News 20.05.2019

Need to Know

The Body Shop drives social change, Gucci introduces luxury call centres and why CPG brands are investing more in packaging.

A restaurant inspired by Japanese cherry blossoms

Omakase restaurant by Shanghai Hip-pop Design
Omakase restaurant by Shanghai Hip-pop Design
Omakase restaurant by Shanghai Hip-pop Design

Shanghai – The restaurant serves high-end kaiseki cuisine in an eye-catching, high-concept setting.

Located in a renovated business centre in Shanghai, the interior design for Omakase takes its cues from dew-covered sakura petals, reflected throughout the space with an abundance of pink, decorated glass panels and partitions, and a floor made of backlit glass panels. The space was designed by local practice Shanghai Hip-Pop.

On the ground floor, the restaurant has an open-plan layout with a sushi bar and a private dining space. A staircase leads to the second floor where guests are seated in private rooms, all divided by glass panels emblazoned with cherry blossom motifs. By using its unique interiors to create an immersive dining atmosphere, Omakase reflects the evolving demand for memorable customer experiences. For more, read our Experience 2020 report.

The world’s first digital-only garment to go to auction

The Fabricant in collaboration with Dapper Labs and Johanna Jaskowska, New York The Fabricant in collaboration with Dapper Labs and Johanna Jaskowska, New York
The Fabricant in collaboration with Dapper Labs and Johanna Jaskowska, New York The Fabricant in collaboration with Dapper Labs and Johanna Jaskowska, New York

New York – A fashion piece that only exists virtually was auctioned at the recent Ethereal Summit, the Ethereum blockchain industry’s premier event.

The sale marks the first-ever auction of digital-only fashion and suggests a growing global market for collectible digital items, also known as crypto-collectibles. Selling for £7,450 ($9,500, €8,500), the couture piece, which was designed by Amsterdam-based digital fashion house The Fabricant, will never become a physical garment. It was auctioned by Dapper Labs, the team behind CryptoKitties, and was digitally worn by artist Johanna Jaskowska, creator of the popular Instagram filter Beauty3000.

As a blockchain digital asset, the virtual garment doubles as both clothing and a form of cryptocurrency, signalling how blockchain and virtual fashion are set to transform clothes ownership. In our Immaterial Fashion macrotrend, we consider how digitisation offers a new route for consumers seeking new ways to engage with clothing brands.

The Body Shop is helping to empower waste-pickers

Bengaluru, India – The brand is working with the world’s first fair trade plastic recycler to fight plastic pollution and drive social change.

Teaming up with Plastics For Change, The Body Shop is launching its first recycled plastic under its Community Trade programme, with the aim of empowering India’s waste-pickers. In its first year, The Body Shop will buy 250 tonnes of Community Trade recycled plastic to use in nearly three million haircare bottles by the end of 2019.

The initiative reflects a wider ambition, which is to introduce Community Trade Recycled plastic across all polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic used by the brand within three years. Helping to support 2,500 waste-pickers in Bengaluru, the programme will also ensure they receive a fair wage for work and better working conditions, as well as help accessing education, financial services and healthcare.

As plastic pollution continues to be a significant environmental concern, similar initiatives such as Plastic Bank are using plastic waste to create a new currency for disadvantaged communities.

The Body Shop

Gucci invests in customer service with luxury call centres

Gucci customer service centre Gucci customer service centre
Gucci customer service centre Gucci customer service centre

Global – Gucci is opening six customer service centres at which consumers can speak to staff by phone, email or live chat.

Giving shoppers 24/7 access to the brand, Gucci’s new hubs will open in six major cities, including Shanghai and in its operational city of Florence. According to Gucci president and CEO Marco Bizzarri, the call centres aim to give customers ‘a direct connection to the Gucci community that is a seamless, always accessible, personalised experience’.

Gucci has branded the new client service centres with the name Gucci 9, designing each to a similar level as its boutiques. In a bid to drive sales, consumers can contact a call centre to discuss anything related to the brand, which hopes to provide consumers with the same level of service as offered in stores. As the luxury sector grapples with rapidly changing consumer habits, the human touch continues to be a defining aspect of service.

Stat: CPG brands are rethinking packaging

Many CPG brands in the US are planning to spend more on packaging in the near future, a new survey finds. According to LEK Consulting’s 2019 Brand Owner Packaging Study, 75% of brand owners surveyed say they expect to increase spending on packaging over the coming year.

‘CPG brand owners recognise consumers want more convenience, and companies are looking to packaging to help provide it,’ says Thilo Henkes, managing director at LEK Consulting. ‘This will entail some major changes to packaging, and CPGs are responding and investing.’ Of particular note, 57% say they are developing packaging that is easier to open and 51% say they are working on more single-serve packaging. Likewise, we explore the rise of Single-serve Leisure in our Uncoupled Living macrotrend.

Thought-starter: Why are luxury brands investing in podcasts?

Luxury brands and retailers are turning to audio formats as a new touchpoint for discovery, education and brand-led experiences.

Auralux listening has evolved into a key consumer touchpoint for high-end brands. According to Mood Media, some 86% of shoppers aged 18–24 say they like hearing music when shopping, while 75% say that if music is playing, it feels like a brand they can relate and connect to.

Curated playlists are one way in which brands are solidifying their musical credentials. Earlier in 2019, Prada launched a Spotify profile as a new space for consumers to immerse themselves in the brand. With 10 playlists and counting, they provide an eclectic mix of classical, contemporary and electronic music drawn from Prada’s spring/summer 2019 campaign and runway shows.

Taking a similar approach, French luxury brand Chanel has worked with Apple Music to create The Sound of Chanel, a series of playlists that reflect the brand’s disposition. Each is edited by a figure from music or fashion, as well as sound director Michel Gaubert, renowned for producing runway soundtracks for luxury houses including Oscar de la Renta, Balenciaga and Christian Dior.

For more, read the full microtrend here.

Prada on Spotify
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