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data Editor's pick product technology

O Boticário pioneers the launch of AI-developed fragrances

Brazil’s O Boticário cosmetics brand is launching two new fragrances specifically for millennials that have been developed through artificial intelligence.

Created in partnership with IBM, they are the result of a data-driven study by Symrise, a major producer of flavors and fragrances, that collected 1.7 million fragrance formulas – including scents sold to Coty and Estée Lauder.

This was combined with fragrance sales information, customers’ location and their age, human usage patterns and responses, to enable IBM to develop the scent AI tool called Philyra.

Philyra uses machine learning to create fragrance combinations that will match specific demographics. For Brazilian millennials, for instance, it suggests notes of fruits, flowers, wood, spices, and even caramel, cucumber, and condensed milk.

It’s not all algorithm however. The human element still exists on top with both perfumes ultimately tweaked by a master perfumer at Symrise to emphasize a particular note and improve how it lasted on the skin.

O Boticário is also known for being a brand that champions diversity and inclusion in their ads, so both AI-generated perfumes will be sold as genderless. “Fragrances are fragrances, and men and women should use whatever they prefer. We want to make our fragrance development process less bias,” said O Boticário’s marketing director, Alexandre Souza, to Exame’s publication.

Symrise’s perfumer working on fragrances created by IBM’s Philyra.

Now, Symrise plans to distribute this technology not only to master perfumers but also to its Perfumery School to help train students. Beyond developing fragrances, IBM believes the technology can aid in other uses, like flavors, cosmetics adhesives, lubricants, and construction materials, as reported by Engadget.

The two O Boticário fragrances will hit the market on Monday, May 27.

How are you thinking about product 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
digital snippets Retail sustainability technology

ICYMI: Puma’s sustainable material goals, retailers team up to improve AR/VR, guide to ethical certifications

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

TOP STORIES
  • Puma aims for 90% of materials to be sustainable sourced by 2020 [Fashion Network]
  • Retailers, tech companies team up to improve AR/VR [Retail Dive]
  • Fashionista’s complete beginner’s guide to ethical fashion certifications [Fashionista]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Retailers are tracking where you shop—and where you sleep [Bloomberg]
  • How Amazon automatically tracks and fires warehouse workers for ‘productivity’ [The Verge]
  • Japanese taxis are using facial recognition to target ads to riders [Futurism]
  • AI could replace 42% of UK wholesale and retail jobs [Drapers]
  • IBM, FIT to train future designers on AI [WWD]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Levi Strauss launches denim recycling program [Fashion Network]
  • UK retailers might have to pay all their packaging waste costs [WWD]
  • Can cheap fashion ever be ethical? [Quartz]
  • T-shirt recycling is here, and it could transform fashion [Fast Company]
  • True blue: Denim has to change to save the planet [Retail Dive]
  • Packaging is killing the planet—these start-ups offer luxe, sustainable solutions [Vogue]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Alibaba’s Tmall chief establishes ambitious 3-Year plan [Bloomberg]
  • The rise of live-streamer style [NYT]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
PRODUCT
  • Zozo’s experiment in customized clothing was too early [Quartz]
  • Lululemon bets on product innovation, expansion for 5-year growth plan [Fashion Network]
BUSINESS
  • Shares of US retailers drop following Amazon’s one-day delivery announcement [BoF]
  • Goldman Sachs says dragged-out Brexit is doing deeper damage to UK economy [Fashion Network]
  • Puma enjoys ‘best ever’ quarter as it ramps up stocks [Reuters]
  • Debenhams names 22 stores to close [BBC]
CULTURE
  • Patagonia has only 4 percent employee turnover because they value this 1 thing so much [Inc]
  • Tapping the men’s wellness opportunity [BoF]
  • How a niche designer brand won Coachella [BoF]

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 Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce Events mobile product Retail social media sustainability technology Uncategorized

ICYMI: beauty tech takes over CES, UK retail’s year of doom, the fake influencer problem

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

TOP STORIES
  • The future of beauty is on display at CES [CNN]
  • UK retail sales suffer worst year in more than a decade [BoF]
  • Fake influencers cost brands more than 200 million dollars [Fashion United]
TECHNOLOGY
  • IBM unveils its first commercial quantum computer [TechCrunch]
  • Amazon sets up virtual furniture showroom online [RetailDive]
  • Baidu announces Apollo Enterprise, its new platform for mass-produced autonomous vehicles [TechCrunch]
  • Here’s everything Google announced at CES 2019 [TechCrunch]
  • Bell’s hybrid-electric flying car will be available via Uber by the ‘mid-2020s’ [The Verge]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Boohoo faux fur jumper found to contain real fur [Fashion United]
  • Survey finds ‘conscious consumerism’ a top priority for Gen Z shoppers [WWD]
  • Asos and PVH Corp. join Global Fashion Agenda as strategic partners [Fashion Network]
  • NHL, Adidas to create sustainable jerseys for All-Star Game [WWD]
  • Los Angeles is hosting the very first Vegan Fashion Week [Dazed]
  • Bangladesh strikes: thousands of garment workers clash with police over poor pay [The Guardian]
  • Reusing, upcycling and innovation to be integral at the upcoming Circular Fashion Games [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Outlet malls seize WeChat to bring online traffic offline [Jing Daily]
  • Microsoft and Kroger to create data-driven connected grocery stores [Venture Beat]
  • Calvin Klein to rebrand 205W39NYC line, close Madison Avenue store [Fashionista]
  • The sweater you don’t like is a trillion-dollar problem for retailers. These companies want to fix it [CNBC]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Lululemon’s next target is mindfulness for men [Quartz]
  • Novak Djokovic takes time out to meet his greatest opponent, thanks to SEIKO [PR Newswire]
PRODUCT
  • Neutrogena unveils personalized, 3-D-printed sheet masks at CES [WWD]
  • L’Oréal’s newest prototype detects wearers’ skin pH levels [The Verge]
  • Simplehuman looks to upgrade beauty accessories business with CES launch [WWD]
  • Nike stretches into Lululemon’s space with 1st yoga line [RetailDive]
  • Goop alumni launch the “Sephora of CBD” to target the cannabis curious [FastCompany]
  • The North Face debuts new outerwear technology [Fashion United]
BUSINESS
  • CFDA report highlights what it will take to achieve a truly diverse and inclusive fashion [W24]
  • These latina Avon sellers have dominated a beauty company modeled on white womanhood [Buzzfeed]
  • Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya to show at Paris Fashion Week [Fashionista]
  • L’Occitane acquires Elemis for $900 million, eyes Asia expansion [WWD]
  • 38 percent of fashion and beauty brands plan to launch collaborations in 2019 [Fashion United]
  • Moschino has a code word for black shoppers, according to damning new lawsuit [The Fashion Law]
  • Dior switches Paris catwalk date to avoid ‘yellow vest’ protests [Reuters]
  • Debenhams rescue plan could involve closure of more than half of its stores [The Industry]
  • HSBC predicts luxury market to slow down in 2019 [Fashion United]
CULTURE
  • Gucci Garden opens exhibition dedicated to reflections on masculinity [WWD]
  • Miuccia Prada’s take on freedom of speech, cultural appropriation [WWD]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent 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
Events technology

Vote for us at SXSW: Blockchain for radical transparency

Blockchain for radical transparency
Blockchain for radical transparency

In 2019, we’re returning to SXSW in Austin, Texas, in a big way… but we need your help! In addition to insight-gathering and producing exclusive events like live podcast recordings, our aim is to host three panels. But we need your vote to get us on the official schedule. Could you support us?

Our first panel is all about blockchain for radical transparency. In the post-truth era, consumers are increasingly skeptical about their relationship with brands and as a result, demanding an unprecedented level of information and access.

Beyond the buzz, blockchain is set to become one of the most important technologies required for meeting such expectations; bonding customers and brands together in the process.

But what does that really mean? We’ll be unpacking it with a group of experts, including Nina Shariati, who leads transparency and innovation at H&M Group; Feriel Zerouki, who is head of international relations and ethical initiatives at DeBeers, and Laurence Haziot, global managing director of IBM. The conversation will be led by our chief innovation officer, Rachel Arthur.

We’ll discuss how blockchain is allowing brands to future-proof their supply chains and what it takes to prepare for a landscape where transparency is the new norm.

Click to vote
Click to vote

So if you want to see this panel in Austin, please vote for us! Doing so is easy, just login or create a quick PanelPicker® account via panelpicker.sxsw.com. Then find our Blockchain for radical transparency panel here and all you have to do is click on the “Vote Up” button in the top lefthand column.

Blockchain is of growing relevance to the consumer retail industries, and one we’re following extremely closely. To get a headstart on what it’s all about, be sure to also listen to our podcast with Haziot of IBM, recorded in London recently.

Our other panels at SXSW include How streetwear turns hype into $$$ and The future of connected beauty. Please vote for them too!

Categories
Editor's pick Podcast technology

IBM on the coming power of blockchain

Laurence Haziot and Rachel Arthur
Laurence Haziot and Rachel Arthur

Blockchain will have the same impact long-term as we have seen the internet have on commerce, says Laurence Haziot, global managing director of IBM, on the latest episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast.

A leading woman in the STEM industries, Haziot looks after IBM’s Worldwide Consumer Industries division, which includes retail, consumer products, wholesale and agriculture. She believes strongly in the potential of blockchain for the future, from the impact it can have on the supply chain to the role it will play in sustainability and transparency.

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

While it’s nascent right now, the fact that this digital ledger was designed from the beginning to be more secure than current systems we rely on, is key, she explains. That doesn’t make it a silver bullet, but it does make it an opportunity.

IBM is already trialling use cases of the technology as a result, including provenance for food safety at Walmart, shipping efficiencies for Maersk, and diamond authentication for the jewelry industry in a project called TrustChain.

For retail specifically, Haziot is bullish on the results it could drive in terms of efficiencies throughout the entire supply chain, as well as traceability for a consumer only seeking ever more knowledge of what they’re buying.

It’s for that reason she sees blockchain infiltrating numerous job roles. “This is not an IT play,” she explains. “This is really a business topic – I think it will touch probably most of the functions in the company, from marketing to manufacturing, transportation and more.”

In this episode with Rachel Arthur at a live FashMash recording in London, Haziot also answers some tough questions on the limitations of the tech to validate authenticity, and leans on her experience of 30+ years at IBM to explore some of the surrounding innovations that are needed to make it viable long-term.

Catch up with all of our episodes of TheCurrent Innovators here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by TheCurrent, a consultancy transforming how 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 product technology

IBM announces blockchain network to track and authenticate diamonds

IBM TrustChain
IBM TrustChain

IBM has announced TrustChain, a blockchain network that tracks and authenticates diamonds and precious metals from mine to market.

Working alongside a group of leaders in the gold and diamond industry – Asahi Refining, Helzberg Diamonds, LeachGarner, Richline Group and UL – the solution aims to bring transparency and provenance to the consumer by creating a trusted database that tracks every step of the supply chain.

“This initiative is important for our industry as we seek to raise the collective responsibility and provenance practices to new heights.” said Mark Hanna, chief marketing officer of Richline. “TrustChain is the first blockchain of its kind within our industry, designed as a solution that marries IBM’s leading blockchain technology with responsible sourcing, verification and governance by third party organizations, led by UL as the administrator.”

The technology aims to give consumers answers to common questions when buying jewellery, such as how the metal was mined and whether it was sourced from an ethical region. A participating brand will be able to pull up information on the full history of an engagement ring, per example, and that information is then available on a customer-facing web database.

At present, TrustChain is piloting the tracking of six different styles of diamond and gold engagement rings on the blockchain platform.

A public-facing interface that would allow consumers to scan a QR code to pull up more information is in the works, Jason Kelley, the GM of blockchain services at IBM, told TechCrunch.

IBM TrustChain
IBM TrustChain

To add another level of security, the IBM network has a mechanism for the participants of that chain to check the validity of each transaction, every step of the way, as a consensus. If there is a dispute, Kelley tells TechCrunch, a participant can click on a trusted chain and see what has happened immediately, which reduces the number of steps traditionally involved in a process like this.

Besides the enormous surge of interest in blockchain, examples of the technology being deployed have thus far been scarce. Major retailers such as Walmart and most recently, Starbucks, have been piloting the technology in order to provide consumers with the information they crave, yet still on a smaller scale.

Diamonds and precious metals is clearly an industry with a large demand for this type of technology, as seen by De Beers announcing it is also working on a blockchain program earlier this year. For luxury in particular, the benefits that the technology brings to consumers will increase the pressure for brands to be more open about their production practices and, eventually, more sustainable in their choice of suppliers.

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce product Startups sustainability technology

ICYMI: L’Oréal is growing skin, Maersk’s blockchain for logistics, top tech for retail

L'Oréal is testing lab-grown reconstructed skin
L’Oréal is testing lab-grown reconstructed skin

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

TOP STORIES
  • L’Oréal is growing Chinese skin to test products [Bloomberg]
  • IBM partners with shipping giant Maersk to launch blockchain solution for global logistics [Bitcoinist]
  • 5 technologies transforming retail in 2018 [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Alibaba’s AI beats humans in reading test [Xinhuanet]
  • Amazon’s Alexa could start giving out opinions [RetailDive]
  • Six ways that new technology will revolutionize shopping [Wired]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Why Nike sees social responsibility as an opportunity to innovate [Fast Company]
  • Zara, Kering, Ganni, Reformation vow to increase sustainability efforts by 2020 [TheFashionLaw]
MARKETING
  • How Kiehl’s is using text messages and AI to keep customers loyal [Glossy]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Beauty brands are remaking the peer-to-peer sales model for a digital age [Glossy]
  • Rent the Runway to deploy self-scanning kiosks [Retail Dive]
PRODUCT
  • Adidas joins Carbon’s board as its 3D printed shoes finally drop [TechCrunch]
  • Meet designer Christopher Bevans, winner of the Woolmark Prize for Innovation [HighSnobiety]
STARTUPS
  • True Fit raises $55M to personalize clothes shopping with AI [SiliconAngle]
  • Highsnobiety secures $8.5M from Felix Capital to woo millennial males [TechCrunch]
Categories
product technology

Artificial intelligence empowers designers in IBM, Tommy Hilfiger and FIT collaboration

A design by FIT student Grace McCarty for Tommy Hilfiger's Reimagine Retail project with IBM - artificial intelligence
A design by FIT student Grace McCarty for Tommy Hilfiger’s Reimagine Retail project with IBM

Young fashion shoppers today are demanding personalization more than ever. According to an IBM study, 52% of female Generation Z would like to see tools that allow them to customize products for themselves.

This coincides with an ever-increasing expectation for speed in delivery of product. While several fast fashion retailers can get product to shelves in weeks, the majority of clothing items take anywhere from six to 12 months of development.

Technology is impacting throughout the supply chain to shift this forward, including in the creative process itself. Artificial intelligence (AI) for instance – incorporating computer vision, natural language understanding and deep learning – is being used to produce key insights on trends to both expedite the initial design process and better predict demand for hyperlocalized products.

IBM has teamed up with Tommy Hilfiger and The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) Infor Design and Tech Lab on a project called Reimagine Retail to demonstrate this. The aim is to show how AI capabilities can give retailers an edge in terms of speed, and equip the next generation of retail leaders with new skills using AI in design, according to Steve Laughlin, general manager of IBM Global Consumer Industries.

To do so, FIT students were given access to IBM Research’s AI capabilities including computer vision, natural language understanding, and deep learning techniques specifically trained with fashion data.

Those tools were applied to 15,000 of Tommy Hilfiger’s product images, some 600,000 publicly available runway images and nearly 100,000 patterns from fabric sites. They then brought about key silhouettes, colors, and novel prints and patterns that could be used as informed inspiration to the students’ designs.

Head over to Forbes to read the full story.

Categories
Editor's pick product technology

Wearable technology hits Met Gala red carpet, robot inspiration follows

Clairedanes_zacposen_fiberoptic

The theme of “technology” was taken quite literally on the red carpet at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Costume Institute gala in New York last night, with celebrities including Claire Danes and Karolina Kurkova both stepping out in light-up eveningwear looks.

Danes wore a pale blue Zac Posen dress made from a fiber optic woven organza (as pictured). Reminiscent of a modern-day Cinderella, the fairytale look came alive in the dark, glowing from head-to-toe. Posen teased the gown via his Instagram channel, where followers got to see the impressive lights working to full effect.

Supermodel Kurkova meanwhile was dressed in a look designed by Marchesa, in collaboration with IBM. More than just a garment covered in three-dimensional LED flowers, this was also an intelligent piece of work that reacted to online conversation about the event in real-time throughout the night.

Read more about this cognitive design, plus check out all the celebs that took the “Manus x Machina” theme to the robotic extreme, via Forbes. A positive view: the real future of our wardrobes was also highlighted by those turning to sustainable design.

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce social media technology

Digital snippets: Valentino’s Instagram strategy, YNAP and IBM team up, Lacoste’s AR book

Valentino_instagram

Beyond Paris Fashion Week, and on past SXSW, here’s your round-up of the latest fashion and technology stories to know from the month of March…


  • In the age of the algorithm, top Instagram brand Valentino needs to rethink its strategy [Digiday]

  • Yoox Net-a-porter Group, IBM partner on software, tech development [WWD]

  • Lacoste enriches its brand campaign with augmented reality book [PSFK]

  • The North Face to launch insanely smart Watson-powered mobile shopping app next month [Venture Beat]

  • True Religion is equipping its sales staff with Apple watches [Apparel News]

  • ‘It can bottle our energy’: Why Bloomingdale’s is going all in on Snapchat [Digiday]

  • Bloomingdale’s spurs branded conversation through emoji app [Luxury Daily]

  • Why Uniqlo is now selling through mobile shopping app Spring [Fashionista]

  • American Apparel offering on-demand delivery via Postmates partnership [TechCrunch]

  • Alibaba spreads its wings into VR sector [China Daily]

  • L’Oreal creates unbranded content hub to woo beauty fans [AdAge]

  • Net-a-Porter’s digital chief on how brands can get up close and personal to consumers [Marketing Magazine]

  • In the store of the future, your shopping bag connects to the internet [Fast Company]

  • How do you bring personalised shopping technology to stores? Adobe has an idea [Fashionista]

  • More influencers, fewer posts: How Instagram’s algorithm will affect fashion brands [Digiday]

  • In the future, Instagram and Facebook could be amongst the largest retailers online [WWD]

  • To big brands, from a millennial: Snapchat filters are where it’s at [AdAge]

  • How Pinterest knows who’s down to shop and who isn’t [AdAge]

  • Personal shopping services seek scale [BoF]


  • Brotailers market to millennial men who hate to shop [BrandChannel]

  • Venture capitalists: e-commerce funding to tighten [WWD]

  • Flush with tech wealth, San Francisco warms to fashion [BoF]

  • E-commerce in Brazil gets more mobile [eMarketer]

  • FedEx to expand e-commerce reach in China, Japan [WSJ]