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Cosmopolitan adds shoppable virtual try-on to print mag

Cosmopolitan
Cosmopolitan

Cosmopolitan magazine is adding a shoppable virtual try-on capability to its print issues that will enable readers to experiment with beauty looks and then buy them via Macy’s.

The feature is being launched in partnership with the US department store, which is also rolling out the technology in store.

A Cosmo reader must download selfie camera app YouCam and scan specific cosmetics featured on the magazine, to then be able to superimpose looks on their faces. The looks are then shoppable via Macy’s online.

The move comes off the back of research that shows 73% of readers want to be able to try on products featured in the magazine virtually, Cosmopolitan publisher Donna Lagani notes. She also mentions that the average millennial takes around four selfies a week.

The new feature launches in partnership with Macy’s in the magazine’s October issue, with new looks rolling out every month thereafter.

Cosmopolitan has increasingly developed tools to bridge the gap between its print issues and the digital sphere, in order to engage with its young, mobile-savvy audience. In 2015, it became Snapchat’s partner when the social media app launched the Discover feature promoting content such as Live Stories to immense success. At the time, its Discover stories were shared up to 1.2m times a day, while receiving on average 3m views overall.

The move also comes heavily off the back of huge growth in augmented reality beauty try-on from brands across the industry. Most notably is the recent acquisition of startup Modiface by L’Oréal. Being able to experiment with different make-up in a virtual sense is becoming increasingly commonplace as a result.

How are you thinking about digital engagement? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners for your innovation strategy. 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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sustainability

Elle UK publishes sustainability-focused September issue

Elle UK's September issue
Elle UK’s September issue

Elle UK has dedicated its entire September issue to sustainability, hoping to encourage the fashion industry to follow suit by teaming up with several important voices in the field.

It is also proposing its own manifesto to encourage meaningful change internally.

The issue, which is printed on 100% recycled paper, features conversations with important designers, authors and experts within the sustainability field, such as designer Stella McCartney, actress and activist Pamela Anderson, and author and climate change advocate Naomi Klein.

“The fashion industry has been using the same 10 materials for the past 200 to 300 years — come on guys: the food industry is changing, the fashion industry is doing the same old stuff, and getting away with it,” says McCartney.

Another contributor is Livia Firth, founder and creative director of Eco Age and executive producer of The True Cost, a documentary exploring the impact of fashion in its supply chain.

“When you look at the #MeToo campaign and the concept of feminism, you think, ‘How can we just be feminists in our little world?’ When you are a feminist, you have to consider women everywhere,” says Firth. “When you get dressed, you are wearing the story of another woman who is getting exploited. If you are a true feminist, #MeToo also has to apply to them. You have to make the connection and remember those stories.”

In this issue, the publication is also proposing a series of changes in order to be more ethical. This includes working with suppliers to improve its practices; using its multi-media platform to raise awareness to climate issues; highlighting campaigners and designers who are worth paying attention to or shopping from; and from a day-to-day perspective, using recycled set props as much as possible and eliminating single use plastics both on photo shoots and at the office.

For this initiative, Elle UK conducted research to better understand attitudes and awareness of sustainability in fashion among young women in the country. It uncovered findings such as that 90% of women want to know more about sustainability in the industry, while 51% want to know what they can do to become more sustainable.

The education piece is also key, as 62% of those surveyed were unaware that the fashion industry is one of the world’s biggest polluters. Additionally, 55% found it important or very important to know where the clothes they buy come from and whether they are ethically made.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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e-commerce mobile

Hearst introduces shoppable Amazon SmileCodes to print publications

Amazon's SmileCodes in Seventeen magazine
Amazon’s SmileCodes in Seventeen magazine

Hearst has unveiled a deal with Amazon to place scannable SmileCodes on Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazines, allowing readers to purchase straight from its pages.

Amazon’s SmileCodes are branded QR codes that link to sales pages and other content when scanned using the Amazon app. With the Hearst partnership, codes will be placed alongside selected items that once scanned, lead readers to the item on dedicated Cosmo and Seventeen stores on Amazon.com.

Customers can also access the online stores directly, where the publications will launch a “See, Love, Shop!” storefront that is updated monthly to correspond to the print publishing schedule.

“Amazon offers a wide selection of products, fast and free shipping options and low prices, and by teaming up we will be providing Cosmopolitan and Seventeen readers the opportunity to ‘see, love, and shop’ the products our editors showcase and they covet,” said Donna Kalajian Lagani, senior vice president and publishing director of Cosmopolitan and Seventeen. “We are using the latest technology to create a new instant and interactive experience moving our readers down the purchase funnel.”

Items are selected either by the magazines’ editorial teams or exist within ads by selected brands. They will range from categories such as beauty, fashion, wellness and books. So far partners include beauty and personal care brands like Olay, Neutrogena and Cover Girl. To further spotlight “See, Love, Shop!”, the magazines will also be posting shoppable listicles on their websites and promoting certain selections via social media.

Amazon SmileCodes has so far been running as a pilot in Europe, but the Hearst deal marks its official US debut. The online giant has vouched to promote new storefronts, which in turn will likely help promote its SmileCodes feature.

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Editor's pick technology

Robots takeover Stylist magazine for celebratory 400th issue

Sophia the Robot robotics fashion
Sophia the Robot

UK weekly magazine, Stylist, is looking to the future in its 400th print issue by dedicating it to robotic technology.

Gracing the cover is Sophia the Robot, arguably one of the most famous faces of recent humanoid launches. Sophia stars in her own fashion editorial donning designer clothes and also answers questions on the meaning of life in the back page Q&A section.

“As technology continues to invade our lives, robots replace people at work and AI enters our homes, it’s only natural that we’re all beginning to wonder about the roles we’ll play in the future,” the Stylist team writes.

Other contributors include the Beautification make-up artist robot, which is put to the test by beauty writer Ava Welsing-Kitcher. The robot, which applies make-up on the user through a series of acrylic arms, may lack in the detail of its execution at this stage, but it speaks to a future where machines will play a major role in the development and application of beauty and personal care.

Beautification
Beautification

Welsing-Kitcher writes that L’Oréal is already in the process of using android chemists to make creams and serums, while Shiseido is rolling out robots in production lines to speed up packaging assembly. Beyond the supply chain, robots will begin to take on more customer-facing roles in beauty too, such as by engaging in retail environments.

Pushing the conversation forward on whether robots will substitute humans, Stylist also enlists Articoolo, a robot built by a team of content writers, mathematicians, marketers and computer scientists in Israel, to predict spring’s biggest fashion trends. Meanwhile as the first range of ‘companion robots’ such as Pepper begin to enter the consumer market, it investigates its potential to end social isolation and loneliness.

Aligned with the magazine’s shopping editorial approach, robot-filled wishlist pages also highlight that the technology will pervade more aspects of everyday life than previously expected.

Pepper robot companion fashion
Pepper
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film mobile technology

W magazine brings Katy Perry issue to life with augmented reality experience

Katy Perry's W magazine feature opens up via augmented reality
Katy Perry’s W magazine feature opens up via augmented reality

W magazine has turned to augmented reality for its latest issue, introducing an interactive virtual experience accessible from its physical pages.

Produced with creative technology and VFX studio, The Mill, the special collector’s issue for September 2017, starts with a “talking” cover, starring Katy Perry, who was shot and directed by Steven Klein. The singer delivers a video and audio message to readers, before inviting them to interact with different parts of her face to unlock new pieces of content.

Those films were developed by creating 3D scans of Perry on set, then matching Klein’s aesthetic through the resulting computer-generated renderings. The aim, according to the press release, was to design a seamless experience between the screen and the printed page.

“We perceive magazines as flat planes of expression. Photographic and print materials as static, firmly held in place by the laws of time and space. But now, through new technology, we have broken those laws and can render a picture as a living entity,” said Klein. “Like Alice looking through the looking glass, you are invited, through the use of an app, to step into the wonderland we have created with the technical assistance of The Mill.”

Katy Perry's W magazine feature opens up via augmented reality
Katy Perry’s W magazine feature opens up via augmented reality

While this is by no means the first time AR has been used to bring a magazine to life (fellow Condé Nast title Tatler did it back in 2012, for instance), The Mill’s chief creative officer, Angus Kneale, believes this world is only just starting to get interesting.

Writing for W, he notes: “We are all currently riding the wave of immense mobile-computing ability and cloud connectivity. No one predicted the smartphone revolution; in 10 short years, the iPhone has transformed not just the way we communicate but how we live. Never before has such power—and information—been in the palm of your hand. That piece of glass in your pocket, crammed with the latest technology, has assumed a lofty place in our hierarchy of precious things.”

In the future, however, the level of interactivity we are able to have with digital storytelling is going to be better yet as we evolve into a mixed reality state – where virtual content is seen before us and in the room around us, rather than just through the confinements of our phone screens. “The blend of physical and digital realities promises to open up creative possibilities like never before: Imagine flipping through a fashion magazine and seeing the model come to life, stepping off the page and into your living room. You can see her clothes from all angles and the weight of the fabric as she moves. In the mixed-reality future, a magazine won’t be confined to the pages in your hand,” Kneale explains.

For now, downloading the magazine’s Beyond the Page app, available for iOS and Android, and also created by The Mill, will have to do. A further four features inside the magazine also have virtual content attached to them, including a collaboration with artist Alex Israel, accompanied by a futuristic piece of fiction, and a defiant take on fall fashion by photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.

Adds W editor-in-chief, Stefano Tonchi: “This augmented reality experience embodies everything that W stands for – it’s bold, provocative, and offers a truly immersive escape, across print and digital platforms.”


Categories
Blocks mobile

Harrods moves from stilettos to sneakers in new gaming launch

Harrods

Harrods has returned to the world of gaming with the launch of a new challenge called Sneaker Wars featured in the September issue of its magazine, within its app.

Following hot on the heels (ho ho!) of Stiletto Wars launched in 2014, the game is a Candy Crush-style format, with players aiming to score as many points as possible in three minutes by aligning three or more pairs of the designer sneakers included.

A £250 prize will be awarded each week to the highest scorer, with the overall winner at the end of the tournament receiving a £1,000 Harrods gift card.

For Harrods of course, the game is a ripe opportunity to acquire new customers through downloads of its app. According to the write-up, the game will enable an “additional level of immersive magic”, engaging new audiences and expanding international reach. Stiletto Wars did much the same when it launched in September 2014, generating nearly half a million gameplays and 36,000 app downloads since.

Sneaker Wars ties neatly to the evolving favour of sneakers over heels in today’s fashion trends. It launches as part of the luxury department store’s Catch Me If You Can campaign, which celebrates the first anniversary of Harrods Shoe Heaven, a dedicated shoe-shopping destination on its fifth floor.

Categories
Editor's pick film

Vogue India empowerment video clocks record 9m views

VOGUE EMPOWER - MY CHOICE

Vogue has struck a chord with women in India – its recent My Choice video, which focuses on female empowerment, has been viewed nearly 10 million times since it was published on March 28.

Directed by Homi Adajania, it features Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone as one of 99 women from varying walks of life coming together to send a powerful message around the things women should see as their rights.

“In my family, my father is the only male in the house, but all of us have a voice,” says Padukone. “I’ve always been allowed to be who I want to be. When you’re not caged, when you don’t succumb to expectation, that’s when you’re empowered.”

In part of the narration of the video, she reads: “My body, my mind, my choice. To wear the clothes I like; even if my spirit roams naked. My choice; to be a size 0 or a size 15. They don’t have a size for my spirit, and never will. To use cotton and silk to trap my soul is to believe that you can halt the expansion of the universe. Or capture sunlight in the palm of your hand. Your mind is caged, let it free. My body is not. Let it be. My choice.”

As for the use of 99 women, Adajania explains: “I liked the idea of telling people I originally had 100 women planned but God said she was busy.”

The video is part of the #VogueEmpower social awareness initiative, which launched in India last October. This is designed to “encourage people to think, talk and act in ways big or small on issues pertaining to women’s empowerment”. It pushes a simple message to everyone: “It starts with you.”

The initiative has engaged opinion leaders and influencers since launch including Aamir Khan in a radio campaign, Sudha Murthy who contributed towards cervical cancer screening, and AR Rahman who dedicated an album to the cause.

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data digital snippets e-commerce social media technology

Digital snippets: Apple, Michael Kors, Chiara Ferragni, Crocs, Snapchat, Neiman Marcus, Gap

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

AppleVogue3

  • Apple runs first watch ads: 12 pages in Vogue [AdAge]
  • Michael Kors is getting into wearable tech [Bloomberg]
  • 10 things we learned about the business of blogging from Chiara Ferragni’s Harvard Study [StyleCaster]
  • Drones to fetch orders at Tokyo Crocs store [WSJ]
  • Luxury brands on Snapchat? Why Michael Kors is taking the plunge [Digiday]
  • Asos plots further Snapchat activity despite admitting it provides ‘virtually no data at all’ [The Drum]
  • Neiman Marcus integrates interactive tables for unbridled selection [PSFK]
  • Gap launches Instagram soap opera with Jenny Slate, Paul Dano [Mashable]
  • Nordstrom shrinks Innovation Lab, reassigns employees in shakeup of tech initiatives [Geekwire]
  • Apple stores will implement jewellery store practices to help sell the Apple Watch [TechCrunch]
  • I wore a Fitbit during fashion week [Fashionista]
  • What the tech world doesn’t understand about fashion [Racked]
  • The future of retail is the end of wholesale [BoF]
  • Will drones fly in retail? [Stores Magazine]
  • Jeff Bezos makes another push for Amazon Fashion. Will it work? [Bloomberg]
  • How Code and Theory’s Brandon Ralph gained the trust of everyone from Anna Wintour to Burger King [Fashionista]
  • Victoria’s Secret ads warm up People Magazine’s Snapchat Stories [AdAge]
  • Adidas app lets sneakerheads wait in virtual lines for limited editions [Bloomberg]
  • River Island moving IT ‘out of the back room’ with tech hub collaboration [The Drum]
  • ‘Lucky’ launches LuckyShops.com [MediaPost]
  • Face hacking: transforming our future visages with digital make-up [Motherboard]
  • How start-ups are beating Burberry to DIY fashion [Marketing Magazine]
  • How Line is turning Instagram into an e-commerce app in Thailand [TechInAsia]
  • First digital measuring tape to make online shopping less risky [PSFK]
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Comment Editor's pick social media

Luxury brands are missing out by snubbing the hashtag offline

This post first appeared on WGSN.com/blogs

CKJeansUnderwear1

Browsing through the September issues on our desks this month and one thing that particularly sprang to mind – other than the models reclaiming the front covers – was the dearth of hashtags being used in any of the season’s big fashion campaigns.

Reporting on this space used to mean buying a stack of said publications twice yearly and physically scanning in the relevant pages, or calling up PRs and asking them to courier over a CD with their high res images saved on. WGSN covers in the region of 400 brands each season – the best of everything from designers through to retailers, denim brands, sportswear companies and more. It’s a mega feat, added to with a big chunk of analysis about the visual trends of the season, the new models to know about and more.

Of course the task started to simplify (at least a little) a few years ago as slowly but surely the brands used this creative work not just for advertising, but also as a method of PR, pushing out the imagery across their own social channels as a story in its own right to mark the beginning of the season when collections were hitting stores. Today, you only need to source a Facebook album, look to recent Instagram posts or search through Pinterest to quickly find the assets for numerous companies.

This huge focus on social releases has become the norm – and the sharing that ensues is equally unsurprisingly (particularly when you have the likes of social queen Cara Delevingne posting her campaigns for Burberry, Chanel, Topshop and Mulberry to name a few to help push them).

So why then, are so few taking advantage offline of the hashtag – the very thing that social now centres around to inspire and curate said sharing further? Fashion retains an enormous focus on placing its ads in print publications, yet next to no brands have employed a humble tag on any of their work featured in them.

Lots are talking about it back online. Topshop has #ilovetopshop, AG Jeans has #whatmovesme, but few have integrated that social concept into the real world in order to tie their campaigns wholeheartedly together. In fact, Calvin Klein’s #mycalvins campaign (as pictured) is one of the only ones.

Stepping away from fashion, the uptake of hashtags in TV ads is significantly on the rise. At the Super Bowl in March 2014, 57% of commercials featured them, up from 50% in 2013 and 25% in 2012. Resulting mentions across social during that time were, as expected, significantly higher.

So where’s the gap with fashion? Is it as simple as hashtags not fitting in with the aesthetic of the campaign in terms of the preferred direction of these brands? Quite likely.

But there’s also a little part of the scenario that makes me wonder whether this is a classic case of brands wanting consumers to share, but not wanting to suggest they’d like that to be the case. Admitting to digital in a print publication is too close to that whole democratisation of luxury debate that the industry still isn’t quite able to shake off.

If Delevingne sharing with her six million Instagram followers is anything to go by mind you, I’d say it’s finally time.

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce mobile social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Amazon 3D printing, Zappos digital assistant, Target In a Snap app, and more

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

Jeff Bezos, Amazon 2012

  • What Amazon’s foray into 3D printing means for the industry [Fortune]
  • Zappos tests digital assistant that helps you track down any fashion item [CNET]
  • Target snaps up mobile shopping innovation with image recognition app [BrandChannel]
  • L’Oréal make-up goes virtual for selfie age [FT]
  • Yoox Group teams with messaging service WeChat [WWD]
  • Marie Claire’s innovative interactive magazine covers are breaking new ground in advertising real estate [BoF]
  • This Nike vending machine accepts only FuelBand points [Creativity]
  • Virtual reality: advertising’s next big thing? [AdAge]
  • Forever 21, Urban Outfitters among most popular retailers on Pinterest, relative newbie, Modcloth, tops list [Forbes]
  • 8 start-ups trying to help you find clothing that fits [Fashionista]
  • The new bazaar: in India, online stores catch on with buyers [NY Times]
  • New York Fashion Tech Lab program debuts at Hearst Tower [PSFK]