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Editor's pick product Startups technology

In-depth with Modern Meadow: the start-up bioengineering leather in a lab

Modern Meadow
Modern Meadow

It’s one thing to say you’re working on the future of textiles, but it’s another altogether to be doing so with living cells.

That’s the premise of Modern Meadow, a biofabrication company growing animal-free leather in a lab. Until now it’s operated in the research and development space, but a recent $40 million Series B round of financing led by Horizons Ventures and Iconiq Capital, will enable it to now transition into manufacturing.

In a few years, that means we’ll be able to buy products that do indeed look and feel like leather, but are engineered from collagen protein instead. The result has the potential to have a significant impact on leather as a $100 billion raw material market; helping to satisfy increasing demand as well reduce the harm it currently has on both animals and the environment.

Head over to Forbes to read the full interview with Modern Meadow’s chief creative officer, Suzanne Lee, who talks about exactly what enhanced properties these leathers can have, the role sustainability plays in the need for this work and what the limitations are to get it to market.

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digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Tommy Hilfiger’s #Instapit, Amazon’s growing fashion offer, Burberry’s Brooklyn Beckham nepotism controversy

Your round-up of the latest stories related to fashion and technology…

tommy

  • Tommy Hilfiger to host first ‘Instapit’ for Instagram content creators at women’s show [WWD]
  • Amazon’s clothing selection is now bigger than 250 Walmart supercenters combined [Re/code]
  • Brooklyn Beckham, Burberry and the new celebrity aristocracy [The Guardian]
  • House of Fraser baffles Twitter with off-the-wall Valentine’s Day #emojinal campaign [Marketing]
  • Dolce & Gabbana’s male models were glued to their ipads on the runway [Yahoo! Style]
  • John Lewis introduces ‘Shazam for clothes’ [Independent]
  • Zalando: the fashion platform looking to China for great customer experience [Econsultancy]
  • How The North Face uses AI to create natural conversations with online shoppers [Medium]
  • Inside three retail innovation labs: Sephora, Kohl’s, and Sears [RetailDive]
  • Social media influencers star in Boohoo #WeAreUs campaign [WWD]
  • 4 influencers break away from a dystopian future in adidas’ edgy new campaign [AdWeek]
  • Fashion and beauty brands are investing more in influencer marketing than ever [Fashionista]
  • Here’s how much celebrities make in the Instagram product placement machine [Jezebel]
  • Uber will now deliver your fancy Nordstrom clothes and flowers too [Mashable]
  • At retail’s ‘Big Show,’ a look at the tech merchants hope will keep them relevant [The Washington Post]
  • Shoppers love click and collect more than any other retail tech [Marketing]
  • Fixing the fitting room [Bloomberg]
  • The latest in so-called ‘beauty tech’ [Racked]
  • A growing internet ecosystem is breeding a radically new generation of fashion-forward men [Quartz]
  • Global luxury: how to win when you’re everywhere [BoF]
  • What worries retailers about their digital transformation [Digiday]
  • Here’s the problem with trendy e-commerce businesses [Fortune]
  • The future of e-commerce: bricks and mortar [The Guardian]
  • This ex-Googler’s fashion aggregation site is pioneering age of digital personalisation [Forbes]
  • New platform Launchmetrics can help fashion publicists track the ‘influence’ of front row guests [Fashionista]
  • Meet the 25-year-old Swedish woman using 3d scanning to make shoes fit perfectly [Forbes]
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Editor's pick technology

Neiman Marcus trials smart memory mirror – NRF Big Show

neimanmarcus_memomi2

You might remember the Intel MemoMi mirror from the NRF Big Show in 2014 – a smart device for the fitting room that captures 10-second clips of shoppers in their new looks.

Using patented “perspective-distortion correction” technology, it shows 360-degree back and side views of each outfit, and “remembers” each of them so they can be reviewed from the mirror interface afterwards.

It was back again this year, and this time with Neiman Marcus signed as a partner.

The US department store is currently trialling the mirror in its Walnut Creek store in California, where it’s been receiving incredibly strong feedback, says Scott Emmons, enterprise architect within information services at the company’s innovation lab, also known as its iLab.

“We loved this because it can give an amazing experience for the customer as well as real insight into what she wants to buy,” he told me at the NRF show earlier this week. Indeed the benefit of the mirror for retailers is being able to gather data on things like demographics, body measurements and fit, as well as preferential styles and conversion rates on different pieces.

In an additional use for the mirror, Neiman Marcus also found its sales associates wanted to create an account where they can record videos of models in new looks and send them directly to shoppers to take a look at. Emmons says doing so is already leading to conversions, proving the device also has potential as a sales tool.

Neiman Marcus is planning to follow up on the pilot with two more stores in San Francisco and Dallas.

“We will spend a few weeks learning what’s working and what isn’t, and make a decision if it is to be a chain-wide roll out from there or not. I’m pushing for it to be that; it’s a really exciting project,” said Emmons.

According to WWD, Neiman Marcus is also running another test in a number of stores with Apple iBeacon technology, enabling shoppers to receive notifications on their mobile devices regarding discount promotions, new product arrivals, designer appearances and other special events.

Both technology introductions at Neiman Marcus are part of a wider trend evident at NRF’s Big Show towards the connected store or the internet of things. Alongside beacons and smart fixtures were insights on clienteling solutions, analytics and a series of innovations spanning touchless checkouts to connected fitting rooms.