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Orlebar Brown: Trusting partners for growth

When you start a business, you should always be thinking about what your end goal is, says Adam Brown, founder of luxury swimwear brand Orlebar Brown, on the latest episode of the Innovators podcast. In Brown’s case, it was the eventual acquisition by none other than Chanel.

Many founders pride themselves on being scrappy, and figuring it out as they go along. There is an element of truth to that approach – Brown spent the brand’s first two years in a storage unit in West London learning every aspect of the business, from pressing shorts to talking to customers on the phone. 

But he knew from the get-go that one of the strongest tools he could have under his belt was finding the people he trusted to do the things that were beyond his expertise. That is a surprisingly rare trait for a founder, who often have so much emotional stake in the game that it is hard to let go of the control. 

Brown, however, always knew he didn’t want to be a CEO with 300 stores across the globe. He also doesn’t consider himself a designer, but rather a curator. So his focus became the product, and creating a process to perfectly tailor swim shorts that fit every body shape, and could take you from the beach to a fancy dinner party. The brand filled a gap in the market and quickly created its own niche.

And in 2018, just at the right time, Chanel came knocking. The acquisition, says Brown, represents the perfect marriage of aspirations that both sides have for the swimwear brand, as well as the chance to leverage many of Chanel’s mature capabilities in brand positioning, sourcing, e-commerce, and so on.

During this conversation, Brown tells us just why the Chanel partnership is a match made in heaven, how they are looking to connect sustainability with the brand in a creative way, and just what is needed to make the luxury consumer forget the price tag.

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

ICYMI: Apparel manufacturing coming home, shopping by voice, French brands focus on startups

Is apparel manufacturing coming home?
Is apparel manufacturing coming home?

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

TOP STORIES
  • Is apparel manufacturing coming home? [McKinsey]
  • Voice command: is it the future of online shopping? [FashionUnited]
  • French retail and fashion groups deepen focus on startups [WWD]
  • Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger are sending a clear signal that Amazon is the future of fashion, and it’s terrible news for department stores [Business Insider]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Magic Leap is real and it’s a janky marvel [TechCrunch]
  • Fast Retailing signs deal to fully automate warehousing [WWD]
  • ‘Building the digital factory’: 3D printing comes to Shopify [Digiday]
  • Chinese investment into computer vision technology and AR surges as US funding dries up [TechCrunch]
  • Amy Winehouse is going on tour as a hologram [Hypebeast]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Dove gets certified cruelty-free [FashionNetwork]
  • Why fashion’s anti-fur movement is winning [BoF]
  • The Maiyet Collective’s concept store: reshaping ethical lux [Stylus]
  • You buy a purse at Walmart. There’s a note inside from a “Chinese prisoner.” Now what? [Vox]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Amazon Fashion to launch London pop-up [Drapers]
  • Brandless is launching a pop-up shop in NYC [TechCrunch]
  • Supreme envy: The drop model gets used for burgers, tacos, toothbrushes [Digiday]
  • Jenna Lyons is back, and she’s returning with a brand-new multi-platform venture [Vogue]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Three Nasty Gal ads banned by watchdog [FashionNetwork]
  • ASOS unveils campaign and collection for new Gen-Z label Collusion* [TheIndustry]
  • Adidas launches new membership program [HighSnobiety]
  • Why brands are launching secret apps for superfans [BoF]
  • Snapchat becomes the mobile HBO with 12 daily scripted Original shows [TechCrunch]
  • Superdry unveils disabled mannequin shop window for Invictus Games [TheIndustry]
PRODUCT
  • Alexander Wang is launching a new Uniqlo collaboration that’s all about underwear [Vogue]
BUSINESS
  • Judge removes Deciem founder from CEO role [BoF]
  • Sears files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy [WSJ]
  • Superdry issues profits warning [Drapers]
  • Coast falls into administration and is bought by Karen Millen [TheIndustry]
  • Walmart acquires online lingerie retailer Bare Necessities [Reuters]
  • Lyst launches French version after LVMH investment [FashionNetwork]
CULTURE
  • The most diverse fashion season ever on the runway, but not the front row [NY Times]
  • Met Costume Institute embraces ‘Camp’ for 2019 blockbuster show [NY Times]
  • ‘Gender Bending Fashion’ to be focus of new show at Museum of Fine Arts in Boston next March [WWD]

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.

Categories
business Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce product Retail Startups sustainability technology

ICYMI: Chinese moguls rebooting fashion, biotech shaping the industry, smart checkouts rising

China’s internet moguls are rebooting fashion
China’s internet moguls are rebooting fashion

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

TOP STORIES
  • How China’s internet moguls are rebooting fashion [BoF]
  • How biotechnology is reshaping fashion [BoF]
  • Smart checkouts will process $45B in transactions by 2023, study says [MobileMarketer]
  • 5 tech innovations we’re talking about from fashion week season [TheCurrentDaily]
TECHNOLOGY
  • When it comes to technology, fashion is still a laggard [BoF]
  • How Diageo is using Amazon Echo and Google Home [Digiday]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • John Lewis invests in plastic reduction [Drapers]
  • Why does so much ethical fashion look the same? [Fashionista]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Express is the latest retailer to launch a clothing rental service [CNBC]
  • Fruit of the Loom celebrates Seek No Further with interactive shopping experience [FashionUnited]
  • Forever 21 invests in online styling service DailyLook [RetailDive]
  • Is the future of online deliveries allowing drivers access to your home? [TheIndustry]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Hollister partners with Sit With Us [WWD]
PRODUCT
  • Why mainstream brands are embracing modest fashion [CNN]
BUSINESS
  • Revolve officially files for IPO [Fashionista]
  • Walmart buys Eloquii for undisclosed amount [RetailDive]
  • Anya Hindmarch losses mount to £28.2m [Drapers]
  • Payments startup Klarna raises $20M from H&M, its second backer from the fashion world [TechCrunch]
CULTURE
  • The London Underground is getting vending machines to clean all your dirty clothes [Wired]
  • Meet the robotic museum guide that will turn art into sound for the visually impaired [FastCompany]

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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Editor's pick Retail technology

Mulberry focuses on omnichannel experience with new London flagship

Mulberry's new London flagship
Mulberry’s new London flagship

British luxury label Mulberry is introducing a connected retail experience at its new London flagship store, as part of a wider strategy focused on customer experience.

The brand is working with payments platform, Adyen, and mobile assisted selling platform, Tulip, to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping. In store, this will include mobile checkouts and an endless aisle feature, where customers can purchase items that are out-of-stock in-store, online. Additionally the store will also feature click-and-collect and two-hour same-day delivery across Central London.

Using Adyen’s platform, Mulberry will also be able to offer overseas shoppers their preferred local payment methods.

“I’m excited to be opening our new global flagship at 100 Regent Street where we have created a rich and vibrant store concept that brings to life all the elements of British landscape and architecture that inspire us,” said Johnny Coca, the brand’s creative director. “The pace and energy of Regent Street captures the spirit of Mulberry and is the perfect setting to unveil this new chapter of our brand.”

In celebration of the launch and London Fashion Week commencing, Coca and Stephanie Phair, chairman of the BFC, will be co-hosting a supper club this Friday (September 14).

On Saturday (September 15), the brand is inviting customers in-store to enjoy cocktails and become a #MulberryMuse for the AW18 campaign through a bespoke interactive studio that creates customized portraits that are played onto the store windows.

The London flagship launch comes following Mulberry’s major push in Asia earlier this month, through a four-day event in Seoul called “Mulberry x Seoul”. The initiative featured a series of events including a runway show at the K Museum of Contemporary Art showcasing the AW 18/19 collection, which was also broadcast live across social media.

Mulberry’s new London flagship

For the remaining days the same venue also hosted a gala, while customers could further discover the brand through a pop-up store, a selfie studio and films. The initiative also gave brand fans the chance to win gifts and buy a limited edition handbag, which was only available in Korea for two weeks.

“Korea was the second [biggest] country in terms of revenue so it was important to be part of that expansion and to communicate more about the brand and its heritage to the Korean customer,” said Mulberry’s creative director Johnny Coca about the event.

Luxury labels are increasingly looking to diversify their storytelling strategies, and over the past few years this has included taking the brand on the road to markets it has a solid customer base, or a huge potential in. Last week, Tommy Hilfiger hosted its Tommy Now runway event in Shanghai, China. The event acted as an anchor to a content ecosystem that helps customers – who are often new to the brand – better understand its DNA. This strategy and more was the subject of our latest episode of TheCurrent Innovators podcast, featuring Tommy’s chief brand officer, Avery Baker.

How are you thinking about retail 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.

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

ICYMI: Macy’s buys Story, Gucci’s new flagship, AI and the future of fashion

Futuristic fashion by Tim Walker
Futuristic fashion by Tim Walker

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

TOP STORIES
  • Macy’s buys Story concept [RetailDive]
  • Gucci plants its flag in Soho [BoF]
  • How artificial intelligence will impact the future of fashion [Vogue]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Can AI and AR turn your prospects into customers? [Inc]
  • How beauty brands like Coty and Shiseido are using voice assistants [Glossy]
  • Ticketmaster to trial facial recognition technology at live venues [Venture]
  • Verisart brings blockchain certification to the global art auction market [TechCrunch]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Fast fashion goes green with mushrooms, lumber scraps, and algae [Bloomberg]
  • Applied DNA Sciences confirms traceability of leather [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Walmart.com redesigns as the anti-Amazon [Co.Design]
  • Farfetch partners with Stadium Goods on sneaker hub [WWD]
  • Brandless’ pop-up is focused on community engagement rather than selling products [AdWeek]
  • China’s live-streaming fashion boom changing the way Gen Z shops [SCMP]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Inside the bitter war to bring Tupac and Michael Jackson back to life [Wired]
  • Diet Prada unmasked [BoF]
  • Instagram quietly launches payments for commerce [TechCrunch]
PRODUCT
  • Amsterdam is solving its gum litter problem by making shoes out of recycled gum [AdWeek]
  • ElektroCouture: Inside the fashion house behind Swarovski’s $60,000 light-up dress [Forbes]
BUSINESS
  • Over 400 startups are trying to become the next Warby Parker. Inside the wild race to overthrow every consumer category [Inc]
  • Prada: Making the most of its moment [BoF]
  • Alibaba’s anti-counterfeit group now has 105 brand members, including L’Oréal and Bose [TheDrum]
Categories
e-commerce Editor's pick Retail Startups technology

Amazon exploring the future of sizing with 3D body scanning trial

Body Labs 3D scan
Body Labs 3D scan

Amazon is currently inviting people to have their bodies 3D scanned at its NYC offices, hinting at the e-commerce giant’s future plans of entering the virtual try-on and personalized fit space.

According to The Wall Street Journal, participants are being asked to return every two weeks to have their bodies scanned over the course of 20 weeks. They are also being asked to answer a series of fitness and health questions, and complete an online survey that determines weight-related loss and goals in the past year. The survey reads: “We are interested in understanding how bodies change shape over time.”

The project comes from Amazon’s new 3D body scanning unit, and is assumed to tie to a broader aim of improving the fit of clothing sold online – one of the industry’s greatest challenges. It comes after Amazon paid a reported $100m+ to acquire Body Labs, a startup that creates 3D body models to support B2B software applications, back in October 2017.

At the time TechCrunch reported that Body Labs’ website, which is currently down, demonstrated how its API could be used to “accurately predict and measure the 3D shape of your customers using just a single image”, which in turn could be used to power custom apparel or be used by fashion e-commerce retailers.

Over the past couple of years Amazon has been making aggressive moves towards the fashion category, both from a hardware, service and merchandise perspective.

In April 2017, it released the Echo Look, a device that uses a camera to help users keep track of their outfits and receive style advice. Its try-before-you-buy Prime Wardrobe service, launched last summer, is also now open to consumers beyond the Prime membership and is due to launch imminently.

The retailer has so far developed over 50 in-house apparel labels for women, men and children, showing that there is virtually no corner of the apparel industry that it doesn’t have covered.