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Editor's pick product technology

Adidas and Foot Locker team up to co-create sneakers inspired by consumers

adidas is strengthening its strategic partnership with US footwear retailer Foot Locker by introducing an initiative that will co-create sneakers inspired by consumers at various moments throughout the year. The pilot will deploy the sportswear brand’s SPEEDFACTORY production process, which creates limited runs of shoes on-demand up to 36 times faster than industry standard lead times.

“We’re working with Foot Locker to create incredible product for consumers and deliver it faster than ever before,” said Zion Armstrong, president of adidas North America. “With its cutting-edge technology, SPEEDFACTORY is enabling us to reach this shared ambition. We’re excited to kick off this first-of-its-kind partnership with Foot Locker and co-create the future together.”

The initiative aims to reflect the three strategic choices of Adidas’ 2020 business plan called Creating the New, announced back in 2015: Speed, exemplified through SPEEDFACTORY; Cities, wherein the group has strategically selected six key cities globally (including Tokyo and London) to disproportionally invest in marketing and retail; and Open Source, which aims to bring in external collaboration in order to spur more creativity and innovation.

The shoes, which will fall under the Made For (AM4) SPEEDFACTORY line, will be introduced across the country at various cultural and sporting moments of the year. The first run, called the AM4ATL (pictured), will be a collection of running shoes and cleats celebrating different heritages and cultures of players who make up a team and showcase how they are united as one. It will debut on pro football players during a game this week and be available for purchase online and at select Atlanta-area stores.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. TheCurrent 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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What you missed: Burberry’s ARkit, AI transforming Shop Direct, Stella McCartney and The RealReal

Burberry's new ARkit integration
Burberry’s new ARkit integration

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


TOP STORIES
  • Burberry turns to Apple for augmented-reality fashion app [Bloomberg]
  • AI will transform every retailer, says Shop Direct boss [Drapers]
  • Stella McCartney wants you to resell her goods in new partnership with The RealReal [Fashionista]
  • Could kelp be the future of sustainable fashion? [Observer]

BUSINESS
  • Direct to consumer brands vs commodities: who will prevail? [LooseThreads]
  • Decoding Chanel’s Gen-Z strategy [BoF]
  • More luxury stores closed in China over the last year than in any other country [Jing Daily]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Target will begin incorporating Pinterest’s Lens visual search technology [AdWeek]
  • John Lewis pioneers Facebook’s 360 shoppable ad [Campaign]
  • Dior debuts Weibo story, stays in lead with Chinese millennials [Jing Daily]
  • Inside Birchbox’s 40-person social media war room [Glossy]
  • Snapchat debuts Sponsored 3D World Lenses at Advertising Week New York [The Drum]

MARKETING
  • Gant to launch ‘Couple Thinkers’ TV show on YouTube [Fashion Network]
  • Nas brings street cred to effortlessly cool animated ads for Timberland [AdWeek]
  • Why United Colors of Benetton is parting with catwalk convention to showcase its brand DNA [The Drum]
  • Fashion brands still succumbing to the high-priced artsy film [Glossy]

RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Patagonia has launched its own online thrift store [PSFK]
  • New Macy’s loyalty program nudges customers to spend more [Retail Dive]
  • Uniqlo’s retail empire embarks on a digital revolution [Nikkei]

TECHNOLOGY
  • AR is now a must-have in retail [Business Insider]
  • A way to repeatedly recycle polyester has just been discovered [Eco-Business]
  • These high-tech knitting machines will soon be making car parts [Bloomberg]
  • Fashion’s future may rest on an old technology: glue [Fast Company]
  • Modiface is becoming the go-to provider of augmented reality to beauty brands [Glossy]

PRODUCT
  • Google and Levi’s ‘connected’ jacket is now on sale [TechCrunch]
  • To make a new kind of shoe, adidas had to change everything [Wired]
  • How these female engineers reinvented the bra [Fast Company]

START-UPS
  • With lab-grown leather, Modern Meadow is engineering a fashion revolution [BoF]
  • Amazon has acquired 3D body model startup, Body Labs, for $50M-$70M [TechCrunch]
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business Editor's pick technology

Robots rule: Adidas to open robot shoe factory in 2016

adidas_speedfactory

Poor working conditions. Inability to meet demand. Slow trend response. They’re all consequences of the move to low-cost manufacturing in factories many thousands miles from brands’ creative centres… until now, that is.

Fashion has finally got what the car industry has known for decades – robots can make a difference, a BIG difference.

A German factory mainly operated by robots will open next year and be ready to make its first Adidas shoes, a reversal of the trend that has seen the company shifting production to Asia where over one million workers currently make its footwear.

The Speedfactory near the Adidas HQ will make its first 500 shoes in 2016 with full commercial production by 2017. Later there’ll be Speedfactories in the US too.

The aim is to get production closer to the company’s biggest markets, to offer super-fast response to trends and to produce the more personalised shoes customers want.

But it’s not about cutting costs, we’re told. It would have been ironic if cost was a factor as it was the main reason production moved to Asia in the first place.

Asian manufacturing will stay, albeit with less of it in China where wage costs are rising. Instead this new development is more of a complement to those production locations, a new way of thinking about production and an initiative that rivals are likely to try to match.

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