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Everything you need to know from the Copenhagen Fashion Summit

The fashion industry’s largest and most influential event dedicated to sustainability took place in Copenhagen last week, with it bringing a flurry of new technology tools, company pledges and product announcements.

Heavy hitters including François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, and Emanuel Chirico, CEO of PVH, took to the Copenhagen Fashion Summit stage to share their stance on development needed in the industry. The former has recently been hired by France President Emmanuel Macron to create a “coalition” of CEOs in fashion to unite and agree on ambitious sustainability objectives together. Chirico meanwhile talked to the investment needed for long-term gains.

Top of the list of news from the week otherwise was our announcement with Google to collaborate with Stella McCartney to build-out a data analytics and machine learning tool that will enable fashion brands to make more responsible sourcing decisions.

Here’s everything else you need to know…

TOP STORIES
  • Google and Current Global collaborate with Stella McCartney to launch sustainable fashion pilot [The Current Daily]
  • Macron hires Kering CEO to improve sustainability of luxury fashion [Euronews]  
  • Sustainability to become ‘requirement of doing business’ says PVH chief [BoF]
  • In search of a business case for sustainability [BoF]
  • Sustainability is linked to privilege – teasing out the truths from Copenhagen Fashion Summit [Forbes]
INNOVATION
  • Parley for the Oceans to announce Parley ID labels to identify garment composition [WWD]
  • Alyx introduces blockchain tag detailing the origin and authenticity of garments [Current Daily]
  • Can these innovators turn the tide of fashion’s pollution mess? [Forbes]  
PLEDGES
  • Kering introduces animal welfare standards [Eco Textile News]
  • LVMH announces signature of a five-year partnership with UNESCO to support Man and Biosphere (MAB) biodiversity program [LVMH]
  • Asics sustainability report displays progress [Eco Textile News]
  • Pandora joins industry discussion on circular fashion at Copenhagen Fashion Summit [Pandora]
CIRCULARITY
  • Fixing one of fashion’s biggest issues: Leading organizations partner to launch new manifesto on circularity [PR News]
  • Nike creates circular design guide [Current Daily]
  • France says it will ban the burning of unsold luxury items [Teen Vogue]
  • P&G’s Lenor launches call to action at Copenhagen Fashion Summit to address throw away fashion trend [Retail Times]
  • Euratex to design for circular economy in textiles [Fibre2Fashion]
PRODUCT
  • Nike and A-COLD-WALL: Can Good Design Be Sustainable? [Highsnobiety]
  • H&M launches upcycling sustainability program for Weekday [Retail Gazette]
  • Clothing hanger brand Arch & Hook makes the functional sexy and sustainable [WWD]
  • A future world – Watch a trance-like film about the making of Nike’s futuristic leather [Dazed Digital]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. Current Global 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 Comment

What is going on in Paris with this whole #seebuywear strategy?

Models present creations for fashion house Gucci during the women Spring / Summer 2016 Milan's Fashion Week on September 23, 2015 in Milan.  AFP PHOTO / TIZIANA FABI        (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
Gucci, spring/summer 2016, Milan Fashion Week (Photo credit: TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

If you don’t already subscribe to FashionREDEF, and Adam Wray’s witty commentary that comes atop its newsletter everyday, you absolutely must.

On news that Francois-Henri Pinault, CEO of Gucci-owner Kering, poo-pooed the see-now, buy-now model because “waiting creates desire”, Wray responded that desire follows from waiting for lunch, or a long-distance relationship, and not in the same way for luxury goods. “Desirable products create desire. Effective marketing creates desire,” he wrote.

“If you build a consistent, legible, aspirational brand image, you don’t need a six month media blitz to warm consumers up to a new collection – they already know what they’re buying into. If Saint Laurent – a Kering brand – hit the runway and the shop racks simultaneously, it would sell briskly, and Pinault knows it. His comments indicate a cautious approach to a complex, risky restructuring more than philosophical position,” Wray continued.

He ended on the idea of Pinault wanting to learn from others’ mistakes, a move all too evident from the luxury industry’s initial lack of willingness to embrace all the challenges (and opportunities) the digital era has brought. I have consistently heard – even with every new social media platform – the desire to first know which competitors are already on board before many of them have also opted to take the leap. It comes as no great shock that Burberry was one of the first major players to announce its move to an in-season consumer calendar; it has long been the first on all of these fronts, from its early uptake of all things digital, to its more agile supply chain system influenced heavily by CRM data.

Unsurprisingly over in Paris however, Pinault is not the only one thinking otherwise. The Fédération Française de la Couture du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode is sticking by its guns and will shun the consumer-show shift too, reports WWD.

“As far as we are concerned, the present system is still valid,” said federation president Ralph Toledano.

He previously commented: “The fashion industry is a huge success, our companies are growing very healthily and business is excellent… We are not going to be ruled by technology.” Indeed, let’s not forget that for many brands in Paris, while technology is surely a consideration, such steps into embracing digital have, to this day, still fallen short of actually launching e-commerce; and this is in spite of the fact we know that digital today now influences 60% of all luxury purchases.

The thinking around whether or not to adapt Paris Fashion Week was also taken to a board of broader industry players off the back of the CFDA’s announcement in the US that it had hired the Boston Consulting Group to look into whether to make New York Fashion Week a consumer-facing affair. They included Dior CEO Sidney Toledano, Chanel’s president of fashion Bruno Pavlovsky, Saint Laurent CEO Francesca Bellettini, and Hermès executive vice president of manufacturing division and equity investments Guillaume de Seynes.

Sticking with the status quo is now also being backed by brands including Nina Ricci, Chloé, Agnes b., Issey Miyake, Isabel Marant, Balenciaga, Lanvin, Sonia Rykiel, Leonard, Dries Van Noten, Maison Margiela, Paul Smith and Kenzo.

To be fair, Ralph Toledano does go on to list a multitude of reasons why such moves are so complicated (understandably), and thus at this stage deemed unnecessary – from managing the supply chain and its purposeful scheduling, to balancing embargoes with press and buyers (although that latter part seems very do-able frankly, especially if they’re used to it in other cities).

There is no one-size fits all solution, that’s for sure. And truthfully I stand by my earlier thoughts that the industry is ripe for division into new categories, rather than all of ready-to-wear being lumped into one, as those more agile shift to a more “mass luxury” appeal.

But, it must be said, and as Wray essentially pointed out, this does also feel somewhat like another case of Paris lagging behind its counterparts, as it has done with so much of digital. The issue is, the case of waiting for the right “me-too” moment may at some point finally catch up with some of these brands.

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data digital snippets e-commerce mobile social media

Digital snippets: adidas, Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, Bitcoin, American Apparel

Here’s a highlight of the best stories in the fashion and tech space over the past couple of weeks…

adidas_Stan_Smith_Popup

  • adidas launches Stan Smith pop-up store, includes 3D-printing station (as pictured) [Dexigner]
  • Louis Vuitton debuts spring campaign on Instagram [Refinery29]
  • Neiman Marcus CEO apologises for data breach, offers free credit monitoring [The Verge]
  • Overstock CEO: Why we’re accepting Bitcoins [CNBC]
  • Five reasons why American Apparel is bullish on Twitter [AdWeek]
  • Aerie’s unretouched ads ‘challenge supermodel standards’ for young women [Huffington Post]
  • Warby Parker launches interactive 2013 annual report [Laughing Squid]
  • Wet Seal hires 16-year-old to build its following on Snapchat [AdAge]
  • François-Henri Pinault puts his money where his mobile is via Square, hints at future for luxury world buying into tech [FT Material World]
  • Show business: are fashion shows still relevant? [BoF]
  • Beacons: what they are, how they work, and why Apple’s iBeacon technology is ahead of the pack [Business Insider]
  • Personalisation is key for beauty omnichannel strategy: L’Oréal Luxe exec [Luxury Daily]
  • Try on virtual make-up and pay with your hand with retail tech at CES 2014 [BrandChannel]