Editor's pick Retail sustainability

Eileen Fisher concept store teaches consumers how to recycle and repurpose garments

Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher

American label Eileen Fisher has opened a concept store in Brooklyn where it will be running workshops that teach consumers how to live more sustainably.

In line with the label’s long-established mission of creating ethical, ‘timeless’ clothing that inspires simplicity and creativity, the store, called Making Space, focuses on “community-centered retail”. It does so by engaging with locals and visitors through workshops, movie screenings, gallery exhibitions and other events.

A workshop under the “Renew” theme will help consumers understand how the company’s take-back program, which started three years ago and now receives back over 800 used garments a day, helps clothing receive a second life, for instance.

Meanwhile, “Lifework” workshops will aim to help consumers live more mindfully from the inside out, and will feature experts and teachers whose work the brand is passionate about.

Lastly at the front of the store, a dedicated area will have artists-in-residence demonstrating their craft and teaching techniques like dyeing clothing with flowers and food byproducts, as demonstrated by the inaugural artist, Cara Marie Piazza.

Artist Cara Marie Piazza will be teaching how to dye garments using plant and food-based ingredients

Eileen Fisher merchandise will also be on display, through four different product categories: Remade, which are one-of-a-kind pieces made from worn Eileen Fisher clothing; Renew, which are older, worn styles that have been cleaned and mended; 111, of limited-edition samples; and lastly, current collections. Color-coded rings on individual hangers will identify each collection accordingly.

Throughout the store the designer’s commitment to sustainability affects every element of its design and decor, from seat cushions made from recycled denim, to the worn Eileen Fisher clothing that has been repurposed as rag rugs and fitting room curtains. The pièce de résistance however is a seven-foot by six-foot sculpture by artist Derick Melander, which features a tower comprised of 2,000 reclaimed garments.

The Brooklyn store represents the future of the Eileen Fisher brand. It is also currently designing a “Brooklyn Lite” prototype to test the concept at two existing stores in Seattle and Michigan, before rolling it out to its remaining 65 outposts.

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

business digital snippets e-commerce film mobile social media Startups technology

What you missed: Nike scavenger hunts, AI changing how we shop, Reebok’s Oscars letter

Nike's scavenger hunts
Nike’s scavenger hunts

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

  • Inside the wild world of Nike’s high-tech scavenger hunts [Mashable]
  • No clicks required: Artificial intelligence is changing how we shop, Boxed CEO says [CNBC]
  • Reebok just sent an open letter to the Academy Awards asking for a new award to honour fitness trainers [AdWeek]
  • The evolution of retail personalisation, in five charts [Glossy]

  • Aldo to buy Vince Camuto in a merger of shoe brands [NY Times]

  • Dior and Louis Vuitton are the fashion brands with best Instagram Stories engagement [BoF]
  • How H&M is using Instagram to drive buzz for its latest brand, Arket [Digiday]

  • Shoemaker Kickers capitalises on FOMO to spur purchases [Digiday]
  • Boohoo enlists all-female crew for #AllGirls ads, but critics claim diversity vision is lost in casting [The Drum]
  • Female empowerment imagery more effective than sex appeal in ads, says Facebook [The Drum]
  • The fashion influencer has found a new gig [Refinery29]

  • 3 things retailers can do to compete with Amazon [Retail Dive]
  • GGP looks to revive its malls with interactive concept stores [Glossy]

  • Streetwear brands are tapping the creative power of AR [JWT Intelligence]
  • The end of typing: The next billion mobile users will rely on video and voice [WSJ]
  • Here’s what you need to know about voice AI, the next frontier of brand marketing [AdWeek]

  • With “return bars” and “returnistas”, Happy Returns is eliminating the hassle of returning online orders by mail [LeanLuxe]
  • This virtual try-on system for clothing might actually work [Engadget]
Editor's pick product technology

Nordstrom launches pop-up tech shop replicating the inside of a computer

Nordstrom's tech-themed pop-up replicates the inside of a computer
Nordstrom’s tech-themed pop-up replicates the inside of a computer

The latest curated shop to arrive at Nordstrom is taking on a tech theme, both in the products it hosts and the design of its layout. Pop-In@Nordstrom: Gets Wired is a pop-up space appearing in eight stores across the US, as well as online, from Friday, June 30.

Created to resemble the inside of a computer, the physical incarnation sees an all-white environment with blue fluorescent lighting, display tables disguised as computer chips and capacitors, and a circuit board floor graphic.

It hosts over 125 tech-themed products, spanning home, fitness, health, travel, accessories, pet care, and more, with prices ranging from $9.99 to $1,888. Included is everything from underwater drones and 3D printers, to wireless earbuds, Sonos speakers and Polaroid cameras. There’s also a voice controlled smart kitchen, robots, activity trackers, solar panels, pet cameras and more.

Curated by Olivia Kim, vice president of Creative Projects at Nordstrom, the shop aims to “create energy, excitement, and a sense of discovery”.

The Pop-In@Nordstrom series launched in October 2013 and transitions every four to six weeks into different themes to provide new experiences for shoppers. In the past, the curated spaces have been themed around everything from road trips to New Year’s resolutions and poolside glamour, as well as partnerships with the likes of Alexander Wang, Aesop, Warby Parker, Nike, rag & bone, Converse, Liberty London’s Flowers of Liberty collection, and more.

At a time when retail across the US is particularly suffering, the aim is to keep customers coming back to discover new brands, new merchandise and create a fun and compelling experience in stores and online, the team explained.

This tech pop-up will run from June 30 – August 13.

This post first appeared on Forbes

Editor's pick mobile

Snackable shopping is changing the mobile commerce scene as users buy little and often


It’s said that we check our phones on average up to 85 times per day. We do so in bed, on our commutes, in the office, in front of the TV, even while we’re on the toilet. We’re doing so to browse content and connect with friends of course, but increasingly we’re also doing so to shop.

Mobile commerce jumped 56% to $49.2bn in the US in 2015, which is double the previous year’s growth, according to comScore. While desktop sales were still substantially higher at $256.1bn, growth slowed to 8.1% from 12.5%.

“Mobile devices are driving demand,” Andrew Lipsman, a comScore vice president, told The Wall Street Journal. “They can create an impulsive buying moment at any point in the day because they are with you all the time, right in your pocket.”

It’s on that basis that retailers are seeing consumers increasingly making a number of quick and cheap purchases throughout the day, rather than gathering things in their baskets and buying all at once. Referred to as “snacking”, this new mode of commerce places the smartphone as an “all-day impulse aisle”.

Speaking at the FashTech Summit in London last week, Daniel Murray, co-founder of shopping app Grabble, noted a similar trend. Grabble originally had a traditional cart, or basket, in place that would gather items users wanted to buy, but no one was then actually making their purchases. “We ripped [the basket] up and did it item by item instead,” he explained. “If you ask a user, they say they want to add everything to a basket, but then they do that and abandon it. They’d see a £300 bill and decide they don’t want to buy it after all. Now we have users who compulsively repeatedly buy item after item.”

It’s a straightforward concept; a matter of psychology convincing people to purchase little and often rather than shelling out huge sums. But Murray says it’s also about simplicity in the process. “If there’s any friction, then there’s going to be a problem with conversion. You have to make the experience as simple as possible, otherwise you miss out.”

Grabble has made the steps in between wanting to buy and completing checkout as short as possible in order to enable it.

This “snacking” particularly takes place in apps, rather than the mobile web. For retailers however, app visits are an ongoing battle – stats from Forrester demonstrate US and UK consumers now spend more than 88% of their app time on just five downloaded apps. Within that, aggregation apps and platforms like Facebook and WeChat that provide content and services in one contextual stream, are the most-used. “As an app, you have an existential crisis every day of why you exist on [consumers’] phones,” Murray noted.

Yet eMarketer shows US consumers spent 3 hours and 5 minutes a day using apps last year, compared to 51 minutes surfing the mobile web. In 2016 that’s expected to increase a further 10 minutes for apps, and stay at 51 minutes for mobile browsers. To be one of those top five then, is about creating consistently relevant needs for consumers.

The ability for push notifications helps, especially if targeting a younger consumer. According to messaging app Kik, which particularly appeals to US teens, users are three times more likely to open a notification than they are an email.

Retailers have to become increasingly savvy about how they position such updates however, sharing content that appeals to and not bugs the user on what’s considered their most personal device, said Murray. A savvy combination of geo-activated messages, right time rewards, and more personalised offers and content, are routes to success thanks to the data collection such apps now enable.

But it’s that simple one-click purchase to satisfy an always-on culture of snackable shopping, that’s making the real difference.

business e-commerce Editor's pick

8 unique e-commerce sites you need to bookmark immediately

Bow & Drape
Bow & Drape

As with everything digital – noise is one of the greatest barriers to success. With more players in the space, comes increased difficulty around standing out. E-commerce business is no different.

Responsive mobile sites and extensive product detail – once considered special features – are now points of parity. Ideas like free shipping, blog content and wish lists are commonplace. With consumer expectations at an all-time high, going above and beyond is harder than ever too.

Today, landing the claim of “hidden gem” particularly is no small feat. Up against established names including Net-a-Porter and Zappos, through to Farfetch, Lyst, Zalando and more, start-ups and smaller players must increasingly find ways to differentiate themselves in order to get seen. After all, it’s not just about giving shoppers reasons to visit, but convincing them it’s worth hanging around long enough to spend too.

While the specifics vary, the bulk of the success stories can be summarised under three headings: exclusivity, editorial and user experience. Read on for a highlight of eight lesser-known or particularly unique names worth checking out:

1. Shop-GhostShopghost

For a curator of high-end designer pieces, Shop-Ghost does nothing like its competition. The website is quirky and drunk with dizzied content, but somehow, it works. Tumblr-style clustered graphics are met with fragmented thoughts in “blog posts” that suggest pieces to fit the mood. The website is not searchable, does not bother with filters and offers anything BUT a clean interface. The zine formatting even forces users off the site to make the actual purchase. This is the digital version of the cluttered shop that oozes cool and finds you fleeing with three bags in tow.

2. Bow & Drape

Bow & Drape

Bow & Drape finds its niche right at the cusp of where young Millennials match up with Gen Z. This pop culture hub plays right into its market, updating simple garments with customisable and glittered-emoji makeovers, finished with the catchphrase du jour. A shoppable Instagram section also sees a witty artful take on meme-manufacturing, keyed in on ‘90s nostalgia and modern trends.

3. Semaine


Each week, Semaine focuses on a new tastemaker, allowing a completely shoppable behind-the-curtains reveal into their lives. Monday begins with a short film or profile of the individual in question, while each subsequent day then features another glance into their lives, ranging from their beauty regimes to the dust collectors on their bookshelves.

4. The Iconic

The Iconic

If you’re in Australia – this name won’t be new to you. For everyone else, it’s worth knowing for the unique fashion glossary on offer – a categorisation feature every site should consider implementing. The fashion conscious shopper is able to use it as a tool to quickly navigate the expansive site offerings in search of their unique piece. The fashion newcomer, however, gets a complete education in images akin to a more accurate and completely shoppable Google Image search.

5. Brika


Brika is the perfect online destination for the shopper with DIY pipedreams, but lack of skills to deliver. Each day, a new artist is introduced on the homepage with their story and collection featured. In search of art, home décor, jewelry, accessories or even little knick-knacks for kids, this is the destination that breeds the perfect kitsch meets craft item.

6. Shoes of Prey

Shoes of Prey

For the love of shoes, a woman need look no further than Shoes of Prey, which enables users to customise every aspect of their footwear, from sole to zipper. What makes this a standout offering is the expansive colour selection and a complete 360-degree view of the final designs.

7. Of a Kind

Of a Kind

This one may already be on your list – if it’s not, it’s really time to bookmark it. An online concept store, it specialises in limited runs of items created especially for its website. The supply side of the operation comes from emerging designers, which further appeals to the quaint luxury of the setup. The special items are deemed “# of a kind”, letting the consumer know just how unique their buy is. Each item is also paired with a beautifully photographed story, similar pieces to curate a collection and non-exclusive add-ons that make the look.

8. Vide Dressing

Vide Dressing

The consignment model is completely revamped by Vide Dressing – the eBay of the pre-owned luxury fashion market. Sellers post their goods, get them checked over by a legal team for authenticity and then have 72 hours to ship to their buyer after purchase. The unique feature that sets Vide Dressing apart from competitors such as Vestiaire Collective is a money-back guarantee within 48 hours of product receipt.

e-commerce mobile social media technology

Brave new tech world: Shoppers want it all and soon

Rebecca Minkoff's in-store digital mirror
Rebecca Minkoff’s in-store digital mirror

We’ll all be using augmented reality (AR) and Bitcoin to buy products by 2020. Really? Well, that’s what some people in a 1,000-plus-person survey of UK consumers seem to think.

Not that the numbers were that huge but they were big enough to take note of. So, by 2020, 20% expect to see contactless digital payments extending from their current form to take in digital currencies like Bitcoin, 16% expect to be able to download products and 3D print them, 15% would like to use AR to try before they buy and 14% are hoping drone deliveries can get off the ground (pun intended).

So just who are these digital optimists? Infomentum’s new Beyond Digital, What’s Next for Businesses in 2020 report spoke to a sample of office workers – those permanently connected individuals collectively (and annoyingly) referred to as Generation C.

What the survey found is a quantifiable level of expectation that technology would continue to impact their work lives and their shopping lives in a relatively short time frame.

What it also found is that for the present, we’re all online a lot, we expect a good experience at the very least and if we don’t get it we’ll bitch endlessly on social media.

The report revealed that 83% of those Infomentum spoke to use smartphones to access the internet, 75% use laptops (but for less than five hours a day) and 65% use tablets. The dear old desktop computer doesn’t even seem to get a look-in.

Of course, what those figures don’t tell us is the kind of browsing they’re doing. But while the chances a lot of smartphone browsing sessions are as much about on-the-spot research as serious buying, the fact that this research was done largely to look at people’s working lives shows just how far the smartphone has come. The fact is, a lot of people are using their phones for business-related browsing too.

Retail dilemmas

When we’re researching online, we’re often looking not at retailer sites but at free content sites and that’s where retailers often try to reach potential customers with banner ads. But one thing we don’t want to see when we’re browsing content is… yes, you guessed it, banner ads. The number objecting to such ads is increasing and now stands at 62%.

The report also offered up are some scary (and enlightening) figures for those retailers not getting the online experience right:

  • 77% of people would leave a website immediately if they struggle to access it
  • 89% will talk about negative experiences on social media, although 96% would share positive experiences
  • 55% don’t bother speaking to customer service staff if they have problems
  • 76% say clear navigation is a key web feature
  • 60% are impressed by overall speed and loading times (so anyone with very ‘heavy’ pages should be thinking twice there)
  • 51% are impressed by effective search functionality

This post first appeared on, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

e-commerce Editor's pick social media

Shoppable content rules fashion week season, with Apple, Instagram and more as partners

Burberry Womenswear February 2016 Show Finale_002

The fashion industry is undergoing significant structural change; from the way it delivers its collections, to how it promotes them to both the industry and its consumers. Where traditionally there are big time lags between fashion week shows and the products then hitting the shop floor, increasingly there’s a race to get items into the hands of shoppers as fast as possible in order to capitalize on the hype the digital era has generated.

The whole debate is an intensely complex one, from the very nature of luxury down to how it affects multi-brand retailers, traditional buyers and more. From a logistical perspective it means big changes on the back-end in terms of manufacturing and supply chain timelines. While on the front end, it also means facilitating the purchases themselves in numerous new ways.

This consumer-facing part of the debate has so far been the one most explored. As brands including Burberry through to Rebecca Minkoff have announced their intentions to move to a real-time model, meaning you can see the collection in fashion week and buy it immediately (#seebuywear), they have introduced interesting tech-enabled initiatives to facilitate it. This is about more than just e-commerce pages made live in the moment after the show, or capsule collections hitting flagship stores (even if that does include newbies like Prada), and rather some valid digital partnerships that enhance the shopping experience.

The key thing here is the shift from designers putting budget into technology for the sake of it at fashion weeks, to rather spending on something that is going to impact the business from an ROI point of view. It’s about entertainment to drive conversions; not just engagement, likes and new followers.

There’s a lot for the industry to figure out in terms of making this a viable move across the board from the operational standpoint (and as yet little clarity as to how those who have said they’re doing it are structurally making that happen), but for now, there’s at least a willingness to experiment with what it looks like for consumers.

Head over to Forbes for an outline of those moves from the likes of Burberry, Rebecca Minkoff, Misha Nonoo and Temperley London.

digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Diesel’s ads on Pornhub, Chanel’s Instagram battle, why the fashion world hates wearables

Your round-up of the latest stories related to fashion and technology…


  • Why you’ll soon be seeing Diesel ads on Grindr, Tinder and Pornhub [i-D]
  • Chanel may have just won a battle for the Chanel Instagram account [The Fashion Law]
  • Why the fashion world hates wearables [Co.Design]
  • High tech innovation wears well at Ralph Lauren [Forbes]
  • Burberry debuts on Apple TV with menswear fashion show [Mashable]
  • Misha Nonoo will skip fashion week to follow a consumer calendar [Fashionista]
  • Everlane’s starting a private Instagram account for new products [Digiday]
  • How Belstaff maintains a strong defense against counterfeiters [Stores]
  • How Urban Decay gets its 4.1 million Instagram followers to shop [Digiday]
  • Victoria’s Secret furthers organic storytelling mastery via Angel-endorsed Snapchat takeover [Mobile Marketer]
  • Crocs bows to critics, deletes David Bowie tribute tweet [Brand Republic]
  • Meet the female CEOs running fashion’s biggest brands [Fashionista]
  • What fashion needs to know about cyber security [BoF]
  • Shoppers are choosing experiences over stuff, and that’s bad news for retailers [The Washington Post]
  • Do ‘digital flagships’ deliver? [BoF]
  • The myth of the physical versus digital retail battle [WWD]
  • Why the social media ‘buy button’ is still there, even though most never use it [The Washington Post]
  • Inside the hidden world that handles your holiday returns [Wired]
  • Retail writes an obit on flash sale sites [Marketplace]
  • The blogosphere pays off more than ever [WWD]
  • What’s Grindr’s new agenda? [Dazed]
  • Instagram and the watch world [NY Times]
  • Why women aren’t buying smart watches [Racked]
  • Apple acquires Emotient, start-up that reads emotions from facial expressions [Fortune]
  • Why visual search will become a marketing obsession in the coming years [AdWeek]
  • These vibrating yoga pants will correct your downward dog [Fast Company]
  • 30 under 30 retail and e-commerce 2016: meet the millennials changing how we shop [Forbes]
business e-commerce Editor's pick

Welcome to Cyber Sunday: E-tail will never be the same again


Cyber Monday is now Cyber Sunday. That’s official. Well, at least as far as Walmart is concerned. The company is going to launch its Cyber Monday deals a day early this year.

Why? Is the retail giant-of-giants regretting pulling back from Black Friday now that the momentum is really building, or is this a logical move that simply reflects reality? Maybe a bit of both. CEO Fernando Madeira pointed out the logic of changing tack. “The customers have changed but Cyber Monday hasn’t changed with them,” he told Reuters. “Now everyone has [the] internet.”

The fact is that Cyber Monday is no longer the year’s biggest online shopping day. China’s Singles Day has taken that crown and in some markets like the UK, Black Friday beat it last year too. Even in the US, the gap is closing with Adobe predicting $3bn in online sales on Monday but as much as $2.7bn on Friday.

It used to be that Americans got back to their offices on the Monday after Thanksgiving and took advantage of all those new-fangled computers and the high speed wifi they found there to go shopping. Seems almost funny now.

What it means as far as Walmart is concerned is that instead of the smattering of teaser deals it offered on the same Sunday last year, there’ll be 2,000 online-only specials available from 8pm.

The power of online

The move to Cyber Sunday also reflects a wider online-driven trend that sees retailers deciding when is the best time to offer deals and knowing that their smartphone-toting customers will be ready.

Black Friday is still key, of course, as its timing is perfect for Christmas shopping. But the rise of online shopping has shifted the shopping event scenery to create alternative Black Fridays at other times. Amazon has proved that with its Amazon Prime Days earlier in the year. Alibaba has proved it with Singles Day on November 11.

The onward march of online has also changed Black Friday itself and we’re seeing proof of that this year with a whole load of tweaks to usual retailer behaviour over Black Friday/Cyber Monday, of which Walmart’s move is the highest-profile.

Why is the change happening so fast in a world where e-sales are still the smallest percentage of total sales? Currently, more than 92% of total US retail sales still happen in physical stores and in Britain, the figure is still around 90%. But for both countries, online is a disproportionately large force in special shopping events like Black Friday. In the UK, for instance, over a third of the near-£2bn likely to be spent on the day will be online.

And that gives retailers the chance to extend the event on their websites as they’re not bound by shoppers’ abilities to get to stores. In fact, a lot of retailers launched Black Friday early this year with plenty of deals available last week and this week even more.

In France, where physical retail is still reeling from the Paris attacks, online is also changing the landscape and Black Friday is morphing too. La Redoute, which said the Friday-through-Sunday period was its second biggest shopping weekend in 2014 (as pictured), has renamed it Le Grand Weekend. But despite the use of the word “weekend”, its deals start today and end next Monday.

So whatever happens on Black Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday and Cyber Saturday, Sunday or Monday, one thing we know is that shopping will never be the same again.

This post first appeared on, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

e-commerce Editor's pick technology

Westfield explores the future of fashion with pop-up virtual reality experience


Westfield UK is focusing on technologies like virtual reality (VR) for spring/summer 2015, with an immersive pop-up experience at the heart of a new campaign called Future Fashion.

During March and April, visitors to both Westfield London at Shepherd’s Bush and Westfield Stratford City, will be invited to wear VR headsets paired with gesture tracking technology. The interactive experience will enable them to see their own hands within the virtual world.

There will also be a large screen that tracks shoppers’ body shapes as they walk up to it. Westfield is referring to this as creating a “fashion avatar” – as the user moves, elements of three trends highlighted by Westfield for the season – denim, floral and future modern – are expressed with them, leaving trails behind as they go. Denim sees an avatar seemingly woven from thread, floral by different buds and colours representative of scent, and future modern by glowing lines.

Users will then be able to explore the three trends via Westfield’s ‘Edit Me’ trend microsite; digitally curating products to fit each of them from retailers within the shopping centre.

Myf Ryan, Westfield’s marketing director for the UK and Europe, said: “From research Westfield conducted, we know that shoppers are eager to explore new fashion technologies and are intrigued by new virtual ways to experience it – 52% would use augmented reality in a retail environment and 57% are tempted by virtual mirrors. This event will take our shoppers on an incredible virtual journey, which pushes the boundaries of fashion and technology.”

There is also a digital content hub surrounding the Future Fashion campaign. It will include a series of stop motion, hyperlapse and how-to tutorial films produced by Portas. The campaign will be further supported by social media, out-of-home and a press partnership with The Telegraph Group.

The immersive experience will be in place in Westfield London from March 27-29 and in Westfield Stratford City from April 2-4.