Need to Know   22 : 05 : 18
Kamarq, US

Need to Know
22 : 05 : 18

Kamarq’s furniture subscription, Universal Standard re-evaluates its size chart, Superimpose Studio exchanges Emoticash for data.

1. Kamarq creates Netflix for furniture 2. Plus-size brand goes inclusive with smaller styles 3. Blockchain brings clarity to diamond supply chain 4. Emoticash offers alternative currency in exchange for data 5. US consumers are concerned about data protection 6. Thought-starter: How have fermented beverages evolved?

1. Kamarq creates Netflix for furniture

Kamarq, US
Kamarq, US
Kamarq, US

New York – Furniture brand Kamarq has launched a subscription service for people seeking flexibility from their furniture and home décor.

Users can subscribe to a selection of packages that last between six and 12 months, and range in price from £3.70 ($5, €4.26) to £13.40 ($18, €15.30) per month. This entitles customers to order new furniture in line with their subscription period that they can later exchange when they want to refresh the colour or style. While allowing customers to quickly update their interiors with bold and versatile designs, Kamarq is also acknowledging the importance of the circular economy, repairing and reviving worn pieces before putting them back into the rental programme rather than making new designs.

Despite its recent launch with a campaign created by fashion designer Nicola Formichetti and Belgian creative PJ Mattan,the company faced plagiarism accusations relating to a number of table designs that echoed pieces by designer Ana Kras for furniture gallery and manufacturer Matter. The collection was removed from Kamarq’s offer.

At a time when consumers are openly sharing and renting products, it is crucial for brands to create systems that provide high-quality and value-driven experiences for customers. For more, see our macrotrend The New Value Economy.

2. Plus-size brand goes inclusive with smaller styles

Universal Standard, US Universal Standard, US
Universal Standard, US Universal Standard, US

US – Clothing label Universal Standard is driving a new narrative around inclusive fashion. Although it now caters for the plus-size market, the brand plans to expand its collections to serve women of smaller sizes, expanding its range to serve sizes 6–40, with plans to later offer sizes 0–40.

‘The future of fashion is one in which women of all sizes can participate equally, and we’ve designed our clothes accordingly. Our end game is to be at the forefront of the movement that will make size an irrelevant consideration for women when making style choices. It’s about fashion freedom,’ explains Polina Veksler, co-founder of Universal Standard.

The brand’s approach to clothing engineering and pattern-cutting has contributed to its successful size extension. Using an approach known as micrograding, the brand is able to adapt the numeric formulas of each garment to fit different body sizes but in a similar way. This enables Universal Standard to demonstrate a more realistic representation of clothing on each individual body type, akin to ASOS’s use of AR to show how items fit on different body shapes.

3. Blockchain brings clarity to diamond supply chain

US – Diamond producer De Beers has demonstrated the successful use of blockchain to provide assurances of authenticity and provenance along the diamond supply chain.

Various diamond manufacturers worked with the company to create the blockchain system Tracr, which was successfully trialled using 100 high-value diamonds. In an effort to avoid conflict materials, the digital trail tracks diamonds from their source mine to the end customer – a jeweller – using a Global Diamond ID assigned when the stone is logged with Tracr. Characteristics such as carat, colour and clarity will help identify each diamond, as well as the integration of participating companies’ existing record-keeping systems.

‘When fully operational, Tracr will provide consumers with confidence that registered diamonds are natural and conflict-free, improve visibility and trust in the industry, and enhance efficiencies across the diamond value chain,’ the company said in a statement.

To discover how blockchain could be the crucial link in luxury goods transparency, read our opinion piece.

AMA Fictional jewellery brand by Ada Sokol and Etienne Garachon

4. Emoticash offers alternative currency in exchange for data

Emoticash by Superimpose Studio
Emoticash by Superimpose Studio
Emoticash by Superimpose Studio

Global – Creative agency Superimpose Studio’s latest concept project, Emoticash, envisages how alternative data currencies will be used to reward consumers for providing real-time brand feedback.

The project uses emotional detection and recognition (EDR) technology to record and interpret users’ emotional responses to a brand’s products or services, offering participants something tangible in exchange for the raw data relating to their emotional feedback. Users can spend their Emoticash on wellbeing activities such as yoga sessions and gong baths.

‘Emoticash raises interesting questions about the intersections of effect and consumption. As audience responses and engagement become increasingly vital to brands in the digital age, Emoticash poses the question of how much a brand would be willing to pay in exchange for unfiltered insight into how they are perceived,’ Superimpose Studio said in a statement.

As explored in The Emotional Economy, people are increasingly obsessed with how everything makes them feel. Although emotions are difficult to quantify, measuring feelings opens up new possibilities for brands to create products and experiences personalised to customers.

5. US consumers are concerned about data protection

A recent survey conducted by private network service ExpressVPN found that a sizeable majority of US consumers are concerned about how brands are handling their online data privacy and security. The research discovered that 55% of consumers are particularly worried about their conversations being monitored by smart home devices. Another 45% are wary of performing banking and financial transactions online.

Recent data scandals involving brands and service providers have heightened privacy and security concerns among consumers. With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect in Europe on 25 May 2018, discover whether your brand is ready for GDPR here.

6. Thought-starter: How have fermented beverages evolved?

The functional fermented drinks market is maturing fast, with innovators emphasising improved health benefits, free-from credentials and new occasions for consumption.

Kombucha is becoming established in the consumer consciousness as the go-to probiotic-packed drink and a viable everyday alternative to less healthy options. Brands are now looking to capitalise further on the growing mainstream awareness of the product with new innovations that differentiate them from the established players. US brand Wonder Drink Kombucha, for example, recently launched what it claims is the world’s first prebiotic kombucha.

Similarly, the kefir market is going from strength to strength. But the growth of the drink in its traditional form may be curtailed by consumers’ growing interest in plant-based diets, a trend that has obvious correlation with kefir’s core demographic of functional foodies. Some producers are avoiding milk completely to instead develop fruit-flavoured, water-based kefirs. US brand Lifeway Foods launched its Elixir range of water kefirs to offer consumers a low-sugar, functional alternative to sodas.

Read the full report here.

Yesfolk fermented tonics, New York
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