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business e-commerce Podcast product Retail sustainability technology

Ganni: Taking risks for long-term return

The most important question everybody needs to ask themselves relative to a more sustainable fashion industry is around cost and long-term thinking, explains Nicolaj Reffstrup, founder of Danish fashion brand, Ganni, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast.

“If you really want to do something, you need to look at the fabrics that you’re using and see if you can convert those to recycled fabrics, or at least organic fabrics. But that comes with a cost. So the biggest and most important question everybody needs to ask themselves, is literally how much are we spending on converting our company or our brand and our product towards a more sustainable future?” he asks.

Oftentimes, the immediate follow-up query to what is the cost, is who is going to pay for it. The majority of brands in the space – including those actively making moves towards adapting their business processes – are measured on short term returns. And yet sustainability is not an overnight fix. To make the changes that are really necessary throughout the supply chain is a big and long-term investment.

So how do we convince CFOs and shareholders that it’s worthwhile – that we have to take a hit now in order to benefit in the future. Or more importantly, that there is indeed a business case there to do it full stop?   

Ganni is one exploring it from all angles. The fact it’s small and agile means it has more ability to do so, but it also means it relies entirely on an outsourced supply chain to drive the agenda forward. Power is therefore limited, but ambition is not.

Rachel Arthur, co-founder & chief innovation officer at Current Global & Nicolaj Reffstrup, founder of Ganni

Join us as we discuss with Reffstrup how the brand is flexing its muscle as well as making investments to drive towards a more sustainable future. We also explore how he’s watching innovation from other industries like food, the new rental business model he’s testing, and why he believes sustainability and fashion is a contradiction that needs to be faced by all brands.

Listen here: Entale | Spotify |  Apple Podcasts | Android Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RSS

Catch up with all of our episodes of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by the Current Global, a consultancy transforming how 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
Editor's pick sustainability

Kering’s forensic science innovation enables traceable organic cotton

Kering organic cotton
Kering organic cotton

Luxury group Kering is introducing an organic cotton that is 100% scientifically traceable, thanks to a new supply chain transparency innovation.

Launched in partnership with Supima Cotton, Italian premium textiles company Albini Group, and forensic textile testing service Oritain, the aim is to validate product authenticity and instil consumer confidence.

It does so by using forensic science and statistical analysis to examine the chemical properties of the fiber, creating a unique chemical fingerprint that links it back to the field in which it was grown. This makes is possible to verify at every stage of its lifecycle that it hasn’t been substituted, blended or tampered with. Only an exact match shows that the organic cotton is authentic.

Cecilia Takayama, director of the materials innovation lab at Kering, said: “At Kering, we are focused on sustainable raw material sourcing and this innovative technology for our organic cotton supply chain will enable our Materials Innovation Lab greater visibility to verify farming best practices and fibre quality; ensure integrity within the supply chain; and guarantee alignment with our Kering Standards.”

She added that “traceability in fashion’s fragmented and global supply chains is imperative to create real change”.

Visibility of the supply chain has been the first big task for fashion businesses that have typically relied on various third party providers, with little awareness of exactly what goes into the textiles they then use.

Supplier transparency has historically been the industry’s best-kept secret, but such lists are increasingly now being published. The next step in this comes with a level of scientific and technical input to drive and verify authentication – which has to begin with fiber and fabric transparency.

Advancements in the chemical analysis of fibers, as seen here, is what makes it possible to match the identity of cotton to its inherent natural identifiers attained during growth, Marc Lewkowitz, president and chief executive officer at Supima, said.

Kering is ultimately looking to create industry standards for traceability. It is aiming to use this advance to implement complete supply chain verification for organic cotton production or the impact it has had on farmers, workers and the environment. The innovation contributes to the group’s 2025 goal of 100% supply chain traceability.

How are you thinking about sustainability and transparency innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent 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
Editor's pick film technology

Prada looks at automated future in new sci-fi video series

Prada Nylon Farm
Prada Nylon Farm

Prada has released a ‘futuristic fairytale’ film series celebrating its nylon backpack first launched in 1984, by referencing a series of next generation technologies.

Nylon Farm, as the four-part project is called, features a flock of cyborg sheep, in a nod to Philip K Dick’s sci-fi novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Alternate reality technology and an automated manufacturing system is at play to harvest the synthetic fleece, but the ideals of such artificial intelligence is seemingly disrupted by a level of human emotion that comes into the scene.

“It may all seem perfect, but something in this place has gone beyond the normal production processes. A series of strange anomalies have interrupted the regularity of the Farm and required the launch of an investigation. Will following protocol be enough in this story?” reads the write-up.

A post shared by Prada (@prada) on

While Vogue refers to it as an example of Miuccia Prada directing an episode of Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, the intention from Prada is to symbolize the brand’s technological innovation on the one hand, but also its ability to respect the brand’s history, on the other.

The nylon that has become a signature of the house was originally sourced from factories making parachutes for the military. It’s this quest for newness from Miuccia that is so referenced.

The four episodes were filmed at the brand’s industrial headquarters in Tuscany, the first one of which launched this weekend past. The following three will be released on June 1, 4 and 9 across the brand’s social media.

Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce product Retail sustainability technology

ICYMI: Fashion’s woman problem, the hologram reality, Zara’s digitally-integrated store

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

TOP STORIES
  • Fashion’s woman problem [NYTimes]
  • Holograms: are they still the preserve of science fiction? [Guardian]
  • Zara opens its pioneering digitally integrated store at Westfield Stratford [TheIndustry]
TECHNOLOGY
  • JD.com plans to make courier robots smarter by enabling them to ‘talk’ to lifts, ascend towers [SCMP]
  • Loving the alien: Why AI will be the key to unlocking consumer affection [Forbes]
  • How to succeed at being a crypto and blockchain influencer without really trying [NewCoShift]
  • China’s government casts uncertainty on blockchain evolution [JingDaily]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Nike, H&M and Burberry join forces for sustainable fashion [Reuters]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Sephora is launching in-store beauty classes for trans people [Them]
  • Burberry is successfully steering sales into its own stores [Glossy]
  • Alibaba’s newest initiative aims to make Hong Kong a global AI hub [TechCrunch]
  • This new company is about to make fast fashion even faster [Racked]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • How we made our own CGI influencer in 48 hours [TheCut]
PRODUCT
  • Fabrics of the past, present and future and the best ways to wear them [ManRepeller]
  • Hue breakthrough: Scientists engineer first active, color-changing fabric [WWD]
BUSINESS
  • MatchesFashion gets a royal wedding boost to top off bumper year [CityAM]
  • Can Walmart crack fashion? [BoF]
  • Nordstrom wants brands to embrace the ‘size spectrum’ [Glossy]
  • New Look accused of ‘fat tax’ by charging more for outfits after size 16 [Telegraph]
Categories
product sustainability technology

Fashion Positive launches ‘Innovators Hub’ for circular materials development

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute's Fashion Positive Initiative has launched the Innovators Hub
The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute’s Fashion Positive Initiative has launched the Innovators Hub

Fashion Positive has launched a new resource centre for the growing circular fashion movement; aiming to facilitate material innovation.

The Innovators Hub is created with funding from the non-profit H&M Foundation. It provides access to critical resources for innovators working to drive circular materials development.

Fashion Positive is an initiative from the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. The hub accordingly provides direction on the innovation of safer, healthier materials developed in accordance with the principles of the Cradle to Cradle Certified product standard.

“At a time when resource scarcity and growing global population make positive change ever more urgent, the rapid innovation of safer, healthier materials offers one of the fastest routes to achieving a circular economy. The Fashion Positive Innovation Hub aims to accelerate this process for the fashion industry,” said Lewis Perkins, president of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.

“The momentum for a better future for fashion is growing quickly. Finding ways to improve the health, safety and recyclability of materials already in production, as well as innovate new materials made for the circular economy, will transform the fashion industry from the designer´s drawing board to the supply chain and consumer. This ultimately benefits the global environment, people and communities,” said Erik Bang, Innovation Lead at H&M Foundation.

The hub offers a library of videos and interactive tools on circular economy, as well as access to the Fashion Positive network, which includes investors, accelerators, brands and manufacturers in a bid to connect innovators with the resources and support necessary to bring projects to scale.

There’s also the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute MaterialWise tool, which allows users to screen for known hazards via free access to the Cradle to Cradle Certified v3 banned list and v4 restricted substances list, as well as the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) manufacturing restricted substances list v1.1.

“Until now, creating safe, healthy circular materials that also meet designers’ requirements for performance, quality and aesthetics has been a notoriously challenging process,” said Annie Gullingsrud, director – textiles and apparel sector for the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. “The Fashion Positive Innovators Hub has been designed to simplify the material innovation process by addressing the three biggest challenges currently faced by material innovators in fashion: education and know-how, technical assistance, and funding opportunities.”

Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce product social media Startups technology

What you missed: Alibaba’s Singles’ Day record, ASOS try before you buy, unpaid Zara workers

Alibaba on its Singles' Day success, as posted on Twitter: "#Double11 2017: As of 24:00, total GMV has exceeded RMB168.2 billion - more than USD25.3 billion. Mobile GMV: 90%."
Alibaba on its Singles’ Day success, as posted on Twitter: “#Double11 2017: As of 24:00, total GMV has exceeded RMB168.2 billion – more than USD25.3 billion. Mobile GMV: 90%.”

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


TOP STORIES
  • Alibaba’s Singles’ Day goes global with record $25bn in sales [Bloomberg]
  • How Alibaba makes Singles’ Day appealing to luxury brands [Glossy]
  • Will the power of Singles’ Day ever truly capture the West? [The Drum]
  • Alibaba tests 60 futuristic pop-up stores across China for Singles’ Day [Digiday]
  • ASOS launches try before you buy service [TheIndustry]
  • The real story behind those desperate notes that Zara workers left in clothes [Fast Company]

BUSINESS
  • Inside LVMH’s executive reshuffle [BoF]
  • Burberry operating profit jumps 24% in half, boosted by new Coty deal [WWD]
  • Yoox Net-a-Porter Q3 sales jump 17.7% [Fashion United]
  • To reach consumers, Richemont’s new leaders need to embrace digital [BoF]
  • Laying out fashion’s new supply chain vision [CFDA]
  • One of fashion’s most prominent investors is someone you may never have heard of [TheFashionLaw]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • ASOS launches virtual Gift Assistant on Facebook [TheIndustry]
  • Why Maybelline is winning at social media [Glossy]

MARKETING
  • The new marker of luxury is feel-good marketing [QZ]
  • For Nike, augmented reality is the perfect way to sell hyped sneakers [Engadget]
  • Gwen Stefani fronts Westfield’s Christmas campaign [Fashion Network]
  • Cue the reindeer: Kohl’s, Nordstrom launch holiday campaigns [MediaPost]
  • Fruit of the Loom goes totally 80s with comical freeze frame ads for sweatpants [AdWeek]
  • Fashion wakes up to podcasts [BoF]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • The Alibaba warehouse where fake goods go to die [Sixthtone]
  • You can now rent Ann Taylor clothes for a monthly fee [Today]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Amazon’s app now lets you place items inside your home using AR [The Verge]
  • Apple said to be working on AR headset aimed for potential 2020 ship date [TechCrunch]
  • Zalando to open new tech hub in Lisbon [TheIndustry]

PRODUCT
  • Is mass customisation the future of footwear? [WSJ]
  • These 10 brands are killing it on the fabric innovation front [HighSnobiety]
  • Ford just made a trucker hat that uses technology to save truckers’ lives [Fast Company]

START-UPS
  • Glossier, Stitch Fix among most disruptive companies [RetailDive]
Categories
product technology

Uniqlo exhibition demonstrates its history of fabric innovation

Uniqlo and Toray's The Art and Science of LifeWear exhibition in New York
Uniqlo and Toray’s The Art and Science of LifeWear exhibition in New York

Uniqlo is hosting an exhibition in New York celebrating the upcoming 15-year anniversary with its fabric technology partner, Toray Industries.

“The Art and Science of LifeWear”, is a large-scale exposition that acknowledges the co-development of innovative clothing that aims to keep consumers cooler, warmer and more comfortable. It includes Heattech, which launched in 2003, as well as views on the science behind AIRism, Kando-pants and Dry-EX.

Tadashi Yanai, president and CEO of Uniqlo parent company, Fast Retailing, said: “Toray’s revolutionary technologies have been vital in Uniqlo’s quest to create LifeWear clothing, which makes everyday life better and more comfortable for people everywhere. I encourage people to attend this exhibition to see the innovations stemming from this partnership that have enabled us to deliver new value by combining unparalleled functionality and comfort with contemporary styling.”

The exhibition is fronted by a series of large-scale installations and experiential displays that enable visitors to understand the technologies and science behind them. They can see a deconstruction of Heattech on a molecular-level to demonstrate its heat-retention properties for instance, and an experiment that shows the absolute minimum volume to which Uniqlo’s Ultra Light Down can be compressed.

The brand has reportedly sold over one billion items of Heattech clothing since launch. Uniqlo more broadly did $17 billion in sales last year.


Akihiro Nikkaku, president of Toray Industries, added: “Our corporate philosophy is about contributing to society through the creation of new value with innovative ideas, technologies, and products. As an integrated chemical company, we engage in research and development from long-term perspectives in the conviction that materials can change our lives. I hope the exhibition of Heattech and other technological fruits of joint development with Uniqlo will give attendees a solid understanding of why this partnership can keep delivering new value in the years ahead.”

Visitors to the Art and Science of LifeWear can also preview other advanced Toray technologies from fields including aircraft, racecars and rockets, and gain a sneak peak into the future of clothing accordingly, including items that change colour and that provide instant feedback to athletes. According to Nikkaku, the company looks 10-20 years out at innovation.

Categories
business Startups sustainability technology

H&M Foundation launches third annual Global Change Award, announces groundbreaking recycling solution

H&M Foundation's Global Change Award
H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award

H&M Foundation, the non-profit arm to the H&M retail business, has opened its annual Global Change Award for entries. Designed to accelerate the shift from a linear to a circular fashion industry, it is seeking those out there trying to reinvent the wheel in terms of innovation.

A total grant of €1 million is up for grabs; a sum that will be distributed between five early stage businesses. Those winners will also get to join a one-year accelerator programme designed to help speed up the development of their innovations and maximise the impact on the industry. The programme is provided by H&M Foundation in partnership with Accenture and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Previous winning innovations included leather made from wine leftovers, digital threads weaved into garments to ease the recycling processes, and climate positive nylon made from water, plant waste and solar energy. Last year there were more than 2,800 entries from 130 countries.

“Now in its third year, the Global Change Award has really become a positive force in the fashion industry. It has proven to be a true catalyst for the winners, giving them support and access to a valuable network so they can bring their innovations to the market quicker and better prepared. I’m really curious to see what disruptive innovations we will receive this time,” says Karl-Johan Persson, board member of H&M Foundation and CEO of H&M.

An expert panel of judges with extensive knowledge within fashion, the environment, circularity and innovation, select the five winners, and it’s then up to the public to distribute the €1million grant through an online vote nearer to the launch date in early 2018.

Said Professor Edwin Keh, CEO of The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) and a member of the expert panel for the award: “Sustainable and responsible consumption is the way forward. We must find better ways to make what we use, and wisely use what we have. The Global Change Award is an important initiative to drive this forward. By intentionally and thoughtfully reusing, recycling, and repurposing, we can drive significant and radical improvements to our world.”

In other news, H&M Foundation and HKRITA just announced a groundbreaking solution to recycle blend textiles into new fabrics and yarns, without any quality loss, through a hydrothermal (chemical) process. The finding is referred to as a major breakthrough in the journey towards a closed loop for textiles.

“For too long the fashion industry has not been able to properly recycle its products, since there’s no commercially viable separation, sorting, and recycling technology available for the most popular materials such as cotton and polyester blends. This very encouraging finding has the potential to change that. We are very excited to develop this technology and scale it beyond the laboratory, which will benefit the global environment, people and communities,” said Erik Bang, innovation lead at H&M Foundation.

The technology will be scaled up and made available to the global fashion industry to ensure broad market access and maximum impact.

The other panellists for the Global Change Award include Bandana Tewari, editor-at-large, Vogue India; Chiling Lin, actress and sustainability influencer; Dame Ellen MacArthur, founder of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation; David Roberts: distinguished faculty at Singularity University; Lewis Perkins, president of Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute; Sophia Bendz, executive in residence at Atomico; Steven Kolb, president and CEO of The Council of Fashion Designers of America; Vikram Widge, head of Climate Finance & Policy, IFC, World Bank Group; and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, youth director of Earth Guardians.

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

What you missed: Amazon’s AI designer, sewing robots at Nike, AR iPhone apps

Inside the Grabit robots making Nikes
Inside the Grabit robots making Nikes

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


TOP STORIES
  • Amazon has developed an AI fashion designer [MIT]
  • A new t-shirt sewing robot can make as many shirts per hour as 17 factory workers [Quartz]
  • These robots are using static electricity to make Nikes (as pictured) [Bloomberg]
  • A preview of the first wave of AR apps coming to iPhones [Techcrunch]
  • In a Zara world, who orders custom clothing? [Racked]
  • What happened to wearables? [BoF]

BUSINESS
  • Matchesfashion.com sells majority stake to Apax after fierce bidding war [NY Times]
  • Making sense of Chanel’s secret filings [BoF]
  • Is Nordstrom the next acquisition target for Walmart or Amazon? [RetailDive]
  • North Korea factories humming with ‘Made in China’ clothes, traders say [Reuters]
  • Is counterfeiting actually good for fashion? [HighSnobiety]
  • C&A Foundation highlights ‘gaps to overcome for clean and circular fashion’ [Fashion United]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • ‘Game of Thrones’ actor Maisie Williams will kick off new Twitter series for Converse [Creativity]
  • How Instagram and Snapchat are benefiting from Facebook’s declining teen and tween numbers [AdWeek]
  • Facebook furthers WhatsApp monetisation efforts with verified business pilot [The Drum]
  • Condé Nast and Facebook are debuting a virtual reality dating show [AdWeek]

MARKETING
  • Zalando turns festival into three-day live marketing campaign [BoF]
  • Donatella Versace works with eight creatives for new versus ads [WWD]
  • 40% of consumers want emails from brands to be less promotional and more informative [AdWeek]
  • In first-ever TV ad, Patagonia targets Trump administration [MediaPost]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • What is Amazon, really? [Quartz]
  • How Westfield is combating the Amazon threat with digital upgrades at its malls [Digiday]
  • Betting on brick-and-mortar: Alibaba’s billion-dollar retail experiment [Forbes]
  • H&M’s Arket encourages transparent shopping on its new e-commerce site [WGSN]
  • Uniqlo’s retail empire embarks on a digital revolution [Nikkei]
  • Farfetch Black & White partners with Certona to offer personalised e-commerce to luxury brands [The Industry]
  • Shopify’s e-commerce empire is growing in Amazon’s shadow [Bloomberg]
  • Voice search, 3D modelling and chatbots named as 2017’s most significant e-commerce trends [The Drum]

TECHNOLOGY
  • 11 tech leaders share the real truth about artificial intelligence (and what really matters) [Forbes]
  • How Bitcoin is making waves in the luxury market [CNN]
  • How blockchain could boost the fashion industry [BoF]
  • Walmart and Google partner to challenge Amazon’s Alexa [Retail Dive]
  • Google and Vogue are bringing voice-activated content from the magazine to home devices [AdWeek]
  • Latest Magic Leap patent shows off prototype AR glasses design [Techcrunch]
  • ‘Self-driving’ lorries to be tested on UK roads [BBC]

PRODUCT
  • Everlane’s quest to make the world’s most sustainable denim [Fast Company]
  • The zipper: the innovation that changed fashion forever [Bloomberg]
  • A new high-tech fabric could mean the end of bulky layers in the winter [Quartz]
  • Watch how Vans can now put any custom design on your shoes in under 15 minutes [Fast Company]
  • How RFID tags became trendy [Engadget]
  • Leather grown using biotechnology is about to hit the catwalk [The Economist]
  • These brands are teaming up on smart hang tags [Apparel Mag]
Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce product social media Startups sustainability technology

What you missed: Wang’s text-to-buy line, Stitch Fix to IPO, activism from outdoor brands

The Adidas Originals by Alexander Wang line launched via text message
The Adidas Originals by Alexander Wang line launched via text message

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


TOP STORIES
  • The second Adidas Originals by Alexander Wang line launches via text-to-buy event [Racked]
  • Stitch Fix has filed confidentially for an IPO [Recode]
  • A call to activism for outdoor apparel makers [NY Times]
  • How Reebok, Adidas and Y-3 will dress future space explorers [Fast Company]

BUSINESS
  • Jimmy Choo bought by Michael Kors in £896m deal [BBC]
  • MatchesFashion.com could enter stock market [Fashion United]
  • Bangladesh to digitally map all garment factories [JustStyle]
  • Fashion must fight the scourge of dumped clothing clogging landfills [Guardian]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Vogue takes ‘hub and spoke’ approach to Snapchat editions in Europe [Digiday]

MARKETING
  • Why Helmut Lang hired an editor-in-residence in place of a creative director [Glossy]
  • Amazon and Nicopanda launch LFW ‘see now, buy now’ range [Retail Gazette]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • China’s store of the future has no checkout, no cash and no staff [BoF]
  • Saint Laurent to launch online sales in China [WSJ]
  • You will soon be able to search eBay using a photo or social media web link [CNBC]
  • MatchesFashion.com’s Tom Chapman: Amazon’s missing the ‘magic’ of high-end fashion [Glossy]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Walmart is developing a robot that identifies unhappy shoppers [Business Insider]
  • For the first time ever, you can buy your own 3D-printed garment online [Fashionista]
  • MIT’s living jewellery is made up of small robot assistants [TechCrunch]
  • Intel axed its entire smartwatch and fitness-tracker group to focus on augmented reality, sources say [CNBC]

START-UPS
  • John Lewis unveils retail tech start-ups for JLAB 2017 [The Industry]
  • Spider silk start-up spins into retail by buying an apparel company [Fortune]