Need to Know
16 : 01 : 18

16.01.2018 Fashion : Design : Retail

Roman and Williams creates a design destination, PIX merges auto and retail, brands need to do more to promote diverse definitions of masculinity, and other stories.

1. Reebok demonstrates its scientific dexterity

Flexweave by Reebok, US Flexweave by Reebok, US
Flexweave by Reebok, US Flexweave by Reebok, US
Flexweave by Reebok, US Flexweave by Reebok, US

US – Reebok has just announced the launch of a new material known as Flexweave, which will be incorporated into its shoe designs from spring this year. Created from chenille yarn, the fabric is woven to create a figure of eight design, which lends the material a lightweight, durable and breathable quality.

While the material is similar to Nike’s Flyknit, Reebok has collaborated with three design studios from around the world to unlock the full potential of Flexweave beyond just shoe design. Joe Doucet X Partners in New York used Flexweave to create a glove that holds ‘different properties across its surface’, Odd Matter design studio in Rotterdam created an active seat that was both ‘light yet soft’ and Modla design house in London exploited its permeable properties to create a cycling mask.

Initiatives such as The Liquid Factory, which it founded in late 2016, alongside material innovations like Flexweave, are helping to establish the brand as a scientific pioneer and positioning Reebok as more than just a shoe manufacturer.

2. The Guild gathers design artefacts from around the globe

The Guild by Roman and Williams, New York The Guild by Roman and Williams, New York
The Guild by Roman and Williams, New York The Guild by Roman and Williams, New York
The Guild by Roman and Williams, New York The Guild by Roman and Williams, New York
The Guild by Roman and Williams, New York The Guild by Roman and Williams, New York

New York – Design duo Roman and Williams has opened its first furniture store in Manhattan. The showroom plays on the old-fashioned idea of a guild by creating a space not only for the pair's own designs but also those of inspirational designers from around the world, an idea that can be seen extending beyond the design sector and into the world of fashion.

The showroom is therefore divided into three parts – founding, which is a showcase for Roman and Williams’ own designs; community, an area dedicated to the objects of other makers, and found, objects or antiques with a story.

The inclusion of La Mercerie Café run by chef Marie-Aude Rose, a flower boutique by Emily Thompson and a library space run by Phaidon, creates a destination in which visitors can relax and experience the space.

As explored in our Home-tail microtrend, brands are re-inventing the showroom by offering a less clinical approach to selling and instead demonstrating how their products can fit into everyday life by curating them to resemble a domestic space.

3. DHL aims to make ocean freight shipping more sustainable

US – Global shipping group DHL is working with the Good Shipping Program, an initiative to decarbonise the container shipping industry by changing the marine fuel mix, to address the heavy pollution caused by the ocean freight shipping industry.

Its subsidiary, DHL Global Forwarding, which transfers goods via container shipping on ocean liners, will now allow its customers to choose whether they want their goods shipped on transport that uses more sustainable marine biofuels rather than the traditional fossil fuels. The partnership also helps forward DHL’s target of reaching zero emissions by 2050.

Increasingly, companies are stepping forward to make positive changes when it comes to making infrastructure more sustainable. Download our free Sustainability Futures report for more.

DHL Global Forwarding DHL Global Forwarding

4. PIX offers a vision of service-led autonomous cars

PIX, China PIX, China
PIX, China PIX, China
PIX, China PIX, China

China – The start-up pitches its self-driving vehicle concept as a modular platform rather than simply a mode of transport. With a detachable chassis and car body, the modularity of the vehicle means it can be fitted for different uses – for instance, one prototype was equipped with a robotic barista arm to become a mobile café.

PIX also wants to revolutionise the automotive industry with its distributed model of car manufacturing. Using technologies such as 3D printing, artificial intelligence and industrial robots, PIX believes it can reduce manufacturing cost by 60%. Although still in the protoype phase, PIX represents another opportunity for Micro-retail, rethinking the car as a service rather than solely as a product.

5. Figures show that traditional stereotypes of masculinity prevail

A study by Pew Research shows that ideas around what it means to be a man nowadays may not have evolved as much as popular culture suggests. While there has been a shift towards greater Male Positivity and an acceptance that definitions of masculinity are expansive, men still feel social pressure not to reveal their true emotions perhaps for fear of being perceived as weak. In our upcoming New Masculinity series we explore how brands can assist men in asserting their masculinity, beyond the traditional parameters.

6. Thought-starter: Why haircare brands should watch skincare product innovation

The haircare market is being pushed by consumer demand in their skincare, according to writer Josh Walker.

When it comes to skincare, 28% of women in the UK are confused about which skincare products to buy and 14% are not aware of their specific skincare needs (source: Olay). This desire among consumers to understand the products they are using and how they meet their personal needs is now moving beyond skincare into hair products.

Function of Beauty is one haircare brand capitalising on this demand by offering personalised products. On its website, users first complete a questionnaire about their hair type and structure, and define their hair goals. The brand then uses an algorithm that formulates a personalised concoction from a possible 12bn customised combinations.

For more ways that the haircare market is following skincare, read The Future of Haircare.

Form by Walker & Company, California Form by Walker & Company, California