New documentary The Next Black explores the future of fashion

17 Jun

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Home appliance manufacturer AEG has launched a 45-minute documentary called The Next Black focused on the future of clothing, with the goal to anticipate what washing needs are likely to look like down the road.

Featuring interviews with representatives from heavyweight brands such as adidas through to Patagonia, the film looks to understand what people will be wearing and washing totay and tomorrow, and how the industry can become more sustainable in doing so. It was produced together with production company House of Radon.

It also stars tech-clothing company, Studio XO; Biocouture, a consultancy exploring living organisms to grow clothing and accessories, and Yeh Group, which is pioneering a new way to dye clothes using zero water.

“We talked to designers, innovators and leaders from around the globe – people who are rethinking the way we use clothes. They have a fresh look for the future and are using their passions to fuel change. It’s not just about what we will be wearing but how we produce clothes, how we interact with them and how we care for them,” reads the write-up from AEG.

The content touches on such developments as Lady Gaga’s bubble dress; monitoring an athlete’s performance via their clothing in real-time; and materials grown in a bath tub out of bacteria.

Nancy Tilbury of Studio XO refers to her work during the interview as design engineering that just happens to be dressed up as fashion. “Philosophically as a project we’re really keen to tell people about this transformation in textiles,” she says, demonstrating how coding is being combined with clothing to bring about a fun, playful and curious result that is tranforming the way we dress.

Suzanne Lee of BioCouture meanwhile looks at how the most radical of future innovations could be organic, outlining her process for creating textiles as much closer to brewing beer or making food. The next step, she says, is taking such ideas and concepts from the lab to the market.

Imagining the future is exactly what this film sets out to do, check it out below…

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Tod’s aims to rejuvenate iconic Gommino shoes with Dots to Life blogger campaign

15 Jun

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Avid fashion blog followers may have noticed several high-calibre bloggers have simultaneously started wearing and drawing attention to Tod’s footwear of late. This is not down to coincidence – earlier this month the quintessential Italian brand launched a social influencer campaign to create buzz around its signature Gommino shoes.

On the campaign website, customers can check out the various style leaders who have been coveting the style, as well as submit their own photos.

Bloggers from all over the world have taken part in the so-called ‘Dots to Life’ campaign, including Italy’s Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad, Switzerland’s Kristina Bazan of Kayture, and Shanghai-based Han Huohuo.

And it’s not just bloggers that have jumped on board – industry heavyweights such as Anna Dello Russo are also featured on site. The result: a showcase of the worldwide popularity of the Gommino, highlighting the shoe’s versatility and serving as outfit styling inspiration alongside.

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The move for Tod’s to predominantly use bloggers over celebrities is a smart one in today’s online world. These stars – many of them now enjoying a level of celebrity status themselves – serve as influencers through their connection to existing customers and those highly engaged in fashion, but also yield influence over a much younger crowd who may not be as aware of the understated brand.

The endorsement should emphasise the brand’s heritage, reduce the ‘old person’s shoe’ stigma around the Gomminos, and boost its popularity among potential future customers. It’s helping the brand get it’s ‘cool’ back among the younger, digitally-savvy generation, effectively.

Tod’s is making the blogger campaign all the more social by inviting its Facebook fans to upload their own images to the campaign website. The post on its Facebook page has received over 22,800 likes so far. Participation through Instagram is also possible – with the tags #todsgommino and #dotsoflife.

This is a great example of an influencer campaign leveraging the power of social media as a means of inspiration and conversation. As with many campaigns, the site is curated and not all fan images are published. As with Burberry’s Art of the Trench, this creates a more exclusive feel and may inspire fans to put more creative thought into their snaps.

Tod’s is also pushing content over social related to the FIFA World Cup – recent posts have referenced the theme, I Cheer For My Colors. Working with bloggers seems to have yielded positive results for the brand in the past too. In February, for instance, it partnered with Ferragni of The Blonde Salad to promote its Touch handbag.

By Anna Abrell

Gap Inc‘s Art Peck talks digital disruption, aspirational brand expressions and enabling loyalty through relevance

13 Jun

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“We are entering into a period of significant opportunity driven by accelerated disruption coming from the continued pivot of customers into the digital space,” Art Peck, president of growth, innovation and digital at Gap Inc (which includes Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime, Athleta and Intermix brands), said at Goldman Sachs’ fifth annual dotCommerce day in New York this month.

His key message: we might think we’ve seen change over the past decade, but in retail specifically we’re on the cusp of something much bigger. It will be equivalent to that of the 1950s and 60s when consumers moved from local variety stores to suburban bix box retailers, he said, referring to the wave that saw many of today’s mega brands, including Walmart and K-mart, hit the market.

What it’s about, he said, is the customer. Consider these statistics: a decade ago, only 3% of consumers in the US bought apparel and accessories online. 15% of them engaged online but still purchased in physical stores, and the remainder only shopped offline and had no digital engagement at all.

Fast forward to today and about 15% of the market is shopping online for apparel and accessories. Those not engaged with brands digitally has shrunk to only 13%, while the remainder this time are engaged online, even if they then still buy in the real world. “What that does,” said Peck, “is put an opportunity and an obligation on us.”

At this point in time the bulk of the industry has a transactionally-efficient website that acts as a complementary channel to their stores. What we need to move towards, he explained, is an experience both online and off that ties together the overall vision of the brand. “The digital expression of our brands needs to be a holistic, aspirational expression of the brand because that is in many cases what customers now base their choice on.”

Interestingly, it’s digital that he believes will also enable the company to achieve that uniform expression of the brand across its store portfolio no matter the size of the outlet. Today at a flagship store consumers are exposed to the entire brand in an aspirational way, whereas at a mall it may just be a small subset of that intention, and often not an aspirational one at all.

“Our vision here is we bring digital together with physical, and regardless of the store, where it is, the size that it is, the mall that it’s in – we give customers exposure consistently to the entire aspirational expression of the brand,” he emphasised.

At this point in time, Gap is working on doing so with initiatives such as replacing all legacy systems in stores with web services; so in-store and e-commerce now operate on one platform. The company therefore now has the capability to have global, virtual visibility on the availability of its inventory, and has been able to introduce the likes of its ‘reserve in store’ option for shoppers.

As of next month it is also testing out an ‘order in store’ system in a bid to counter that feeling of disappointment when consumers can’t find what they’re looking for on a trip out. Said Peck: “Our commitment with assisted or unassisted ‘order in store’ is you’ll never leave the store empty-handed, whether that’s a physical bag or a virtual bag that you’re carrying with you… That’s a huge economic opportunity for us. It’s moving that conversion yield.”

Omnichannel is the obvious buzzword he said, holding up his own smartphone as an example of the most important device for retailers to be thinking about. Mobile is pervasive, but also persistent in that it stays with consumers all of the time, he explained. It’s for that reason it’s a key driver for loyalty programmes, something the company is also focusing on with a new scheme testing at Banana Republic stores imminently.

Peck referred to loyalty as a ‘big one’ for the company, a driver for frequency and for share of wallet, but more importantly as an opportunity to “bring our personalisation capabilities and customisation relevance to bear in a store environment”. At the moment 60% of people visiting the website are recognised as unique visitors, enabling Gap to personalise experiences based on things like browsing and purchase history. Doing so is providing movement on numbers like conversion, time on website, CTR and more, said Peck.

“Good things happen for the customer if they’re willing to self-identify and tell us who they are at the beginning of a shopping experience. They do on the website, they don’t in our stores. If you come into our stores today we won’t recognise you until you tender, if we recognise you then.”

This loyalty programme is about providing the customer with the opportunity to self-identify in order for the company to create a much more relevant set of experiences compared to when they shop anonymously, he explained.

It’s that word, relevancy, that he picked up on as most important: “There’s lots of talk out there about big data – to me big data, personalisation is focused on an outcome of relevance. That’s what we’re working on.”

Harmony Korine directs new wonDiorland film

12 Jun

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Dior has teamed up with director Harmony Korine for a new short film for its Dior Addict fragrance.

The Alice in Wonderland-inspired spot features model Sasha Luss stepping through a mirror and into a luscious world of flora and fauna offset only by the heavy beat of Die Antwoord’s track, Enter the Ninja.

The film ties to a wider campaign referred to as wonDiorland, which includes a dedicated Facebook page filled with additional content, and a mobile activation referred to as a “sensorial experience”. That experience invites the user to connect their smartphones and desktops by entering a four digit pin on the latter – from there they can explore the content by touch, swiping through a variety of additional footage, insight on the inspiration and behind-the-scenes information.

The experience is designed to reflect the mirror Luss is seen stepping through, the page reacting as though pulsating to the user’s touch and activating dream-like pieces of content on the larger screen.

Korine was last seen in the fashion world directing somewhat of a controversial spot for Proenza Schouler.

WGSN to host live Twitter Q&A on the future of shopping – send your questions to #askwgsn

9 Jun

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Trend forecaster WGSN might be best known for its design and product development work (seasonal colours, silhouettes, consumer insights and more), but it also analyses forward developments in retail strategy, digital marketing, merchandising and store design.

Sat under the umbrella of its market intelligence team, these are experts in their field on all things to do with the business side of the industry – note I’m shamelessly referring to myself in this category as WGSN is of course my employer. I’m a global senior editor on all things media and marketing related, by that I mean brand strategy, digital communications, in-store technology and more (of course in each instance always weighted towards how it pertains to the fashion and retail space).

But I also head up the social media content strategy for the company, overseeing our output across Twitter, Tumblr (award-winning!), Facebook, Instagram and Google+ (where you may have seen my mug hosting our business-focused monthly Hangouts).

To that end – I bring you the latest campaign, and urge you to get involved. On Tuesday, June 10 we will be hosting a live Twitter Q&A with Lorna Hall, head of the WGSN market intelligence team and resident retail expert. Hall brings with her a wealth of experience on exactly what is shifting the landscape and will be able to talk to absolutely anything to do with the future of shopping.

I’m talking legacy retailers and their moves to omnichannel; new focuses on innovation and integrating start-ups; big data, beacons and personalisation; search, shop and go, or the new paths to purchase re-engineering the ‘impulse buy’. Not to mention a bunch of other keywords and phrases like mobile, phy-gital, service, footfall drivers, experiential and more. You name it, Hall has the answer.

So please get stuck in, send us your thoughts using the hashtag #askwgsn – Hall will be online responding from 4pm GMT / 11am EST. The more you ask, the more we respond and the more content we regurgitate back out again. It’s a win win.

Digital snippets: Beats by Dre, Alexander Wang, Apple, in-store tech, China social media

8 Jun

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

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  • Did Beats by Dre just out-Nike Nike with this incredible World Cup ad? [AdWeek]
  • Alexander Wang and friends bring SNL’s Mango back in latest ad [GQ]
  • Apple’s newest ad says we’re ready for wearables, now [re/code]
  • In-store tech, sales driver or hype? [BoF]
  • Beyond Weibo and WeChat: four chinese social platforms with big luxury potential [Jing Daily]
  • Regent Street to deploy beacon technology in shops [The Telegraph]
  • Tanya Taylor partners with Instagram artist Kalen Hollomon on coolest lookbook ever [Fashionista]
  • Nike unveils world’s first-ever 3D-printed performance sports bag [WGSN Tumblr]

Miss Vogue and Chanel Chance launch cute digital fortune cookie for style tips

5 Jun

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Miss Vogue has introduced an interactive feature online sponsored by Chanel Chance designed to help “inspire fashion-forward personal style choices in moments of wardrobe fatigue”.

The Miss Vogue Fashion Fortune Cookie – which lives on the Vogue.co.uk site – invites users to enter their name and date of birth to get style advice and tips on what to wear each day.

Dolly Jones, editor of Vogue.co.uk, said: “It’s a little reminder every day of what fashion contributes to life: fun, style, humour and beauty. We’ve so enjoyed creating it – I hope our users will love it as much as we do.”

The resulting advice includes such things as: “Today is the day to face your fears. Be brave and wear that statement piece you’ve been holding on to.” And: “Wear a shirt to match your eyes and watch the compliments pour in.”

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Each fashion fortune is then shareable on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ with the strapline: “My Miss Vogue #FFC today is…” Quirky but appropriate for the younger reader it is targeting – presumably the date of birth request will help to measure that too.

The initiative will be followed by a physical rendition on June 12 when readers of the biannual Miss Vogue supplement will be invited to an event at the Chanel Butterfly Garden at Selfridges in London.

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Why Google’s partnership with DVF and Net-a-Porter really matters for Glass

3 Jun
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Lucky editor-in-chief Eva Chen with Diane von Furstenberg wearing the new DVF Made for Glass collection

The big news in the fashion and tech space today, was of course the announcement of Diane von Furstenberg’s new Google Glass frames.

The New York-based designer was the first to take Glass down the fashion week runway in September 2012, now she has unveiled her own designs – prescription lenses available in five different colourways and two sunglass silhouettes in four optional shades.

Better yet, the DVF Made for Glass collection will not only be sold on Google.com/glass but via Net-a-Porter as well. They’ll be available from June 23 and cost $1,700 for the package (Glass, a DVF optical frame, a sunglass style, a mono earbud and a case).

As Natalie Massenet, founder and executive chairman of Net-a-Porter, told WWD: ““When Google Glass walked the runway, I texted the number-two person at Google and said, ‘What’s happening?’ I think it’s fair to say that we were calling their head of marketing consistently to see what can be done.”

As WWD continues, these designs are aiming to appeal to two audiences: women and the fashion set (though Mr Porter will also carry Glass without the DVF branding). Importantly for the wearables market, this is one of the first ever times something has been designed specifically for women.

Fashionista reports: “Over the course of the last few months, Google Glass has been steadily getting more and more fashion-friendly, with the release of four new frames in January and a March announcement that it had partnered with Luxottica to produce Ray-Ban and Oakley-designed frames. Just last month, Google brought on board veteran fashion exec Ivy Ross, who has clocked time at Calvin Klein and Gap, to run the Glass team.”

Arguably focusing on aesthetics – even in a sea of additional complaints about functionality – is a smart move from Google. Doing so with a respected and aspirational brand, as well as such a leading luxury outlet, is better again.

What Glass needs is to reposition itself as an appealing wearable item and not a clunky piece of technology. It needs consumers to believe in it – but not just for the purpose of uptake, rather to help generate greater interest in the technology from a developer perspective. Like your smartphone, a wearable device such as Glass (to a degree) is only as good as the apps you have on it. I have a pair. They’re good, but they don’t do enough yet that I want to wear them constantly.

Proving there’s commercial viability for an item will mean more developers encouraged on board, further apps created, greater functionality enabled, and once again more people like to buy. A virtuous circle. In short, this move from DVF, even if the result isn’t a lasting commercial success, has the potential to be a great catalyst for the future of Glass full stop.

As Robert Scoble, author and start-up liaison for open-cloud computing company Rackspace, said at SXSW this year: “This is one of those products you know is the future, but it’s so unfinished at this point it’s frustrating. It’s three to five years away before it’s really useful.”

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Goddesses of beauty, charm and joy inspire Dior’s third Secret Garden film

3 Jun

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Dior released its third Secret Garden film on Friday, garnering over two million views over the weekend alone.

Directed by Inez Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin and styled by Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, it features Daria Strokous, Fei Fei Sun and Katlin Aas running through Versailles to Dépêche Mode’s track, Strange Love.

The trio of models are said to evoke The Three Graces – goddesses of antiquity embodying beauty, charm and joy, who inspired masterpieces by Raphael and Botticelli, says Dior. In line with this theme, the brand has proclaimed that this film showcases “the three faces of the Dior woman”.

Russian model Strokous enjoys the most exposure throughout the one-minute clip. She is shown walking down a corridor inside the palace, her clothes from the brand’s pre-fall 2014 collection changing as she walks. Later she is seen taking a hidden passageway and running through the gardens. At times she is pictured running away from her co-stars, while at others we see her running towards them.

As the camera cuts from close-ups of Strokous to Aas or Sun, as well as washed out flashes of them all together, the trio are pictured wearing a number of dresses in the same cut and print (see stills below). This leaves the viewer wondering whether Sun and Aas are figments of Strokous’ imagination or rather parts of her personality – or could all three women just be ghosts that are floating through the “elegant and dreamlike” Versailles grounds?

The film ends on a pose reminiscent of those ancient goddesses, and yes, it’s as enchanting and on-brand as the past two Secret Garden chapters before it.

See it below…

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By Anna Abrell

Digital snippets: Prada, John Lewis, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Sephora, L’Oréal

1 Jun

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

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  • Prada delves into visual past with Pradasphere microsite [Luxury Daily]
  • John Lewis picks iBeacons, smart-home Sonos rival, and 3D planning start-ups as final partners for JLab incubator scheme [The Drum]
  • You can now buy Comptoir des Cotonniers directly from ads on bus shelters in France [Fashionista]
  • The ROI: Sephora, Thismoment share results of Pinteresting beauty board launch [BrandChannel]
  • L’Oréal targets ads based on hair colour in online photos [AdAge]
  • ‘Vogue’ makes its Instagram shoppable with Liketoknow.it [Fashionista]
  • adidas promises to exclude consumers unless they opt ‘#allin’ to World Cup campaign [Marketing]
  • Visual search set to make world of imagery instantly shoppable [BoF]
  • Condé Nast drafts an internal ‘Magna Carta’ for native advertising [AdAge]
  • Lingerie brand turns to Snapchat for a voyeuristic, vanishing lookbook [PSFK]
  • Fruit of the Loom turns GIFs into Father’s Day gifts [AdWeek]
  • The power women who are reinventing the way you shop fashion online [Forbes]
  • Mary Meeker’s 2014 internet trends report: all the slides plus highlights [Quartz]
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