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What you missed: Shopping on Instagram, the mobile web, Silicon Valley’s top retail VC

Shopping Instagram
Shopping is coming to Instagram

The big story on the web this week was of course about shopping coming to Instagram, but backing that idea even further comes the fact mobile browsing overtook desktop for the first time. That’s a huge deal for retailers.

Meanwhile also worth catching up on is an in-depth view on how Nike embraced sustainability, an exploration of what Gen Z and Millennials love and hate about social media, and an update on wearables from the world of Will.i.am. Don’t forget to also sign up for our Snapchat Masterclass taking place on November 22.


TOP STORIES
  • Shopping is coming to Instagram [WWD]
  • Mobile web browsing overtakes desktop for the first time [Guardian]
  • How Forerunner Ventures’ Kirsten Green crashed Silicon Valley’s boys’ club to become retail’s top VC [Forbes]
  • The downward spiral: Why Everlane, Mizzen+Main, and Lululemon don’t discount[LeanLuxe]
  • How mass retailers are traversing ‘big transparency’ [Glossy]

BUSINESS
  • Hermès joins luxury-goods makers reporting Chinese recovery [Bloomberg]
  • Bain: Chinese shoppers’ share of global luxury purchases drops to 30% [Jing Daily]
  • Karlie Kloss and David Lauren talk innovation [BoF]
  • Are the Black Friday sales worth it and are the deals real or a con? [The Telegraph]

SUSTAINABILITY
  • Just fix it: how Nike learned to embrace sustainability [BoF]
  • Kering launches free environmental calculator for fashion designers [Ecouterre]
  • One chart shows how fast fashion is reshaping the global apparel industry [Quartz]

SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Everlane tests social shopping on Snapchat with Sweet [Glossy]
  • Here’s what Gen Z and Millennials love and hate about Instagram and Snapchat [AdWeek]
  • Facebook’s WhatsApp is testing a feature like Snapchat Stories [Digital Trends]
  • Twitter takes on Facebook as it rolls out customer service chatbots within direct messages [The Drum]
  • YouTube is helping to sell a lot of make-up [Bloomberg]
  • Facebook shares Snapchat attack plan, including a new camera [AdAge]

ADVERTISING
  • Reformation’s founder on its ‘stigma-breaking’ new campaign starring trans model Andreja Pejic [Yahoo]
  • Miss Piggy stars in Kate Spade holiday ad campaign and collection [WWD]
  • Nordstrom gets in festive spirit with customer appreciation campaign [Luxury Daily]
  • H&M replace David Beckham with younger model The Weeknd after five years [International Business Times]
  • Harvey Nichols keeps up irreverent advertising tradition with “Britalia” [The Industry]

RETAIL
  • Simon Malls preps for holiday rush with interactive wayfinding directories [Luxury Daily]
  • John Lewis signs up to click and collect joint venture with Clipper Logistics [Internet Retailing]

TECHNOLOGY
  • Will.i.am moves wearables off the wrist with the help of Kendall Jenner and Apple [NY Times]
  • L’Oréal is using virtual reality to expand the “Matrix Academy” [Fast Company]

START-UPS
  • Introducing Floravere, the first direct-to-consumer, made-to-order wedding dress brand [Fashionista]

UPCOMING EVENTS
Categories
Editor's pick sustainability technology

Tech-enabled jacket from Will.i.am’s Ekocycle and Ada+Nik documents your life through daily photos

adanik_narrative

The latest designer product from Will.i.am’s and Coca-Cola’s recycling-focused brand Ekocycle, is a jacket featuring a camera on the left-hand breast that takes photos as you go about daily life.

The Narrative Jacket, as it’s called, was designed by London-based, emerging menswear brand Ada + Nik. Stocked in Harrods, it is created from a hybrid of Italian lamb nappa leather and a subtle herringbone pattern made from recycled PET (or 15 plastic bottles). It retails for £800 ($1150). “Narrative” refers to the company that supplies the discreet camera on the front. It takes two photos every minute until it hits its 8,000-picture capacity, or you switch it off. You can then share images from an accompanying app.

Creepy connotations aside, the aim is to help consumers document their daily activity without losing the enjoyment of the actual experience. Head over to Forbes to read my full interview with Nik Thakkar from Ada + Nik.

Categories
Editor's pick technology

Will.i.am enlists Zaha Hadid in design collaboration for new wrist wearable

Zaha-and-William-wired-Michael-Newington-Gray
Zaha Hadid and Will.i.am on stage at Wired 2014, picture by Michael Newington Gray via Wired.co.uk

Fashion and technology – two unlikely bedfellows that have been gaining increasing column inches of late thanks to the rise of branded wearables. So far, however, the results have been relatively unsuccessful from a style perspective at least.

The problem, says musician and entrepreneur Will.i.am, is that devices are being made and the “fashion” is being sprinkled on top, rather than fashion being made and technology placed inside it.

Speaking at the Wired conference in London today, he said the industry needs to think from the angle of what a fashion house would do. “Let’s not think what a technological company would do, let’s bake technology in, but come from the perspective of a fashion house. What would Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent do? What would Chanel do? What type of product would they put technology in to?”

Accordingly, he released his own ‘smart cuff’ called the Puls at Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco earlier this week.

Puls by Zaha Hadid
One of Zaha Hadid’s designs for Will.i.am’s smart cuff, Puls

Created by a 60+ strong team at his company i.am+, this is a standalone connected smartphone on a wristband. It makes phone calls (from its own SIM card), sends emails and SMS, connects to social platforms, streams your music, has in-built GPS and a Siri-like voice-controlled assistant called Aneeda.

Better yet, it also comes with a serious fashion focus thanks to the announcement today of a collaboration with architect and designer Zaha Hadid.

While Will.i.am’s original design is a sleek thick cuff available in a variety of colourways, Hadid brings what looks like five more intricate styles to the table, each of them almost masking the original curved shape beneath.

See the full story and more pics of the designs via Forbes.com

Categories
social media

Former Topshop, Burberry exec launches Tunepics – an image-based music sharing app

Tunepics on the iPhone

Will.i.am, Kate Bosworth and Jamie Oliver are among some of the first celebrity names to be using a new music discovery app called Tunepics, while brands including Paul Smith, Chloé and asos are also on board.

Ever wanted to share a song with your photograph to help sum up the mood of the scene more than a filter alone can do? Now you can. Tunepics – launched in the app store for the iPhone and iPad today – enables users to pair images with relevant songs thanks to the iTunes API.

“Over 500 million pictures are uploaded to the internet every day, and over 100 million songs are downloaded each week. Together, that’s dynamite,” says the brains behind the new social network, Justin Cooke, former CMO of Topshop, now founder and CEO of innovate7. His aim is to help create the “soundtrack to your life”.

The experience is an intuitive one: you upload an image, place a filter over the top, then search the 35 million songs in the iTunes library by keyword to add them to your shot. The result appears in a feed alongside those from the friends you opt to follow; each one auto-playing a 30-second preview of the track as you scroll over it, as well as offering a ‘download’ button to buy the full version.

Posts can also be ‘re-tuned’ to your own followers, and shared via Facebook and Twitter where they will appear as a ‘tunecard’. For the likes of Will.i.am, that of course makes the app an appealing proposition for its potential to help drive record sales. It also provides a revenue stream for innovate7 through affiliate sales from iTunes (there’s no advertising model planned on the platform for now otherwise).

Cooke is particularly excited for the opportunity that lies in music discovery, both for consumers using the app and for young, emerging talent to start gaining recognition in a new way. On that basis, it launches with a specially commissioned soundtrack from British band, Ellerby, called Colour Me In.

But the premise of the app, which was built by agency AKQA, otherwise goes further than just being about music sharing and discovery. The aim is to provide multisensory experiences that evoke an emotional response.

“When you hear a picture, it changes everything; it awakens your senses. We want [Tunepics] to be like a cinematic celebration of your life,” said Cooke. “Music is the most powerful way to express the things we see and feel; nothing else comes close.”

To that end, the emotional response that posts receive from followers is also fully visible. Each is accompanied by an ‘emotion wheel’ (the design of which also makes up the app’s logo). This features a spectrum of 16 colours users can choose from, representing different feelings such as happy, moved, jealous and heartbroken.

Said Cooke: “A like doesn’t tell a story on its own anymore. When [Nelson] Mandela passed away, we didn’t want to say that we liked it, but that it moved us. This is all about enabling an emotional experience.”

Which is why this app also makes sense, from the off, for brands. Beyond the initial celebrity appeal, there are also the likes of Paul Smith, All Saints, asos, Dazed and Airbnb already on board.

The expectation is that embedding music into their social content will help heighten the moments they want to talk about. An example post from Paul Smith featured a collection of paint pots and the Rolling Stones track Paint it Black. “His response was that he couldn’t imagine life without music. That’s so powerful, and so true,” Cooke explained. In fact, a similar quote from philosopher Nietzsche features on the Tunepics introductory video from the innovate7 team: “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

Clare Waight Keller, creative director of Chloé, said the choice to join Tunepics from day one was an instant decision after a two minute pitch. “I just loved the added layers of emotion, simply adding music to an image really brings it to life. It’s like a way to capture what was going through your head in that moment.”

She also appreciates the emotion wheel. “[It] will be really interesting. ‘Likes’ have almost become empty gestures now, it takes no real thought to ‘like’ a picture. But to take the time to select the feeling the image inspired in you, shows real engagement. It’s a great way for Chloé to connect with our audience,” she explained.

Brands will also begin to benefit from the data said emotion wheel collates. Mood charts are displayed beneath each tunepic showcasing people’s responses, which suggests valuable consumer insights could be gleaned should the numbers creep high enough. Unlike Instagram, it is also possible to add hyperlinks to every post, which will prove quite the draw for the likes of Paul Smith again, and all those others with e-commerce capabilities.

It may come as no surprise to learn that prior to his role at Topshop, Cooke spent six years helping to lead the charge at Burberry – a brand not only with a longstanding music initiative in Burberry Acoustic, but with an unquestionable focus on emotive content tied to measurable business results.

Topping it all off is the fact those aforementioned filters are based on the weather – another theme familiar to Burberry fans. Every photograph uploaded can be enhanced with true-to-life overlays of the snow, raindrops, sunshine or even a rainbow.

“I’ve always had a fascination with music, colour, images and the weather, and how they influence our mood and emotions. I want people to be able to share the depth behind the moments they experience and to articulate all the ones that they dream of having,” Cooke explained.