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Purposeful innovation leads British Fashion Council award winners


“Purpose is the new luxury,” said Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans, at the British Fashion Council’s annual awards last night, which celebrated creativity and innovation from across the industry. 

He picked up the Special Recognition Award for Innovation, for his work recycling plastics recovered from the ocean into new products for brands including adidas, G-Star and Stella McCartney.

He echoed a theme that resonated throughout the evening focused on pushing for a positive revolution in light of climate change. “The planet is broken, the oceans are nearly dead and we need a dream of a magic blue universe that is well protected – something that we actually fight for together,” he said.

Also focused on this message was Dame Vivienne Westwood, who picked up the Swarovski Award for Positive Change. She used the occasion to give an impassioned speech about capitalism and the industry’s enormous responsibility to protect the planet.

Activism continued as a theme throughout the evening, with references made to Brexit, the Paris riots and even the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data scandal revealed earlier this year.

Miuccia Prada, on reception of the Outstanding Achievement Award, added: “Just a little note for fashion, I think more and more we should feel a responsibility for defending human rights and freedom.”

Dame Vivienne Westwood
Dame Vivienne Westwood

A surprise for guests meanwhile came when HRH The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, arrived on stage to present the British womenswear designer of the year award to Clare Waight Keller for Givenchy, who was of course the designer behind the dress for her wedding to Prince Harry.

Meghan took the opportunity to reference female empowerment: “As all of you in this room know, we have a deep connection to what we wear. Sometimes it’s very personal, sometimes it’s emotional. But for me, this connection is rooted in really being able to understand that it’s about supporting and empowering each other, especially as women. When we choose to wear a certain designer, we’re not just a reflection of their creativity and their vision, but we’re also an extension of their values, of something in the fabric, so to speak, that is much more meaningful. I recently read an article that said, ‘The culture of fashion has shifted from one where it was cool to be cruel to now, where it’s cool to be kind’.”

Other awards during the evening went to Craig Green as menswear designer of the year, Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga as accessories designer of the year, Marco Bizzarri for Gucci as business leader, and Virgil Abloh for Off-White, in the Urban Luxe category. Gucci won the brand of the year, while Pierpaolo Piccioli of Valentino picked up the overarching designer of the year award.

Emerging talent accolades went to Samuel Ross for A-COLD-WALL* and Richard Quinn, while Kaia Gerber picked up model of the year. There were also special recognition awards to Kim Jones as the 2018 trailblazer and to Mert & Marcus, who won the Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator.

This year also marks the first time the awards have celebrated a young global creative community with the launch of the“NEW WAVE: Creatives”, which recognized 100 of the most innovative and inspiring young creative talent from around the world.

How are you thinking about 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.

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ICYMI: Alibaba smashes Singles’ Day record, 2018 as the year of Virgil Abloh and Meghan Markle, holiday catalogs

Singles' Day 200 billion yuan sales figure
Singles’ Day 200 billion yuan sales figure

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

TOP STORIES
  • Alibaba sets Singles’ Day record with $31 billion in sales [Bloomberg]
  • Ebay declares 2018 the year of Virgil Abloh, logos and the Markle Effect [FashionNetwork]
  • Why catalogs still have a hold on holiday marketing [RetailDive]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Sephora and Google partner on hands-free experience [WWD]
  • China is now using gait recognition to identify people [FastCompany]
  • AI news anchor makes debut in China [NPR]
  • AI bots are awkwardly learning how to dress themselves [Dazed]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Is sustainability incompatible with fashion? [i-D]
  • The suddenly surging business of recycled plastic puffer jackets [Fashionista]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Glossier opens first NYC flagship [Fashion Network]
  • Zalando looks to Alibaba for connected retail inspiration [Fashion United]
  • Amazon to inaugurate first pop-up shop in Italy [WWD]
  • Dollar Shave Club plans vending machines in high-traffic areas [Retail Dive]
  • JD.com competes for luxury partners with high-tech and white gloves [Jing Daily]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • WeChat reaches 1m mini programs, half the size of Apple’s app store [TechCrunch]
  • Anya Hindmarch gets down to business, helping procrastinators and the scatterbrained [WWD]
BUSINESS
  • Black Friday 2018: Consumers are eager, more digital, and willing to spend [McKinsey]
  • Betting on Richemont’s future [BoF]
CULTURE
  • This size-inclusive lingerie show just put the Victoria’s Secret runway to shame [Teen Vogue]
  • Saint Laurent launches art project with Daido Moriyama exhibition [WWD]
  • Why fashion’s future will be shaped by male consumerism [Highsnobiety]
  • Hedi Slimane and the art of the ‘drop’ [BoF]

How are you thinking about 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.