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ICYMI: beauty tech takes over CES, UK retail’s year of doom, the fake influencer problem

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

TOP STORIES
  • The future of beauty is on display at CES [CNN]
  • UK retail sales suffer worst year in more than a decade [BoF]
  • Fake influencers cost brands more than 200 million dollars [Fashion United]
TECHNOLOGY
  • IBM unveils its first commercial quantum computer [TechCrunch]
  • Amazon sets up virtual furniture showroom online [RetailDive]
  • Baidu announces Apollo Enterprise, its new platform for mass-produced autonomous vehicles [TechCrunch]
  • Here’s everything Google announced at CES 2019 [TechCrunch]
  • Bell’s hybrid-electric flying car will be available via Uber by the ‘mid-2020s’ [The Verge]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Boohoo faux fur jumper found to contain real fur [Fashion United]
  • Survey finds ‘conscious consumerism’ a top priority for Gen Z shoppers [WWD]
  • Asos and PVH Corp. join Global Fashion Agenda as strategic partners [Fashion Network]
  • NHL, Adidas to create sustainable jerseys for All-Star Game [WWD]
  • Los Angeles is hosting the very first Vegan Fashion Week [Dazed]
  • Bangladesh strikes: thousands of garment workers clash with police over poor pay [The Guardian]
  • Reusing, upcycling and innovation to be integral at the upcoming Circular Fashion Games [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Outlet malls seize WeChat to bring online traffic offline [Jing Daily]
  • Microsoft and Kroger to create data-driven connected grocery stores [Venture Beat]
  • Calvin Klein to rebrand 205W39NYC line, close Madison Avenue store [Fashionista]
  • The sweater you don’t like is a trillion-dollar problem for retailers. These companies want to fix it [CNBC]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Lululemon’s next target is mindfulness for men [Quartz]
  • Novak Djokovic takes time out to meet his greatest opponent, thanks to SEIKO [PR Newswire]
PRODUCT
  • Neutrogena unveils personalized, 3-D-printed sheet masks at CES [WWD]
  • L’Oréal’s newest prototype detects wearers’ skin pH levels [The Verge]
  • Simplehuman looks to upgrade beauty accessories business with CES launch [WWD]
  • Nike stretches into Lululemon’s space with 1st yoga line [RetailDive]
  • Goop alumni launch the “Sephora of CBD” to target the cannabis curious [FastCompany]
  • The North Face debuts new outerwear technology [Fashion United]
BUSINESS
  • CFDA report highlights what it will take to achieve a truly diverse and inclusive fashion [W24]
  • These latina Avon sellers have dominated a beauty company modeled on white womanhood [Buzzfeed]
  • Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya to show at Paris Fashion Week [Fashionista]
  • L’Occitane acquires Elemis for $900 million, eyes Asia expansion [WWD]
  • 38 percent of fashion and beauty brands plan to launch collaborations in 2019 [Fashion United]
  • Moschino has a code word for black shoppers, according to damning new lawsuit [The Fashion Law]
  • Dior switches Paris catwalk date to avoid ‘yellow vest’ protests [Reuters]
  • Debenhams rescue plan could involve closure of more than half of its stores [The Industry]
  • HSBC predicts luxury market to slow down in 2019 [Fashion United]
CULTURE
  • Gucci Garden opens exhibition dedicated to reflections on masculinity [WWD]
  • Miuccia Prada’s take on freedom of speech, cultural appropriation [WWD]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent 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 technology

5 tech innovations we’re talking about from fashion week season

Balenciaga SS19

The latest fashion week season was marked by conversations on inclusivity, from celebrating diverse models at Ralph Lauren and Savage x Fenty, to industry experts openly criticizing the new era of Celine by Hedi Slimane for having 91% white models.

On top of that was a continued question mark around the validity of the see-now-buy-now business model, the ongoing impact of streetwear on the catwalk, and endless pop-up installations celebrating all things fashion.

And yet underlying this activity, though it may not have been obvious on the surface, was a tech-led narrative, with projections, hackers and immersive experiences all demonstrative of how fashion continues to push forward in the space.

Check out our round-up of the catwalk innovations to know…

LED Sculptures

Ralph Lauren’s 50th anniversary installation

Ralph Lauren celebrated the 50th-anniversary of his brand with a digitally-driven immersion. So-called LED sculptures, otherwise known as large scale digital displays, appeared under Central Park trees showcasing cuts from the designer’s most memorable collection reels. Campaign archive imagery as then projected across the walls of two T-shaped chambers that told the brand’s story through Lauren’s narration himself. The installation is now at the flagship store in NYC. An app launch was also part of the celebration: in addition to shopping, the platform gives consumers insider access and exclusive content.

Female Hackers

CyFi for Nicholas Kirkwood SS19

At London Fashion Week, footwear designer Nicholas Kirkwood’s show saw teenage hacker CyFi walk the runway alongside actress and #MeToo activist, Rose McGowan. Set in an underground bunker, with flashing monitors and LED lights, their appearance was tied to an underlying political message from Kirkwood against conformity. His latest shoe collection was inspired by tech and cyber-reality, with details including graphic TV static–style print and constructions that looked like tangled computer wiring. The show also featured a hologram technology that showed the collection’s main shoe, a boot with neon yellow detail, in 3D by UK company Hologrm.

Robotic Debut

House of Honee featuring OhmniLabs robot

A robot debuted on the catwalk of London Fashion Week adorned in head to toe crystals. Part of the show of LA-based designer Honee, the telepresence machine was created in partnership with Silicon Valley-based OhmniLabs. Honee said the show “celebrates the human spirit via the robots”. Her vision was to marry fashion, culture and technology through the experience.

Massive Projections

Miu Miu using projectors for SS19

At Paris Fashion Week, Maison Margiela surprised guests with 12 enormous projections alongside the catwalk at the launch of its new fragrance, My Mutiny, the first to be released under John Galliano. The film showed a behind-the-scenes look at the campaign. Miu Miu also decided to use projections, with models’ faces featuring bold lips and vivid red streaked across their eyelids, placed onto bubble letters spelling out the brand’s logo. It was a way to complement the theme of the collection: “Deconstructing beauty”.

360-Degree Kaleidoscope

Balenciaga’s 360-Degree Kaleidoscope

If there was one show that stole the tech limelight this season however, it was Balenciaga. Taking immersion to the next level, the set saw a 360-degree kaleidoscopic tunnel designed to replicate the inner workings of a computer. Projectors cast multicolored lights onto the walls of the auditorium, which changed color and speed depending on both the model walking and the track playing. With set design by Jon Rafman, the idea was to draw influence from and attention to modern technology and digital media. The most controversial part of the show was actually on the clothes: Powerpoint Clip Art effects and Comic Sans adorned some of the prints. After turning ugly daddy sneakers into the hypest pair of shoes, Balenciaga is the right brand to end the ban of Comic Sans.

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.