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business Podcast product Retail

Stadium Goods: Riding the sneaker culture boom

The success of Stadium Goods comes off the back of unprecedented consumer desire for sneakers and the need for a rich brand experience in which to buy them, says the platform’s co-founder and co-CEO, John McPheters, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast. 

“For me the light bulb was that demand had never been higher. It was continuously growing, there were more and more people that wanted to buy our products, but there wasn’t a rich experience that consumers could go to to buy that stuff that was trusted, where they knew what they were getting, where they could really hang their hat on the brand experience and the presentation.” he explains.  

As a result he and his partner, Jed Stiller, set about creating a site that is focused on consignment – meaning it resells existing sneaker stock as well as broader streetwear – but it only does so with unworn and authentic styles. That focus on trust is the key, he says.  

Only launched in 2015, the site was acquired by ecommerce marketplace Farfetch in 2018 for $250 million. Very few emerging businesses have seen such rapid growth. It’s now considered such a market leader, it recently announced a partnership with auction house Sotheby’s to sell 100 of the rarest, most coveted sneakers ever produced.  

The site’s explosion aligns with the growth of sneaker culture worldwide. Expected to hit nearly $100bn in global sales by 2024, sneakers are outpacing much of the rest of the industry, including that of handbags. As a result, they have become the new ‘cash cow’ and awareness driver for all manner of brands, not least those in the luxury space, where such products are used as entry to otherwise more aspirational price points. 

In all parts of the market this has resulted in ‘cult’ or ‘it’ sneakers to own as a result. A rare pair of Nikes today can easily sell for as much as those from Gucci or Balenciaga as a result. This means it’s increasingly a race, with some limited edition styles going for $10,000 or more. 

Co-Founder & CEO, Current Global, Liz Bacelar and Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Stadium Goods, John McPheters

In this episode, recorded live at the British Fashion Council’s annual Fashion Forum, we chat to founder John McPheters about the cultural relevance of such products, the evolving role of exclusivity and desire in luxury today, and just how what he’s doing is really about teaching the industry to give up control.

Listen here: Entale | Spotify |  Apple Podcasts | Android Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RSS

Catch up with all of our episodes of the Innovators podcast by the Current Global here. The series is a weekly conversation with visionaries, executives and entrepreneurs. It’s backed by the Current Global, 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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Campaigns product technology

Puma re-releases classic 80s connected sneaker

Puma has re-released its 1986 RS sneaker for the digital age, adding a small computer to the back of the shoe that links to a dedicated smartphone app to track data.

The original shoe, released in 1986, only featured a computer chip built into the heel, which registered data such as time, distance and calories burned when it was worn. Data collected was then transferred to a home computer via a 16-pin connector.

Puma’s new RS sneaker

In its new iteration the shoe still measures the exact same data, but this time it uses bluetooth technology to connect it to smartphone devices and relay it to the user via an app.

In a nostalgic twist, the app’s interface uses the same graphic displays (called 8-bit) as it did in the 80s, and as well as a game.

Only 86 pair of the shoes will be sold at Puma stores in Tokyo, Berlin and London and in the US, at streetwear retailer KITH.

How are you thinking about digital 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. 

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Campaigns product Retail

Nike is dropping a new Air Jordan 1 sneaker everyday this week

Nike's "The Week of The Ones"
Nike’s “The Week of The Ones”

Nike UK will be releasing different iterations of its iconic Air Jordan 1 sneaker everyday this week as part of an event series it is calling “The Week of The Ones”.

The aim is to “celebrate the icon” of the Air Jordan 1 sneaker, which was first released in 1984 and has since cemented its status as “sneaker royalty, forever associated with streetwear, style and His Airness himself”, according to the brand.

The exclusive sneakers are available for European customers, and can only be purchased through the brand’s SNKRS UK app.

Upon opening the app, a GIF on an all-white design of the coveted sneaker will flash up in different colorways to reveal the editions available throughout the week.

The first two styles have already been confirmed at this point, called the “PSG” and “Not For Resale”.

Such a move from Nike comes at a time when we’re seeing an increase in retailers capitalizing on the hype around the streetwear inspired drop-culture. Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus recently embraced limited releases in their respective department stores in June of this year, and the newly opened MatchesFashion.com store in London is investing in refreshing its product assortment every two weeks.

Luxury brands have also been embracing this model, with Burberry as one example introducing monthly-recurring product drops of exclusive merchandise under the supervision of its new creative director Riccardo Tisci.

The phenomenon of streetwear culture and its impact on luxury specifically is analyzed in more depth on an episode of the Innovators podcast by TheCurrent, where we interviewed Ferdinando Verderi, co-founder and creative director of NY-based agency Johannes Leonardo, and the man responsible for much of the work between Adidas and Alexander Wang.

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.

 

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business Editor's pick product

From streetwear to food and beverage: Fashion collaborations continue to thrive

AllBirds x Shake Shack
AllBirds x Shake Shack

Unconventional collaborations aren’t a completely novel concept in fashion, but heat is building with streetwear and more commercial entities alike, in a bid to gain share of voice in an increasingly populated space.

Ever since Vetements teamed up with DHL, there’s been a continuing race for more interesting partnerships. Alexander Wang and Adidas Originals is small fry alongside a major delivery service and a then-cult luxury line. We’ve also seen Louis Vuitton and Supreme, Off-White and Levi’s, and even Balenciaga and Crocs. The high-low feel knows no bounds.

In the past few weeks alone there have been a myriad of further launches in this vein, but this time from more accessible brands. Here we see them both tapping into the streetwear vibe, as well as nodding to a more commercial side by stepping towards the food and beverage space. Here’s a look at some of the highlights:

PrettyLittleThing x Karl Kani

PrettyLittleThing x Karl Kani
PrettyLittleThing x Karl Kani
British fast fashon e-tailer PrettyLittleThing has teamed up with 90s hip-hop label Karl Kani. The 45-piece line includes signature jerseys, bodysuits, denim and croptops. It’s the perfect blend of nostalgia and streetwear in line with today’s Gen Z demands.

A promo video aims to educate the young consumer on Karl Kani’s past, showcasing stars including Aaliyah, Biggie, Tupac wearing the brand back in the day, alongside the new collaboration pieces featured on actress and recording artist Teyana Taylor.

AllBirds x Shake Shack

AllBirds x Shake Shack
AllBirds x Shake Shack
Direct-to-consumer sneaker brand AllBirds has collaborated with fast food chain Shake Shack on a limited edition shoe acknowledging the latter’s branding of white and green. There’s also a tiny burger featured on the tongue.

The Shake Shack Tree Runner shoe was on sale for one day only in New York’s Madison Square Park, where fans had to line up for several hours to get their hands on a pair. They were also treated to a new shake called the Hokey Pokey while they were waiting.

BooHoo.com x Pepsi

BooHoo.com x Pepsi
BooHoo.com x Pepsi
Fast fashion retailer BooHoo.com, as well as its menswear arm, BooHoo MAN.com, have teamed up with Pepsi for a capsule collection celebrating soccer.

The sportswear influenced line incorporates matching track sets, loungewear and sports tops. The interest comes in however in the fact each of the designs have been inspired by five emerging visual artists from around the world, spotlighted in the Pepsi collective campaign: Argentina’s DIYE, Brazil’s Bicicleta Sem Freio, Germany’s DXTR, US’ Kim Sielbeck and UK’s Iain Macarthur.

Other collaborations we’re waiting for: NASA x Vans; Uniqlo x KAWS x Sesame Street; H&M x Moschino.

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

ICYMI: Fashion’s sustainability pulse, Gucci customization, is blockchain a bad move?

Gucci
Gucci

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

TOP STORIES
  • Sustainability in fashion is growing, but ‘systemic’ change a ways off [WWD]
  • Blockchain is crappy technology and a bad vision for the future [TNW]
  • Gucci introduces new ‘do it yourself’ customization program [WWD]
  • Nike patent imagines shoes with tiny treadmills built into the soles [Gizmodo]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Apple, Amazon and more vie for us drone pilot program [Reuters]
  • Facebook is launching a new team dedicated to the blockchain [Recode]
  • We were promised mind-blowing personal tech. What’s the hold-up? [WSJ]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • De Beers tracks diamonds through supply chain using blockchain [Reuters]
  • Amazon’s new codes on boxes encourage re-use [RetailDive]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Amazon reportedly could grab 10% of retail sales by 2020 [RetailDive]
  • Walmart’s head of e-commerce on the future of retail [Cheddar]
  • Aldo updates app to streamline trying on shoes in store [RetailDive]
  • Alibaba’s brick-and-mortar mall heralds new growth strategy [Nikkei]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Ikea ‘bullied’ a potted plant while encouraging another, then showed schoolkids the impact [AdWeek]
  • The world’s most popular iPhone app isn’t Facebook or WhatsApp [QZ]
PRODUCT
  • How product customization is driving a new business strategy at Tapestry [Glossy]
  • Ikea and Savile Row tailor William Hunt partner up to create three-piece suits [FashionUnited]
  • $12,350 for a pair of adidas? [BoF]
  • Alexander Wang designs cooler bag with Magnum [FashionUnited
BUSINESS
  • Hudson’s Bay seeks to revive Lord & Taylor’s fortunes [CNBC]
  • Here’s why nobody wants to buy Birchbox, even after VCs spent $90m [FastCompany]
  • Apple’s retail boss will be joining Ralph Lauren’s board of directors [BusinessInsider]
  • YNAP shareholders say yes to Richemont purchase offer [WWD]
Categories
business data digital snippets e-commerce Retail sustainability technology

ICYMI: Nobody is buying Vetements, Walmart’s high tech store, reviving H&M

Vetements
Vetements

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

TOP STORIES
  • 2 years after they broke the internet, it looks like nobody is buying Vetements [HighSnobiety]
  • Walmart opens first small high-tech supermarket in China [Reuters]
  • ‘It lost its focus’: Why an e-commerce push won’t be enough to revive H&M [Glossy]
  • What Trump’s trade war means for fashion [BoF]
  • Alibaba and Ford launch China’s first Tmall car vending machine [BrandChannel]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Apple’s groovy iPhone spot shows how you can now pay with a glance [Creativity]
  • Museums are the best place to find innovation in AR [VentureBeat]
  • How Tumi is using AI in marketing campaigns, online and in stores [Digiday]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Fashion’s 7 priorities to achieve sustainability [BoF]
  • Eileen Fisher will use Salone del Mobile installation to remind the fashion world to ‘waste no more’ [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Former Walmart CEO, of all people, says Congress should break up Amazon [Racked]
  • Ted Baker launches experiential pop-up at London’s Old Street station [TheIndustry]
  • Nike opens Unlaced, a sneaker boutique for women [BrandChannel]
  • 6 tips for taking your brand direct-to-consumer [BoF]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • What Nike’s analytics platform buy says about the future of brand-consumer relationships [AdWeek]
BUSINESS
  • Kering confirms Stella McCartney split [BoF]
  • Why a potential $5bn valuation at IPO for luxury unicorn Farfetch may not be crazy after all [CB Insights]
  • Louis Vuitton’s new appointment marks an important victory for marketing hype over design [StyleZeitgeist]
  • Raf Simons’ first year at Calvin Klein delivers for PVH [BoF]
  • Lululemon stretches digital marketing wings, sees success [AdAge]
  • What’s driving retail’s sneaker obsession? [RetailDive]
  • 7 takeaways from Shoptalk 2018 [RetailDive]
Categories
Editor's pick product sustainability technology

SXSW 2018: Adidas declares 2024 moonshot to only use recycled plastics

Adidas x Parley for the Oceans - SXSW
Adidas x Parley for the Oceans

Adidas is aiming for all of its products to be made from recycled plastics by 2024, according to Eric Liedtke, head of global brands at the company.

The initiative is a follow on to the brand’s partnership with Parley for the Oceans, which has already resulted in one million pairs of shoes sold created from recycled plastics recovered from the oceans. In 2018, it is expected to hit five million.

Each pair of shoes uses the equivalent of 11 plastic bottles, meaning Adidas is recycling some 55 million plastic bottles this year, Liedtke explained on stage at SXSW this week.

To put the trajectory ahead into context however, the company makes 450 million pairs of shoes every year right now, meaning that goal really is a moonshot. “You think five million is a lot but it’s not, it’s a drop in the bucket,” he said.

In the context of the 270 million tonnes of plastic in the ocean right now, not to mention the further eight million tonnes being added every year, he explained how important it is to get to this point. “The growth of plastic just doesn’t stop. It was a great invention, but it was made to never go away, so all that has been made is still floating around the world today. It becomes a real call to arms to fixing that.”

And the fact is that plastics are not only insidious, but everywhere. Most of the shirts Adidas produces are made from polyester, which is another name for petroleum based plastics. It’s also in the micro pellets in our shower gel, and of course in the plastic bags we receive. Adidas has already eliminated use of both of those latter two.

Liedtke says the next step is to “turn off the virgin plastic tap”. The aim is to get to the point where no new plastic is made at all, because the resource is already there – all that’s needed is for the existing plastics in the system to be used again and again. From cradle to grave to cradle, he explained. “We need to redesign the problem.”

Importantly, however, is the fact doing all of this also makes good business sense, Liedtke added. “I want to prove to the world that it is good for the bottom line. This is not philanthropy. It’s good business. This is what is critical.”

He added that the consumer is expecting and demanding it more than ever as well, especially when you look at the younger generation. “Gen Z wants to give back. They’ve grown up in a world that is highly stressed… they’re looking for trusted brands they can rely on – there’s a huge opportunity for us to step in. Authenticity is going to be core for this,” he said. “People don’t just buy what you make, they buy what you stand for.”

Adidas’ mission with Parley is to enter into full-time collecting and recycling ocean plastics to enable a fully sustainable supply chain, not just for its own brand but anyone interested. The worst problem the industry has right now is inaction, he added. “Everyone has to opt in, put their hand in the pile and play.”

Update: The original version of this story reported live from SXSW quoted Eric Liedtke stating that Adidas was aiming for all of its products to be made from recycled plastics recovered from the ocean by 2024. It is in fact to use 100% recycled polyester in every product and on every application where a solution exists by that year. This ambition is not tied specifically to ocean plastic.

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Editor's pick product Retail social media

Nike sells limited pre-run of Air Jordan III “Tinker” on Snapchat

The Nike Air Jordan III “Tinker” sold out on Snapchat
The Nike Air Jordan III “Tinker” sold out on Snapchat

Nike became the first brand to sell a product via Snapchat this week, with the pre-release of its Air Jordan III “Tinker” following the NBA All-Star game.

Achieved via a partnership between Nike, Snap, Darkstore and Shopify, the initiative enabled attendees of the Jumpman All-Star after-party in Los Angeles to scan exclusive Snap codes to buy and receive the shoes by 10:30pm that same night.

All of them sold out within 23 minutes.

“This is the Holy Grail of the experience [Nike is] trying to intend, which is direct to consumer — to the actual consumer, versus a bot — and same-day delivery,” Darkstore CEO, Lee Hnetinka, told TechCrunch. “The Snap code introduces a new paradigm for commerce.”

“Jordan Brand and the Jumpman represent greatness, so we hold ourselves and our partners to that standard to create distinct and meaningful experiences for our community,” Dan Harbison, Jordan Brand’s senior director of global digital said. “To execute on that, we worked with some of the industry leaders in this space. Snapchat had an existing partnership with Shopify to create the frictionless commerce experience, so we felt that would make sense. We had also talked to Darkstore and liked their same day delivery solution and learned they had partnered with Shopify in the past, so that became an easy decision.”

The Nike Air Jordan III “Tinker” sold out on Snapchat
The Nike Air Jordan III “Tinker” sold out on Snapchat

Darkstore is an on-demand fulfillment startup that looks to locations such as malls with excess capacity to store products, and uses them to then ship from same day. They become fulfilment centers with just a smartphone.

In this instance, the official release of the shoe isn’t until March 24, but using Darkstore and the other partners, served as an opportunity to drive interest and engagement with fans.

Nike has been experimenting with this idea of requiring shoppers to be in a physical space in order to get their hands on specific product, for some time. It previously did so via an augmented reality treasure hunt, for instance. We’re also seeing numerous other brands heavily playing with the notion of scarcity and experience, particularly surrounding streetwear and sneakers at present, including Palace, Supreme, adidas, and most recently, Converse.

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Campaigns Retail

Converse pushes hype beast culture with London hotel activation

The Converse One Star Hotel in London
The Converse One Star Hotel in London

Converse is opening a pop-up hotel in London to mark the drop of its new One Star collection this weekend.

The One Star Hotel, based in Shoreditch, will see rooms curated by artists including A$AP Nast, Yung Lean and MadeMe, as well as two days of gigs, workshops and conversations.

A dream for sneakerheads and music fans alike, the activation promises “staff with attitude, loud neighbours, the freshest sneakers as standard and all-nighters in shoebox rooms”. Live music will also reportedly come from Princess Nokia, IAMDDB, SlowThai, Skinny Macho and more.

What’s interesting is to see how Converse is building hype by following numerous tried and tested rules emerging in sneaker drop culture.

Teaser information from both the brand and influencers involved in the project has been released in advance, for instance. Included is a supposed product list driving curiosity among fans interested in key pieces, such as the collaboration with A$AP Nast that was only released in limited edition in the US previously.

A dedicated microsite meanwhile, provides not only further details of the event, but a series of tongue-in-cheek hotel reviews.

The campaign, which happens to fall during London Fashion Week, taps heavily into a cultural movement surrounding streetwear and sneakers at present, whereby pushing scarcity is king, not just in terms of limited edition products, but particularly unique experiences in which to get hold of them.

We’ve seen this achieved by brands including Supreme, Palace, adidas and Nike in a big way. Meanwhile, the likes of Vetements launching a laundry pop-up in Los Angeles is another example, as is the first Adidas Originals x Alexander Wang collaboration, which secretly dropped in different cities around the world out the back of 17 trucks in trash bags as though the items were on the black market.

The Converse One Star Hotel opens February 16-17 at 155 New North Road, London N1 6TA.

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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