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ICYMI: Lagerfeld passes at 85, Gucci and the blackface scandal, fashion preps for Brexit

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

  • Karl Lagerfeld dies in Paris [BoF]
  • Internal memo from Gucci CEO shows he’s taking the blackface scandal very, very seriously [Fashionista]
  • Fashion prepares for Brexit disaster [BoF]
  • Levi Strauss files for initial public offering [Fashion United]
  • Brands are testing augmented reality’s influence on e-commerce [Digiday]
  • Amazon opens up Alexa store for anyone to create and publish custom skills [The Verge]
  • Government considers clothing levy to reduce fashion industry waste [The Industry]
  • 6 years after Rana Plaza, worker safety is under threat in Bangladesh again [BoF]
  • 3.1 Phillip Lim to go fur-free from autumn 2019 [Fashion United]
  • Bonprix’s latest high-tech shopping experience [Fashion United]
  • Barneys to open luxury cannabis shop [Chain Store Age]
  • Le Bon Marché to showcase technology with ‘Geek Mais Chic’ theme [WWD]
  • Cannabis couture: MedMen unveils apparel line [WWD]
  • Vans partners with Led Zeppelin on capsule collection [Fashion Network]
  • Here’s why luxury shoe brand M.Gemi releases new shoes every Monday [AdWeek]
  • Kering sales rise 24.5% in Q4 as Gucci growth normalizes [WWD]
  • What’s ailing Mulberry? [BoF]
  • How to address fashion’s racism problem [BoF]
  • Blackface fashion is officially the worst fashion trend of 2019 [Quartzy]
  • Prada introduces Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council [Retail Dive]
  • Burberry’s new campaign aims to be inclusive—sort of [Quartzy]
  • Who needs Kanye? Amazon wants to be the biggest thing at Coachella 2019 [Fast Company]
  • The plus-size era is over before it began [Retail Dive]
  • Barbie is now in a wheelchair and has a prosthetic leg [Teen Vogue]

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. 

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Levi’s partners with Pinterest on personal styling tool

Levi’s has partnered with Pinterest on a personal styling tool that generates a custom inspiration board depending on the user’s taste. 

Called “Styled by Levi’s”, the feature exists on a microsite, where users can select the gender they would like to shop in, and five product images that they relate to the most. Next, they are prompted to log into their Pinterest accounts to receive personalized, shoppable boards. 

Apart from editorial campaigns and product images, boards also refer customers to its customization service and chatbot feature, which the brand launched in 2017.

The feature works both when the user is logged in to their Pinterest accounts or not. However, users that are logged in will be served a more relevant experience as the platform also uses data from their past browsing behavior. 

Over the past couple of years, Pinterest has pushed to monetize the behavior of its audience of 250 million with a series of brand partnerships that feature an e-commerce element. For this holiday season, it is introducing Gift Globes, a gift-finding solution where consumers can enter information to receive customised gift guides. Participating brands include Macy’s, Lowe’s and Kohl’s.

How are you thinking about digital 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.

Editor's pick product sustainability technology

Levi’s revolutionizes finishing process, driving more sustainable supply chain

Levi's Project F.L.X.
Levi’s Project F.L.X.

Levi’s has announced Project F.L.X. (future-led execution), an operating model that reinvents the denim finishing process, resulting in a more sustainable supply chain.

Developed by the label’s innovation arm, Eureka Lab, the initiative replaces a decades-old manual technique for finishing that the industry has adopted as a standard production method, which is not only chemically-reliant, but time-consuming and labour-intensive. At the heart of it, is a series of digital tools including a laser technology.

“30 years ago, jeans were only available in three shades: rinsed, stonewashed and bleached. Today those three shades have exploded into endless variations, all produced with very labor-intensive jobs and long lists of chemical formulations,” said Bart Sights, VP of technical innovation at Levi’s and head of the Eureka Innovation Lab. “We’re designing a cleaner jean for the planet and the people who make Levi’s jeans, and we’re doing it on a scale that no one else has achieved to date.”

Developed in house, Project F.L.X. also allows the brand to considerably reduce production times and as a result, time to market. For instance, it cuts finishing time dramatically – from two to three pairs per hour to 90 seconds per garment, followed by a final wash cycle. Its on-demand production also means it can delay final product commitments until much later in the production process, reducing lead times by more than six months to in some instances, only a few days.

Meanwhile the brand’s designers have been given a new video game-like software that allows them to build new styles on an iPad. They can then digitise the finished design with photo-realistic quality and send the digital files directly to a vendor for mass manufacturing, thus also cutting R&D times considerably. With this technique, the process of prototyping a pair of jeans has been reduced to only three steps, from between 12 to 18 steps prior.

“With this new model, we can deliver the authentic and iconic products we’re known for in an incredibly responsive and responsible way,” said Liz O’Neill, SVP and chief supply chain officer for the brand. “The advanced imaging capability is a game-changer for us, and something that has eluded our industry for years.”

Levi's Project F.L.X.
Levi’s Project F.L.X.

From a sustainability standpoint, the model is a step forward in achieving the company’s commitment to zero discharge of chemicals by 2020 because it accelerates the elimination of many chemical formulations that Levi’s has promised to “phase out”.

It is also expected to reduce textile waste by being more responsive to demand, and accurately only producing what the market needs. As for saving water, the company has already proved it can use nearly 100% recycled water in the final manufacturing stages, and is exploring how to roll out this recycling capability more broadly over time.

To help unlock the sustainable benefits that the new digital capability can enable in the design and development of garments, Levi’s has worked with Jeanologia, a leader in eco-efficient solutions for fabric and garment finishing since 1993.