Amazon’s private label fashion business has faced several hurdles, but continued investment – Prime Wardrobe, Echo Look, and numerous pure play e-comm acquisitions – proves that they won’t stand for anything less than front row.
Recently, Amazon has acquiredBody Labs – a firm which promises to bring 3D models to life. For fashion, accurately predicting size and fit across a diverse consumer base has always been a reach goal. Designers and other stakeholders in the supply chain have long relied on antiquated data, often based on models of an average person, and no one brand has found a scalable solution for custom-designed clothing.
While Body Labs can’t solve for customized design, it can provide brands with a range of different models and bodies that would validate the fit of different patterns, which makes for better fitting clothing.
If Amazon’s private label clothing knows your fit better than any brand can, why would you shop anywhere else?
Why it’s hot:
As personalization is becoming table stakes, Amazon’s foray into one of the most significant aspects of individual expression once again shows that any market can instantaneously become amazon-takes-all.
Diesel opened a pop-up with a twist. The shop, called Deisel, was situated on New York’s Canal Street – a location famous for its knock-off stores that sell replicas of designer products at cheap prices.
The Deisel pop-up sold a range of hats, t-shirts, jumpers and denim pieces, all branded with the knock-off logo. Prices ranged from $10 to $200: much lower than similar products found in standard Diesel stores.
But what looked like a fake pop-up was a stunt by the brand, supporting its latest campaign, Go with the Flaw. New Yorkers who ended up buying from the Deisel pop-up got their hands on real, limited-edition pieces at knock-off prices.
Why its hot? If you can’t beat them, join them.
The counterfeit industry was worth $460bn in 2016, according to the International Trademark Association. The fake goods culture has become so prominent that fashion brands have started referencing it in their collections and marketing activations. In 2016, luxury streetwear brand Vetements launched an ‘Official Fake’ collection and sold it in a garage space in the outskirts of Seoul. Elsewhere, luxury fashion darling Gucci became Guccy for its 2018 spring/summer resort collection – again, a nod to the rise of knock-off culture
New York startup Finery has created an AI-powered operating system that will organize your wardrobe.
It provides an automated system that reminds women what options they have, as well as creating outfits for them – saving users a lot of time and money (as they won’t mistakenly buy another grey cashmere jumper if they know they already have three at home).
Users link The Wardrobe Operating System to their email address, so the platform can browse through their mailbox to find their shopping history. All the items they’ve purchased online are then transferred to their digital wardrobe (with 93% accuracy).
Any clothing bought from a bricks-and-mortar shop can be added as well, but that’s done manually by either searching the Finery database for the item or uploading an image (either one you’ve taken or one from the internet). Finery uses Cloud Vision to identify what the object is (skirt, dress, trousers, etc.), the color and the material – then the brand and size can be added manually.
Once your clothing is all uploaded, the platform uses algorithms to recommend outfits based on the pieces you own as well as recommending future purchases that would match with your current items.
Users can also create and save outfits within the platform. And, if they give Finery access to their shopping accounts, the startup will aggregate all their unpurchased shopping cart items into a single Wishlist and alert them when said items go on sale.
Finery will alert its users when the return window for an item they’ve purchased is closing. And it will also let them know if they already own an item that looks similar to one they are planning on buying.
Finery has currently partnered with over 500 stores, equivalent to more than 10,000 brands, to create its online catalog. ‘That covers about ninety percent of the retail market.
Next, the company will be expanding into children’s clothing, and then men’s fashion. And it’s working on developing algorithms to suggest outfit combinations based on weather, location and personal preference, as well as a personalized recommendations tool for items not yet in user’s closets.
Why It’s Hot:
This personal “stylist” gives courage to fashion-handicaps (like myself) to shop online with confidence
It helps avoid unnecessary fashion splurges – BFD considering the average woman spends $250 -$350K on clothes over their lifetime
Acts as a fashion-dream catcher that helps grant your wish list by making purchases easy
“Aside from a couple of visual tells—subtle patches of raised stitches and a plastic button on its cuff—the Levi’s Commuter Trucker looks exactly like what you’d expect from the 144-year-old brand: a timeless jean jacket that keeps you warm while looking cool. But appearances deceive. The jacket is actually an interface between you and your phone. Brush, tap, or cover the right spot and you can answer or ignore calls, switch up your music, or get travel-time updates, all without looking at a screen.”
Creating durable conductive thread. Tech is treated with gloves, textiles are meant to endure tough situations from being exposed to fire (to remove extra cotton fibers) to heated presses and pre-skewing (Levi’s process where toothed grips latch and torque the fabric).
Figuring out how the wearer would interact with the interface, which is stitched onto the sleeve). “Levi’s and Google arrived at four main motions: brush in, brush out, tap, or cover the connected area. The actions are subtle enough so you can silence an incoming phone call during a conversation and it just looks like you’re brushing dust off your sleeve.”
Although relatively primitive, the gestures don’t do much more than what the remote control on earbuds, this is a starting point.
Why it’s hot:
Because although voice-based interactions are becoming more an more prevalent (Siri or Alexa), touch still has an important role to play in our future interactions with new technology meant to disrupt and replace our screens.
Two challenges currently facing any fast-fashion manufacturer include: making clothes that people want to buy and cutting the time it takes for new designs. With its new pop-up, Adidas might have just solved them both. Opened in Berlin, the ‘Knit For You’ concept store lets shoppers design a sweater and get it knitted by the high-tech machines within four hours – substantially cutting the typical manufacturing time of 12 to 18 months.
This tech-infused shopping experience is innovative and slightly resembles a video game. First, shoppers enter a darkened room where different designs are projected onto them with an option to switch between pattern using hand gestures. After choosing, customers move to a computer where they pick the color combination. To ensure the perfect fit, the shoppers can get a laser body scan. The custom-designed merino wool sweater cost 200 euros.
Adidas has been exploring localized production and customization in efforts to sell more products at full price and to bring its operating profit margins closet to its biggest rival, Nike, by 2020. Supported by the German government, the Knit for You pop-up will be used by Adidas to evaluate the profitability, before potentially introducing it in other locations.
Hopefully that headline got you – my colleagues in the NYC office – to stop on my post even though I’m not there to present it.
Without leaving you in too much suspense, it’s because Google recently partnered with H&M’s “digital fashion house” Ivyrevel to create something called “Coded Couture”.
The fashion influencers currently (beta) experiencing this new phenomenon will end up with completely bespoke dresses, designed based on data gathered from their activities over the course of a week.
How it ostensibly works is – they will download an app (to be released more broadly later this year), which will monitor “who they are”, what they do, and where they go, and the data captured will inform a design meant to reflect their unique personalities.
In the words of one of Ivyrevel’s co-founders, “The Data Dress enables women around the world to order a dress made entirely for them, that reflects the way they live their lives.”
Why it’s hot so hot right now (pls read in Will Ferrel Mugatu voice)
The idea of creating physical things informed by digital data is yet another example of digital transforming the physical world. Most often previously, data has helped personalize digital experiences, this is obviously data informing a physical object. If this became commonplace (/when it does), instead of choosing from mass produced options, everything we wear and use could be completely tailored for our individual lives/lifestyles.
But most of all, I’m just really curious how I would look in a data dress.
Madewell launches capsule collections with designers every few months. For its newest partnership with Daryl K., launching February 10, the shop is trying something new– giving its social media followers two days to shop the collection before everyone else.
Here’s how it works: Madewell is promoting the collection on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using hashtag #MadewellxDarylK. The hashtag and posts will direct to a landing page to collect followers’ email addresses. On the morning of the 8th, they’ll receive special access to the pre-sale site.
Why it’s hot: designer collaborations are notorious for selling out the day they launch– H&M x Balmain, Alexander Wang for Target, etc. Oftentimes, the only way to get one’s hands on a coveted item is to buy one that’s been marked up on Ebay. Allocating extra days for the most loyal fans to have a chance to purchase will keep them coming back to the brand.
Everpurse is turning handbags into the perfect device carrier. By fitting them with built-in chargers, they extend not only a busy woman’s carrying capacity but also the battery lives of smartphones she carries.
An alternative approach to building wearable tech, Everpurse works with Kate Spade, a high-end bag label many women love.
The Everpurse bag has a special pocket where a smartphone slides into. The device charges up wirelessly, with no cords to fumble with. Just place it over the included charging mat to charge.
Because I NEED this! Simple as that. But really, this is (1) an interesting extension of wearable technology to big fashion brands — a trend that was emphasized at last year’s SXSW and (2) a practical solution to an all-too-common pain point.
Revlon has had it’s ups-and-downs over the decades — in fact its stock had dropped precipitously over the last decade. Like many in the beauty industry, they used the same cliché beauty/make-up advertising. The focus always was: me. Even Maybelline’s new campaign — ‘No maybe’s” which celebrates a woman’s individual beauty, still uses all the cliché beauty ‘cues’ we are used to seeing.
Revlon deploys a new focal point: us. With the “REVLON Love Test” (https://youtu.be/F9JrNEHj558) they have re-positioned beauty in terms of your relationship, not just yourself. They went from “me” to “us”. A brilliant, simple and genuinely charming strategy. Their YouTube channel has a core campaign video of several couples (below), and works hard at being genuine. Then Revlon goes a level deeper into each individual couple experience. The video below has over 7 million views in one month.
Why is this hot? Not only is it a smart creative strategy pivot from a self-centered view of beauty to something bigger than self, but they coordinate multi-channel campaign with real finesse: a highly engaging Web site (loveison.com), they offer several ways to draw you in and keep you engaged with the brand: a photo share that may be shown in times Square, a sweepstakes, a love test, and more.
They just donated $1 million to a charity.
They treat this seriously with a nice splash of silly. Very human — meaning genuine, authentic and emotional — and very smart marketing.
This year, Instagram made a lot of changes and updates to compete with other social channels, particularly in the messaging sector. One update that the platform tweaked was their Direct Messaging feature that enabled fans to interact with brands on a more personal level.
See how DKNY is using Instagram Direct to engage with fans: “In an intiative conceived under the creative directors and DKNY’s first Chief Image Officer Hector Muelas, the brand will use Instagram’s newly updated messaging feature, Instagram Direct, to provide fans personalized content on how Mr. Osborne and Mr. Chow conceived those designs, ranging from explanatory videos to sketches to behind-the-scenes images.” – Ann-Christine Diaz
Fashion Week is the center of the fashion industry where people flock to the show to get an inside look into trends and work of the designers. To launch DKNY’s new collection, they decided to create personalized messages for fans engaging with them on social media. This was a very great way for the brand to show appreciation to their fans and it was a creative way to showcase their latest line on the ultimate creative platform.
15% of the world’s population suffers from migraines. If you happen to be one of those people, you know how awful they are; you feel it coming on, then suddenly you are in a dark cave, hiding until it passes. While there are many medications for migraines, scary enough, a Botox shot to the forehead seems to work better than most. Additionally, many people find they ‘cycle-through’ the many medications because often it is hit-or-miss whether they work. Something new is needed beyond just another pill.
The need is clear. But the answer is surprising; a wearable. Or maybe calling it that is a stretch. It is a headband. Very Wonder Woman tiara looking.
Why it is hot? This device crosses a number of relevant and “hot” axis. First, it is FDA-approved. Second, with our society so focused on pills but also holding a almost pathological fear of electro-shock sounding therapies, this shows how desperate people are and how radical an approach is needed. This also shows how neurological disorders are finally being dealt with using our own electric wiring versus creating a chemical (pill) to impact the brains’ pathways. Adoption will be a challenge, even if it is as effective as it claims.
This is the YouTube demo; the device actually has been proven to, over time, reduce the number of migraines. Prevent a migraine? Simply amazing.
The only downside? As a wearable, metal headbands are not in fashion. On a more serious note, the real challenge is not that the device works, it is that American have a visceral fear of anything that sounds like electro-shock therapy — a prejudice deeply lodged in our collective mind since the 1950’s.
Belgium-based Cefaly Technologies already secured FDA approval for its headband-like device that stimulates the trigeminal nerve to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines in March 2014. But now it has revealed positron emission tomography (PET) scan data showing that its Cefaly device can aid areas of the brain in returning to their normal metabolic rate in migraine patients.The idea was to better understand the short- and medium-term metabolic changes in the areas of the brain involved in migraine: the orbitofrontal cortex and the rostral cingulate, which are involved in decision-making and emotional behavior. In migraine patients, those areas of the brain tend to be sub-metabolic compared to people without migraines.
“This is a major breakthrough in understanding the mechanism of action of the device on the central nervous system,” said Cefaly CEO Dr. Pierre Rigaux in a statement. “It will help us take developments in this non-invasive, drug-free, technology even further.”
Two things to watch for: where can you buy this for those we know who suffer? And is the device market starting to crowd into the pill market to solve seemingly intractable problems?
It’s an old practice for brands to partner with thought leaders in their field or celebs to help endorse their products. With the age of social media, we’ve seen a proliferation of “thought leaders” and “influencers” as anyone can create his or her own digital property and ultimately market themselves to become a leader in the field. In particular, there are a plethora of fashion bloggers who have huge followings on various social media platforms and are getting paid for it. As a marketer and fashion aficionada, I have wondered countless times about approximately how much these fashion bloggers get paid as more and more are relying on their blogger activities as their sole source of income.
Well recently Harper’s Bazaar gave me an answer when it conducted an exclusive interview with Danielle Bernstein, the woman behind the popular blog, We Wore What. (Me pictured with her below =))
Danielle revealed that she typically gets paid anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 PER INSTAGRAM post. This rate can go up or down, depending on the terms of the deal, such as if a brand wants a long-term commitment or multiple Instagram pictures. With nearly 1 million followers, she is definitely on the higher end of the spectrum as the article states “if you have hundreds of thousands of followers you can make anywhere from $500 to $5,000 a post, but if you have upwards of 6 million followers, your fee can be $20,000 to $100,000 a shot.
In addition the fashion industry estimates that brands spend more than a $1 billion per year on sponsored Instagram posts due to the evolving platform economy.
Retailer Lord & Taylor blitzed into feeds by partnering with 50 influential fashionistas on Instagram and having each pose wearing the same dress.
The dress itself sold out by the end of the weekend, but luckily for the brand, it had a larger goal in mind: Debuting its Design Lab collection, focused on “fashion-forward finds.”
“The program was designed to introduce Design Lab to this customer where she is engaging and consuming content every day,” said Lord & Taylor CMO Michael Crotty. “The goal was to make her stop in her feed and ask why all her favorite bloggers are wearing this dress and what is Design Lab? Using Instagram as that vehicle is a logical choice, especially when it comes to fashion.”
Why It’s HOT: 2015 is proving to be the year of the “Influencer impact”.
An even 50 Instagrammers were hand-picked and compensated by the brand, with each selected “based on her aesthetic and reach,” Crotty said. Many of the posts generated more than 1,000 Likes each, with several surpassing 5,000 Likes and some reaching rarified levelslike 13,000 Likes.
Le Tote is a new clothing service that identifies itself as Netflix for fashion. For $50 a month, a subscriber can select 3 garments and two accessories online at a time, and return them anytime in exchange for another box. The subscriber effectively borrows these garments from Le Tote and can wear the clothing items without any obligation to buy. If the subscriber really loves the item, she can choose to purchase it at a discount on the site.
Why It’s Hot: While it takes a very similar approach to many subscription services out there, it tunes into the insight that women want to refresh their closets and provides a service at a relatively low cost. Subscribers can also hire a stylist at an additional cost, which demonstrates there is a potential to grow the business as well.
Diesel’s “The A-Z of Dance” Video has the Right Rhythm //
Lifestyle content rooted in creativity and culture continues to be a main focal point for brand marketers. It all about mastering the emotional connection with consumers and sparking the meaningful engagement that follows. Diesel seems to have had success only one year after a similar execution by PUMA that fell flat on its face.
Dieseljoined forces withi-D Fashion Magazineto create a video in April 2014, “TheA-Z of Dance,” featuring Diesel’s #joggjeans. The video features the top talent making waves in pop culture today. Then Diesel makes it your turn to be The Star of their Next Video.
Now slip into your Jogg Jeans and show us your moves…We are now inviting fans across the globe to dance their way into a one-of-a-kind follow up film – upload your moves to Instagram, Vine etc using the hashtags #joggjeans and #iDdance.
Diesel drives fans to their Jogg Jeans site where they connect the video, the CTA and all social engagement with the hashtag, #joggjeans seamlessly in one place sealing the deal by featuring fans.
While the Diesel video has recently resurfaced thanks to Fast Company, it is difficult to forget that PUMA released the PUMA Dance Dictionary a year earlier in 2013. The concept was “Encrypt your messages into dance moves.” The video was created to celebrate the launch of the new PUMA “Sync” fragrances, the PUMA Dance Dictionary is a digital application that encrypts messages into dance moves. Don’t say it, move it. However, the effort was an epic failure and their site, pumadancedictionary.com, has become nothing more than inoperable code.Why It’s HOT: This shows that hitting the mark by understanding the social media landscape and understanding your audience in a manner that allows a team to create something that not only resonates but generates authentic engagement is a skill set only the few can master.
CHECK OUT THE VIDEOS BELOW:
Diesel’s “The A-Z of Dance” // WARNING: Video Contains Twerking. Content Potentially Not Suitable for Children Under Age 13.
PUMA’s Dance Dictionary // WARNING: You will never get the next 2 minutes and 44 seconds of your life back after watching the video below in its entirety.
The Puma Dance Dictionary, created by Grey London to push the brand’s new Sync fragrances (yes, Puma makes fragrances), allows users to select words and phrases which are then translated into dance moves by freestyle performers. These “moving” messages can be shared via social media or emailed to friends. You start with various templates and then shift a few words in and out to create sentences. The pre-set “I love women with heart,” for example, can be changed to “I love women with popcorn.” Or “I love guys with muscles.” Or even “I love women with nuts,” if you’re into that. Manipulating other templates yields sentiments like “Money makes me want to get naked,” “Hey bro, your face is crazy” and “Will you stroke my girlfriend?” This can be amusing, but not very, as the vocabulary is too limited. I understand the dancers could interpret only so many words, and Puma naturally wants to avoid potential hate speech or outright vulgarity. But the enterprise seems hamstrung by a lack of true interaction.
Ouch. Sorry, PUMA.You were just out of “Sync” on this one. Better luck next time.
According to this FastCompany article, “Gap is going from dressing normal to getting weird. For its upcoming Spring campaign, the brand has launched a 12-part “microseries” on Instagram video, starring Jenny Slate, co-creator and voice of Marcel the Shell and star of Obvious Child, and actor Paul Dano, called “Spring is Weird.””
Each episode of this Instagram soap opera is 15-seconds long and will roll out weekly, starting this week. The story will, according to the brand, chronicle “the burgeoning romance between Slate and Dano, as they navigate chance encounters, first dates and moody spring weather in the hope of finding their perfect fit. As they grapple with what is real and what is social “content,” they begin to suspect that their lives may not be theirs alone.”
Why It’s Hot
Marketers are continuing to think of new ways to deliver mico-content to consumers leveraging primarily mobile platforms like Instagram to do so. This idea of a “series” or episodes is also interesting because it encourages consumers to continually visit the brand’s account to see more. This puts a lot of pressure on the brand to continually develop quick, engaging and fun content. This first episode was done well and makes me excited to see more from the brand throughout the story.
Kate Spade’s new holiday spot features actress Anna Kendrick making the most of an afternoon locked out of her apartment. Though her wit and charm are what makes the video entertaining, it’s Kendrick’s modeling of her new Kate Spade purchases to her dog that propel the video to holiday hit status.
It’s interactive! As Kendrick tries on her Kate Spade items, viewers can click on the products to learn more about them, and then check out the looks on KateSpade.com right from the video embed.
Why It’s Hot | We’ve seen interactive ads from brands like Target and Victoria’s Secret – but Target’s execution was a one-off event, and efforts from Victoria’s Secret focus on AR associated with the print catalogue. This execution is one of the quickest and most seamless, making it even simpler for viewers to explore new Kate Spade items – anywhere. It will be interesting to watch what other retailers help shoppers explore on-the-go in new and fun ways this holiday season.
Your pants aren’t happy about the new iPhone 6 Plus.
Along with Samsung’s mammoth Galaxy phones, Apple’s phablet mega-sized phone is starting to look like the future of mobile tech.
That’s bad news for your pants. Where do we put our phones? If you’re not prone to carrying a purse, the answer may be to just keep your device in your hand at all times. Although, that hasn’t stopped people from buying the phones like crazy — the 6 Plus was sold out within 24 hours.
For fashion, the opportunity is either a huge headache or a design opportunity. Some brands are considering what this could mean for the future of pants. Though it might seem silly (and quite literally the definition of a first world problem), the reality is that larger pockets could become a necessity if you want to comfortably tuck your phone away.
The influential power that Apple and the iPhone has is a little scary. Phones with larger screens have become more and more popular which will, of course, influence other industries. But why is it a big deal now? Huge phones has been around for years. With the new launch of the iPhone plus, suddenly Jeans companies are changing their designs just so that the new iPhone can fit? It makes sense for companies to adapt to consumer needs but I guess I just find it a little scary how much influence Apple has on industries you would not normally expect to be affected. Everyone’s lives are already molded around their phones so I guess why not their pockets?
Fancy yourself the outdoorsy type, eh? You’ve got all the slickest gear for the rugged lifestyle you live every day. Maybe you even have a gnarly beard and a Clif bar in your pocket. Well, what if next time you went shopping for gear you were immediately put to the test?
Shoppers in Korea faced this challenge in a terrifyingly hilarious stunt by The North Face and South Korean agency Innored titled “Never Stop Exploring.”
Unsuspecting customers at this pop-up North Face store were startled when the floor below them slowly began to disappear, and they were forced to grab on to the walls, which happened to have rock-climbing holds attached to them. Then, a perfect North Face item descends from the heavens, just out of their reach, and a 30-second timer appears.
Totally freaked out, they are given a challenge to grab a North Face jacket hanging from the ceiling in 30 seconds and they get to keep it.
It’s a brillant concept that marries the brand proposition of “never exploring” into a unique retail experience. Not only does it break retail shopping convention and delivers an actual brand experience, it also delivers a memorable North Face experience that shoppers are unlikely to forget.
At London Fashion Week, Burberry is putting forth yet another effort to integrate digital with their show. The first brand to live-steam a fashion show (2010), this year Burberry partnered with social media to introduce an online “Runway Made to Order” service.
For two weeks only, customers can buy Burberry’s trench coats and bags from their Spring 2015 collection. Utilizing the new “Buy” button on Twitter, made to enable in-tweet purchases, Burberry enabled people to immediately buy items from their new line, as soon as they hit the runway, by using that in-tweet button.
Why It’s Hot | It takes more than just debuting beautiful designs to keep fashion week relevant and engaging for newer, younger audiences. While Burberry has been on the forefront of incorporating digital into their programs, other brands are also hopping on the trend. Hunter brand (famous for Wellington boots) partnered with a real-time video company to tweet 10-45 second clips from its runway show to followers according to the weather conditions in their location. Topshop also introduced what it called the “Social Catwalk,” streaming its show onto a digital screen in the window of its Oxford Circus flagship store. It’s only a matter of time until the technology becomes the clothing.
Hanging around Lincoln Center this time of year, all the buzz is about the most gorgeous new lines from designers at New York Fashion Week. This year, a new brand it’s making its debut in the flurry of fashion. It’s Clorox. Yes, as in Clorox Bleach.
Clorox is using a digital activation to promote a new line of bleach products called Smart Seek Bleach. A digital booth near Lincoln Center will have TV screens (that play branded Clorox videos) and space to shoot new short videos. The idea is that consumers can pose with Clorox models and props in a photobooth-esque environment to create their own fashion show, with the content automatically uploading to Facebook. Consumers can also win prizes such as tickets to Fashion Week events and coupons.
As Adweek further explains, “Clorox has also created 10 Vine videos that loop together to create a virtual fashion show—dubbed Cloey De La Rox—around a line of patterned and colored briefs. Screens inside the Fashion Week booth will play the videos.”
Why It’s Hot | What better place for laundry detergent to be than at Fashion Week! The week’s events typically focus on fashion (obviously), but Clorox was quite clever to include their product in an environment where consumers already have apparel on the mind. Even better, they did so in a way that mirrors other brands participating in Fashion Week – with interactive booths and socially shareable experiences.
In the past few years, the wearable tech market has come to encompass an array of new consumer-friendly accessories, but some brands are thinking bigger.
To coincide with the start of the U.S. Open on Monday, Ralph Lauren is launching a wearable tech apparel collection, beginning with a “Polo Tech” shirt that gives biometric feedback to the wearer. A variety of sensors knitted into garment allow it to measure heart rate (and the variability thereof), breathing rates, breathing depth, steps and calories burned. (If you’re interested, those sensors include an ECG, a breathing sensor and, to clock movement, an accelerometer and gyroscope.) All of that data is recorded in a little black box attached at the wearer’s ribcage and transmitted via Bluetooth to an accompanying iPhone app.
Oh, and as for the fabric itself, it’s also anti-microbial and moisture-wicking. Obviously.
Why it’s hot:
While this shirt marks a break from the accessories we’ve seen so much of recently, tech-enabled fabric is a field that’s actually been heating up for quite a while. To handle the actual technical stuff, Ralph Lauren turned to the Canadian company OMsignal, which makes that little black tracker and has been developing its own, very similar-looking range of fitness shirts, now available for pre-order.
There is a lot of buzz about consumers abandoning their wearable devices soon after the devices are purchased, which has led to a slew of more fashion-forward devices popping up (for example: Ringly, the ring that shows your phone notifications). It’s no surprise that now high-end fashion designers are entering the wearables market too.
Tory Burch has now released jewelry applications for fitness tracking device company FitBit. The bracelet designs channel Tory Burch‘s classic look and feel, making the wearables look less awkward and tech-y, yet more stylish and sophisticated. The new designs can help consumers to make the wearable devices a part of their everyday jewelry routine.
Why It’s Hot | Over the past few months, we have seen dozens of new renditions of wearable devices, with each trying to be more user-friendly than the last. With fashion designers now venturing into the wearable space, hopefully consumer abandonment will decline; however, only time will tell if the regular wearing of the devices enhances engagement and truly transforms people’s lives, as FitBit intends.
A creative from Kentucky’s Cornett is taking a new spin on one popular Kentucky creation by teaming with local artisans to produce a unique line of jewelry. The new invention consists of actual Kentucky Fried Chicken bones dipped into 14kt gold and strung onto necklaces. So far, a limited 20 “Gold Kentucky Fried Chicken Wang Bone Necklaces” have been released since the campaign began.
The campaign was created independently of KFC but the brand is embracingit, using the hashtag #Chickenistas.
Read more about the campaign and chicken-bone-turned-jewelry process on the agency’s site here and check out the video below.
Why It’s Hot: Brands are welcoming independent entitles using their products for completely different, new purposes. In the future, KFC and perhaps other food companies might start selling bones and other products to artisans as a new way to raise profits and build more buzz around the brand. More chicken for everyone! Sorry, vegetarians.
No longer are wearable devices limited to awkward bands wrapped around your wrist. A new piece of “smart jewelry” connects to one’s smartphone to show notifications for calls, texts, emails, and social media. New-York based Ringly – smart jewelry and accessory designer – created the ring, as the company aims to cut down the amount of time women spend checking their smartphones. Ringly‘s matte gold smart-ring has an opaque stone that lights up in different colors according to the notification.
As Karen Berntsen, professor of design at Carnegie Mellon University, explains, “The trend is that we are bound to our mobile phones and that it’s increasing and increasing. It’s a whole little evolution to liberate ourselves from having to use our hands.” Unfortunately, the smart ring doesn’t enable any interactions. At this time, it is merely a method of receiving notifications without having to hold one’s phone.
Why It’s Hot | Research and predictions by eMarketer shows that wearable device connections will jump over 700% in the next four years, showing that this is an important place for technology companies to play. Despite that, early stats shows an abandonment of wearable devices, which increases the need for more stylish and comfortable alternatives to wearable devices that don’t require a behavior or style change to one’s routine. Seeing as many smart watches and wristbands are very obviously technology-enabled and don’t exactly fit in most women’s wardrobe, Ringly‘s smart ring aims to bridge that gap between wearable device connections and style trends. Perhaps that will help with the abandonment statistics, and further fuel sales and usage.
Instead of buying yet another pair of Toms this summer, perhaps you order an envelope with a leather shoe upper, a leather shoe sole, and some cotton laces inside. Then you stitch the pieces together. And so you’ve made a shoe, with all the ease of an Easy Bake Oven.
That’s the premise behind Pikkpack, a new footwear company with a Kickstarter campaign. “By implementing the DIY concept, we would like to encourage the user’s participation in the manufacturing process and therefore to improve the user-product connection,” says Hanna Halasz, who–along with co-founder Sara Gulyas–based the Pikkpack design off a traditional Hungarian bocskor shoe made from a single piece of leather. It’s an ultra-minimalist product: Pikkpack shoes weigh less than one pound, and only uses a small amount of glue in the heels.
While it may seem just another competitor to Tom’s on its face, the larger point is how it can marry up to the future of 3D Printing becoming available to individuals. With this technology, marketers can start thinking about how they can actually give consumers their products in new ways–digital ways–that enable delivery to be cheaper, immediate and infinitely customizable.
Last year, the decision makers at Rolex decided the time was right for a shakeup.
Unlike with most “shakeups,” however, there wouldn’t be widespread corporate reorganization, and scores of merchandise wouldn’t be cut.
Instead, Rolex executives decided that it was time for the company to launch its first branded Facebook page, a herculean leap for a brand that has, for decades, closely monitored its reputation and only made tweaks — in both its watches and marketing strategies — after subjecting them to significant scrutiny.
Over the past century, precision has become Rolex’s guiding principle, encompassing everything from its watches to its product marketing. Here’s how the brand monopolized a message and withstood the temptations to cheapen it in the social media age.
Agency sources say Rolex, on YouTube and its new Facebook hub, practices extreme caution and strategy calculation. Rather than publishing content for content’s sake, the brand meticulously selects what media tells the brand’s story best.
Why It’s Hot:
Rolex’s social media strategy is one to take under consideration for how luxury brands can approach their social properties. Many brands try to portray their personality and authenticity through their social channels, but fail when emphasizing the “sales and marketing” side of it. We can take a lesson from Rolex that social is an arena that does not have to be first-mover oriented or overly engaging, but a place where consumers can truly identify with the brand.
Last August, freelance writer Jenni Avins penned an impassioned plea in New York magazine’s The Cut blog, asking J. Crew to bring back its scoop back tank swimsuit.
“What I want is smooth, taut fabric that stretches from my shoulders over my chest and ribcage, with hip-high leg holes and an open back to expose my skin to sand, sunshine, and seawater. I want it available in evocatively named colors like hibiscus, marine, and bottle green (in black, it’s simply unstoppable.)”
A few months later, J. Crew creative director Jenna Lyons announced the swimwear’s triumphant return in a two-page New York ad with a sassy, handwritten note that reads, “Dear Ms. Avins, Your wish is my command … within reason. XO Jenna.”
Why It’s Hot
Are brands really listening to their advocates? J.Crew shows they hear their fans, loud and clear. J.Crew shines as a perfect example of a brand listening to a loyal fan, engaging in an authentic interaction with the genuine desire to help the customer. This action is rooted in the basic principles of social media – listening and responding to connect with fans while building brand preference, reputation and advocacy. This founding pillar of social has a tendency to be forgotten in content and engagement strategies as brands fight for innovation – but sometimes it pays to go back to basics.
Google’s new partnership with Italian eyewear maker Luxottica (Ray-Ban, Oakley) could be a turning point for the wearable technology, and it comes at time when Google is trying to convince more people to try it.
The Luxottica deal follows Google’s January agreement with vision-care giant VSP Global to offer prescription lenses, subsidized frames and training for optometrists on how to properly fit the device.
Andrea Guerra, CEO of Luxottica, and Astro Teller, Google’s ‘Captain of Moonshots’ Rolfe Winkler for The Wall Street Journal
Fashion meets technology, in another effort that proves that form and function can and should play together–and that partnerships are the way to go (Did Nikon & Cannon missed the smartphone boat?).
“Partnering with Luxottica is a huge coup for Google,” said J.P. Gownder, an analyst at Forrester Research who studies wearable-computing devices. “In one fell swoop, Google could get Glass in front of tens or hundreds of millions of consumers in an eyewear-appropriate setting.”
Luxottica’s extensive distribution will help with that. The Italian company led the market for eyewear in 2012 with 12.4% share, according to Euromonitor International. It also controls LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut retail stores among others. Those outlets will offer Google Glass products through more than 5,000 U.S. stores.
Google also is getting distribution help from VSP, which has a network of 30,000 eye doctors nationwide and 60 million people enrolled in its vision plans.