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Blocks Editor's pick technology

Fashion student 3-D prints her whole collection, and it looks kinda great

danitpeleg

Fashion still isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about the realistic potential of 3-D printing at this stage, but a student from Tel Aviv has taken a punt at proving that wrong.

Danit Peleg’s graduate collection features five full looks created with the sort of 3-D printers anyone can have at home.

“I was always interested in the connection [between] fashion and technology, so my work was about laser cutting and 3-D printing,” she told Fashionista.

The end result is akin to a sort of “lace-like textile”, as she refers to it in the below video, but is actually made from FilaFlex, a softer and more malleable filament than usually used in 3-D printing. The garments therefore actually move quite substantially.

Peleg, who was a student at the Shenkar College of Design, started by using fashion design software Optitex, then transferring to 3-D graphic design software Blender. From there, it took three printers running 24/7 in order to fulfill the patterns. “It took more than 2,000 hours to print everything, not including the tests and trials I was doing before,” she said. “It’s about 400 hours [of printing] per piece.”

According to Fashionista, Peleg doesn’t see herself selling her creations (if she did, they wouldn’t be cheap), but she is interested in giving away or selling the files she used to make them, which as Fashionista highlights, is quite a sign of where the future of this space is headed.

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Blocks Editor's pick technology

The future of shopping according to today’s tweens

johnlewis

What do you get if you ask a bunch of school kids how they envision the shop of the future? Lots of things related to pets, sweets and games inevitably, but better than that, a series of inspiring answers that tie together everything from the most out-there technologies to a practical view on what would make the whole experience a heck of a lot better.

That was the result for British department store John Lewis recently, which tasked 9-11 year olds across the UK with answering an innovation challenge through its ongoing Bringing Skills to Life education programmme.

Over 164 entries were collected, with a shortlist of 10 placed in front of a judging panel comprised of various John Lewis representatives as well as external specialists, including myself. Better than any adult brainstorm meeting I’ve been in (horrendously referred to as “blue-sky thinking” in the corporate world), this was a whistle-stop tour through ideas like 3D-printed dresses, robodogs, holograms and conveyor belts designed to escort you around.

One team envisioned a future consisting of personalised wardrobes with customised interfaces acting as a door that would then open to a series of options matching the user’s style, age and size information. It sounds like a retail version of Cher’s digital closet in Clueless, though these pupils are far too young to remember that.

There were also a number of virtual fitting rooms that combined biometric body scanners with holographic technology to allow shoppers to completely visualise what they would look like in an outfit. In another entry, the selection chosen from a magic mirror was then produced on a 3D printer while you sat and enjoyed a coffee in the café next to it.

The ideas were fresh, fun, thoughtful and not completely unfeasible, frankly.

John Vary, IT innovation manager at the retailer and one of the judges on the panel, said: “It’s good to look at how kids look at things. We try to do that in the innovation process; it’s all too easy to miss the obvious by focusing on what is too complicated.”

If there was one thing tying the majority of the entries together in that sense, it was convenience. You could see these kids thinking about those laborious shopping trips with their parents where they’re dragged around unwillingly. The only thing a pre-teen wants is some fun in their day (disco lifts in one of the entries was by far a judging highlight), but even more than that it seems, any chance to not have to stand in yet another queue.

Beating long lines at the checkouts with quick and seamless payments was a no-brainer to them. But that focus on the customer experience also extended to sat nav systems embedded in trolleys, setups to ensure more efficient discounting and a translation assistant to help global visitors. There was real empathy to the end user, with the pupils identifying problems and figuring out how to solve them in ways many retailers don’t do anywhere near as efficiently today.

We could all learn from what school children want it would seem. If anything, maybe we should stop focusing quite so heavily on phrases like omnichannel in such turgid ways, and think more openly about how we can make shopping, in the words of one of the entries, “a little easier, quicker and more enjoyable”.

The winners of the John Lewis Innovation Challenge were from Broughton Fields Primary School, Ridgefield Primary School and Christchurch Academy.

This post first appeared on Forbes.com

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digital snippets e-commerce film mobile social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: shoplifters at Harvey Nichols, Iris van Herpen on fashion and science, Rakuten’s virtual fit start-up

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

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  • Harvey Nichols features genuine CCTV shoplifting footage in new Rewards ad (as pictured) [Creative Review]
  • Iris van Herpen’s science fashion [BoF]
  • Rakuten buys virtual fitting room start-up Fits.Me in a fashion commerce play [TechCrunch]
  • Why an “Amazon for high fashion” is a really bad idea [HighSnobiety]
  • Amazon Fashion, playing the long game [BoF]
  • ShopStyle figured out how to monetise Snapchat [Racked]
  • Why it took Zappos Labs five tries to admit failure [Fast Company]
  • Stamp your in-store Snapchats with custom Lilly Pulitzer prints [Digiday]
  • Crocs bets big on interactive Twitter videos with ‘Funway Runway’ effort [AdWeek]
  • Online jewellery start-up Bauble Bar to open retail stores [Forbes]
  • Matthew Williamson to sell part of pre-fall collection exclusively on Lyst [Fashionista]
  • Net-a-porter partners with Tom Ford on e-commerce exclusive [WWD]
  • Nike quickens plans to ‘seamlessly connect social platforms to commerce’ [The Drum]
  • How artificial intelligence is powering e-commerce in India [TechinAsia]
  • Fashion apps continue the trend for mobile swiping [The Telegraph]
  • Six futuristic retail displays that will change your idea of ‘e-commerce’ [Time]
  • Luxury brands dip toes in e-commerce waters [WSJ]
  • Why the Internet of Things won’t be about the ‘things’ for retailers [Retail Dive]
  • The man who wants to turn our clothes into modular gadgets [Wired]
  • Meet Mona, the world’s smartest personal shopper [PSFK]
  • Why the Apple Watch is flopping [Co.Design]
  • 3D-printing has stagnated, says pioneering designer Francis Bitonti [Dezeen]
  • We did not expect Vogue’s native advertising to be this good [Brand Republic]
Categories
Editor's pick technology

Will.i.am enlists Zaha Hadid in design collaboration for new wrist wearable

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Zaha Hadid and Will.i.am on stage at Wired 2014, picture by Michael Newington Gray via Wired.co.uk

Fashion and technology – two unlikely bedfellows that have been gaining increasing column inches of late thanks to the rise of branded wearables. So far, however, the results have been relatively unsuccessful from a style perspective at least.

The problem, says musician and entrepreneur Will.i.am, is that devices are being made and the “fashion” is being sprinkled on top, rather than fashion being made and technology placed inside it.

Speaking at the Wired conference in London today, he said the industry needs to think from the angle of what a fashion house would do. “Let’s not think what a technological company would do, let’s bake technology in, but come from the perspective of a fashion house. What would Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent do? What would Chanel do? What type of product would they put technology in to?”

Accordingly, he released his own ‘smart cuff’ called the Puls at Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco earlier this week.

Puls by Zaha Hadid
One of Zaha Hadid’s designs for Will.i.am’s smart cuff, Puls

Created by a 60+ strong team at his company i.am+, this is a standalone connected smartphone on a wristband. It makes phone calls (from its own SIM card), sends emails and SMS, connects to social platforms, streams your music, has in-built GPS and a Siri-like voice-controlled assistant called Aneeda.

Better yet, it also comes with a serious fashion focus thanks to the announcement today of a collaboration with architect and designer Zaha Hadid.

While Will.i.am’s original design is a sleek thick cuff available in a variety of colourways, Hadid brings what looks like five more intricate styles to the table, each of them almost masking the original curved shape beneath.

See the full story and more pics of the designs via Forbes.com

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Editor's pick technology

Is this the first example of truly ‘beautiful’ wearable tech?

Richard Nicoll's SS15 optic dress

Rather than thinking about devices, the wearable tech talk of London Fashion Week has been about the introduction of a light-up dress in partnership with Disney at Richard Nicoll’s show yesterday.

Let me pre-empt your response by saying that’s the kind of wearable tech I would usually roll my eyes at too – a tick the box PR stunt that solely appeals to the likes of Katy Perry or Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas. It was inspired by Tinkerbell too, I hear you cry? Hear me out by reading my full story over on Forbes.com.

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Comment Editor's pick technology

How the fashion press critiqued the all-new #applewatch

AppleWatch_anchor

It’s somewhat hard to imagine the scene in Cupertino earlier this week – savvy tech journalists alongside a bevy of Apple employees, a handful of celebs and some of the world’s most-established fashion editors.

Like a who’s who of Angela Ahrendts’ fashion contact book, everyone from Olivier Zahm, founder of Purple magazine, to Vogue editor-in-chiefs including Alexandra Shulman of British Vogue, Angelica Cheung of Vogue China, Emmanuelle Alt of Vogue Paris and Franca Sozzani of Vogue Italia willingly took a break from their New York Fashion Week schedules to fly in especially. When Apple calls…

But what all did the industry’s critics think of the much-anticipated Apple Watch? Here are some choice highlights:

  • Lisa Armstrong at the Daily Telegraph suggested if the Apple Watch is to seduce us, first it must be able to woo us with its looks rather than its brains. Was she impressed? Ultimately, yes. Like others, the customisation factor particularly resonated: “Where Apple’s watch leaves others standing is in the almost infinite ways it can be further individualised.” Indeed to many, this was the surest sign of Apple attempting to align itself with the way the fashion industry treats accessories.
  • It was this very focus on customisation, however, that led to Time magazine giving one of the toughest reviews out there. Author Misty White Sidell referred to the launch of the Apple Watch as an attempt to kill the joy of personal style. “In a worst-case scenario for fashion, Apple will not only attain a monopoly on the timepiece market, but also the confidence to wield a larger impact on how we dress ourselves each day. The watch is no doubt an indication of how Apple will approach future fashion products, offering the masses a constrictive framework in which to dress themselves, all under the guise of customizable ‘self expression’. And that places personal style in its purest form at risk—inhibiting a consumer’s right to varied choice.” She referred to every additional fashion creation from Apple as inadvertently likely to create a less diverse shopping landscape. “The more Apple invades the fashion market, the more it will look to create a robotic consumerist culture (something it’s already done with tech)—in turn manipulating the greatest enjoyments of style and personal expression.”

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  • Vanessa Friedman at The New York Times, though providing a positive review overall, went in relatively hard as well. “It’s definitely a step forward,” she wrote. “But does it rewrite the rules of our aesthetic expectations? No.” On that customisation element, she added: “The funny thing is, while I understand why they find this sort of choice extraordinary in the tech world, it’s par for the course in fashion, which points up some of the gulf between the two sectors; What they find revolutionary makes us want to yawn.”
  • Over at Vogue International, Suzy Menkes wasn’t overly fussed by the design either. “From a fashion point of view, the external aesthetic seemed neutral: neither super-stylish nor repellent. I would imagine that geeks would love it more than aesthetes,” she wrote. But she peppered her story with what feels almost like conceding to its inevitability: “Yet smartphones have already transformed the fashion world in a way we never imagined, bringing backstage to the wide world and turning shows into a forest of phones and instant images and videos. The phone and the computer have been responsible for bringing fashion to everyone. I suspect that I, as a non-digital specialist, would fail to use this device to its full capacity. But I like the idea of setting the visual aspects according to my mood. And perhaps my wardrobe.”
  • In comparison, Fashionista very openly referred to the Apple Watch as one of the best wearable tech offerings out yet. It also praised its design, associating it very smoothly with the luxury market. “We may have just been imagining things, but the combination of the display’s smooth gradients, the leather band and the high-shine metallics gives the watch a distinctly Burberry feel. Not that Apple changed its design philosophy based on hiring Angela Ahrendts, but the vibe is there. In any case, all those luxury hires seem to have paid off.”
  • WWD [subscriber access] questioned whether Apple’s marketing savvy and brand reputation would be enough to beat out the more accessories-focused brands like Swatch group (due to unveil its own smartwatch next year), or even Will.i.am, who is plotting his own for introduction in 2015. But the fashion trade publication also highlighted an important point for retailers — the fact Apple has created an entire platform that provides new methods of interaction in the retail environment. “The Apple Watch allows a consumer to confirm a purchase via fingerprint with iTouch and now with the release of Apple Pay, there is a financial system and a platform that allows developers and retailers to integrate this into their payment transactions,” wrote digital news and features editor, Rachel Strugatz.

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  • The Business of Fashion provided a comprehensive overview of the device, outlining six underlying principles it believes form the foundations of the company’s strategy for “igniting and dominating the rapidly emerging wearable technology market, just as the iPod did for music, the iPhone did for smartphones and the iPad has done for tablets”. In doing so, it likewise highlighted some other areas of consideration beyond design, one of the most interesting ones of which was in its analysis of the need for new selling spaces for the more luxury version of the watch. “Can Apple really expect to sell a luxury-priced Apple Watch Edition in crowded stores staffed by personnel in blue t-shirts and khakis?” editor-in-chief Imran Amed asked. He expects Apple’s hire of Angela Ahrendts to lead to the brand rolling out a unique selling environment that lives up to the new product – perhaps a luxury Apple Watch shop-in-shop or a standalone deemed high-end and tailored enough to support it. From a design perspective, he also said he didn’t expect the impact on the fashion and luxury watch market to be too significant just yet. “Having seen and touched Apple Watch in person, I think traditional Swiss luxury watchmakers can rest easy — for now,” he wrote.

That “for now” comment from the BoF is particularly pertinent. As I myself wrote for WGSN [subscriber access]: “Apple has, time and time again, taken a category that already exists (mp3 players, smartphones and tablets as the most obvious examples) and redeveloped it in such a way, with design so succinctly at the heart of it, that it becomes a game changer. Comparative to all the other options out there in the wearable tech / smart watch / fitness tracking device market, this absolutely feels like that again.”

Indeed to return to Amed: “This is just the beginning for the Apple Watch and like its iPod, iPhone and iPad predecessors, I’d expect the product to evolve significantly over time.” Down the road, there’s a wealth of disruption looking likely, especially when you turn to the Millennial market (and under), who are no longer used to wearing a traditional watch, but rather relying on their smartphone. Here’s betting Apple doesn’t have too much trouble getting them back to looking at their wrists.

As Sir Jonathan Ive, SVP of design at Apple, narrates in the video: “I think we’re now at a compelling beginning – actually designing technology to be worn and to be truly personal.”

Let’s not forget, this is just version 1.0.

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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…

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  • 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 ShangPin.com 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]
Categories
Blocks business e-commerce technology

Accelerating change at retail – a chat on innovation with WGSN, John Lewis and Zappos Labs

By day, I’m a global senior editor at WGSN, where we’ve been running an ongoing series of Google+ Hangouts (#wgsnhangout), chatting to experts from across the industry each month on subjects as varied as wearable technologycatwalk trends to know aboutthe future of fashion and more.

This month, the subject was retail innovation. I interviewed Will Young, director of Zappos Labs; John Vary, innovation manager at John Lewis; and Lorna Hall, WGSN’s head of market intelligence. Check out the video above for more on what’s currently shifting the landscape through the eyes of a heritage retail brand and a large US e-commerce player.

We chat about improving the consumer experience, introducing new technologies, partnering with start-ups, gaining internal buy-in, the ever-important role of omnichannel and more. There’s also a quick-fire round flagging up how soon (18 months, three-five years, or not at all) retailers need to care about innovations such as beacons, 3D printing, wearable tech, drones and virtual reality.

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digital snippets e-commerce social media technology

Digital snippets: Matthew Williamson, Gap, Amazon, Instagram, Wanelo, Tinder

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

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  • ‘Is it scalable? I think it has to be,’ Matthew Williamson head of digital on customer acquisition through Instagram [The Drum]
  • Amazon launches #AmazonCart (#AmazongBasket), a new way to shop without leaving Twitter [TNW]
  • Fashion world sashays to Instagram for brand-building [FT]
  • Wanelo profiled: like mall browsing, with a click [NY Times]
  • Meet the new wave of Tinder-like shopping apps [Fashionista]
  • Stylect, the Tinder for shoes, finds you a perfect pair [Co.Design]
  • Study shows prevalence of consumer ‘webrooming’; more people researching online and buying in local stores [AdWeek]
  • Tracking is dead: the next wave of wearables is context [re/code]
  • Millennial-focused marketers start to dig in to new SnapChat video feature [AdWeek]
  • Must see: colour-changing fabric uses heat sensitive technology to react to sound files and its surrounds [PSFK]
Categories
technology

Mink, a 3D printer for make-up, aims to disrupt colour cosmetics market

minkprinter

3D printing just became significantly more relevant to a huge group of consumers. Forget mere filament forms, next up is 3D-printed make-up.

Unveiled by Harvard Business School grad, Grace Choi, at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York today, Mink is a desktop printer that lets users choose any colour and instantly transform it into a wearable colour cosmetic. And by that she means everything from a creamy blush or lipstick to a powdery eyeshadow or foundation.

As reported by TechCrunch: “Most makeup comes from the same basic substrates, from high-end labels like Chanel all the way down to the cheap stuff available at drug stores… Choi sources the same substrate for the Mink so that users can turn any image into any kind of makeup.”

The whole point is to make colour – something the beauty industry makes a whole lot of money out of – that much more accessible for consumers. Rather than paying a premium for such shades, shoppers can now just print them out at home. (Did you know ink is FDA compliant?) With Mink, any image online, or out in the real world can be captured and made into an instant beauty product.

“Mink enables the web to become the biggest beauty store in the world,” says Choi. “It not only unlocks images, it unlocks pixels, so we’re going to live in a world where you can just take a picture of your friend’s lipstick and print it out.”

It’s set to retail at around $300 when it launches later this year. Read the whole story, and watch the Disrupt video which shows Choi demo’ing the Mink printer, here.

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