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Editor's pick Events sustainability technology

BFC and Current Global host leadership event focused on industry growth

The British Fashion Council’s annual Fashion Forum curated and produced with Current Global, extended to two days this year with a focus on “Investing in the Future”.

A think tank dedicated to industry leaders from fashion, investment and technology, it invited experts to share knowledge and debate subjects ranging from business and growth, to sustainability and inclusivity.

Attendees also got to experience some of the latest innovations in the market up close, thanks to an innovation showcase pulled together by Current Global. This included some of the world’s best tech companies carefully selected for their focus on areas such as customer service, personalization, supply chain, traceability, AI, augmented reality and more.

The on-stage program was designed to both inspire and inform the audience, with sessions geared to key subjects such as driving efficiency in the supply chain, how new business models are affecting culture, the role of data and experience in retail, designing for circularity, creating a fair supply chain and more.

One of the keynotes of the event came from John McPheters, co-founder of Stadium Goods. In a fireside chat with Current Global’s Liz Bacelar, he spoke about how he grew his sneaker and streetwear marketplace to its successful acquisition by Farfetch in 2018. Current Global’s Rachel Arthur also hosted a keynote with Jo Malone about her experience growing global brands, including her latest, Jo Loves.

Victor Luis, CEO of Tapestry, opened day one talking to his role at the US luxury group, while Emma Grede, founder and CEO of Good American brought the topic of entrepreneurship to size inclusivity and Roland Mouret honed in on his sustainability journey.

Rachel Arthur of Current Global at the British Fashion Council’s annual Fashion Forum
Rachel Arthur of Current Global at the British Fashion Council’s annual Fashion Forum

Arthur also took to the stage to discuss investing in innovation. She broke down the evolution of big tech and what it means for brands today, including a deep-dive on how it is blending and bending our perception of reality, the role of data within the balance of experience and privacy, and where brand activism is stepping in over pure brand management.

Other key speakers at the event came from brands including Burberry, Rapha, Lululemon, Rixo, Timberland, Kering, Levi Strauss & Co, Lyst and more.

Christopher Wylie, director of research at H&M, and Tom Berry, director of sustainable business at Farfetch, joined Bacelar for a panel on how technology will shape the future of sustainability, covering topics from predictive analytics and AI to new business models. Another conversation focused on Google’s work in the sustainability space with Current Global. Ian Pattison and Maria McClay of Google both joined Arthur alongside Claire Bergkamp, sustainability and innovation director at Stella McCartney, to talk about the data analytics and machine learning tool powered by Google Cloud technology they are currently building.

Gwyneth Paltrow closed the event in a conversation with British Vogue’s editor in chief Edward Enninful. She shared lessons from her entrepreneurial journey launching Goop, the successful lifestyle brand she founded in her kitchen in 2008.

Edward Enninful and Gwyneth Paltrow in conversation at the British Fashion Council’s annual Fashion Forum
Edward Enninful and Gwyneth Paltrow in conversation at the British Fashion Council’s annual Fashion Forum

Throughout the event, our Innovators podcast team was also onsite, recording upcoming episodes with experts including Adam Brown, founder of Orlebar Brown; Nicolaj Reffstrup, founder of Ganni; John McPheters, co-founder of Stadium Goods; and designer Roland Mouret. Stay tuned for the first of our new series in July.

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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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product sustainability

Native Shoes is releasing a plant-based sneaker fit for composting

Vancouver- based sustainable shoe brand, Native Shoes, is launching a sneaker made of fully plant-based and biodegradable materials, which can even be composted at the end of its life.

For the design of the new sneaker, dubbed the Plant Shoe, the brand focused on including exclusively natural materials, down to the stitching and glue used to put the individual materials together.

By making the Shoe biodegradable and suitable for composting, Native Shoes aims to fight the increasing problem of shoe waste, citing that nearly 300 million pairs end up in landfill every year.

The design is purposely kept simplistic and embraces a vintage look. The upper material is made up of a mix of organic cotton and Pinatex, which is made of discarded pineapple waste. As an industry first, the material mix uses no polyurethane coating, a process that is usually applied to textiles to make them more durable.

The shoe’s sole further builds on the sustainable credentials of the brand, using pure hevea latex, a derivative of the rubber tree. However, it uses no artificial additions such as fillers or petrochemical catalysts, which are traditionally used in other “natural” rubber soles.

The brand, which originally launched in 2009 with a sustainable ethos and focused on mainly rubber-based shoes, also collaborated with Goop in 2018 and 2019 to provide rubber slides to the lifestyle brand’s annual In Goop Health events.  

Over the past year, labels including Nike, Adidas, Reebok and Everlane have released their own versions of more sustainable sneakers, experimenting with different, more sustainable materials and tapping into circular design principles.

Nike’s Flyleather design, for example, uses 50% recycled natural leather fiber, while Adidas’ Futurecraft Loop sneaker is made up of only one material and therefore is the first to be fully recyclable. Reebok furthermore launched its biodegradable Cotton + Corn shoe in 2018. Everlane launched its Tread shoe this year, using a combination of natural and recycled rubber for its sole.

Meanwhile, direct-to-consumer start-up Allbirds launched its SweetFoam material initiative last year, an environmentally friendly- alternative to the traditionally used acetate compound that is used in shoe soles today.  Marking a collaborative spirit, Allbirds also made its new solution open-source, hoping to encourage competitors to also adopt this material.

How are you thinking about sustainable innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The 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 Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce film product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Topshop buzz score drops, advanced analytics for apparel, analyzing the streetwear bubble

The streetwear bubble
The streetwear bubble

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

TOP STORIES
  • Topshop “Buzz Score” drops after Green allegations [The Industry]
  • Geek meets chic: Four actions to jump-start advanced analytics in apparel [McKinsey]
  • Is the streetwear bubble about to burst? [Highsnobiety]
  • How open-source innovation may transform fashion [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Menswear retailer Jacamo launches voice shopping [Drapers]
  • Tencent is launching its own version of Snap Spectacles [TechCrunch]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Plastic waste elimination pledge by 2025 attracts more big firms [BBC]
  • Is fashion’s eco-consciousness more than a label yet? [BoF]
  • These gorgeous colors come from dye made by bacteria, not chemicals [FastCompany]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • If we built the retail model from scratch, what would it be? [BoF]
  • Goop opens first permanent store in New York City [Glossy]
  • Singapore’s frictionless grocery store and dining concept [LS:N Global]
  • Digging into drop culture: Evolving a roaring retail ritual [Forbes]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Dior aims to lure new audiences with digital influencer Noonouri [Vrroom.buzz]
  • Barbour Christmas campaign celebrates 40 years of iconic festive film [The Scotsman]
  • H&M launches holiday 2018 campaign starring Aubrey Plaza [Highsnobiety]
  • Designing people’s Instagram Stories is now a million-dollar business [FastCompany]
PRODUCT
BUSINESS
  • Revolve’s blend of data and fashion supports case for IPO [WWD]
CULTURE
  • Why voting is in fashion [New York Times]
  • How Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty is changing the lingerie game [Vogue]
  • What can luxury brands learn from Gucci about millennials? [Forbes]

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.