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

Gaultier’s goodbye to fashion, the fine line with ‘woke’ merch, BAFTA’s sustainable dress code

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

Top Stories
  • Stars turn out for designer Jean-Paul Gaultier’s final show (BBC)
  • Woke brands walk a thin line with ‘moral merch’ (Vogue Business)
  • Celebrities have been asked to ‘dress sustainably’ at this year’s BAFTA awards (Harper’s Bazaar)
Technology
  • Davos 2020: WEF unveils digital currency governance consortium (Finextra Research)
  • EE creates 5G-powered dress (Campaign)
  • Apple’s ‘finger device’: wearable computing’s next big thing? (CB Insights)
  • UPS is betting big on drone delivery and autonomous trucks (Business Insider)
  • How artificial intelligence is making health care more human (MIT Technology Review)
  • Digital supply-chain transformation with a human face (McKinsey & Company)
  • Realistic 3D apparel models can be shared anywhere online now (WWD)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • Ikea builds eco-store with hanging gardens in Vienna (Retail Detail)
  • Aerie expands ‘real’ role model push with social contest, eight new ambassadors (Marketing Dive)
  • Gucci Changemakers Impact fund names first round of grant recipients (WWD)
  • Starbucks commits to a resource-positive future (Starbuck Stories)
  • The future of sustainable materials: milkweed floss (Fashionista)
  • Worn again technologies opens subpilot making step to industrialization (Fashion United)
  • Step inside an apartment from the climate change-ravaged future (Fast Company)
  • Bally reveals new mountain preservation efforts (WWD)
Retail & Commerce
  • Inside Prada’s pop-up private club (NYT)
  • Tiffany & Co. to open a blue box cafe in London (The Telegraph)
  • Inside the Williamsburg penthouse made for Instagram influencers (Glossy)
  • Neutrogena offers skincare advice in salon pop-up (Campaign)
  • Is existential retail the next wave in fashion? (WWD)
  • E-commerce could kill 30k stores and half a million jobs by 2025 (Retail Dive)
Marketing & Social Media
  • Instagram deprecates IGTV button as mobile streaming bet fails to take off (Mobile Marketer)
  • Meet The Drum’s latest cover star: a virtual influencer named Floresta (The Drum)
  • Social Chain launches livestream shopping for Facebook videos (Campaign)
  • Foot Locker consolidates eight loyalty programs into one (Glossy)
  • Can fashion PR make cannabis a luxury good? (Vogue Business)
Product
  • Virgil Abloh channels brutalism for concrete efflorescence furniture series (Dezeen)
  • Nike to launch modest swimwear range Victory Swim (The Industry)
  • Thom Browne teases collaboration with Samsung (Fashion United)
  • Superfeet licenses New Balance brand for high-tech custom insoles (Sourcing Journal)
  • Redemption launches sustainable athleisure collection (WWD)
  • Happy99 creates futuristic clothing for a post-consumer world (i-D)
Business
  • Amazon becomes first to pass $200bn brand valuation (Campaign)
  • Gap’s Alegra O’Hare exits as brand ‘redefines CMO role’ (Campaign)
  • Fashion industry sets out post-brexit immigration priorities (The Industry)
  • Could Shopify be the new Amazon? (Fashion United)
  • Tailored brands to sell Joseph Abboud brand for $115m (Retail Dive)
  • Why DTC marketing is no longer about accessible price points (Modern Retail)
  • US to crack down on counterfeit goods (Fashion United)
  • Do US luxury designers have a future? (Vogue Business)
Culture
  • L’Oréal exec will lead initiative to end gender bias in ads (Adweek)
  • Louis Vuitton teams up with the NBA to influence luxury buyers (Quartz)
  • Banana Republic celebrates artistic visionaries in campaign for Black History month (Marketing Dive)

How are you thinking about innovation? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more.

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business Editor's pick product Retail technology

Why Nike is betting on an Amazon-free future

Last month, Nike announced it would be pulling all of its products from Amazon in a bid to refocus its distribution strategy and “elevate consumer experiences through more direct, personal relationships”. 

Leaving one of the world’s biggest e-commerce platforms after a two-year pilot is a bold move. So what does the divorce mean for the sportswear giant?

In leaving Amazon, the company is joining a roster of others, from IKEA to Birkenstock, who have tried and failed to make it work on the platform. Amazon has developed a poor reputation when it comes to how it treats its sellers – and it’s doing very little to change it. But as retailers depart the platform to deliver a more personal customer experience – while keeping a tight leash on their product offerings – the e-commerce giant needs to start thinking damage control.

Selling on Amazon comes with an ever-changing set of challenges. While it has been busy expanding its fashion offering, the website is still designed for the convenience shopper, and not the one looking to be wowed or to discover a new favorite brand. Search ranking results can be confusing – for example, searching for sports shoes will not necessarily bring up the Nike sneakers immediately at the top of the page, even though it is a market leader. It is also often hard to find out whether you are buying the item directly from the brand, or a third-party seller.

Then there is the big elephant in the room: counterfeiting. Recently, The Wall Street Journal wrote that the website “increasingly resembles an unruly online flea market.” For the US site, it is now attracting Chinese sellers to post their goods directly to consumers, rather than through North American middlemen. This means a proliferation of sold goods that are deemed either counterfeit, or banned or unsafe for consumption, which are virtually impossible to keep track of.

But Nike’s exit is coming from a privileged position. It has built a community outside the retailer’s website, and will exist just fine without it. For brands of its caliber, this is a good chance to take a leaf out of the direct-to-consumer rulebook and create a distribution approach that not only gives it more say, but enables more direct conversations. 

Nike is now working on strengthening its relationship with other smaller retailers. At Foot Locker’s new NYC flagship, for example, NikePlus app users can reserve shoes in advance and pick them up from dedicated lockers.

On a direct-to-consumer level, it is launching services like the Nike Adventure Club, a sneaker subscription for kids aged 2-10 where for a monthly fee, they receive a certain number of sneakers a year. The brand is targeting time-strapped parents who live in areas that perhaps don’t have a shoe store nearby. Instead of restoring to the convenience of Amazon when their child has moved up a shoe size, Nike is hoping these parents will choose a box service with a trusted brand instead.

This is also a chance for the brand to test out the subscription model, and potentially apply it to other consumer groups in the future, says David Cobban, general manager of Nike Adventure Club.  “We’re starting to think about what other athletes have problems that could be very easily solved by a subscription,” he said. “This is the beginning of something pretty exciting for Nike.”

For all of the sales volume that Nike will be losing by exiting Amazon, the sports brand is hard at work building a tight strategy where convenience meets personalization, which will likely pay off in the near future. 

This is perhaps where Amazon continues to falter – both in the eyes of its vendors and consumers. Next day delivery and low prices come at the price of the user experience, which still leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to discoverability and bringing up (relevant) recommendations. 

Consumers may currently be fully onboard with the endless hamster wheel of speed and low value, but only time will tell if that will be enough to fulfill their more nuanced needs, such as creating emotional connections. Nike is betting on the latter.

How are you thinking about experience? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Each of the rules referenced above is matched by one of our products and services. Interested in how? Get in touch to learn more.

Categories
business digital snippets product Retail social media sustainability technology

Amazon 10 years ahead of UN Paris agreement, Nike’s first hijab ambassador, Facebook’s AI styling

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

Top Stories
  • Amazon plans to meet UN Paris agreement 10 years early (CNBC)
  • First Nike hijab ambassador on breaking barriers for women in fitness (Evening Standard)
  • Facebook experiments with AI-powered styling program (Vogue Business)
Technology
  • Google and Jennifer Lopez reinvent the Versace dress that created Google Images (The Verge)
  • L’Oreal’s Color&Co adds AR hair color try-ons (Mobile Marketer)
  • The quiet robot revolution that can unlock a trillion dollars in retail efficiencies (Forbes)
  • Starbuck taps Alibaba’s Tmall Genie for voice ordering (The Drum)
  • Facebook teams up with Ray-Ban on smart glasses (Mobile Marketer)
  • Google opens a new AI research centre in India (The Next Web)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • Moncler tops Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Drapers)
  • Waste2Wear presents world’s first collection of ocean plastics verified with Blockchain (Fashion United)
  • Ikea invests in solar farms (Fast Company)
  • Nike opens distribution center fully powered by renewable energy (Highsnobiety)
  • Toast launches clothes-swap scheme (Drapers)
  • Salesforce is building an app to gauge a company’s sustainability progress (Tech Crunch)
  • Green money: AmEx joins fight against plastic waste (Stylus)
  • Avery Dennison teams up with plastic bank to further the circular economy (Sourcing Journal)
Retail & E-commerce
  • Body Shop opens refillable concept store (The Guardian)
  • Sandro opens first US flagship store in New York (Fashion United)
  • Psyche launches standalone childrenswear site (Drapers)
  • Quinn Harper opens first store on the King’s Road (TheIndustry)
  • Pandora unveils new store concept in Birmingham (Fashion United)
Business
  • Ocado and M&S’ new joint venture enjoys double digit growth (Charged Retail)
  • H&M to test selling external brands in strategy shift (BoF)
  • Thomas Cook collapse leaves thousands stranded as bailout fails (Bloomberg)
  • Burberry appoints non-executive director (Drapers)
  • In London, fashion takes a break from Brexit (BoF)
  • Toby Bateman steps down from Mr Porter (Retail Gazette)
  • Bluemercury founders depart Macy’s (Retail Dive)
Marketing & Social Media
  • The danger for luxury brands that fail at story telling (Jing Daily)
  • Urban Decay dishes out makeup samples to Bumble app users (Mobile Marketer)
  • As Gucci trips up on social media, sales fall (WSJ)
  • Louis Vuitton launces LVTV (Fashion United)
Product
  • Caspar jumps on the CBD bandwagon with sleep gummies (Retail Dive)
  • HP debut first computer made with ocean-bound plastics (Adweek)
  • Victoria Beckham launches beauty line at LFW (Fashion United)
  • Italy’s Opera Campi to launch stretch hemp apparel (Sourcing Journal)
Culture
  • Instagram adds new restrictions on weight-loss products and cosmetic procedures (Adweek)
  • Banana Republic looks to skin tone and size inclusivity for turnaround (BoF)
  • Refinery29 and Eloquii team up to create a crowdsourced plus-size collection (Adweek)
  • Gucci faces backlash for straightjackets at Milan show (BoF)

How are you thinking about innovation? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more.

Categories
business Editor's pick Retail sustainability technology

9 brands pushing sustainable store design

With sustainability an increasing priority on the agenda for fashion and retail businesses around the globe today, attention is also turning to their brick-and-mortar stores – how they’re resourced, designed and constructed. 

According to Schneider Electric, retail buildings are the largest consumers of energy among non-residential buildings in Europe, contributing $20 billion each year. Factors such as electricity, air conditioning and lighting all contribute to a brand’s carbon footprint and emissions. 

The interesting thing is that going green is proven to not only help retailers reduce their impact on the planet, but significantly save them money. A 20% cut in energy costs can represent the same bottom line benefit as a 5% increase in sales, according to Carbon Trust. 

Investing in sustainable store design, therefore, has a positive effect on profit, people and the planet. From locally-sourced materials, to energy saving light bulbs, and even the removal of any plastic packaging, there is an incredibly wide range of ways retailers can make their stores more environmentally friendly. 

Here we highlight some of the best examples of brands going above and beyond with their stores in order to do so: 

Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney London flagship store

Last year Stella McCartney opened a new flagship store in London that expands four floors and embodies sustainability throughout. The outposts of the store are lined with recycled foam and card that were made from waste paper from the London offices. The space is also the first to use biodegradable mannequins,  made from 72% sugarcane bioplastic, which significantly reduces CO2 emissions. To help combat air pollution, the store has a hidden ventilation systems that removes 95% of air pollutants and harmful gases, such as nitrogen dioxide. At launch, Stella herself said: “The store really tells the story of the world of Stella McCartney, seamlessly incorporating sustainability, fashion and luxury.”

Ikea
Inside Ikea’s Greenwich Store

Ikea opened a sustainable store in London’s Greenwich, built from a range of renewable materials in 2019. The roof is covered with 75% solar panels, which power the store, and rainwater is harvested to help reduce the store’s water consumption by 50%. The store not only helps the environment, but is also working towards improving the community around it. Ikea holds an array of classes such as bunting making, which utilizes off-cuts of IKEA fabric, helping spread the message of full utilization. The design of the store has been awarded an ‘Outstanding’ BREEAM certification, which is the highest award for sustainable construction, covering areas such as energy, land use and materials. Efforts to incorporate geothermal heating, 100% LED lighting and textile recycling, have also elevated it to become the most sustainable retail store in the UK.

Patagonia
Patagonia Store in Victoria, Canada

Patagonia is not only leading the way with sustainability in manufacturing, but is going above and beyond with its store design strategy. Each outpost is uniquely designed to reflect the history and culture of its location, while simultaneously keeping the planet in mind. The Victoria store in Canada, which opened several years ago now, for instance, had three main goals when it was being designed: to use sustainable construction methods, utilize reclaimed materials and become the best retail space for outdoor activities in the area. It features a range of wooden details throughout, from wall decorations to shelving units, giving it a grounded earthy feel. The wood was wastage retrieved from the Pacific Ocean and leftover material from the local yacht club.

Country Road
Country Road store in Melbourne

Australian fashion retailer Country Road opened its flagship store in Melbourne this summer also with sustainability in mind. The space is made from recycled materials such as yoghurt containers, fishing nets and recycled paper. It is the first to receive a 5-star Green Design review from the Green Building Council of Australia. It also includes details like fitting room hooks that have been made using ocean plastic and tables from recycled plastic. The brand hopes this store design will be the first of many, as it continues to expand in the country.

Starbucks
Starbucks sustainable store design

Starbucks is leading the way in the coffee sphere by building LEED-certified stores, which stands for ‘leadership in energy and environmental design’. These green stores use LED lighting, recycled flooring tiles and wood products that are certified by the Forest Stewardship council. They are 25% more energy efficient and 30% more water efficient. In countries with solar and wind projects, the stores are run on   100% renewable energy. Starbucks already has 1,612 LEED-certified stores, but is intending to extend the framework to 10,000 by 2025, which could save $50m in utility costs over the next 10 years alongside reducing impact on the planet.

Bottletop
Bottletop’s London store

Sustainable accessories brand, Bottletop, opened the world’s first 3D printed store, created by robots using upcycled plastic, in London. Based on Regent Street, it is zero waste and home to the brand’s sustainable handcrafted collection of leather goods. The space embodies the company’s core mission to empower people through sustainable design and creative culture. The flooring of the store is made from reworked rubber tyres and the interior is made from 60,000 upcycled plastic bottles. Overall, the store aims to re-imagine the future of ecologically responsible construction through zero waste design.

Ganni
Ganni store

Danish fashion brand Ganni recently opened its new London store following a number of doors in Copenhagen and Stockholm. While it features bubblegum pink walls fit for every Instagrammer’s dream, it is also underpinned with a green strategy in mind. The store incorporates  sustainable features such as recycled plastic displays made from old plastic bottles, plant pots, food packaging and coffee grounds. Decorations throughout are either vintage pieces or upcycled products, including rugs that have been remade from old Ganni collections. The company also uses renewable energy across all of its stores, with the aim to have 100% green sources by the end of 2019. 

Lush
Lush’s plastic free products

As one of the sustainability leaders in beauty, Lush recently stepped up its game by stripping back several of its stores in Berlin, Milan and Manchester, in a bid to go entirely plastic free. The ‘Naked’ stores, as they’re called, are part of the brand’s initiative to tackle the plastic waste problem in the cosmetic industry. They all feature products like the brand’s solid shampoos, which don’t necessitate any packaging. Each of them further serve as an open space for NGOs and activist groups to educate and increase consumer awareness on the topics of zero waste and ocean plastics.

Reformation
Reformation store

Cult fashion brand Reformation puts sustainability at the core of everything it does, from local manufacturing and sustainable dyeing to green buildings and fabrics. Its Los Angeles stores and headquarters are all Green Business certified, meaning they implement strategies to save energy, improve water efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. Reformation offsets its store build by 100%, by calculating the construction footprint. The materials in store are also sustainable with LED fixtures,  recycled fabric insulations and natural rammed earth materials.

How are you thinking about sustainable innovations? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Each of the rules referenced above is matched by one of our products and services. Interested in how? Get in touch to learn more.

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

ICYMI: UK gov rejects sustainable recommendations, celebrating Karl, GenZ and TikTok

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

TOP STORIES
  • UK ministers reject plans for 1p per garment levy to tackle fast fashion [The Guardian]
  • ‘Karl for ever’: a joyful celebration of Karl Lagerfeld’s legacy [WWD]
  • Gen Z loves TikTok. Can fashion brands learn to love it too? [BoF]
  • How a £1 bikini revealed the changing shape of fast fashion [The Guardian]
TECHNOLOGY
  • The world is a mess. We need fully automated luxury communism [NY Times]
  • John Lewis to trial VR experience in shops [Fashion Network]
  • Amazon deploys ‘Pegasus’ robots in sortation centers [Retail Dive]
  • Training a single AI model can emit as much carbon as five cars in their lifetimes [Technology Review]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • H&M called out on “illegal” sustainability marketing [Eco Textile]
  • Net-a-Porter has started telling customers which brands are sustainable [The Independent]
  • More than half of British and American consumers want a more sustainable fashion industry [i-D Vice]
  • Prada sets goal to phase out virgin nylon by 2021 [BoF]
  • Ralph Lauren unveils new sustainability goals [WWD]
  • Banana Republic announces waterless dyed denim for 2020 [Fashion United]
  • Why we can’t relax about vegan leather [Vogue Business]
  • The North Face teams with National Geographic for upcycled plastic line [Fashion United]
  • Asos unveils ‘responsible edit’ [Drapers]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Verishop’s plan to be the Amazon of “affordable luxury” [Vogue Business]
  • Carrefour opens store with facial recognition and sensors [Retail Dive]
  • Pablo Isla defends ‘integrated model’ as a way to differentiate Inditex [Fashion Network]
  • Backstage and Story are very pretty. But, will they lure shoppers to Macy’s? [Retail Dive]
  • Gamification: the future of luxury retail in China [Jing Daily]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • The AI-driven social media network hailed as the next Tumblr [Dazed]
  • Mountain Hardwear launches AR app to bring outdoor gear to life [Retail Dive]
  • The future of marketing is bespoke everything [The Atlantic]
  • Mulberry bases new marketing campaign on British pub culture [Fashion Network]
  • MAC Cosmetics tries on YouTube’s newest AR ad formats [Retail Dive]
PRODUCT
  • Dolce & Gabbana becomes the first luxury fashion house to extend sizes [Fashion United]
  • Adidas and Ikea to develop products for home workouts [Fashion Network]
BUSINESS
  • Unilever acquires beauty brand Tatcha for a reported $500 million [AdWeek]
  • Chanel dispels rumors of sale after announcing a strong financial year [Fashion United]
  • Mulberry falls into the red [Drapers]
  • Kenzo parts ways with creative directors Humberto Leon and Carol Lim [WWD]
  • Topshop owner’s fall is fastest in UK high street memory [Vogue Business]
  • Revenue jumps 39% at Boohoo Group [Drapers]
CULTURE
  • Unilever boss warns of dangers of ‘woke-washing’ in ad industry [Sky News]
  • As drag goes mainstream, queer fashion designers reap business benefits [Fashionista]
  • It’s long overdue for fashion to think about people with disabilities [Hypebeast]
  • Streetwear’s big opportunity: women [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. 

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

ICYMI: France to stop burning clothes, inside product recommendations, the role of automation in retail

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

TOP STORIES
  • France to end disposal of $900 million in unsold goods each year [NY Times]
  • Inside the multi-billion-dollar online product recommendation economy [BoF]
  • Automation in retail: an executive overview for getting ready [McKinsey]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Amazon’s Bezos says robotic hands will be ready for commercial use in next 10 years [Fashion Network]
  • Can technology keep fake handbags out of the marketplace? [Fashionista]
  • Beyond the data breach: How retail is addressing cybersecurity [Retail Dive]
  • Can “drone delivery” technology make your skincare more effective? [Vogue]
  • Apple introduces ‘sign in with Apple’ to help protect your privacy [Tech Crunch]
  • Prada’s Lorenzo Bertelli sees startups as path to innovation [Vogue Business]
  • Amazon rolls out AR lipstick try-ons via L’Oréal’s ModiFace [Mobile Marketer]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Can Kering grow and be sustainable at the same time? [BoF]
  • The beauty industry’s having an environmental awakening, but not all redemption is created equal [Refinery29]
  • Those tiny hotel toiletry bottles are on their way out [NYT]
  • Gap Inc. to source all cotton from sustainable sources by 2025 [Fashion Network]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Ikea is transitioning its print catalog to Pinterest [Digiday]
  • McDonald’s and Disney top first-ever brand audio rankings [Campaign]
  • Is China ready for LGBTQI marketing? [BoF]
  • Is WeChat’s new social commerce feature a game changer [Jing Daily]
BUSINESS
  • Retailer Revolve gets 2018’s third-best U.S. trading debut [Yahoo]
  • The RealReal files for IPO [Retail Dive]
  • Topshop named mostly like to join ‘retail graveyard’ [Drapers]
  • The Modist secures investments from Farfetch and Nicola Bulgari [Harpers Bazaar]
  • Louis Vuitton sees ‘unheard-of’ growth in China [BoF]
  • Lacoste owner buys The Kooples [Drapers]
  • How China tariffs could make your sweaters and pants cost more [BoF]
CULTURE
  • Catwalk cover-up: how the west is falling for modest fashion [The Guardian]
  • Miley Cyrus takes a stand for reproductive rights with Marc Jacobs [Vogue]
  • ‘The models have bellies, hips and thighs that jiggle’: the rise of body-positive swimwear [The Guardian]
  • The Nike London flagship now has plus-sized mannequins [Teen Vogue]

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. 

Categories
business product Retail sustainability technology

ICYMI: Fashion businesses behind bars, sustainable fashion tech, Stitch Fix reinventing retail

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

TOP STORIES
  • Made on the inside, worn on the outside [NYT]
  • How can new technologies help make fashion more sustainable? [BoF]
  • Stitch Fix’s radical data-driven way to sell clothes–$1.2 billion last year–is reinventing retail [Fast Company]
TECHNOLOGY
  • This AI is so good at writing that its creators won’t let you use it [CNN]
  • Chinese state media’s latest innovation is an AI female news anchor [Quartz]
  • Future styles: Could virtual clothes reduce the damage of fast fashion? [Fashion Network]
  • The future is here, almost: virtual travel becomes more of a reality [NYT]
  • Are you being scanned? How facial recognition technology follows you, even as you shop [The Guardian]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Salvatore Ferragamo to unveil ‘Sustainable Thinking’ exhibition [WWD]
  • Workers making clothes for Australian brands can’t afford to eat, Oxfam reports [The Guardian]
  • Ikea’s new curtains purify the air inside your house [Fast Company]
  • Selfridges’ ‘Bright New Things’ promote sustainability, mindful consumption [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • American Eagle pilots subscription service [Retail Dive]
  • FedEx, Rent the Runway team up on ‘extra hours’ service [Retail Dive]
  • Has Everlane ushered in a brave new world of retail? [Vogue]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Nike is using Instagram’s IGTV to share the stories of four female athletes [AdWeek]
  • App makers are sharing sensitive personal information with Facebook but not telling users [The Verge]
PRODUCT
  • Vogue Italia and Yoox celebrate upcycling capsule [WWD]
  • Louis Vuitton “Drops” new sneaker collection on WeChat [Jing Daily]
BUSINESS
  • Payless shoes to shut all U.S. stores and wind down online operation [BoF]
  • Levi’s adds big data expert to C-suite [WWD]
  • Anna Wintour: a rare face-to-face with the most important woman in fashion [The Guardian]

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
data e-commerce Editor's pick Retail

Four effective ways brands are tapping into the rental market

The rental market boom is sending a clear signal to brands struggling to survive in the current retail climate: it is time to adapt to changing purchase behaviors, or risk losing market share.

The numbers don’t lie. Globally, the online clothing rental market is expected to reach $1.86bn by 2023, according to Allied Market. Disruptive fashion rental startup Rent the Runway, one of the first on the scene in 2009, has recently received a $20m funding injection from Alibaba’s founders and is now said to be valued at just under $800m.

The growing appeal of the rental market is largely due to the fact that it caters to such a large audience of consumers: from fashion-conscious shoppers who don’t want to own something they will likely only wear a handful of times, to the sustainability-focused consumer who is trying to do their bit for the planet by simply consuming and wasting less.

Globally, brands are now pursuing their own rental strategies in order to own the ecosystem in which the consumer shops. Whether the consumer is buying one day, and renting the next, they are being given the flexibility to choose while remaining within a brand’s universe, which is key to long-term loyalty. Here, we highlight three effective approaches when choosing to tap into the rental market.

Sustainability
Filippa K's Lease program
Filippa K’s Lease program

Swedish furniture company IKEA has recently announced it is piloting a furniture-leasing program at one of its Switzerland stores, starting with office furniture. The program, which includes refurbishing items once returned and leasing – or even selling – them again, is part of the company’s efforts to develop a circular business model.

Meanwhile Stockholm-based clothing label Filippa K leases its clothes as a way of promoting a more sustainable consumption model within the industry. Customers can rent anything they want for four days at 20% of the full price, with the cost of cleaning the garment included. According to the brand’s sustainability director Elin Larsson, the rental program grew 123% in 2017.  

Like Ikea, the initiative is just one part of the brand’s effort to achieve a circular business model by 2030, which also includes goals such as all garments being fully recyclable, achieving a traceable supply chain, and making the business as a whole more resource-efficient, meaning it will produce only what is needed and purchase the right amount of materials to do so.

Data-capturing
Rent the Runway designer collections
Rent the Runway’s designer collections

Many established brands dipping their toes into the rental market are doing so by teaming with new or more established players in the field in order to gather data about how customers are shopping and behaving.

After years of receiving data from Rent the Runway on how well their clothing is performing as rentals, US designers Prabal Gurung, Jason Wu and Derek Lam are introducing exclusive collections to the platform driven by consumer preferences. For example Gurung’s inaugural line, sold exclusive on RtR, will feature adjustments from different cuts to colors and prints that respond directly to customer feedback.

Another retailer trying to better understand how consumers are behaving is luxury department store Browns, which last year teamed up with rental startup Armarium on a two-week in-store pop-up presenting past season party pieces from designers such as Alexander McQueen and Erdem.

Customer acquisition
Ba&sh's NY store rental
Ba&sh’s NY store

French brand Ba&sh is expanding its US presence and hoping to garner the attention of a wider audience with a concept store in New York offering a rental program where customers can rent pieces entirely free of charge, for the whole weekend. Customers can visit the store and borrow a curated rack of garments from the current collection on a Friday between 5-7pm, as long as they are returned by Monday at 7pm.

With the service, the brand’s founders wanted to make guests feel like they are borrowing clothes from their friends’ closets. “This is an ideal place to test a concept we’d like to try in other major cities where Ba&sh also has a presence,” said Sarah Benady, Ba&sh’s CEO for North America, to French website, Frenchly.

New revenue streams
Aoki's Suitsbox service rental
Aoki’s Suitsbox service

Express and Ann Taylor are major retailers that have both recently introduced a subscription service for renting their clothes. Following the success of Rent the Runway’s business model and the many alternatives that have flooded the market since, customers to both retailers can rent a limited number of items a month for a set fee.

“The consumer who is more interested in access versus ownership is happening across many industries,” said Jim Hilt, Express’ chief customer officer, in an interview with CNBC. “We looked at this evolution and asked, ‘how do we participate?’.”

In Asia, a region where used clothing often carried negative connotations, brands and retailers are also in on the action, particularly targeting urban workers. Menswear brand Aoki is offering a subscription service, Suitsbox, where for 7,800 yen a month customers can rent a complete outfit composed of suit, shirt and necktie. Retailer Renown, meanwhile, is offering a suit rental service for a flat month fee with a minimum six-month contract. “From the age of buying clothes, we have entered the age of renting them,” said Renown’s corporate communications head, Tomohiro Nakagawa.

How are you thinking about retail 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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Editor's pick Podcast sustainability

Meet 5 companies putting sustainability at the core of their business models

Consumer demand for more responsible products is clearer than ever, and companies – from legacy names to newer players in the field – are evolving their business models to incorporate more sustainable practices.

To hit their ambitious sustainability goals, the approach is diverse, from using blockchain in the supply chain to finding new ways to bioengineering innovative textiles.

Last year, TheCurrent Global’s Innovators podcast spoke to some of the world’s top brands and companies on what it means to be sustainable at this day and age, and how to create a more responsible future that will enable them to still be around in decades to come.

H&M
Nina Shariati, who is responsible for transparency at H&M, on TheCurrent Innovators podcast
H&M’s head of transparency Nina Shariati

H&M has some of the fashion industry’s most ambitious goals: by 2030, it aims to use 100% recyclable or sustainably sourced materials. Nina Shariati, who leads transparency at H&M, spoke to TheCurrent Global on how the group’s size in the fast fashion space could work in their – and everyone’s – favour: “We see it as a positive thing that we are a large company where we have [these ambitions], and we see that with the help of our size we can drive this change that we want to see.”

For example last year already, 36% of H&M’s total material buy was recycled or sustainably sourced.  “What we want to do with transparency is to set a measuring index that harmonizes the industry so that you can compare your product across brands,” adds Shariati. “We are far from the time where it’s OK to work in silos.” The ultimate goal, she notes, should be to empower consumers by enabling them to make more informed decisions.

Listen here

Naadam
Liz Bacelar and Matt Scanlan, Naadam
Liz Bacelar and Matt Scanlan, Naadam

For Matt Scanlan, CEO and co-founder of the disruptive cashmere brand Naadam, being sustainable means transforming your supply chain into a community. The brand was conceived after he spent a month with local communities in the Gobi Desert learning about their lifestyles. He eventually returned with $2 million in cash to buy tons of raw cashmere directly from herders, thus allowing them to earn 50% more profit than in a traditional fashion supply chain. His ambition to disrupt the cashmere industry has grown rapidly since.

But Scanlan still holds some skepticism about reaching 100% sustainability in the supply chain, which he thinks is both fake and impossible to achieve. Speaking to Innovators co-host Liz Bacelar, he also talks passionately about the human side of the industry which, after all, is built on relationships.

Listen here

Ikea
Rachel Arthur and Ikea’s Joanna Yarrow

Ikea is focusing on creating products and services that can support consumers to live more sustainably, and more healthfully, every day.

According to Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainable and healthy living at the Swedish giant, to achieve its sustainable strategy, the company’s approach is threefold: look at its use of energy and resources – by 2020, it will be generating at least as much energy as it is consuming in their operations; focus on its people and its supply chain; and lastly, work on how to improve its customers’ lives overarchingly.

Since the original episode was published, Ikea has opened what it claims to be its most sustainable store in the world in Greenwich, London, featuring solar panels, rainwater harvesting and a geothermal heating system. It has also introduced a furniture leasing pilot in Switzerland.  

Listen here

Martine Jarlgaard
Martine Jarlgaard and Rachel Arthur
Martine Jarlgaard and Rachel Arthur

Blockchain has an emerging and important role in sustainability, and UK-based designer Martine Jarlgaard was one of the early adopters of the technology in order to investigate a more sustainable supply chain.

In 2017, her namesake label teamed up with London-based startup Provenance to register and trace each step of the journey of a garment on a blockchain platform, which consumers could access by scanning a QR code found on its label.

Speaking to co-host Rachel Arthur last summer, Jarlgaard weighed in on how brands need to redefine the value of a product to change the way in which consumers shop, and emphasized the huge responsibility that sits on the industry’s shoulders to start driving sustainability ahead. “We are such a closed, centralized system. Being open and transparent is the only way forward.”

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Bolt Threads
Dan Widmayer and Rachel Arthur
Bolt Threads’ Dan Widmayer and Rachel Arthur

San Francisco-based bioengineering startup Bolt Threads is arguably one of the most known names disrupting the fashion industry, largely due to its relationship with eco-luxury label Stella McCartney. Working with the brand, it has so far launched pilot products such as a dress made of of lab-grown spider silk, as well as most recently, a ‘leather’ bag constructed out of mushroom leather, or mycelium.

Sustainable innovation and the power it now carries are a direct response to a shift in consumer behavior, he says. “Ultimately it is up to the consumer. [We’re] seeing the speed at which consumer taste is changing – 2017 was a transformative year for sustainability,” adding, “It is getting big really fast and it’s becoming one of the issues at the forefront of the industry because it touches everyone.”

Listen here

Catch up with all of our episodes of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by The Current Global, 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.

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business Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce film mobile product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Payless wins with fake luxury store, British MPs grill fast fashion, UN forms sustainability alliance

Payless's fake luxury store Palessi
Payless’s fake luxury store Palessi

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

TOP STORIES
  • Payless opened a fake luxury store with $600 shoes [Fortune]
  • MPs grill fast fashion bosses on sustainable practices at select committee hearing [The Industry]
  • UN to form alliance to make fashion more sustainable [FashionUnited]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Cambridge Analytica whistleblower joins H&M to lead AI research [TheCurrent Daily]
  • Muji designs “friendly” autonomous shuttle bus for Finland [Dezeen]
  • Smart speakers are everywhere this holiday season, but they’re really a gift for big tech companies [Vox]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Patagonia’s billionaire founder to give away the millions his company saved from Trump’s tax cuts to save the planet [Forbes]
  • Can the ‘broken’ fashion industry be fixed? [BBC]
  • For retailers and brands, sustainability needs good tech [Forbes]
  • Lane Crawford switches to greener shopping bags and packaging [WWD]
  • Next season’s must-have isn’t a handbag, it’s a conscience [i-D]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • How Casper is designing experiential retail moments [TheCurrent Daily]
  • A year in, Marks & Spencer’s virtual assistant has helped drive £2m in sales [Digiday]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • YouTube rolls out merchandise selling function [Drapers]
  • Nike tugs on heartstrings with ‘My Crazy Dream’ IGTV series [Mobile Marketer]
  • Steph Curry tells Under Armour to market his shoes to girls [BoF]
  • Instagram adds ‘close friends’ to let you share stories to a more limited group [The Verge]
  • Benefit to create pink train carriage for last minute brow treatments [Campaign]
PRODUCT
BUSINESS
  • Black Friday took one third of sales from smartphones [FashionUnited]
  • Kering to end Yoox partnership, take control of e-commerce by 2020 [BoF]
  • H&M to shut Cheap Monday [WWD]
  • Condé Nast to combine US and international businesses [BoF]
  • Cash-strapped millennials turn to instalment plans to buy t-shirts and jeans [BoF]
CULTURE
  • Bread & Butter cancelled for 2019 [Drapers]

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.