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business data digital snippets e-commerce mobile product Retail social media sustainability technology

Analyzing fashion’s G7 pact, Gen Z’s streetwear needs, the rise of rentals

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

TOP STORIES
  • Can fashion’s latest sustainability drive at the G7 summit make a difference? (BoF)
  • Gen Z wants something very different from streetwear (Vogue Business)
  • Everyone is launching rental service. Is there enough demand? (BoF)
  • Fashion’s growing interest in recycling clothing (Vogue Business)
TECHNOLOGY
  • 52% of retailers feel ill-prepared to support emerging mobile tech (Mobile Marketer)
  • Facial recognition will be watching and storing your emotions and data (Ad Week)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Gucci and Saint Laurent face an uphill battle to get green (BoF)
  • Why Levi’s new water strategy represents an ‘evolution in thinking’ (Sourcing Journal)
  • How Copenhagen plans to reach carbon-neutral status in just six years (Fast Company)
  • Amazon under fire for new packaging that cannot be recycled (The Industry)
  • Tiffany & Co releases it’s new sustainability website (CSR Wire)
  • Fast Retailing’s jeans innovation center ramps up efforts to reduce water use (Sourcing Journal)
  • France to prohibit the destruction of unsold stock: who is going to pay for that? (Fashion United)
  • Gore-Tex. Lycra. Could fashion’s next major fabric brand be green? (BoF)
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Hero Cosmetics doubles down on TikTok after results dwarf Instagram’s (Mobile Marketer)
  • Nike, New Balance, and USTA serve up ads celebrating female stars for US open (Fast Company)
  • Benefit and Deliveroo dish out beauty experience (Campaign)
  • PrettyLittleThing wants podcasts to take it from fashion retailer to ‘entertainment brand’ (The Drum)
  • Rihanna plans Savage X Fenty event to be broadcast on Amazon Prime Video (Fashion United)
  • Is WeChat’s growth over? (Walk the Chat)
PRODUCT
BUSINESS
  • Ulric Jerome exists Matchesfashion.com (WWD)
  • ThredUp gets $175 million in funding as resale market continues to boom (Fashion United)
  • Victoria Secret’s parent company’s stock price continues to plummet (The Fashion Law)
  • What Shanghai Tang’s rise, fall and return means for luxury fashion (Vogue Business)
CULTURE
  • The return of the hyper-sexualised male (BoF)
  • Appropriation or appreciation? Unpacking South Korea’s fascination with black culture (I-d)
  • Will Gen Z make non-binary fashion mainstream? (Sourcing Journal)
  • The future of male grooming is gender neutral (Vogue Business)

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.

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Comment Editor's pick sustainability

What Saint Laurent’s Malibu show can teach us about the environmental impact of events

The recent staging of Saint Laurent’s spring/summer 2020 show in Malibu, California, violated multiple environmental regulations, leaving the local community up in arms, according to reports.

The event, which was denied a permit by the local government (instead enabled via a filming permit from a contractor), went against rules designed to protect the area’s fragile natural resources, writes Vogue Business. Included in that was the fact grunion, a type of fish, were expected to spawn on the sand that evening. Residents also said pieces of the set were left to wash out into the surf and the whole affair was rife with plastics, including plastic sandbags banned by the city. 

This raises questions about the impact such elaborate events, which often last for less than an hour, have on the environment, and the responsibility the industry should be taking to minimize their presence. By comparison, Stockholm Fashion Week was just cancelled in order to pursue more sustainable opportunities for its brands instead. 

Our Event Producer, Grace Collins, who also runs a business called Ten Four, is an expert in this space, increasingly working towards more sustainable solutions. So I called her up to find out exactly what’s going on and how brands can make better decisions with regards to the environment when planning their own occasions…

RA: Given your experience running events, what is the usual sort of waste that is produced from something like a fashion show, a conference or an activation?

GC: On average, the typical event attendee produces 1.89kg of waste per day, 85% of which can be non-recyclable, depending on where and what type of event it is. Food can comprise anywhere between 20-60% of this waste. This is outside of the waste produced by the organizers themselves which, in fact, can be huge.

A lot of the time events, fashion shows and experiential activations in particular, can involve a ‘build’ of some sort – this ‘build’ is usually a one-off, an experiential moment, or a photo op (for example) for guests, and is broken down and thrown out post event without any consideration for the materials used and how they should be correctly disposed of. These can include the likes of wood, plastic, steel – so many materials that if considered in advance and regulated by local authorities could and should be disposed of more appropriately – ideally recycled. 

RA: Are you seeing this change as the industry starts to consider sustainability and the environment more broadly? How?

GC: I have definitely noticed small changes here and there but whether we like to admit it or not, there is a level of ignorance toward the matter until it’s either enforced by authorities or in more severe circumstances, publicly ridiculed. The plus side of the recent Saint Laurent show in Malibu, is that it has now drawn attention to the impact that destination events can have on the environment and the fact there can be such a huge amount of waste created and left behind when these take place. 

The focus and pressure on the likes of these brands and corporate organizations to incorporate sustainable practices has a knock on effect for any event organizer. We need to understand and be more conscious of the footprint our one-off events are leaving on the environment.

A lot of corporate companies and brands alike are becoming more conscious of the impact their working environments and all things associated have on the environment. As event planners, it is our role and responsibility to reflect such sustainable conscience by making necessary changes to the events we produce on their behalf.

RA: What are the barriers or challenges surrounding this?

GC: Costs! A sustainable event strategy is something that can and should be considered and incorporated into every event management plan and event budget from initiation. However, it is quite often the costs that are associated with doing so that turn people off the idea of following through.

RA: What are you doing to help this change?

GC: I encourage my clients to think more sustainably when producing their events. I ask them to consider the likes of going paperless, talk them through the different options and ensure they feel confident in making these necessary changes. The bigger issue at hand – not to make life difficult for fellow planners but in an effort to make a positive change – is that many local governing bodies can be quite lenient when it comes to approving permits for events. 

Every event organizer has a responsibility to submit a waste management plan to their local council/governing body when applying to host an event, but only when hosting in a public space. Even in that case, the level of detail required is usually minimal and local councils do not hold a huge amount of responsibility over organizers or follow through with analyzing the damage that can be left behind on such occasions.

I’m working on a detailed waste management template and a list of suggested waste management suppliers/partners within my locality that can be shared with event agencies, and will hopefully go on to be accepted and monitored by local councils/governing bodies. These plans will need to be submitted and approved by councils’ in advance of any event taking place and then monitored to ensure companies are carrying out approved disposal plan properly.

RA: What are some easy solutions / things businesses could adapt to ensure less waste is produced or left behind from their events?

GC: There are a variety of different areas you can make effective changes in, from venues to catering and overall event production but in order to know where to begin, you need to reflect on and understand your impact. My tips for doing so, include: 

Develop a sustainability event strategy in the initial phases of your event plan, down to choosing a venue or location that is accessible by public transport (metro, buses, city bikes). If there are transfers required, I would suggest partnering with an electric car company, for example. If you can host your event and accommodation under the one roof – do! This will eliminate the requirement for transport.

  • Confirm whether or not your event venue recycles their waste. If they don’t have a system in place then start making a plan. Work with a local waste management company to dispose of planned materials on-site appropriately.
  • Look at previous event budgets to see if there were any areas whereby the quantity of product ordered was too high and ended up going to waste.
  • Use renewable energy sources. With advancements in technology there are many ways in which you can save on power to create a more sustainable event. Be conscious of what power you need and when you need it running. Options as simple as switching to LED lighting and lower power efficiency systems, although costly, will minimize your footprint – talk to your AV company about the options available.
  • Reduce print requirements, go paperless – think digital, incorporate an event app that allows guests to register and check-in without requiring a printed ticket or name badge. You can also make your event itinerary available to guests via this app/webpage, effectively communicating with them in real-time (which is of huge benefit to any event planner), and easily circulating new information/schedule changes. If you’re printing something for branding purposes, steer clear of including dates so that you can use again at future events.
  • Sustainable catering – ask your caterer if they can supply reusable, compostable or recyclable dinnerware? Do they have a food waste reduction strategy in place? Get an accurate guest count and finalize the amount of food needed in advance of the event so that you are reducing the potential waste. Donate leftover food to a nearby shelter. Help longterm by beginning to track typical food consumption patterns at your events.
  • Make it as easy as possible for your attendees to recycle and maintain the venue while still enjoying the event, simply by ensuring you place plenty of recycling stations throughout the venue.

Sustainable practices may not come naturally to everyone. Be patient, take baby steps, practice makes perfect, and every little counts in my eyes.

Categories
Editor's pick Events technology

7 tech activations that stood out this fashion week season

Brands are constantly evolving their approach to tech during fashion week. This season we saw designers reinvent the show space yet again by using tools including artificial intelligence, LED sets and mixed reality powered by 5G to create memorable (and shareable) experiences for their guests.

Here are seven of the most interesting ways brands did so…

Rag & Bone’s AI guest
Rag & Bone’s “The Last Supper”

Rag & Bone decided to throw a fashion week dinner with one very special attendee: an artificial intelligence system designed by artist and creative technologist, Ross Goodwin. At “The Last Supper”, guests sat at a U-shaped table while their conversations and actions were filmed and analyzed by a series of cameras. Towards the end of the event, the guests were treated to a video that showed the AI’s view of their dinner party interspersed with models wearing Rag & Bone’s new collection.

Central Saint Martin’s mixed reality show powered by 5G
Central Saint Martins 5G mixed reality fashion show
Central Saint Martins 5G mixed reality fashion show

Mixed reality animations illuminated looks designed by MA students from Central Saint Martins university for their annual showcase during London Fashion Week. Imagine lightning bolts, skulls and even tiger heads beaming/ moving around the models. The university teamed up with mobile network, Three, and creative agency, Rewind, to bring the animations to life. 10 attendees, including Jourdan Dunn and Natalie Dormer, sported Magic Leap’s One mixed reality headsets, while others could see the animations on screens around the catwalk. “The future of design and fashion is intrinsically linked with the evolution of tech and we are seeing more and more disruptive and innovative technologies shaking up the way the design and fashion industries operate,” said Jeremy Till, head of Central Saint Martins.

Gucci and Saint Laurent’s LED runways
Gucci’s Fall Winter 2019 Fashion Show

LED bulbs decorated the runways of two major shows: Gucci and Saint Laurent, this season. As an experiment in futurism, both hosted mirrored LED runways that further illuminated their colorful garments. Gucci’s Alessandro Michele installed more than 120,000 LED bulbs to cover the walls around the 100-meter long circular runway for his Milan fashion show. The kaleidoscope of lights created a dramatic and theatrical experience for show-goers. Meanwhile, Anthony Vaccarello turned the Saint Laurent showspace into a runway rave in Paris. Wearing glow-in-the-dark shoes and garments, models strutted down the catwalk alongside hundreds of pulsing bulbs and infinity mirrors.

Real-time shopping at 11 Honoré
11 Honore fashion show
11 Honore NYFW show

There are always new ways to innovate even when using long since established technologies like QR codes.The luxury, size-inclusive ecommerce retailer, 11 Honoré, created the ultimate see-now-buy-now experience for its New York Fashion Week debut, enabling guests to shop the runway through a lookbook distributed to them containing QR codes. Using their phone to scan the codes, attendees could then purchase looks in real time. This was part of a partnership with Shopify, which wanted to showcase yet another functionality for mobile shopping.

Christian Siriano’s crowdsourced feedback
Christian Siriano RTW F19
Christian Siriano RTW Fall 19 show

To make fashion more accessible, designer Christian Siriano decided to take advantage of crowdsourcing and let the audience vote in real time on the looks on his New York runway. To do this, he partnered with SAP technologies to create an app that allowed both attendees and remote viewers to select if they “liked” or “loved” the looks. Powered by machine learning, the app was able to identify looks regardless of show order changes because the design team had uploaded stock images of each one into the app prior to the event. This created a more direct connection between the customers and the designer. According to WWD, the SAP runway app was previously piloted by Badgley Mischka, and there are potential plans for further rollout during September’s fashion week season.

Tommy Hilfiger’s Instagram Stories templates
Tommy Hilfigers Instagram Story templates
Tommy Hilfigers Instagram Story templates

Tommy Hilfiger partnered with mobile app Unfold on an Instagram Stories template collection that was released during the brand’s show for Paris Fashion Week. To spice up their Instagram Stories, users could choose from 15 limited-edition templates when uploading photos and videos. Designs included variations of the Tommy Hilfiger logo, as well as colorful prints exclusive to the Tommy Hilfiger’s spring 2019 TommyXZendaya collection, which features 22-year-old actress and singer Zendaya.

Rebecca Minkoff’s audience-driven social campaign
Rebecca Minkoff Runway SS19
Rebecca Minkoff Spring/Summer 19 show

With social sharing front of mind, Rebecca Minkoff’s New York show saw guests able to be part of a digital collage created by artist Rosanna Webster, who designed the brand’s female empowerment campaign “I Am Many”. As a way to incorporate them into the campaign, guests took selfies with a camera that worked as a portable photobooth. These photos were then worked into a collage that appeared in a mini-video inspired by Rebecca Minkoff’s brand campaign. The experience was meant to promote brand awareness and generate ROI. According to the designer, fashion shows aren’t just about posting pictures, but also a way for the consumer to embrace the experience. “Today, the [fashion] landscape isn’t about commerce; it’s about experience and standing for what you believe in; consumers want to be in a tribe,” Minkoff herself said.  

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about helping you build innovative integrations and experiences. The Current Global 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. 


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business Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce Events product Retail social media Startups sustainability technology

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.

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business digital snippets e-commerce product social media Startups sustainability technology

What you missed: Wang’s text-to-buy line, Stitch Fix to IPO, activism from outdoor brands

The Adidas Originals by Alexander Wang line launched via text message
The Adidas Originals by Alexander Wang line launched via text message

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


TOP STORIES
  • The second Adidas Originals by Alexander Wang line launches via text-to-buy event [Racked]
  • Stitch Fix has filed confidentially for an IPO [Recode]
  • A call to activism for outdoor apparel makers [NY Times]
  • How Reebok, Adidas and Y-3 will dress future space explorers [Fast Company]

BUSINESS
  • Jimmy Choo bought by Michael Kors in £896m deal [BBC]
  • MatchesFashion.com could enter stock market [Fashion United]
  • Bangladesh to digitally map all garment factories [JustStyle]
  • Fashion must fight the scourge of dumped clothing clogging landfills [Guardian]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Vogue takes ‘hub and spoke’ approach to Snapchat editions in Europe [Digiday]

MARKETING
  • Why Helmut Lang hired an editor-in-residence in place of a creative director [Glossy]
  • Amazon and Nicopanda launch LFW ‘see now, buy now’ range [Retail Gazette]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • China’s store of the future has no checkout, no cash and no staff [BoF]
  • Saint Laurent to launch online sales in China [WSJ]
  • You will soon be able to search eBay using a photo or social media web link [CNBC]
  • MatchesFashion.com’s Tom Chapman: Amazon’s missing the ‘magic’ of high-end fashion [Glossy]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Walmart is developing a robot that identifies unhappy shoppers [Business Insider]
  • For the first time ever, you can buy your own 3D-printed garment online [Fashionista]
  • MIT’s living jewellery is made up of small robot assistants [TechCrunch]
  • Intel axed its entire smartwatch and fitness-tracker group to focus on augmented reality, sources say [CNBC]

START-UPS
  • John Lewis unveils retail tech start-ups for JLAB 2017 [The Industry]
  • Spider silk start-up spins into retail by buying an apparel company [Fortune]
Categories
business digital snippets e-commerce Editor's pick social media technology

What you missed: Chanel vs Amazon space travel, Massenet’s VC firm, robots at retail

Chanel's spacecraft at Paris Fashion Week (Image: Vogue Paris) - space technology
Chanel’s spacecraft at Paris Fashion Week (Image: Vogue Paris)

Chanel grabbed everyone’s attention once again at Paris Fashion Week – this time for another future-focused theme with its spacecraft set design. Kudos to the work that went into that but can you imagine the budget? Even Karl Lagerfeld’s visions have got to come back down to earth (excuse the pun) at some point – where is the true value, is the question? Jeff Bezos of Amazon meanwhile, is genuinely exploring how to ship products to the moon.

Elsewhere this week, we’re also talking about Natalie Massenet’s other role running her own VC firm alongside her new co-chair position at Farfetch; the incoming of robots at retail; news of Everlane ditching Facebook Messenger notifications (an interesting move that may spell some serious indication around chatbot ROI); and under our tech header, a must-read from Wired on Ford’s future city including hoverboards that carry shopping and drone deliveries to skyscrapers.

If you’re headed to SXSW this weekend, we look forward to seeing you there – don’t forget to check out our handy content guide en route.


TOP STORIES
  • Chanel focuses on space travel for Paris Fashion Week show with branded spacecraft [Vogue]
  • An exclusive look at Jeff Bezos’s plan to set up Amazon-like delivery for ‘future human settlement’ of the moon [Washington Post]
  • Natalie Massenet, Nick Brown to form venture firm Imaginary Ventures [WWD]
  • Robots will be in retail stores sooner than you think [Forbes]

BUSINESS
  • Sports Direct clarifies purchase of Agent Provocateur [FT]
  • BCBG Max Azria gets bankruptcy loan as chain plots asset sale [Bloomberg]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Everlane, one of Facebook Messenger’s first retail partners has ditched it as a notification tool [Recode]
  • Snap pops 40% to start trading at a crackling $33 billion valuation [Quartz]
  • How 5 brands are using Snapchat Spectacles [Digiday]
  • Fashion series are popping up on Instagram Stories [Glossy]

MARKETING
  • Benetton launches new women’s equality campaign [The Industry]
  • L’Oreal’s UK CMO: ‘We are very clear on where our media money is going’ [The Drum]
  • France’s ARPP takes issue with “degrading” Saint Laurent ads [Luxury Daily]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Target unveils $7B plan to overhaul stores, digital operations [Retail Dive]
  • Mall retailers are competing on speed to stay relevant [Glossy]
  • ‘Notoriously difficult’: Inside the unraveling of the Thrillist-JackThreads marriage of content and commerce [Digiday]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Ford’s future city: hoverboards that carry shopping and drone deliveries to skyscrapers [Wired]
  • Virtual reality: growth engine for fashion? [BoF]
  • Apple reportedly could have over 1,000 engineers working on AR in Israel [Road to VR]
  • IBM Watson, Salesforce Einstein form AI dream team to aid retail, other industries [Retail Dive]
  • The emerging technologies getting us excited from MWC 2017 [The Drum]
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social media

Hedi Slimane’s Twitter rant on all things (Yves) Saint Laurent

Saint laurent YSL Hedi Slimane logo twitter rant
The YSL logo used during Hedi Slimane’s tenure at the brand

Hedi Slimane took to Twitter yesterday for a 22-post rant about his use of the YSL logo while in place at Saint Laurent, which he famously (and controversially) rebranded from Yves Saint Laurent during his tenure as creative director.

“FACT CHECKING / THERE HAVE BEEN INACCURATE STATEMENTS ON RECENT ARTICLES REGARDING HEDI AND THE USAGE OF THE YSL HISTORICAL LOGO,” he began, in all capitals. “FOR THE RECORD, THE USAGE OF THE CASSANDRE LOGO WAS ENTIRELY PART OF HEDI’S REFORM PROJECT FOR THE HOUSE FROM THE EARLY DAYS OF 2012 TO 2016.”

The tirade goes on to demonstrate all of the occasions he did indeed use the YSL logo throughout, including in store design, accessories, ad campaigns, fashion shows and more. “IN CONCLUSION, IT IS ACCURATE TO SAY THAT THE YSL ICONIC INITIALS WERE IN FACT CELEBRATED AND CHAMPIONED BY HEDI,” it ends.

So why the sudden rant?

As pointed out by Fashionista, this is the first time Slimane has returned to Twitter since closing his account down in 2012 following an open letter calling fashion critic Cathy Horyn a “schoolyard bully”.

This season she wrote a review of Anthony Vaccarello’s first collection for the brand, stating: “Apparently, Vaccarello has restored the Y, which had been excised by his predecessor, Hedi Slimane, as both a throwback to the brand’s original name and an attempt to modernize it. (The truth is, despite Slimane’s efforts, most people still say YSL.)”

The assumption is Slimane is reigniting the feud between the duo. WWD also notes it comes following reports he is seeking additional funds from former employer Kering, owner of Saint Laurent, to the tune of $2.2 million. A French commercial court previously ordered the company to pay him$13 million. He is also now reportedly looking for Kering to apply a partnership agreement giving him certain rights as a minority shareholder in the brand.

Categories
digital snippets e-commerce film mobile social media technology

Digital snippets: previewing Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent, Herrera on Snapchat, Primark’s 3m followers

SaintLaurent
A snapshot of Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent preview on Instagram

A round-up of everything you might have missed in fashion and technology news (and beyond) over the past week or so. Read on for a sneak peek of Anthony Vaccarello’s new Saint Laurent, detail on how Primark got to three million Instagram followers, and why Samsung wants to bring VR to fashion…


  • An Instagram sneak peek at what Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent will look like [Yahoo]

  • Carolina Herrera taps Snapchat publication Sweet [BoF]

  • How retailer Primark got to 3 million Instagram followers in less than three years [Digiday]

  • Fendi and Elle collaborate on interactive video campaign [Glossy]

  • River Island rolls out RFID to boost sales [Drapers]

  • Kohl’s launches in-app voice search to boost mobile growth [BrandChannel]

  • Why Samsung wants to bring virtual reality to fashion [Glossy]

  • The rabidly-followed leggings brand you can only buy on Facebook [Racked]

  • Snapchat launches a colossal expansion of its advertising, ushering in a new era for the app [AdWeek]

  • How try before you buy is going to revolutionise retail [The Drum]

  • How pricing automation is impacting e-commerce [Forbes India]
Categories
Editor's pick social media

Saint Laurent wiped its Instagram history and fans aren’t happy

YSL_anthonyvaccarello_instagram

It’s goodbye Hedi Slimane and hello Anthony Vaccarello quite literally on Instagram where Saint Laurent has wiped all of its previous posts on the @YSL account and replaced them with a single portrait of its incoming creative director Vaccarello.

The move comes after the announcement on Monday he would be taking over the reins from Slimane at the storied house, leaving his role at Versus Versace in order to do so. Slimane had been in place for four years at Saint Laurent until that point.

The desire for a clean slate is not a surprising one – providing Vaccarello with the chance (if on Instagram alone) to start afresh with his vision for the brand.

Such erasing of history hasn’t been met kindly by fans however. Comments on the now single image, include: “Why delete Hedi Slimane’s work? Wtf”, “You deleted everything from Hedi’s tenure !! Bye b*tches”, “I found this very disrespectful towards Hedi’s work”, and: “That’s cute about Anthony but why take down Hedi’s photos? Hedi’s DNA will no [doubt] be continued. No issue with a new creative director but why erase the past 4 years?”

Many of the other comments show fans both disgruntled and hopeful about the changes. “We weren’t [buying] Saint Laurent, we were buying Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane…no more Hedi Slimane…no more Saint Laurent! I’m sure they’ll lose a lot in revenue from 2017…another Pilati unselling era ahead!” reads one.

Another by comparison: “Vaccarrello for YSL makes sense to me. He reminds me so much of an early 90s Tom Ford. I have been observing Anthony’s work on Versus and under his namesake brand.. a fresh modernist approach is what this maison needs rn. Someone who can bring some sharp sex appeal and sophistication back. I’m sure he’ll do magic and will be a great fit. Meanwhile, Hedi with his punk rock + grunge vibes was tiresome af. I wish all the best for his career though.”

YSL has over 386,000 fans on Instagram. It seems no noticeable changes have otherwise been made on Twitter or Facebook.

Categories
Blocks business e-commerce Editor's pick

Does digital finally have a seat at the table?

Fashion and luxury goods companies are hiring chief digital officers in a bid to integrate digital thinking into core business strategy.

digital_exectable

“A revolution needs leaders,” says Luca Solca, managing director of luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas, on the digital transformation reshaping fashion and the recent introduction of chief digital officers (CDOs) at some of the largest fashion and luxury companies.

In one of the biggest moves, this summer, LVMH appointed Ian Rogers, Apple’s former senior director of iTunes, to the newly created position of CDO, giving digital a seat at the top table at the world’s largest luxury conglomerate for the first time. “I am happy to welcome Ian into our group to strengthen our digital ecosystem. He will build on the foundations laid by Thomas Romieu, take the houses to the next level and explore new opportunities for the group in the digital sphere. Ian will bring his extensive experience in high-end digital ventures and his innovation-driven spirit to develop LVMH leadership in the digital luxury field,” said Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH, in a statement at the time of the appointment. (Thomas Romieu is the company’s group digital director, who will remain at the company.)

“This is a signal LVMH has embraced digital for real; [that it] will be more and more integrated in its business,” says Solca. “A very senior role is required to lead the way, promote cooperation and remove roadblocks.”

Rogers is not alone. Senior digital appointments are on the rise across the fashion industry, with chief digital officers now in place at companies ranging from Westfield, one of the world’s largest owners of indoor malls and an early adoptor of the CDO role, to Kering’s luxury fashion house Saint Laurent.

Whereas once digital was relegated to the e-commerce team and a subsection of the marketing team, these moves reflect a newfound need to integrate digital into core business strategy. “There was some digital before, but the difference between now and then is that it was a subset of what people did under marketing and now it’s a department of its own and reports directly to the CEO,” explains Kevin McKenzie, CDO at Westfield. “The company recognised that the consumer was changing in the way that they purchased and the influence that they have from digital, and they thought it would be a good idea to hire someone to help educate them on digital trends, to articulate some thoughts and ideas on what that could mean for the business, and ultimately to develop a strategy for products and services.”

“Previously, the attitude was that we can continue doing great without digital, but that is finally starting to change,” says Perrine Corvaisier, CDO at Maison Ullens, a small Paris-based luxury brand established in 2010 and focused largely on leather and cashmere pieces.

For years, many luxury brands believed they could afford to move slowly on digital, because growth could be found elsewhere, notably in China. “As Patrizio Bertelli [chief executive of Prada] once told me: ‘It’s not that I am skeptical about digital, it’s just that I have many more important things to do,’” recounts Solca. But a slowing China has changed the equation. “[E-commerce] is one of very few ways luxury goods companies can now grow,” Solca continues.

Now, many brands are racing to catch-up with a luxury consumer that is more digitally active than the general population. “Digital is now the engine of the luxury shopping experience,” according to a report published in July 2015 by the Altagamma-McKinsey Digital Luxury Experience Observatory.

While e-commerce made up just 5 percent of the global personal luxury goods market in 2014, it is expected to reach 9 percent by 2019, with a total value of $27 billion, says Mario Ortelli, senior luxury analyst at Sanford C. Berstein. What’s more, online now influences over 60 percent of luxury purchases, making a robust digital strategy indispensible, Ortelli adds.

Indeed, a report by Solca entitled “Digital Frontier: The New Luxury World of 2020,” predicts that digital will become essential to more than e-commerce and marketing, impacting all stages of the value chain. “The development of digital capabilities will be a necessary condition for survival,” says the report.

While the ultimate task of the CDO is evolving his or her organisation towards this deeper and more holistic view of digital, there are often several near-term hurdles to overcome first, including how to define the role, says Ashley Friedlein, president of Centaur Marketing and founder of Econsultancy.

Friedlein points to two different types of CDOs. “Ambassadorial CDOs” are often put into place as an early bid to signal to shareholders that a company is serious about the digital opportunity. But they often have no real operational impact and work in posts that rarely come with a P&L attached, he explains. “The challenge for these people is that if the role is more about a statement of intent, or if it’s just about education or inspiration and they can’t fundamentally change the business, they leave,” says Friedlein.

What Friedlein called “transformative CDOs,” on the other hand, typically have a strong grasp of both marketing and technology (often sitting above or replacing the chief marketing officer or chief information officer) and usually come with an operational background. They frequently control product and pricing, and sometimes customer service and sales as well, and they know how to engender change, he adds. In September 2015, McKinsey published a paper with a headline suggesting that effective CDOs must be “transformers in chief.”

But making change is easier said than done. “You need to be a good internal consultant and a good internal sales person, and at the same time you need to be very analytical,” explains Corvaisier. At Maison Ullens, her objective has been to place digital at the heart of everything the business does. “I’m thinking about digital from the outside in, and the other way round. It’s a very broad role in terms of scope; it touches every part of the company.” Previously, she ran a similar, though much larger, team at Hermès as global digital director for e-business and communication.

Meanwhile, Francesco Bottigliero, chief digital and information officer at luxury Italian fashion brand Brunello Cucinelli, has a role that straddles digital marketing and traditional information technology. Part of his focus is smoothing internal integration. “Typically in our industry, IT is completely kept away from any digital project or decision; digital is more closely aligned with marketing and then there’s cultural clash when they need to work together. So we decided to merge the two,” he explains. But, ultimately, he wants digital thinking to permeate the entire organisation. “It will get into our manufacturing process, replenishment, design and more. We will move from traditional IT legacy systems into digital applications across the company.”

While LVMH declined to discuss the specifics of Rogers’ new role, Ortelli says that, at a high level, his primary objectives will be to help the company’s senior management become more digitally savvy and to share best practices in digital across the group’s brands. “He’ll look to develop synergies and align the brands, and he’ll be there to act as an advisor on digital propositions put forward,” says Ortelli.

For all CDOs, integrating customer relationship management (CRM) systems is one critical area of opportunity. “CRM is the real future opportunity. Anything that helps brands improve this is something they will try to embrace,” says Ortelli. But many smaller luxury companies, lacking their own direct-to-consumer e-commerce channels, don’t have control over their customers’ online data, explains Lindsay Nuttall, CDO at advertising agency BBH, which has worked with brands like Burberry. Much of the initial work to be done as a CDO, therefore, surrounds reclaiming data, she says. “The fact they’ve given part of their supply chain away to third parties like Net-a-Porter could prove an increasing problem over time. It can affect really practical things, like their margins, and really huge things like their route to the customer. By not collecting data on them, you don’t understand how they’re evolving.”

Another issue, she adds, is not being able to connect the dots and identify individual consumers across touch points. “If I’ve spent £5,000 in a Bond Street store, [the brand] doesn’t know that I’ve also walked into the store in New York before that. And they definitely don’t know I’m shopping and spending online the other 90 percent of the time.”

To help address this, Westfield has just hired a chief data and analytics officer, Raqhav Lal, who will work alongside McKenzie and the company’s chief information technology officer, Denise Taylor. “Data is such a core part of digital that it made sense to add that pillar to our organisation, strategy and thinking. We hired a chief data officer to educate us, but also to create applications for how to use this data to better operate our business and create better experiences for the customer and the retailer,” McKenzie explains.

If it is successful, the role of the CDO is, almost by definition, an interim one. According to Corvaisier, who is about to leave her position at Maison Ullens to launch her own digital consultancy, CDOs should aim to make themselves redundant and exit the stage once digital has been adequately embedded throughout a business. “The role is to excite and show the way with digital; to set up a few guidelines and some technical points, so that the organisation can change and continue to lead on its own.”

Indeed, at digitally mature companies, digital strategy is fully integrated into overall business strategy, negating the need for a specific chief of digital. “As in the case of Burberry, the alternative is to have the CDO and the CEO roles coincide,” says Solca.

“In the 1920s businesses had chief electricity officers because it was such a new thing,” adds Friedlein. “This feels like that; a moment in time that will pass.”

This story first appeared on The Business of Fashion.