News 24.05.2019

Need to Know

Target’s data-driven make-up range, Google and Stella McCartney pilot a supply chain tool and how tech is hiding in the home.

Virtual Super Land launches with a mixed reality pop-up

Virtual Super Land at Fred Segal, Los Angeles
Virtual Super Land at Fred Segal, Los Angeles
Virtual Super Land at Fred Segal, Los Angeles

Los Angeles – The high-tech fashion concept brand challenges perceptions of reality with its interactive, month-long pop-up at Los Angeles-based retailer Fred Segal’s flagship store.

Virtual Super Land’s (VSL) debut collection of streetwear uses green screen technology to cleverly jump between the physical and digital worlds. Designed for the social media generation, the collection is supported by the VSL camera app, which engages users’ perception of reality in a shareable way. When shoppers point their phone’s camera at the clothes, the app will animate items with renderings of solar systems, Renaissance sculptures and logos.

As the technology works with most shades of greens, the pop-up space heavily features green and neon elements so that all items interact with the app. In addition, VSL has collaborated with brands such as Mai Mai and Casetify to create a range of green products, including a neon bikini and one-of-a-kind iPhone cases. In doing so, the brand has created a fun, accessible and easy way to transform the retail experience, tapping into ideas we explore in our Programmable Realities macrotrend.

Versed is a non-toxic skincare brand built on data

Versed by Target, US Versed by Target, US
Versed by Target, US Versed by Target, US

Los Angeles – The brand offers a range of affordable, non-toxic skincare that draws on insights from 16 million consumers.

From cleansers to treatments, Versed’s 19-product collection has been created to provide a cleaner alternative to traditional skincare solutions. The brand, which was incubated by Clique Brands, the company behind women’s lifestyle blog Who What Wear, was developed and inspired by insights gleaned from Who What Wear’s online community. Debuting online and in store at all Target locations across the US, everything in the range retails for under $20 (£15.60, €17.70).

‘After years of consumer research, we started to notice a gap in the beauty market,’ explains Katherine Power, CEO and founder of Versed. ‘Shoppers were looking for a brand that was deeply rooted in research and was comprised of clean products that not only work great, but are easy to use and make them feel good.’

Discover why data-driven product formulations are the future of skincare in our interview with Atolla Skin Lab co-founders Nava Haghighi, Sid Salvi and Meghan Maupin.

Google and Stella McCartney help brands to measure their impact

Copenhagen and London – The tech giant and sustainable fashion powerhouse are joining forces on an experimental data-crunching project analysing the impact of cotton and viscose supply chains.

Announced at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, Google is building a tool that uses data analytics and machine learning on Google Cloud, which will be used to analyse reams of information about Stella McCartney’s own supply chains, and data from myriad other sources, including brands, manufacturers and NGOs within the fashion industry.

The end goal is to create a supply chain tool that can be used by other brands or at various stages on the supply chain, to give companies greater clarity of their production process and its impact on a local level against metrics such as water pollution, emissions, and soil health.

For many fashion bands, the challenge lies in building both sustainable practices and affordable end-products, something discussed in our recent interview with Volcom’s sustainability adviser Derek Sabori.

Stella McCartney Loop Lab, UK

Mal is a print journal for sexually inquisitive people

Mal Journal, illustration by Anna Kirova Mal Journal, illustration by Anna Kirova
Mal Journal, illustration by Anna Kirova Mal Journal, illustration by Anna Kirova

UK – Supported by dating app Feeld, the publication brings together essays, poems and illustrations, with its first print edition dedicated to botany and eroticism.

Published in partnership with London’s Serpentine Galleries, Mal Journal has launched in print following the success of previous online-only journals examining transcendence and desire. Each bi-monthly edition features inclusive and engaging original essays, fiction and poetry by emerging and established talent.

Mal Journal exists as a literary extension of Feeld, which describes itself as a dating app for open-minded singles and couples wishing to explore their desires alone or with others. ‘Mal Journal has been created as a vital platform for the most incisive and original voices engaging with sex, gender, race & LGBTQ+ issues today,’ says Lyubov Sachkova, communication manager at Feeld.

With sexual exploration straddling the digital and physical worlds, Generation Z are turning to social media, YouTube and Insta-influencers for realistic, inclusive perspectives on sex. For more, read our recent microtrend Sex Re-education.

Stat: UK consumer thirst grows for cocktails

Fresh data from CGA and ingredients brand Funkin Cocktails reveal growing demand for cocktails in the UK, with sales rising 9.5% in 2018 to a value of £587 million ($753m, €665m).

And, it seems, they’re are becoming a normal part of UK drinking culture, with the number of bars, restaurants and venues serving cocktails growing 75% in the five years since 2014, today totalling 42,000.

The research also shows that around 69% of people choose cocktails spontaneously. Ben Anderson, marketing director at Funkin Cocktails, notes: ‘The opportunity to attract new customers, increase profit per serve and drive footfall is huge, just by adding a few classic cocktails to a drinks menu.’

As consumers become more adventurous with their tastes – and expectant of food and drink outlets to provide creative drinks menus – bars, restaurants and drinks brands are launching experiences that heighten their senses by merging taste with real and virtual stimuli.

Thought-starter: Is it time for tech to blend into the background?

As consumers seek a more balanced relationship with devices and technology, brands are creating home electronics that blend seamlessly into the background.

Conventionally, technology for the home has been made to be seen: brooding black plastic sound systems that make their presence felt, vacuum cleaners in purple and yellow hues, and 55-inch televisions that are purposely difficult to ignore.

More recently, the emergence of voice systems such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home has made technology commonplace in what were once tranquil, technology-free rooms. In response, brands are realising the need to balance the form and functionality of electronics, with a further, positive upshot of reducing the amount of visible technological clutter.

Launched at CES 2019, LG’s Signature OLED TV R is the world’s first rollable television, giving home users multiple viewing possibilities while making the screen less conspicuous. The tv’s display panel can rise and unroll to different heights: full view, line view and zero view. In the latter mode, the screen is rolled away inside the base, although users can still enjoy music and other audio content through its speakers.

Read the full Discreet Tech microtrend here.

Perfect Reality, Samsung, by Six N. Five
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