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digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick Retail sustainability

8 brands turning to responsible packaging solutions

 

The rapid rise of the e-commerce era has seen an equally colossal increase in plastic packaging used by brands around the world, something those at the forefront of sustainability are now looking to change. 

US residents alone use more than 380 billion plastic bags and wraps every year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. A large portion of those go into the ocean, polluting the waters and damaging wildlife with nonbiodegradable materials. 

Those facts, and many more beside them, are resulting in a desperate need for change. What’s key is that the public is paying attention. A 2017 survey shows packaging professionals and brand owners hear the most complaints about unsustainable or excessive packaging. 

Meanwhile, bans on things like plastic bags are starting to pay off in certain markets – in the UK, over 15 billion of them have been saved from going into landfill since it was introduced nearly four years ago. That stat is particularly significant when you think about the fact these items can take around 500 years to breakdown. 

We’ve already talked about the market opportunity that exists for refillable packaging solutions for those in the health and beauty space, but this challenge is also applicable to broader retail. The good news is brands across all manner of industries, are now doubling down on eco-friendly packaging alternatives as a result. From luxury retailers to online stores, check out these eight examples of those adapting to lower their use of plastics at the delivery stage of the supply chain…

PVH
Calvin Klein packaging

Apparel company PVH, which owns brands including Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, has ambitious sustainability goals that include using 100% sustainably and ethically sourced packaging by 2025. “As a global apparel company, we recognize that we have a responsibility to reduce waste, and one key way to do so is by minimizing our packaging and making it recyclable,” said Marissa Pagnani-McGowan, group VP of corporate responsibility at the corporation. 


The company is already making strides; according to its 2018 corporate responsibility report, 74% of its packaging is now recyclable. Moreover, the PVH Dress Furnishings Group has saved nearly 200 tons of plastic by reducing the thickness of its packaging polybags. PVH also became the first apparel company to join How2Recycle, a project of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition. This initiative provides standard labels with clear instructions for customers on how to recycle packaging materials, such as whether to consult a local recycling program or use a store drop-off station at a participating retailer in order to save from throwing the wrapping straight into landfill.

Toad&Co
Toad&Co partnered with LimeLoop

California-based sustainable fashion brand, Toad&Co, partnered with US startup LimeLoop to replace cardboard boxes and disposable mailers with recycled vinyl packages. Customers can request the new packaging at checkout. When the product arrives, the empty container can be dropped in the mail for return and reuse. 

Kelly Milazzo, director of operations at the company, estimates 2,500 LimeLoop bags – each of which supposedly last 2,000 uses – could supply the company’s entire e-commerce business for 83 years. “That saves the equivalent of 5 million plastic mailers,” she told Outside magazine.

MatchesFashion.com
MatchesFashion’s iconic boxes

Last year, London-based global luxury retailer, MatchesFashion.com, began developing a strategy and a timeline for reducing the environmental impact of its packaging. The retailer is known for the beauty of its boxes by its loyal customer base, meaning change comes with the additional challenge of maintaining the quality and aesthetic appeal for which it has become known. 

The company made three pledges: first, to ensure all packaging is widely recyclable; second, to introduce a half-size box with less material; and third, to incorporate sustainably-sourced materials including FSC-certified card and post-consumer waste.

PrAna
PrAna’s eco-friendly labels

Premium lifestyle clothing prAna uses recycled paper and soy-based ink for its packaging, tying its garments with strips of raffia palm tree. The company had to conduct an extended series of tests to make sure the raffia strips kept products in great shape during processing and delivery. The strategy paid off, with the company becoming 80% polybag-free by 2016. 
Quality control is everything however. “We have different guidelines laid out for each type of garment to show our factory how to fold, how to get the hang tag in the right position and how to put the raffia tie on”, explained Meme Snell, men’s product developer at the brand.

Amazon
Amazon’s brand Tide’s new eco-box

Amazon India is committed to eliminating single-use plastic from its packaging by June 2020. The first step is to replace plastic wraps like air pillows and bubble wraps with paper cushions, a recyclable material, by the end of this year. The company also launched Packaging-Free Shipments (PFS) last year and expanded the practice to 13 cities. By securing multiple shipments together in a reusable crate or corrugated box, Amazon can minimize the secondary packaging required for individual shipments.

Meanwhile, Amazon US began encouraging brands to change their packaging design to facilitate shipping, making the process more sustainable. For example, Tide is planning to switch from its existing bottle to a new “Eco-Box” with 60% less plastic.

Reformation
Reformation’s vegetable bags

Reformation is paving the way for other young, trend-led brands to be sustainable, implementing an environmental consciousness into every aspect of its business.  Reformation delivers its e-commerce orders in vegetable bags which are 100% compostable. Once the bag has been used, it was simply break down like organic waste, leaving no harmful chemicals behind. 

The packaging is plastic-free and made from 100% recycled paper products and compostable bio-based films, with even the hangers being bio-based too. With the average lifespan of a plastic or metal hanger lasting only 3 months, Reformation has opted to use recycled paper hangers to minimise the demand for new materials and reduce landfill waste.

Asos
ASOS packaging

E-commerce giant ASOS has put packaging and waste at the forefront of its environmental policy. After a cradle-to-gate assessment revealed that plastic bags produce 60% less GHG emissions than cardboard, the company decided to reduce the number of cardboard boxes in favour of the former.

To mitigate the environmental damage of its plastics, ASOS uses 25% recycled content for the bags. The company has also reduced the thickness of the bags, which is saving approximately 583 tonnes of plastic annually.

The retailer is also working towards having a closed-loop system, recycling consumer packaging into new packaging. Having 10% post-consumer waste integrated into the new bags helps to reduce virgin plastic usage by 160 tonnes annually.

Maggie Marilyn
Maggie Marilyn

New Zealand based womenswear designed Maggie Marilyn is focusing on an often forgotten part of the supply chain when it comes to sustainability, using compostable bags to ship wholesale items. The bags which are made from cornstarch and synthetic polymer, represent a 60% reduction in C02 emissions compared to traditional plastic bags. The bags are produced by The Better Packaging Company, who have achieved one of the toughest standard regulations in Australia, the AS5810 for compostability.

How are you thinking about sustainability? 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.

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business Editor's pick Retail sustainability technology

9 brands pushing sustainable store design

With sustainability an increasing priority on the agenda for fashion and retail businesses around the globe today, attention is also turning to their brick-and-mortar stores – how they’re resourced, designed and constructed. 

According to Schneider Electric, retail buildings are the largest consumers of energy among non-residential buildings in Europe, contributing $20 billion each year. Factors such as electricity, air conditioning and lighting all contribute to a brand’s carbon footprint and emissions. 

The interesting thing is that going green is proven to not only help retailers reduce their impact on the planet, but significantly save them money. A 20% cut in energy costs can represent the same bottom line benefit as a 5% increase in sales, according to Carbon Trust. 

Investing in sustainable store design, therefore, has a positive effect on profit, people and the planet. From locally-sourced materials, to energy saving light bulbs, and even the removal of any plastic packaging, there is an incredibly wide range of ways retailers can make their stores more environmentally friendly. 

Here we highlight some of the best examples of brands going above and beyond with their stores in order to do so: 

Stella McCartney
Stella McCartney London flagship store

Last year Stella McCartney opened a new flagship store in London that expands four floors and embodies sustainability throughout. The outposts of the store are lined with recycled foam and card that were made from waste paper from the London offices. The space is also the first to use biodegradable mannequins,  made from 72% sugarcane bioplastic, which significantly reduces CO2 emissions. To help combat air pollution, the store has a hidden ventilation systems that removes 95% of air pollutants and harmful gases, such as nitrogen dioxide. At launch, Stella herself said: “The store really tells the story of the world of Stella McCartney, seamlessly incorporating sustainability, fashion and luxury.”

Ikea
Inside Ikea’s Greenwich Store

Ikea opened a sustainable store in London’s Greenwich, built from a range of renewable materials in 2019. The roof is covered with 75% solar panels, which power the store, and rainwater is harvested to help reduce the store’s water consumption by 50%. The store not only helps the environment, but is also working towards improving the community around it. Ikea holds an array of classes such as bunting making, which utilizes off-cuts of IKEA fabric, helping spread the message of full utilization. The design of the store has been awarded an ‘Outstanding’ BREEAM certification, which is the highest award for sustainable construction, covering areas such as energy, land use and materials. Efforts to incorporate geothermal heating, 100% LED lighting and textile recycling, have also elevated it to become the most sustainable retail store in the UK.

Patagonia
Patagonia Store in Victoria, Canada

Patagonia is not only leading the way with sustainability in manufacturing, but is going above and beyond with its store design strategy. Each outpost is uniquely designed to reflect the history and culture of its location, while simultaneously keeping the planet in mind. The Victoria store in Canada, which opened several years ago now, for instance, had three main goals when it was being designed: to use sustainable construction methods, utilize reclaimed materials and become the best retail space for outdoor activities in the area. It features a range of wooden details throughout, from wall decorations to shelving units, giving it a grounded earthy feel. The wood was wastage retrieved from the Pacific Ocean and leftover material from the local yacht club.

Country Road
Country Road store in Melbourne

Australian fashion retailer Country Road opened its flagship store in Melbourne this summer also with sustainability in mind. The space is made from recycled materials such as yoghurt containers, fishing nets and recycled paper. It is the first to receive a 5-star Green Design review from the Green Building Council of Australia. It also includes details like fitting room hooks that have been made using ocean plastic and tables from recycled plastic. The brand hopes this store design will be the first of many, as it continues to expand in the country.

Starbucks
Starbucks sustainable store design

Starbucks is leading the way in the coffee sphere by building LEED-certified stores, which stands for ‘leadership in energy and environmental design’. These green stores use LED lighting, recycled flooring tiles and wood products that are certified by the Forest Stewardship council. They are 25% more energy efficient and 30% more water efficient. In countries with solar and wind projects, the stores are run on   100% renewable energy. Starbucks already has 1,612 LEED-certified stores, but is intending to extend the framework to 10,000 by 2025, which could save $50m in utility costs over the next 10 years alongside reducing impact on the planet.

Bottletop
Bottletop’s London store

Sustainable accessories brand, Bottletop, opened the world’s first 3D printed store, created by robots using upcycled plastic, in London. Based on Regent Street, it is zero waste and home to the brand’s sustainable handcrafted collection of leather goods. The space embodies the company’s core mission to empower people through sustainable design and creative culture. The flooring of the store is made from reworked rubber tyres and the interior is made from 60,000 upcycled plastic bottles. Overall, the store aims to re-imagine the future of ecologically responsible construction through zero waste design.

Ganni
Ganni store

Danish fashion brand Ganni recently opened its new London store following a number of doors in Copenhagen and Stockholm. While it features bubblegum pink walls fit for every Instagrammer’s dream, it is also underpinned with a green strategy in mind. The store incorporates  sustainable features such as recycled plastic displays made from old plastic bottles, plant pots, food packaging and coffee grounds. Decorations throughout are either vintage pieces or upcycled products, including rugs that have been remade from old Ganni collections. The company also uses renewable energy across all of its stores, with the aim to have 100% green sources by the end of 2019. 

Lush
Lush’s plastic free products

As one of the sustainability leaders in beauty, Lush recently stepped up its game by stripping back several of its stores in Berlin, Milan and Manchester, in a bid to go entirely plastic free. The ‘Naked’ stores, as they’re called, are part of the brand’s initiative to tackle the plastic waste problem in the cosmetic industry. They all feature products like the brand’s solid shampoos, which don’t necessitate any packaging. Each of them further serve as an open space for NGOs and activist groups to educate and increase consumer awareness on the topics of zero waste and ocean plastics.

Reformation
Reformation store

Cult fashion brand Reformation puts sustainability at the core of everything it does, from local manufacturing and sustainable dyeing to green buildings and fabrics. Its Los Angeles stores and headquarters are all Green Business certified, meaning they implement strategies to save energy, improve water efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. Reformation offsets its store build by 100%, by calculating the construction footprint. The materials in store are also sustainable with LED fixtures,  recycled fabric insulations and natural rammed earth materials.

How are you thinking about sustainable innovations? 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. Each of the rules referenced above is matched by one of our products and services. Interested in how? Get in touch to learn more.

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e-commerce Editor's pick Retail sustainability

3 ways brands are experimenting with the resale market

From partnering with resale websites to facilitating consignment selling, brands are increasingly exploring ways to be more involved with their products as they continue through their lifecycles.

Part exercise in brand control and part push for more sustainable consumer habits, the move is of course also an enormous opportunity for extended revenue streams.

The secondhand market is projected to double in value over the next five years, skyrocketing from $24bn to $51bn, according to a report from resale site, thredUP.

We’re also seeing heavy investment in the resale space as a result. Foot Locker just put in $100m into GOAT, while Farfetch recently acquired Stadium Goods for $250 million. There’s also a round of funding coming up for sneaker marketplace StockX, which will turn the company into the first sneaker reseller valued at $1bn, according to Recode.

Here are three ways brands are otherwise experimenting with and promoting the resale market:

1. PARTNERING WITH RESALE WEBSITES

Starting this April, & Other Stories started selling pre-owned garments. The project was created in partnership with second-hand platform Sellpy, which manages and operates its sales. When clicking on the new “pre-loved” section on the & Other Stories’ website, clients are redirected to sellpy.se. For now, the service is only available in Sweden.

“We’re exploring different ideas on how our long-lasting designs can find their way to new owners. With that in mind, we decided to do a small second-hand test project with Sellpy,” explained Sanna Lindberg, managing director of & Other Stories.

Stella McCartney made history last year as the first luxury brand to promote the consignment of its products on The RealReal. Anyone selling Stella McCartney products on the platform receives a $100 voucher valid at any of the brand’s stores or via its website.

2. DRIVING RESALE SELLING AND BUYING THROUGH STORES

Neiman Marcus recently invested in Fashionphile, a high-end consignment boutique. It has plans to have Fashionphile drop-off locations inside select stores, allowing shoppers to get paid right away for their pre-owned items. For now, Fashionphile is offering an increased buyout price for those who opt to receive payment as a credit at Neiman Marcus.

Meanwhile, just last month, Galeries Lafayette introduced a second-hand fashion platform called Le Good Dressing, which combines online shopping with an in-store experience. Vendors on the site sell products and then drop them off in the store, where buyers can come in to get their purchases – with no commission charged.  Sellers also receive a voucher that can be redeemed at any Galeries Lafayette store or its online shop. Attracting both buyers and sellers into the store, this initiative translates into a host of new sales opportunities.

Added to the list is the new Levi’s flagship in New York City’s Times Square, which has a section dedicated to selling pre-owned garments. Here, it’s possible to find not only newer styles, but also refurbished items from past decades, going as far back as the 1930s and 1940s.

3. FACILITATING THE CONSIGNMENT ITSELF

West coast brand, Reformation, is the first brand to partner with resale website thredUp on a project called UPcycle. When customers shop on the Reformation website throughout May 2019, they all automatically receive an UPcycle kit in their orders. These kits enable customers to shop the clothes they want to consign to thredUP, taking away the hassle of sorting out the inventory to do so.

But that’s not all, when a customer decides to consign any product from any brand via thredUp, they also have the option to get paid with a gift card for Reformation. This is a way to create more circularity, while also promoting Reformation’s brand. ThredUp expects to establish similar partnerships with 10 more companies this year.

How are you thinking about retail innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current 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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business digital snippets product Retail sustainability technology

ICYMI: Rent the Runway’s competitive lawsuit, Cavalli exits US, the data gap for fashion sustainability

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

TOP STORIES
  • Inside Rent the Runway’s alleged “scheme of monopolistic, anti-competitive conduct” [The Fashion Law]
  • The struggling fashion house Roberto Cavalli closes its U.S. stores [NYT]
  • Exactly how bad is fashion for the planet? We still don’t know for sure [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Sustainability becoming an economic benefit for luxury brands [Fashion Network]
  • Hundreds of US cities are killing or scaling back their recycling programs [Vox]
  • Corona builds plastic trash wall on Ipanema Beach to warn from plastic pollution [PR Week]
  • Asda’s George to only use recycled polyester by 2025 [Drapers]
  • The North Face aims to reduce man-made waste in collaboration with RÆBURN [Complex]
  • The next wave of sustainable fashion is all about regenerative farming [Fashionista]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • At Galeries Lafayette’s new Champs Élysées flagship, the Paris concept store is reborn [Vogue]
  • Tommy Hilfiger closes NYC flagship and more [Fashion United]
  • Dior expands beach collection with dedicated dioriviera spaces [WWD]
PRODUCT
  • Gentle Monster and Huawei team up to launch fashion-focused smart glasses [The Current Daily]
  • Lululemon soars on menswear, online push; inches into Nike turf [Reuters]
  • Reformation is launching its permanent extended sizing clothing collection [Fashionista]
  • Bobbi Brown and Walmart want to bring wellness to the masses [BoF]
  • Luxury marijuana brand Beboe is launching a skincare label [Paper Mag]
  • Amazon now wants to get into your make-up bag with their own skincare brand [Vogue]
BUSINESS
  • Farfetch invests in The Modist [Drapers]
  • Michael Kors steps back from Capri board [WWD]
  • PVH in talks to sell Calvin Klein women’s jeans business [Retail Dive]
  • Carine Roitfeld announced as style advisor of Karl Lagerfeld’s namesake brand [Harpers Bazaar]
  • Neiman Marcus drums up support for refinancing [WWD]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Jo Malone London is launching a new fragrance exhibition [Harpers Bazaar]
  • Dove debuts #ShowUs image library to diversify depictions of women in media [Marketing Dive]
  • YSL Beauty hits the desert for debut Coachella pop-up [WWD]
  • Fashion designer Simon Porte Jacquemus is opening a café in Paris and it’s an Instagrammer’s dream [The Independent]
CULTURE
  • The future of luxury is freedom [BoF]
  • Shopping while Chinese: Real stories of discrimination [Jing Daily]
  • Ikea’s next big thing is self-care [Fast Company]
  • Generation Z: Who they are, in their own words [NYT]
  • Why does the burden of creating inclusivity in fashion fall largely on marginalized groups? [Fashionista]

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current 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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Campaigns Editor's pick sustainability

Reformation helps customers offset their carbon footprint with new sustainable initiatives

Reformation is helping fight climate change with a campaign that enables its customers to offset their individual carbon footprints by supporting clean energy projects. The California-based sustainable label is launching “Carbon is Canceled”, which features a series of programs over the next few months that hope to encourage sustainable behavior.

Firstly, it is partnering with sustainable energy providers Arcadia Power to encourage customers to switch 50% of their electric energy bill to wind energy for no additional cost – and as a reward, receive a $100 gift certificate from the label.

Secondly, it is introducing “Climate Credits” with carbon offsite partners Native Energy. The tool enables customers on the Reformation website to purchase “credits” and have that monetary value be put towards verified carbon offset projects, such as clean energy and forestry projects that actively reduce CO2 emissions.

For example, for the price of $60, a customer can offset their own individual carbon emissions for the span of six months, and have that money be donated to suitable projects. Alternatively, customers can buy credits towards an entire family’s consumption and even towards a wedding’s.

Reformation has been entirely carbon-neutral since 2015, and this program is only one of the many initiatives that hope to encourage its cult following to think and shop more sustainably.

In 2015, it introduced Refscale, an eco tool that allows customers to see exactly how sustainable each individual Reformation garment is compared to industry standards. For Earth Day in 2018, it pledged to keep 75,000 pieces of clothing out of landfills that year by announcing a series of initiatives that support the resale of ‘gently loved’ Reformation items, teaming up with platforms such as ThredUp and Depop.

Are you thinking innovatively enough about sustainability? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. The Current 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 product sustainability

9 brands rethinking textiles for the circular economy

Fashion's Impact on Water
Fashion’s Impact on Water

From sustainability guru Stella McCartney to German premium label Hugo Boss, brands across the spectrum have been experimenting with textile innovations that aim to push the industry towards a greener future.

This mission comes with a sense of urgency, with several reports predicting the uncomfortable reality of resource scarcity. A statistic from The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) estimates that humans were using the equivalent of 1.7 planets’ worth of natural resources in 2017.

Such resources, and water specifically, are central to the fashion industry’s supply chain. From planting and irrigating cotton fields, to dyeing and washing fabric – a world without enough water and raw materials spells out an uncertain future.

Infographic of The Circular Economy - Ellen MacArthur
Infographic of The Circular Economy – Ellen MacArthur

“In the worst case, the fashion industry will face distinct restrictions on one or more of its key input factors, leaving it unable to grow at the projected rate and in the long run unable to continue under its current operating model,” said the Global Fashion Agenda in its The Pulse of The Fashion Industry report.

It’s for that reason, the industry is exploring the circular economy, which takes the traditional, make-use-dispose model in fashion, and rather promotes a closed-loop where items are reused, recycled and reduced.

We’ve seen numerous startups playing in this space for years, experimenting with different natural ingredients and formulas to create textiles ready for market. Today, a number of brands are jumping on board and partnering with such teams in order to replace traditional materials.

Here are nine of the strongest examples…

STELLA MCCARTNEY

Stella McCartney has been championing sustainable fashion since the formation of her namesake label, pushing the envelope of what circular textile innovation means for the industry at large.

One stand-out circular textile from the brand is Re.Verso™, a regenerated cashmere made from post-factory cashmere waste in Italy. According to the brand’s self-implemented Environmental P&L account, using this alternative material reduced its impact by 92%.

EVERLANE 

Everlane's ReNew Line
Everlane’s ReNew Line

Direct-to-consumer brand Everlane, which pioneered the concept of a transparent supply chain through its “radical transparency” approach, announced its newest sustainable material just this month – a fleece called ReNew, which is made from recycled plastic bottles.

The brand also pledged to replace all materials made of virgin plastic (including polyester and nylon) with material made of plastic water bottles and renewed materials by 2021. It expects to be recycling 100 million water bottles through its supply chain.

ADIDAS X PARLEY FOR THE OCEANS

Adidas x Parley
Adidas x Parley

Adidas’ partnership with Parley for the Oceans, a non-profit organization set to remove and recycle waste from the ocean, has been an elemental part of the brand’s sustainability strategy.

In 2015, the two companies teamed up to make a sneaker that was made entirely of yarn recycled from ocean waste and illegal deep-sea gill nets. While the shoe was impressive in both design and sustainability, the partnership really started to come to fruition last year when sneakers like the Parley x Adidas Ultra Boost became more widely available to the public.  Eric Liedtke, head of global brands at the company, said each pair of shoes uses the equivalent of 11 plastic bottles, which means that Adidas has recycled some 55 million plastic bottles this year.

ALLBIRDS

Allbirds' SweetFoam flip-flops
Allbirds’ Sugar Zeffer flip-flops

In August 2018, direct-to-consumer footwear brand Allbirds announced the launch of “SweetFoam”,  a biodegradable and environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum-based materials traditionally used in the manufacturing process of shoe-soles. The first product the brand created with SweetFoam was a range of sustainable flip-flops called Sugar Zeffers.

The new material, which is made up of a sugarcane base, marks an important achievement in the industry, as it is the first ever carbon-neutral green alternative to the traditional EVA foam. To inspire industry-wide change, Allbirds also made this technology open-source and therefore available to everyone.

REEBOK

As part of its Cotton + Corn initiative, sportswear brand Reebok released its first-ever biodegradable sneaker range in August of this year. The product launch was part of the brand’s larger aim to reduce the brand’s environmental footprint with biodegradable products.

The shoe, which is also called the Cotton + Corn sneaker, is made with a cotton top and a bioplastic sole created from a corn-derived alternative material. It is also the first in its category to be certified by the United States Department of Agriculture to consist of 75% bio-based content.

REFORMATION

Reformation Intimates
Reformation Intimates

Los Angeles-based sustainable fashion brand, Reformation, has been making fashion using end-of-roll fabrics for years, but through its newest category, underwear, it’s taking things a step further.

The intimates collection is made using a mixture of sustainable fabrics such as recycled lace, eco mesh (a recycled type of yarn) and Lenzing TENCEL, a patented fabric derived from a wood cellulose material.

ADAY

Fashion's Impact on Water
Fashion’s Impact on Water

For its new Plant Bae collection, direct-to-consumer fashion brand, Aday, wanted to trial a new fabric composition using SeaCell, a fiber created from seaweed from the Icelandic coast.

Every four years, the seaweed is harvested and spun into fiber together with lyocell to stabilize. For the Plant Bae collection, it was also enhanced with cellulose and modal to create an additionally soft fabric composition. The innovative material has seen previous incarnations in Falke socks and Lululemon sportswear in its VitaSea collection.

SALVATORE FERRAGAMO

Salvatore Ferragamo
Salvatore Ferragamo

Salvatore Ferragamo created a capsule collection in 2017 made from an innovative new material derived from leftover orange peel. The brand partnered with Italian company, Orange Fiber, to product the silk-feel line, which included apparel such as t-shirts and delicate scarves.

This material is, for now, aplenty: a recent figure from the Italian Agricultural Department revealed that waste from the juice industry resulted in 700,000 tonnes of discarded orange peel on a yearly basis in Italy alone.

HUGO BOSS

Hugo Boss "Boss"
Hugo Boss “Boss”

German brand Hugo Boss released limited collection footwear in April 2018 using discarded pineapple leaves that imitate the texture of leather. The material, called Piñatex, has been used by smaller footwear brands such as Bourgeois Boheme, although Hugo Boss is one of the first mainstream brands to adopt it.

Piñatex is derived from the leaves of the pineapple plant, a byproduct of the pineapple harvest that has no other use for farmers. The creation of the textile therefore provides local farmers with an additional income.

How are you thinking about sustainable 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.

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce product Startups sustainability technology

ICYMI: L’Oréal is growing skin, Maersk’s blockchain for logistics, top tech for retail

L'Oréal is testing lab-grown reconstructed skin
L’Oréal is testing lab-grown reconstructed skin

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

TOP STORIES
  • L’Oréal is growing Chinese skin to test products [Bloomberg]
  • IBM partners with shipping giant Maersk to launch blockchain solution for global logistics [Bitcoinist]
  • 5 technologies transforming retail in 2018 [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Alibaba’s AI beats humans in reading test [Xinhuanet]
  • Amazon’s Alexa could start giving out opinions [RetailDive]
  • Six ways that new technology will revolutionize shopping [Wired]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Why Nike sees social responsibility as an opportunity to innovate [Fast Company]
  • Zara, Kering, Ganni, Reformation vow to increase sustainability efforts by 2020 [TheFashionLaw]
MARKETING
  • How Kiehl’s is using text messages and AI to keep customers loyal [Glossy]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Beauty brands are remaking the peer-to-peer sales model for a digital age [Glossy]
  • Rent the Runway to deploy self-scanning kiosks [Retail Dive]
PRODUCT
  • Adidas joins Carbon’s board as its 3D printed shoes finally drop [TechCrunch]
  • Meet designer Christopher Bevans, winner of the Woolmark Prize for Innovation [HighSnobiety]
STARTUPS
  • True Fit raises $55M to personalize clothes shopping with AI [SiliconAngle]
  • Highsnobiety secures $8.5M from Felix Capital to woo millennial males [TechCrunch]
Categories
business data digital snippets e-commerce Startups sustainability technology

What you missed: retail’s existential reckoning, Echo Dot is the Christmas best seller, bots on the rise

2017 was the year of retail’s existential reckoning
2017 was the year of retail’s existential reckoning

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech industry news over the final fortnight of 2017.


TOP STORIES
  • 2017 was the year of retail’s existential reckoning [Quartz]
  • The Echo Dot was the best-selling product on all of Amazon this holiday season [TechCrunch]
  • Bots are about to get better at customer support than humans [Wired]
  • The last days of Colette [Garage]

BUSINESS
  • Retailers feel shoppers’ Christmas cheer [WSJ]
  • Jonathan Saunders steps down from DVF role [Guardian]
  • Meet Oscar Olsson, the mind behind H&M’s new brand for millennials [TheCut]
  • Reformation raises $25 million to fuel brick-and-mortar growth [BoF]
  • Clothing companies are trashing unsold merchandise instead of donating it [TheOutline]
  • With Phoebe Philo leaving Céline, what’s next? [BoF]
  • UK cotton back in production in Manchester [BBC]

MARKETING
  • Adidas brings all-star talent and tech to the table [BrandChannel]

E-COMMERCE
  • Prada launches e-commerce platform in China [Reuters]
  • The fake news of e-commerce [Racked]
  • There’s money to be made in returning e-commerce orders [LA Times]
  • What fashion brands can learn from Nike’s first six months as an Amazon partner [Glossy]
  • E-commerce company ThredUP rolls out AI-powered ‘goody boxes’ to rival discount clothing chains [AdWeek]

STORES
  • Walmart is developing a personal-shopper service for rich moms — and a store with no cashiers [Recode]
  • Sephora mastered in-store sales by investing in data and cutting-edge technology [AdWeek]

TECHNOLOGY
  • This is Magic Leap’s mixed reality headset [Engadget]
  • If the bitcoin bubble bursts, this is what will happen next [Wired]
  • Mall of America gets high-tech with chatbot and humanoid robots [Racked]
  • Ikea is stepping into virtual reality by creating a game for new store openings [AdWeek]
  • Beauty tech made major strides in 2017, and it’s only the beginning [Fashionista]

START-UPS
  • Target to buy Shipt for $550 million in challenge to Amazon [Bloomberg]
  • Meet the nanotech scientist who used her mad skills to build a better party clutch [FastCompany]
Categories
business social media sustainability

Reformation to offer sustainable factory tours, starting on Earth Day

Reformation
Reformation

US-based sustainable fashion brand, Reformation, is stepping up its transparency game by opening its Los Angeles factory to the public for regular tours.

Starting on Earth Day tomorrow (April 22), the company will invite visitors to walk the vertically integrated factory floor to see where its products are cut, sewn, packaged and more.

“There are people behind the clothes we wear, and too often they work under terrible conditions. That’s why we built our own sustainable factory in Los Angeles, where we work with awesome people from all over the world,” reads the write-up.

Reformation
Reformation

Reformation moved into its new downtown Los Angeles facility earlier this year. It employees 300 factory workers in it, many of which are featured in a video series it has also started rolling out.

The factory uses the most efficient, eco-friendly and pro-social technologies and practices available, while its green infrastructure minimises waste, water, and energy footprints. Electricity is offset by 100% wind power for instance, while there’s also a number of recycling services and programmes on site, as well as opportunities for staff ranging from ESL classes to citizenship services and legal support.

The first tour will start at 10.30am PST tomorrow hosted by Reformation’s CEO and founder Yael Aflalo. It will also stream on Facebook Live. Thereafter, further tours will take place for anyone wanting to book a spot on the first Friday of every month.


Categories
Editor's pick technology

Reformation opening tech-enabled store inspired by Silicon Valley

Reformation's tech-enabled San Francisco store
Reformation’s tech-enabled San Francisco store

Reformation is set to open its fifth store, this time in San Francisco, and inspired by brands that call Silicon Valley home, including Apple and Tesla. The result will be a more efficient experience for those who visit, enabled via touchscreen monitors and a smart dressing room setup.

The aim is to get away from the “self-service cafeteria” feel of so many stores, according to founder Yael Aflalo. “Most [stores] are super messy, you can never find your size, you have to wait in line forever, the dressing room lighting is the worst,” she told Fashionista. “I felt like a high-volume, high-end retail experience was basically nonexistent. So we wanted to blend internet and IRL to create a store we’d actually want to go to ourselves — that hopefully solves a lot of these problems.”

She took inspiration from the ease of shopping at Apple, where even on its busiest days, there’s a high level of customer service maintained. She particularly appreciated the fact the products are neatly on display, not cluttering the store, and used that to inform the way she designed her own space, placing her best selling pieces front and centre.

Reformation's tech-enabled San Francisco store
Reformation’s tech-enabled San Francisco store

The touchscreens meanwhile were influenced by Tesla, where there are similarly minimal models on display and instead digital interfaces that showcase the detail of everything you can purchase. “I bought a Tesla in a showroom and it left a profound impression on me,” Aflalo told Fast Company. “Usually buying a car is so difficult and horrible. But buying a Tesla on a flatscreen monitor was so easy that I wondered if I was doing it right: I picked the color I wanted, entered my address, and swiped by credit card, then it was all done. My car showed up a month later.”

Customers to the Reformation store can use the touchscreens to explore looks they like, and then select them to arrive in the dressing room. Much like the Rebecca Minkoff and Ralph Lauren experiences, that connected space allows users to request additional sizes, colours or styles, as well as do things like change the lighting and play your own music.

Aflalo says she’s already planning the next steps, including a system that merges both the online and offline experience in a literal sense – allowing shoppers to purchase an item there and then to have it sent home, or to pre-order at home and have them ready for you to try on when you come in.

The store opens at 914 Valencia Street in San Francisco on February 21.