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The Brief
Published: 16 Jan 2019

Gillette Causes Controversy by Tackling Toxic Masculinity

Gillette's latest ad campaign is a well-intentioned attempt to address issues of toxic masculinity in the #MeToo era. So different from its previous marketing, the initiative almost feels like a brand refresh – one that hasn't been created collaboratively with consumers, leading to inevitable backlash.

It's been 30 years since Gillette debuted its famous tag line, "The Best A Man Can Get". Since then, its ads have followed a familiar formula – blandly aspirational, positive, and product-focused. This week, the company launched a starkly different kind of campaign, We Believe – led by a two-minute ad that calls on men to tackle issues of toxic masculinity, with hardly a razor in sight.

It's clearly well-intentioned – Gillette will be donating $1m over the next three years to men's charities and has launched a website, The Best Men Can Be, that offers further support. However, it's garnered intense critical backlash – not least from Gillette's target audience of young men. On YouTube, the spot has 300,000 downvotes, compared to 50,000 likes, with comments including "Gillette ad demonises its customers, scores own goal".

It's worth comparing this campaign to Axe's 2017 project to address toxic masculinity, Is It Ok For Guys. Dealing with similar issues and from a brand that – even more so than Gillette – was known for its outmoded messaging, the campaign was a huge success. It transformed Axe's image and is making a tangible difference through its partnership with anti-bullying organisation Ditch the Label. Most importantly, the campaign was underpinned by research from real people, enabling Axe to frame the campaign as one that would, as the brand stated, "[provide] guys with resources to live more freely".

This collaborative, inclusive attitude contrasts with Gillette's top-down broadcast approach, which isn't contextualised within a larger, brand-focused message like Axe's "Find Your Magic". If the backlash continues, Gillette will need to work on creating a dialogue with customers turned off by this approach – something which should have been baked into the campaign from the start.

For more on brands tackling social issues, see Enlightened Masculinity, Nike & Levi's Aim for Moonshots in Purpose-Driven Campaigns, and Incite Marketing Summit 2018.

Published: 16 Jan 2019

Retail’s Avatar Opportunity: Fashion for Virtual Alter Egos

(clockwise) Gucci X Genies; Carlings and Yoox

The increasing popularity of reality-bending, computer-generated influencers is extending beyond social media, with consumers hungry to have their own personal avatars. Savvy brands are warming to the outlook with tech for dressing their virtual alter egos, including digital fashion items they can buy. We highlight three early-stage ideas with major potential.

  • Gucci: The fashion powerhouse offers a digital version of its collection on Silicon Valley avatar-creation app Genies. Supporting avatar-to-avatar communication, Genies invites users to create digital clones of themselves, choosing from one million customisation options including personality types, eye and hair colour, and skin tone. Available since late 2018, users can outfit their avatars with 200 Gucci pieces. In future, they’ll be able to purchase items (both digital and real) seen on their friends’ avatars through the app in one click.
  • Carlings: Countering fashion’s eco-unfriendly reputation, in December 2018, Norwegian brand Carlings launched a digital-only streetwear collection. To wear and digitally own the items, consumers upload an image of themselves and pay between €10-30 ($12-35), depending on the style. 3D-motion designers digitally add the garments to consumers’ images, which are then shareable on social media. Profits are donated to charity WaterAid. Concepts that replace physical products (and their associated environmental cost) with digital equivalents offer an increasingly important slant on championing sustainability.
  • Yoox: When Italian luxury e-tailer Yoox relaunched its app in December 2018, it introduced Yoox Mirror – a virtual fitting room including  a digital avatar called Daisy, which can be fully customised (height, weight, body shape and skin tone) to resemble consumers. The images can then be saved to a wish list – upgrading standard lists. Alternatively, users can upload a picture to receive an avatar that looks just like them. See also Gap x Tango: AR Dressing Room.

For more on the importance of feeding consumers’ personal brands, see Teen Destinations. For more on retailing products for avatars, see Beauty’s Digital Illusionists.

Published: 16 Jan 2019

New Eco Hotel That Can Travel Around the World


As demand for sustainable travel continues to snowball, hotel brands are creating inventive eco-concepts that offer guests increased flexibility and comfort. Demonstrating this approach, French hotel group AccorHotels has launched Flying Nest – a modular eco-hotel concept that can travel around the world.

Conceived by French designer Ora-ïto, Flying Nest is a collection of repurposed shipping containers that each contain a living area, bedroom and bathroom. The spaces are connected by terraces, encouraging socialisation among guests.

The modular hotel can be completely dismantled and moved from one location to another. So far, the hotel has been prototyped in Clairefontaine (where the French national football team trains) and the Rencontres d'Arles photography festival (also in France), where it was assembled on the beach alongside a DJ, bar and food trucks. It has most recently been moved to ski resort Avoriaz, which is located 1,800m high in the French Alps, enabling guests to step out of their rooms and straight onto the slopes.

Every part of the hotel has been designed with sustainability in mind, with each module clad in environmentally friendly wood, painted with eco-certified paint, and furnished using fair-trade suppliers. The cabins are also powered with green energy and re-use recycled grey water.

The hotel is currently being offered as a B2B solution for event organisers, festivals, exhibits and corporate clients, but the brand plans to open the concept up to the wider public later in 2019.

For earlier examples of high-end roaming accommodation concepts, see Travel for the Agile Elite, and for more on how hotel designers are putting sustainability at the heart of their concepts, see Exploring Eco-Tourism.

Published: 15 Jan 2019

£3 Tap Donations to End London’s Homelessness Crisis


The rise of the cashless economy has inspired non-profit Tap London's new contactless donation points. Money raised from the terminals will support 22 London charities helping the city's 170,000 homeless citizens (Shelter, 2018).

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan unveiled 35 terminals across the capital in November 2018, with plans to expand the scheme to 90. The Tap points have been strategically placed outside locations such as theatres, cinemas, cafes and bars, where consumers will already be spending money. Each tap donates £3 ($4) to Tap London, which will distribute the funds amongst the London Homelessness Charities Group. At time of writing, more than £29,847 ($38,307) had been donated (Tap London, 2018).

Homelessness is on the rise; on one snapshot night in autumn 2017, local authorities estimated that 4,751 people had slept rough in England, up 15% on the previous year (Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, 2018). In the US, 553,742 people were homeless on a single night in 2017 – the first rise in seven years (Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2018).

At the same time, the cash economy has declined sharply; 2017 saw cash payments fall by 15% to 13.1 billion, and by 2027 it's anticipated that 36% of all payments across the UK will be contactless (UK Finance, 2018). Charities are responding with a variety of contactless schemes. In the US, social good start-up Samaritan is using Bluetooth-powered beacons to help homeless people collect donations.

Tech-savvy charities are wise to adapt to consumers' changing spending styles in order to maximise spontaneous altruism. For more on the pros and cons of a cashless society, see Bespoke Banking, part of The Future of Money Spotlight.

Published: 14 Jan 2019

A/W 19/20 Milan Menswear Influencer Show: Marni

Menswear might be in a state of flux, torn between ongoing streetwear influences and the demands of the luxury market, but Francesco Risso drove a deft path through the maelstrom in Milan – combining modern-day tailoring with louche layering in an explosive mix of colour and pattern.

Marni A/W 19/20
Marni A/W 19/20
Marni A/W 19/20

While other designers may be trying to play catch-up, Risso stays true to his ironic view of menswear, magically combing a sense of playfulness with seriously influential silhouettes.

Tailoring came in easy, slightly oversized shapes, giving high-peaked 3SB jackets and relaxed, city-slicker coats a modern twist through bold colour and  unexpected fabrics like soft-touch boucles. Team that with silky printed shirts and full-legged washed drill pants, and you have a modern-day uniform that would happily traverse boardroom to bar.

Marni A/W 19/20
Marni A/W 19/20
Marni A/W 19/20

Streetwear influences loomed large in the form of oversized washed sweats and sporty cocooning cagoules, as well as the popsicle-coloured tracksuits reworked in lightweight textured knits. Elsewhere, we were given louche commuter macs faced in skin print, the relaxed elegance of multi-patterned silky PJ layers, and the soft, streetwise armour of padded duvet coats and gilets.

Overdyed denims and washed-yarn dyes were a key look, combined with the contrasting gloss of luxe pony skins, slick leather and snakeskin. Meanwhile, leopard-print faux furs and fuzzy striped brushed knits upped the ‘touch me, feel me’ quota.

Marni A/W 19/20
Marni A/W 19/20
Marni A/W 19/20

Risso mixes print and colour with an iconically painterly hand – seen in the unlikely combination of abstract art prints and animal skin patterns in a palette of camel, ultramarine and burgundy, shot with pops of lilac, raspberry, Day-Glo orange, sky blue and ochre.

Much of the brand’s inspirational appeal lies in the creative director’s confident mismatched styling, all accented with the unexpected twist of multi-tasselled loafers, leopard-print bucket hats, oversized knitted scarves, and boxy leather satchels.

Published: 14 Jan 2019

Weekly Thought-Starter #008: Gen Alpha’s Moment

Date:Monday, January 14, 2019
Author:Charlie Gilbert

Here’s something to ponder, however briefly, this week: Gen Alpha.

Aged nought to eight, they’re vastly different to children of preceding generations. They’re playing with super-charged toys, reading stories that reject traditional narratives, and dressing in clothes that look beyond gender and ability.

These ‘leisure goods’ will make them more dynamic, creative and inclusive. And this, we believe, presents huge opportunities for brands.

We reveal what they are in The Gen Alpha Moment, our latest Consumer Attitudes report. From helping parents to embrace their inner child (clue: develop nostalgia-led products and experiences), to weaving in inclusive messages, you’ll discover how to tap into a generation that will, before long, replace the all-conquering Gen Z.

A couple of report highlights: first, how new children’s books are teaching Gen Alpha to be empathetic as more lifestyles and backgrounds are being normalised. My Name is Not Refugee, for example, challenges young readers by asking them what they’d take if they had to leave their country (and their friends) behind.

Second: the spectacular rise of ungendered play and clothing, which is being taken to new levels by the likes of Words of Wonder – a unisex clothing collection that uses text on garments as starting points for children to express their thoughts and feelings (rather than emphasise problematic messaging like ‘Training to Be Batman’s Wife’).

We’ll end with a quote from Krystina Castella, author of Designing For Kids: Creating For Playing, Learning And Growing (which Stylus contributed to), whose words are salient for brands considering gender-neutral products: “There are many small companies creating gender-neutral toys, home furnishing and clothing. Most of these bring girls into traditionally boys’ markets; very few bring boys into girls’ markets.”

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Published: 11 Jan 2019

Julia Errens on Her 2018 Pop Culture Review: Part 1

Date:Friday, January 11, 2019
Author:Charlie Gilbert

2018 was a huge year for pop culture. So big, in fact, that we needed a two-part interview with Julia Errens, our Media & Marketing editor – and author of our 2018 Pop Culture Review – to make sense of it.

From Netflix shows that reveal sex-education opportunities to ad campaigns that demystify taboos, in part one Julia talks about the moments she believes are redefining our cultural values.

Julia, one of the shows you mention in your review is Netflix’s Big Mouth, and how it’s tapping into the “sex education opportunity”. Tell me more…

Big Mouth is interesting because it’s raunchy and brash, but it’s not about laughing at people who are too stuck up to find sex funny. It’s more about stepping back and analysing what sexual experiences are, and casting a light on the development of personal sexuality.

“We use sex and position it as a powerful force in society, but then we punish certain people for talking about or trying to change it [case in point: CES revoking an award for a female pleasure device]. But I think this is changing, and this Netflix cartoon is an expression of that shift in thinking.”

“I kept imagining what it would have been like as a 13-year-old to have a show like it, where it’s not ‘Ha, this type of sex is funny,’ but more ‘Here’s how those feelings you have are shared by other people. You’re not disgusting for having them, but here’s what you can do to guide yourself without hurting others.’”

This leads in nicely to your point about brands in the pop culture space “demystifying taboos”. Are there further examples that businesses more generally can learn from?

“Bodyform/Libresse updated its 2017 Blood Normal campaign with Viva la Vulva in 2018. The video supporting it is set to a hymn of gratefulness, where women sing about their vulva and vagina to explicit, but not off-putting, imagery.

“When approaching a taboo, brands shouldn’t just go out and say the most horrible thing they can think of. They instead need to look at something that’s viewed as horrible and have an objective view on it.

“Look at the cleanse on Tumblr, which banned all adult content on December 12. I think there’s merit in examining how our social mores have driven us to tabooise certain issues, and whether these are still valid from a modern perspective of equity and equality.

“This is what Bodyform did by trying to de-tabooise menstruation blood, which led to massive Instagram blocking issues in 2017, and again now with Viva la Vulva. But it’s still just anatomy, and it’s all in context.

“Brands should ask why we shame certain behaviours. I think, though, that this is shifting socially, and that new moral lines are being drawn.”

So is it a case of pop-culture brands opening up taboo topics, and then others joining in by being genuinely useful somehow?

“It’s something people always say across social movements – the best thing to do is show up and ask the people already doing the work how you can help.

“Brands – which presumably have bigger social or other content platforms, and definitely have higher funds than most volunteer organisations – need to look for the community that exists around a message, say body positivity, and then find the thought leaders.

“They need to communicate not just with one or two, but a whole group, so they can get an understanding of what that community’s central issues are. There’s a difference between virality and clickbait, so brands need to find out what it is that a movement they find interesting has been pursuing historically.

“Then, they need to collaborate with them and use their cash, money and influence to help them amplify their message. You can’t gentrify an issue – you can’t come in because you have the money, the platform, and you think you have something to say, and then overwrite your opinion over the work that’s already happened. This is how you create a backlash.”

I guess this chimes with your line in the review about how “brands need to move beyond authenticity to reflect the complexity of modern existence”?

“In 2018 everybody went crazy for Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette, a comedy stand-up set whose entire purpose was to remove the key mechanism of comedy. Normally you set up tension and then relieve it – that’s where the laugh and the twist and the experience comes from.

“Gadsby instead gets up on stage and sets up a personal experience. She initially presents in a classic stand-up way before going into broader societal issues like the way women are treated, the experience of LGBTQ youth, and the many mental struggles that come from being ostracised, whether by your family or society at large.

“Then she goes back to her personal story, which actually has a harrowing ending. It culminates in the idea that it’s not the job of entertainers to take their own personal pain and present it in a digestible, approachable way.

“If you’re listening to something and it just ends up being a heart-warming, fun little story, then maybe you haven’t gone through the necessary process of empathy and feeling that pain, or at least sympathising with that pain – a process that might lead to genuine change.

“There’s an interesting discussion here, which brands can be a part of, over what many people becry as identity politics. ‘Why do you always have to talk about being black or gay or a woman? Aren’t we all the same?’

“Well, no, we’re not. When we talk about being the same we’re just defaulting to the status quo, which is reasonably wealthy, white, middle class and straight. The cultural default doesn’t actually exist because culturally speaking, the majority of us are sitting on different rungs of oppression.

“We need to create a broader, more open conversation on culture to really understand people who have traditionally been under-represented, oppressed or ostracised. We shouldn’t have to bleach their experience to make it fit into an easier perspective on the world.

“This will help us move beyond packaging something to be digestible to actually reflecting on what, as an audience, we’re being presented with. This shift has been notable in pop culture over the past year – now we’re getting much more specific stories, and taking more time to get to know specific and complex characters from different cultures and backgrounds.”

How will the different generations respond to this shift, do you think?

“I don’t think they’ll respond to it as much as they’re already willing it, and entertainment is just catching up.

“Young people have quite a bit to fight against with school shootings and violence, and trying to further the liberation of LGBTQ people. They have a different sphere of awareness.

“They also, thanks to having more access to cultural goods via the internet, no longer have to choose a single identity. You’re not just a pop-punk kid from the suburbs; you can be a pop-punk kid on Mondays, a goth on Fridays, and you can go to your Black Lives Matter march on Wednesdays.

“They have access to overlapping identities, which I think builds the culture I referred to earlier – this idea that we need to lean more towards discomfort and investing in understanding each other.

“The younger generation is already living it, so I don’t think they’re going to react to the revolution of inclusivity so much as they are already building it – not least because, in the US, census data shows that they’re the most ethnically diverse generation so far.”

Are they building it partly in response to what they perceive to be a broadly negative social and political environment?

“I think the current situation mostly just creates a sense of urgency; how much of this is honest anxiety I don’t know. Not so much with climate change because that really seems to be at squeaky bum time, but I remain uncertain whether it’s worse nowadays than it used to be, or whether we just hear about it more.

“But it does certainly feel like the world is on fire, in a social sense, right now. We’re so globally interconnected now that we’re sharing each other’s anxieties, and when they’re shared societies are pushed to extremes. This will always motivate people to see the severity of certain issues, and to develop movements to counter them.”

If you’re a Stylus member, you can read Julia’s 2018 Pop Culture Review now. If you’re not, discover the benefits of joining. And don’t forget to check back next week for part two of the interview.

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Published: 11 Jan 2019

CFDA’s Diversity Report: Is the Industry Doing Enough?

Savage X Fenty A/W 18

As consumers and the media alike become savvy to the fashion industry’s shortcomings, its gatekeepers are increasingly being held accountable. But while consumer-led movements may have sparked a sustainability revolution, the first ever diversity report from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) shows tangible steps towards creating inclusivity are still lacking. 

Released in collaboration with PVH Corp. (a US conglomerate that owns brands like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger), the Insider/Outsider report outlines the industry’s failure to cater to the diversity of individuals across race, gender, sexuality, age and ability.

It also notes that the inclusion of diverse individuals in fashion spaces does not signal inclusivity. So, while organisations like TFS (The Fashion Spot) use a seasonal count of diverse models to measure industry change and progress, their reports show that such inclusion fluctuates year on year – debunking the myth that visibility is evidence of progress. For more, see Diversity Makes History on the S/S 19 Catwalks.

The report’s findings signal a similar dissatisfaction among the 50 fashion industry insiders surveyed. Participants gave their workplaces an average of three out of five for both inclusivity (62%) and the extent to which diverse groups are able to fully contribute (32%).

In response, the CFDA has hired American model and activist Bethann Hardison to work alongside it on a series of diversity and inclusion initiatives. Industry accountability is vital for any progress at all, but without recommending specific actions to promote change, talk of diversity falls into a common trap of harnessing an issue simply when it is trendy or business savvy to do so.

To explore how brands can authentically engage with these issues, see A Fashion A’woke’ning: Mainstreaming Diversity, Redressing Femininity: Reality and The Kinship Economy: Engaging Future Communities.

Published: 11 Jan 2019

CES 2019: Specdrums Turn Colours into Music


Connected toy manufacturer Sphero has launched Specdrums, a digital instrument that creates music out of colours, at CES 2019.

Specdrums consists of a Bluetooth-enabled ring that uses light sensors to sample colours from a play pad or the surrounding environment, and an associated app – Specdrums Mix – which turns the colours into sounds from a curated selection of packs. More advanced users can add a second ring and use a more versatile Specdrums Music app with additional instruments, loops and sounds. The rings can also be used as MIDI controllers for third-party apps such as GarageBand and Ableton Live through Bluetooth MIDI.

First announced on Kickstarter in 2017 – and profiled in our CMF Industry View 2018 – Specdrums have been acquired by Sphero for launch this month. The product’s marriage of coding, music and play represents a new direction for the US company, best known to date for its robot toys.

Specdrums builds “a parallel framework between coding and music composition” said Paul Berberian, chief executive of Sphero, in a statement. “By seeing the world around them as a canvas, kids are able to use Specdrums to create their own songs using coding.”

The Specdrums ring is packaged with a colour pad
Specdrums can sample any colour and turn it into music

The next generation of digital natives are exploring an experimental and inclusive approach to design and interaction – a trend explored in our A/W 19/20 Design Direction Burst. As seen in our new report The Gen Alpha Moment, parents are also taking a keen interest in physical toys that bridge the gap between the digital and real worlds, bringing coding into the playroom. 

While Specdrums are initially targeted at kids, they can be expanded into a sophisticated digital musical instrument – one that builds on a growing consumer interest in products that explore synaesthesia and crossmodal perception. To see how brands can make use of multisensory experiences, read The Sensory Opportunity Spotlight Trend. 

Stylus will be covering all the latest developments from CES 2019 on The Brief – watch out for our full report on January 23. For more insights, see our CES 2019 Trends Preview.

Published: 11 Jan 2019

Energy-Efficient Innovations for Unpredictable Climates

Seasonal Curtains by Sofie Leenen

Extreme and unpredictable weather is spurring innovations to control temperature and lighting levels in future homes and cities. From flexible products designed for erratic seasons, to cooling colour for hot climates, these three projects piqued our interest.

  • Cooling Colour: Researchers at Berkley Lab in California have been investigating the cooling qualities of the ancient pigment Egyptian blue. Derived from calcium copper silicate, the colour was first manufactured around 2500 BC.

    Previous studies have shown that when placed in sunlight, the pigment emits photons in the near-infrared spectrum (known as fluorescence), which serves to cool surfaces. However, the latest findings indicate that this effect is actually 10 times stronger than previously thought – a significant discovery that extends the range of cooling colours that might be applied to walls and rooftops in hot climates beyond white.

  • Seasonal Interiors: Amsterdam-based designer Sofie Leenen has developed two woven fabric qualities for use as curtains, altering the light to suit changing seasonal needs.

    The semi-transparent summertime curtain, composed of paper yarn and cotton, filters light without obstructing the view. The winter version features a golden yarn on one side that reflects and amplifies ambient light, and brushed mohair on the reverse to create a cocooning feel. This quality helps reduce energy consumption by sealing heat and light within the interior.
  • Solar-Powered De-icing: Researchers at ETH Zurich University have developed a solar-powered nano-coating that could help defrost surfaces – saving time and money, and also limiting the environmental impact of chemical de-icers.

    The icephobic coating is made from gold and titanium oxide. As the concentrated nanoparticle inclusions absorb solar energy, the surface temperature increases by more than 10 degrees, aiding defrosting and inhibiting further frost formation. The coating has been tested on materials like glass and acrylic, making it suitable for use on windows. 

For more innovations geared towards extreme and unpredictable weather conditions, see Adapting to a Changing Climate.

Published: 10 Jan 2019

Streetwear Buzz: LA Retail Update, Jan 2019

Clockwise L-R: Dover Street Market, Marcell von Berlin, Hoorsenbuh's, Jumpman LA

Luxury-led streetwear brands are supercharging LA’s booming retail scene, where store spaces that outsize their NY counterparts are creating room for more experimental, events-focused flagships. Stylus identifies four new openings epitomising the city’s sports and streetwear explosion.

  • Dover Street Market: Dover Street Market – the global arbiter of avant-garde fashion – has landed in LA’s Art District with its sixth worldwide outpost. The VM echoes its other five global locations (London, NYC, Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing), presenting fashion within eye-catching installations – this time amid a sprawling building lined with industrial white tiles. The 15,000 sq ft space stocks LA-first streetwear-focused exclusives from skateboarding brand PalaceNikeLab and menswear brand Noah
  • Marcell von Berlin: For its first US outpost, Berlin streetwear brand Marcell von Berlin has opened a 1,200 sq ft space on Melrose Avenue inspired by the German capital’s quirky convenience stores, known as Späti. The shop exudes high-low glamour, with glossy metal and polished concrete juxtaposed with thick velvet drapes that separate the pseudo convenience-store foyer from the main area.
  • Hoorsenbuhs: American jeweller Hoorsenbuhs’ first permanent bricks-and-mortar location in Santa Monica encompasses its HQ, a 1,500 sq ft shop, and a 4,000 sq ft rooftop event space. Cloaked in burnt wood, brass and iron panels, it houses both the brand’s jewellery and branded streetwear clothing collections. Guests can visit a geodesic dome for guided meditations and sound baths on the roof deck. See also Hoorsenbuhs’ pop-up store in Jewellery Retail’s New Horizons
  • Jumpman LA: Nike’s Jordan basketball brand now has a 25,000 sq ft Downtown LA flagship called Jumpman LA. Taking pro-athlete services mainstream, the Flight Lab tests visitors’ performance and gives athletic advice. There’s also a space for personalising sneakers. To acknowledge the community, schools are invited to play basketball at a competition-size roof deck court. See also Local Matters.
Published: 10 Jan 2019

CES 2019: Samsung Bots Take On Care, Retail & Air Quality


Samsung took to the stage at CES 2019 to unveil a collection of new robots focused on healthcare, retail and air pollution – the company’s first venture into consumer robotics.

Samsung Bot Care is a healthcare assistant, whose features are particularly geared towards elderly family members. The robot tracks heart rate, respiration and blood pressure, and can monitor the quality of users’ sleep. It can also remind elderly users to take medication and exercise, and sync with Internet of Things sensors that detect falls. In the event of a fall, the robot will come to the user’s location and connect them with family, friends or emergency services.

We’re seeing an increasing focus on empathetic tech solutions that connect older family members with distant relatives. For more on this emerging field, see Crafting Modern Connections, part of our Kinship Economy Macro Trend.

Samsung Bot Care is aimed at the elderly healthcare market
Samsung Bot Retail streamlines the purchase process

Meanwhile, Bot Retail targets the growing retail robotics sector, where brands such as KLM and China Construction Bank are already experimenting with customer service bots. Samsung’s offering is a mobile robot that can give users directions, display products and accept contactless payments, as well as deliver products such as food and drink to the customer. For more on how robots are transforming retail, see our coverage of Tech. 2018.

Samsung also presented Bot Air – an air quality monitor that syncs with smart home sensors to track pollution levels and works as an air purifier. As we’ve reported on in New Metropolitans, part of our Smart Cities macro trend, air quality is an increasing area of concern for urban consumers.

Stylus will be covering all the latest developments from CES 2019 on The Brief – watch out for our full report on January 23. For more insights, see our CES 2019 Trends Preview.

Published: 7 Jan 2019

Weekly Thought-Starter #007: Adapting to a Changing Climate

Date:Monday, January 7, 2019
Author:Charlie Gilbert

If you’re in the fashion, beauty or product design industry, how are you adapting to climate change?

The extreme heatwaves and natural disasters of 2018 mean that more of us are being exposed to the realities of a changing climate. And this has huge implications for brands.

How, for example, should labels – so used to developing spring/summer and autumn/winter collections – respond to longer, hotter summers and later, wetter winters?

How can beauty brands explore how consumers’ needs will shift between these changing seasons, seeing as these needs are only becoming more pronounced?

And how can product designers create solutions that protect people and their living environments from the adverse weather that will become a fixture of our future?

Our latest set of reports, Adapting to a Changing Climate, uncover some of the most ground-breaking – and genuinely life-changing – responses to this greatest of challenges.

Take Swiss fashion brand Qwstion, for example, which has developed a sustainable material solution to fashion’s waterproofing problem. CottonShell, which uses densely woven long staple fibres that expand when wet, is naturally waterproof and windproof thanks to its high thread count.

Or UK wellness brand De Mamiel, which markets Seasonal Facial Oils that address the “changing effect of the climate, the emotional aspects of transition and their impact on the body”. Its sold-out Summer Facial Oil, for example, contains Evening Primrose and Rosehip Seed Oil to shield the skin from the sun’s rays.

Then, on a grander scale, there’s Hunters Point in Florida – a new development that not only has a ‘net zero’ energy footprint, but also protects its residents from hurricanes by using carbon fibre in its homes.

For brands across these three industries, the message couldn’t be simpler: plan for disaster, or risk succumbing to one.

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Published: 3 Jan 2019

Pinterest Predicts Top 2019 Beauty Trends

Pinterest Predicts Top 2019 Beauty Trends

This year’s fifth annual Pinterest 100 report predicts the top trends for 2019 based on consumer activity on the social pinning website and app. We summarise the most relevant beauty takeaways to kick off the new year.

  • Silver Foxes: The idea of ageing gracefully is starting to shape marketing and product development strategies within the beauty industry, as consumers begin to embrace this natural process.

    Searches for ‘going grey’ increased by a whopping 879% throughout 2018. While dyeing the hair grey is a trend that continues to grow among young millennials, this statistic suggests older consumers are more open to forgoing hair dye, and letting their hair colour transform naturally.

    In line with this increase, we predict more brands will move away from the outdated stigma of old age. Instead, they’ll work harder to cater to mature consumers with an approach that is focused more on age-love, not age-less, using models and messaging that truly represent this target group.
  • Old-School Remedies: As explored in our S/S 20 Beauty Forecast Revive, beauty brands are bringing back healing remedies and forgotten recipes to appeal to consumers who value heritage in their offerings. For example, searches for witch-hazel increased by 305% over 2018 – suggesting an uptick for use of this ingredient in 2019.

    Witch-hazel can be used on all skin types to treat acne, alleviate skin irritation and reduce inflammation. Product developers should consider new ways to incorporate this hero ingredient into skincare offerings; consider an apothecary-style skincare line that allows customers to mix it into creams and soaps.
  • Skintellectual Solutions: Last year saw more skincare brands targeting a new breed of extremely knowledgeable beauty consumers – dubbed ‘skintellectuals’ – who demand effective formulas at home. Searches for liquid exfoliators saw a 58% increase on Pinterest, as gentle exfoliation with the use of acids continues to gain popularity among this cohort.

    Product developers should take cues from cult beauty brands catering to this rising consumer group. For example, US beauty brand Glossier launched Solution Exfoliating Skin Perfector in January 2018. Made for daily use, it aims to minimise pores, exfoliate and even out skin texture. The formula contains salicylic, glycolic and lactic acids to slough away dead skin, while aloe vera, glycerin and niacinamide simultaneously calm and moisturise.

    To learn more about this consumer group’s concerns, see our report Selling to Skintellectuals: Beauty’s New Consumer
Published: 3 Jan 2019

Ways to Recycle Seafood Waste Water

Researchers at the Chalmers University have found a way to re-use waste water from fish processing

The seafood industry is incredibly water-hungry; it takes around 8,000 litres to prepare one ton of marinated mackerel, and up to 50,000 for a ton of peeled shrimp. But researchers at Chalmers University in Sweden have found new ways to reincorporate this waste water back into the food chain.

The research, dubbed Novaqua, found that the waste water contains high levels of valuable nutrients such as proteins, peptides, fats and micronutrients, which are being washed away into side streams during processing. Using a patented two-step process, the research team was able to recover up to 98% of the protein and 99% of the omega-3-rich fats from samples of water.

The resulting biomass of nutrient-dense liquid, which was shown to contain 66% protein and 25% fat, was then dehydrated. It can be used in a variety of ways – including as feed for salmon, a glaze for frozen fish that stops them becoming rancid, and a substance for microalgae-cultivation.

Project researcher Bita Forghani Targhi said: "I am quite positive of the fact that related industries, sooner or later, will be implementing these [recovery] techniques. With ever increasing awareness of the value of recycling nutrients, this facilitates industrial processes to adopt feasible approaches towards a circular economy."

Also seeking to rescue seafood waste is Norwegian cruise operator Hurtigruten Cruises. It recently announced that by 2021, six of its cruise ships will run on liquefied biogas – a natural, non-fossil fuel produced from organic fish waste.

For more on the sustainable use of waste in the food space, see Global Food Trends 2018-19: Sial Paris and Fighting the Rising Tide of Food Waste.