Need to Know
07 : 02 : 18

07.02.2018 Youth : Technology : Apparel

Chinese tourists look to conquer the Arctic, Unicef appeals to a younger generation of benefactors, the global used clothes industry is on the decline.

1. Ovation affords eyecare a lifestyle makeover

Ovation by Futura Ovation by Futura
Ovation by Futura Ovation by Futura
Ovation by Futura Ovation by Futura
Ovation by Futura Ovation by Futura

Washington – Oculoplastic surgeon Christopher Burris is launching a new range of eyecare products later this year that combine medical optometry with the cosmetic aspects of good eye health. With branding by Futura, the products include a selection of eye wipes, eye cream and drops as well as a range of glasses.

‘When looking at a face, the eyes are naturally one of the most common places that we focus on for clues about a person’s age, health and demeanor,’ Burris tells LS:N Global. ‘Health, wellness, form, function and beauty all intersect at the eyes.’ It marks a shift in eyecare that is emerging concurrently in oral hygiene, with brands like Clear Coffee and Qii each taking a more lifestyle-orientated approach.

2. Amazon raises its profile in voice retail

US – Ironically, one of this year's most talked-about Super Bowl ads was based around the premise of Amazon‘s Alexa losing her voice. Tapping into a growing interest in home assistants and the challenge to brands in creating a voice identity, the spot plays out with a host of celebrities, from Gordon Ramsey to Anthony Hopkins, who assume responsibility for speaking as the device with disastrous effect.

Amazon has taken a keen interest in improving its voice skills in recent times with the announcement of its investment in Pulse Labs, a start-up that works with developers and focus groups to test voice apps before they are launched to the public to help encourage continuing engagement.

In our forthcoming Morality Recoded macrotrend we will examine the ethical issues surrounding voice commerce as these home assistant devices become commonplace in the home. Book here for our annual Trend Briefing, where this and other long-term macrotrends will be unveiled.

3. Chinese tourists seek Polar experiences

China – Captivated by the thrill of attaining experiences that have only been afforded to very few on a global scale, China’s tourists are driving phenomenal growth in Arctic travel, as it outperforms outbound Chinese tourism as a whole.

Both the Arctic and Antarctica feature highly on China’s affluent middle and upper-middle classes’ list of must-see places. China is already the second-largest source of visitors to the Antarctic, while in the Arctic Chinese tourists make up around 25–50% of annual visits.

There has been widespread international concern following the release last week of China’s first White Paper for Arctic travel, in which the country billed itself as a ‘near-Arctic state’, a title earned in part because of China‘s booming tourism in the region.

As explored in our opinion piece, however, the tourism sector has a responsibility to evaluate the ethical implications of such travel opportunities and its effect on the environment.

Whichaway Camp by White Desert, Antartica Whichaway Camp by White Desert, Antartica

4. Unicef encourages philanthropy among gamers

Global – Children’s charity Unicef is tapping into the cryptocurrency zeitgeist with a new initiative that calls on anyone with a powerful graphics card – namely gamers and e-sports fans – to mine Ethereum for its cause.

The unusual approach to raising funds serves several purposes. Firstly, it encourages a new demographic of philanthropists that diverges from the charity’s traditional benefactors aged 50 plus. The use of blockchain technology also enables Unicef to ensure that all of its financial gains are completely transparent and traceable.

In line with our macrotrend The New Value Economy, by calling on people to donate time and electricity through mining, Unicef is creating a value exchange system that falls outside traditional fiat money.

5. The second-hand clothes sector is shrinking

The global export market for worn and used clothing is estimated to be about £2.9bn ($4bn, €3.2bn). Analysing UN data, the BBC found that the value and volume of second-hand imports and exports has decreased significantly between 2014 and 2016, as countries such as Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Burundi plan to halt imports from the UK and the US by 2019.

6. Thought-starter: Why young black women are reclaiming braids

Young black women coming of age are turning away from chemical relaxers and celebrating their identity and heritage through braiding, a hair style steeped in tradition.

Alongside exploring its anthropological context, young creatives are examining the concept of braiding as sculpture and an outlet for artistry.

Joanne Petit-Frère is a hair sculptor and visual artist whose recent work for singer Solange Knowles was at the centre of a media controversy when the Evening Standard airbrushed her braided crown out of the cover story.

Born to Haitian parents, Petit-Frère cites a range of inspirations for her work including maths, science and garment construction. Her most recent project, Jo Goes West, explores the origins of hairstyles in West Africa. With its rituals of hair-building, crown-building and idea-building, the technical nature of her work demonstrates how hair braiding skills go beyond typical definitions of a hairstylist and can more accurately be likened to an avant-garde sculptor.

To find out more about this growing movement, read the full microtrend here.

Salooni, London. Photography by Darlyne Komukama Salooni, London. Photography by Darlyne Komukama