News 21.01.2019

Need to Know

A wellness space for muscle recovery, Spotify lets brands sponsor its Discover Weekly playlist and funding for African start-ups is on the rise.

This collection of technical clothing is purely virtual

Solventus 2019 collection by Neuro
Solventus 2019 collection by Neuro
Solventus 2019 collection by Neuro

New York – Digital fashion house Neuro has launched its second 3D-modelled collection, Solventus 2019.

The fashion line features highly functional technical clothing that only exists digitally. In 2016, Neuro debuted the world’s first ever digital collection, with this second collection taking a more speculative approach, imagining a narrative that depicts engineers who have left a polluted city to take over a desolate renewable energy farm.

The garments are designed to function as performance wear, with body-supporting weaves, cold-weather fabrics that retain body heat, and lightweight 3D-printed mesh for breathability. While the collection is initially a concept, Neuro aims to eventually sell the clothing to real-life customers.

As explored in our macrotrend Immaterial Fashion, more innovators are exploring purely digital formats as an antidote to the unsustainable practices of the garment industry.

Shelter is a luxury space for muscle recovery

Shelter, Sydney Shelter, Sydney
Shelter, Sydney Shelter, Sydney

Sydney – The new wellness centre is designed to feel like spa and function like a gym.

Shelter has combined four wellness concepts into one location – a juice bar, traditional and infrared saunas, a fresh water ice bath and a studio for spinning classes. The space has a particular focus on recovery, providing facilities for visitors to relax their muscles after their workout class.

Its ice bath is designed to invigorate muscles with oxygen, while the traditional saunas improve cardiovascular performance and the release of endorphins, and the infrared sauna promotes circulation and detoxification. ‘I wanted somewhere that was going to feel luxurious, like a modern-day spa, and that you could leave having worked out and had a smoothie, a coffee and an ice bath,’ says founder Ben Mills.

Recovery continues to be an increasingly essential part of people’s exercise regimes. For more, read our microtrend Active Recovery.

Brands can now sponsor Spotify’s most personalised playlist

Global – The music streaming service is testing a new type of advertising service, allowing brands to sponsor its personalised Discover Weekly playlist for the first time.

The Discover Weekly playlist, which updates every Monday with new music recommendations based on individual users’ personal listening habits and tastes, is one of the platform’s most popular features. Microsoft is set to be the first advertiser and Spotify believes the playlist’s ability to reach its most engaged users will appeal to many other brands – particularly as an opportunity to ‘own the personalised listening experience’.

'Our new Discover Weekly ad experience positions advertisers for success and ensures that our fans are hearing messages that embody the ethos of discovery,’ says Spotify. But, as the company acknowledges on an informational page titled Trust Issues, brands invited into its ‘circle of trust’ must respect consumers and music artists. This was similarly explored in our recent guest Opinion piece, asking what Facebook’s new music licensing will mean for brands.

Amplify by Spotify

Junius wants to reinvigorate workplace dining

Junius
Junius
Junius

London – The new food-to-go brand aims to simplify and improve workplace nutrition with nutrient-dense prepared dishes and drinks.

Designed for time-pressed, health-conscious consumers, Junius supplies forward-thinking employers with a range of salads, wraps, cold-pressed juices and desserts, which have been devised to help staff eat healthily while streamlining lunchtime logistics. Each colour-coded item supports a particular pillar of health, and meals provide a careful balance of protein, beneficial fats and phytonutrients to deliver slow-releasing energy and increase productivity.

In addition to being colour-coded, each of the seven menus has a short, snappy name inspired by a different aspect of wellbeing, such as POW for strength and vitality or SPA to cleanse and refresh. By helping today’s workforce align their health goals with convenient food options in this way, Junius is enabling consumers to shift their focus to how food makes them feel. We look at how expectations of on-the-go food are changing in our Convenience Culture market.

Stat: Funding for African start-ups surges

Recent figures show that new African businesses are on the rise. Funding for start-ups on the continent increased dramatically in 2018, with total funding increasing by 300% and the number of deals rising by 127%. According to WeeTracker’s 2018 venture investment report, individual funding rounds were also larger and many exceeded £3.8m ($5m, €4.4).

This reflects increasing confidence among investors and the top ten deals in 2018 jointly amounted to £353m ($457m, €401m), accounting for just over 60% of total funding received. Nigeria outperformed all other counties with a total of 136 deals, followed by South Africa with 107 deals and Kenya with 73 deals.

Fintech in particular has emerged as a promising sector in Africa, with most companies trying to work around payments and remittances. For more, read our Emerging Money Market: Sub-Saharan Africa.

Thought-starter: Can food brands be climate-positive?

Restaurants and food brands are turning their carbon-offsetting efforts into educational and marketing campaigns that flaunt their sustainability credentials while also urging consumers to make food better choices, says Daniela Walker.

Climate change is often associated with industries such as transport and energy – consumers can offset the carbon footprint of their flight, but may not realise what it means to offset a meal – or even that it is necessary.

‘When most wealthy people think about their carbon footprint they’ll think about where their electricity and heat come from or what they drive… not so much about combine harvesters or processed meals or food waste,’ writes academic Ruth Khasaya Oniang’o in The Guardian. But the food system is one of the most polluting on the planet, with global food systems estimated to contribute 20–30% of all greenhouse gases.

Restaurants are becoming more transparent about their carbon footprint. In the US, the Sustainable Restaurant Group, which has restaurants in Portland and Denver, announced in May 2018 that it had become the first restaurant to know the carbon footprint of its entire supply chain, down to each menu item.

Read more about Climate-positive Foods here.

Heal the World by Pepi de Boissieu. Photography by Nuria Val
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