Need to Know
25 : 06 : 18

25.06.2018 Fashion : Automotive : Retail

Ford is launching a future mobility lab in disused train station, Bianca Saunders explores themes of black masculinity, Google demonstrates AI's ability to predict death.

1. Ford’s new campus promotes the future of Detroit

Corktown campus by Ford

Detroit – Automaker Ford plans to take over the Michigan Central Station and surrounding areas in its hometown Detroit, to serve as a campus for its exploration of the future of mobility.

The facility, located in Corktown, will specifically host experiments in autonomous and electric vehicle ventures. The space will be focused on testing design solutions for a new transportation system that makes mobility more convenient and accessible through connected vehicles, smart roads and innovative public transport.

‘This will be the kind of campus where the emerging economy thrives – a collaborative ecosystem of companies, educators, investors, and innovators. This is where part of our team will live and work as a part of this community, alongside the customers and neighbours whose lives we’re trying to make better,’ says Jim Hackett, Ford President and CEO.

As governments struggle to manage the rapid pace of change, corporations are seeking greater roles to sustain the growing demands on city infrastructure. Ford’s plans will contribute the urban revival of the city of Detroit. For more on the future scenarios of branded cities, you can purchase our report here.

2. Bianca Saunders reimagines black masculinity

Bianca Saunders Bianca Saunders
Bianca Saunders Bianca Saunders

London – A recent graduate of the Royal College of Art, Bianca Saunders showcased her debut collection at London Men's Fashion Week last week. With references to her British-Jamaican heritage, the pieces explore the lesser-known aspects of black masculinity.

‘It’s about challenging what’s already out there. There’s the really hyper-feminine black guy and the opposite,’ Saunders told Vogue, ‘and I felt like there’s no representation of the guy, who sits in between.’

Taking inspiration from self-conducted research with her male friends, Saunders created clothing that was neither overtly feminine or inherently masculine. The pieces include lightly ruffled shirts, crimped cropped tops and shiny nylon trousers.

For more on the changing face of masculinity, see our recent series here.

3. Google develops AI that can forecast death

Global – The Brain team at Google have discovered how artificial intelligence (AI) could help doctors predict health-care outcomes.

Researchers recently demonstrated the potential of AI to evaluate the risk of death among hospital patients. A woman with late-stage breast cancer was assessed by doctors and given a 9.3% chance of death during her stay. The AI system gathered over 175,000 data points from the patient’s medical records and forecasted her death risk as 19.9%. Google’s algorithms proved more accurate than traditional prediction models as the patient passed away within a matter of days.

The team are confident that this approach can be used to make a host of patient outcomes, from predicting the length of a patient’s hospital stay to their chances of re-admission. In a recent article, the University College of London Hospital (UCLH) demonstrated how machine learning algorithms also have the ability to diagnose diseases, identify people at risk of illness and could also be used in resourcing.

Aleksandra Szymanska for The Future Laboratory

4. John Lewis demonstrates circular fashion efforts

Buy Back scheme by John Lewis, UK Buy Back scheme by John Lewis, UK

UK – The British retailer is trialling a new fashion service that enables customers to sell unwanted items back to the brand, in return for a store gift card.

Currently being tested on over 100 John Lewis customers, the app-based service shows users all their branded purchases within five years and offers a John Lewis e-gift card in exchange for any items which are no longer wanted. Once a customer has a minimum of £50 worth of clothing to sell a courier will collect the products within three hours.

‘We hope that by making it as easy as we possibly can for customers to pass on clothing that they’re no longer wearing we can ensure that the maximum life is extracted from items bought from us’, says Martyn White, Sustainability Manager at John Lewis.

The initiative comes at a time when sustainability is important in consumers minds, but still loses out to convenience. For more on why consumers are currently selectively sustainable, read our interview with Dr Daniel Benkendorf, a professor of psychology at the Fashion Institute of Technology,

5. Luxury markets benefit from rise in high-net-worth wealth

The global high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) wealth is expected to reach £80 trillion ($106 trillion, €91 trillion) by 2025. According to Capgemini’s World Wealth Report 2018, it is likely to exceed that target as 1.6 million more individuals gained high-net-worth status since the 2017 edition of the report.

The research suggests that the growth of the luxury sector will continue to rise, particularly among the Asian and North American markets, which collectively accounted for three-quarters of all HNW population growth in the past year. For more insights and trends in the luxury world, see our sector focus here.

6. Thought-starter: How can members’ clubs nurture physical interactions?

In our latest micro trend, Connecting Clubs, we explore how digital nomads are seeking meaningful experiences that foster real-life connections.

As we become increasingly dependent on technology to feel connected to one another, a new generation of members’ clubs are nurturing real-life interactions to spark more meaningful connections between strangers.

One club, Habitas has expanded beyond its usual remit with the opening of two members’ club-cum-living spaces in New York and Venice Beach. Driven by a desire to inspire lasting relationships between international guests, the Clubhouses will support Habitas community dinners, performances and a curated roster of experiences around the world to help bring like-minded people together.

Part-members’ club, part-residency with locations in London, Berlin, Barcelona and San Francisco, Norn is billed as an ‘offline network reviving the art of conversation’. Building on this conversational concept, members can spend up to six months as a Norn resident at a cost of £1,510 ($2,000, €1,725) per month.

Read the full report here.

Habitas Clubhouse, New York. Photography by Read McKendree
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