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American Eagle targets Gen Z with sneaker resale pop-up

American Eagle has teamed up with sneaker resale retailer Urban Necessities to host an in-store pop up in NYC in a bid to further engage with its Gen Z clientele and the new ways in which they shop.

The 1,900-square-foot pop up, which is located at an American Eagle Manhattan location, features a selection of streetwear merchandise which includes rare sneakers like the Nike MAG Back to the Future, which retails at $50,000. Other highlights include a Supreme-branded pinball machine and a claw machine, which will give customers the chance of to win $300-$500 worth of merchandise.

For the American Eagle brand this is more than just a temporary retail installation, however. The company has taken a stake in the hip Las Vegas-based retailer for an undisclosed sum, as it hopes to forge a longer-term relationship with the company and continue to tap into the younger consumer shopping behavior.

“Sneakers are about self-expression,” Chad Kessler, global brand president for the American Eagle brand, told Forbes. “Our brand is built on individual style. We are about self-expression. We have the second-largest (U.S.) jeans business (after Walmart). Jeans and sneakers are great pairs. … Urban Necessities has a loyal following and is able to get the most exciting sneakers out there.”

Kessler also said he hopes that eventually in the future, it will open more Urban Necessities stores inside other AE outposts.

The pop up is also part of a series of strategies the brand is developing to continue to attract its core demographic, which includes introducing alternative retail channels that reflect how they now shop more flexibly. Also this year, it announced Style Drop, a clothing subscription service that allows customers to rent up to three items at a time for a flat fee of $49.95 a month.

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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Podcast

How luxury can learn from streetwear’s hype culture

Bia Bezamat and Ferdinando Verderi
Bia Bezamat and Ferdinando Verderi

Luxury has a lot to learn from the way streetwear brands trade on creating desire, says Ferdinando Verderi, co-founder and creative director of NY-based agency Johannes Leonardo, on the latest episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast.

As the creative lead behind the adidas Originals and Alexander Wang collaboration, his experience shows that relevancy in today’s market is all about bringing the customer close, but keeping products scarce.

Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Play | Stitcher | RSS

Accordingly, tapping into a mentality of belonging is at the heart of what makes the streetwear industry so successful and as a result, a strategy that luxury is keen to follow, he explains. “It’s easy to forget how the streetwear phenomenon started. [It] started with the will of people to belong to a real community that has a point of view that is different from others,” he says.

His award-winning work for adidas Originals has involved unpicking what creativity stands for, and how a sportswear giant can challenge the status quo. This has meant ideas like crossing out the brand’s iconic three stripes, expressing the importance of being a work in progress (see “Original is never finished”) and even turning the brand’s logo upside down.

When the agency helped broker adidas Originals’ partnership with Alexander Wang, it consequently ended up almost laying the groundwork for what luxury-meets-street collaborations, now popularized through many other deals, entail.

The collab was built on the concept of purposively disrespecting industry rules, says Verderi. Over three seasons they have done everything from a reseller-inspired retail strategy to analog marketing activity that involved text messaging.

During this conversation with TheCurrent’s innovation strategist, Bia Bezamat, Verderi dives into what all of that has meant, all the while also talking about why brands need to think like publishers in the way they drop content over product, how another movement will come to replace streetwear now that it’s become so mass, and why distilling a point of view needs to be done in a very careful way.

Catch up with all of our episodes of TheCurrent Innovators here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by TheCurrent, a consultancy transforming how 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

These Adidas sneakers double as transport passes in Berlin

adidas BVG sneakers collaboration metro tickets
adidas EQT Support 93/Berlin sneaker

Adidas collaborated with Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), Berlin’s transport company, to create a limited edition collection of 500 pairs of shoes fitted with a season ticket worth €730.

The EQT Support 93/Berlin shoe, as it’s called, uses the same camouflage pattern used on the city’s train seats. Embedded in the tongue is a fabric version of the BVG annual ticket, which can be used as a regular ticket covering the bus, tram and underground in zones A and B.

The shoe, which is now sold out, retailed for €180, therefore attracting a mix of sneaker heads and those seeking a commuting bargain by saving significant money off their €730 annual travel pass.

adidas EQT Support 93/Berlin sneakers train ticket BVG berlin collaboration
adidas EQT Support 93/Berlin sneakers

The launch aimed to modernize BVG’s 90-year-old image, and also tapped into a wider trend of fashionable labels elevating traditionally uncool companies, such as Vetements’ recent collaboration with DHL.

The design was launched in January at Overkill, a shoe store in Berlin’s hipster Kreuzberg neighbourhood. Fans queueing outside were treated to Mettbrötchen, a minced raw pork on a bread roll, which is a decidedly untrendy breakfast that Overkill owner Julian Kalitta described as something you would imagine the city’s tram drivers eating before work.

adidas EQT Support 93/Berlin sneakers
adidas EQT Support 93/Berlin sneakers

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digital snippets e-commerce mobile social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Inside the Vogue x Apple relationship, Gucci’s digital strategy, Farfetch raises $110m

Gucci

It probably goes without saying you’re well and truly over the plethora of stories covering the cyber-themed Met Gala looks (including the true wearable tech pieces), but if you haven’t read Racked’s piece on the relationship between Vogue and Apple in the build-up to the event – as below – then do take the time. Also buzzing in fashion and tech news over the past couple of weeks is everything from further advertising plans on Snapchat to Gucci’s digital strategy and the wearable revolution taking place in Brooklyn. Read on for a complete rundown…


  • Unravelling Vogue and Apple’s self-serving relationship [Racked]

  • The digital strategy driving Gucci’s growth (as pictured) [Glossy]

  • Farfetch raises $110 million in ‘strategic’ move [BoF]

  • William Gibson and Andrew Bolton on the future of fashion and technology [Document Journal]

  • Decoding ‘Manus x Machina’ [BoF]

  • Westfield launches room service retail with interactive mirror [Retail Gazette]

  • Target and Lancôme produce Snapchat’s first e-commerce ads [AdWeek]

  • Old Navy ad with interracial couple sparks a social media firestorm [BrandChannel]

  • Louis Vuitton and Snapchat team up to bring live coverage of world class sailing event [The Drum]

  • Lyst inspires post-work shopping therapy with subway placements [Luxury Daily]

  • If you don’t get social media-only brand ‘Obsessee,’ you probably aren’t its target audience [Fashionista]

  • Bushy eyebrows and $50k per day on Facebook ads: How a small beauty brand blew up [Forbes]

  • How Snapchat won the Met Gala [WGSN Insider]

  • 10 of the best brands on Snapchat right now (and why they’re so great) [Hubspot]

  • How to build a brand on Instagram [Fashionista]

  • Brooklyn’s wearable revolution [NY Times]

  • Why Silicon Valley VC firms fund online retailers like Dollar Shave Club [Seattle Times]

  • Is Flipkart turning into the perfect example of what a tech startup must not do? [Quartz]

  • The future of shopping: trapping you in a club you didn’t know you joined [Bloomberg]

  • The future of the fashion show, according to MatchesFashion.com’s Ruth and Tom Chapman [Vogue]

  • This new tool wants to make the off-price clothing business easier [Fast Company]

  • Digiday launches new fashion and luxury publication, Glossy [Digiday]

  • Heated coats and Kate Moss holograms: the key moments fashion and technology have collided [Daily Telegraph]

  • This video of Anna Wintour introducing the @Voguemagazine app is oddly threatening [Fashionista]

  • The sneakerhead bot problem is getting worse and Nike has the only answer (so far) [HighSnobiety]

  • What fashion brands can learn from Beyoncé’s Lemonade [BoF]