News 15.05.2019

Need to Know

Farfetch pilots a handbag trade-in programme, the first voice assistant for people with hearing loss, and solo dining grows among British adults.

Miansai launches roadside jewellery retail

Miansai mobile retail
Miansai mobile retail
Miansai mobile retail

US – The Miami-based jewellery and accessories brand has launched a fleet of mobile retail units to reach new customers.

To amplify its narrative around American craftsmanship, Miansai is telling its story through a fleet of vintage vehicles transformed into retail units. The brand has been sending the vehicles to locations such as Coachella Festival in California, Soho House in New York and Navy Beach in Montauk – destinations said to fit the brand’s relaxed attitude towards luxury.

The project allows Miansai to step out of the traditional brick-and-mortar jewellery retail format, as well as test new shopping formats. ‘The cool thing about mobile retail is that it allows us the flexibility to be agile and test markets without committing to leases right away,’ says Michael Saiger, the brand's founder.

As explored in our recent microtrend, austere and exclusive jewellery showrooms are falling out of favour as brands turn to casual, social spaces to enhance the jewellery experience.

Nike Fit personalises footwear sizing

Nike Fit Nike Fit
Nike Fit Nike Fit

Global – Nike has added a new function to its retail app that allows users to measure their feet using their smartphone.

Nike Fit is a scanning solution created to help consumers find the right size for every Nike shoe style. The technology, which uses 13 points of measurement, relies on a combination of computer vision, data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Once a foot is scanned, the brand is able to compare individual sizing data with its full range of footwear in order to recommend the best fit for a consumer’s chosen shoe.

According to Nike, sizing is a significant consumer problem across the footwear industry. Positioning Nike Fit as a solution to this issue, the brand suggests data captured from the feature will enable the company to transform the way it designs and makes footwear, while removing friction from both the online and in-store shopping experience.

In our Digital Fit microtrend, we explore how a new wave of digital tools are helping to refine sizing options for shoppers buying fashion online.

Farfetch lets customers trade-in luxury bags

London – The online platform for luxury fashion has announced the launch of Second Life, a pilot programme that allows consumers to trade-in designer handbags.

Launching initially in the UK and selected European countries, Second Life lets people exchange their designer bags for credit that can be used towards future Farfetch purchases. After users submit information and photographs of the bag they wish to sell, each item will be reviewed by Farfetch, with an amount of credit proposed within two business days. If the consumer accepts the offer, they can schedule a free courier pick-up for the bag to be sent to the team for verification.

‘Luxury fashion is increasingly aligned with sustainable fashion,’ says Giorgio Belloli, Farfetch’s chief commercial and sustainability officer. He adds that resale is an area of increasing interest for the platform’s customers, with Second Life allowing it to enter this market and test demand. 'Like the online luxury market, the pre-owned luxury market is growing rapidly,' Belloli notes.

For more on the new opportunities presented by the burgeoning luxury resale market, keep an eye out for our upcoming Pre-loved Premium listicle.

Farfetch Second Life

A smart voice assistant for people with hearing loss

SIGNS by German Youth Association of People with Hearing Loss and MRM//McCann, Germany SIGNS by German Youth Association of People with Hearing Loss and MRM//McCann, Germany
SIGNS by German Youth Association of People with Hearing Loss and MRM//McCann, Germany SIGNS by German Youth Association of People with Hearing Loss and MRM//McCann, Germany

Germany – Signs is the first tool of its kind to communicate sign language via a voice assistant.

Created by The German Youth Association of People with Hearing Loss and MRM//McCann, the tool recognises and translates German sign language in real-time and communicates this directly to a voice assistant such as Alexa or Google Home.

The smart tool is trained to identify body gestures with a camera, which are translated into data for the voice assistant to understand. The answer is then displayed in text or as visual feedback. Signs was created in response to Gartner's prediction that the world will be dominated by 30% non-screen based digital interaction by 2020.

Read our macrotrend Programmable Realities to discover more about Gestural Design and how our bodies can be used to code data without the need for a physical interface.

Stat: More Britons are eating alone

Adults in Britain are eating socially less often, according to new data from Sainsbury’s Living Well Index. Overall, 29% of adults reported eating alone most or all of the time, compared to 26% just six months earlier. Broader changes in relationships and social connections appear to be leading to this growth in solo dining.

Within the relationships category, the survey finds a modest decline in the number of people in relationships, as well as a drop in the number of people reporting being satisfied with their sex lives. The study shows that people who are no longer in a relationship were significantly more likely to eat alone more often.

As our macrotrend Uncoupled Living unpacks, while singledom is on the rise, brands have an opportunity to support it as a positive and fulfilling lifestyle choice.

Thought-starter: Are brands guilty of greenwashing?

Hailed as an environmentally friendly alternative, bioplastic has been widely adopted by brands, says senior creative researcher Rachael Stott. But are we failing to address the real problem?

We are in the midst of a global plastic crisis. With an estimated 90.5% of the plastic waste we produce having never been recycled, we are drowning in a deluge of packaging, cutlery, carrier bags, coffee cups and bottles, and yet manufacturers continue to produce more.

Brands, too, are eager to demonstrate they are taking positive action. They are championing plastic alternatives that are eco-friendly, biodegradable or compostable to cater for consumers’ desire for more sustainable products. Items and packaging made from bioplastics are increasingly being adopted by retailers, however these products aren’t always as virtuous as they appear.

Recent research from the University of Plymouth found that carrier bags labelled as biodegradable were still fully intact after three years left in the sea or buried in soil, with several examples still capable of carrying items of shopping. These findings raise the question: should bioplastic really be proposed as a viable alternative if the degradation rates are so slow that they still contribute to plastic pollution?

Read the full Opinion piece here.

Plastic Culture by Marco Federico Cagnoni
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