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Nike’s Innovation store, Burberry experiments with social retail, surviving the pandemic

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

TOP STORIES
  • Consumer outlook tempered by uncertainty, concern of lingering pandemic (WWD)
  • How to survive the future of retail (BoF)
  • Can fashion survive a second wave of Covid-19? (Vogue Business)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Outland Denim uses COVID-19 to increase sustainability focus (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • Primark launches new UK in-store recycling scheme (Fashion United)
  • Covid hasn’t dampened consumer appetite for sustainability (Sourcing Journal)
  • A close look at fashion supply chain is not pretty (NYT)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • Inside Burberry’s trailblazing “social retail” store (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • What luxury’s worst quarter ever reveals about the new normal (BoF)
  • Top customer service considerations for retailers in a post-COVID world (Retail Dive)
  • Five behavioral trends to take note of as high street re-opens (The Drum)
  • Will Chinese outlet malls for luxury in the post COVID-19 era? (Jing Daily)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • DSW’s debut hashtag challenge on TikTok racks up 1.3b views (Retail Dive)
  • Achieving cultural credibility is a must for today’s young luxury consumers (WWD)
  • How virtual idols became real-life brand ambassadors in China (CCI)
PRODUCT
  • This Chinese luxury brand’s first sneaker uses 4D technology (High Snobiety)
  • Hari Mari: luxury flip-flops with a philanthropic purpose (WWD)
  • Air and Grace launches its first ever vegan collection (Fashion United)
BUSINESS
  • Moncler strengthens its digital strategy (Fashion United)
  • Former Lancome CEO launches fund for fashion and beauty start-ups (WWD)
  • Todd Snyder sees DTC as path to future growth (WWD)
  • Lowe’s innovation exec on why it was built for the COVID-era consumer (The Drum)
  • Inside Nike’s latest bet to understand its consumers (Vogue Business)
CULTURE
  • Meet the consumer class fueling China’s sneaker market (Jing Daily)
  • The internet doesn’t care for Fashion Week without influencers (HighSnobiety)
  • The Yards Covent Garden unveils art installation to welcome back consumers (TheIndustry.Fashion)
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business data digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick mobile product Retail social media Startups sustainability technology

CFDA’s digital platform, new sustainable collections, the DTC’s reckoning

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

TOP STORIES
  • CFDA unfurls Runway360, a digital platform serving as centralized fashion hub (WWD)
  • Rethinking the store of the future (Vogue Business)
  • How impactful were the digital fashion week shows, really? (BoF)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Ted Baker launches reusable face coverings using surplus cotton (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • Fashion’s recycling bins: helpful or harmful? (Vogue Business)
  • Can anything shake consumers’ addiction to fast fashion?  (Bof)
  • IWC Schaffhausen sets new sustainability goals (WWD)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • Live streaming: luxury’s new tech gamble (Vogue Business)
  • The DTC reckoning, what’s next? (BoF)
  • Millennials and Gen Zers looks to retailers for a more community-minded commerce experience  (Retail Dive)
  • Google R&D lab jumps into mobile video shopping (WWD)
  • Neiman Marcus launches “Your Neiman’s” to evolve digital experience (Fashion United)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • How to earn brand loyalty from Chinese Gen Z (Jing Daily)
  • Two-thirds of consumers will continue to using social media to the same extent post-lockdown (The Drum)
  • Target, L’Oreal, Ralph Lauren test Snapchat’s new brand profile pages (Mobile Marketer)
PRODUCT
  • Target, Zappos launch new collections with inclusivity in mind (Retail Dive)
  • Levi’s ongoing ‘journey’ to circularity marked by new collection (WWD)
  • The North Face launches Bottle Source collection (Fashion United)
BUSINESS
  • VF corp to debut multibrand store in Milan (WWD)
  • Armani and YNAP sign omnichannel deal (Reuters)
  • Why is Hermes thriving in China despite COVID-19 (Jing Daily)
  • Can Diesel be cool again? (BoF)
  • Diane Von Furstenberg’s brand is left exposed by the pandemic (NYT)
CULTURE
  • Will live shows go on in New York in September? Unlikely (WWD)
  • How mixing art & retail can work in China (Jing Daily)
  • Robin Givhan on the unclear future of fashion (High Snobiety)
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business Campaigns data digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick product Retail social media Startups sustainability technology

Virtual showrooms, Kanye and Gap partner, TikTok for business

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

TOP STORIES
  • As fashion resets, its algorithms should too (Vogue Business)
  • Catwalks, trade fairs and fitting rooms: how the fashion industry is going digital (Fashion United)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Fashion’s steep climb to sustainable viscose (Vogue Business)
  • Digitised and circular: the future of fashion buying (Fashion United)
  • Retailers need to get back to saving the earth  (Forbes)
  • L’Oreal set sustainability goals for 2030 (WWD)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • Beauty brands adopt shoppable livestreaming in the US (Glossy)
  • Online resale appears to be pandemic proof (Fashionista)
  • See the future of online shopping. It looks nothing like Amazon (Fast Company)
  • At-home fit technology is helping some retailers survive the coronavirus (WWD)
  • As cities reopen, the DTC store strategy is changing (Digiday)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • TikTok launches “TikTok for business” (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • How brands can fill the “experience void” while customers are stuck at home (Fast Company)
  • CRM gains new relevance in pandemic era (WWD)
  • Sephora launches on Instagram checkout with over 80 brands (Retail Dive)
PRODUCT
  • H&M’s new dress collection isn’t just pretty, it’s sustainable too (Marie Claire)
  • Rimowa branches out into eyewear (WWD)
  • Unilever dropping ‘skin-whitening’ products and ‘Fair & Lovely’ brand names (Fast Company)
BUSINESS
  • Kanye West and Gap strike 10-year deal for ‘Yeezy Gap’ apparel line (NYT)
  • Suited for safety: Suitsupply is braving new retail realities (Forbes)
  • Alibaba and JD.com handle a record $136.51 billion in sales during major Chinese shopping event (CNBC)
  • Kohl’s CEO says the store are changing faster than expected (Bloomberg)
  • Restoration Hardware CEO aims to make his company a luxury giant  (Forbes)
CULTURE
  • Mural, street-front shopping: retailers use ingenuity to welcome back customers (WWD)
  • Have Chinese beauty consumers changed after the COVID-19 outbreak? (Jing Daily)
  • Why luxury brands aren’t giving up on fashion month (BoF)
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business Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick mobile product Retail sustainability technology

COVID-19: Brick and mortar overhaul, Sustainability challenges, the future of fashion shows

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

TOP STORIES
  • Will shopping ever be the same? (NYT)
  • Retail still needs brick-and-mortar stores in an e-commerce world (Fashion United)
  • Why fashion can’t just hit the restart button to reemerge from Covid-19  (Sourcing Journal)
  • The pandemic’s lasting effects on luxury fashion (Vogue Business)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Retail instability forces shift in strategy for small, sustainable brands (Vogue Business)
  • Will sustainability remain a corporate priority after Covid-19? (AdWeek)
  • Nicholas Kirkwood’s natural selection (WWD)
  • L’Oreal unveils new program supporting women and the environment (WWD)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • After Covid, is curbside pickup here to stay? (Retail Dive)
  • Could virtual beauty try-on be the answer to in-store product testing? (WWD)
  • Vogue and CFDA set up shop on Amazon (BoF)
  • H&M and Footlocker are overhauling how you stand in line (Fast Company)
  • How should retailers manage touch-but-not-buy? (RetailWire)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • No space, just a place: Gucci’s physical and virtual exhibition (Fashion United)
  • Rewardstyle launches cloud-based brand portal (WWD)
  • The digital fashion show playbook (Vogue Business)
  • Luxury’s livestreaming gamble (BoF)
PRODUCT
  • UGG presents limited edition color-shifting trainers (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • This designer turns Yeezys and Ikea bags into $5,000 masks (Fast Company)
  • Why luxury brands are raising prices in a pandemic (BoF)
  • Avon to launch fashionable masks across Europe (TheIndustry.Fashion)
BUSINESS
  • Designers and executives publish open letter calling for ‘Fundamental and Welcome Change’ to current fashion calendar (Fashionista)
  • Neiman Marcus creditor calls for deal with Saks Fifth Avenue (Reuters)
  • Jose Neves growing Farfetch through COVID-19 (WWD)
  • Industry seek clarity in stores reopening (Drapers)
  • What the bankruptcy onslaught means for the future of retail (BoF)
  • Covid-19 is a nightmare for independent fashion designers (Quartz)
CULTURE
  • The rise of “squad shopping”  (Vogue Business)
  • What will fashion creativity look like in the coronavirus aftermath? (WWD)
  • China’s “revenge spending” isn’t coming to America (Jing Daily)
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business digital snippets e-commerce product Retail sustainability technology

COVID-19: Digital Fashion Weeks, AR adoption accelerates, Retail plans for reopening

11-Cloud-fashion-week-shoot-catwalk_04032020

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

TOP STORIES
  • Envisioning retail of the post coronavirus era (WWD)
  • Retailers are reopening their doors, here’s how they’ll keep consumers safe  (AdWeek)
  • Is this the future of the fashion show? (NYT)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • A new denim collection gives jeans a digital identity (Vogue Business)
  • Traditional Japanese T-Shirt brand Sunray Sportswear champions sustainability (Hypebeast)
  • Fashion’s sustainability goals threatened by the crisis (BoF)
  • Sustainable Denim is finding a home on the runway (Sourcing Journal)
RETAIL & COMMERCE
  • Why discounts are a dangerous overreaction to a crisis (Jing Daily)
  • Asos accelerates the use of augmented reality (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • Texas says stores can reopen, but will they? Here’s how some brands are redesigning their spaces. (Fast Company)
  • Harrods to start “remote clienteling” VIP service ahead of lockdown lifting (TheIndustry.Fashion)
  • Kendra Scott introduces AR tool (Retail Dive)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Could the pandemic push influencer marketing deeper into the realm of CGI avatars? (Fashionista)
  • How can brands sensitively market products during COVID-19? (WWD)
  • With Gen Z in lockdown, DIY fashion takes off (Vogue Business)
  • Marc Jacobs and Valentino enter gaming with Animal Crossing outfits (TheIndustry.Fashion)
PRODUCT
  • Gap plans move into non-apparel categories (RetailWire)
  • This fashion-forward shield may land on faces soon (WWD)
  • Why Dior’s customizable bag fell flat (Jing Daily)
  • Barbour dips its toes into streetwear with Supreme collaboration (TheIndustry.Fashion)

BUSINESS

  • Bernard Arnault plans for LVMH rebound (Bloomberg)
  • Pandemic pushes Ferragamo into new territory (Vogue Business)
  • Brookfield plans $5 billion to prop up retailers after mall bet (Bloomberg)
  • Zalando predicts double digit growth (Drapers)
  • Can Neiman Marcus survive bankruptcy? (BoF)
  • Beauty and wellness brands see payoff from digital efforts (WWD)
CULTURE
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business Campaigns Editor's pick sustainability

From G7 to fashion weeks – why the industry needs to cut the sustainable chat and take action

One minute we’re talking all about saving the planet, the next, it’s onto the indulgence and excess of fashion weeks. No wonder there’s so much questioning around what the industry is about right now. 

At the G7 Summit last month, François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of luxury group Kering, introduced the Fashion Pact, a deal that saw 32 brands from Adidas to Prada, coming together to commit to stopping global warming, restoring biodiversity and protecting the oceans. 

The initiative was mandated by French President Emmanuel Macron, who asked the industry to set practical objectives for reducing its environmental impact.

Practical is the keyword here. While collaboration between so many different players is in itself great progress, reflections on many of the goals are that they have been light on detail as to how they’re going to be achieved. 

Meanwhile, as has been pointed out by others this past fortnight, fashion week season has kicked off and we’re back into that completely contrasting feeling of celebration and excess once more. “Fashion month is a party,” Orsola de Castro, co-founder and creative director of non-profit Fashion Revolution, told the Business of Fashion. “It’s huge fun, but it’s the kind of fun that is no longer funny.” 

Within that is of course the volume of waste and climate impact generated from the shows themselves, but in addition, the culture of consumerism they continue to feed.  

In London we have Extinction Rebellion protesting against the very existence of fashion week itself, while in New York, the biggest stories have conversely been about the large-scale theatrics of shows from the likes of Tommy Hilfiger and Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty. Let’s not forget, fashion weeks are about marketing – appealing to buyers, press and consumers individually to encourage them to buy and buy-into the new collections in one or other of their relative ways. 

By their very nature, they therefore clash with a more sustainable approach to supply and demand. All of which makes one question how much hot air really surrounds the topic of sustainability – no matter how much it’s “trending” – when looking across the industry at large. 

Back to the G7 pact and the biggest question that sits there then, is how will any of these promises turn into reality? As in, literally what are the methodologies behind them? 

The fact is, what we really need is less talk more doing. To put it into the simplest terms, the contradiction of fashion week doesn’t sit well with the notion of ‘actions speaking louder than words’. But neither do promises that aren’t backed by some tangible outputs to follow. 

The same goes for the sheer volume of broader sustainable pledges being made by the industry. Everywhere you turn you see promises to use 100% renewable energy by 2020, to become carbon neutral by 2022, to reduce water consumption by 2025. The same can be said for chemicals, materials, recycling, waste… the list goes on. 

That’s all well and good, but only if progress towards those things actually happen. On our side, we’re tracking them all, and the list of promises is growing at a substantially faster rate than that of the actions being made in response. This is absolutely key. It means that currently the announcements are serving in the main as PR initiatives – a way of hiding behind something that is several years away, or about buying time while you figure out what to actually do. 

The result is that we either have too many pledges that risk not being met, or those offering too little too late – such as to be carbon neutral by 2050. In Greta Thunberg’s words, this is a climate emergency

Last year, Fast Company reviewed various environmental goals set for 2020 by large corporations as well as countries, questioning which of them were on target to actually be met in time. It reads like a mixed bag, though does demonstrate progress in parts. 

The same can be said for fashion. Kering itself has always been one of the most vocal about its goals, setting them out in 2012, then reporting back on what it had and hadn’t achieved in 2016. It reset its targets in 2017 with a broader 2025 sustainability strategy in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Included in that was cutting the group’s carbon emissions by 50% and reducing its overall environmental impact by at least 40%. Not small aims. An update is expected in 2020. 

H&M is another that’s always gone big. It’s reportedly on target to hit its goals of both using 100% organic or recycled cotton, and eliminating hazardous chemicals in its production, by 2020. Future aims include becoming climate positive by 2040. 

The difficulty with all this is the sliding scale of what attaining such goals mean, not to mention how they’re measured. 

One of the ones I have the biggest issue with in the industry broadly is the idea of moving to entirely “sustainable cotton” by 2025. This isn’t so much in the goal itself by any means, but in the naming of it. What is sustainable cotton? Strictly speaking, most of the time what we’re talking about is rather “better” cotton. As in, it is literally better for the environment than that which is otherwise farmed in the conventional manner. Usually this falls under those certified via the Better Cotton Initiative and others including Organic and Fair Trade. 

This sort of language use is critical because of how misleading it can be to the consumer. It instantly gives the impression that fast fashion, like Zara as well, for instance, will be absolutely fine by 2025 because the materials used will indeed be entirely sustainable. Not true. They’ll just be less bad at that early part of the supply chain. Arguably, that’s not enough. 

The same goes for what is the lesser of two evils when we hear certain companies have managed to achieve zero waste to landfill targets, yet are continuing to incinerate items. Does the ban on incineration in France mean landfill will then be on the up? 

When it comes to greenhouse gases, there was a feeling in a recent meeting I had with some members of UK parliament, that regulation for companies to declare their emissions makes the industry immediately more accountable.

What didn’t seem to be acknowledged is that the fashion industry doesn’t know the true numbers around its emissions. As I’ve written about before, it’s not completely possible right now because there is simply not enough accurate information out there for it to report this – and it doesn’t have direct control of its supply chain in the majority of cases to discover any of it itself further. 

We know this from our work with Google to build a tool that shines a light on the raw materials stage of the supply chain – Tier 4. What’s available right now is at best globalized averages, at worst, completely unknown. The result, therefore, is guesswork. How for instance can H&M become climate positive in a true sense, if it can’t trace back the impact it is actually having? It can’t. You can apply the same to Burberry, to Nike, to whoever else you like.

A few years back there were headlines about 2020 being the “magic year for fashion” based on the industry embracing sustainability. Arguably, even in the midst of fashion week season, that has already happened. But it doesn’t mean anything if it’s just being talked about.  

Change can only take place if these goals become tangible. That’s our entire mantra as a business – drive transformation by enabling action. Enough with the pledges therefore, what we’d rather see is the industry diving deep, staying quiet, building new solutions and starting to show us some results. 

How are you thinking about sustainability? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more.

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business Editor's pick sustainability

We should all take a leaf out of Stockholm Fashion Week’s book

Stockholm Fashion Week‘s decision to cancel this year’s event to focus instead on a more innovative and sustainable alternative, gives the entire industry something to think about.

Due to take place in August, the occasion has been pulled for the foreseeable future as a way of addressing the “major challenges” the industry is facing.  The very role of fashion week is one of those factors, as is how to move towards a more sustainable future.

If we break that down for a moment, there are some key considerations to think about:

Firstly, fashion weeks have undeniably changed at the hands of the digital age. Over the past 10 years they’ve become democratized to the extent that we can question the need for a physical show at all. 

Consumers around the world are now able to see collections in real-time as they‘re revealed, not to mention experience them across all other channels thereafter. On top of that, designers are able to gain awareness in a myriad of other ways for the very same reasons.

The result of this has been heavy debate around moving to a see-now buy-now business model, meaning the show becomes primarily a marketing opportunity aligned with a calendar for real-time consumer purchases as opposed to for industry buyers. This means the trading part of the collection is already done in advance for wholesale.

Alongside this at the same time, mind you, is the broader industry shift we’re witnessing towards a direct-to-consumer model, which negates the need for the third party seller at all. When integrated with innovative manufacturing processes, this can further ensure greater alignment between supply and demand, thus reducing waste.

What that also considers related to fashion weeks under the sustainability header, is a reduction in air miles. As designer Katherine Hamnett said this year at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, an annual event dedicated to sustainability: “We shouldn’t even be reunited here in Copenhagen when we could have done this digitally. We should all be ashamed of our carbon footprint.”

Under the United Nations’ Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, is a goal for the industry to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, something that is a long way off at this point in time. While the bigger challenges lie in everything from raw materials to fulfilment, every little shift – including fewer individual flights – helps.

On top of that is the cost savings that removing fashion week brings. Shows can notoriously cost anywhere in the region of $100,000 for a designer, dependent on all manner of variables. Cutting the need for Swedish brands to spend this sort of budget frees up capital for other endeavors, which the Swedish Fashion Council, which runs Stockholm Fashion Week, is seemingly pushing primarily towards sustainability.

In a press release, CEO Jennie Rosén said part of the aim is to support designers towards their sustainability targets and help them adopt new business models such as rental, repairs and subscription services.

It’s worth noting that Sweden as a country is already at the forefront of implementing tangible change aligned with these goals, for instance by reducing VAT rates on repair services by 50% (from 25% to 12%) in 2017. The move was part of the country’s plans to reduce carbon emissions and encourage more people to participate in the sharing economy. The tax breaks apply to shoes, clothes and bicycles, making repairing each of them all the more affordable. 

Much of the commentary compares this fashion week with its larger counterpart in Copenhagen, suggesting competition as a primary reason to cancel the event. But rerouting budget towards circularity, reducing carbon footprint and moving towards more innovative means of marketing and selling in order to capture higher margins and reduce waste, ultimately seems one of the smartest moves we’ve seen in a while for an industry in such desperate need of change.

“We need to change now to steer the industry in the right direction…We need to put the past to rest and to stimulate the development of a platform that is relevant for today’s fashion industry,” Rosen noted. “The Swedish fashion industry is extensive and growing, so it is crucial to support brands in their development of next-generation fashion experiences. By doing this we can adapt to new demands, reach sustainability goals and be able to set new standards for fashion.”

The council is planning to reveal its new strategy later this year. 

How are you thinking about sustainability, innovation and new business approaches? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more. 

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Editor's pick Events technology

7 tech activations that stood out this fashion week season

Brands are constantly evolving their approach to tech during fashion week. This season we saw designers reinvent the show space yet again by using tools including artificial intelligence, LED sets and mixed reality powered by 5G to create memorable (and shareable) experiences for their guests.

Here are seven of the most interesting ways brands did so…

Rag & Bone’s AI guest
Rag & Bone’s “The Last Supper”

Rag & Bone decided to throw a fashion week dinner with one very special attendee: an artificial intelligence system designed by artist and creative technologist, Ross Goodwin. At “The Last Supper”, guests sat at a U-shaped table while their conversations and actions were filmed and analyzed by a series of cameras. Towards the end of the event, the guests were treated to a video that showed the AI’s view of their dinner party interspersed with models wearing Rag & Bone’s new collection.

Central Saint Martin’s mixed reality show powered by 5G
Central Saint Martins 5G mixed reality fashion show
Central Saint Martins 5G mixed reality fashion show

Mixed reality animations illuminated looks designed by MA students from Central Saint Martins university for their annual showcase during London Fashion Week. Imagine lightning bolts, skulls and even tiger heads beaming/ moving around the models. The university teamed up with mobile network, Three, and creative agency, Rewind, to bring the animations to life. 10 attendees, including Jourdan Dunn and Natalie Dormer, sported Magic Leap’s One mixed reality headsets, while others could see the animations on screens around the catwalk. “The future of design and fashion is intrinsically linked with the evolution of tech and we are seeing more and more disruptive and innovative technologies shaking up the way the design and fashion industries operate,” said Jeremy Till, head of Central Saint Martins.

Gucci and Saint Laurent’s LED runways
Gucci’s Fall Winter 2019 Fashion Show

LED bulbs decorated the runways of two major shows: Gucci and Saint Laurent, this season. As an experiment in futurism, both hosted mirrored LED runways that further illuminated their colorful garments. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele installed more than 120,000 LED bulbs to cover the walls around the 100-meter long circular runway for his Milan fashion show. The kaleidoscope of lights created a dramatic and theatrical experience for show-goers. Meanwhile, Anthony Vaccarello turned the Saint Laurent showspace into a runway rave in Paris. Wearing glow-in-the-dark shoes and garments, models strutted down the catwalk alongside hundreds of pulsing bulbs and infinity mirrors.

Real-time shopping at 11 Honoré
11 Honore fashion show
11 Honore NYFW show

There are always new ways to innovate even when using long since established technologies like QR codes.The luxury, size-inclusive ecommerce retailer, 11 Honoré, created the ultimate see-now-buy-now experience for its New York Fashion Week debut, enabling guests to shop the runway through a lookbook distributed to them containing QR codes. Using their phone to scan the codes, attendees could then purchase looks in real time. This was part of a partnership with Shopify, which wanted to showcase yet another functionality for mobile shopping.

Christian Siriano’s crowdsourced feedback
Christian Siriano RTW F19
Christian Siriano RTW Fall 19 show

To make fashion more accessible, designer Christian Siriano decided to take advantage of crowdsourcing and let the audience vote in real time on the looks on his New York runway. To do this, he partnered with SAP technologies to create an app that allowed both attendees and remote viewers to select if they “liked” or “loved” the looks. Powered by machine learning, the app was able to identify looks regardless of show order changes because the design team had uploaded stock images of each one into the app prior to the event. This created a more direct connection between the customers and the designer. According to WWD, the SAP runway app was previously piloted by Badgley Mischka, and there are potential plans for further rollout during September’s fashion week season.

Tommy Hilfiger’s Instagram Stories templates
Tommy Hilfigers Instagram Story templates
Tommy Hilfigers Instagram Story templates

Tommy Hilfiger partnered with mobile app Unfold on an Instagram Stories template collection that was released during the brand’s show for Paris Fashion Week. To spice up their Instagram Stories, users could choose from 15 limited-edition templates when uploading photos and videos. Designs included variations of the Tommy Hilfiger logo, as well as colorful prints exclusive to the Tommy Hilfiger’s spring 2019 TommyXZendaya collection, which features 22-year-old actress and singer Zendaya.

Rebecca Minkoff’s audience-driven social campaign
Rebecca Minkoff Runway SS19
Rebecca Minkoff Spring/Summer 19 show

With social sharing front of mind, Rebecca Minkoff’s New York show saw guests able to be part of a digital collage created by artist Rosanna Webster, who designed the brand’s female empowerment campaign “I Am Many”. As a way to incorporate them into the campaign, guests took selfies with a camera that worked as a portable photobooth. These photos were then worked into a collage that appeared in a mini-video inspired by Rebecca Minkoff’s brand campaign. The experience was meant to promote brand awareness and generate ROI. According to the designer, fashion shows aren’t just about posting pictures, but also a way for the consumer to embrace the experience. “Today, the [fashion] landscape isn’t about commerce; it’s about experience and standing for what you believe in; consumers want to be in a tribe,” Minkoff herself said.  

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. The Current Global 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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business Editor's pick Uncategorized

H&M forgoes fashion week for three-day immersive theater format

H&M is set to introduce its SS19 Studio collection on a three-day trip to the desert in Sedona, Arizona, forgoing its yearly Paris Fashion Week show. The collection, launching on March 11, will be unfolded in front of key influencers and members of the global press through a series of immersive events taking place during the trip, casting guests as active participants. 

“H&M has always been an innovation-led company and we are proud to launch the H&M Studio SS19 collection, with this new format,” said Kattis Barhke, H&M’s head of creative marketing and communication. “We hope that our guests will have a unique experience, partaking in the immersive theatre set-up and narrative we have devised, and that our customers will in turn be able to see the new collection, which combines practical utility pieces with glamorous after-dark options, in a context of wanderlust.”

The Swedish brand worked alongside London-based creativity agency Sunshine, creative and production agency PRODJECT and creative consultant Connie Harrison to develop the experience.

“Many fashion brands are moving towards creating fashion shows that are more experiential, but this is the first time a brand has fully embraced theater and invited guests to come along with them,” adds Keith Baptista, co-founder and managing director at PRODJECT. “We have devised a fictional narrative with multiple layers, so that participants can engage with the story on either a basic or much deeper level. Above all, we want to celebrate the spirituality, beauty and sense of exploration connected with Sedona, Arizona with an event that is truly unique.”

H&M’s move further questions the once-unanimous importance of the official fashion week calendar, which has been losing strength year after year as brands release collections beyond the traditional bi-seasonal model and consumers become more accustomed with see-now-buy-now. Tommy Hilfiger is another great example of a brand that is launching its collections by creating unique moments beyond the noise of fashion week. So far, its TOMMY NOW catwalk experience has traveled to New York, Los Angeles, London, Milan and Shanghai.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. The Current Global 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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Events mobile Retail social media technology

Balmain launches app to connect customers to brand universe


Luxury label Balmain has released an app that aims to give consumers more access to the brand’s universe, in a mission championed by creative director Olivier Rousteing.

The app, which was released on iTunes yesterday, will allow users to engage with the brand in a multitude of different ways.

“The app is the final element of the strategy we are rolling out to launch the new monogram, the new logo, and to support overall the new communication strategy of Balmain,” the label’s CEO Massimo Piombini told WWD. “This is a way to connect with the next generation, with new customers, with a segment of customers that are close to the brand that are expecting from us these kinds of new features.”

For example ahead of the label’s upcoming couture show which takes place on January 23, users will be able to scan posters through the streets of Paris to trigger augmented reality content. Users will also be able to watch a livestream of the show, the house’s first couture collection in 16 years, as well as footage of the menswear show that is happening tomorrow.

To give brand fans a further glimpse into the brand, there will also interactive content around its new Saint Honoré flagship, which is due to open in February. The brand has announced that it will also be launching similar initiatives at key European cities in the future.

Under Rousteing’s helm, the 82-year-old label has been increasingly connecting with younger consumers through the lens of digital. In April 2018, it created a virtual reality experience at its Milan store based on the designer’s inspirations for the brand’s collections, while its latest campaign featured a cast of virtual models.

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