A digital spa that democratises wellness
The Digital Spa is hosting a week of online classes, thought pieces, quizzes and meditative podcasts designed to analyse the meaning of wellness today. It will tackle topics such as ASMR, colour therapy, CBD, sexual wellness and sleep meditation, with a daily timetable and new content scheduled to drop throughout the week. Dazed Beauty will also use Instagram Live to host drop-in digital meditation sessions.
‘The wellness industry has started to build a reputation for being exclusive, overwhelming and outdated, as well as inaccessible to those who arguably need it most,’ explains Tish Weinstock, Dazed Beauty commissioning editor, in response to its open, accessible format. In The Future Laboratory's forthcoming health and wellness macrotrend – due to be launched in June 2019 – we will explore how the acceleration of the wellness economy has become anxiety-inducing for consumers, driving the need for new metrics of wellbeing.
UnderPinned is a virtual hub for freelancers
London – This digital office allows freelancers to find work, manage projects and carry out business admin in one place.
As a one-stop platform for freelance workers, UnderPinned provides simple tools for portfolio-building, project management, invoicing and automated contracts. The virtual office not only aims to bring together every aspect of a freelancer’s working life, but also helps to tackle common issues, such as late payments.
‘Freelancing offers amazing flexibility and freedom, but establishing yourself in this world can be challenging,’ says founder Albert Azis-Clauson. In addition to the online hub, UnderPinned has opened a physical space in east London where it will host workshop and mentoring sessions, as well as providing members with a co-working space. They will also have exclusive access to counselling, legal advice and tax helplines, and a network of shared working spaces across the UK in partnership with Dispace.
As the number of remote and self-employed workers increases, new opportunities to serve their needs are emerging. For more on the future of work, explore our dedicated Far Futures vertical.
AI voice assistants will transform drive-throughs
Purchase, New York – Mastercard and self-service kiosk technology provider Zivelo have joined forces to enhance the ordering experience at quick-service restaurants (QSRs).
Together, they have developed a first-of-its-kind AI-powered voice assistant and personalised dynamic menu system. After being showcased at the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago, fast-food chain Sonic Drive-In will be the first QSR to pilot the new technology at selected locations this year.
Upon arrival at a drive-through, customers will be prompted to order from an AI-powered voice ordering assistant, linked to a dynamic menu display. The menu will also automatically update, allowing its product displays to be customised either to a specific customer or against external factors such as weather, time of day, seasonality and location.
‘Drive-through accounts for 70% of QSR transactions, yet the experience has remained more or less untouched by innovation,’ explains Healey Cypher, Zivelo’s CEO, noting that consumers increasingly expect faster, more personalised and contextual experiences. For more, read our Voice Retail Market.
Laws of Motion launches a dress in 99 sizes
New York – Laws of Motion, a nascent direct-to-consumer womenswear brand, aims to disrupt the apparel industry’s standard sizing systems.
Launching with its Alpha dress, the brand is harnessing data science to ensure a better fit for its customers, offering sizes spanning 00 to 24, with 99 micro-sizes within that range. To achieve this level of personalised fashion, Laws of Motion uses a combination of algorithms, modern manufacturing techniques and data sets. ‘We took a million data points on women’s bodies,’ explains Carly Bigi, founder of Laws of Motion. ‘We got data on 10,000 real women’s bodies, and we aggregated 99 micro-sizes that account for shape and size.’
Those wishing to buy the dress firstly take a fit quiz, submitting details such as their age, height, weight, bra size and other brands that fit them best, before a proprietary algorithm determines an ideal size. A digital pattern of the garment is then laser-cut and finished in under 10 minutes, with each made to order to reduce waste. Laws of Motion is the latest example of how a new wave of digital tools are helping to redefine sizing in fashion.
Stat: The fashion sector remains far from sustainable
Many companies are struggling to scale sustainable initiatives, according to the Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2019 report. The annual study from Global Fashion Agenda measures sustainability performance in the fashion sector using its Pulse Score. The most recent findings show that sustainable solutions are not being implemented fast enough to mitigate the environmental and social impacts of the industry, which itself continues to grow.
While the 2019 Pulse Score shows that the industry’s sustainability has improved over the past 12 months, it has done so at a slower rate than the previous year. This year, the fashion sector’s Pulse Score increased by four points to 42 (out of 100), compared with a rise of six points in 2018, meaning that measurable progress has slowed. For a consumer-facing perspective on encouraging sustainability in fashion, read our interview with Dr Daniel Benkendorf of the Fashion Institute of Technology.
Thought-starter: Will auction houses become hubs of luxury?
Patti Wong, the senior director and chairman of Sotheby’s Asia and Sotheby’s Diamonds, examines the transformation of the auction house into a year-round luxury destination.
Sotheby’s Diamonds is the burgeoning jewellery retail division of the auction house specialising in luxury diamond jewels for high-net-worth individuals. According to Wong, the division grew out of a visible need to provide a jewellery service all year round for clients. ‘We have jewellery sales in Hong Kong, Geneva, New York and London, but that’s 10 days of the year,’ she says. ‘On the other 355 days, we’re not trading in jewellery. But there is a need – our clients have asked us to source diamonds.’
Responding to this need, Sotheby’s Diamonds supplies very hard-to-find gemstones and coloured diamonds, offering luxury consumers a bespoke service in which they themselves select the rough stones before they are faceted.
Speaking about the benefits of opening Sotheby’s Diamonds within existing auction house locations, Wong says: ‘Over time, we have gained many new customers who have not bought from Sotheby’s before. It has opened up a whole new circle.’
Read the full Q&A here.