Categories
digital snippets Retail sustainability technology

ICYMI: Lush abandons social, buyers send sustainability message, learning resale from Nike

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

TOP STORIES
  • Lush abandons social media: it’s ‘getting harder’ to talk to customers [The Drum]
  • The world’s fashion buyers are sending a strong message to designers about sustainability [Quartz]
  • What Chanel can learn from Nike about the resale market [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Amazon readies Alexa-powered earbuds [Retail Dive]
  • Ikea’s new smart speaker looks like a HomePod crossed with a lamp [The Next Web]
  • Everything you need to know about the Pinterest IPO [NYT]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • ‘Buy local’ seeks to reduce fashion’s environmental footprint [Vogue Business]
  • Salvatore Ferragamo promotes sustainability with art and fashion exhibition [WWD]
  • Galeries Lafayette launches second-hand fashion platform [Fashion Network]
  • Fur supporters plan to keep fighting New York City’s proposed ban on fur sales [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • According to Amazon’s new horoscopes, the stars want you to go shopping [Vox]
  • The line between social media and e-commerce is beginning to disappear [Fashionista]
  • Gucci opens doors to pop-up apartment [Campaign]
  • The new retail: today’s China is tomorrow’s America [Jing Daily]
  • Singapore’s $1.3 billion airport expansion is half botanical garden, half mega-mall [Fast Company]
  • H&M subsidiary to start trialing secondhand sales next week [WWD]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Ermenegildo Zegna introduces new fragrances with special installations [WWD]
  • New Balance invests in gamified mobile ads to win over young, global customers [Glossy]
  • Asos ‘upweights’ digital spend as it puts focus on acquisition [Marketing Week]
PRODUCT
  • Rodarte unveils a collaboration with Universal Standard [Vogue]
  • Guess to sell vintage capsule via Fred Segal [Fashion Network]
  • How Cos is changing the way we think about design [Vogue]
BUSINESS
  • Asos pre-tax profits plunge 87 percent [Fashion United]
  • Why Tommy Hilfiger is selling better than ever [Vogue Business]
  • Sales surge at LVMH [Drapers]
  • Allbirds goes all-in on China [WWD]
  • Debenhams falls into administration [Drapers]
CULTURE
  • Estée Laundry: the Instagram collective holding the beauty industry to account [The Guardian]
  • The shady truth about inclusive beauty (and how brands can improve) [BoF]
  • Virgil Abloh’s real value to Louis Vuitton isn’t about the clothes he can sell [Quartz]

How are you thinking about 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. 

Categories
business digital snippets product Retail sustainability technology

ICYMI: Levi’s goes public, Glossier and Rent the Runway join the unicorn club, H&M phases out cashmere

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

TOP STORIES
  • Levi Strauss’ caffeinated IPO; Stock jumps 32% [WWD]
  • Rent the Runway joins Glossier in the elite club of female-founded unicorns [Fortune]
  • H&M to phase out cashmere amid sustainability push [Retail Dive]
TECHNOLOGY
  • The world’s first genderless AI voice is here. Listen now [Fast Company]
  • Alibaba acquires Israeli VR startup Infinity Augmented Reality [Tech Crunch]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Inditex and MIT sign agreement to promote research into sustainability [Fashion United]
  • Why recyclable single-use water bottles + other plastics are a plague on our planet [The Daily Beast]
  • Levi’s leather patches come under fire by Peta [BoF]
  • Starbucks teases coffee traceability app feature, compostable cup trial [Restaurant Dive]
  • Guess launches eco-friendly collection for Spring 2019 [Fashion Network]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Lush to launch new Fresh & Flowers store format [Retail Week]
  • Why makeup brands are selling mystery bags [BoF]
  • & Other Stories explores secondhand fashion with Sellpy [Fashion Network]
  • Filippa K launches new “customer-focused” website [Fashion United]
PRODUCT
  • Amazon launches private label skincare line [Retail Dive]
  • As air pollution gets worse, a dystopian accessory is born [Vox]
  • It’s become impossible to tell the difference between luxury & fast fashion sneakers [Highsnobiety]
BUSINESS
  • Nike hit with racial discrimination lawsuit [Footwear News]
  • China breaks counterfeit goods ring worth 100 million Yuan [BoF]
  • What happens when a business built on simplicity gets complicated? Dollar Shave Club’s founder Michael Dubin found out . . . [CNBC]
  • Ken Downing leaving Neiman Marcus after 28 years [WWD]
  • Ahead of Brexit, British fashion promotes itself in China and welcomes Chinese talent to UK [SCMP]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • This Works Skincare range turns to voice to launch free sample Facebook campaign [Internet Retailing]
  • The dangerous side effect of digital wellness [Fashionista]
CULTURE
  • Fashion isn’t just for Instagram: Inside the world of high fashion Twitter [GQ]
  • Human contact is now a luxury good [NYT]
  • A sea change in plus-size fashion [The Atlantic]
  • How can fashion better address the needs of disabled people? [BoF]

How are you thinking about 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. 

Categories
Editor's pick Retail technology

Alibaba pilots AI-enabled store with Guess

Alibaba's FashionAI for GUESS
Alibaba’s FashionAI for GUESS

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has partnered with Guess to pilot an artificial intelligence-enabled store of the future concept, where the technology will improve and further personalize the shopping experience.

Located on the campus grounds of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University for one weekend in July, the concept store is showcasing Alibaba’s FashionAI technology that is built around the e-commerce platform Taobao.

“By partnering with Alibaba, a dominant technology leader, we are changing the retail experience as our customers also evolve,” said José Blanco, CEO of Greater China for Guess. “It is important that we continuously invest in new technology and platforms. This entire project came together in just five months thanks to a strong partnership between our two companies.”

Upon entering the store, users can check in with their Taobao QR codes or via facial recognition. All items are RFID-enabled, and when picked up, show up in a smart mirror. The mirror also suggests outfits to complete the look either based on the user’s previous purchases or entirely new items, while directing shoppers to where such suggested items can be found in the store.

Shoppers can also use the smart mirrors to add items they would like to try on to a virtual shopping cart, while staff populate the fitting room with their choices. When entering the fitting room, shoppers have their Taobao code scanned, which triggers a dedicated smart mirror. Interestingly if shoppers cannot find what they are looking for at the Guess-branded store, they can add clothing from other Taobao virtual stores via tablets, thus shopping cross-brand. To complete purchase, they must use the Taobao virtual shopping cart.

The store also works as an opportunity for Alibaba to refine the FashionAI concept, while better understanding how the resulting data can help brands be smarter about ordering and maintaining inventory.

“Guess and Alibaba share the same vision to understand customer behaviors through technologies, ” said Zhuoran Zhuang, vice president of the Alibaba Group. “With Guess’ retail expertise, we are able to train and refine our FashionAI system, and marry technology with fashion in a way that’s never been done before. We are looking forward to deepening our partnership to innovate personalized services offered in retail shops.”

E-commerce brands are increasingly investigating how the technology that they have refined online can be leveraged in the brick and mortar experience to give demanding consumers the same level of personalized service. In April 2017, Farfetch revealed its store of the future concept, which we delved into in further detail with the project’s managing director Sandrine Deveaux for TheCurrent Innovators podcast in June. The retailer has since announced pilot programmes at Browns in London and Thom Browne in NYC, as well as a long-term partnership with Chanel.

Categories
product technology

bPay partners with seven watch brands to introduce contactless payments

bPay contactless payment technology
bPay contactless payment technology

bPay, the wearable technology solution from Barclays bank, has announced partnerships with seven watch brands – GUESS Watches, Mondaine, Timex, Kronaby, Suunto, ADEXE and LBS – to embed payment technology into traditional timepieces and fitness trackers.

The new watches will be showcased at this year’s watch and jewellery trade show, Baselworld, this week in Switzerland.

Launches include six new contactless watches by Guess; eight new styles for both men and women from Timex; LBS will be launching the ‘TapStrap’, a contactless payment strap that can be fitted to any watch with the most common strap sizes; and Suunto, which specializes in sports watches, will create a bPay-enhanced fitness style launching this spring.

“Consumer appetite for wearable payments is reaching critical mass, and we’re proud to be meeting this growing demand with the help of our industry-leading partners,” says Adam Herson, business development director of Barclays Mobile Payments. “Thanks to the range of products these agreements will bring to market, customers will be able to buy a watch or fitness tracker that not only suits their taste, but also unlocks benefits of speed and ease in everyday purchases.”

Recent data from Barclaycard’s Contactless Spending Index shows that spending via bPay surged by 129% year-on-year in 2017. The company claims ‘touch and go’ contactless payments save seven seconds per transaction when compared to chip and PIN.

Since 2015, bPay has been patterning with then UK-based fashion brands on bringing payment technology to accessories, such as launching a line of accessories with Topshop. For more on payment technology, listen to our episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast with Alipay’s Souheil Badran.

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

ICYMI: Bitcoin millionaires love streetwear, voice shopping on the rise, solving the last mile

Bitcoin millionaires are coming for streetwear
Bitcoin millionaires are coming for streetwear

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

TOP STORIES
  • Bitcoin millionaires are coming for streetwear [GQ]
  • Alexa, I need … everything. Voice shopping sales could reach $40 billion by 2022 [USAToday]
  • Solving for the last mile is retail’s next big disruption [RetailDive]
  • What Gucci’s gun stance says about the end of corporate neutrality [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Levi’s revolutionizes finishing process, driving more sustainable supply chain [TCDaily]
  • Unilever and IBM’s blockchain experiment: a silver bullet for digital or a ‘glitzy’ quick fix? [TheDrum]
  • JD.com’s new accelerator focuses on blockchain startups [TechCrunch]
  • JD.com upgrades AR/VR capabilities for beauty [WWD]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Why is it so hard for clothing manufacturers to pay a living wage? [Racked]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Wear now, pay later: credit shopping goes digital [BoF]
  • ‘To find it, just Boohoo it’: How the fast-fashion retailer is making a go of visual search [Glossy]
  • Stitch Fix CEO Katrina Lake talks data, Amazon—and hot tubs [FastCompany]
  • Macy’s just confirmed the end of department stores as we know them [Business Insider]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • The Outnet is using its chatbot to push out influencer content [Glossy]
  • The Gap wins over Instagram with this empowering breastfeeding ad [FastCompany]
  • Allbirds is selling a limited-edition shoe exclusively on Instagram [Glossy]
PRODUCT
  • Hunter teams up with Target for limited edition collection [TheIndustry]
  • The US is now buying more stretchy pants than blue jeans [QZ]
BUSINESS
  • Why Burberry chose Riccardo Tisci [BoF]
  • How Guess mismanaged its #MeToo crisis [BoF]
  • Marks & Spencer publishes gender pay gap and pledges to extend monitoring to age, ethnicity and disability [TheIndustry]
Categories
Comment Editor's pick technology

CES 2015: Wearable technology was the biggest let down

This piece first appeared on The Telegraph

Every year Rachel Arthur, a technology and fashion writer, makes a pilgrimage to Las Vegas in the hope that the technology industry will have finally produced some stunning wearables to show off at CES. Why is she perennially disappointed?

withings_activitepop

Let me share my favourite fact about CES, the famous Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas every year: the amount of space dedicated to showing off technology is the equivalent of 38 football fields.

The vastness is overwhelming . Every January fear hits me anew, as I make my annual pilgrimage to this fizzing temple of innovation, alongside thousands of other eager beavers.

Wearable technology was firmly on CES 2015’s agenda, secured by the announcement of the Apple Watch, not to mention numerous other releases and collaborations from the industry during 2014. Duly – ‘wearables’ as they are known in the trade, were given pride of place at this year’s show.

However, despite the hype, these gizmos disappointingly failed to deliver for another year. Designs are still clunky and basic functionality of most attempts remain unchanged. In short, what we’ve got is a series of “me too” devices – items that match in both what they look like and do. Yes there are a handful of designs certainly more geared towards women than in 2014, which is perhaps the most positive takeaway from all this, but even those aren’t overly worth shouting about.

So why hasn’t the wearables sector made good on its early promise?

Tom Goodwin, SVP of strategy and innovation at Havas Media, says the issue comes down to the industry pushing out what it’s easily possible to produce, rather than looking to creative types to explore human needs and desires. “We’re seeing a lot of devices that look similar and perform similar functions,” he explained. “Wearables should be designed with consumer behaviour in mind, catering to an unmet human need and utilising a unique technology – but I haven’t seen many examples of this at CES this year. It feels companies are hurriedly jumping into the space quickly to steal a march on Apple.”

Indeed, nestled in the back corner of the trade show a Chinese business was spied selling a fake but functional version of the Apple Watch for just $27, according to tech site Mashable.

Fakes aside, the smart watch continued to dominate. As a category, there’s huge belief in this category. But does anyone want one?

Buoyed heavily by Apple’s pending release, they’re expected to see growth of 358 per cent to a total of 10.8m sales in the US from 2014 to 2015, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

smartwatch

However, the overall feeling amongst the experts is that there’s little differentiation out there in terms of innovation between brands – whether it’s from Samsung, Motorola or Sony, or indeed some of the lesser-known names on show like Burg Wearables, Wellograph and MyKronoz. All of them offer clunky watches that frankly aren’t great to look at or grace the wrist.

Design should be an easy win these days – especially with sensors becoming smaller and more affordable, and battery life lasting longer. Yet, the floor at CES was still full of big ugly styles; styles at the worst end of the scale you couldn’t imagine many men wearing, let alone women.

Arguably there’s an expectation that a watch should look like a watch, therefore it’s inevitable many releases will be aesthetically similar. From a traditional watch perspective, subtle finishes are always the differentiators – but many of these “smart” variations still look like boxes housing technology, rather than specimens of high quality design.

This deficit leaves an enormous gap for the likes of Tag Heuer, rumoured to be considering working on its first wearable for release at the end of this year at the earliest, to swoop in. In a noteworthy move, interim chief executives Jean-Claude Biver, recently said: “We will only make smart watches if we are the best, different and unique.”

In the meantime, there were a handful of exceptions at CES this year beginning to prove there’s some hope for this section of the wearables market.

Guess for instance, has teamed up with Martian Watches to launch a smart watch for men and women, both of which look great. They alert wearers to calls and texts and enable voice command for replies.

Withings also released its new Activité Pop – a cheaper version of its original analogue-looking activity tracker with much of the same charm and a variety of different colourways to choose from (aka not just pink for women).

Also for women, comes the new collaboration between Swarovski and Misfit. Housing the Misfit Shine activity-tracking device within a faceted crystal, this one is accompanied by a nine-piece jewellery collection to alternate how it’s worn, including pendants, bracelets and watchstraps.

Fitness tracking and communications are the main two offerings of all smart wrist garb – regardless of design. So count your steps and measure your heart rate on the one hand, or receive text messages and make calls on the other.

To be fair, we are still very early on in the world of wearable technology. As Goodwin says, this means we are still waiting for a killer use case. For him wearables will need to step beyond these basic functions and integrate with the Internet of Things, a broader trend that dominated CES again this year, (based on everyday objects being digitally connected around us).

“When wearables allow us to pay for things, control the lighting in our homes, get into our cars, locate where our kids are, that’s when things get more interesting,” he notes.

In short, the industry needs to stop relying on a mentality of “me too” and start genuinely innovating. CES should be the place that big corporations, alongside start-ups, are chomping at the bit to showcase something that genuinely screams “new” and appeals to normal people – instead of simply playing catch-up with competitors.

Otherwise what’s the point of traipsing around 38 football fields if all the innovation is still nowhere near the pitch?

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce technology Uncategorized

Digital snippets: Alexander McQueen, Vogue, M&S, Nike, Guess, Bloomingdale’s

Some more great stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital over the past week:

 

  • Vogue.com, SHOWstudio win Webby Awards [WWD]
  • M&S raids its archives to create interactive lingerie timeline [Pressitt]
  • Nike projection mapping sees building twist [Digital Buzz]
  • Guess Inc’s social strategy [WWD]
  • Bloomingdale’s exec: RFID boosts inventory accuracy, sales [Luxury Daily]
  • Japanese virtual stores designed to give realistic in-store experience [PSFK]
  • Decoded Fashion conference highlights fashion and tech’s tricky relationship [BetaBeat]
  • Infographic: could Pinterest be the silver bullet for retailers on social media [Mashable]
Categories
Uncategorized

Guess takes to Pinterest to push new denim collection

Guess is celebrating the launch of its new season denim collection with a contest on Pinterest called ‘Color Me Inspired”.

From March 8 – March 15, users are invited to demonstrate how colour inspires them by pinning at least five images to the Guess-branded board. Four winners will then get a pair of the new colour-coated Guess Jeans of their choice.

The judging panel is comprised of four of Guess’ favourite style bloggers – Michelle Koesnadi of Glisters and Blisters, Kristina Bazan of Kayture, Jennifer Rand of Belle de Couture, and Samantha Hutchinson of Could I Have That.

Categories
digital snippets Uncategorized

Digital snippets: Olsens and Anna Wintour, Vogue, Guess, Sephora, NYFW

Some more great stories from around the web surrounding all things fashion and digital over the past week:

  • The Olsen twins and Anna Wintour feature in QR code artwork (as pictured) [Mashable]
  • Vogue launches social media panel of 1,000 “influential” women as platform for advertisers [AdWeek]
  • Guess among brands adopting new technology that allows integration of own consumer information with Facebook’s ‘social graph’ user database [Brand Republic]
  • New York Fashion Week documentary premieres [Racked]