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Comment Editor's pick sustainability

What Saint Laurent’s Malibu show can teach us about the environmental impact of events

The recent staging of Saint Laurent’s spring/summer 2020 show in Malibu, California, violated multiple environmental regulations, leaving the local community up in arms, according to reports.

The event, which was denied a permit by the local government (instead enabled via a filming permit from a contractor), went against rules designed to protect the area’s fragile natural resources, writes Vogue Business. Included in that was the fact grunion, a type of fish, were expected to spawn on the sand that evening. Residents also said pieces of the set were left to wash out into the surf and the whole affair was rife with plastics, including plastic sandbags banned by the city. 

This raises questions about the impact such elaborate events, which often last for less than an hour, have on the environment, and the responsibility the industry should be taking to minimize their presence. By comparison, Stockholm Fashion Week was just cancelled in order to pursue more sustainable opportunities for its brands instead. 

Our Event Producer, Grace Collins, who also runs a business called Ten Four, is an expert in this space, increasingly working towards more sustainable solutions. So I called her up to find out exactly what’s going on and how brands can make better decisions with regards to the environment when planning their own occasions…

RA: Given your experience running events, what is the usual sort of waste that is produced from something like a fashion show, a conference or an activation?

GC: On average, the typical event attendee produces 1.89kg of waste per day, 85% of which can be non-recyclable, depending on where and what type of event it is. Food can comprise anywhere between 20-60% of this waste. This is outside of the waste produced by the organizers themselves which, in fact, can be huge.

A lot of the time events, fashion shows and experiential activations in particular, can involve a ‘build’ of some sort – this ‘build’ is usually a one-off, an experiential moment, or a photo op (for example) for guests, and is broken down and thrown out post event without any consideration for the materials used and how they should be correctly disposed of. These can include the likes of wood, plastic, steel – so many materials that if considered in advance and regulated by local authorities could and should be disposed of more appropriately – ideally recycled. 

RA: Are you seeing this change as the industry starts to consider sustainability and the environment more broadly? How?

GC: I have definitely noticed small changes here and there but whether we like to admit it or not, there is a level of ignorance toward the matter until it’s either enforced by authorities or in more severe circumstances, publicly ridiculed. The plus side of the recent Saint Laurent show in Malibu, is that it has now drawn attention to the impact that destination events can have on the environment and the fact there can be such a huge amount of waste created and left behind when these take place. 

The focus and pressure on the likes of these brands and corporate organizations to incorporate sustainable practices has a knock on effect for any event organizer. We need to understand and be more conscious of the footprint our one-off events are leaving on the environment.

A lot of corporate companies and brands alike are becoming more conscious of the impact their working environments and all things associated have on the environment. As event planners, it is our role and responsibility to reflect such sustainable conscience by making necessary changes to the events we produce on their behalf.

RA: What are the barriers or challenges surrounding this?

GC: Costs! A sustainable event strategy is something that can and should be considered and incorporated into every event management plan and event budget from initiation. However, it is quite often the costs that are associated with doing so that turn people off the idea of following through.

RA: What are you doing to help this change?

GC: I encourage my clients to think more sustainably when producing their events. I ask them to consider the likes of going paperless, talk them through the different options and ensure they feel confident in making these necessary changes. The bigger issue at hand – not to make life difficult for fellow planners but in an effort to make a positive change – is that many local governing bodies can be quite lenient when it comes to approving permits for events. 

Every event organizer has a responsibility to submit a waste management plan to their local council/governing body when applying to host an event, but only when hosting in a public space. Even in that case, the level of detail required is usually minimal and local councils do not hold a huge amount of responsibility over organizers or follow through with analyzing the damage that can be left behind on such occasions.

I’m working on a detailed waste management template and a list of suggested waste management suppliers/partners within my locality that can be shared with event agencies, and will hopefully go on to be accepted and monitored by local councils/governing bodies. These plans will need to be submitted and approved by councils’ in advance of any event taking place and then monitored to ensure companies are carrying out approved disposal plan properly.

RA: What are some easy solutions / things businesses could adapt to ensure less waste is produced or left behind from their events?

GC: There are a variety of different areas you can make effective changes in, from venues to catering and overall event production but in order to know where to begin, you need to reflect on and understand your impact. My tips for doing so, include: 

Develop a sustainability event strategy in the initial phases of your event plan, down to choosing a venue or location that is accessible by public transport (metro, buses, city bikes). If there are transfers required, I would suggest partnering with an electric car company, for example. If you can host your event and accommodation under the one roof – do! This will eliminate the requirement for transport.

  • Confirm whether or not your event venue recycles their waste. If they don’t have a system in place then start making a plan. Work with a local waste management company to dispose of planned materials on-site appropriately.
  • Look at previous event budgets to see if there were any areas whereby the quantity of product ordered was too high and ended up going to waste.
  • Use renewable energy sources. With advancements in technology there are many ways in which you can save on power to create a more sustainable event. Be conscious of what power you need and when you need it running. Options as simple as switching to LED lighting and lower power efficiency systems, although costly, will minimize your footprint – talk to your AV company about the options available.
  • Reduce print requirements, go paperless – think digital, incorporate an event app that allows guests to register and check-in without requiring a printed ticket or name badge. You can also make your event itinerary available to guests via this app/webpage, effectively communicating with them in real-time (which is of huge benefit to any event planner), and easily circulating new information/schedule changes. If you’re printing something for branding purposes, steer clear of including dates so that you can use again at future events.
  • Sustainable catering – ask your caterer if they can supply reusable, compostable or recyclable dinnerware? Do they have a food waste reduction strategy in place? Get an accurate guest count and finalize the amount of food needed in advance of the event so that you are reducing the potential waste. Donate leftover food to a nearby shelter. Help longterm by beginning to track typical food consumption patterns at your events.
  • Make it as easy as possible for your attendees to recycle and maintain the venue while still enjoying the event, simply by ensuring you place plenty of recycling stations throughout the venue.

Sustainable practices may not come naturally to everyone. Be patient, take baby steps, practice makes perfect, and every little counts in my eyes.

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business Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce Events product Retail social media Startups sustainability technology

ICYMI: Alibaba smashes Singles’ Day record, 2018 as the year of Virgil Abloh and Meghan Markle, holiday catalogs

Singles' Day 200 billion yuan sales figure
Singles’ Day 200 billion yuan sales figure

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

TOP STORIES
  • Alibaba sets Singles’ Day record with $31 billion in sales [Bloomberg]
  • Ebay declares 2018 the year of Virgil Abloh, logos and the Markle Effect [FashionNetwork]
  • Why catalogs still have a hold on holiday marketing [RetailDive]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Sephora and Google partner on hands-free experience [WWD]
  • China is now using gait recognition to identify people [FastCompany]
  • AI news anchor makes debut in China [NPR]
  • AI bots are awkwardly learning how to dress themselves [Dazed]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Is sustainability incompatible with fashion? [i-D]
  • The suddenly surging business of recycled plastic puffer jackets [Fashionista]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Glossier opens first NYC flagship [Fashion Network]
  • Zalando looks to Alibaba for connected retail inspiration [Fashion United]
  • Amazon to inaugurate first pop-up shop in Italy [WWD]
  • Dollar Shave Club plans vending machines in high-traffic areas [Retail Dive]
  • JD.com competes for luxury partners with high-tech and white gloves [Jing Daily]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • WeChat reaches 1m mini programs, half the size of Apple’s app store [TechCrunch]
  • Anya Hindmarch gets down to business, helping procrastinators and the scatterbrained [WWD]
BUSINESS
  • Black Friday 2018: Consumers are eager, more digital, and willing to spend [McKinsey]
  • Betting on Richemont’s future [BoF]
CULTURE
  • This size-inclusive lingerie show just put the Victoria’s Secret runway to shame [Teen Vogue]
  • Saint Laurent launches art project with Daido Moriyama exhibition [WWD]
  • Why fashion’s future will be shaped by male consumerism [Highsnobiety]
  • Hedi Slimane and the art of the ‘drop’ [BoF]

How are you thinking about 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.

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business Campaigns Editor's pick

ComplexCon: Tommy Hilfiger on aligning with the cultural conversation since the 1990s

Tommy Hlifiger and Gigi Hadid
Tommy Hilfiger and Gigi Hadid

Tommy Hilfiger has always had culture and music at the forefront of how it communicates with consumers, said its namesake designer at ComplexCon this weekend.

The designer was headlining a conversation at the consumer-facing event held in Long Beach, California, alongside Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton and 90s rapper Grand Puba. He used the opportunity to explain that incorporating artists and celebrities who are at the peak of the cultural conversation is core to the brand’s strategy, as seen by the highly popular collaboration with model Gigi Hadid, as well as racing driver Hamilton and Gen Z actress Zendaya (upcoming).

“Doing collabs is really part of the excitement I look forward to every day,” Hilfiger noted. But he believes that in order for them to remain authentic, the brand should only guide and execute their artist’s ideas. This is something he has always focused on.

Aaliyah for Tommy Hlfiger
Aaliyah for Tommy Hlfiger

Although the American brand is soon to be celebrating its 35th anniversary, it was the mid 90s and its popularity among hip hop artists that truly propelled it onto the world stage, Hilfiger explained. Pushing a contemporary aesthetic with an urban New York style of big logos and baggy clothes made the brand stand out among other American names that were expanding at the same time.

Grand Puba first referenced the then mid-sized brand in a 1992 single with Mary J Blige, titled “What’s the 411”. This soon caught Hilfiger’s attention, who started dressing more artists and eventually included singer Aaliyah in a 1995 campaign. From then, the brand featured hip hop and R&B performances on its runways, which Hilfiger cites as the beginning of its entertainment-based fashion shows.

The most recent iteration of this approach lies in the brand’s see-now-buy-now strategy, which has seen elaborate fashion shows taking place for the last several seasons in different locations – from Los Angeles to London, Milan and Shanghai, with the aforementioned current celebrities fronting each occasion.

“We believe consumers want immediate gratification and great experiences,” Hilfiger explained. “My idea is to disrupt and continue to break the rules.”

Earlier this year, Tommy Hilfiger’s chief brand officer, Avery Baker, joined us on the Innovators podcast by TheCurrent, to talk about how risk, authenticity and understanding your consumer are the keys to innovation.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick Retail social media

Burberry to drop first Tisci products through exclusive 24-hour releases

Burberry
Burberry

Burberry is releasing limited edition products through a series of 24-hour releases across its Instagram and WeChat channels, as well as in-store at its flagship in London.

The move is to launch the inaugural collection from new chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci. It will see the first product released 30 minutes after the beginning of the brand’s show at London Fashion Week, happening on September 17 at 5pm.

This ‘drop’ culture is reflective of the strategy applied in the streetwear market, whereby new items are released on given days, often for a set amount of time only, in order to drive hype around their exclusivity. The luxury industry is increasingly jumping in this same direction in order to capitalize on the consumer appetite it’s created, and arguably build conversions in the somewhat complicated see-now-buy-now era.

For Burberry, the initiative also marks another step towards a complete brand overhaul under Tisci’s guise. The Italian designer has also recently introduced a rebrand that modernizes Burberry’s traditional logo.

During the month of September, he will translate this new aesthetic via an installation at the brand’s London flagship. Commissioned British artist Graham Hudson, will create ‘Sisyphus Reclined’, an immersive three-storey installation in the store, with themed rooms celebrating the brand’s rich history.

Burberry’s London flagship

The reimagined flagship will be open to the public from September 15, with Hudson’s installation remaining on display until early October.

It’s 24-hour product drops are also expected to continue beyond fashion week. This is not the first time Burberry has launched a bespoke e-commerce experience through its social channels. The luxury retailer has previously tapped into the potential of WeChat to sell product – for Chinese Valentine’s Day this year, it launched a WeChat mini-program that encouraged couples to take a quiz which, once completed, gave them access to a range of products created exclusively for the event.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Campaigns Editor's pick Uncategorized

alice + olivia host yacht sleepover with Booking.com

alice + olivia
alice + olivia

alice + olivia is teaming up with Booking.com to create an immersive branded space on top of a 74-foot yacht during New York Fashion Week, in a bid to reflect the collection’s enchantment with traveling.

The Booking.com-sponsored experience, promoting the brand’s S/S19 collection, will also offer fans the opportunity to book an exclusive night’s stay at the same vessel.

According to the label’s CEO and creative director Stacey Bendet, the collection, “Passport to wonderland”, as well as the collaboration with the travel booking site, was inspired by her love of travel.

“I wanted the collection and experience to reflect the women of the world and the vibrant countries and cultures they represent; the prints, patterns and colors from each destination continue to inspire me,” comments Bendet. “Through this partnership with Booking.com, I’m excited to merge the world of travel with fashion, to highlight the influence fashion has on travel and vice versa.”

The experience will begin on September 11 when fashion guests board the vessel, which has been named the “Wonderland fashion yacht”. Guests will be transported up the Hudson River to Pier59, the venue that will host the presentation.

The immersive space will transport guests to coveted holiday locations such as Paris, Morocco and the English countryside, inspired by destinations that can be booked on the travel site.

alice + olivia x Booking.com
alice + olivia x Booking.com

Additionally between September 5-7, Booking.com will enable three consumers to book for sleepovers on the two-bedroom yatch for $59 a night. Each day will include a perk, such as tickets for the upcoming alice + olivia show on night one, as well as alice + olivia shopping experiences on September 12 and 13.

The partnership developed from the fashion label’s approach to drawing inspiration from travel, as well as the mindset that fashion itself inspires confidence in travelers when exploring new locations.  According to research by Booking.com, 57% of respondents cite they plan their travels based on where they can shop, while 42% of travelers feel compelled to make changes in their personal style after being on vacation, inspired by local shops and the people.

“Fashion plays a big part in our customers planning and preparations for their vacations all around the world. We are excited to embrace the confidence and joy that fashion brings them through our partnership with alice + olivia,” said Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com. “This New York Fashion Week activation celebrates the best way to experience fashion and travel with the ultimate New York fashion experience in a cool and unique place to stay.”

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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Editor's pick technology

Dolce & Gabbana’s drones stunt sends flying handbags down the runway at MFW

A drone flies down the runway at Dolce & Gabbana FW18
A drone flies down the runway at Dolce & Gabbana FW18

Dolce & Gabbana staged a tech-filled show in Milan on Sunday as it sent drones down the runway donning next season’s handbags.

One of the biggest marketing stunts of the season so far, the affair kicked off late while the brand waited for all of its 600 guests to turn off their WiFi, indicating in advance that it had a special surprise up its sleeve.

A handful of drones then opened the show by flying along the catwalk from a heavily adorned faux-church facade, each carrying a new color of next season’s bags and guided by assistants in white coats – presumably in place in case anything went wrong. They hovered in place, rotating on the spot, before returning backstage and letting the real show begin.

The label is no stranger to tapping into tech to engage with a millennial audience, with whom it is increasingly turning its focus to. In 2015, it sent models down the runway taking selfies. It has also long focused on enlisting a series of young royals, influencers and famous celebrity heirs to promote the brand through collaborations and runway shows.

This season also marks the second time the label hosted an additional ‘secret’ fashion show, with the aforementioned millennials playing leading roles. On Saturday night at a downtown party spot, the “Secrets & Diamonds” show featured models and selected influencers donning evening wear, including 20-something-year-old members of the British aristocracy, who the next day then watched the drone spectacle from the front row.

Dolce & Gabbana is not the first luxury label to deploy drones to ignite a conversation that one could argue deters from the actual fashion taking place. In 2014, Fendi worked with Unit9 and Google to live-stream its AW14 runway show by using drones that shot models from above. The role of technology as gimmick continues to rule the runway, it would seem.

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e-commerce Editor's pick Startups technology

Blockchain experience backs Malan Breton’s show this NYFW

Malan Breton's SS18 show will incorporate blockchain technology via SohoMuse
Malan Breton’s SS18 show will incorporate blockchain technology via SohoMuse

SohoMuse, a new invite-only networking platform for creative professionals, is turning to blockchain technology as both a form of token and the basis for transparent transactions this New York Fashion Week.

The site, which is currently in beta mode, has partnered with designer Malan Breton and blockchain solutions company Tokenly to launch the innovative shopping experience.

It will not only play host to the live stream of the designer’s show on September 7, but enable members to purchase pieces from Breton’s collection in real-time. All transactions made will be recorded via the blockchain, which is essentially a distributed digital ledger; making all purchases made both transparent and more secure.

All viewers of the live stream will also receive a blockchain token called ‘MALANBRETON’, as a form of digital memorabilia, however. These will offer exclusive future perks such as early access to features, sales and events. The token introduces a form of Bitcoin-like digital asset, which though doesn’t currently act as a currency per se, is said to be the predecessor of a future fashion-based cryptocurrency.

SohoMuse co-founder, Consuelo Vanderbilt Costin, says: “By adding blockchain technology to our comprehensive suite of tools, we are staying true to our mission of offering the best possible tools to fuel our members’ careers. This fashion show collaboration is the first of many exciting and innovative projects we will unveil as SohoMuse continues to grow.”

By introducing tokens for fashion, SohoMuse is giving designers and brands the ability to further fan engagement through fully traceable and transparent interactions. The tokens are entirely customisable in their use by the creator, thus enabling brands and designers to offer unique privileges case by case.

The blockchain integration also sets the foundation for the platform in the future by presenting a new form of digital value, ownership and a monetisation opportunity for SohoMuse’s creative community. Fashion creatives will not only be able to showcase their work, as is the basis of the network, but have an additional source of revenue by selling it.

“The tokenisation of creative work presents a tremendous opportunity for creatives operating in consumer and commercial segments – not only in terms of addressing existing issues but also in creating new opportunities for collaboration, monetisation and engagement,” says Martin Rerak, chief strategy officer of Tokenly.

Blockchain technology is already disrupting many industries from banking to music, retail and even government. For the consumer industries, it presents a big opportunity to enable new forms of value exchange between brand and customer.

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Editor's pick mobile technology

Tommy Hilfiger’s image recognition app drove new web traffic and engagement

Tommy Hilfiger's SNAP:SHOP image recognition app in action
Tommy Hilfiger’s SNAP:SHOP image recognition app in action

Tommy Hilfiger’s partnership with visual search technology developer, Slyce, on an image recognition app for its LA show last month, resulted in an uptick around first time visitors to its website.

Over one third of users to the SNAP:SHOP app, which allowed consumers to instantly shop items from the show the moment the models hit the runway, had never before been to Tommy.com.

While there are no stats around overall traffic numbers to the app or website (which could be small given the barrier to download new apps), consumers who did use it, also spent more than double the average time then browsing the e-commerce site, as well as interacting with additional show content such as videos and social media feeds.

“We already know that the #1 most popular thing people do at fashion events is take photos of the models,” said Ted Mann, CEO of Slyce. “What Tommy Hilfiger realised is that this could be a natural way to unlock a magical shopping experience. Using Slyce’s visual search technology, the SNAP:SHOP app that Tommy Hilfiger created instantly turns a photo of a model into a wish-list of all the items in their look. It’s one of the coolest use cases for image recognition in retail we’ve ever seen.”

Tommy Hilfiger's SNAP:SHOP image recognition app
Tommy Hilfiger’s SNAP:SHOP image recognition app

Indeed, all the user had to do was take a photograph of the pieces being shown, and the 3D image recognition technology would lead to the relevant e-commerce page on Tommy.com. The app is able to pick up apparel and footwear either from users’ images taken, moving images of the models as they were walking, from actual products in-store, or 2D images such as ad placements and editorial shots.

The main aim was to bring shoppability closer to the runway as part of the brand’s see-now, buy-now strategy, which launched last September.

“TOMMYNOW is an incubator for innovative technologies,” said Tommy Hilfiger. “Our leadership in democratising the runway and pioneering instant gratification runway shows has driven our passion for finding new ways to engage, involve and empower consumers to take part in these experiences. For February, we pushed the boundaries even further to connect with our global consumers in a way that reflects how they live and shop today.”

That idea of instant gratification saw all looks from the show immediately available to purchase across all sales channels in more than 70 countries.

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Editor's pick technology

5 cool tech things that happened this fashion week season

fashion week rebecca minkoff virtual try-on tech
Rebecca Minkoff at New York Fashion Week

It was an interesting fashion week season – a mixture of new names at big design houses, new go-to market strategies at others and a bevy of tech initiatives thrown in for good measure.

While the biggest shift surrounded those moving towards the “see-now, buy-now” initiative – countering the “broken” system of showcasing six months before product is traditionally able to buy – others used the past month as an opportunity for a more experiential type of marketing.

Across New York, London, Milan and Paris there were tech and digital launches spanning wearables, mixed reality, chatbots and more. Head over to Forbes for a wrap-up of five of the coolest from brands including Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, Chanel, Hussein Chalayan and Rebecca Minkoff.

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce mobile social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Inside the Vogue x Apple relationship, Gucci’s digital strategy, Farfetch raises $110m

Gucci

It probably goes without saying you’re well and truly over the plethora of stories covering the cyber-themed Met Gala looks (including the true wearable tech pieces), but if you haven’t read Racked’s piece on the relationship between Vogue and Apple in the build-up to the event – as below – then do take the time. Also buzzing in fashion and tech news over the past couple of weeks is everything from further advertising plans on Snapchat to Gucci’s digital strategy and the wearable revolution taking place in Brooklyn. Read on for a complete rundown…


  • Unravelling Vogue and Apple’s self-serving relationship [Racked]

  • The digital strategy driving Gucci’s growth (as pictured) [Glossy]

  • Farfetch raises $110 million in ‘strategic’ move [BoF]

  • William Gibson and Andrew Bolton on the future of fashion and technology [Document Journal]

  • Decoding ‘Manus x Machina’ [BoF]

  • Westfield launches room service retail with interactive mirror [Retail Gazette]

  • Target and Lancôme produce Snapchat’s first e-commerce ads [AdWeek]

  • Old Navy ad with interracial couple sparks a social media firestorm [BrandChannel]

  • Louis Vuitton and Snapchat team up to bring live coverage of world class sailing event [The Drum]

  • Lyst inspires post-work shopping therapy with subway placements [Luxury Daily]

  • If you don’t get social media-only brand ‘Obsessee,’ you probably aren’t its target audience [Fashionista]

  • Bushy eyebrows and $50k per day on Facebook ads: How a small beauty brand blew up [Forbes]

  • How Snapchat won the Met Gala [WGSN Insider]

  • 10 of the best brands on Snapchat right now (and why they’re so great) [Hubspot]

  • How to build a brand on Instagram [Fashionista]

  • Brooklyn’s wearable revolution [NY Times]

  • Why Silicon Valley VC firms fund online retailers like Dollar Shave Club [Seattle Times]

  • Is Flipkart turning into the perfect example of what a tech startup must not do? [Quartz]

  • The future of shopping: trapping you in a club you didn’t know you joined [Bloomberg]

  • The future of the fashion show, according to MatchesFashion.com’s Ruth and Tom Chapman [Vogue]

  • This new tool wants to make the off-price clothing business easier [Fast Company]

  • Digiday launches new fashion and luxury publication, Glossy [Digiday]

  • Heated coats and Kate Moss holograms: the key moments fashion and technology have collided [Daily Telegraph]

  • This video of Anna Wintour introducing the @Voguemagazine app is oddly threatening [Fashionista]

  • The sneakerhead bot problem is getting worse and Nike has the only answer (so far) [HighSnobiety]

  • What fashion brands can learn from Beyoncé’s Lemonade [BoF]