandro Peral. In just two years, the company has gained an impressive list of clients in over 63 countries.



This innovative developer of women’s period underwear features a technology made of synthetic plastics to avoid the use of tampons. Thinx was created by Miki Agrawal, who formulated the idea after her sister experienced her period at a family barbecue. The technology absorbs leaks using a multilayer system, which the patent describes as a “moisture-impermeable polymer layer”, a “moisture-absorbent layer”, and a “moisture-wicking layer”. Agrawal concludes that these panties are indeed “breathable and safe for down under”.

Darryl Lewis is a tech maven who is particularly passionate about fashion. When he’s not coordinating outfits and staying updated on the latest fashion trends, he enjoys volunteering and sketching. He is a graduate of Stockton University with a Bachelor of Science in Business. Follow him on Twitter @dlew4life


Infographic: 33 ways 3D printing is transforming our lives


From fashion to architecture, science, medicine and of course engineering, 3D printing is increasingly making an impact on different industries around the world.

Kudos to engineering parts distributor, RS Components, therefore, for visualising some of the most exciting developments for us in the below interactive infographic (created last year).

Use the tool on the right to scroll through the different ways 3D printing is being used, including within your body, as part of your body, to accessorise what you wear, in your home, impacting the way you travel, and in outerspace…