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7 ways fashion brands are harnessing hologram technology

We all remember the vision of Tupac being brought back to life by hologram technology during Coachella in 2012. 

Divided though opinion was, the interesting fact lay in the advance of the tech itself. Today, it is entirely possible for life-like constructs to be achieved in 3D so as to be visible to the naked eye. And more to the point, increasingly in a cost-effective way too. 

Today, it is estimated that the holography market will be worth $5.5 billion by 2020.

Fashion is one industry that has been experimenting in this space for some time, using holograms as both elaborate marketing techniques, as well as more immersive in-store opportunities aiming to drive brand engagement. 

Here are seven of the most interesting examples we’ve seen released over the years…

Alexander McQueen
Kate Moss hologram

In 2006, Kate Moss became the first human hologram to be featured as a part of a major fashion show. Alexander McQueen presented the 3D rendering of the supermodel as the finale of his ‘Windows of Culloden’ show in Paris. The hologram of Moss in a flowing white gown appeared out of nowhere to the audience from inside an empty glass pyramid following an elaborate puff of white smoke. The model danced for a few seconds before shrinking and dematerializing.

This iconic hologram, designed by video maker Baillie Walsh and directed by Lee McQueen himself, has become an iconic moment in fashion history and as such even saw revivals in 2011 and 2015 at the Savage Beauty Exhibits, dedicated to McQueen, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London respectively.

Diesel
Diesel SS08

In 2007, contemporary denim brand Diesel took the concept one step further from McQueen’s show the previous year by creating the biggest holographic fashion show to date for its Summer 2008 collection in Florence. The ‘Liquid Space’ show incorporated holograms that were created using the Pepper’s Ghost effect, an optical illusion that uses angled glass and hidden spaces, the technology for which was provided by tech specialist company Vizoo.

The campaign centred around marine creatures in space and used hologram technology to merge 2D projections of a high definition multi-screen video of the creatures with the real life models. The video images? were projected onto multiple transparent screens while careful lighting illuminated the catwalk with little or no scatter on the holographic screens. The virtual and real life elements on the catwalk consequently appeared as one to the audience.

Pinar&Viola
Pinar & Viola hologram

Dutch artists Pinar&Viola also used hologram technology to project an entirely virtual fashion line onto real life models in 2016 at their Amsterdam Fashion Week show. The occasion was designed to prompt emotions about clothing and encourage consumers to reconsider their rate of consumption in order to reduce wasted resources. The show was created in collaboration with AMFI student Amber Slooten and inspired by the mixed reality concepts of companies like Magic Leap and Microsoft’s HoloLens. Its aim was to explore how a future of holographic garments might work. 

The technology also allowed each piece of clothing to be animated through the allocation of characteristics such as eyes and mouths to further emphasize the conscious theme and help viewers to greater connect with the clothes despite them being inanimate.

Ralph Lauren
Holographic Ralph Lauren

The 2018 GQ Men of the Year Awards saw another first on the holographic medium front as pioneering designer Ralph Lauren beamed in via the medium to accept his ‘Design Lead of the Year’ award. The innovative concept was also created in celebration of the brand’s 50th anniversary. The realistic installation was created by Cinimod Holograms and used a staged box located away from the stage to create the theatre. The concept enabled the real life presenter at the awards to stand alongside and interact with Ralph’s hologram in a highly realistic and entertaining way for the audience.

This spectacle followed a series of other hologram integrations by the brand in previous years, including holographic window displays of sparring boxers in its Fifth Avenue flagship in New York in 2017 to promote the release of the new Polo Sport line, and the virtual spring 2015 Polo Womenswear show back in 2014  in Central Park.

Nicholas Kirkwood
CyFi walking at the Nicholas Kirkwood show

Footwear designer Nicholas Kirkwood is another that has utilized holograms by incorporating them in his inaugural London Fashion Week show in September 2018. Current Global worked with the brand to strategize the theme of the show, enhancing its cyber-reality theme by showcasing innovative visual technologies and integrating the experience of “white-hat” hackers in the presentation.

The result also saw a number of 3D hologram displays integrated throughout the show venue in order to enhance its underlying message of non-conformity. Created by tech company, Hologrm, they presented an animated 3D version of the collection’s main boot with neon detailing.

Wrangler
Wrangler’s immersive pop-up

US denim brand Wrangler also recently got on board with holograms, marking its Wrangler Icons launch with a 360-degree immersive pop-up experience that incorporated musicians and actors as well as numerous uses of the technology. The London experience paid homage to the brand’s musical heritage and iconic star-studded clientele from across the years. 

A continuous hologram feature was used to modernize the initiative, as well as helping to link the music theme back to the brand’s western image. A small black room at the back of the space appeared at first glance to house just drums and speakers however, broadcasted on top of the various instruments were holograms of dancing Wrangler cowboys wearing jeans and cowboy hats. The futuristic projections ran on a loop throughout the duration of the event.

Cartier
Cartier holographic watch

Of all of the fashion brands that have used holography over the years, luxury jeweller Cartier has perhaps one of the longest standing relationships with the technology. Back in 1972 the brand generated a lot of attention through its projection of a diamond bracelet dangling from an elegant wrist onto the Fifth Avenue pavement from its store window, which aimed to entice customers in. The piece, which was created by artist Robert Schinella, elicited so many enquiries that it was later revived again in 1979.

Cartier has also harnessed other forms of holograms as the technology has developed over the years, including a virtual craftsman working at a physical station at the Tokyo National Museum’s Cartier Exhibition in 2009, and a store windows campaign in 2015 where a hologram story mapped onto a physical watch face showing the inner workings and intricate parts involved in a watch.

How are you thinking about new technology? 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. Each of the rules referenced above is matched by one of our products and services. Interested in how? Get in touch to learn more.

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Campaigns mobile product social media

Wrangler activates scannable denim in ‘Old Town Road’ tie-up

Scanning a pair of Wrangler jeans will now unlock exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from the hit single of the year, the hip-hop-country crossover “Old Town Road”, featuring Billy Ray Cyrus and rapper Lil Nas X.

The brand created a web app called WranglerOnMyBooty.com, which invites users to take a picture of the back pocket of their jeans to activate the experience. Doing so allows them to not only see the footage from the five-minute music video, but also the option to shop the exclusive capsule collection of the collab with Lil Nas X.

Fans are encouraged to share their Wrangler selfie on social media using the hashtag #WranglerOnMyBooty. That line comes from the lyrics “Cowboy hat from Gucci, Wrangler on my booty” in the song.

“As an iconic brand in fashion, we have shown up in music, film and popular culture for decades, but this is the first time our jeans are actually the key to unlocking a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a chart-topping hit,” said Jenni Broyles, VP/GM of Wrangler North America. “We’re incredibly excited about the success of ‘Old Town Road’ and our partnership with Lil Nas X. It is another great example of the power music – and in our case, fashion – has to unite and inspire us all.”

The partnership and the mobile interactive function came after the single reached Number One in the United States for five weeks straight, gaining momentum on social media.

“The phenomenon surrounding the track has broken boundaries and allows for a brand like Wrangler to hone in on its Western DNA while tapping into current culture,” said Jennifer Frommer, SVP of brand partnerships at Columbia Records.

How are you thinking about innovation? We’re all about finding you the perfect partners to do so. Current Global 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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Editor's pick product sustainability

Wrangler is erasing 99% of water from denim dyeing with new foam process

Wrangler adopts foam dyeing
Wrangler

Classic American jeans manufacturer Wrangler has become the first brand to adopt ‘Dry Indigo’; a new foam-dyeing process that eliminates 99% of the water typically used in dyeing its jeans.

In 2019, the brand will launch a full line of jeans dyed with the new technique to showcase the evolution of sustainable denim.

“Foam technology reduces water consumption and pollution further upstream, helping our fabric suppliers to dramatically minimize the impacts of making denim fabric blue,” said Wrangler president, Tom Waldron.

This evolved manufactured process is just one of the ways Wrangler is working to approach their broader goal to reduce water usage by five billion liters by 2020. The company has already recycled 3 billion liters of water over the past 10 years.

Considering, a single pair of jeans today takes more than 1,000 gallons to be produced, this innovation is another significant step forward.

Tejidos Royo, a Spanish fabric mill with a reputation for prioritizing environmental performance, is set to receive the new equipment this October, pioneering the foam-dye process. “Our Dry Indigo process nearly erases the environmental impact of denim dyeing and represents the next generation of denim production,” said its sales director, Jose Royo.

Sustainability is becoming ever more of a factor for consumer purchase decisions. In 2017, 33% of consumers are choosing to buy from brands they believe are doing social or environmental good, according to data from Accenture. The study also says that 21% of consumers would actively choose brands if they made their sustainability credentials more clear on packaging and in marketing – representing €966bn worth of untapped opportunity for brands.

How are you thinking about textile innovation and sustainability? We’re all about helping you build strategic integrations. TheCurrent is a consultancy transforming how fashion, beauty and consumer retail brands intersect with technology, powered by a network of top startups. Get in touch to learn more.

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business data digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Inside Magic Leap, no one buys through Alexa, Supreme’s covetable newspaper ad

Magic Leap
Magic Leap

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

TOP STORIES
  • Inside Magic Leap’s quest to remake itself as an ordinary company (with a real product) [Wired]
  • Surprise, no one buys things via Alexa [TechCrunch]
  • New York Post Supreme ad turns tabloid into impossible to find commodity [NY Times]
  • Adidas has a clever plan for staying relevant: withholding its biggest hits [QZ]
  • Toward a different language of size [NY Times]
TECHNOLOGY
  • How fashion retailer H&M is betting on artificial intelligence and big data to regain profitability [Forbes]
  • Wayfair unleashes mixed-reality shopping [RetailDive]
  • Starbucks may let customers pay with bitcoin [CNN]
  • Red Bull, Swarovski test Kik’s cryptocurrency rewards app [MobileMarketer]
SUSTAINABILITY & PURPOSE
  • Could rental fashion help us become more sustainable? [Harper’s Bazaar]
  • Walmart tried to make sustainability affordable. Here’s what happened [QZ]
  • Esprit and IndustriALL collaborate to improve workers’ rights [FashionUnited]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • Online retailers are using empty mall spaces to test products [Digiday]
  • Are retail stores now museums too? New beauty shop charges you to enter [Observer]
  • 9 tips for mastering the in-store experience [BoF]
  • Most consumers abandon online shopping carts due to lengthy checkouts [WWD]
  • Casper to open 200 stores across North America [RetailDive]
  • Levi’s unveils Project F.L.X. customization studio in Downtown LA [WWD]
  • Why isn’t Zara on every street corner? [Forbes]
  • Debenhams begins roll-out of in-store gyms [TheIndustry]
  • Store, café or art gallery? The rise and rise of the concept store [FashionUnited]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • L’Oréal brings AR makeup sampling to Facebook [MobileMarketer]
  • How the #VanLife movement is influencing car design [FastCompany]
  • ‘Stories’ was Instagram’s smartest move yet [Recode]
  • Snapchat expands Shoppable AR to its top creators [Digiday]
  • How Poshmark’s sellers made $1B off the ‘social mall’ [RetailDive]
  • You are not original or creative on Instagram [QZ]
PRODUCT
  • Walmart is reportedly launching an Everlane-like clothing brand [QZ]
  • Vans aims to inspire and educate with its Van Gogh museum collection [AdWeek]
  • Are fashion brands pivoting to focus on cosmetics and fragrance? [Fashionista]
  • Amphibio is a 3D-printed shirt that lets you breathe underwater [FastCompany]
BUSINESS
  • Wrangler owner VF plans to spin off jeans business [WSJ]
  • How Benefit Cosmetics stays young [BoF]
  • Is Burberry’s simple new logo catnip to copycats? [Jing Daily]
  • Black designers have to work twice as hard – & are still ‘emerging’ [Refinery29]
CULTURE
  • Community, the missing ingredient in luxury’s streetwear pivot [BoF]
  • Bad taste is the best thing to happen to fashion [Vogue]
  • Black women are dominating the September issues [Evening Standard]

 

How are you thinking about 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.

Categories
business data digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Inside Target’s test store, algorithms threatening jobs, L’Occitane’s AI personalization

Target
Target

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

TOP STORIES
  • Inside Target’s top secret test store [Co.Design]
  • How algorithms are threatening fashion’s white-collar jobs [BoF]
  • L’Occitane boosts mobile conversions by 159% with AI-powered personalization [Mobile Marketing]
TECHNOLOGY
  • What blockchain can’t do [HBR]
  • Think you know how disruptive artificial intelligence is? Think again [Forbes]
  • Top Japan fashion site bets big on custom-fit fast fashion [BoF]
  • Baidu’s self-driving buses will hit Japan’s streets next year [TNW]
  • How SK-II disrupted the beauty industry in Japan with emerging technology [TheDrum]
  • Watch MIT’s blind robot run, jump, and climb stairs [TNW]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Factory Tour: Eileen Fisher helps make the eco-fashion dream of circularity come true [Fashionista]
  • Wrangler and MyFarms talk ‘field-level’ sustainability in new report [WWD]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • 27% of apparel sales are now online [RetailDive]
  • Why virtual reality won’t revolutionize retail, but scan-and-go will [RetailDive]
  • Sophia Webster puts her spin on experiential retail with second London boutique [WWD]
  • Reporter’s notebook: A quest for experiential retail [RetailDive]
  • Walmart.com launches 3-D virtual reality tour [WWD]
  • Amazon claims it doesn’t want to take on UPS and FedEx. So why is it introducing tons of its own Amazon delivery vans? [Recode]
  • Samsung brand experience opens its doors in the heart of Paris [BrandChannel]
  • Kirsten Green’s survival guide for the ‘retail reckoning’ [BoF]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Inside Instagram’s social shopping masterclass [BoF]
  • Hilfiger’s next TommyNow runway show to touch down in Shanghai [WWD]
  • Are influencers really worth the money? [BoF]
  • Roger Federer signs $300 million sponsorship deal with Uniqlo [BoF]
PRODUCT
  • These people with disabilities have ideas for making shopping more accessible [TeenVogue]
  • Tiffany & Co. will now let you personalize with custom symbols and monograms [Town & Country]
  • What FDA approval of CBD could mean for the beauty industry [Racked]
  • Walmart pulls “Impeach 45” t-shirts after Trump supporters threaten boycott [FastCompany]
BUSINESS
  • Paris Fashion Week’s front rows speak to fashion’s complicated stance on #MeToo [TheFashionLaw]
  • Chanel’s digital strategy takes shape amid executive shuffle [BoF]
  • Subscription box market fights fatigue [AdAge]
  • How Revolve has built a billion-dollar fashion company for millennial women [Inc]
  • Fans of ModCloth and Bonobos were aghast when Walmart bought the brands. But they’re still shopping [Quartzy]
Categories
digital snippets e-commerce product Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Facebook in crisis, AR unboxing from Adidas, ASOS’ new online sizing feature

Facebook

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

TOP STORIES
  • What the Facebook crisis means for fashion advertisers [BoF]
  • With virtual ‘unboxing’ site, Adidas Originals looks to shake up sneaker drops [Glossy]
  • ASOS’s new sizing feature just made shopping a whole lot better [Refinery29]
  • Everlane’s five tactics for winning at physical retail [BoF]
TECHNOLOGY
  • eBay uses augmented reality to help sellers find the right box for their product [VentureBeat]
  • Blockchains could upend the fashion business [BoF]
  • Google’s new experiment lets you tag digital graffiti in the real world [Co.Design]
SUSTAINABILITY
  • Wrangler’s suppliers to adopt new water-saving technology [WWD]
  • How fashion and beauty people really feel about packaging waste [Fashionista]
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch isn’t what you think it is [NatGeo]
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • The rise of experiential commerce [TechCrunch]
  • How 3 growing niche brands are simplifying e-commerce [AdWeek]
  • John Lewis offers in-app personal stylists and H&M a nailbar as part of a move to ‘experiential retail’ [InternetRetailer]
  • Walmart’s e-commerce CEO explains why its many acquisitions will help it reach millennials [AdWeek]
  • Starbucks launches ‘Tryer’ location to encourage new ideas [RetailDive]
  • Depop marketplace headed to physical retail in LA, NY [WWD]
  • India’s e-commerce market is exploding—and how [QZ]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Glossier’s customer obsession is about stirring up conversation [RetailDive]
  • Winona Ryder and Elizabeth Olsen dance in the streets of Buenos Aires in latest H&M ad [Campaign]
  • Pinterest thinks the future lies in visual discovery—and wants retailers to take notice [AdWeek]
  • Snapchat is doling out free stats to brands on how many users visit their locations [AdWeek]
PRODUCT
  • Zips. Toggles. Pumps. The end of shoelaces? [BoF]
BUSINESS
  • Is dry cleaning dying? [Racked]
  • Louis Vuitton names Virgil Abloh as its new menswear designer [BoF]
  • Kim Jones appointed artistic director at Dior Homme [TheIndustry]
  • Zalando entering the beauty market both off and online [WWD]
  • Rent the Runway’s “wardrobe in the cloud” is opening up to other clothing brands [FastCompany]
Categories
Editor's pick Events technology

Sitting at the edge of culture: How SXSW has moved from tech to brand playground

Viceland's baby goats at SXSW
Viceland’s baby goats at SXSW

How do we know when we have hit peak SXSW? Was it the year grumpy cat stole all the headlines? Was it the hotel-sized vending machine from Doritos? Was it when homeless people were rather uncouthly set up as wifi transmitters?

Or will we look back and think about when baby goats grabbed our attention in 2018? With a solid dose of irony, Viceland went above and beyond to get people to pay its parking lot spot a visit this year, with a pit full of real-life “kids” available for petting. How else are you going to spend your time in between hopping from keynote sessions to tacos and barbecue. after all?

Jokes aside, that move represents quite a significant shift that’s happened over the past five-plus years at the Austin-based festival. At one point the Interactive portion of the show, which precedes Music and runs alongside Film, was really about new tech launches – the place to discover the latest startups, and the big event for the likes of Twitter, Foursquare and beyond to get off the ground.

Where once it was really a haven for geeks, and a playground for all things B2B, slowly but steadily it has shifted to become more and more about marketing, and then carried through to be a representation really of broader culture and society.

Let’s not forget how much more pervasive the internet has become in our lives during that time. SXSW Interactive is really about everything cultural because tech infiltrates that in every single way today. In doing so, the festival has therefore simultaneously ended up being phenomenally consumer-facing.

2018 is the perfect culmination of that evolution. On the one hand, the big speakers on stage this year are discussing everything from female empowerment, diversity and transparency, while out and about around the city there’s a mass takeover by fashion brands, not to mention the most impressive activation from entertainment entity Westworld, that has ever been seen at SXSW.

TheCurrent's founder, Liz Bacelar, "wanted" at the Westworld SXSW experience
TheCurrent’s founder, Liz Bacelar, “wanted” at the Westworld SXSW experience

The audience mark-up of the event is inevitably behind this shift as well, with that focus on culture driving it. No longer is it just comprised of developers or startup entrepreneurs, but rather a perfect slice of the typical “millennial” target consumer. Is it fully representative of America? Perhaps not. But there is certainly diversity on the ground in many more ways than you would have imagined from a tech conference, and than you would have seen 5-10 years ago.

The big consumer-facing activations used to arrive only for music. Doing them during Interactive isn’t entirely new – Nike, Levi’s, Game of Thrones, even Warby Parker have had a presence in previous years – but 2018 stands out for its pervasiveness.

In terms of hype, the big activation is Westworld, as mentioned. Today, there are people lining up for hours to get a secret shuttle out to Live Without Limits, where HBO has built a replica of the fictional town of Sweetwater to kick off marketing activity around the show’s second season.

Under Armour's Hovr activation at SXSW (Image via AdWeek)
Under Armour’s Hovr activation at SXSW (Image via AdWeek)

Back in downtown, meanwhile, technology isn’t entirely missing from the experiences put together, but a lot of it is on consumer tech for today, rather than tomorrow. Highlights include the Google Assistant house touting the future of voice tech on the one hand, and Under Armour’s push for its latest cushioning technology, Hovr, on the other. The latter was teased as a zero gravity experience, but turned out to be a group of trampolines to take photos on, proving the value of Instagram-worthiness remains (with long lines out the door to back it).

The move to represent the technical ability in product, has also been the case for L’Oréal this week with the launch of its Custom D.O.S.E. skincare line – a technological service that can scan and evaluate an individual consumer’s skin and create tailor made serums as a result.

And tech is a consideration for Outdoor Voices too, with the launch of an augmented reality campaign that encourages SXSW attendees and locals to get outdoors into a park to get access to exclusive product. In addition, Bose has also been thinking about AR, but this time demonstrating a pair of smart glasses that use audio rather than visuals as the overlaid digital information. The result is that you can hear what you see – when you look at a building for instance, it tells you what it is in your ear.

Our friend @jennifer outside the Hermèsmatic store in Austin for SXSW
Our friend @jennifer outside the Hermèsmatic store in Austin for SXSW

Some of the other experiences meanwhile are more traditional in their programming. A line-up of talks, a store and a DJ for happy hour does the job for fashion brand Express, for instance, while the Create & Cultivate pop-up, which is focused on “women to watch” and backed by watch brand Fossil, is not dissimilar.

Laying on top of all that is also some truly lo-fi consumer focus. Wrangler has teamed up with Modcloth to offer denim customization in the latter’s store, for instance. Meanwhile, Hermès is probably the most surprising attendee. The luxury brand has brought Hermèsmatic – a laundromat-inspired customization and repair service – to this year’s festival to offer fans the chance to update their vintage scarves via washing and dip-dying services.

SXSW may not be the place to discover the latest big tech before anyone else anymore, but it is certainly somewhere to come for a jump into how modern culture is evolving at the hands of our connected era, and inspiration around the kind of brand activations targeting tuned-in millennials accordingly.

Categories
Events technology

SXSW 2017 – your guide to the very best of this year’s Interactive content

SXSW 2017
SXSW 2017

For anyone heading to Austin for SXSW Interactive this year, you will no doubt be entering into those few days ahead where you realise not only how much else there’s still to be done at work before you go, but just how little time you’ve had to prep for what’s to come.

Never fear! On the one hand, there’s something incredibly beneficial about the serendipity of going with the flow at this event. Plus the app is pretty spot on for getting you figured out hour by hour. That said, on the other, there’s a need to do several RSVPs to make sure you can get in to the parties you want to etc, and having a rough idea of your itinerary for the week, never harms.

So on that note, here are our highlights for the best of each day, designed specifically with those working in fashion and retail in mind. There’s also a link at the bottom to my full schedule for the week should you wish to see a more detailed, but still filtered version of the programme.

Look forward to seeing lots of you there. Don’t forget, we have #FashMash drinks at 6.30pm on Friday, March 10. If you didn’t get an invite, do drop me a note. Last but not least be sure to check out the survival guide Olly Rzysko of Primark wrote for us last year, complete with insanely relevant Kanye GIFs throughout.


FRIDAY, MARCH 10

Friday is a real ease-in kind of day, with a slow start to allow you to get your badges, and only a handful of highlights throughout the programme. One of the true beauties of SXSW is stepping outside of your usual remit and learning from other worlds, so don’t miss Cory Richards’ keynote at 2pm – a climber and visual storyteller, he was named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year (2012) and a National Geographic Fellow (2015).

Also worth checking out is the 11am session on how tech is shaping the future of entertainment. Pete Cashmore, founder and CEO of Mashable, will sit down with leaders in the entertainment and technology space to discuss how television and film are working hand in hand with Silicon Valley to not only reach consumers in the new ways they’re watching videos, but adjusting their creative process based on new advances in audience data.

On top of that is a session on the dawn of the drones, and how blockchain applies to other industries beyond fintech. If you have time, The Girls’ Lounge is also open from 8am – 6pm and is worth heading over to.


SATURDAY, MARCH 11

Saturday is a real conundrum with multiple incredible sessions all planned at the same time. Here’s where the luck part comes in at SXSW: some of them will be the talk of the week, others will be a total fail, and some you may not even be able to get into (if it’s a popular subject or speaker, be sure to arrive at least 30 mins early). For the 9.30am session for instance, it’s a toss up between learning about where artificial intelligence is headed from Microsoft, the real application of it in Disney’s case, or a talk from Bolt Threads’ CEO on their progress with spider silk as a new fibre for the industry – an exploration of how his team is using biotechnology to design protein-based materials at the molecular level. That’s a tough choice.

Later on, there’s an influencer session under the SX Style umbrella with Reward Style’s Amber Venz Box and a deep look at data specifically in the fashion industry with StitchFix and Poshmark. My true highlight for the day however, has got to be Casey Neistat’s talk at 3.30pm.

If that’s not enough, the Levi’s Outpost also opens on Saturday (and runs through the week), with a party in collaboration with Google’s Project Jacquard team the same evening.


SUNDAY, MARCH 12

Sunday is Decoded Fashion’s day, meaning if it’s really fashion content you’re after, you may not need to move from their Hangar Lounge location. That said, if you’re looking to mix it up and step out of your comfort zone, several other talks look very promising, including Fjord’s 2017 trends report examining not only trends that will impact consumers, but those set to impact design, business, organisation, culture and society in the next 12-18 months.

By the time you get to Sunday, it’s quite likely you’ll have already been to, or intended to go to, a handful of sessions on chatbots, but there’s another at 11am that seems particularly worthwhile. Outside of those, we’ll be heading to one on mixed reality at 3.30pm, followed by what looks to be a very fun session all about the technology promised us by Marty McFly in Back to the Future at 5pm.

As for other events, ModCloth and Wrangler have teamed up for a reception early evening, while Intel also has their AI lounge (running March 10-12) to head over to and learn from. If that wasn’t enough: Liz Bacelar (founder of Decoded Fashion) also launches her new business, TheCurrent, with a VIP programme from 4pm-7pm looking at innovation in the fashion and retail industries featuring speakers from Under Armour, Ford, Google, Parsons and more. There’s also a live podcast recording on Saturday morning with Rebecca Minkoff.


MONDAY, MARCH 13

If you haven’t had too much in the way of tacos and magaritas yet, and you can still manage to get up early, kickstart Monday with Ford’s session with executive chairman, Bill Ford, all about smart mobility. Make sure to get out on time however, because Marc Jacobs is up at 11am in conversation with Vogue’s Sally Singer and the queue is likely to be popular. The discussion is around designing in the age of the social media, which isn’t exactly a new topic (for anywhere, let alone SXSW), but it is Marc Jacobs.

A true highlight of the day (in fact the whole week), mind you, comes from futurist Ray Kurzweil, a director of engineering at Google, with his daughter Amy Kurzweil, who works at the Fashion Institute of Technology no less, at 12.30pm. Ray is one of the best speakers I’ve ever seen, so all hopes are pinned on this session being one of the best.

Rounding up the day is Matthew Drinkwater of London College of Fashion on designing in a digital world, and then Avery Dennison on connecting our clothing and our wardrobes, followed by a drinks reception with their team. If you have a spare moment, you might also want to check out Giorgio Armani’s Films of City Frames installation – showcasing five cities by five directors through five films. It runs all day from 10am-6pm, from March 12-15.


TUESDAY, MARCH 14

On to the final stretch and why not end on an inspirational high on the last day? Netflix is talking about mobile, L’Oréal is discussing holograms and the one and only Buzz Aldrin is also in town.

The big hitter, however, will be Yasmin Green of Jigsaw (of Alphabet variety, not the British fashion store), who leads the team’s innovation efforts, overseeing projects on counter-radicalisation and fragile states.

And last but not least, it’s not a true SXSW experience until you attend one of Bruce Sterling’s closing keynotes. “The future: history that hasn’t happened yet”, as he calls his session, will whip the slider-bar between the unthinkable and the unimaginable, which is exactly what you’ll need to cap off your Austin week.

For my full programme, check out this link to my shareable schedule. See you all there!

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Editor's pick film

Wrangler’s #MoreThanABum campaign pushes forward the “women not objects” movement

Wrangler's #morethanabum campaign
Wrangler’s #morethanabum campaign

Wrangler has launched a new campaign starring Grammy award winner Kimbra focused on a cry against female stereotyping.

#Morethanabum aims to move the cultural conversation away from simply aesthetics about women towards a deeper understanding of achievement and aspiration. It is anchored by a song composed by Kimbra called Ain’t About What’s Behind Me, including samples of women saying the word “bum”.

Created by ideas agency We Are Pi, it looks to go beyond traditional advertising in women’s fashion and in denim in particular, to launch the brand’s new “Body Bespoke” range. This line redefines the design process of women’s jeans by going against the fashion industry norm of using model proportions as the base for designs.

Jessica Perri, head of strategy at We Are Pi, said: “We set out to communicate an empowering message that is intrinsic to the Wrangler brand: the jeans are stylish, but it’s what you do in them that matters. We all know the image of a woman smiling confidently in the mirror because her jeans finally fit right. We wanted to bypass the mirror altogether. Of course her jeans fit right, freeing her up for much, much more interesting things.”

The campaign also features a range of other inspirational female ambassadors in a short film, including Olympic volleyball player Francesca Piccinini, dancer and choreographer Nikeata Thompson, transgender activist Paris Lees, and music journalist and radio presenter Gabriela Drzewiecka.

Said Kimbra: “These women remind us that our bodies are only one part of us and it’s important to take pride in that but also to stand up for the fact that we have so much more to offer the world. It’s not just about how we look in our jeans, it’s about what we’re doing in them.”

The initiative follows a big focus on unraveling female stereotypes in advertising and a call across the industry to end the objectification of women. Anchoring that movement is a campaign called #womennotobjects by agency Badger & Winters, which has been shared over 130 million times since its launch in January 2016.

“There’s always a smarter, more creative way to tell a brand’s message that doesn’t rely on demeaning women, but in fact does the opposite – it emotionally engages women in a respectful way,” said Jim Winters, president of Badger & Winters, during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this year.

Furthermore, research carried out by Badger & Winters shows that focusing on the idea of “sex sells”, which the fashion industry is particularly notorious for, is in fact disastrous to brand reputation and purchase intent. Their study shows that the objectification of women impacts every single KPI, to the extent that women today have less interest in wanting any sort of interaction with such brands at all, co-founder Madonna Badger said. She noted that 91% of women today say advertisers don’t understand them.

Categories
Blocks Editor's pick film technology

Wrangler launches interactive adventure map series

Wrangler_bornready

Wrangler has teamed up with explorer Alastair Humphreys to produce a series of interactive maps based on local adventures in and around the UK, as well as in Germany and Poland.

The guides aim to encourage even city-dwellers to experience the great outdoors, and accordingly include activities curated by Humphreys that are available to do within an hour of London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Almost 100 adventures are featured in total, ranging from challenging hill cycles to alfresco swims. Each one also includes tips from Humphreys on what to wear and bring.

Wrangler_bornready_maps

Users can also share their own everyday adventures to be in with the chance of winning a number of different prizes from Wrangler.

The initiative is part of the brand’s Born Ready campaign, which celebrates its new performance denim collection; a line of insulating, water resistant and stretch resistant jeans. A TV ad featuring urban adventurers on location in North America, has also launched. You can watch it here: