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product sustainability

Nike awards designers reimagining footwear waste

Nike Grind
Nike Innovation Challenge

Nike is pushing forward with its circularity goals through a challenge that invited designers, engineers and scientists around the globe to come up with creative products using footwear material waste.

The Nike Circular Innovation contest posed two challenges to applicants: creating new products using materials from the Nike Grind program, which is the company’s initiative to collect post-consumer athletic shoes by any brand; and to develop new technologies to advance footwear recycling.

The challenge, which started in February, received over 600 applications from 58 countries. The sportswear brand eventually narrowed the selection down to 35 finalists, who were tasked with creating a product using rubber, foam, fiber, leather and textile blends recovered from its manufacturing process. In the end, five groups won the Design with Grind challenge, and one group was awarded for its Material Recovery Fix.

What the design finalists came up with included everything from furniture to yoga and street safety, and even a vacuum mattress for people suffering from neurodevelopmental disorders. The brand hasn’t yet disclosed whether it will further develop the ideas with each of them.

As for the materials challenge, the brand awarded Florida-based plastic experts SumaRec, which identified two new phases that could be added to Nike’s material recovery process: an additional step which divides materials based on their weight, and an extra material-grinding step.

At this year’s Copenhagen Fashion Summit in June, Nike COO Eric Sprunk said that at present, 75% of Nike’s products already contain some recyclable materials. “Our rule is: there is no innovation without sustainability.” He further announced the introduction of a new ‘supermaterial’  from recyclable natural leather fiber. The textile, called Flyleather, will be used in popular styles such as the Air Jordan and Air Max.

How are you thinking about material 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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Digital snippets: all about chatbots, Burberry’s ‘Snapcode’ products, Ralph Lauren’s connected fitting rooms

chatbots-illo-hed-2016

If there’s one story dominating tech titles at present, it’s the role of chatbots in our messaging apps. That was especially the case following Facebook’s F8 developer conference Tuesday, but is also reflected through numerous other recent stories focused on brand uptake across messaging channels. Read on for your round-up of all that, as well as other latest fashion and technology stories to know about…


  • Shopping start-up Spring launches one of first bots on Facebook Messenger [Forbes]

  • Kik launches a ‘Bot Shop’ because bot shops are the new app stores [Fortune]

  • Why brands from Barbie to Uber are so hot on chatbots [AdWeek]

  • Sephora launches chatbot on messaging app Kik [Forbes]

  • WTF is all the fuss with chatbots? [Digiday]

  • Chat bots, conversation and AI as an interface [Benedict Evans]

  • Snapchat takes on Facebook with huge new upgrade – messaging is the focus [Vanity Fair]

  • Data alone can’t decode the fashion consumer [BoF]

  • Is fashion ready for the AI revolution? [BoF]

  • Burberry first to create a ‘Snapcode’ on their products to nudge shoppers onto Snapchat Discover [The Drum]

  • Inside Ralph Lauren’s connected fitting rooms [Digiday]

  • Express leverages Snapchat with in-store checklist campaign [Mobile Commerce Daily]

  • Snapchat is ‘increasingly important’ for Asos customers [Marketing magazine]

  • Your ad here: why Grindr, Pornhub and YouPorn are fashion’s new billboards [It’s Nice That]

  • Even in a mobile world, retailers aren’t convinced social media can sell [AdWeek]

  • Facebook said to face decline in people posting personal content [AdAge]

  • Pinterest opens up Promoted Pins for UK advertisers, with John Lewis and Made.com among launch partners [The Drum]

  • Flush with tech wealth, San Francisco warms to fashion [BoF]

  • Manufacture NY and FIT partner to bring revolutionary textile innovation to New York [Manufacture NY]