1. Technology Will Save Us re-imagines geek culture
UK – The technology company, which creates coding kits and games for children, has worked with London-based film-maker Raine Allen-Miller on its latest advertisement that rethinks what a child coder looks like.
The advert deliberately shies away from any traditional references to coding. Instead, Allen-Miller wanted to offer a more futuristic punk aesthetic that plays up the creativity that comes with using STEM to make toys.
‘It talks about kids being smart in a cool way,’ Allen-Miller told It’s Nice That. ‘I wanted the kids to be empowered, which we really pushed with the styling… everything is real but with a teaspoon of the absurd.’
Like the #BreakStereotypes campaign by US company Secret Code, Technology Will Save Us is driving a shift in visual direction around children who code.
2. FPC is a studio dedicated to pre-natal fitness
New York – Many gyms offer pre-natal classes, but they tend to be limited in scope and are not necessarily aimed at creating exercise that will help with both delivery and post-natal recovery.
FPC is aimed at both, with three classes designed to strengthen the core and mid-line muscles as well as encourage diaphragm breathing. Each of the trainers at the gym are specialists in pre-natal fitness, and are either doulas or lactation experts, so that women feel secure that they are not working with a generalist personal trainer.
FPC is part of a growing inclusivity movement in the wellness world, where more gyms are rethinking how their offerings can cater for a wider range of consumers.
3. New AI can predict the clothes consumers want before they exist
US – Developed by researchers at the University of California, San Diego and Adobe, the system works by running two algorithms.
The first studies a user’s preference for certain items and purchases to recommend similar products, something already common in online retail. The other, however, creates computer-generated imagery based on that data to predict future items that match that person’s particular style.
Researchers believe that combining the two algorithms could help online retailers determine what consumers want to buy beyond what already exists, as well as create personalised pieces of clothing based on the data.
A study by Narrative Science and the National Business Research Institute predicts that 62% of US enterprises will be using AI by 2018. As a result, a number of designers are turning to AI as an effective design tool.
4. Space10 collaboration explores co-living in the 2030s
Sweden – Launched as the next iteration of designer Irene Pereyra’s One Shared House, which centred on an examination of communal living and what people are most willing to share with each other, One Shared House 2030, through a collaboration with Space10, applies the same thinking through a future-focused lens.
‘The idea is to achieve a much better understanding of what people would like their ideal co-living space to look like, as a first step in the design journey,’ says Bas van de Poel, creative strategist at Space10.
The initiative comes at a time when more than half of the global population is urban. By 2030, that figure is expected to rise to almost 70%, and almost 9% of the population will be living in just 41 megacities.
5. Consumers are keen to purchase cut-price goods
The new study commissioned by Pro Auction highlights the lengths consumers go to when it comes to buying cut-price goods. It reveals how 45% of UK consumers visit the reduced section of supermarkets and other stores, and 66% make a conscious effort to save money while shopping.
As a result, a new wave of brands are making conscious changes to their branding and business models as a way to democratise quality and bring premium products to the mass market to appeal more to the dollar store demographic.
6. Thought-starter: Are avatars the next big fashion opportunity?
Journalist Josh Walker explores how digital avatars are opening up new opportunities for fashion retailers in both the physical and digital worlds.
Dressing digital avatars has become big business. As of July 2017, players of team-based multiplayer game Overwatch playing on video game consoles had spent £46m ($61bn, €52m) on in-game items such as character outfits, according to SuperData.
As a result, they are opening up new marketing opportunities for brands. Whereas last year, Louis Vuitton cast video game character Lightning from Final Fantasy as the face of its spring/summer collection, this year Coca-Cola signed a celebrity ambassador deal with Alex Hunter, a fictional character designed for EA Sports’ Fifa 18 video game.
In a similar vein, Lil Miquela is a digital social media influencer with more than 450,000 followers on Instagram. A recent post in which she models a dress from New York-based fashion brand Area highlights the potential of using digital influencers to market products to digital-first generations.
Within retail too, avatars are being used to help reduce returns. Amazon recently acquired Body Labs, a company that creates true-to-life 3D body models to support a variety of applications, including virtually trying on clothes and avatar creation in video games. While specific details about the acquisition are yet to be revealed, the technology could be used to enable consumers to virtually try on outfits sold through the brand’s website.
Read this microtrend and more from our fashion sector here.