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The Brief
Published: 13 Nov 2018

Whole-Life Beauty: Four Brands to Know from Decoded Future

Clockwise L-R: Fluide, Public Goods, Captain Blankenship, Apto

Beauty’s wellness focus is supporting customers beyond their skincare conundrums – such as by helping shoppers stock the medicine cabinet, and championing trans consumers. We highlight the US beauty brands to watch from New York’s 2018 Decoded Future Summit (November 2).

  • Inclusive Colour Cosmetics: Cosmetics brand Fluide positions itself as an ally for the LGBTQ community by highlighting trans models in its marketing campaigns.“We champion exploratory make-up and avoid the stigma that usually comes with [beauty],” said Isabella Giancarlo, co-founder and creative director. For more on Fluide, see our Brief post Men Embrace Genderless Beauty.
  • Medicine Cabinet Makeover: Start-up Public Goodsupdates bathroom essentials with a streamlined aesthetic intended to appeal to today’s self-care consumers (see 10 Wellbeing Trends to Watch). All-natural staples like soap, shampoo and toothbrushes come in low-profile black-and-white packages, designed to provide a calming home environment. “We spend a lot of time designing our homes – then fill them with garish products from the drugstore,” said founder Morgan Hirsh. 

  • Seasonal Skincare: Tapping into concepts from our report Selling Cyclical Beauty, natural skincare brand Apto schedules new product releases to align with the seasons. By acknowledging how the weather impacts skincare concerns and ingredient availability, the brand builds ‘act now’ desirability into its limited-edition capsule collections. Founder Marta Cros suggested that this seasonal strategy also educates consumers about the perishable ingredients that differentiate natural skincare.

  • Money-Minded Multitaskers: Looking to overcome clean beauty’s expensive reputation, skincare company Captain Blankenship launched a lower-priced capsule collection for American retailer Target in early 2018. To ensure shoppers could afford an entirely clean skincare routine, the brand developed five double-duty products, such as a dry shampoo that also functions as a salt styling spray. “You should be able to read the ingredient list as if it was a loaf of bread,” commented founder Jana Blankenship.

For more insights from Decoded Future, see our report on the 2018 NYC Summit.

Published: 12 Nov 2018

Top Three New Space-Saving Furniture Designs

Juul de Bruijn

Designers are continuing to invent new ways of hacking furniture and spatial configurations to maximise urban living environments. Building on our report Smarter Spaces: Optimising the Home, we reveal three new designs that uncover storage opportunities hidden in, above and below the domestic space.

Dutch Designer Juul de Bruijn prompts consumers to consider the floor area as an overlooked storage space. Her design MoreFloor is a series of shallow timber modules that conceal a bed and stow away compartments. Each piece has a fitted top that pulls open and lays flat, acting as an elevated surface area.

Taking inspiration from the Droogspin or ‘Drying Spider’ – a contraption historically used for drying wet clothes – Dutch designer Jelle Heuver created a ceiling-mounted laundry rack. It features a hanging concrete pendant pieced with timber poles, which have either a light at the end, or notches for hangers. The creation allows clothing to be stored off the ground, as well as offering more efficient drying – as hot air rises – and the functionality of an interior light source. 

Also from the Netherlands, Frea Zwaag has investigated how furniture pieces can be combined into a whole to maximise usable space. Her two-seater’s armrests are in fact the backrests of two separate chairs, which are tucked underneath the sofa and can slide out to double the amount of seating. The cushioning on the sofa can also be removed for use elsewhere.

With increasing urban congestion, brands need to consider how furniture can be adapted to fulfil multiple roles and support different activities throughout the day.

It’s a trend we’re also seeing outside of furniture, with hospitality spaces that change function according to time of day to utilise otherwise vacant architecture. See Role-Play Restaurants in Tomorrow’s Wandering Workers for more.

L-R: Jelle Heuver, Frea Zwaag
Published: 8 Nov 2018

Best Office Innovations from Dutch Design Week 2018

Geoffrey Pascal

At this year’s Dutch Design Week (October 20-28), designers considered how furniture can support users’ bodies and mental states to improve the experience of being within an office environment. We unpack our favourite examples.

Dutch designer Angela Willemsen explored how the shape of a room can affect one’s experience of space. Her curved room dividers, made from metal grids, sit in the corner of a room and soften the impression of space, evoking a sense of comfort and security.

Eindhoven-based Studio Joachim-Morineau created Séole, a heating and ventilation system featuring two large round discs perched on long poles that protrude from a weighted base. One disc radiates heat, while the other rotates to create a wind stream for cooling. The design creates a micro climate, letting users adjust heating and cooling effects to suit their individual preferences.

French designer Geoffrey Pascal created an ergonomic modular seating collection that enables users to work comfortably without a desk. The upholstered seating positions the body in poses that mimic those adopted when working from bed, with work placed on a cushion or their lap. Pascal used Nasa’s neutral body posture – identified as the ideal position for rest and concentration – as a guide to ensure that each seat evenly distributes muscle weight.

For more on how design is adapting to changing attitudes in professional environments, see Blueprint for a Better Workplace. See also our full coverage from this year’s Dutch Design Week.

L-R: Studio Joachim-Morineau, Angela Willemsen
Published: 6 Nov 2018

Hims Targets the Female Wellness Sector


US-based male grooming and healthcare start-up Hims is entering the female wellness category with a range of skincare, haircare and sexual health products.

Launched in November 2018, Hers is focusing on affordable, medical-grade products for all age groups – from teens to menopausal women.

The line includes prescription and over-the-counter sexual wellness products like birth control and Addyi – medication for hypoactive sexual desire disorder. There are also haircare and skincare products to combat hair loss, acne and hyperpigmentation. 

The platform and products are female-first – designed by women for women – and the brand’s ethos is grounded in filling the gaps that exist for women in the contemporary healthcare market. It also grounds sexual wellness and skincare as part of the regular maintenance of overall personal health. 

With the tag line “Your body, your control”, Hers also offers advice on different aspects of health and wellbeing with a network of 12 medical specialists, such as gynaecologists and dermatologists. Customers can speak to medical experts via texts, phone calls and video chats for a $5 fee. The doctors then work with a network of pharmacies across the US to get the products sent out on the same day. 

From a branding perspective, Hers is differentiated from Hims with a more sophisticated aesthetic. Hims caught the attention of men with phallic cacti graphics and millennial pink branding (see Instagangs: Indie Male Beauty for more), but Hers is marketed with neutral colours and minimalist design.

The blurring intersection between beauty and health is a key theme we highlight in our Look Ahead for 2019. To read more about the female wellness sector, see 10 Wellbeing Trends to Watch, Female Sexuality in Focus and Selling Cyclical Beauty.

Published: 5 Nov 2018

You’ll have noticed some improvements to our site over the last week, and I’d love to illustrate how they’ll benefit you as we enter an exciting new phase here at Stylus.

Firstly, we’ve refreshed our brand identity to better reflect who we are, what we do and what we stand for. Secondly, we’ve simplified how you navigate the site. All of Stylus.com’s features remain, but now everything is accessed via a single, more intuitive menu. 

We’ve also expanded our Consumer Lifestyle pillar into four new standalone directories: Consumer Attitudes, Technology, Food & Beverage and Travel & Hospitality. We believe this will make things easier and clearer as you access our regular industry analysis.

A further change is the new name for our Blog, The Brief, which will continue to feature our experts’ cross-industry analysis in a more digestible format. We’ve also launched a brand-new News & Views stream, where you can learn more about why we do what we do, in addition to keeping up to date with our events and other Stylus goings-on. 

Another new addition is our Press page, where you can keep tabs on our experts’ regular media appearances. Our director of consumer product Emily Gordon-Smith’s take on why dad trainers are back in fashion, for BBC News, is one that’s definitely worth a read.

Aside from our new look, this week we published our 2019 Look Ahead reports, where we reveal the 30 trends set to shape next year’s commercial landscape. I hope this will help to kick-start your planning process ahead of what promises to be a transformative 12 months. You can read them here if you haven’t done so already. 

If you have any thoughts on our brand refresh, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Catch up soon, 

Tessa Mansfield 
Chief Creative Officer

Published: 1 Nov 2018

Designing Irresistibility into Everyday Dental Care

L-R: Usetool Company, Goodwell Company

The humble toothbrush is used by millions of people every day across the globe. With the selfcare market booming, brands are realising the commercial opportunity of elevating this bathroom basic. We unveil our two favourite examples evolving this tool to suit aesthetic and sustainable values.

New lifestyle brand Usetool Company, from South Korean designer Jiyoun Kim, seeks to simplify and add value to everyday essentials. Its premier product is the Usetool toothbrush and steriliser, which have an elegant rounded silhouette and inviting soft-touch finish.

The toothbrush is fitted with a magnet which, when placed head-first into the steriliser, activates sonic waves to dislodge bacteria and food from the bristles and clean the brush between uses. The steriliser also acts as a stand and has a wireless charging platform, which features an in-built digital clock that times three minutes of toothbrushing.

Another brand exploring how to add value to this everyday tool is Goodwell Company – a US start-up with a sustainability focus. It sells modular toothbrushes with either a bamboo or recycled aluminium base, and a fully biodegradable charcoal head for improved whitening.

Looking to compete with high-end options while staying true to its environmental ethos, the company is launching Be – a battery and electricity-free powered toothbrush. The handle features a twistable lower section that winds up a manual motor. After a few twists, users press the power button, which moves the bristled head as if powered electrically.

The beauty tools market is expected to be worth over $49bn by 2023 (Global News Wire, 2017). To tap into this growth, brands need to adopt refreshed aesthetics and sustainable materials to reframe unremarkable goods as essential utensils within consumers’ everyday rituals. See Beauty Tools 2018 for more.

Published: 30 Oct 2018

Capsule Wardrobe Empowers Women Fleeing Abuse


New Scottish start-up ALICAS gifts surplus clothing items to women fleeing abuse –empowering them to start rebuilding their lives without feeling self-conscious about their appearance. While providing essential clothing and dignity for survivors, the scheme also provides retailers with a novel way of recycling unsold stock.

Many women who flee abuse are unable to take the majority of their possessions with them, including their clothing. ALICAS presents survivors with a bespoke parcel comprising a 30-piece capsule wardrobe in the appropriate size and style for the recipient, including basics such as hosiery and underwear. The branding and packaging is styled after luxury collections, and each package includes a handwritten note of support.

ALICAS encourages public donations of unworn clothing to help create the boxes, but has also campaigned for retail outlets to donate their unsold stock. Earlier this year, Burberry came under fire when it was discovered that it had destroyed £28.6m ($37m) worth of unsold goods, drawing consumer attention to this widespread practice in the fashion industry (Burberry, 2018).

Between 2016-17, 60% of referrals to women's refuges were declined, typically owing to a lack of available space (Women's Aid, 2018). As funding from local authorities continues to diminish in this sector, more schemes will surely follow ALICAS's example of providing practical resources for people in need. For more on positive social initiatives, see our recent Brief post.

As consumers grow more concerned about the ethical and environmental credentials of the businesses they shop with, companies will need to align their practices with their consumers' ethos, or risk becoming obsolete. Stylus recently explored resale and recycling enterprises in Liquid Retail: Pause & Pulsate and Reframing Sustainability.

Published: 25 Oct 2018

Art of Sport Caters to Athletes’ Skincare Needs

As the sports-beauty market continues to grow, active consumers are seeking products that cater to their physical needs and enhance the workout experience. Rising to the challenge, renowned American athletes Kobe Byrant and Brian Lee have created a unisex bodycare line for fitness enthusiasts.

LA brand Art of Sport aims to help athletes reach peak performance and maintain healthy skin with ingredients that enhance training. For example, the Hair + Body Wash: 2-in-1 contains roseroot, which speeds up muscle recovery and reduces inflammation, while aloe vera and hyaluronic acid hydrate the skin and create a protective barrier.

In addition, the brand harnesses the power of aromatherapy to stimulate a sensorial experience for the user. Each product is available in three scents: Rise, Compete and Challenge. The latter contains notes of sandalwood, basil and fir needle to clear the mind and aid concentration.

The launch feeds into the growing trend for using aromatherapy to activate the brain in different ways – adapting the conventional use of fragrance in the bodycare category while aiming to alter the consumer’s state of mind. For more insights into aromatherapy’s exciting resurgence, see New Fragrance Worlds and Agile Beauty

In an era of athleisure, products that offer solutions to the side effects of workouts (from muscle aches to acne) are becoming increasingly popular among active consumers. For more on strategies targeting the sports community, see Sports Beauty Steps Up and Beauty 360.

Published: 25 Oct 2018

Furniture for Connection & Inclusion

Ella Westlund

Consumers are seeking to break away from screen media, and connect with one another. As explored in our S/S 20 Design Direction Arouse, designers are prioritising face-to-face interactions for a renewed appreciation of what it is to be human. We explore how this translates to furniture design.

Swedish designer Ella Westlund’s experiences as a care-centre helper and the sister of someone with Down’s syndrome inspired her to create an inclusive sofa for people of mixed ability.

The sofa has upholstered seating on each end with a central gap that can comfortably fit a wheelchair. The design allows people of different abilities to come together at an equal level, without any physical expression of height or dominance. Moreover, the central position of this gap allows users to be surrounded by loved ones – exuding a sense of safety and security.

Similarly, new UK brand Modular by Mensah released a furniture range that’s specifically designed to encourage social, face-to-face interaction. Designer Kusheda Mensah created the Mutual collection in response to what she felt was a breakdown in human relationships, brought on by social and digital media.

The capsule features wavy coral and arch-shaped seating pieces upholstered in a mix of fabric and leather. The odd silhouettes give the collection a puzzle-piece-like quality that prompts users to rearrange the furniture. It also encourages them to consider a more experimental approach to conventional seating arrangements – which in turn helps to establish a more relaxed and dynamic environment.

For more on how furniture can satisfy consumers’ desire to be social, see our Furniture & Lighting report from London Design Festival 2018.

Modular by Mensah
Published: 23 Oct 2018

Prismatic Workspace Changes Colour Throughout the Day

Ambience office by Studio Y

Inspired by the optical effects of a prism, Studio Y has created an uplifting and stimulating work environment for Australian lighting consultancy Ambience that changes colour throughout the day.

The Australian design studio used the interplay of natural light, colour and shadow to create the prismatic effect. Windows are coated in dichroic film, which projects and refracts the light, while walls, partitions and joinery are arranged in angular lines and geometries. As the sun shifts, light and shadows combine with colour to create different, dynamic visual stimulations.

The colour-shifting optical film also adds to the changing environment by altering visual perspectives depending on where you stand. For more on prismatic and colour illusions in spatial environments and design, see Phase-Changing Colour.

The space consists of a main open office and smaller, more intimate working areas, which are defined by the dichroic glass. These smaller spaces are painted in bright pastel shades that complement and enhance the overall colour experience. A backlit, acoustic-panelled ceiling helps to create a calming, softly illuminated atmosphere.

The project is based on the theory that colour therapy and fluctuations in the intensity and hue of daylight can encourage alertness, helping employees to concentrate.

We explore the energising effects of colour and light in Transformative Spaces, or see Materialising Modern Work for more sensory experiences that enhance working environments.

Published: 19 Oct 2018

China’s Future Home: Flexible, Playful & Connected to Nature

Open Architecture

Ten of China and Japan’s top architecture firms explored how the home could and should respond to the pressures of future living with a series of conceptual pavilions for House Vision, an exhibition within Beijing Design Week (September 26 to October 5). The installations exposed three consumer needs – flexibility, fun and connection to environmental resources – that will be pivotal to future architectural practice. Here, we give you the highlights.

Chinese studio Open Architecture queried how humans might settle on another planet with its Mars Case pavilion. The pod design features a cube-shaped metallic base housing the kitchen and bathroom, as well as a soft-skinned extension that inflates to create a living space. The pavilion constantly recycles air, water and energy to enable inhabitants to exist without access to natural resources. The design is also aimed at the growing community of nomadic consumers seeking sustainable housing alternatives – see our A/W 19/20 Design Direction Essence for more.

Chinese studio Penda took inspiration from traditional hutongs – and their role as communal meeting places – in its Urban Cabin design for Mini Living. A playground-like interior creates a sense of being in a public space, featuring a swing and moveable puzzle-shaped seats. A periscope protruding through the roof connects inhabitants to the outdoors, enabling them to look around the house and syphoning sunlight into the space.

Beijing-based architecture studio Blue used modular wall and storage sections to imagine how design can be used to activate China’s abandoned buildings. Its pavilion was filled with five-metre-high box structures that create semi-enclosed private living spaces. Users can position sofas, chairs and tables inside and outside of these structures, using the divides to delineate social and intimate settings.

Each project appreciates space as a vital commodity and explores how new ways of managing it can create buildings that nurture their inhabitants, even when in a restrictive environment.

Penda x Mini Living
Blue Architecture
Published: 18 Oct 2018

Boost Your Beauty with This Works’ Bodyclock Facial

This Works

In Selling Cyclical Beauty, we highlight the shrewd brands tapping into body, time, and environmental cycles to maximise the benefits of beauty product. New retail treatment opportunities – such as the new Bodyclock facial – are showcasing how to further boost skin health and wellbeing, while also spreading brand awareness.

British brand This Works’ Bodyclock facial combines masking, massage, fragrance and light therapy in a multisensorial skincare treatment synched to the time of day. Clients can choose between five facials that align with the company’s time-oriented skincare and aromatherapeutic blends: Wake Up, Daytime, Evening, Night and 24hrs.

The Wake Up facial is billed as a ‘rise and shine’ treatment to replace overnight water loss, calm irritation, and prepare skin and mind for the day ahead. Daytime tackles skin that may have become dull, tired or shiny. Evening focuses on deep cleansing and is best experienced after 6pm, while Night offers a plumping, smoothing facial for the twilight hours (after 9pm). This is the optimal time for natural actives to aid nightly cell repair, and boost hydration in anticipation of overnight water loss.

The newest addition to the line-up is the 24hrs facial, which the brand views as a power nap for lacklustre skin at any time of day. It mimics overnight revitalisation in just 20 minutes for a smoother, clearer, more refreshed complexion.

Each facial is elevated by a corresponding This Works aromatherapeutic fragrance, which is diffused nearby to either invigorate or relax the client. The skincare and fragrance elements are also complemented with light therapy, in the form of either Lumie SAD lighting to lift mood, productivity and energy levels; or amber glasses to block out stimulating blue light and aid relaxation.

The facial is priced competitively at £20 ($26), which is redeemable against product – another enticing benefit that will inspire repeat purchase and gifting (the retail sweet spot). Currently, the Bodyclock facial is only available in UK department store John Lewis’s Kingston branch – presenting lucrative roll-out opportunities to other retailers.

For more on aromatherapy and mood-balancing beauty strategies, see Lush’s Spa-Inspired Range, Experimental Scent and Skinjay’s Nespresso-Style Capsules. For more on cyclical beauty, see Menstruation-Targeted Beauty and Circadian Rhythms Drive Beauty Innovations.

Published: 16 Oct 2018

Beijing Design Week Highlight: Sensory Chair Collection

Yuming Hu

Furniture is increasingly being considered as a tool to support emotional states as well as the body, with designers employing physically stimulating elements to engage the mind. This is illustrated in a new chair collection by Chinese designer Yuming Hu, which explores how sensorial design can help the user achieve improved relaxation, productivity and ergonomic support.

Exhibited at this year’s Beijing Design Week (September 26 to October 5), the range of six chairs engage the body in different ways. Each chair is designed to satisfy the micro-movements that one’s hands, arms, back, legs and feet make when sitting down.

One chair has a back that extends out into a large hoop decorated with curved barbs that hold two smaller hoops. This design allows the user to stretch out their arms and back by reaching up to hold onto the smaller hoops while remaining seated.

Two curved wheel-like legs on one chair enable the user to rock forwards to assist with standing up, while a curved backrest on another allows the sitter to position themselves at any angle.

To help with concentration, the chairs feature pedals and silver balls to engage the feet and fingers. According to Hu, the hands need to be considered more often in design: “The activity of the hands is very rich. Imagine that holding a glass of red wine in your hand will make you more confident when talking to others. The satisfaction of hand movements will make us feel natural and safe.”

By incorporating responsive elements into design, users are able to release nervous energy and find their unique position for comfort. For more on the importance of sensorial design, see Sensory Product within our Spotlight Trend The Sensory Opportunity.

Published: 10 Oct 2018

Femtech Fave Releases First Silent Wearable Breast Pump

London-based femtech company Elvie has just launched the world's first silent wearable breast pump. The device is free from the tubes and distinctive noises of a traditional pump, allowing discreet and hands-free milk expressing.

The Elvie Pump sits in the wearer's bra, allowing the user to continue with daily tasks while expressing milk. Like Elvie's Kegel training device (see our blog), the pump comes with an app that records data on factors such as milk production and pumping history. More importantly, the app allows the device to be controlled remotely, meaning the user doesn't need to fiddle with the pump while it's in their bra. The device has the potential to revolutionise breastfeeding for all mothers, especially those who return to work while still pumping. A single pump costs £229 ($300), with the double unit retailing for £429 ($560).

Traditional pumps are noisy and require the use of bulky machinery, often forcing users to find a private place in which to express. In the UK, although mothers have no legal right to breastfeeding breaks in the workplace, employers must meet obligations under health and safety, flexible working and discrimination laws (NCT, 2017). The NHS advises that the toilet, often one of the only private spaces available in a workplace, is not a suitable place in which to express milk (NHS, 2018).

The Elvie Pump is designed to be unnoticeable and allows women to express discreetly, as highlighted in its promotional video. Brands stand to benefit by following Elvie's example and providing tech that supports breastfeeding mothers. The hashtag #NormalizeBreastfeeding has over 740,000 mentions on Instagram, illustrating the growing movement towards destigmatising this natural act.

Our report Motherhood highlights further ways in which consumers can be supported in this chapter of their lives.

Published: 9 Oct 2018

Supercharge Your Shower: Skinjay’s Nespresso-Style Capsules


New shower innovations offer spa-like experiences, responding to consumers’ demands for more from their at-home cleansing rituals. French start-up Skinjay’s new range blurs the boundaries between wellness and personal care by harnessing the power of aromatherapy with the aim of alleviating tension.   

The luxury brand has upgraded the act of washing by introducing an interchangeable and colourful diffuser system for the shower. The easy-to-install device goes between the shower mixer and the hose, with the capsule then inserted into the device itself. A mixture of water and essential oils is then expressed from the showerhead, with the hot water and steam creating a mist-like effect.  

Skinjay’s new spa-inspired capsule range, called Mission, focuses on scent and its influence on emotions. The four-piece collection uses different notes to alter the user’s state of mind in various ways. For example, the Bedtime capsule is aimed at those who are looking to unwind. It claims to reduce stress and anxiety levels as neroli, green mandarin and ylang ylang are released from the capsule.  

This innovative product feeds into the growing trend of using aromatherapy to improve consumers’ mental states. It provides a new way for people to physically and mentally prepare for the day ahead. To read more about these rituals, see our report Serving the Self-Care Generation.

With each of Skinjay’s capsules creating a distinct olfactory experience, consumers are encouraged to experiment with the different scents available, choosing one that matches their mood. For more on this idea, take a look at our blog posts The Rise of Fragrance Wardrobes and Lush’s Spa-Inspired Range Makes Mood Magic

You might also be interested in our reports Luxurifying Personal Hygiene and Selling Cyclical Beauty, which further explore the connection between personal care and wellness.