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Published: 11 Jul 2018

40-Plus Sisterhoods: Women Remaking Midlife

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More than 80% of American women over 40 feel younger, sexier or cooler than they'd expected to

A wave of supportive heroine hubs is emerging as Gen X and boomer women reinvent middle age with a positive, open and youthful spirit. More than 80% of American women aged over 40 feel younger, sexier or cooler than they'd expected to (Fancy, 2018). Brands need to catch up to this new reality.

Craving Community & Counsel

We've been talking about the rise of heroine hubs – supportive women-only platforms – for a while (see Power Girls). Now, middle-aged women are filling a void and creating platforms focused on this stage in life.

  • Support Crews: Started as a private Facebook group in 2015, New Yorker Nina Lorez Collins' What Would Virginia Woolf Do? is a "sisterhood of literary minded feminists over 40 who offer each other support, resources, inspiration and humour". Thanks to the recently published companion book, the group tripled in size this year to become a 20,000-plus-strong, highly engaged global cohort. Regional subgroups support local connections.
    Launched this year, CoveyClub is an online/offline lifestyle forum with an upbeat tone. The group is for "women who feel... they are living the best years of their lives" and has an emphasis on career support and midlife reinvention. Founder Lesley Jane Seymour, long-time editor of now-defunct US women's magazine More, is seeking brand partnerships. Paying members gain access to CoveyClub's private Facebook page and discounts on recommended products.
    In the Groove, a lifestyle-focused online venture for "age-defying women", is in the works from Susan Feldman – co-founder of US e-commerce brand One Kings Lane.
  • Menopause Spotlight: A new openness around the menopause, especially in the UK, is fuelling new supportive forums. Meg Mathews, a former face of Britpop, launched MegsMenopause in 2017 to break stigmas and empower women with more information. Its Instagram account has accumulated more than 14,000 followers, and the forum held its first conference in London last month. Meanwhile, Scottish non-profit Menopause Café promotes real-life conversation and community. Since it launched in June 2017, 38 café events have attracted about 500 attendees.
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Nina Lorez Collins
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What Would Virginia Woolf Do?
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Susan Feldman
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Covey Club

Smarter Media & Marketing

While boomer women (aged 54 to 72) are 'reinventing life past 50' (J. Walter Thompson, 2018), only occasionally do brands reflect this new reality.

  • Brands Lagging: More than three-quarters of American females say brands play a negative role in perceptions of women over the age of 40 – and 80% say they underestimate their intelligence (Fancy, 2018). Brands need to be more inclusive, stop assuming older women want to be 25 again, and recognise their growing diversity in terms of career status and family (no kids, young kids or an empty nest).
  • How to Get it Right: A savvy take on middle age comes from Chico's, the American apparel chain targeting boomer women. Launched in February, its How Bold Are You? campaign promotes a pivot to more youthful styles and takes a new feisty tone for the brand. A commercial embodies this through music (Bold, by Californian group The Highfields) and on-screen copy such as: 'When they tell me to lower my hemline, I tell them where to go. I'm not growing older. I'm growing bolder.'
    Biannual fashion magazine Renaissance exclusively features models over 40 in unretouched images. The mission is to 'celebrate the revival of midlife' and 'show the beauty of age'. The London agency behind it, Renaissance Creative, aims to help brands engage more meaningfully with 40-plus women. See also Vogue Italia Champions Women Over 60.

In forums such as What Would Virginia Woolf Do? and MegsMenopause, the tone is optimistic and positive, but frank about the challenges unique to this life stage. Women are seeking the same from brands: vibrant, multidimensional portrayals and a meaningful grasp of their difficulties, along with new solutions.

For more strategies to help achieve this, see Mature Beauty: Entering a New Age, The New Fashion Landscape 2017 Update: Diversity Rules and A Fashion A'woke'ning.

Also, look out for upcoming reports The Middle-Aged Gap (publishing July 12) and Gen X: Beauty's Untapped Demographic (publishing July 16) for further insights on attracting this cohort.

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In the US, 80% of 40-plus women say brands underestimate their intelligence
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Renaissance Magazine
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Renaissance Magazine
Published: 10 Jul 2018

E-Skin Brings Sense of Touch to Prosthetic Hands

'Phantom limb' – the perception of still having a missing body part – is a sensory illusion experienced by many amputees. But engineers at the John Hopkins University in the US have created an electronic skin that will soon make this illusion a reality by giving prosthetics the sense of touch.

As explained in the June 2018 research article, the 'e-dermis' is an electronic skin made of fabric and rubber that's layered on top of a prosthetic limb – such as the fingertips of a prosthetic hand. It electrically stimulates the arm's nerves to recreate the sense of touch on the person's fingertips.

The method used is called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or Tens, and is non-invasive – but still feels like a real skin. "After many years I felt my hand, as if a hollow shell got filled with life again," said the team's anonymous principal tester.

E-dermis is not yet sensitive to temperature – but it can detect shapes and perceive pain when it touches something sharp. This is particularly useful for alerting wearers to potential damage, particularly to lower-limb prosthetics. With up to 40,000 amputations performed annually in the US, the innovative e-skin could dramatically improve amputees' quality of life (NCBI, 2018).

Accessibility tech that enhances the lives of people with disabilities is a key area of opportunity, as outlined in CES 2018: Personal Electronics and 10 Tech Trends to Watch in 2018. For more on the technologies that empower people with disabilities, see Design for Disability: Transformative Tech.

Published: 6 Jul 2018

Graduate Textiles 2018: 5 Designers to Watch

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Diane Bresson

Each summer, the latest graduate shows offer an insight into our creative future, with the next generation of talent showcasing an exciting array of new, unseen work. We scoured the shows for the emerging UK textile designers with the most promising projects and innovative use of colour and materials. Here’s our edit of the ones to watch.

  • Pattern Play: In line with themes in our S/S 18 Colour Spectrum direction Perspective, Diane Bresson from Central Saint Martins (CSM) produced a striking collection of digital and screen-printed wallpapers in dynamic and intriguing patterns. Simple geometric shapes and textures were overlaid in a number of explorative colour combinations to create complex patterns that appear to play with perception. The wallpaper lengths can be hung in various ways to create multiple pattern options.

    The designer also experimented with the fusion of pattern and moving colour. Digitally printed wallpapers were animated with coloured light projections, exploring how static pattern can become experiential. Be sure to watch the video here.
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Diane Bresson
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Diane Bresson
  • Softening Hard Materials: Responding to our busy modern lives, CSM graduate Lucy Paskell similarly focused on improving wellbeing by creating textiles that engage the user through touch. Her collection of surface solutions considered how to bring the feelings of comfort experienced in domestic spaces into our everyday surroundings, by softening and adding tactility to hard surfaces.

    Soft upholstery fabrics such as velvet and leather were combined with wood veneer, digital embroidery and 3D-print techniques such as embossing to create touchable relief surfaces. Suitable for a number of interior applications, the nature of the techniques allows surfaces to be personalised to suit the space and user.
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Lucy Paskell
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  • Reconnecting with Nature: In an impressive and thorough body of work, Heather Ratliff from Loughborough University explored how textiles can help us to reconnect with nature and improve mental wellbeing.

    Her collection of fabrics for (slow) fashion brought together ideas of biophilic design, craftsmanship, tactility and sensory experiences through carefully considered textures, colours, pattern and scent. Crafted hand-stitching added texture for a haptic experience, patterns were inspired by natural rhythms, and scents such as jasmine and lavender infused fabrics – all in a bid to benefit the wearer.
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  • Sustainable Processes: A respect for sustainable materials and working methods continues to drive textile graduates. Focusing on the potential of British wool, Alison Wibmer from the Edinburgh College of Art took a considerate approach when creating her collection of inviting wool-based interior fabrics.

    The designer worked with the notion of “fibre to fabric”, locally and ethically sourcing fleece that was washed, spun and felted by hand before being embroidered and dyed sustainably. Resourceful dye processes, such as batch dyeing and reusing waste water were employed to maximise resources and minimise waste. See Considered Colour and Home Ground: Colour S/S 2019 for more on responsible dye processes. 

    Wibmer’s bold and comforting textiles, suitable for rugs and flooring, incorporated other biodegradable fibres such as Tencel and bamboo to add surface interest through colour and material variation.
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Alison Wibmer
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Alison Wibmer
  • Modernising Craftsmanship: Royal College of Art graduate Sophie Graney presented a playful collection of handwoven outdoor fabrics that combine traditional techniques such as lacework with unconventional materials like PVC, rubber-coated yarn and leather. The bold, colour-blocked pieces are waterproof and suitable for outdoor lifestyle accessories and exterior furnishings.

    Contemporary takes on traditional craft and skills are a concept we explored in our recent S/S 20 Materials Focus – see Hands of Time for more.
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For more textile inspiration, see Milan 2018: Accessories & Textiles and Première Vision S/S 19.

 

Published: 3 Jul 2018

The Beverage Buzz: Alcohol-Style THC Drinks

Legal cannabis poses a clear threat to alcohol brands. Now, several companies are developing THC-powered, alcohol-free beverages that look and taste like beer, wine or spirits – positioning cannabis as a direct replacement.

Brands are vying to leverage the newly legal status of recreational cannabis in nine US states and Canada (Canadian legalisation begins in October, but edibles/drinkables will be barred for the first year). They're promoting alcohol-inspired beverages infused with THC (the psychoactive compound in cannabis) as hangover-free booze alternatives and an easy format for social cannabis consumption. Because the effects of conventional edibles are normally slow to kick in but can last for hours, some producers are also designing their products to mimic the response curve of alcohol.

As explained in A Budding Opportunity: Commercialising Cannabis, different strains of the plant naturally serve as alcohol alternatives for both thrill-seekers and their opposing counterparts, moderate millennials. In Canada, 41% of current/likely recreational cannabis consumers regard it as an alternative to alcohol, according to a new study from Deloitte Canada, which concludes that "all alcohol categories could be affected". A 2017 survey of Californian millennials by local cannabis producer OutCo found 34% would choose cannabis over beer, while 18% would favour it over wine.

We initially discussed this concept in Fluid Flavours, part of our Future of Flavour Industry Trend, pointing to drinks like the alcohol-free sauvignon blanc produced by Rebel Coast Winery in California. Here are five 2018 launches worth tracking:

  • Lagunitas, the California brewery owned by Heineken, has announced an "IPA-inspired" sparkling THC drink called Hi-Fi Hops, described as "bubbly, aromatic, bitter, fruity and herbaceous". Unlike beer, the drink is zero-calorie and carb-free – key selling points. Lagunitas is partnering with cannabis-oil producer ABX, whose infusion method is designed to ensure even dispersion of THC. Packaged in childproof cans, Hi-Fi Hops will come in a 10mg THC version and another containing 5mg of THC and 5mg of CBD (the non-psychoactive component). It's set to launch in California this summer.
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Lagunitas
  • Colorado-based Ceria was launched this year by Keith Villa, former longtime head brewmaster at US brewery Molson Coors' Blue Moon Brewing brand. Villa plans a line of THC drinks that will be brewed like beer and then de-alcoholised. He's working with Colorado cannabinoid research company Ebbu, which has developed formulations intended to produce specific results (from energising to chilling out). The water-soluble formats have the same onset time as alcohol. Villa says the products will be available by year-end. 
  • Toronto start-up Province Brands of Canada plans to launch a line of beers brewed from the cannabis plant itself, plus a non-alcoholic barley-based beer infused with cannabis oil. The drinks will incorporate an accelerant to speed up the onset of intoxicating effects, as well as a proprietary decelerant.
  • Two Roots Brewing, from San Diego-based company Cannabiniers, is preparing a beer that will be de-alcoholised and then infused with micro-doses of THC – enabling consumption of several bottles without overdoing it. The company says the electrolyte-filled non-alcoholic beer is healthy – akin to a sports drink – and that such products will help negate any fears still associated with cannabis edibles. The five varieties (a lager, stout, IPA, blonde ale and wheat beer) will launch initially in Nevada.
  • Toronto-based Tinley Beverage Company is producing alcohol-free, THC-infused coconut rum, amaretto extract and cinnamon whiskey extract, as well as a ready-to-drink “margarita” designed to deliver a level of psychoactive intensity comparable to a traditional cocktail. The drinks are currently sold in California.
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Corporate-backed products will be joining these brands on the shelf. After taking a 10% stake in Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth in 2017, Fortune 500 alcohol company Constellation Brands is now developing cannabis-based beverages. Molson Coors is reportedly exploring similar plans in Canada.

Expect more alcohol brands to follow. Americans already believe regular marijuana use is less risky health-wise than regular alcohol consumption (Marist College, 2017). In the recreationally legal era, as cannabis comes to be perceived as a natural wellness product, products like these are likely to supplement or replace their alcoholic counterparts.

Published: 2 Jul 2018

Deciphering the behaviour of all demographic groups is a vital part of our work, and the youngest generations – the connected consumers of the future – are the most crucial for brands to watch.

Aside from being the fastest to adopt new technologies, Gen Z (aged nine to 23) hold great purchase influence in their households. And in terms of personal and social diversity, they’re among the most open and accepting consumer groups we’ve seen.

We’ve just published 10 Youth Trends to Watch, which charts the impact these trends are likely to have on multiple industries. Looking at just three of Gen Z’s polarising behaviours paints a fascinating picture of an enterprising group who are resourceful, mindful and inventive – and looking for brands to support their development in relevant and meaningful ways.

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Three-quarters (77%) of 14- to 21-year-old Americans already earn their own money (White Paper, 2017)

Youthful Enterprise

This inspiring new generation of teens has an unprecedented entrepreneurial spirit; more than three-quarters (77%) of 14- to 21-year-old Americans already earn their own money. These tech natives are trading cryptocurrencies and turning their social media platforms into mini e-tail economies. And they’re looking for media outlets – like Teen Boss magazine and social network Maverick, both of which provide practical advice for savvy teenpreneurs – to help them build their own brands and learn start-up skills.

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16- to 24-year-olds in the UK are over three times more likely to be regularly lonely than over-65s (ONS, 2017)

Connecting Gen Lonely

A mental health crisis is gaining public attention across generations. Alarmingly, despite the perception that Gen Z is socially connected, the Office for National Statistics has found that 16- to 24-year-olds in the UK are over three times more likely to be regularly lonely than over-65s.

We believe there’s a real need for compassionate brands to promote self-care through a number of initiatives like wellbeing apps and products, and community hubs that bring young people together in real life.

Crafting Creative Identities

Further to valuing connection and commerce, Gen Zers seek new forms of self-discovery and ways to express their identity. The beauty sector in particular is responding well with teen- and tween-targeted products that promote creativity, experimentation and diversity – which is also prompting huge industry growth. Brands like Crayola are recognising young people’s self-confidence issues and responding with make-up that encourages them to explore and express their personalities.  

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Crayola Beauty

In our Asian Beauty Now Spotlight Trend reports, we’re watching a wave of influence coming from the East in the form of clever teen sub-brands and new formats that cultivate inventive behaviour. From Shiseido’s teen brand Posme, with its addictive shareable make-up stickers of single-dose, multi-use colour for the eyes, cheeks and lips, to South Korean beauty brand Etude House’s in-store Color Factory for developing the ultimate in personalised palettes.

As July gets underway, we’re turning our focus to opportunities for engaging with an older market – ‘the middle-aged gap’. We’re also excited to continue building our psychographic landscape – the seeds of our next Consumer Zodiac. Watch this space.

Have a great month,

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Tessa Mansfield

Chief Creative Officer

Published: 18 Jun 2018

Men: Nailing the Salon Experience

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Guys That Nail It pops up in London's Peckham district from June 12-22

A new pop-up salon in London is challenging taboos by opening a nail bar for guys. Could it redefine masculinity in the era of ‘male beauty’?

New British pop-up Guys That Nail It is boldly reframing the beauty salon concept with a nail bar dedicated solely to men. Open from June 12-22 in London’s edgy Peckham district, clients are offered treatments ranging from classic pedicures through to more daring gel extensions.

The launch of the nail bar capitalises on the new era of male beauty, which we expect to grow in line with – and potentially overtake – the male grooming market, which is forecast to reach $60.7bn by 2020 globally (Euromonitor, 2017). Lisa Payne, Stylus’ senior editor of Beauty, says: “Although Guys That Nail It has opened as a pop-up, its success will indicate a gap in the market for more permanent beauty spaces dedicated to men.”

Another brand successfully tapping into the male beauty category is British label MMUK Man. It’s set to launch the UK’s first male-only make-up store in Brighton in July 2018, where consumers will be able to experiment with the 80-piece line.

These openings signal the potential of beauty spaces and services dedicated to men, with 45% of parlours and 64% of mobile professionals in the UK currently not offering male grooming treatments (Beautiful Britain, 2017).

For more strategies tapping into contemporary masculine values, see Men’s Health: New Directions, Marketing to Millennial Men and Fashioning a New Masculinity.

Published: 15 Jun 2018

Ikea x E-Sports: Ergonomics for the Gaming Generation

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Area Academy

The Swedish manufacturer has acknowledged the huge influence of e-sports with a new collaboration tackling ergonomic seating design for a generation that sits playing computer games for up to 20 hours per day.

As revealed in Designing Amplified Experiences (part of our Active Lives Macro Trend), e-sports is big business, with revenue forecast to reach $1.5bn by 2020 (Newzoo, 2017). Ikea has long dedicated its creative focus to improving ergonomic design, and with gamers sitting down for up to 20 hours a day – sometimes resulting in sports injuries – the pairing is a logical fit.

The collaboration – announced at Ikea’s annual design conference Democratic Design Days last week – is with Swedish e-sports education platform Area Academy, and US medical wearable company Unyq. The latter creates custom prosthetics from digital body scans, which are used to create 3D-printed casts that are tailored to the user’s body. Ikea wants to bring this technology into its stores, demonstrating that customisation is possible within the mass market.

Unyq’s scanning technology will be located in Ikea stores next to its standard chair models. Users create a 3D map of their body, which can be saved and sent to Ikea with their product choice via an app. From these scans, Unyq prints cushions that fit onto the product and feature a lattice structure that guides the user into the correct posture.

The speedy and scalable production made possible with 3D technology is driving new commercial opportunities by creating custom-fitted product. This is a major theme within our A/W 19/20 Design Direction Burst, which explores how designs are being left open-ended to enable users to realise products that reflect their bodies, needs and creativity.

Published: 12 Jun 2018

Microsoft HoloLens Guides Blind People

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HoloLens may soon act as a virtual guide for blind people

Microsoft's HoloLens – a headset containing a holographic computer – will soon be able to guide blind people through buildings, thanks to its ability to map spaces in real time and offer audio guidance via speakers.

The mixed-reality headset allows users to see, hear and interact with 3D holograms that are "pinned" in their field of vision. Unlike other augmented glasses, HoloLens holograms interact with the world while the user is moving, as multiple sensors can map the user's surrounding space in detail.

Researchers from the California Institute of Technology have designed an application that allows the HoloLens's features to act as a virtual guide, helping blind individuals navigate complex buildings by restoring vision at a cognitive level. The wearable computer captures images of the surrounding environment, and conveys this information via auditory augmented reality. Its speakers can make sound appear as if it's coming from different points within the space – enabling users to find their way just by following the voice, without the need for any physical aids.

"The combination of unprecedented computing power in wearable devices with augmented reality technology promises a new era of non-invasive prostheses", reads the abstract of the research. Considering that 253 million people in the world are blind or visually impaired (WHO, 2017), this technology could be life-changing for many in the future.

For more on the advances in accessibility tech, see 10 Trends to Watch in 2018, Design for Disability: Transformative Tech and our Diversity Outlook Innovation Platform.

Published: 8 Jun 2018

New Design Concepts Play with Natural Light

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Nathanaël Abeille & Carlos Muniagurria, Reflective bricks

Consumers are feeling a greater disconnect from natural environments as the world becomes increasingly urbanised. As an antidote to the lack of natural light in urban spaces, designers are finding innovative ways to enhance or artificially replicate daylight in our homes and built environments. Here are three exciting examples.

  • Driven by a concern over the lack of natural light in city dwellings, French designer Nathanaël Abeille and Argentinian materials specialist Carlos Muniagurria have developed a process of metalising common bricks in order to reflect sunlight in built-up areas. Coated in chrome and nickel alloy, the bricks could be used to divert and share sunlight between buildings in dark urban streets.
  • Presented at Milan Design Week 2018, Japanese designer Yuji Okitsu’s Focus installation enhances natural and ambient lighting in interior environments. The mobile-like sculpture consists of a number of flat glass lenses that hang from the ceiling. These capture, collect and diffuse light from all angles, creating an ever-changing lit space that brings the nuances of natural daylight indoors.
  • Based in Zurich and Marseille, design studio AATB showcased the Sunny Side Up robotic sun at Milan Design Week 2018 – a contemporary version of the traditional sundial. The conceptual installation features an illuminated robotic arm that orbits around a metal rod, casting a shadow as it goes. The moving light embodies the movement of the sun in real time and aims to reconnect the viewer with the rhythms of daylight. See Lamp Imitates Natural Light Indoors for a similar concept.

For more on the positive impact of natural light on our wellbeing, see Natural Relations within our Materialising Modern Work report, and Supernatural Light in Transformative Spaces.

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Yuji Okitsu, Focus
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AATB, Sunny Side Up
Published: 31 May 2018

Beyond anticipation for the millennium, 2020 is the milestone year that has always denoted ‘tomorrow’s world’. Now, our global colour specialists have forecast the trends that will land in real life for this once-futuristic year.

By looking across the creative industries and the worlds of art, technology and science, they’ve foreseen an exciting, vibrant and positive tomorrow – a tomorrow that’s coming fast.

Here are their three defining trends:

1. Time Travel: Look Back to Look Forward

Our research this season has seen us jumping into the future whilst looking back at landmark highlights from the past. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing, which not only signified a huge technological accomplishment, but also impacted design and aesthetics.

Half a century later, designers are revisiting the symbolism of the moon and celestial formations in a modern context. We’re seeing mysticism being captured aesthetically, through a redefined space-age palette, in augmented environments and products. Three shades from our Colour Spectrum S/S 2020 capture this trend: pale purple Cosmos; vivid, lunar-inspired Dark Windsor; and a particularly spectacular shade of Neon Peach that I want to surround myself with from this day forward.

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Sies Marjan, A/W 18/19
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2. The New Age of Nature

We’ve been citing the importance of biophilic design within our everyday lives as part of a wider wellbeing trend. As we design sensitively for the future, we look for ways to convey nature’s fluid rhythms and irregularities through enriching patterns and finishes.

Lauren Chiu, our senior editor of Colour & Materials, says: “For Spring/Summer 2020, we imagine calming utopias where living colour nourishes our senses alongside materials that grow and evolve, nurturing our mind and body as they mature.” A botanical palette includes mineral Blue Shale, verdant Reseda Green, and chalky, soothing Rosaline.

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Alice Walton Ceramics
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Ròmola by Andrés Jaque Architects
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3. Humanity’s Global Heritage

In our wider consumer trend research, we’ve been questioning what it means to be human today – considering what unites and divides us, while acknowledging the crucial role of diversity in society’s wellbeing. For a bright, borderless future, we’re inspired by a rich and resourceful aesthetic that draws influence from a broad global audience.

An appreciation of cultural heritage and skills is leading an exploration of traditional craft, as we see time-honoured techniques being invigorated through contemporary construction. This is where colours that convey history and age-old character – like deep Indigo Ink, stripped-back Vanilla and energising Emberglow – come in.

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Here, I’ve presented a sample of just nine of the 48 colours that make up our biannual Colour Spectrum, a glimpse at the colours we should prepare to embrace in 2020.

Alongside our global colour specialists, our advisory team can create bespoke colour forecasts with ideas for application. If you’re interested in finding out more, please do get in touch with our Advisory team.

Wishing you a colourful month,

Tessa Mansfield

Chief Creative Officer

Published: 30 May 2018

Virgin Fitness Class Features CPR Training

Virgin Active has launched a new fitness class for its gym members in Thailand called CPRobic, which combines cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training with an intensive workout.

CPRobic teaches participants hands-only CPR movements that could prove life-saving in an emergency, while helping them exercise. Just 15 minutes of CPRobic can burn up to 165 calories and when combined with a Bosu fitness training ball, participants can burn up to 400 calories in 45 minutes. The class was added in March 2018 and is taught by CPR-certified trainers.

Virgin created the class after discovering only 6% of patients who require on-the-spot CPR in Thailand receive it before being taken to hospital, as most people have never had CPR training. Less than 1% of the population has a gym membership (IHRSA, 2017), while in countries like the UK, this rate is as high as 15% (LeisureDB, 2017). In order to attract customers, gyms in the region need to market innovative, multipurpose classes to entice more people to try them.

For more on the latest innovations in the fitness and active landscape, see our Active Lives Macro Trend and coverage of Elevate 2018.

Published: 29 May 2018

Personalised Beauty Targets Menstruation

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Knours

US naturals start-up Knours is capitalising on the wellness category’s personalised beauty trend by addressing hormonal changes in the skin linked to the menstrual cycle.  

The company has developed an artificial intelligence-powered app that is designed to analyse changes in the user’s skin condition and mood. It determines an appropriate skincare routine for consumers via a questionnaire, using data such as skin type and the date of their last period to generate a selection of suitable products.

An extension of this personalisation strategy might be an analysis tool that visually assesses and tracks the skin’s health. We believe this is a bankable opportunity for brands, as the global beauty devices market is expected to reach $94.3bn by 2023 (P&S Market Research, 2017). 

The eight-piece, Korean-beauty-inspired offering provides skincare and bodycare products to use at different points in the menstrual cycle. For instance, the multitasking Double Duty Mist is ideal for pre- and post-menstruation. The moisturising jojoba oil rises to the top, while the aloe vera water sinks to the bottom. Users simply shake the bottle to mix the ingredients for use on dry, dull skin. When the mixture is left separated, the hero ingredients target oily, acne-prone skin.

Skincare based on menstrual cycles is becoming a fast-developing category as innovative start-ups cater to this model. US brand Amareta launched a three-step skincare range based on women’s menstrual cycles and hormonal changes in August 2017.

For more on cyclical and personalised beauty, see Circadian Rhythms Drive Beauty Innovation and Future Beauty: Perfecting Bespoke.

Published: 29 May 2018

Wristband Tracks Body Composition

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Aura Band

US start-up Aura Devices has designed the Aura Band – a next-gen fitness tracker that can track users' body composition, as well as their activity and heart rate.

The Aura Band uses bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), a method of estimating body composition – such as fat, muscle percentage and bone volume, as well as hydration levels. To activate the BIA, users create a loop with their arms by holding the band. The band then passes a low-voltage electric current through the user's body, which allows it to calculate the percentage of water and fat, based on the resistance to the flow of electricity.

Aura Devices claims that tracking body composition is a more reliable way to measure our bodies than using traditional scales, which typically track weight only. This method also enables the device to give the user personalised tips, such as increasing their water intake.

The company plans to reward active users with virtual coins called Aura Coins, which could be used to buy real-life products and services from Aura Devices' partners – such as insurance companies, suggests co-founder Stas Gorbunov. This could spark innovation in terms of health plans, with customers paying insurance fees according to their physical activity levels.

The start-up is currently raising money on crowdfunding website Kickstarter, with the device priced at $109 and expected to ship in August 2018.

For more ways to incentivise consumers to exercise, see Fuelling Fast-Paced Lifestyles.

Published: 22 May 2018

INBair O2: Brain-Boosting Air Purifier

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INBair O2

British air purification tech company Radic8 has designed a portable oxygen purifier, called INBair O2. The device could help office workers reduce feelings of drowsiness in the middle of the day and boost their productivity just by inhaling oxygen.

The book-sized device processes air, purifies it and then delivers it through an inhaler that resembles a headset. It's designed to be an easy-to-use, inconspicuous product for people who would like to use it in their workplace.

Radic8 claims that the percentage of oxygen in offices drops from 21% to 17% as the day passes and more carbon dioxide is produced, which explains why people feel sleepy in the middle of the day. Instead of drinking coffee or eating something sweet, using INBair O2 for 30 minutes is meant to give users a brain boost that will increase their productivity and make them feel brighter.

Priced at $455, the product is available for pre-order from the company's Indiegogo page. It's expected to ship in July 2018.

As concerns over air pollution grow, the size of the residential air purifier market worldwide is expected to reach 21 million units by 2021 (Statista, 2018). INBair O2 is tapping into this trend, as well as the rising interest in maximising personal productivity, by claiming that "pure oxygen enters your bloodstream through your lungs and goes straight to the brain". See also Career Pioneers.

For more on the devices that are helping us to improve our physical and mental wellbeing, see Wearable Technology Show 2018 and Increased Wellbeing: Personal Air Purifiers.

Published: 17 May 2018

Vodka Brand Launches Clean-Air Bar

Extra
Clean Air Bar

Dutch vodka brand Ketel One has teamed up with London bar No 29 Power Station West to launch the city's first clean-air bar. The space was designed to help Londoners escape from city pollution, and learn how house plants can improve living standards.

The bar is filled with plants that Nasa has found to be effective at removing toxins from the air, including aloe vera, weeping fig, rubber plants and Boston fern. All plants have been supplied by local London urban farm Patch.

Customers can choose from a range of Ketel One cocktails, with ingredients such as basil, mint and rosemary picked from a "living garnish wall". They can also customise the drinks to suit their tastes.

Meanwhile, food comes courtesy of UK chef duo Billy and Jack. Dishes are made from locally sourced sustainable ingredients, such as vodka-cured sea trout with smoked mayo and house pickles, and lamb skewers with labneh, dukkah, spiced date sauce, charred spring onion and spring leaves.

The bar will also host two urban gardening workshops by Patch in late May.

This is the latest example of brands catering for urban-dwelling consumers who are concerned about rising levels of pollution. See New Architecture of Taste (part of our latest Industry Trend The Future of Flavour), Pollution-Fighting Health Drink and Pollution Protection Update: New Formats & Formulas for further case studies.

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