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ICYMI: Fashion embracing AI, how Apple is using AR, breaking down Gucci’s innovation model

AI in fashion - artificial intellgence
AI in fashion

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

  • How fashion should (and shouldn’t) embrace artificial intelligence [BoF]
  • How Apple will use AR to reinvent the human-computer interface [Fast Company]
  • Breaking down the Gucci-inspired ‘innovation model’ that’s taking over Kering [Glossy]
  • In fashion’s hype-driven era, Hermès is doing its own thing [Dazed]
  • Blockchain, Internet of Things and AI: What the newest luxury startup accelerators are investing in [Glossy]
  • What really goes into a fashion sustainability ranking & how brands game the system [TheFashionLaw]
  • Millennials say they care about sustainability. So, why don’t they shop this way? [BoF]
  • Report: Levi’s is ‘all talk and no action’ on sustainability [Glossy]
  • Beauty brands are finding innovative ways to reduce packaging waste [Fashionista]
  • The young designers pioneering a sustainable fashion revolution [Vogue]
  • TheRealReal, Stella McCartney flaunt high-fashion recycling [MediaPost]
  • Is video the future of online shopping? [BoF]
  • Amazon will now deliver packages to the trunk of your car [TheVerge]
  • Fast fashion’s biggest threat is faster fashion [BoF]
  • Outdoor Voices uses AR to launch OV Trail Shop running collection [FashionNetwork]
  • Oakley forgives you (even if others don’t) in this lovely ode to athletic obsession [AdWeek]
  • Adidas Originals traded pieces from Alexander Wang’s new collection to get to Coachella [AdWeek]
  • Disney made a jacket to simulate physical experiences, like a snake slithering across your body [TheVerge]
  • Adidas is testing how to mass-produce custom shoes like those it makes for elite athletes [Quartz]
  • Balenciaga issues second apology after claims of discrimination against Chinese shoppers [Reuters]
  • Sephora’s lawsuit with obsessive compulsive cosmetics is a staggering case study in how beauty products are sold [Racked]
digital snippets e-commerce film social media technology

Digital snippets: Hussein Chalayan’s dissolving dresses, Tom Ford replaces show with Lady Gaga video, Anrealage’s hidden digital detail

Here’s a round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…


  • Clothes dissolve on the catwalk during Hussein Chalayan show (as pictured above) [Dezeen]
  • Tom Ford releases video for spring 2016 collection starring Lady Gaga [Fashionista]
  • Anrealage plays with flash in collection’s hidden digital detail [NY Times]
  • It’s a trap: Macy’s sets up a selfie wall to lure millennials [Digiday]
  • How Tiffany increased its WeChat fanbase by 1,000% [FT]
  • Apple invents ring-style wearable device with voice control, haptics, cameras and more [Apple Insider]
  • Anouk Wipprecht is building future fashion out of AI and microcontrollers [Inverse]
  • Who’s winning the fashion e-commerce race? [BoF]
  • Female shoppers no longer trust ads or celebrity endorsements, prefer YouTube stars [Fast Company]
  • Here’s how luxury brands are doing social media very wrong (& the few who break the mold) [Refinery29]
  • Inside Vogue’s New York Fashion Week digital wrap party [Digiday]
  • The digital Asia effect [BoF]
Comment Editor's pick technology

Four reasons to care about the #AppleWatch

This post first appeared on

The web was abuzz with coverage of CEO Tim Cook’s keynote revealing further information about the Apple Watch from San Francisco today.

We now know it will be available for pre-order and try-on in store from April 10, and for purchase from April 24. We also know its battery is supposed to last 18 hours with normal usage, and that its 18-karat gold version is going to cost $10,000.

Whether you’re counting down the days to get hold of your one or not, here are four reasons you should care about it…


1. Your parents now know the term “wearable technology”

Let’s face it, when your Mum calls you (by yours, I mean mine) to tell you this thing called “wearables” is all over the news and asks if you’re going to buy THE watch, mass awareness has hit. Apple has an incredible ability to do this; drive a trend beyond the early adopter set to infiltrate a much broader market (think iPod, iPhone, iPad). Analysts expect in the region of 20-22 million Apple Watches to sell within a year, which comes as no surprise with an entry price point of $349.

But the arrival of the Apple Watch will buoy the whole wearables category full stop; carrying other brands along with it, but more importantly enabling new ideas to come to light too. Expect a whole wave of new devices and concepts to follow suit. Most will crash and burn, but the odd one will help build out this industry even more.


2. This is Apple entering the luxury market

Whatever Jony Ive touches does indeed seem to turn into gold. In this case, quite literally. The third variation of the Apple Watch, called the Edition, comes in 18-karat solid gold. Better than that, it’s also available in limited quantity and for a huge $10,000. That, in case you didn’t realise, is Apple very openly entering the luxury, not to mention fashion, market. (To really emphasise that fact it also placed a 12-page ad spread in US Vogue this month). As Cook said in today’s keynote: “This is the most personal device we’ve ever made. It’s not just with you, it’s on you, and what you wear is an expression of who you are.”

How Apple markets it accordingly, when the other versions of the same device from a functionality perspective start at $349 for the aluminium Apple Watch Sport, and $549 for the stainless steel Apple Watch Collection, will be very interesting to see. One thing you can be sure of, the likes of Tag Heuer (which said it is considering a move into smart products via a partnership or collaboration with a university or specialist firm) and other traditional watchmakers will most definitely be taking note.


3. Expect a reworking of technology retail formats

With this move into not only the “wearables” space but the luxury one, does of course come the opportunity for Angela Ahrendts’ retail team to shine. Little detail was shared during today’s keynote of what exactly to expect in store, but previous news has indicated the Apple Watch will take its cue from the jewellery space in terms of how it is showcased. Expect things like specially-designed, glass-cased table displays, specific lighting, full-length mirrors and even private areas for a more intimate experience. According to 9to5mac, shoppers will also be able to try on different models and wear them around the stores to get a good idea of how they feel and look.

There’s a lot of debate around wearables as a whole and where they belong in retail, especially once it gets to a third party store – do they sit in the technology or the accessories department for instance, and who is responsible for training the sales staff on these new ways of talking to consumers? With Apple trialling pop-ups in Galeries Lafayette in Paris and Selfridges in London, expect it to start shaping some of the answers.


4. The focus on haptic feedback will win with millennials

From a functionality perspective, there are all sorts of things to be excited about, including the integration of “thousands of new apps”, according to Cook, and the comprehensive health and fitness system at its core. But it’s the “digital touch” element that really strikes a chord. Cook refers to the “taptic” engine of the Apple Watch, which is haptic feedback technology, as “a whole new way to communicate”, which knowing Apple, probably isn’t far wrong. Most of us are well used to vibrating phones patterns alerting us to different notifications, but not actually on our wrists. Whether it’s a quick tap to let you know your Apple Pay has worked, or a short series recreating a loved one’s heartbeat, the Apple Watch will enable true brief interactions with technology.

There’s a really fun element at the heart of this device too, whether it’s the sketches shared and animated in real-time from one watch to the next, or the emojis being pinged over between different apps. Expect these features to really sing to younger generations, and the likes of Snapchat, Wechat and Whatsapp to find integrated success as a result.

Editor's pick technology

A whistle-stop tour through the future shopping experience

This article first appeared on Dazed 

Have you ever had one of those moments where the person walking down the street just a few steps ahead of you, is wearing a coat you’re desperate to own? Once upon a time you may have built up the courage to chase after her and ask where it’s from. Not far from now you’ll be able to pull out your smartphone, snap a shot of it and image recognition technology from Cortexica or in apps like Asap54 and Snap Fashion will accurately do its work to tell you not only what brand it is, but where nearby has it in stock too.

On this occasion, imagine you’re headed to an upmarket department store with availability in your size. As you walk through the door iBeacon transmitters using Bluetooth low energy technology activate and send a welcome notification to your phone. The message lets you know there’s also a 15% off offer on all products today.

You click to open the corresponding app for the store itself, and it syncs with the earlier image recognition system to show you exactly where to find the item you want. You’re wearing your new designer (Ray-Ban) smart glasses (Google), which personalise your view on the store – an augmented reality overlay from Blippar is placed on your surroundings directing you with turn-by-turn navigation as you walk.

Additional information pops up as you head that way, alerting you to items you specifically might like. It knows your purchase history and can flag up pieces that will style well with what you already own. Privacy isn’t a concern – you’ve opted-in for this. You know this department store well and like a classic loyalty programme, there’s a sense of value attached to letting them know who you are.


Further special prices and offers are highlighted and adapted especially for you based on your social influence too. If you opt to share with friends you will receive yet a further discount.

As you lift dresses and tops off the rails, the hangers activate screens alongside you featuring images and videos of models wearing the items. The system is gesture-controlled thanks to Microsoft Kinect, so you can wave to scroll beyond each shot to see further details about each garment; where it comes from, what the manufacturing process was, even what the washing instructions are.

You can also pull up a virtual assistant to help you. Created by a company called Fluid, this is a cognitive computing based system developed using IBM Watson. It understands natural human language allowing you to ask it a question as you would a friend. As it’s also based on voice recognition, you simply tell it about your upcoming holiday and request suggestions for what you might need.

It returns a list of specific products based on the climate of your destination as well as what it knows is trending in that market. Rather than relying on keywords to surface specific product, the artificially intelligent app (yes, think robot) acts more like a personal shopper would, offering options based on context.

You take all the items you’ve selected into the fitting room. Each garment has a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag, meaning the room recognises each piece individually. As you try them on, content is activated on the mirror, including recommendations for what you could wear with it, like a necklace and pair of shoes to go with the dress, or a bag to match your skirt. A 3D printer outside from 3D Systems allows you to instantly print any matching accessories you wish to buy.

The virtual experience, this time powered by Accenture and Microsoft, also shows you what the piece you’re wearing would look like on you in different colours. It lets you connect with a sales assistant automatically who brings you in new pieces, then offers you that all-important human connection in terms of advice and expertise on what suits you best.

The mirror you’re looking into also has a memory. Created by MemoMi with Intel, it has saved 360-degree views of what you’ve tried on so far to a right hand column on the display, so when you’re still not quite sure on what to buy you can go back and look at each of them, or share a couple of them with friends to help.

One of the dresses you want for an upcoming event doesn’t quite fit as nicely as you’d like it to, so you activate the connected fitting room to do a full 3D body scan of your figure. That data can then be sent off with the item to be tailored exactly to fit. The sales assistant lets you know you also have the option to have it made up in other fabrics – she passes you her tablet, which uses haptic technology (tiny vibrations that recreate what something feels like) to allow you to run your finger over the screen and feel the different textures.

You make your choices and use the e-tattoo on your wrist with personal authentication details to make payment; it syncs once again with your store loyalty scheme so you get the best deal possible that day.

As you head out you decide to stop at a virtual storefront powered by eBay, this time to select food for dinner. It senses the Apple health tracker you’re wearing and through a number of apps you’ve downloaded can identify the nutrients you’re missing from the day. It suggests a recipe, and at a quick touch of a button syncs with the sensors in your fridge at home and detects the ingredients you’re missing. They’ll be delivered by drone by the time you get home.

Visual Credits:

Artwork by Pinar & Viola

Model wears Janneke Verhoeven

3D pet designed by Alewism