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10 : 09 : 18

Miu Miu celebrates Saudi women, Dash launches a cryptocurrency smartphone, ASOS launches a collection aimed at Generation Z.

Miu Miu explores the female experience in Saudi Arabia

Miu Miu, Women's Tales, The Wedding Singer's Daughter, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia – Prada’s subsidiary Miu Miu launched the latest film in its Women's Tales initiative, which has been giving female directors a platform to explore their stories since 2011.

The short film, entitled The Wedding Singer’s Daughter, is set in the capital city of Riyadh in the 80s and follows a group of women as they enter a wedding venue, where the reception is separated by genders. It explores the multiplicity of the female experience in Saudi Arabia, showcasing the women wearing glamorous Miu Miu clothing beneath their abayas.

Directed by Saudi Arabia's first female filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour, the piece highlights the country's conservative past and hints at its future through its protagonist, a young girl who looks to save her mother, the wedding singer, from humiliation.

For more on the brands that are working to rewrite narratives around gender, visit our Female Futures vertical.

The V&A elevates video games

Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The London museum’s Autumn blockbuster – Design/Play/Disrupt – explores the flourishing of the video game as a medium of critical and cultural enquiry since the mid-2000s. While many of today’s most lauded games developers are represented, it is the grassroots case studies – and the ultimate blurring of the designer-user binary – that is most compelling. Design/Play/Disrupt demonstrates how gaming now acts as a platform for community creation across a broad range of geographies and demographics and, within that, has become one of the tools of choice for marginalised groups to reclaim their voice.

‘There’s been an aversion in some sense to thinking about video gaming as something that is political, but of course any kind of medium has its own politics, even if it’s not explicit, so we really want people to critically engage with those issues,’ research curator Kristian Volsing tells LS:N Global.

Gaming is also becoming a vital forum for young men to discuss mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Read more in our Relationship Games microtrend.

Dash facilitates easy-to-use cryptocurrency payments

Latin America – Peer-to-peer payment system Dash is partnering with the Venezuelan phone company Kripto Mobile to launch a new cryptocurrency-based smartphone. Every Kripto phone will be pre-loaded with the Dash ecosystem and wallet, allowing users to seamlessly make payments for goods and bills without having to download a third party app. Thanks to Dash’s InstantSend technology, transactions are processed in the same time it would take to make a credit card payment while the fees remain significantly lower.

‘We all know that fiat payments take too long and cost too much, and that cryptocurrencies have the potential to affect real change, especially for people experiencing hyperinflation where cryptocurrency is less volatile’, says Bradley Zastrow, head of global business development at Dash Core Group.

In territories like Latin America and Africa, where corruption is high and consumers remain largely unbanked, blockchain payment systems offer them the opportunity for inclusion in a more structured financial framework than the current cash-based systems.

IOTA, Global IOTA, Global

ASOS launches a new Generation-Z focused brand

Collusion by ASOS, UK Collusion by ASOS, UK
Collusion by ASOS, UK Collusion by ASOS, UK

The new label, Collusion, is aimed at consumers who are coming of age and will be built around the twin pillars of gender fluidity and affordability. ASOS created the brand by bringing together a group of six young people from various walks of life – students, activists and YouTubers among them – with a team of fashion designers.

Collusion will be launched alongside a national marketing campaign that captures the lives of 100 young people living in the UK who will turn 18 in 2018. Each was asked the question ‘what do you wish for, in the year you come of age?’ in order to ‘create an image of a group portrait and visual census of Britain’s youth at a unique moment in time’, according to a statement from ASOS.

As we’ve recently explored in our New Masculinity series, male consumers are increasingly as comfortable as their female counterparts with exploring the mailability of gender identity, and want brands to help facilitate that journey.

Stat: Blockchain is yet to break through

According to research by PwC, while 84% of executives claim to have some sort of blockchain initiative in progress, few have implemented the technology. Respondents cited a lack of trust among users as a major obstacle to adoption, alongside regulatory uncertainty and the technical challenge of bringing separate networks together.

For more on how blockchain might (eventually) reshape the global economy, read our Viewpoint with Joao Reginatto, European director of product and operations at cryptofinance company Circle.

Thought-starter: Why CBD cocktails will become the new bar staple

With alcohol losing favour among consumers, cannabis-infused drinks are set to offer an alternative for those still seeking some form of intoxication.

‘Cannabis is real competition, not only to spirits, but to the entire alcohol category,’ says Sid Patel, CEO of Beverage Trade Network, which will host the inaugural Cannabis Drinks Expo in San Francisco in 2019. ‘There was tobacco and alcohol, and now there is a third real big category – cannabis. Consumers will now have a choice: you want to grab a cocktail after work or go to a cannabis lounge?’

Many drinks brands are experimenting with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the principal psychoactive compound in marijuana – to offer consumers a different kind of intoxication. Some are creating new categories, like California Dreamin’s cannabis soda, which is a bottled carbonated fruit juice, laced with 10mg of THC to offer a ‘light, fun buzz’, according to the brand. Others are turning to cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the plant, to offer mellow alternatives.

For more, read our Alternative Intoxication microtrend.

Adriaen Block, New York. Photography by Lily Brown Adriaen Block, New York. Photography by Lily Brown