News 20.02.2024

Need to Know

Highsnobiety celebrates London with capsule collection, MIT’s 4D-knit dress and why LGBTQ+ representation is alarmingly low in video games.

Designers and cultural landmarks united for Not In London collection

Not In London by Highsnobiety, UK
Not In London by Highsnobiety, UK
Not In London by Highsnobiety, UK

UK – Youth culture publication Highsnobiety has unveiled ambitious plans for the global expansion of its Not In city series that aims to celebrate the unique cultural essence of major cities, starting with London and soon to be followed by Paris, Milan, New York and Miami.

The Not In London experience, launched in February 2024 during fashion week, promises a week of exclusive events, drops and a pop-up shop showcasing London’s rich cultural DNA – from bird-watching with Flock Together to a 30th-anniversary rave with Rinse FM and Champion.

In addition to taking over parts of Selfridges for a month-long curated retail experience, Highsnobiety has introduced product collaborations with renowned brands. From Barbour’s limited-edition jackets using upcycled fabrics to Beigel Bake’s graphic-print collection paying homage to the iconic bakery, these collaborations blend culture and creativity seamlessly.

Other collaborations include luxury hotel Chiltern Firehouse, Knitwrth’s graphic sweaters featuring British legends such as David Beckham and Princess Diana, NTS’s music-inspired clothing collection, and Reference Point’s exclusive newspaper delving into London’s dynamic culture and style, available only at the Selfridges pop-up.

As explored in our Neo-collectivism macrotrend report, brand collaborations are moving a step further with a new holistic approach that puts community, culture and experience first for maximum exposure and relatability.

Strategic opportunity

Consider developing city-specific product collaborations with local brands or iconic institutions to tap into the cultural identity of each location – creating a new kind of authentic souvenirs attracting both global and local consumers

MIT 4D-knit dress adapts its shape through heat activation

4D Knit Dress: Transforming Style by MIT Self-Assembly Lab and Ministry of Supply, US 4D Knit Dress: Transforming Style by MIT Self-Assembly Lab and Ministry of Supply, US
4D Knit Dress: Transforming Style by MIT Self-Assembly Lab and Ministry of Supply, US 4D Knit Dress: Transforming Style by MIT Self-Assembly Lab and Ministry of Supply, US

US – Researchers from the Self-Assembly Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and fashion brand Ministry of Supply have designed an instantly adaptable 4D-knit dress using heat-activated yarn.

The 4D dress is initially knitted into a basic tube shape before heat is applied to specific areas via a six-axis robotic arm, mimicking the design process of pinning and tucking used in traditional dress tailoring.

The heat technique can be used to make small tucks to fit the dress to an individual’s body, add details such as ruffles or ruching or to adapt the dress to a certain fashion, such as a form-fitting bodycon dress.

Researchers hope this invention will help reduce waste in the fashion industry by limiting the need to produce excessive stock or waste materials in the manufacturing process.

For more on the latest eco-innovations, check out our Sustainability topic where we offer market-leading insights and analysis on the climate crisis.

Strategic opportunity

Explore the integration of 4D-knit technology in bricks-and-mortar stores, offering in-store customisation experiences where customers can witness the transformation of their garment through heat activation

Becton, Dickinson and Co revolutionises blood testing

Global – In the wake of the Theranos scandal, Becton, Dickinson and Co (BD), a global leader in diagnostics and medical supplies, is paving the way for the next era of blood testing. Unlike Theranos, which promised but failed to deliver on revolutionary technology, BD’s new blood draw devices offer tangible advances in healthcare.

Its BD MiniDraw Capillary Blood Collection System marks a significant leap in blood testing technology. With just 6–18 drops of blood collected at a capillary level, these devices can perform a range of chemical and molecular tests. This innovation not only enhances convenience but also democratises access to vital medical information.

Moreover, these tests can be performed in convenient local settings such as pharmacies, using only small pinpricks of blood. The company told Fast Company in an interview that it has secured US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory clearance and agreed initial pharmacy partnerships, demonstrating the legitimacy of its innovation.

The implications are vast: in regions with limited healthcare infrastructure, BD’s technology enables essential tests, like HPV screenings, to be conducted at home. This breakthrough has the potential to dismantle societal taboos and is an important innovation in contributing to the overall Longevity Lifestyles of global audiences.

AI imagery by The Future Laboratory, UK

Strategic opportunity

Explore the development of home-based testing kits, allowing individuals to perform a variety of medical tests in the comfort of their homes. This could cater for the growing demand for at-home healthcare solutions

Stat: LGBTQ+ representation in video games is nearly invisible

Photography by Artem Podrez, Poland Photography by Artem Podrez, Poland

US – In February 2024, GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, unveiled the first-ever report on LGBTQ+ inclusion in video games. Despite a notable increase in the number of LGBTQ+ gamers, who account for 17% of the US gaming population, the study highlighted a stark contrast in representation in games themselves, with only 2% featuring openly queer characters.

The survey, conducted in partnership with Nielsen and encompassing 1,452 US gamers, also shed light on the prevalence of online harassment experienced by LGBTQ+ players, with 52% reporting such incidents. Alarmingly, 27% said they had quit games due to harassment.

GLAAD’s report emphasises the pivotal role of gaming communities for LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly in regions grappling with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. In states with such laws, 55% of players feel more accepted in gaming communities than in their local environments. Furthermore, 65% assert that gaming serves as a coping mechanism during challenging times.

‘Three out of four LGBTQ+ gamers say they can be their true selves while gaming,’ said Tristan Marra, head of research and reports at GLAAD, in a statement. As explored in Authentic Avatars and our upcoming Communities report on Women Who Play, there is an opportunity for brands to answer gamers’ demand for high levels of in-game customisation. For marginalised communities, feeling themselves represented within a game is no longer just an added bonus, it is crucial.

Strategic opportunity

Explore advertising opportunities within games that promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity. Brands can align themselves with games and platforms that actively support diverse representation, reaching a socially conscious and engaged audience

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