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Microsoft’s $1bn carbon reduction investment, ASOS’ AR tool, men’s makeup at John Lewis

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

Top Stories
  • Microsoft will invest $1 billion into carbon reduction and removal technologies (MIT Technology Review)
  • Asos trials augmented reality fit tool (Drapers)
  • War Paint and John Lewis launch first ever men’s makeup counter (Fashion Network)
  • The tech driving next-gen customer service (Vogue Business)
  • Revolve integrates Snap+Style technology for digital communication (Fashion United)
  • How luxury retail can become a tech accelerator (Jing Daily)
  • Google Cloud launches new solutions for retailers (TechCrunch)
  • How Starbucks uses AI to counter mobiles isolating effect (Mobile Marketer)
  • Walmart expands robots to 650 additional stores (Retail Dive)
  • Stein Mart introduces ‘smart button’ for BOPIS shoppers (Retail Dive)
  • Augmented reality contacts are real, and could be here sooner than you think (Mashable)
  • Robots are changing retail, but not where you can see them (Modern Retail)
  • Gaming dominates the $120bn spent on mobile apps in 2019 (Warc)
  • Amazon is reportedly developing a hand-scanning payment option (Adweek)
  • Walgreens is training staff in virtual reality (Charged Retail)
  • How digital garment printing answers the call for customization (Sourcing Journal)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • What’s your fashion footprint? ThredUp’s quiz will tell you (Adweek)
  • Stella McCartney introduces biodegradable stretch denim (Fashion United)
  • Walpole launches its British luxury sustainability manifesto (Retail Gazette)
  • Your e-commerce addiction means delivery emissions could increase 30% by 2030 (Fast Company)
  • H&M’s AI operation helps make its supply chain more sustainable (Supply Chain Dive)
  • Jacket Required dedicates third of show to sustainable brands (The Industry)
  • Dyehouses are cleaning up their act (Vogue Business)
  • Could fashion’s next major fabric brand be green? (BoF)
  • Fast Retailing signed the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action (Retail in Asia)
  • Quorn introduces carbon-footprint labelling (Stylus)
  • Lush’s Mark Constantine: the retail rebel fighting climate change before Great was born (Retail Week)
Retail & Commerce
  • Walmart opens cashierless store in Florida (Grocery Dive)
  • Shiseido opens ‘beauty innovation hub’ in Shanghai (Retail in Asia)
  • Bose is closing all of its retail stores (The Verge)
  • Dior, Rimowa take over Harrods (WWD)
  • Opening Ceremony to close all stores (Drapers)
Marketing & Social Media
  • Instagram begins hiding photoshopped images (Hypebeast)
  • Burberry launches online game to celebrate Lunar New Year (Fashion United)
  • Facebook rethinks plan to insert ads into WhatsApp (Campaign)
  • Segmentation is dead! (Retail Dive)
  • Ugg launches monthly product drops (Drapers)
  • New Under Armour sneaker will offer connected coaching (Sourcing Journal)
  • Hermès launches beauty (Fashion United)
  • Nike’s Vaporfly marathon shoes face a potential ban from competition (Quartz)
  • Is 2020 the year men’s makeup will go mainstream? (Evening Standard)
  • Louis Vuitton buys the second largest rough diamond in the world (Fashion United)
  • Old Navy will stay under Gap umbrella (Adweek)
  • Pitti Immagine CEO on the future of trade shows (BoF)
  • Casper files for IPO (Retail Dive)
  • Off-White operator acquires Opening Ceremony (Drapers)
  • Amazon ramps up counterfeit reporting (BoF)
  • Boohoo to surpass forecasts after 44% jump in quarterly revenues (Retail Gazette)
  • The idea of beauty is always shifting. Today, its more inclusive than ever (National Geographic)
  • How the gaming industry is changing across the world (Quartz)
  • Redefining plus size – dressing the ‘average’ woman in Europe (Fashion United)
  • Why this community of hypebeasts only buy fakes (Dazed)
  • Comme des Garçons accused of racism in AW20 menswear show (Fashion United)
  • A-COLD-WALL* isn’t making streetwear anymore (i-D)

How are you thinking about innovation? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more.


Stella McCartney debuts haunting menswear film from Sean Ellis for AW17

Cillian Murphy in Black Park for Stella McCartney menswear
Cillian Murphy in Black Park for Stella McCartney menswear

Stella McCartney has unveiled a short film directed by Sean Ellis and starring Cillian Murphy for her new autumn/winter 2017 menswear collection.

Black Park, as it’s called, is a darker more ominous piece of creative than you’d normally expect from the designer – one that’s more fitting to the director, who is known for features including The Broken and Anthropoid. He was also a fashion photographer before he started making films.

This 90-second spot opens on a sombre Murphy lying in the woods – next there’s a flash of him running, then of a deserted cabin before said cabin is on fire. Throughout the film also returns to, and ends on, a line of strip lights pulsating in the darkness. The overall feel is an unsettling one, albeit unclear as to why.

“There’s a beautiful precision in Sean’s work,” McCartney explains to The Business of Fashion. “I don’t like that much precision. Most things I do, I really rebel against that. But with Sean and the menswear, it just felt right to respect the level of quality in the manufacturing.”

Paul McCartney meanwhile, created the soundtrack, which is as haunting as the film itself. Stella refers to her brief as wanting “weird shit”, which she knew her Dad was capable of.

business digital snippets e-commerce film mobile Startups technology

Digital snippets: Condé Nast, Gap, Hermès, Rag & Bone, John Lewis and more

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


  • Condé Nast to sell Fairchild Fashion Media, including WWD, for $100 million [NY Times]
  • Gap’s fall campaign is an ode to normcore trend, Zosia Mamet (as pictured), Elisabeth Moss, Anjelica Huston among stars [Racked]
  • Hermès creates quirky app to promote men’s A/W 2014 accessories [Creativity]
  • Rag & Bone autumn/winter collection stylised in dance performance [PSFK]
  • Hawes & Curtis, House of Fraser and Bentalls install beacon-enabled mannequins [The Drum]
  • However, John Lewis to seek ‘romance’ in beacon technology before committing [The Drum]
  • Topshop and Miss Selfridge in online push into China, launching on website [FT]
  • Condé Nast’s Lucky magazine merging with online retailer BeachMint [WSJ]
  • Will Apple’s ‘iWatch’ rattle luxury watchmakers? [BoF]
  • A girl faces her monstrous fears in Old Navy’s back-to-school musical, generates five million views to date [AdWeek]
  • Six takeaways from Gap and Old Navy about brand-building in China [AdAge]
  • New shopping app, Spring, makes the mall obsolete [Wired]
  • Rise of shoppable content will change the face of advertising [The Guardian]
  • Fashion start-ups bring style to Silicon Roundabout [FT]
  • Can technology solve the fit problem in fashion e-commerce? [BoF]
  • Omote real-time projection mapping demoed with make-up on model’s face [DigitalBuzzBlog]
Editor's pick social media Startups technology

Menswear label Ada + Nik uses Vyclone app for collaborative runway video during #LCM


Live streamed fashion week shows are an interesting one – buzzworthy and exciting when they first launched despite poor user experience, now higher quality but still a proposition that require decent investment to make them stand out.

As previously reported for Mashable, while some show organisers have this cost rolled in to their packages, for those doing it independently, I was quoted in the region of $20,000 to $50,000 for a full video deal, depending on the production requirements. And on average that’s for just 14,000 views per show at the likes of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.

Which is why a free app called Vyclone is an interesting opportunity, especially for young up-and-coming brands who are in the early stages of being on the fashion week circuit. This start-up refers to itself as “a social video platform that lets you co-create, sync and edit multiple views of a shared moment, effortlessly”.

Enter then menswear brand Ada + Nik who showed at London Collections: Men last week, simultaneously capturing the experience of their spring/summer 2015 collection in real-time from multiple different camera angles using Vyclone. The resulting video isn’t the highest quality, but for an immediate piece of (free) content shot by five individuals with iPhones it’s one of the most efficient options we’ve seen. The collaboration was pulled together by digital consultant Taylor Kahan.

Check out the video here, and then read on below where we chat with NIk Thakkar, co-creative director for Ada + Nik, to find out more:

F&M: What was the benefit of choosing Vyvlone over the traditional live-stream option, other than the inevitable cost saving? 

NT: Innovation and interactivity. We wanted to engage a technology that is new and exciting for the fashion world, and put the live perspective at the vantage points of the audience actually attending the show. That way, instead of seeing one stagnant angle that is typical of live streams, viewers online got a more realistic idea of what it felt like to be at the show.

F&M: What’s the process involved with achieving what you did with the app? 

NT: We strategically placed five people around the runway to film and capture all of the most flattering angles of our pieces as the models walked the runway. The process of filming is simple: Vyclone is programmed to detect location so that anyone filming from the app in the same vicinity will have their videos automatically synced with others around them.

Is your resulting video a real-time replica or an edited version post show? 

NT: Real-time. The beauty of Vyclone’s technology is that it detects and automatically syncs all videos together based on sound.

F&M: Where does the video appear?

NT: Once processed the video is immediately viewable on the Vyclone app, which we then shared across our own social properties, as did Vyclone respectively on theirs. The video is embeddable and shareable to the public, so we now have an evergreen piece of marketing content that can spread on its own, and the beauty of social media has made it a potentially virally impactful takeaway from our show.

F&M: What sort of engagement does the platform enable? 

NT: The appeal of Vyclone is that anyone in the vicinity can participate, film from their perspective, and effortlessly contribute their video to the final mix. And once the video has been created within the app, anybody can go in and “remix” the angles to create their own favourite version of the show as well. The clip was featured within the app so all of its active users had a chance to view, and by sharing across our socials we’ve managed to garner hundreds of thousands of impressions on the piece.

social media

Topman pulls in consumer content with #topmansprayonjeans campaign


User-generated content might be somewhat of an old phrase in the digital space these days, but there’s a phenomenal amount happening around it of late.

From #thenetset at Net-a-Porter to #framesofyou from Armani, as well as multiple other examples via Warehouse, Estée Lauder, Kate Spade and more, everyone is getting in on the act.

The latest is Topman. The men’s arm of the Brit retailer has been pushing its new spray on jeans for the last few weeks using the hashtag #topmansprayonjeans.

Taking full advantage of the #selfie phenomenon, it’s been calling for consumers to send images of themselves wearing the super tight skinny jeans over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, with the best looks winning Premium Spotify accounts daily.

A series of short videos were released as inspiration for fans on how to get the look. Meanwhile, another fun video was posted today (as below) demonstrating the speed with which it’s possible to put the jeans on.

Reads the write up: “We’ve listened to your feedback and some of you have struggled to get our Spray On Jeans on quickly. We got ours on in 7 secs, how quick can you get yours on?”

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New Twitter app Vine to support Calvin Klein’s first Super Bowl ad, other brands experiment


It’s likely you’ve heard the news that Calvin Klein is launching its first ever Super Bowl campaign this coming weekend.

The 30-second spot for the brand’s latest men’s underwear offering will debut towards the end of the first quarter of the game on Sunday evening. It sees model Matthew Terry shot by creative director Fabien Baron of Baron + Baron, in a provocative commercial based on the idea of “man versus machine” (see above preview).

What’s particularly interesting however is the idea that the campaign will be supported with activity on Twitter’s new video-sharing app, Vine. According to a statement, digital content will be posted throughout the event on this new app, which allows six-second videos to be played on loop, much like animated GIFs. The news follows a variety of experiments on the platform by other brands, including Gap and Urban Outfitters (as below).

Like other social platforms before it – such as Instagram – the instant beauty of Vine has been the room for experimentation it affords brands both big and small. Take British start-up Olivia Burton watches, for instance – it’s been having a play with content this week to great effect. A simple series of product shots captured on a black and white photographic background, portray an incredibly high quality and on-brand message.

Calvin Klein will no doubt achieve the same. The next question, of course, will be how all they’re received by consumers.

Back to the Super Bowl, and Calvin Klein is also planning to push relevant content across its Facebook, Tumblr and YouTube pages on game day.

“We are a brand with a rich advertising legacy and we firmly believe in powerful, multi-platform lifestyle advertising to support and grow the brand’s image around the world,” said Tom Murry, president and CEO of Calvin Klein, Inc. “This is a significant milestone, and, as an iconic American designer brand, we are extremely proud to be able to debut the latest Calvin Klein Underwear campaign during the Super Bowl – the most watched television event annually in the United States.”

According to Nielsen, the 2012 Super Bowl had 111 million viewers, making it the most-watched television program in US history. Another interesting study showed as many as 40% of this year’s viewers are watching for the ads rather than the sport.

The Calvin Klein spot will also be included in Twitter’s #AdScrimmage and YouTube’s Ad Blitz contests for the best Super Bowl XLVII ads as voted for by fans.

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Asos targets men with new interactive campaign

Asos is combining entertainment, editorial and shopping with the launch of a digital campaign aimed at men for the first time.

Created by advertising agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, the “Urban Tour” is a viral, digital and social feat comprised of a series of shoppable films showcasing the online retailer’s autumn/winter 2011/12 collection.

Viewers are able to click and buy any of the looks worn by performance artists showcasing the latest trends in culture, music, art and fashion from seven cities around the world?London, New York, LA, Berlin, Paris, Tokyo and Shanghai.

Three films, shot by two of the world’s leading street-culture directors, in London, Paris and Tokyo, for instance, feature extreme examples of talent from the worlds of dance, music and skating.

Lindsay Nuttall, global head of strategy and communications at Asos, said the push was based on the insight that men were more likely to follow peers than be inspired by catwalk shows, reports Marketing magazine.

“Men are into details, such as materials and textures. They are more likely to focus on tiny differences. It’s about being a nudge above their friends’ style.”

Jason Gonsalves, head of strategy at BBH, added: “A lot of guys aren’t scouring magazines to draw their inspiration, they are looking to culture, bands and films to shape their look. This is why we had to do something different from traditional fashion advertising.”


GQ and Mr Porter collaborate on fashion manual iPhone app

The UK’s GQ magazine has launched a new iPhone app in partnership with designer e-commerce site Mr Porter, the men’s arm of Natalie Massanet’s Net-a-Porter.

The GQ Style Guide labels itself the essential men’s fashion manual, offering advice on “what to wear, how to wear it, and where to buy it”.

Daily updates cover everything from the best suits, shirts and shoes, to the latest trends from the catwalk shows.

There’s also an “Ask the Style Shrink” section, dedicated to answering fashion questions, and a “How to Dress” reference for specific events.


Behind-the-scenes at Louis Vuitton’s spring/summer 2012 menswear show

Ever wondered what happens at the menswear shows? Louis Vuitton has just published a video documenting behind-the-scenes in the build up to its most recent affair; the spring/summer 2012 collection.

Hair, make-up, music, prepping, pinning, dressing and walking… all with the odd celebrity front row spotting thrown in. Check it out here: