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business Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce product Retail sustainability technology

Shopify’s $6.6m sustainability fund, TikTok’s global rise, the new lure of the mall

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

TOP STORIES
  • Shopify looks to fight climate change, commits $6.6 million to new sustainability fund (BetaKit)
  • The strategy behind TikTok’s global rise (Harvard Business Review)
  • Can rollercoasters and a bunny garden lure shoppers back to the mall? (BoF)
  • Germany unveils Green Button: what you need to know about the worlds first sustainable textile label (Fashion United)
TECHNOLOGY
  • Pentland brands trials AR app (Drapers)
  • How technologies like RFID elevate the customer experience (Fashion United)
  • Luxury retailers are ladling on perks to please ultra-rich clients (Wired)
  • Coca-Cola cans activate animated stories in AR (Mobile Marketer)
  • Entrupy is an app that helps authenticate your grails (Highsnobiety)
  • McDonald’s uses AI for ordering at drive-throughs (BBC News)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • How designers are trying to make NYFW more sustainable (Nylon)
  • Gucci vies to be even greener (NYT)
  • Stella McCartney pens an urgent letter to the fashion industry (The Times)
  • Biodegradable clothes may fix fashion’s huge waste problem (Wired)
  • Second-hand fashion hits £187m on eBay (Fashion United)
  • Harvey Nichols dips a toe into the circular economy (Vogue Business)
  • H&M announces initiative to increase e-commerce sustainability (Fashion United)
  • Sainsbury vows to halve plastic packaging by 2025 (Retail Gazette)
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
BUSINESS
  • Philip Green’s Topshop & Topman report £505m loss (The Guardian)
  • New York’s Fashion Week revamp: did it work? (BoF)
  • New MD at Net-a-Porter (Drapers)
  • C&A files to begin IPO Process in Brazil (BoF)
  • Q&A with Mark Parker, CEO of Nike (Fast Company)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • ‘We’re doing an evolution’: Inside Playboy’s extreme makeover (Digiday)
  • In London, is Extinction Rebellion out-marketing fashion? (BoF)
PRODUCT
  • Kim Kardashian’s Skims solutionwear launches online (Fashion United)
  • Duchess of Sussex’s new charity workwear collection (Vogue Business)
CULTURE
  • James Scully calls out ‘distressing’ treatment of models at NYFW (Dazed)
  • Macy’s announces 5-point plan to promote diversity and inclusion (Fashion United)
  • How to prevent your company from cultural appropriation (Forbes)
  • How cancel culture is affecting brands (Digiday)
  • PrettyLittleThing champions diversity at NYFW (Fashion United)
  • CurvyCon proves the future of fashion is fat (Fashionista)
  • M&S presents sunflower lanyards to support customer with disabilities (Retail Gazette)

How are you thinking about innovation? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more.

Categories
business e-commerce Editor's pick product Retail social media sustainability technology

Analytics reshaping fashion, the lucrative world of sneaker resells, Snapchat’s return

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

TOP STORIES
  • Analytics are reshaping fashion’s old-school instincts (Vogue Business)
  • Inside the wild, shockingly lucrative world of sneaker reselling (GQ)
  • Snapchat is back in fashion (BoF)
  • Dr Martens’ profits up 70% with success of new ‘vegan’ range (The Guardian)
TECHNOLOGY
  • Facebook latest tech giant to admit to using human review of user audio conversations (Campaign)
  • What Deepfakes actually are (Gizmodo)
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Stand out brands in The RealReal’s annual resale report (Fashion Law)
  • How Econyl became fashion’s favorite eco-friendly material (Vogue Business)
  • Microplastics are airborne, polluted artic snow reveals (Earther)
  • There’s never been a better time to buy used clothes (Quartzy)
  • Luxury goes back home: Giants strengthen their sourcing proximity (MDS)
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Nike launches subscription service that targets kids (AdWeek)
  • Online retailers are transforming warehouse construction (Construction Drive)
  • As customers begin to shop through voice assistants, what can brands do to stand out? (Harvard Business Review)
BUSINESS
  • Markets tumble in light of trade wars and poor retail results (BoF)
  • Alibaba results beat estimates on cloud, e-commerce growth (Reuters)
  • Steve Madden acquires DTC sneaker brand Greats (Glossy)
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Instagram now allows users to create their own AR filters (Hypebeast)
  • Youtube’s AR beauty try-on goes live (Forbes)
  • Luxury brands use video games to speak to China’s Millennials (Jing Daily)
PRODUCT
  • The Farm Bill’s effect on CBD beauty (Glossy)
  • Stuart Weitzman releases limited edition customizable sneakers (Marie Claire)
  • Volcom launches ‘water aware’ denim collection (Fashion United)
CULTURE
  • Nike got called out for discriminating against pregnant athletes. Now it’s changing its policy (Fast Company)

How are you thinking about innovation? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more.

Categories
Editor's pick film

The best of the rest of this year’s festive film campaigns

Christmas holiday festive film fashion
Warehouse’s #TheGirlsRoom Christmas campaign

The holiday season has become a big opportunity for retailers and brands to create a deeper emotional connection with their customers at a pivotal time of year for spend. 2016 continues much in the same way, powered by big launches including a message of female empowerment from M&S with Mrs Claus, another iconic nod from John Lewis with Buster the Boxer, and a big cinematic piece from Burberry.

Whether the intention is to encourage happy tears or just have your audience laugh, brands are stepping up to the challenge of showing a strong sense of self, and conveying a powerful message in the process, all in a bid, of course, to drive some of that all-important Q4 revenue in their direction.

Read on for our pick of the best campaigns across the fashion and retail space in Europe and US this year (beyond those already mentioned), as well as a bevvy of further ones to know about below…


Mulberry: It’s What’s Inside That Counts

Mulberry tugs at the heartstrings for the holiday season with an endearing story of love and acceptance played by child actors pretending to be grown-ups. The two-part film, which was shot in the British countryside in Surrey, tells the story of a traditional Christmas where three siblings return to their childhood home to spend the holidays with their difficult mother. As the story unravels, secrets and problems come to light. At the end of Part I, in an act of generosity, one sibling gifts her sister her much loved new Bayswater bag, in a realisation that “it’s what’s inside that counts”.

Directed by Albert Moya and written by Hugo Guinness (The Grand Budapest Hotel), it explores a deeper meaning of accepting each other for who they are. As Johnny Coca, the label’s creative director, explains: “When I was a kid, all that I wanted to do was to be grown up so I could be like my dad. Now that I am an adult, I just want to be a kid again! Christmas brings out the kid in all of us, and this is what I love about using children to tell our story this year.” The second and final version, which shows the family coming to terms with each others’ faults and weaknesses, premieres later this month.


Macy’s: The #SantaProject

The tagline for Macy’s holiday campaigns has long been about the idea of “Believe”. For 2016, they’ve turned that into an exploration of whether children today do indeed believe in Santa Claus. Cue a series of seriously cute clips featuring young kids sharing their thoughts on the miracle of Christmas, before a reminder message of the sort of realities they’re faced with when turning to the internet to search out the truth instead. It’s a positive note revolving really around kindness with what we post online, which let’s face it, can be applied to all parts of life, especially after this rocky year.


Rebecca Minkoff: Holiday My Way With @arielle

Rebecca Minkoff teams up with Vine star Arielle Vandenberg to tell the story of an independent woman trying to navigate the holidays by herself as she decides to stay in the city for the first time, and not go home to see her family. Each video, or chapter, focuses on a different achievement as the main character stumbles into adulthood, from decorating the apartment, to hosting a Friendsgiving, alluding to Thanksgiving as well.

Rebecca Minkoff, the designer herself, makes a cameo as a friend disappointed with the (clumsily wrapped) gift she receives from the main character. On other platforms, the #holidaymyway hashtag is being used to promote a Christmas gift guide and additional marketing content.


Harrods: A Very British Bear Tale

Seemingly inspired by Disney’s Frozen, Harrods tells an animated tale of a young teddy bear serving as the only (snuggly) survivor when an ice storm takes over the palace thanks to a mischievous elf. Hugh, as he’s called, comes to the rescue by climbing to the rooftop in order to signal help from Father Christmas in the North Pole. As the narrated story continues, the spell is broken and Hugh ends up crowned a prince thanks to his courage.

In addition from Harrods this season, is A Very British Fairy Tale in partnership with Burberry; a stop motion short made from paper cutouts.


Coach: A Holiday Film Starring #RexyTheCoachDino

Coach continues its good-humoured approach to luxury with a holiday film starring its now beloved mascot, Rexy the Coach Dino. The film shows what happens at the label’s New York City workshop after hours, when one rogue Rexy leather dinosaur comes to life. Aiming to wreak havoc, the dinosaur runs free pushing over boxes, breaking baubles and generally creating a mess, all while dancing – by herself – to the soundtrack of Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself”, as sung by The Donnas. As the sun rises, Rexy spots an open window and sets herself free, roaming the streets of the city independently.


Kate Spade: Make Magic Happen

Kate Spade’s short but sweet spot, starring model Jourdan Dunn and stylist Catherine Baba, features a small cameo by the iconic Miss Piggy. Shouting over the spot in a possessive manner, “Mine! Mine! Mine!”, the fabulous Muppets’ character attempts to keep all handbags to herself. The campaign also promotes the designer’s latest collaboration, with Miss Piggy herself. The holiday line includes wallets, phone cases, and accessories with the character’s “Who, moi?” catchphrase.

Speaking to WWD, Miss Piggy talked of her excitement to join the great group of women associated with the brand: “Moi was already a big fan of Kate Spade New York’s Miss Adventure’s series. I mean you see all these fabulous and incredibly strong and wonderful women like Anna Kendrick and Zosia Mamet having fun. So, I thought: I’m fabulous, incredibly strong and wonderful, I need to be part of this. When I discovered they wanted to create product inspired by moi: Well, it was a done deal.”


Target: The Toycracker

Target is betting big on its holiday campaign with an eight-minute musical titled The Toycracker, a cheeky take on the Nutcracker classic that reimagines the Tchaikovsky soundtrack as a modern hip hop track. Developed by ad agency 72AndSunny, the spot stars singer John Legend as the Rat King, his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, as the Nutcracker and Isabella Russo (The School of Rock) as Clara. This year’s popular toys, such as Trolls and Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles, have replaced classic characters such as the Sugar Plum Fairy and toy soldiers, while the play’s famous sword fight scene will be told as a rap battle.

The full musical will air in two four-minute spots during ABC’s network premiere of the film Frozen on December 11 in the US. Meanwhile, the brand has launched behind-the-scenes footage of the night of the musical in the shape of a trailer, starring the Bullseye dog and a young girl, Marisol, as well as toys that have come to life to work on the production. The campaign will be supported by further marketing activity that includes a Snapchat filter and a “10 Days of Deals” promotion.


Farfetch: The Holiday Remix

For this Christmas season, Farfetch is presenting a remix of all things festive with a shoppable video that takes on a modern twist of the Nutcracker story. The e-tailer worked with choreographer Dana Foglia, of Beyonce’s Formation fame, to create a modern-day version of Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy, with dancers donning this season’s best partywear.

When watched on Farfetch.com, the video allows customers to shop by displaying circles over certain garments, thanks to a partnership with touchable video platform Cinematique. Clicking the circles will showcase more information about the outfit, and allow users to add to a basket and checkout at the end.


Warehouse: #TheGirlsRoom

Warehouse continues its ‘Resolutely British’ reinvention, under the helm of newly appointed creative director Emma Cook, with a video campaign that celebrates what happens in the girl’s room, or the ladies’ room at public spaces, from nightclubs to bars. The short video shows women touching up their make-up, socialising and generally letting their guard down, in a space where “strangers become allies, the compliments are free and the drama is left on the dancefloor”.


Topshop: The Anti-Cliché Christmas

Topshop appeals to its young and trendy demographic with a call to express individuality. The spot showcases models of all different styles, from modern sportswear to grungy, walking as cuts outs in front of backgrounds including cityscapes and the beachside, emphasising the idea of party dressing “without the one-size-fits-all approach” in order to represent an anti-cliché sort of Christmas.

To celebrate the sentiment, Topshop has also launched its still image campaign presenting its next generation of rising fashion stars, which are models Stella Maxwell, Londone Myers, Cami Morrone, Jing Wen, Kiki Willems, Marjan Jonkman, Damaris Goddrie, Caitie Green and Lottie Moss, Kate Moss’ youngest sister. Explaining the campaign, Kate Phelan, the retailer’s creative director, says: “This season is about the individual spirit of a woman – she no longer wants to be part of a tribe, she has her own style.”


House of Fraser: Christmas is Coming for You

British retailer House of Fraser is aiming to convey the excitement and anticipation that precedes the season with a modern dance spot, in the same vein as Farfetch. Teaming up with choreographer Suzette Brissett, the spot showcases dancers going through a whirlwind of settings, including an opulent dining table and a forest where trees are filled with presents. The upbeat soundtrack is courtesy of British songstress Laura Mvula, who reinterprets The Fugees’ classic Ready or Not track.


And more…

Additional ones to check out below include Cartier, Very.co.uk, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Harvey Nichols, Jack Wills, Boohoo.com, Debenhams, New Look, Tiffany & Co, Gap and Banana Republic. As a bonus: also tugging our heart strings outside the fashion space, is Sainsbury’s The Greatest Gift.

Additional reporting by Siena Hoggianto

Categories
technology

Robots: Tantalising or tacky, they’re in a store near you and set to change the world

robots
Robot maids help wealthy Chinese shopper

The ultimate in robot bling took place in Guangzhou, China recently, where an unnamed “tycoon” went on a shopping trip accompanied by a coterie of robotic servants.

The robots carried our unnamed shopper’s carrier bags, his coat, his water bottle (but probably not his wallet), as he strolled in and out of jewellery stores and other luxury shops.

Yes, it looked incredibly tacky and the reaction on Chinese social media was pretty negative. Plus there’s the sexist element – note that these robots for some reason seem to have a gender (female of course with many reports referring to them as “robot maids”). But beyond all that, it does also say something about the future of retail – and that future will be (at least partially) robotic.

Having been at the Millennial 20/20 conference in London last week and getting an up-close look at super-cute robot, Pepper, it hit me just how far robotics have come.

Forward-looking retailers like Amazon have already invested in robotics. The e-tail giant has around 30,000 non-cute functional robots performing tasks (like lifting and shifting goods) in its warehouses alongside human employees.

Amazon’s robots look like machines, and we aren’t meant to relate to them in any other way. Hitachi though is developing a humanoid robot that can work in-store, can approach customers who look like they need help and give them limited guidance. Assumedly that means phrases like “we close at 8pm” rather than “that dress looks great on you but would be better in blue and how about this delightful necklace to go with it” (that really would be scary).

hitachi
Hitachi’s EMIEW3

The Hitachi robot, as above, is called EMIEW3 (EMIEW launched way back in 2005). It has a remote brain connected to cloud-based intelligent processing systems. It can communicate with other robots and can stand up again if it’s knocked over.

While there are fears that mass adoption of robots will take jobs from people, the view from the inside at the moment is that people and robots are complementary and real humans are needed to do the more sophisticated thinking and perform the more detailed tasks that robots can’t.

Of course, as robot tech improves, that’s when the ethical issues will come in. How tempting will it be for a company to ‘employ’ more advanced and capable robots rather than those pesky humans? And as robots become more human-like, when will our telling them things to do, border on slavery?

They may seem extreme questions to ask today, but they’re questions we’ll have to answer in the lifetime of most people reading this piece, take my word for it.

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

Categories
social media

Warehouse fans go #knitbombing in recent social campaign

Warehouse_knitbombing1

As mentioned in a recent post about the #topmansprayonjeans campaign, there’s a big focus on user-generated content being seen from a multitude of retailers of late.

One of the others referenced in that same story was Warehouse. The UK retailer launched a campaign in late September focused on #knitbombing, a street art craze involving knitted items being placed to decorate public spaces – think trees, bollards even bikes. It’s not a new phenomenon, but it’s one that hasn’t been claimed by a fashion brand before (to my knowledge).

In a nice example of physical meets digital, Warehouse invited its followers to snap photos of their knit-bombing attempts and upload them to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag. The best would go on to win a £250 gift card.

To help facilitate the campaign, it offered shoppers free knit-bombing kits in-store when they bought certain knitwear items. It also posted a series of inspirational woolly shots of its own across its Facebook and Pinterest pages (a couple of which are above and below).

Read its blogpost about the initiative: “Knit-bombing groups have been springing up everywhere – warming the soul of grey urban spaces with colourful knitted artwork or ‘graffitti’. Obviously we had to share this amazing phenomenon with you.” It also called for participants to “flex some creative muscle; remember the city is your playground.”

According to @Editd, the campaign saw Warehouse’s fanbase grow 10%.

Warehouse_knitbombing2 Warehouse_knitbombing3 Warehouse_knitbombing4

Categories
film Uncategorized

A pick of the best fashion films for holiday 2012

In the fast-paced run up to Christmas madness, here’s a little Friday respite with a highlight of 10 of the best festive fashion, retail and luxury films:

1. Topshop: Winter Wonderland

 

2. Barneys: Electric Holiday

 

3. adidas: The Cautionary Tale of Ebenezer Snoop

 

4. Warehouse: Christmas SOS

 

5. Selfridges: Not Your Usual Christmas

 

6. Cartier: Winter Tale

 

7. Debenhams: Christmas Made Fabulous

 

8. Macy’s: Another Miracle on 34th Street

 

9. Gap: Love Comes in Every Shade

 

10. John Lewis: The Journey

 

Categories
e-commerce social media Uncategorized

#smwf offers coffee shop analogy for retailers, repeats control vs presence argument

Social media can be likened to the coffee shop opposite your store, according to JC Mighty, e-commerce communications manager at Aurora Fashions, which owns UK high street brands Karen Millen, Oasis and Warehouse.

Speaking as part of a panel on social shopping at the Social Media World Forum (#smwf) today, he said: “Our website is like our store, email is the window of the store, and social is the coffee shop across the road from the store.”

In so doing, he aimed to banish the notion fashion brands should fear “losing control” through the social space – (it’s somewhat astounding this is still raised as a discussion point, but it proved, as on many other occasions, a key question to the panel this afternoon).

Mighty explained while in this online world, much like its offline counterpart, you can’t control what consumers are saying, if you go into the “cafe” you can at least engage with them there.

“The customer exists in that space, talks in that space… it’s not control we need to regain, but presence we need to establish,” he said.

At some point, I hope we manage to stop repeating that very fact, the having to define what social is in order to encourage retailers on board. It would seem, perhaps surprisingly however, we’re not yet there.