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product technology

Levi’s updates its Google smart jacket with Uber, Lyft and Bose features

Google x Levi's Project Jacquard
Google x Levi’s Project Jacquard

Levi’s has announced its first update on its Project Jacquard smart jacket developed in collaboration with Google, including the ability to work with ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft, and Bose headphones.

Although at this point users won’t be able to order a car through the jacket, once connected to the Uber or Lyft apps, it will notify them that their ride is three minutes away and do so again once it arrives via its cuff, which will light up and vibrate. Brushing the cuff will also enable real-time updates on the car’s whereabouts via connected headphones.

Google x Levi's Project Jacquard
Google x Levi’s Project Jacquard

The jacket now also supports Bose’s Aware Mode, which picks up any surrounding sounds and sends them to the user’s headphones. This enables users who are listening to music while on the go to still enjoy noise reduction, but be able to hear any important things happening around them – in a cyclist’s or pedestrian’s case, this could mean a horn or a fast-approaching vehicle. Bose users will also be able to turn their headphones on or off via hand gesture.

Another new jacket feature enables users to drop a pin on the map to save a location and then see and share that from the app’s activity screen.

At a conference in California in October 2017, Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh hinted at upcoming innovations by stating that if there is a feature that doesn’t require a screen, it is possible that it could be incorporated into the commuter jacket’s 2.0 version. By approaching it with that mindset, the company can potentially investigate the future of smart clothing beyond cyclists, which was its initial target audience with the Google partnership.

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Editor's pick product technology

Ministry of Supply introduces AI-enabled heated jacket

Ministry of Supply's intelligent heated jacket
Ministry of Supply’s intelligent heated jacket

US performance label Ministry of Supply has launched an intelligent heated jacket that uses machine learning to adjust the garment’s temperature.

The Mercury jacket creates a microclimate optimized to the wearer’s body by using a custom microcontroller heating system to heat up carbon-fiber heating pads sewn in the garment’s lining. The system takes in to consideration the weather and body temperature, motion data, and user preference to modulate power. For example, when walking to a train stop the jacket senses temperatures and an elevating heart rate, as well as user behaviour learnt through time, to regulate the system.

The machine learning element ensures that the more feedback the user gives its accompanying app, the better the system gets at learning their preferences. Meanwhile an added voice element allows wearers to naturally activate the jacket through a smart assistant like Amazon Alexa.

Ministry of Supply's Mercury Jacket
Ministry of Supply’s Mercury Jacket

“Our mission is to invent clothing that blends form and functionality — and temperature regulation is one of the most important factors in comfort,” says the brand’s team. “We’re excited to present our vision of what wearable technology can become, not just a way to monitor our vitals – but also act on it allowing us to become more comfortable and capable because of it. The Intelligent Heated Jacket is just that literally putting a learning thermostat in your jacket.”

Since Ministry of Supply’s inception, it has approached clothing through a human-centric, design-led methodology that takes into consideration both aesthetic and function. The jacket has been developed to replace any other outerwear alternative.

The jacket’s production is being crowdfunded via a campaign on Kickstarter. Since its launch yesterday (February 21) the jacket has trebled its original donations goal, to reach over $150K in pledges.

This is Ministry of Supply’s third successful Kickstarter campaign. In 2012, it launched the Apollo shirt, which controls body temperature after raising over $400K. Following that, the Atlas socks, which are made out of coffee beans that filter out sweat, raised over $200K or its $30K goal.

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Editor's pick product technology

CES 2018: L’Oréal’s latest UV sensor is designed to look like nail art

L'Oréal's UV Sense
L’Oréal’s UV Sense

L’Oréal has unveiled UV Sense at CES this week, a battery-free wearable electronic that provides consumers with individual information of their ultraviolet (UV) exposure through a small design worn on the nail.

The product will launch for dermatological skincare brand La Roche-Posay this summer. It has been created in collaboration with visionary designer Yves Behar, founder of fuseproject, and comes from L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator.

“L’Oréal research shows that overexposure to UV rays is a top health and beauty concern of consumers worldwide,” says Guive Balooch, global vice president of the incubator. “With this knowledge, we set out to create something that blends problem-solving technology with human-centered design to reach even more consumers who require additional information about their UV exposure. Whenever we develop a new technology, our goal is to make an enormous global impact by enhancing consumers’ lives.”

He adds: “Beauty trends show that adoption of wearable nail art accessories is on the rise, with a more than 65% increase in nail art trends over the last five years. Our innovation taps into this growing trend, while illustrating our deep commitment to sun safe behavior and protection.”

The launch follows the first stretchable skin sensor measuring UV exposure from the group unveiled at CES in 2016, called My UV Patch. Since then, La Roche-Posay has distributed more than one million patches to consumers in 37 countries free of charge to encourage sun safe behaviors.

This new launch follows feedback from users showing that although they changed their behaviour – 63% reported less sunburn, 34% apply sunscreen more often and 37% try to stay in the shade more frequently – they wanted a smaller wearable with longer wear and real-time data.

UV Sense is less than two millimeters thick, nine millimeters in diameter and designed to be worn for up to two weeks on the thumbnail, compared to just several days for My UV Patch. It can also store up to three months of data.

It is powered by the user’s mobile phone and activated by UVA and UVB rays. An accompanying app translates and transfers data from the sensor using Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled technology.

“Design and technology are inextricably linked, and as products become more personalized to individuals, both elements are integral to providing people with seamless experiences,” says Behar. “By working with L’Oréal, we are able to pair deep expertise in beauty tech with an effective design that enhances consumers’ wellbeing without distracting from their everyday lives.”

Both UV Sense and a new limited-edition redesign of My UV Patch draw from research L’Oréal conducted in conjunction with MC10 Inc, a leading wearable technology company, and professor John Rogers at Northwestern University, through his portfolio of intellectual property (IP) and innovation around flexible, stretchable electronics.

They will both be available via www.laroche-posay.us on a limited basis in the US for the 2018 summer season with a global launch following in 2019.

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digital snippets e-commerce film mobile social media technology

Digital snippets: Black Friday, high tech holiday, Michael Kors, Burberry, Gap, Chanel, Asos

A round-up of the latest stories to know about surrounding all things fashion and tech…

MICHAELKORS_fashion-model-on-iphone

  • Fewer shoppers hit the stores on Black Friday, but retailers engaged for a marathon rather than a sprint [CNN Money]
  • Black Friday embrace by British retailers brings discounts and disorder [NY Times]
  • This holiday season, high-end retailers go high-tech [The Washington Post]
  • The biggest names in fashion are trying to make Instagram a shopping app, Michael Kors is the latest (as pictured) [Quartz]
  • Christopher Bailey’s Burberry vision: tech-driven yet personal [WWD]
  • Gap introduces an augmented reality experience called Play Your Stripes for holiday [DigitalBuzzBlog]
  • Chanel is pairing Pharrell Williams and Cara Delevingne in a romantic fantasy [Creativity Online]
  • Small wins: Asos’s data-driven male models [WGSN/blogs]
  • Why fashion marketers should be paying attention to Ello [Fashionista]
  • Intel, Opening Ceremony and CFDA unveil MICA wearable for market [BrandChannel]
  • A Zappos pop-up shop becomes a test to change the nature of mom-and-pop retail [VentureBeat]
  • New York subway riders can now shop on Amazon while underground, with digital pop-up stores [AdWeek]
  • Snapchat launches Snapcash payment feature with Square [BBC]
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Comment Editor's pick technology

Diesel next fashion week brand to jump into wearable tech game

Samsung7

Diesel Black Gold has announced a wearable tech partnership with Samsung in time for its New York Fashion Week show today at 1pm EST, in doing so becoming the latest in a long line of designers associating themselves with wearables this season.

The brand will reveal a custom line for the Samsung Gear S – the new curved screen smartwatch. In essence the launch is a line of accessories that feature the device. Seen in red, white or black leather cuffs, some of them embellished with studs, they reportedly take their inspiration from the brand’s spring/summer 2015 collection which references “highly stylised New Wave rock stars and tough rockabilly heroines”.

Creative director, Andreas Melbostad said: “I wanted to take the Gear S and inject the DNA of Diesel Black Gold. It has been an inspiring challenge to create a personalized version of this device making it an extension of the person and her individual expression.”

Unfortunately, the result leaves a little to be desired. Like many of the options now out there – including the Tory Burch and Fitbit collaboration, and Intel and Opening Ceremony’s MICA, the product is still a clunky exploration of hardware and not an accessory that fits with the sort of aesthetic the fashion week crowd expect.

Let’s also call a spade a spade. This is a leather band with a clip, not a piece of true wearable tech.

Younghee Lee, EVP of global marketing, IT and mobile division at Samsung, said: “Our partnership with Diesel Black Gold is very crucial as it further showcases the union of fashion and technology, and the way in which wearable devices continue to become more intertwined in daily life.”

I’d agree with that fact, but we’re a long way off fashion and technology truly being seamless bedfellows. Over to you now Apple…

Samsung6 Samsung8 Samsung9

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digital snippets e-commerce film mobile social media technology

Digital snippets: Nike, Burberry, Selfridges, DKNY, John Lewis, Burt’s Bees

It was perhaps Nike that was the buzziest of brands over the past couple of weeks, if you take into consideration both the successful launch of its unofficial World Cup campaign, Winner Stays (as above), and the rumoured shift in strategy for its FuelBand wearable device. That latter news reported the brand is laying off 70-80% of the fitness tracker’s hardware team in a bid to focus on software and the NikeFuel metric instead. A further interview with Nike President Mark Parker added fuel to the fire on a big partnership with Apple.

Burberry meanwhile was another brand with various stories to follow. It opened its new Shanghai store to much theatrical, multimedia fanfare; pushed yet another social tie-in via WeChat; launched an online store on Alibaba’s Tmall; and was announced as one of the first brands to advertise using Instagram video. And if that wasn’t enough, Angela Ahrendts just made that move officially over to Apple. “Did you notice?” asked the FT.

Safe to say, some other companies were up to things too. Here are the best of the fashion and tech stories not to be missed…

  • Selfridges launches biggest ever beauty campaign with Google+ partnership [Campaign]
  • DKNY shoppers go product hunting with Awear Solutions chips [FierceRetailIT]
  • John Lewis looks back on British history in TV spot to mark 150 years [Campaign]
  • Burt’s Bees creates promotional messages via appointments in digital calendars [NY Times]
  • What can fashion-tech companies learn from Instagram’s success? Co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom shares his start-up secrets [BoF]
  • Instagram is brands’ best bet for consumer engagement… but not for long [Fashionista]
  • ‘Brand tagging’ mobile apps: China’s next selfie sensation [Jing Daily]
  • Fashion retailers eye up image-recognition apps for smartphones [The Guardian]
  • Microsoft to push into fashion space “like never before” as it boosts commitment to UK start-up community and unveils ASOS as partner [The Drum]
  • Why online retailers like Bonobos, Boden, Athleta mail so many catalogs [WSJ]
  • Crowdemand is like Kickstarter for fashion designers [Mashable]
  • Like a dating site for fashion, PopInShop plays matchmaker for brands and boutiques [Fashionista]
  • The golden era of ‘fashion blogging’ is over [The Cut]
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digital snippets e-commerce social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Oculus, Luxottica, Wren, Asos, Nike, Birchbox, Tom Ford, Kenzo

The big tech story this week has of course been about Facebook’s purchase of virtual reality headset company Oculus VR. But there were lots of others to know about too. Read on for an edit…

oculus-rift-dk2

  • Google deal with Luxottica will bring Glass to Ray-Ban, Oakley [WSJ]
  • How Wren made a viral video of strangers kissing and increased sales by nearly 14,000% [Business Insider]
  • Asos and Nike celebrate 27 years of Air Max with first Google+ shoppable hangout [Marketing Magazine]
  • Birchbox, seller of beauty products, steps out from web to open New York store [NY Times]
  • Tom Ford joins the world of e-commerce with sexy new web store [Fashionista]
  • Kenzo’s virtual aquarium highlights the danger of overfishing [PSFK]
  • Chanel releases new Coco Mademoiselle Keira Knightley ad – She’s Not There [The Inspiration Room]
  • Lancôme ramping up digital initiatives [WWD]
  • How Yoox became the Amazon of the fashion world [Telegraph]
  • Why in-store tracking might not be as bad as it sounds [CNNMoney]
  • The Shazam of fashion is here, introducing ‘ASAP54? [Styleite]
  • Silicon Valley never talks about the real reason you don’t own a smart watch or ‘wearable tech’ [Business Insider]

 

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digital snippets e-commerce film social media Startups technology

Digital snippets: Wren, Gucci, John Lewis, Lord & Taylor, Kenneth Cole, Sephora

A bit of a catch-up post today in light of several weeks of travel… here then all the latest stories to know about surrounding fashion and tech from the past fortnight or so:

 

  • “First Kiss” film (as above) goes viral with 63 million views – is ad for clothing label Wren [NY Times]
  • Gucci launches own Spotify music hub to promote short film ‘The Fringe’ [The Drum]
  • John Lewis looks to digital innovation as next big thing in retail with ‘JLab incubator’ [The Guardian]
  • Lord & Taylor now accepting bitcoin [CNBC]
  • Kenneth Cole challenges consumers to do good deeds and prove it via Google Glass [Creativity]
  • Sephora launches ‘Beauty Board’ social shopping platform [USA Today]
  • Bergdorf Goodman makes Instagram shots shoppable at SXSW with 52Grams [5th/58th]
  • Dolce & Gabbana crafts love story around perfume to appeal to consumer emotion [Luxury Daily
  • adidas launches gaming platform powered by social media starring Lionel Messi [Marketing Magazine]
  • Can Instagram save ageing teen retailer Aeropostale? [CNBC]
  • Which big brands are courting the maker movement, and why – from Levi’s to Home Depot  [AdWeek]
  • How beacon technology could change the way we shop [Fashionista]
  • On Instagram, a bazaar where you least expect it [Bits blog]
  • What Google’s wearable tech platform could mean for the fashion industry [Fashionista]
  • Smartphone payment system to be unveiled in UK [FT]
  • Alibaba ramping up efforts to sell US brands in China [WSJ]
  • What does WeChat’s new e-credit card mean for luxury? [JingDaily]
  • Op-Ed | Are camera phones killing fashion? [BoF]
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technology

More detail on what the Opening Ceremony x Intel smart bracelet may look like

OpeningCeremony_YokoOno

While the exact details of Intel’s new smart bracelet, created in partnership with Opening Ceremony and carried by Barneys New York, are yet to be determined, a few hints were revealed during CES as to what it might be like.

Speaking at a press conference during the Vegas show, Susan Barber, art director at Opening Ceremony, said: “We want to emphasise the tech aspects of the bracelet but so that it doesn’t feel like hardware. It has to be something we’ll be excited to wear [ourselves].”

This fits in with a broader theme at CES this week for more appealing design in the wearables space. Speaking on a separate occasion, Mike Bell, VP and GM of Intel’s New Devices Group, said: “If we want the premise of wearable technology to come forward we really have to think about going back to the drawing board with the hardware, moving beyond the idea of a square block on your wrist.”

While Intel reportedly has a rough prototype already developed, Opening Ceremony will have full input on both the functionality and the design to go to market with. Barber said work is yet to truly start on it, but ideas are percolating.

The team will be looking to both the past and the future for inspiration, she revealed. The aesthetic for instance will be informed by other partnerships the company has been involved in, including a project with Yoko Ono based on a series of her drawings titled ‘Fashions for Men” from 1969 (as featured above).

The recent capsule collection Opening Ceremony created for Spike Jonze’s new film, Her (as featured below), will also serve as inspiration. Said Barber: “This product is supposed to make your life more seamless and more effortless, and be beautiful at the same time. If technology and design are totally separate you don’t get to bridge that gap.”

Matthew Woolsey, SVP digital at Barneys, agreed: “A lot of functionality is very appealing, but the design elements are going to be paramount in terms of how our customer engages with it. The product needs to stand on its own, and the Opening Ceremony creative vision will be incredibly important to making that happen.”

As for who it’s aimed at, Barber said they are exploring all options at the moment, but are unlikely to make it gender specific. “It certainly won’t be pink or purple,” she said, mocking the stereotyped approach the technology industry often has to appealing to women. The goal with the device is also to speak to a broad generational audience. It is expected to hit in the autumn.

OpeningCeremony_SpikeJonze3 OpeningCeremony_SpikeJonze1OpeningCeremony_SpikeJonze2

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technology

Wearables key message at CES, Intel leads fashion charge

Intel_wearables_OpeningCeremony_Barneys

If there’s one key theme at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, it’s wearables. Smart watches, fitness wristbands, earbuds, the works. Functionality is being heavily discussed, but even more so is design. The tech industry, it seems, has finally figured out that aesthetics are what’s going to make the difference when it comes to something people actually want to wear if we want to move this sector forward. An obvious statement to those of us in the fashion industry, but arguably not something anyone has yet done something about.

Enter Intel, who is aiming to change all of that, and with any luck in a beautiful way. It’s launching a smart bracelet later this year in partnership with Opening Ceremony and carried by Barneys New York.

Rather than “fashion” being an afterthought, as is more common with technology partnerships – a bit of branding slapped on, or some neat product placement during fashion week – Opening Ceremony will play an integral part in what the item looks like as well as how it functions using Intel’s tech.

“Our shared vision is to accelerate wearable technology innovation and create products that both enhance peoples’ lives and are desirable to wear,” said Ayse Ildeniz, vice president of business development and strategy at Intel’s New Devices Group. Speaking at the press conference today, she added: “The smart wearables we see on the market today are very much led by technology companies. But what we wear are personal things, reflections of ourselves and we often get emotionally connected to them. The fashion industry must therefore be in the driving seat. Without the aesthetics and the design, wearables are not going to become a big thing.”

Daniella Vitale, COO of Barneys New York agrees: “One of the greatest opportunities for wearable technology as a concept to be successful is fairly simple – to design a beautiful accessory that our customers would desire.”

Intel’s initiative will not be exclusive with Opening Ceremony and Barneys, suggesting further brands are being approached. The CFDA is accordingly also involved, having entered into a strategic collaboration with Intel to create a community for technology developers and fashion designers to network, match-make, cultivate and exchange ideas on wearable technology.

Interestingly Ildeniz said the most important thing for all those involved was to be humble. Once the egos go out the room, there’s a good chance technology and fashion can work pretty well together, she suggested.