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Published: 13 Jul 2018

Casino & L’Oréal Launch New Convenience Store

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Le Drugstore Parisien

Convenience stores – and, most recently, drugstores – are the latest retail category to undergo a reinvention. We highlight an innovative concept that’s the result of an unusual partnership between France’s Casino Group and beauty giant L'Oréal: a new urban take on the convenience store. 

Le Drugstore Parisien stocks everything from beauty and pharmacy products to healthy snacks and treats. It also provides free wi-fi, phone-charging points, water fountains, shoe-shine machines, parcel pick-up points, sinks and dressing tables, and even a “light therapy area”.

The target market of the new retail concept is the urban young, for whom “the lines between work, culture and fun are being blurred, creating a new way of living”, according to Jean Paul Mochet, chief executive of convenience banners at the Casino Group. Around 55% of products are priced at under €10.

The first two stores opened in late June in Paris on rue de la Chaussee d’Antin (360 sq m) and rue du Bac (150 sq m). A third is planned for the city, with a view to roll out the concept to other European locations and possibly even Brazil and Colombia, where Casino Group has subsidiaries.

Jean-Charles Naouri, chairman of Casino Group, hailed the launch as proof “that major companies are able to come together to invent and create unique, original places in line with contemporary lifestyles”.

For more on the changing face of convenience retail, read Corner Shop as Wellness Haven, while Nordstrom’s New Local Concept gives a glimpse into service-led retailing.

Published: 12 Jul 2018

Bacardi’s Crowd-Directed Video

For its first foray into Instagram TV (IGTV), Instagram's long-form video format, spirits brand Bacardi used poll widgets in Instagram Stories to let its fan community direct a music video shoot in real time.

The brand collaborated with Grammy-nominated Canadian DJ A-Trak and French dancers Les Twins, who have performed with the likes of Beyoncé and Missy Elliot. During the nine-hour shoot, Instagram Story polls were posted on Les Twins' account, letting fans vote on different aspects of the video. With the audience picking background locations, dance moves, colour filters and camera angles, the final clip arose from 1,024 possible variations.

Using Instagram Stories, a media format consumers are already familiar with, was a canny move by creative agency BBDO New York to draw Bacardi's audience into the new IGTV channels. The resulting Live Moves clip is part of Bacardi's ongoing #DoWhatMovesYou campaign, which focuses on self-expression and liberation.

"It's a much deeper, more meaningful level of engagement that pushes fans to really think about what moves them and take control of the narrative," said Bacardi's director of creative excellence, Laila Mignoni.

As we explored at length in State of Media: The Fan-First Revolution, interactive, personalised and crowd-sourced content will play a central role in brand media strategies going forth. In our round-up of developments from E3 2018, we also note how the latest developments in cross-platform gaming will unlock great potential for interactive brand storytelling.

Published: 11 Jul 2018

MakeUp in Paris 2018: Top 5 Trends

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From extreme colour to unisex make-up, the 2018 edition of annual cosmetics and packaging trade show MakeUp in Paris (June 21-22) highlighted strong beauty directions, with brands and formulators prioritising sustainability with sex appeal.

Here are the top five trends from the show:

  • Advanced Colour Cosmetics: Some of the most exciting launches showcased make-up with added skincare benefits. Italian cosmetics developer Ancorotti launched an entire eye collection with products that tapped into this. Mascara Electra, for example, boasts a formula containing an active ingredient called Blue Lock to protect the lashes against damage from the blue light emitted from smartphone and laptop screens.

    For more on pollutant-protective product and the growing importance of this category in both make-up and skincare, see Agile Beauty and Pollution Protection Update.
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Ancorotti
  • Extreme Colour: Colour cosmetic developers were keen to showcase new launches that tapped into extreme and dynamic colour. A standout product line came from German brand Weckerle. Its UV Collection of lip liners, lipsticks and a mascara offers bold colours that glow bright blue under UV light – ideal for young, music-loving consumers.

    Bold metallics also fall under this category, with brands like US pharmaceutical company Merck, international chemicals producer BASF, and US cosmetics business Presperse showing advanced pigments with holographic and enhanced light reflection. An example of finished product showing the appeal of molten metallics was German brand Gotha Cosmetics’ award-winning Metal Foil Eye Cream.

    Holographic visuals were also seen in beauty accessories, such as the bright make-up bag showcased by German developer Geka.
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Weckerle
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Weckerle
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BASF
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Geka
  • Sustainability Push: Unlike previous years, sustainable and ethical credentials were key drivers for new product development, in line with growing consumer demand for eco-friendly beauty. More simplistic initiatives, like French manufacturer Alkos’s solid shampoo and perfume bars, tap into the success of British natural brand Lush’s solid products. And Italian packaging manufacturer Mktg Industry launched its Gea Collection of cardboard beauty packaging featuring minimal, but nonetheless recyclable, plastic.

    More technically impressive examples of sustainability were seen in French developer Cosmogen’s new sustainable raw material PCR, which behaves like plastic and can replace most, if not 100%, of the material in the brand’s packaging portfolio.

    German brand Schwan Cosmetics showcased its eco-friendly range of beauty pencils. They’re made from renewable wood using an industry-first technology that allows high-quality formulas to be encased in wood without degrading quickly. For more on the latest in eco beauty, see The Great Beauty Green-Up.
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  • Velvet Allure: From a formula perspective, the texture of choice this year was velvet. Numerous raw cosmetics developers highlighted the appeal of velvet finishes that combine the pigment payoff of matte with the comfort of gloss or cream finishes.

    The beauty division of German pen and pencil manufacturer Faber Castell introduced Velvet Delight – a glide-on lipstick with a velvety, matte finish that is pigment-rich and lasts for up to six hours.

    According to the brand, it doesn’t dry out the lips as many long-wear matte formulas can, but still retains their non-feathering, transfer-resistant appeal. Enriched with Panthenol (a form of vitamin B5 used as a moisturiser and lubricating compound), the product glides on like butter, but stays put.
  • Unisex Appeal: As we explore in The Male Beauty Moment  and Asian Beauty Now: New Markets, New Ideas, men are becoming more open to the idea of using make-up. But there is still only a handful of brands creating product that’s aimed at them, or marketing their offerings as unisex.

    In response, Ancorotti is introducing an entire unisex range of make-up products that could appeal to all genders, with the aim of inspiring men to express themselves. The Skin Wears Silk powder, for example, can be used by women to finish off their make-up look, while men (who tend to have oilier, and therefore shinier skin) can use it on its own to mattify.
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Published: 11 Jul 2018

JD.com’s Chinese Shopping-Festival Frenzy

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JD.com

A Chinese e-commerce giant that invented a shopping festival, ostensibly to celebrate the anniversary of the company’s launch, saw sales soar again this year. JD.com reported $24bn in sales for the 18-day event.

Chinese consumers’ enthusiasm for festivals and special events was highlighted again in June with the runaway success of the 618 Shopping Festival, created by JD.com.

The e-commerce giant reported RMB 159.2bn ($24.6bn) in sales for this year’s version of its annual shopping celebration – 37% up on the 2017 event.

The festival, which ran from June 1-18, neatly coincided with Father’s Day in China and the traditional Chinese Dragon Boat Festival. Top categories were mobile phones, PCs, air conditioners, other digital products, and food and beverages.

Rival e-tailer Alibaba’s shopping event Singles Day, held in November, reached sales of $25.3bn in 2017, up 40% compared to 2016 (NY Times, 2017). Meanwhile, in the US, Amazon is expected to run its annual Prime Day event in July this year.

Stefanie Dorfer, Retail editor at Stylus, commented: “These kinds of self-made events are producing exceptional figures. As a marketing exercise, they have proven to be outstandingly successful. The lead retailer’s partners and even its competitors are all able to benefit from these festivals.”

For more on the strategies Chinese retailers are deploying to win over the hearts of shoppers, head over to our Uni-Commerce and Chinese New Year 18: Retail Trends reports.

If you’re interested in hosting events as a marketing tool, read Branded Festival Experience, 2017 and The Marketing Power of Events.

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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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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Published: 10 Jul 2018

Asos Launches Wheelchair-Friendly Jumpsuit

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ASOS's inclusive jumpsuit
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Online fashion and beauty retailer Asos is extending its diversity agenda once more with a fashion-forward jumpsuit that’s suitable for wheelchair users, created in collaboration with British Paralympic athlete Chloe Ball-Hopkins. 

The waterproof outfit costs £50 and has an adjustable hood, a zip around the waist to make it easier to get in and out of, cuffs that allow the sleeve length to be changed, and a pocket for medical supplies. It’s currently only available in one style – pink tie-dye – but Ball-Hopkins hinted that similar garments could soon be on the way. She also clarified that the jumpsuit can be worn by anyone, not just those with disabilities, highlighting the universality of the design.

The accessible suit is far from the retailer’s first encounter with progressiveness – Asos regularly houses exclusive plus-size collections, carries gender-neutral products, and promotes body positivity through inclusive brand marketing. With consumers increasingly demanding diversity across age, size, race and ability, the project is a good reminder that brands should aim for ultimate inclusivity; those that don’t will be left behind.

For more on this topic, see Nordstrom’s Size-Inclusive Initiatives, Rihanna’s Inclusive Lingerie Line and Progressive Fashion.

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: 9 Jul 2018

Is Smell-O-Vision the Next VR Frontier?

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VR smell-o-vision

Virtual reality (VR) is plunging consumers into multisensory environments, impacting industries from product development to entertainment. Now, Swiss scent and flavour house Givaudan has added scent to the equation with its new 'Smell-In-A-Box' technology.

Launching at San Francisco conference Food IT in June 2018, Givaudan has created a smell emitter that releases fragrances that align with visuals projected through a VR headset. The version showcased at the event placed wearers in a virtual kitchen, with the scent emitter releasing the smells of different ingredients as they appeared within the space. These included bananas, strawberries, onions and garlic.

This technology, which has scope for cross-industry impact, is exciting for several reasons. In terms of food and drink, it further validates thinking around VR-enhanced dining experiences and product development first put forward in our report Sensory Edibles. It could also be used in the entertainment space – allowing gamers and film viewers to become even more fully immersed in virtual worlds via the addition of olfactory stimulation.

For further examples of how product developers are using scent to enhance the consumer experience, see New Fragrance Worlds and Scented Cup Simulates Flavour. See also Tribeca Immersive 2018: The Art of AR/VR and CES 2018 x Retail: Emotion-Tracking VR Headset to discover more on the rapid and evolving growth of VR products across the industry spectrum.

Published: 9 Jul 2018

Lush Launches Inclusive, Packaging-Free Foundation Worldwide

Following the opening of Lush’s packaging-free store in Milan, the brand has pledged to further develop its eco-friendly range with an inclusive twist.  

British naturals brand Lush is expanding its make-up line with vegan multi-tonal foundation sticks – set to launch in 18 countries. The compact Slap Sticks are available in 40 hues with cool, neutral or warm undertones. Hero ingredients Indonesian coconut oil, Turkish rose wax and Peruvian jojoba oil hydrate and brighten the skin.  

The development of shade-inclusive collections is becoming the norm for the colour cosmetics industry, as savvy beauty brands acknowledge diverse consumer groups. Cult US companies ColourPop and CoverGirl are good examples – both have recently relaunched their foundation ranges with up to 42 hues. 

In a bid to reduce plastic waste, each Slap Stick is housed in a biodegradable wax casing, encouraging wearers to forego traditional glass or plastic foundation bottles. This ‘unpackaged’ approach has been successfully implemented within the brand’s hair and bodycare ranges – currently, over 35% of Lush’s products are ‘naked’.

In addition, the sticks offer on-the-go usability. The easy-grip egg shape of the foundation stick – which resembles a make-up sponge – ensures consumers can apply the make-up with their fingers and blend the formula for an airbrushed finish, without the use of bulky applicator tools.

While currently a limited-edition run, if popular, they could be rolled out as a permanent feature, and inspire the brand to explore more packaging-free product development in other categories.

For deeper insights into sustainable packaging solutions and diversity in the beauty industry, see A Sustainable JourneyThe Great Beauty Green-Up and Inclusive Beauty: 5 Key Lessons.

Published: 9 Jul 2018

Selling the Good Stuff: Changing Face of Convenience Retail

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The Goods Mart

Convenience stores across the globe are undergoing a healthy transformation, becoming wellness havens that offer fresh, organic food and vegan alternatives. A new West Coast opening – The Goods Mart in Los Angeles – combines sustainability with activism.

Described as the ‘7-Eleven of the future’, organic home essentials are the key product at The Goods Mart – a convenience store that opened in May 2018 in Los Angeles.

The bright space with clean interiors carries 300 all-natural products free from artificial colours, sweeteners, flavours and growth hormones. Partnerships with local businesses result in high-quality items at lower prices, including eco-friendly boxed water for $1.25, and misshapen fruit and vegetables for 50 cents. iPads at the checkout educate consumers on the provenance of products, responding to concerns about transparency in retail.

This is a smart business opportunity, with 68% of US millennials willing to pay premium for organic food (Matchbox, 2017). “The fresh, organic and plant-based movement is not a fad by any means,” says Laura Swain, assistant editor of Food, Beverage & Hospitality at Stylus. “It’s a major trend.”

The Goods Mart also dedicates space to community events and donates food nearing its expiry date to the homeless. Consumers are also encouraged to support local charities by leaving tips at the till.

Serving as a test store, The Goods Mart plans to expand nationally in 2019.

For more on the changing face of the local grocery store, see Shoptalk 2018: Convenience Food Retail and Next-Gen Convenience.

Published: 6 Jul 2018

Minecraft Harnesses Player Creativity to Save Corals

Global hit game Minecraft is pulling its players' design skills into the physical realm to help restore coral reefs.

To promote its recent Aquatic update – where players can build and explore underwater landscapes – Minecraft drew players into the new game environment by challenging them to build virtual coral reefs. Once 10 million underwater building blocks were placed, Minecraft released a donation to US environmental charity The Nature Conservancy.

The gaming community further boosted donations by buying in-game design items, with all proceeds going towards the cause. The Nature Conservancy said the funds generated will enable the placement of 15,000 corals in the US Virgin Islands, Mexico, Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.

The initiative also turned some of the resulting in-game designs into actual underwater sculptures made from BioRock – a man-made medium that promotes coral growth. Six BioRock structures have been installed off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico; three feature familiar characters from the Minecraft franchise, while the remaining three were designed by players.

On Earth Day in April 2018, Pokémon Go galvanised its mobile gamers by rewarding players who showed up at geolocations for environmental clean-up events. Clearly, there is huge engagement potential for brands that know how to harness the gaming community's creative energies and narrative passions.

For more on how cross-play (the ability to play the same game across mobile- and home-bound devices) will create opportunities for brands to use the narrative immersion of gaming to drive actions in the physical world, see our recap of E3 2018.

Published: 6 Jul 2018

MatchesFashion’s Hybrid Luxury London Space

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MatchesFashion

A pioneering multifunctional luxury townhouse, 5 Carlos Place, is being opened by fashion e-commerce company MatchesFashion in the heart of upscale Mayfair in London this September. Here’s a preview of what will make it special.

The six-floor, 5,000 sq ft townhouse promises to expand the parameters of what a brand space can offer. It’s a big addition to MatchesFashion’s small bricks-and-mortar retail portfolio, which includes a much smaller townhouse, No. 23, in London’s Marylebone district, and five physical stores.

Speaking to Stylus ahead of launch, chief brand officer Jess Christie said the space aimed to “educate, engage and inspire our customers, and bring a sense of fun and enjoyment back into physical retail”. It will host a broadcasting studio as well as a year-round programme of events, evolving into a cultural hub.

The company sees 5 Carlos Place as “a blank canvas” where it can work with partners on all kinds of events. A blend of digital and physical is at the heart of the project. Christie said: “For us, the future of retail is to be even more personal, to use technology to really understand and serve our customer and make their life easier.”

Customers will be able to shop straight from their mobile, she added, “as technology in the space will link you directly to the product on-site to add to your basket or wish list”. Another option will be to book a bespoke private shopping appointment.

Roger Tredre, acting head of Retail at Stylus, said: “The early signs are that this is a thrillingly experimental project that will demonstrate how companies primarily operating online can raise their profiles, and strengthen their customer base through physical space innovation.”

Published: 6 Jul 2018

K-Design Awards: 3 Ways to Add Value in Packaging

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Clockwise L-R: Rong Design, EKDP, Rong Design

Now in its seventh year, Korea’s K-Design Awards celebrate the best in spatial, industrial and communication design. We share our three favourite packaging projects and the key learnings they illustrate.

  • Chinese packaging studio Rong Design created a chocolate bar theatrically titled Chocolate the Planet. The top of each bar is moulded to mimic the surface texture of either Mars, Earth or the Moon, and a similar pattern is printed on the inside of the otherwise unassuming packaging.

    Using texture as a canvas elevates goods from the everyday to an experiential indulgence. For more ornate packaging examples, see Packaging Futures: Luxury
  • Also from Rong Design is the Fulu bottle, inspired by the shape of the calabash. In China, this fruit is celebrated as a symbol of good fortune, due to its tough skin making it suitable for use as a vessel. The form of the bottle cinches inwards in the middle, like the fruit, and is tied with a leather strap for easy carrying.

    Here, form is used to add functionality and reference culturally specific images. This creates both a modern and traditional quality that emphasises the product’s practical and symbolic relevance to the targeted consumer. 
  • Korean packaging company EKDP has developed a bottle cap that simplifies plastic recycling. When unscrewing the lid for the first time, rather than breaking away from the bottle top – leaving a small ring around the neck that needs to be cut off to be recycled – the entire cap splits off.

    This simple detail means that one step is eliminated from the recycling process. In a time where sustainability is a must and no longer a nice-to-have, brands need to really consider how design can influence the life of the product beyond consumer use. See Packaging Futures: Sustainability for more.
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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  • 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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Heather Ratliff
  • 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
  • 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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Sophie Graney

For more textile inspiration, see Milan 2018: Accessories & Textiles and Première Vision S/S 19.

 

Published: 5 Jul 2018

Fashion’s Future Fabrics: Brands Tap Sustainability & Tech

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L-R: Loomia, Circular Systems, COS

Consumer demand for sustainable goods and advanced technology is on the rise. Smart brands and retailers are finding innovative ways to satisfy these environmentally conscious yet stylistically discerning millennials. Here, we take a look at three future-facing fashion projects and innovations for July.

  • H&M-owned brand Cos has launched its savvy new Repurposed Cotton Project – a collection of sweatshirts made entirely of cotton scraps from a year of production. The low-cost process entails shredding, compacting, spinning, weaving and dying the discarded cotton, with the results identical in look and feel to similar non-sustainable alternatives. 
  • Brooklyn-based start-up Loomia has developed a nylon-like material that works like a circuit board and can be draped, creased and stretched. Not only can the textile emit light and heat, allowing the user to illuminate their path at night or warm their clothes in the winter, but it can also gather valuable data for fashion companies. The user can seamlessly sell this data – which includes their surrounding climate and activity levels – to fashion brands and retailers, who can use the data as feedback to improve their products and design processes.
  • LA-based materials start-up Circular Systems uses banana by-products, pineapple leaves, flax and hemp stalk, and waste created from crushing sugar cane to create a natural fibre that can be woven into material fabrications for garments. The company will work with brands like H&M and Levi’s to integrate its fibres into their fabric-manufacturing operations.

For more on sustainable solutions, see A Sustainable Journey, Fashion’s Sustainability Surge and Sustainability Turns Smart: Manufacturing a Clean Future

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