A/W 19/20 Influencer Show: Prada
Miuccia Prada played a clever game of contradictions for her A/W 19/20 womenswear show in Milan, playing masculine off against feminism, tough military against true romance, and roses versus manmade monsters and utility details.
The paradoxical mood coloured everything from the collection’s mismatched palette to fabric and print choices and even accessories, which veered from laced-up military boots to sassy glittery sandals.
Tailoring might have been culled from a masculine wardrobe, but the silhouette was undeniably feminine, with cinched waists defining everything from strong-shouldered coats to classic pantsuits. Even the strict military jackets came with hourglass shaping, with one incongruously but perfectly teamed with a boudoir-ready lace pencil skirt.
The palette hit the sweet spot with Pepsodent green, pale aqua, red and pink played off against black and khaki; while ‘tough’ leathers, mannish herringbone and Donegal tweeds were the foil to sleek duchesse satins and wispy lace.
The Frankenstein monster prints from Prada’s A/W 19/20 menswear collection made an appearance too, countered with full-blown photographic rose prints and bunches of appliqued satin roses framing no-nonsense A-line skirts.
The collection may have been a play on opposing forces – fear versus love – but there was something femininely empowering in the mix of masculine tailoring and MA-1 flight jackets, weightless lace capelets and cardigan jackets, vintage Hollywood-style draped-neck satin dresses, and rose jacquard knits.
Textile Designers Explore the Value of Repair
In the wake of fast fashion, a collective effort to tackle textile waste is gaining momentum. Brands that invest in repair strategies and prolong product life spans will win loyalty from conscious consumers. We round up some notable events and influencers who are using repair to add value to products.
At RISD Museum in Providence, US, the timely Repair and Design Futures exhibition (running until June 30 2019) examines mending in a modern context.
Historic and contemporary footwear, apparel and textiles are on display to demonstrate the different ways that repair methods can be used to add value to an object. Visible stitching, patched sections and decorative embroideries build a narrative into objects by revealing investment of emotion, time and labour.
Visitors can bring in garments to be repaired or even reconstructed at workshops by Providence-based Warp Collective. The team of innovative textile specialists use knitting machines, textile scraps, decorative stitching and creative construction techniques to revive and reinvent the clothing.
Other advocates of the visible mending movement include New York designer Lily Fulop, who curates an Instagram feed of beautiful textile-repair projects at Mindful Mending. Brighton-based designer Tom Van Deijnen shares tips and techniques for repairs on his Instagram account, and also contributed to Amazon’s number one bestseller for embroidery, Mending Matters by Katrina Rodabaugh, which was released in October 2018.
At a government level, textile waste is a costly problem which will worsen when developing countries like Rwanda and Uganda phase out used clothing imports in 2019 (Waste Advantage Mag, 2019). As the unabating tide of used clothing continues, local governing bodies are being forced to urgently rethink their waste policies.
For further insight and strategies, see The Repair Economy.
Hotel Offers Free Stay For Social Media Silence
The Checkout Suite in Gothenburg's Hotel Bellora uses a lamp from Swedish brand Skärmfri which tracks wi-fi usage, turning gradually from white to red after two hours of cumulative internet use. Guests who were able to forgo their phones entirely during their trip received a free night's stay, with the cost progressively rising to the full price of €230 ($261) after two hours online.
The hotel, which collaborated with Stockholm insurance brand Länsförsäkringar on the project, created the suite to encourage guests to be more conscious about their digital habits, and spend more time interacting and socialising with each other in the hotel setting.
This initiative ran for one night only in February, and is the latest in a stream of digital innovations designed to foster more human connections between hotel guests.
Faux Coffee That Skips The Bean
As discussed in Coffee's Next Chapter, the effects of climate change on coffee production could be catastrophic, shrinking the area available for coffee bean growth by a predicted 88% by 2050 (National Academy of Sciences, 2017). To alleviate this threat, Seattle start-up Atomo has been developing a way to replicate the coffee-drinking experience without the need for real beans.
A team of researchers at the company have studied the 40 compounds of coffee that are vital to its flavour profile, and found alternative plant-based sources which offer the same taste. This creative combination creates a sustainable faux-coffee alternative.
To recreate the mouthfeel and brewing experience, they experimented with waste streams such as watermelon seeds and sunflower-seed husks to create a coffee-ground-like texture that can be brewed in a French press (see Global Food Trends: Sial 2018 for more on upcycling food waste). They also discovered that by leaving out the more bitter and acidic flavour compounds, the coffee alternative doesn't require milk or cream to improve the drinking experience.
In addition to running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds, the start-up has collaborated with US food and beverage innovator Mattson to develop the formula further before launching directly to consumers in 2020.
This development in faux coffee arrives just as faux meat becomes more mainstream, and could mark the next chapter in sustainable alternatives to climate-change-stricken food and beverage products.
Read New Food Covetables and Sustainable Restaurants for more on how to raise the bar for sustainably minded food and beverage development. See Starbucks Launches Coffee-Waste Latte and Blockchain Influences Coffee Supply for further inspiration.
Will 2019 Be Ayurvedic-Beauty’s Breakout Year?
Ayurveda has been an under-the-radar phenomenon for a while – but there are signs that it’s moving into the mainstream. We spotted two new brands at New York gifting trade show NY Now that aim to educate consumers on the philosophy’s principles. Will 2019 be the year Ayurveda finally takes hold?
Since our Product Projections 2018: Cosmetics, we’ve noticed an uptick in Ayurveda-inspired beauty products. Perhaps this trend is tapping into the blurring of health and beauty identified in our 2019 Look Ahead. Ayurveda is well-positioned for this in-between space.
The holistic Asian philosophy states three doshas – or forces – govern the body, determining specific behaviours and responding to external circumstances. For Ayurvedic beauty to go mainstream, it will require clever product positioning and consumer education. Here are two brands to watch.
- Farmtrue: Connecticut-based ghee producer Farmtrue underlines the health-boosting properties of its clarified butter with an Ayurveda-inspired beauty line (Ayurveda considers ghee a superfood). The products are marketed as seasonal supplements that roughly correspond to each dosha. Each season celebrates a specific herb intended to remedy weather-related skincare concerns.
Highlighting seasonality – a familiar concept in skincare regimens – cleverly helps consumers integrate unfamiliar Ayurvedic principles into an already established routine. For more on seasonal beauty, see Adapting to a Changing Climate: Beauty and Selling Cyclical Beauty.
- Nanaka: Brooklyn-based Nanaka targets the seven chakras (thought to be points of energy which extend down the body). Its core line is a series of seven oil-based perfume roller-balls, each of which targets a different chakra with a specific scent and mantra. A series of facial mists and bath soaks complement the perfumes, incorporating aromatherapy principles more generally. We’re especially impressed with the brand’s bright, neon-tinged containers – a bid to attract a younger audience and cement Ayurveda’s status as an on-trend beauty concept.
For more on Ayurvedic beauty, see Food-Grade Beauty Steps Up, Cosmoprof 2018: Beauty and Luxurifying Personal Hygiene. Look out for a deep-dive report on the growth and opportunities of Ayurvedic beauty later in 2019.
How can books win the attention of today’s distracted consumers?
So far, they’ve done a pretty good job at weathering the digital storm. But with traditional audiences slowly but surely dying away, publishers can’t afford to be complacent.
In episode four of our Future Thinking Podcast, Julia Errens, our Media & Marketing editor, is joined by author and journalist Molly Flatt to discuss everything from audio-based futures to the pointlessness of ‘digital’ as a label.
How can books stay relevant? What can the publishing industry learn from gaming? And why do people still buy paperbacks?
Media Meets Fan-Retail: Lego’s AR-Powered Snapchat Pop-Up
Pushing promotional activities for The Lego Movie 2 into digital hyperdrive, Lego has created a pop-up store in Fitzrovia, London, that’s solely dependent on social media engagement. The entirely empty space is transformed into a boutique stocked with Lego Wear – but only for those armed with the augmented reality lens of Snapchat.
Putting a very modern spin on selling movie merchandise, Lego Wear – the apparel division of the toy giant, which has been produced by Danish clothing company Kabooki since 1993 –has created a concept store to coincide with London Fashion Week, starting on February 15. Anyone entering the store will discover a space embellished only with a Snapcode – a QR-style code which opens a website within the Snapchat app when scanned with the app’s camera.
On doing so, a virtual pop-up appears revealing a shop featuring a DJ booth, arcade machine and Lego streetwear – sweatshirts, T-shirts and caps – aptly displayed on Lego-brick mannequins. Apparently designed to tap into a sense of nostalgia embraced by millennials (see also Pop Culture Close-Up Millennial Burnout), it also furthers ephemeral forays into licensed merchandising to expand entertainment hype, as detailed in Fan-Tailing: Tour Merchandise Pop-Ups.
Lego isn’t the first to deploy Snapcodes to generate buzz. Last year, Nike collaborated on a geo-smart online flash sale hosted on Snapchat. An exclusive pre-release promotion of its Air Jordan III Tinker sneaker was tied to the NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles, where fans had to buy the sneaker in-app. A geo fence was installed over the stadium and push notifications were sent to game-goers’ phones, which included the exclusive Snapcodes. Prior to that, in 2016, British luxury fashion brand Burberry used Snapchat to lure customers in-store to unlock exclusive content relating to the campaign for its male fragrance, Mr Burberry.
Weekly Thought-Starter #013: Time for big tech to get responsible
In 2018, big tech was rocked by a series of scandals. Will 2019 be the year that it finally gets responsible? And not just for its own actions, but for much larger global concerns like climate change?
Stephen Graves, our acting senior editor, Consumer Attitudes & Technology, believes so. His latest report, 7 Tech Trends to Watch in 2019, unpacks the technological shifts that will change the face of industries and revolutionise customers’ lives.
“Fuelled by unease about the impact of big tech on society, there’s an emerging movement calling for the industry to take more responsibility for its actions,” he argues. Indeed, 65% of Americans think that tech companies don’t consider how their products and services will impact society.
Now, projects such as UK think-tank Doteveryone, and New York University’s AI Now Institute, are calling for a responsible tech industry that a) safeguards against harm and b) champions diversity and sustainability.
“The tech sector’s facing internal and external pressure to clean up its act,” Stephen adds. “On the one hand you have legislation and big fines being handed down for misuse of data. On the other there are grassroots movements emerging to address issues like algorithmic bias – which is where machine learning accentuates and reinforces the biases of its creators.
“That’s a serious problem when you consider how women, ethnic minorities and the disabled are under-represented in the tech industry, as you end up with products and services that exclude these important groups.”
Something else to ponder: can tech use its powerful – and hopefully more responsible – position to mitigate the effects of climate change, water shortages and air pollution?
“We’re seeing companies step up to create products that address the effects of climate change, like smart water assistants that help to conserve water,” Stephen says. “But the tech industry really needs to make a concerted effort to address the causes of climate change and embrace sustainability.
“Look to Motorola’s partnership with iFixit to produce repair kits. It’s not just about consumer rights – it feeds into a growing trend for extending the lifespan of products for environmental reasons, too.”
What of the other tech trends the report covers? Well, they touch on everything from the science of wellness – so consumers turning to tech to optimise their health and wellness – to dilemmas over data. Will we see innovative solutions to data security emerge this year?
“2019’s set to be a big year for tech – and there are huge changes on the horizon that will change the way we live our lives, opening up new opportunities for brands,” Stephen says. “At Stylus, we’ll be tracking all these developments, from ubiquitous interfaces that turn every surface into a control device, to the decentralised web that will completely overhaul the infrastructure of the internet. Stay tuned for more!”
Domino’s Rewards All Pizza Lovers
The Points for Pizza activation lets customers use camera image recognition in Domino's mobile app to scan any pizza to earn 10 points. Once they've collected 60 points, they can be exchanged for a medium-sized, two-topping Domino's pie.
The company dodges bankruptcy by limiting users to 10 points collected a week, with the promotion running for 12 weeks. The campaign was launched around Super Bowl weekend on February 3rd (to catch the wave of pizza deliveries on match day), with an ad featuring Domino's chief executive Ritch Allison eating at a local Atlanta pizza spot. The company's social media accounts also shared images of out-of-house pizza.
Instead of locking existing customers into eating large amounts of its own product, this scheme works consumers' dwindling brand loyalty to Domino's advantage. The Points for Pizza scheme is a light and positive way of celebrating the entire industry, with a good chance of enticing new customers, as well as generating a guaranteed treasure trove of owned data on what makes people choose other pizzas.
For more on brands looking beyond their own products for innovation, check out Uncommon Partners: Successful Cross-Category Collaborations. For more on opt-in 'first party' data, see Surviving the Post-Truth Era, our coverage of Social Media Week London 2018.
Ostens: Scentrepreneurs Introduce New Perfumery Concept
The chasm between fragrance makers and end users has proved almost impossible to bridge – until now. Indie UK house Ostens is bringing open-source perfumery direct to consumers in a London pop-up that reveals the potential future of disruptive perfumery.
The smoke and mirrors of the fragrance industry once had us picturing Christian Dior himself plucking rose petals at dawn and mixing perfumes by night. But with beauty consumers now rigorously researching brand backstories – and demanding full disclosure on the sustainability and traceability of the ingredients used – it’s high time something changed.
Run by Christopher Yu and his business partner Laurent Delafon of UK-based United Perfumes – the licensing, distribution and consulting company they formed together – Ostens showcases exceptional quality ingredients sourced from LMR (the naturals division of International Fragrance & Flavours – IFF). Once only smelled by industry insiders, they’re now offered directly to customers in two forms. Préparations (perfume oils) contain “the highest legally and technically permitted concentration of each carefully chosen ingredient”; while in Impressions (eau de parfum), top perfumers create more nuanced interpretations around these ‘hero ingredients’.
For example, Préparation Rose Oil Isparta (£65/$83) for 9ml) captures the dewy, raspberry freshness of Turkish roses. Ostens actively encourages layering with any other fragrance you own, with this particular oil adding a velvety luminosity to oriental or spicy scents. By contrast, Impression Rose Oil Isparta (£145/$186 for 50ml) offers the entire field of roses, with an alluring depth at its base. Ingredients such as patchouli, jasmine and cedarwood have received the treatment, with new fragrances in the pipeline.
The gallery-esque space is located at 62 Blandford Street, W1U 7JD, and will be in residence until February 28 2019. For more perfume coverage, see Biennial Scent Fair 2018 and Pitti Fragranze 2018. Also keep an eye out for our big download on all things fragrance in 2019, publishing on February 18.
Trend Report Lowdown: The 2019 Consumer Zodiac
Our shiny new infographic will fast-track your understanding of the 10 consumer groups already shaping 2019’s consumer landscape. Here’s how.
What exactly is the Consumer Zodiac?
A circular infographic made up of 10 segments, each of which profiles an emerging demographic that we think your business should know about.
These segments fall into one of three filters: age, lifestyles and values. Together, they provide an essential overview of how people’s attitudes, behaviours and contexts will change in 2019.
Why is it such a useful tool?
Consider it consumer intelligence on speed dial; a way to fast-track your understanding of how people are changing. It literally maps the key drivers affecting the commercial landscape in 2019 and beyond.
Each segment clicks through to a separate infographic that deep dives into the respective demographics, psychographics and lifestyles. Here, you’ll discover how they’re shaping consumer motivations and buying behaviour.
By profiling the influencers behind these powerful new collectives, you’ll also discover who your business should be aligning with.
Who can we expect to meet in the Consumer Zodiac?
You can find out for yourself – download it here, no strings attached. But I’d say one of the most intriguing segments is Gen Xcel. Consumers aged between 39 and 53 are hugely underserved compared to the generations that precede and succeed them, despite their impressive spending power. Has their time finally arrived?
And watch out for the Enlightened Men. They’re fighting toxic stereotypes, embracing a wider range of life roles, and raising awareness of a serious global concern: male mental health.
Pay attention, also, to the Access Innovators – a group demanding better services and experiences for people with disabilities. The time for excuses, they argue, has stopped – so how can your business create bespoke, inclusive offerings that celebrate all abilities?
How do you go about identifying these must-know groups?
Our Consumer Attitudes team initially starts looking for overall patterns and tracking signals from product launches, industry announcements and statistics. Then they begin measuring their resonance, relevance and reach through interviews with industry experts, researchers and consumers themselves.
They also undertake thorough market analysis and attend tens of global conferences every year. The resulting Zodiac tells the stories that emerged from all of this research, broken down via the three filters.
What group do you fall into?
Me? Well, I have recently had my DNA tested. I was genuinely fascinated and surprised (not in a Jeremy Kyle way) by the results, so that probably makes me a History Remixer. It turns out that I’m a tiny bit Swedish, and an even tinier bit Filipino. Who’d have thought it?
You don’t need to be a Stylus member to access the 2019 Consumer Zodiac. Download yours now.
Preview: Luxe Pack Los Angeles – Sustainable Explorations
Global packaging trade show Luxe Pack is returning to Los Angeles for the second time (February 27-28). Exhibitors and speakers will focus on delivering to a consumer who craves a luxury experience, and expects uncompromised sustainability.
This year’s Luxe Pack LA will bring together 75 packaging specialists, plus 115 additional related exhibitors via the MakeUp In beauty trade show, which will run concurrently. The conference programme will see beauty brands discussing how the Clean and Green Movement has led to consumers actively seeking out natural products, while exhibitors will present the latest developments in sustainable packaging.
American manufacturer Golden Arrow will present its innovations in sustainable moulded fibre packaging made from fast-growing and renewable bamboo and bagasse – the dry, pulpy residue left over from the extraction of juice from sugar cane.
French glass manufacturer Verescence will showcase its bottle for Bulgari Man’s Wood Essence fragrance, made from the first premium and completely clear recycled glass. The patented production process comprises 25% post-consumer recycled glass (PCR), 65% in-house cullet (crushed glass ready for remelting) – a total of 90% recycled materials – and 10% raw materials.
More glass innovation comes from a collaboration between French packaging company Coverpla and Italian glass producer Bormiolo Luigi. Their new Ecoline bottles and pots are made from a lightweight glass, making them 40% lighter than similarly sized glass containers, enabling a 60% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions across the supply chain (compared to plastic or blown or pressed glass).
Supply chains will increasingly be scrutinised as blockchain technology offers more transparency. Exploring how to make this insight meaningful, speakers from indie suncare brand Coola Cosmetics, research firm The Benchmarking Company and law firm Locke Lord will dive into how blockchain could be the key to connecting with conscious consumers. For more, see What Businesses Need to Know about Blockchain.
Stylus will be kicking off Luxe Pack LA’s two-day conference roster on Wednesday February 27 with a rundown of key creative Design Directions for Spring/Summer 2020, presented by our US-based Colour & Design strategist Claire Walsh.
AI Generates Images From Text-based Recipes
Artificial intelligence (AI) researchers are developing tools that can generate images from recipes and vice-versa, helping consumers create their own dishes at home and making cooking more intuitive and accessible for all.
Computer scientists at Tel Aviv University in Israel have built an AI algorithm that can conjure an image of any dish using just a text-based recipe listing key ingredients and outlining a specified method of preparation.
It achieves this by analysing and converting text into numerical values and running these numbers against descriptors of more than 50,000 photos of food from within in its existing image database via a process called text embedding.
Tackling the reverse of this process, researchers from Facebook's tech innovation branch Fair have developed AI software that can determine the recipe used to make any dish simply by analysing a photo.
Joelle Pineau, head of Fair's Montreal lab, told Forbes: "Everyone is always taking pictures of their meals these days. Sometimes there's ingredients you can see, but there's also ingredients you can't always see, like sugar and salt and things like that. So, they train the AI with pairs of images and recipes. But then when they test it, they just give the image and it generates a recipe."
This technology has great potential for foodie consumers, who could soon be able to eat out at a restaurant, and then recreate the dish in the comfort of their own home.
See Activating At-Home Foodies for more on smart kitchen tech assisting budding home cooks to create exciting dishes, and read Kitchen of the Future for a wider understanding of new tech-infused cooking habits and rituals.
Sustainable Fashion Round-Up: February 2019
Thanks to growing industry regulation and an increasingly eco-conscious consumer, sustainability is being pushed to the forefront of every fashion brand. From new production processes, to ethical luxury and ultimate transparency, brands and retailers are finally embracing green thinking.
- Smart Luxury: The beginning of the year has seen a clear uptick in sustainable luxury. Balenciaga’s latest collaboration with e-tailer Farfetch is entirely free from leather and fur, with proceeds donated to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
French fashion brand Loewe has launched a ready-to-wear menswear collection designed for, and inspired by, nature. Eye/Loewe/Nature features technical and natural fabrics, with the brand donating £15 ($19) for every purchase to help fight plastic pollution.
- Partnering for Good: US retailer J.Crew has partnered with non-profit Habitat for Humanity on a denim buyback programme. Customers are able to return any old jeans to J.Crew stores (in exchange for a $20 gift card), which will be recycled into insulation material for the housing charity.
- A New Production Process: US-based T-shirt subscription service For Days is rolling out its circular recycling business model – which encourages customers to return old items for every purchase they make. Its first partnership is with US bra brand Harper Wilde, which will now provide boxes and shipping labels with every purchase that allow customers to return any bra back to the brand to be recycled.
- Ultimate Transparency: A number of fashion retailers are placing their sustainability credentials at the forefront of their brand strategy. US brand Reformation is now reporting its sustainability wins and losses in the same vein as public profit earnings – allowing customers to check its entire environmental footprint.
Similarly, luxury American consignment store The RealReal’s Sustainability Calculator shows the water, energy and greenhouse gas savings from the most popular women’s clothing items consigned on its e-commerce site since January 2012.
For the latest news, see Sustainable Fashion Round-Up: November/December 2018, and stay tuned for our quarterly round-up, publishing in March 2019.
Doteveryone Responsible Tech 2019: 3 Key Themes
Last year, UK think-tank Doteveryone published research showing that only 12% of the British public think that the internet has had a positive impact on society. At its first Responsible Tech summit, held at the British Library in London on January 31, thought-leaders gathered to discuss how big tech can better serve the public good.
1. A Question of Responsibility
A recurring theme was that responsibility in tech isn’t just an issue for the industry itself. Martha Lane Fox, founder and chair of Doteveryone, told Stylus: “Brands have to really think about how they're deploying technology, even if they're not a technology company. How they can have a transparent value system where it's clear what the transaction is with the customer.”
When working with tech companies, brands should take the lead on ethical responsibility, argued Rob McCargow, director of artificial intelligence (AI) at global professional services network PricewaterhouseCoopers. “We’ve got 750 AI companies in London alone as of last June. When they’re being commissioned to do work, how many clients are saying: ‘What do you do about gender diversity in your workforce? What do you do around ethical frameworks?’.”
2. Embrace Diversity
Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, trustee at UK charitable trust the Institute for the Future of Work, took to the stage to launch the Institute’s first discussion paper, Equality Through Transition. It explores the challenges that AI and other new technologies present to existing frameworks for promoting equality – “not just for individuals, but at the firm level and the systems level”.
3. The New Data Economy
Several speakers highlighted how the data economy is evolving as consumers increasingly take control over their personal data. Julie Dawson, director of regulatory and policy at digital identity app Yoti, discussed how the app empowers its users. “[In the past], people’s experience of proving their identity … wasn’t something that they felt they had much agency about.”
The app enables consumers to store their personal data and release it for ID checks. “They can share just parts of their identity very simply,” said Dawson, adding that Yoti itself can never access their data.
In the future, new data infrastructures will emerge, argued Francesca Bria, chief technology and digital innovation officer for Barcelona City Council. “For political participation and citizen engagement, we have to get off platforms that have, as a core business model, the commercial exploitation and manipulation of personal information and personal data.”