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LVMH’s $16bn Tiffany&Co deal, Coty’s Kylie Cosmetics takeover, H&M’s size-free denim

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

Top Stories
  • LVMH confirms deal to acquire Tiffany&Co for $16.2 billion (CNBC)
  • Coty acquires majority stake in Kylie Jenner’s beauty business for $600million (Retail Dive)
  • H&M’s Weekday Denim to sell ‘size-free’ jeans in 2020 (WWD)
  • The State of Fashion 2020 report (BoF)
Technology
  • Adidas AR activation drops shoppers into a trash-filled virtual ocean (Mobile Marketer)
  • 4 ways to address gender bias in AI (Harvard Business Review)
  • Chipotle rolls out Alexa voice ordering (Mobile Marketer)
  • Tesla’s new Cybertruck smashed during demo (BBC)
  • JC Penney rings in holiday proposal season with AR ad driving virtual try-ons (Retail Dive)
  • Amazon launches a Dash Smart Shelf that automatically restocks supplies (TechCrunch)
  • 3D configurators aren’t a gimmick – they’re the future of shopping (The Next Web)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • New senate bill proposes animal-testing ban for cosmetics (WWD)
  • Sainsbury’s opens ‘giving store’ to collect food and gift donations (Campaign)
  • Etihad, Boeing announce first-of-its-kind eco-friendly plane (Khaleej Times)
  • Gucci boos Marco Bizzarri urges CEOs to fight climate change (Retail Gazette)
  • Everlane has eliminated 75% of virgin plastics from its supply chain (Vogue Business)
  • Retailers take a stance on ‘dirty viscose’ (Drapers)
  • Air Co launches as ‘worlds first carbon-negative vodka’ (Dezeen)
  • Conde Nast to rethink plastic packaging (WWD)
  • Boots scraps plastic pharmacy bags for compostable bags (Retail Gazette)
Retail & Commerce
  • Patagonia opens first Worn Wear store (Retail Dive)
  • Cartier unveils digital platform: Cartier Care (WWD)
  • Mulberry to open new store concept at Victoria Leeds (Fashion United)
  • Amazon opens four-day Black Friday pop-up (Campaign)
  • Collagerie is a new online shopping platform that will take the confusion out of what to buy (Vogue)
  • Posti to open a new parcel centre, with fitting rooms, for online shoppers (Helsinki Times)
  • Whistles collaborates with Goldfinger Factory for sustainable Christmas window (The Industry)
Business
  • Estée Lauder companies to acquire k-beauty company Dr.Jart+ (Fashion United)
  • Nike invests in adaptive footwear (BoF)
  • Uber wants to deliver drugs to your home (Mashable)
  • PayPal acquires Honey for $4billion (Adweek)
  • After Barney’s Bankruptcy, ex-CEO joins Tiffany&Co (Bloomberg)
  • Jennifer Lopez named global ambassador of Coach (WWD)
  • Victoria’s Secret cancels fashion show amid ratings drop (BBC)
  • Arcadia appoints Andrew Coppel as new chairman (Retail Gazette)
  • Inside Iran’s underground fashion industry (BoF)
  • Il Makiage acquires Israeli tech start-up NeoWize (WWD)
  • Subscription bag rental service Cocoon launches (Fashion United)
Marketing & Social Media
  • Pantene teamed up with the Dresscode Project for Trans Visibility Campaign (Teen Vogue)
  • Dove drives change in beauty ads with ‘Project #ShowUs’ (WARC)
  • European Retailers Lure Chinese Shoppers with WeChat Pay (Jing Daily)
  • Oasis converts with social proof messaging (Retail Technology)
  • How to sell fashion on Instagram without traditional influencers (Vogue Business)
Product
  • Stella McCartney and Adidas are releasing vegan Stan Smiths (Teen Vogue)
  • Missguided extends brand into travel market with MISSGUIDED VACAYS (The Industry)
  • Victoria Beckham expands into skincare, plans fragrance launch for 2020 (Fashion Network)
  • Advent calendars are big business for beauty (Vogue Business)
  • Louis Vuitton debuts customizable sneaker trunk (Highsnobiety)
  • Serena Williams debuts first jewelry line (Fashion Network)
  • Prada & Adidas unveil first set of limited editions bags and sneakers (WWD)
Culture
  • Vogue Mexico spotlights transgender ‘muxe’ women (BoF)
  • Is ‘incubating’ influencers the future? (Glossy)
  • Why fashion needs chief diversity officers (Vogue Business)
  • The future is fluid as labels sign up for gender-free fashion (The Industry)

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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Podcast product

Universal Standard on leveling the playing field for ‘plus-size’ fashion

“We really and truly believe that the plus size woman will never be serviced as well as she will be when there’s no such thing as plus size,” say Alexandra Waldman and Polina Veksler, co-founders of size-inclusive label, Universal Standard, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global.

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

Fashion tends to segregate women who are on the larger end of the spectrum, they say, and so they’re on a mission to level the playing field and make clothes for everyone. To that end, the brand, which had already gained a cult-like following for its size-inclusive clothing since launching in 2015, introduced an even larger range in 2018, from 00 to 40 – an industry first.

Understanding how women of all sizes shop has been key to the brand’s success, which last year also raised its first round of investment from the likes of GOOP’s Gwyneth Paltrow, TOMS’ Blake Mycoskie and Imaginary Ventures’ Natalie Massenet. They’ve also introduced collaborations with brands including J.Crew and as of just this week, Rodarte.

Much like many direct-to-consumer counterparts, the e-commerce experience is playing a major part in its popularity: all of its SKUs can be viewed at every size available within the range, making it easier for women to compare and make confident decisions; and its Universal Fit Liberty Program allows shoppers to replace their purchase, free of charge, within a year of completing it, should they go up or down in size.

During this conversation, recorded at the Current Global’s Innovation Mansion at SXSW this year, Waldman and Veksler break down the many product development challenges that come with the industry’s traditional fit formula; tell co-host Rachel Arthur what they’re putting in place to reduce hostility to women of larger size ranges, and share why their bold moves are shifting the way the whole industry approaches this market.

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 Editor's pick

Gucci launches Changemakers program to foster diversity and inclusivity

Gucci has announced the launch of Changemakers, a program that aims to support industry change and foster more diversity and inclusivity. The initiative includes a multi-million dollar fund, a scholarship program and a global employee-volunteering framework, and follows the company’s announcement of an internal action plan launched in 2018.

The multi-year fund will allocate $5 million towards investments in community-based programs in cities across North America, with the aim to build better opportunities for the African-American community and communities of color at-large. A parallel fund of the same monetary value will be established in the Asia Pacific region.

The scholarship program, which focuses on empowering young people through education, will offer scholarships for college students across various disciplines in fashion throughout the region. Over the course of four years, students will receive a $20,000 grant towards their education.

Both student grants and non-profit organizations will be partly selected by a dedicated Council composed of community leaders and experts in social change, in order to ensure that whatever the program embarks on is done so with transparency and long-term impact. The Council includes Harlem couturier and Gucci ambassador Dapper Dan, fashion activist Bethann Hardison and Eric Avila, professor of history and chicano studies at UCLA.

Lastly, announced in 2018, the volunteering campaign is focusing on the label’s 18,000 employees by allocating up to four paid days off for volunteering activities in their local communities. This represents 8,000 days of volunteer support in North America, the first region involved in the program, under four main pillars of volunteering: equality, support for refugees and the homeless, protection of the environment, and education.

The Changemakers Program can be seen as a proactive response to the brand’s recent scandal over the insensitive design of a baklava sweater resembling blackface. Following the controversy earlier this year, the brand announced a series of long-term initiative, which includes the hiring of a global director for diversity and inclusion; a multi-cultural design scholarship program in partnership with colleges in 10 global cities; and the hiring of five new designers from around the world for Gucci’s design head office.

Dapper Dan’s collection for Gucci

“I believe in dialogue, building bridges and taking quick action,” said Marco Bizzarri, Gucci’s president and CEO. “This is why we started working immediately on the long-term infrastructure at Gucci to address our shortcomings. And now through our Changemakers program, we will invest important resources to unify and strengthen our communities across North America, with a focus on programs that will impact youth and the African-American community.”

Dapper Dan, a longtime Gucci fan but also vocal critic of the ‘blackface’ scandal, said, “It is imperative that we have a seat at the table to say how we should be represented and reimagined. Through our work together, Gucci is in a position to lead the overall industry toward becoming a more inclusive one.” He later added on Instagram, “This does not end with Gucci, it begins with Gucci.”

Additional reporting by Camilla Rydzek.

How are you thinking about brand messaging? 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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Campaigns social media technology

Rimmel’s fights cyberbullying with AI driven-tool

Rimmel
Rimmel

Rimmel is aiming to fight beauty cyberbullying with a new online tool driven by artificial intelligence called the Cybersmile Assistant.

The initiative aims to create a safe space for those bullied about their appearance through negative or abusive comments on their social media channels. It enables them to share their experience and find solutions, with the chatbot assistant recommending approved organizations, helplines and local resources.

The Coty-owned cosmetics brand created the tool as part of a long-term partnership with the Cybersmile Foundation, a non-profit aiming to end all forms of cyberbullying. It will live on the Cybersmile website from early 2019 in English, with additional language versions launching at a later date.

Sara Wolverson, vice president of global marketing at Rimmel, commented: “As a global beauty company, Coty wants to contribute solutions that can positively impact prejudice and discrimination that stand in the way of self-expression and to raise awareness to affect positive changes in behaviour.”

The activation is part of a larger initiative launched this week by Rimmel called #IWILLNOTBEDELETED, which aims to empower victims who would otherwise feel pressured to delete their social media accounts.

As part of this, the brand released a report together with Coty, which interviewed 11,000 young women across the ages 16-25 in 10 countries and identified that one in four had experienced beauty cyberbullying.

Are you thinking innovatively enough in your brand messaging? 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.

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Campaigns social media Uncategorized

Olay celebrates unique personality traits with real women

Face Anything, Olay, Female Empowerment
Olay’s “Face Anything”

Skin care brand Olay has launched “Face Anything”, a campaign that encourages female empowerment by celebrating unique personality traits.

The campaign, launched across print and video, features nine inspiring women sharing personal stories of how they face criticism for being ‘too much’ of something, such as too emotional, or too confident, and how they embrace their uniqueness.

The cast includes Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, comedian and YouTube star Lilly Singh and fashion model Jillian Mercado, who suffers from spastic muscular dystrophy and has become a voice for diversity in the industry.

The campaign is powered by a dedicated microsite that further highlights their cast’s individualities, as well as an influencer campaign that will run on Instagram for 28 days. For the social media element, a cast of influencers have been tasked with documenting themselves using a curated collection of Olay products for the campaign period.

At the end of the programme, the influencers will be invited to join some of the cast on a New York Fashion Week runway. To underscore the authenticity principle of the brand, the influencers will not be wearing any make-up.

The campaign was developed after Olay commissioned a survey that revealed that 54% of women prefer a “natural look”, while 84% said that social media images pressure them into conforming to beauty standards.

Olay is not the first cosmetic company to embrace authenticity, with body care giant Dove, for instance, having championed this mindset throughout its communications for over ten years – such as most recently introducing a tool to identify any image that is digitally enhanced.

The fact that increasingly beauty and skin care brands are choosing to feature real women – flaws and all – to speak to their customer base is a huge indication that this is no longer a trend, but rather a shift in mentality that has been a long time coming.

Are you thinking innovatively enough in your brand messaging? 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.

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Campaigns Editor's pick film

ASOS launches influencer video series exploring identity through beauty

ASOS
ASOS

ASOS has launched a YouTube mini series exploring gender and identity through the lens of beauty, hosted by its influencer network, known as Insiders.

The series aims to further promote diversity and self-exploration to its Gen Z audience, continuing the message first established when it launched the Face + Body category in September 2017.

The first video, which explores “gender, identity and performance”, begins with all five Insider hosts introducing the viewer to the “challenge” that one of the Insiders, in this instance Joel, has to complete.

As viewers find out, Joel is tasked to find his drag alter ego with the help of performer Dinah Lux. Meanwhile the remaining Insiders set out to explore what the topic means by interviewing peers that transform themselves into different characters through performance art.

The second instalment of the series, released yesterday (July 30), explores biodegradable glitter and body confidence and sees Insider Alice create a full body look using nothing but glitter.

Below each video, ASOS prompts viewers to further explore the topic and shop their Insiders’ looks through dedicated pages on ASOS.com.

Are you thinking innovatively enough in your brand messaging? 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.

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Editor's pick product

Heist uses crowdsourced data to launch inclusive line of tights

Heist Studios
Heist Studios

Heist Studios has announced the release of five new tights in a variety of nude shades as a result of crowdsourced data from over 1,000 women. The new additions will add five new shades to Heist’s current line of nude tights when released later this week.

The diverse colour palette was sourced from “The Nude Project”, a crowdsourcing effort for which Heist created a dedicated microsite where it is asking women globally to share their own unique “nude” skin tones. Launched back in 2017, the project aims to create an ongoing range that reflects the needs of its audience accurately, says the brand.

“We know from our customers that women shy away from wearing nude garments for the most part because, with only a limited range of shades on offer, they are unable to find a suitable match,” says Heist. “We saw the furore around Meghan Markle’s tights at her first royal engagement as Duchess of Sussex, with the press lambasting the shade of nude. Our extended range seeks to solve this problem.”

Heist Studios
Heist Studios

The new range will be available to purchase from July 30 in the UK market in sizes ranging 4 to 14, while an extended sizing range from 16 to 24 will be released in October.

By launching the range in a wider variety of both shades and sizing, Heist continues to make strides towards inclusivity and diversity, which have been at the core of its DNA since inception. Additionally, reflecting its consumers’ voices in both product and advertising allows the brand to remain a strongly authentic voice in the market.

The strategy has allowed the UK-based company to quickly position itself as a true disruptor in both direct-to-consumer retail and the hosiery category itself, as CEO Toby Darbyshire told us on TheCurrent Innovators podcast in April. 

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mobile Retail technology

Target has a secret app for customer feedback

Target, Studio Connect, App, Customer, Review, Feedback, fast-fashion
Studio Connect

Target has developed a secret app with an interface that closely resembles that of Instagram to gather insights into the minds of its customers.

According to the retailer, the app’s main purpose is to gather feedback on product development, with an aim to drive better product selection and faster turnaround of stock to give the company a competitive advantage in the fast-paced retail space. Users can like and comment on pictures, much like a social media feed.

A designer asking for possible mothers-day catchphrases on a t-shirt, receives an average of 40-50 user responses in 24 hours. Furthermore, after an average of 10 hours the design team can already gather common themes and start to incorporate the feedback into its product development, reportedly.

Studio Connect, as the app is called, was first developed back in 2016, but is only accessible through a direct invitation by Target. It never has more than 600 members. Participants are selected by Target through evaluating online survey answers and check out feedback forms, after which they are then categorized into relevant marketing segments (such as if they having children in the household or not). This information is then also used to help the retailer analyze consumer patterns and understand more about its customers’ behavior. 

Target offers no monetary awards, although users can gather points that can be used for discounts and special offers.

Studio Connect, Target, Instagram, Retail, App, Reviews, Feedback, Customers, Fast-fashion
Studio Connect

The app has also been used as a crowdsourcing tool, with children encouraged to take part in a design contest and upload drawings of designs. Target’s creative team then found that many children were drawing a similar color pattern, which they then printed on a pair of leggings.

It has also helped the retailer to offer more inclusive clothing by gathering feedback by parents with disabled children, which resulted in the launch of a completely new clothing line.

Studio Connect is just one of numerous innovations by the retailer, which also recently invested in its beauty section by introducing augmented reality and text-to-chat robot.

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Campaigns film social media

CoverGirl credits 1,000 women with inclusive foundation film

CoverGirl "By The Infinite"
CoverGirl “By The Infinite”

CoverGirl has launched an online video that celebrates the women who have inspired its new TrueBlend foundation, which boasts over 40 shades.

To truly do so, the brand has created a credits section to the spot that rolls for a full 13 minutes and 40 seconds, thanking all of the 1,000 women involved.

Alongside those featured in the spot, the brand has also enlisted brand ambassadors such as HBO series Insecure’s star, Issa Rae, 70-year-old model Maye Musk, and motorcycle racer Shelina Moreda, further emphasizing the diversity of both the shades of foundation and the women who will wear it.

The short film was directed by Australian director Kim Gehrig and features an array of beautiful women of all ethnicities and skin colors dancing on and off the screen in a whirlwind, with the last few seconds bringing all of them together in a staircase frame.

Written over this powerful image are the words “A foundation inspired by the infinite, made for you.”

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna arguably kickstarted the 40-shade foundation hype and led beauty giants such as L’Oreal, Coverfix, and MakeUpForever to launch or expand into new shades. CoverGirl emphasizes however that its TrueBlend foundation was not created as a reaction to a trend, but rather inspired by listening to the needs of its consumers and developing the shades and formula through their feedback.

The spot is part of CoverGirl’s overarching new approach titled “I Am What I Make Up”, which officially substituted its famous “Easy, Breezy, Beautiful” tagline in 2017. The brand has since invested in a series of campaigns where it hopes to show a more mature and inclusive identity.

Highlights of this new approach include enlisting Amy Deanna as a spokesperson, who became the brand’s first model with vitiligo.  In May this year, fitness trainer and influencer Massy Arias also showcased the brand’s mascara while doing a workout, in a message of the importance of making time for one’s self.

CoverGirl "By The Infinite"
CoverGirl “By The Infinite”

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Campaigns

Bonobos campaign features 172 models in diversity push

Bonobos Project172
Bonobos Project172

Bonobos is thinking about diversity in a big way in its latest campaign – hiring 172 different models to show off all the variations of its pants.

The resulting 30-second spot features all shapes, sizes, ages and ethnicities. “However you fit, Bonobos fits you,” reads the tagline from the direct-to-consumer menswear company that sold to Walmart last year for $310 million.

“There’s a really interesting conversation to be had around the evolution of masculinity, and the power of diversity and inclusivity,” Micky Onvural, co-president of the brand, told AdAge. The company has been exploring “how Bonobos as a brand could not just have an impact on the men that [it sells to] and how they see themselves, but have an impact on the conversation.”

Bonobos Project172
Bonobos Project172

She added that things have become even more topical in the context of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement in terms of the way that men should look at themselves and behave.

This Project172 campaign was created by Observatory Marketing, formerly known as CAA, and is reportedly the brand’s costliest to date. It will air in Austin and Chicago and be complemented by a push across radio, digital and social media. There’s also a 90-second video and a seven-minute documentary featuring interviews with many of the models talking about their definition of masculinity. It follows the brand’s ‘Role Model’ campaign in late 2017.