News 03.12.2018

Need to Know

Ikea champions urban farming, Instagram embraces Finstas and why beauty brands should address ‘hair wash phobia’.

Fila's latest collaboration finds inspiration in Indian textiles

Nor Black Nor White x Fila, India

India – The Italian brand partnered with Canadian-Indian streetwear label NorBlack NorWhite to create a collection rooted in the traditions of Indian textile makers.

Exclusively available in India, the limited-edition collection fuses Indian-inspired colours and patterns with sportswear styles and silhouettes. Athletic staples such as baseball jerseys, tracksuits and trainers are all reimagined through the eyes of NBNW’s co-founders Mriga Kapadiya and Amrit Kumar, who seek to challenge cultural stereotypes surrounding the use of prints. According to Fila, the collaboration marks the first time a global brand has collaborated on a full collection with an Indian streetwear label.

The 10-piece collection is a departure from mainstream minimalist sportswear and athleisure, as well as a reflection of the fact that India’s youth increasingly sees fashion and beauty through the lens of athleticism. With almost half (46%) of the country’s population being under 25, brands are waking up to India’s emerging youth market.

Ikea partners with Tom Dixon to rethink urban farming

Ikea x Tom Dixon, UK Ikea x Tom Dixon, UK
Ikea x Tom Dixon, UK Ikea x Tom Dixon, UK

UK – Ikea is teasing a forthcoming urban farming project that encourages individuals in cities to grow their own food.

Building on Ikea’s previous urban gardening products, the homeware brand is developing a line of gardening tools with British designer Tom Dixon that will be available in Ikea stores globally in 2021. In the interim, Dixon will present an experimental model for growing plants in urban environments at the annual RHS Chelsea Flower Shower in London in May 2019.

The installation, which aims to explore the difference between natural and technology-driven approaches to urban farming, will consist of a split-level garden. The lower garden will be a horticultural laboratory while the upper level will feature an ecosystem of trees and plants chosen for their medicinal and health properties.

For more on the emerging role of next-gen urban farming in our diets, read our food and drink macrotrend, Uprooted Diets.

TechCrunch Disrupt 2018: Instagram embraces the rise of Finstagrams

Berlin – On the final day of Tech Crunch Disrupt, Instagram’s product director Robby Stein announced the launch of its new Close Friends feature. Created as part of the platform’s existing Stories infrastructure, Close Friends allows users to create a curated list of friends with whom they can share more personal videos and photos. ‘Ultimately because Stories grew to be so large, it became hard to go deeper and share the more personal moments,’ explained Stein. ‘To really be yourself and connect and be connected to your best friends, you need your own place.’

With Generation Z increasingly turning to Finstagrams – or fake Instagram profiles – to share content with friends and family away from the public sphere, Instagram is acknowledging the desire for tools that can alleviate the pressure to be perceived in a certain way. Stein’s interviewer and TechCrunch’s editor-at-large, Josh Constine, did however offer a word of warning in highlighting the possibility that this more private channel of communication could encourage more extreme content creation.

As explored in our macrotrend Morality Recoded, brands need to rethink their offering to ensure that their products help to foster consumers’ mental health rather than detracting from it.

Instagram 'Close Friends' feature

Your future home could be built by Airbnb

Backyard by Airbnb
Backyard by Airbnb
Backyard by Airbnb

US – The company’s futures division has announced the launch of Backyard, a project that will use Airbnb insight to design and build homes.

Backyard explores how buildings could utilise sophisticated manufacturing techniques, smart-home technology and insight from the Airbnb community in order to respond to the changing occupant over time. Airbnb’s innovation lab, Samara, will start testing prototypes in autumn 2019.

While many of today’s houses are built to hold one family for a number of years, Samara is investigating how buildings can become more versatile to allow for the various co-living arrangements of the near future. ‘Simply put, nothing addressed long-term adaptability from a systemic perspective,’ says project lead Fedor Novikov. The team are also looking into eco-friendly construction and fully prefabricated homes.

With deep understanding of the ways hosts modify their homes to accommodate guests, Airbnb is well placed to become a Brandlord. Last year, the company launched its own apartment block in Florida.

Stat: Chinese consumers are facing ‘hair wash phobia’

China’s beauty consumers are experiencing ‘hair wash phobia’, according to Mintel. While they are washing their hair less than ever, the majority still only wash their hair every two to three days, mainly because they believe that frequent washing will result in damage to its health, such as hair loss.

However, this mindset provides an opportunity for brands to educate Chinese consumers on the best practices of haircare, including how seasons and humidity affect hair washing and the normal amount of hair loss they can expect to experience. Mintel also suggests that brands consider dry shampoo as a potential subcategory to promote, as it targets haircare between washes. Currently, dry shampoo is only targeted at new mothers, who, by Chinese tradition, are not allowed to wash their hair for 42 days after giving birth.

At this year’s Indie Beauty Expo, Innersense disrupted the dry shampoo category with the launch of an all-natural and sustainable alternative to aerosol sprays.

Thought-starter: Is Alibaba much more than a global marketplace?

At Dutch Design Week 2018, designers from Design Academy Eindhoven hosted Geo-Design, an exhibition investigating the growth of Chinese retail monolith Alibaba, and future possibilities for the retailer’s expansive digital infrastructure.

With services and operations in over 200 countries, it's clear Alibaba is committed to creating a global marketplace. But Alibaba is not only the world’s largest virtual shopping mall, it is also a financial institution, education provider, innovation centre and logistical giant.

From its complex algorithms, to software concepts that use artificial intelligence to generate advertisements, international designers at Dutch Design Week 2018 investigated and visualised some of retailer’s complex inner workings.

For one project, an Eindhoven-based design duo decided to scrutinise the power of Alibaba’s elusive sorting algorithm, while another installation explored the retailer’s global geographical infrastructure through information design, presented in the form of a four-metre, data-covered inflatable globe.

For more, read the full listicle here.

Geo-Design: Alibaba. From Here to Your Home by Design Academy Eindhoven and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. Photography by Peter Cox
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