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What you missed: Google’s fashion week plans, opens, Tom Ford’s second movie

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Tommy Hilfiger’s carnival plans at New York Fashion Week

A few days before New York Fashion Week begins and needless to say much of the focus is on those plans – from Tommy Hilfiger’s carnival to Misha Nonoo’s Snapchat show, not to mention an update on Google that will see fashion brands curating what their search results look like pertaining to the new season.

Also hitting the headlines over the past week has been everything from M&S cutting head office jobs, Smashbox’s virtual reality campaign and our interview with Westfield’s Lindsey Thomas. Don’t forget to check out our full list of upcoming events at the bottom too…

  • This fashion week, Google gets a new look [NY Times]
  • Condé Nast’s is now open for business [The Industry]
  • Tom Ford makes comeback at Venice festival with his second movie [Reuters]
  • H&M open entries for 2nd annual innovation grant [Fashionista]

  • Marks & Spencer looks to cut up to 500 jobs at London head office [The Guardian]
  • How online fashion companies use data to enhance sales [Fashion United]
  • The Blonde Salad ups the ante [BoF]

  • Innovating on Snapchat: Misha Nonoo, Ann Taylor Loft and River Island [F&M]

  • How the founder of Farfetch is politely reinventing the boutique for the digital age [The Telegraph]
  • One year on: How Westfield Bespoke, the retail tech space piloted in San Francisco, is winning [Forbes]

  • Smashbox goes behind the scenes of a photo shoot in its foray into VR [AdWeek]
  • Here’s how shoppable video will (finally) work [Venture Beat]

  • In-depth with Modern Meadow: the start-up bioengineering leather in a lab [Forbes]

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One year on: How Westfield Bespoke, the retail tech space piloted in San Francisco, is winning

Westfield Bespoke
Westfield Bespoke

100,000: that’s the number of additional customers Westfield Bespoke is estimated to have brought in to the Westfield San Francisco Centre since it opened last year. In the grand scheme of the millions of shoppers who visit the mall annually otherwise, that’s may not seem too much – but this was initially a mere experiment by the company.

Bespoke is a community based on those exploring how shopping evolves at the hands of technology. Situated on the fourth floor of the centre, it offers a trifecta of co-working space for retail tech start-ups, event space for numerous partners to use, and demo space to make testing of retail formats and new tech all the more possible with real world consumers.

It not only helps brings in extra traffic, therefore, but more importantly enables the company to better understand the technologies its retailers needs to be aware of in the future. Indeed the Westfield Corporation has shifted from landlord to broad retail partner. It now goes above and beyond offering tenancy agreements, to helping shape more successful commercial businesses with those it houses in its malls worldwide.

Head over to Forbes to read the full interview with Lindsey Thomas, VP of marketing and communications at Westfield Labs, the group’s digital lab under which Bespoke falls. She uncovers more about the past year, how the new space is evolving and the plans to work with additional start-ups under its Connected Commerce Accelerator in collaboration with R/GA Ventures.

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R/GA teams with Westfield Labs for new connected commerce accelerator


The initiative is looking for applicants that can impact connected commerce, redefine the mall or in-store experience, or enhance a consumer’s engagement with brands at any stage of the transaction process. It will run with other program partners including Macy’s, Shopify Plus, Bank of America Merchant Services and Verizon.

“Access to these diverse commerce leaders will provide unparalleled opportunities for start-ups seeking to create innovative experiences and technologies at the intersection of digital and physical commerce,” reads the write-up.

Those participating will also have the opportunity to join roundtable discussions on innovation and forward-looking research with the program partners as well as third-party experts from around the globe. The aim of doing so is to inspire and inform as well as help identify potential market opportunities for the program start-ups.

“At Westfield Labs we are committed to building digital experiences that connect consumers with our retail partners,” said Kevin McKenzie, global chief digital officer at Westfield Corp. “Our team is thrilled to collaborate with top ranked agency R/GA and world-class retail partners to evangelize and promote talent and innovation in the commerce space.”

“R/GA is honored to work with partners who are leading the discussion about the future of commerce,” added Stephen Plumlee, global chief operating officer of R/GA and managing partner of R/GA Ventures, which is the division behind the R/GA Connected Commerce Accelerator. “We look forward to bringing the unique value of our award-winning global talent pool and client relationships to this program. Our model has proven that it creates incremental long-term value for founders, investors, and our program partners.”

The program is looking for start-ups focused on in-store experiences, mobile commerce, payments, merchandising, customer service, analytics, CRM and loyalty, conversational and social commerce, blockchain, POS, delivery and distribution, VR/AR commerce experiences, inventory and workforce management, and more.

Up to 10 start-ups will be selected to participate in the program, which will take place in San Francisco starting on August 1, 2016. The program will conclude in late October with an invite-only Demo Day at which each start-up will have the opportunity to present to investors and industry leaders from across the retail, e-commerce, and technology industries. Applications are open worldwide until May 23, 2016.