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30 : 07 : 21

Meditative clothing that preps people for climate activism, Something’s plugin spotlights Black creatives as you browse and e-tail expectations increase.

Meditative fashion prompting climate-positive action

Care of the Self, Care of the World by STUDIO DNWLLNGR
Care of the Self, Care of the World by STUDIO DNWLLNGR
Care of the Self, Care of the World by STUDIO DNWLLNGR

London & Switzerland – Graduate fashion designer Diane Wallinger is using fashion as a tool to bolster people’s mental headspace amid the growing impact of the climate crisis. The multimedia Care of Self, Care of World project comprises a four-piece digital fashion collection, a meditation video series and a physical outfit.

Through aesthetic cues reminiscent of cushioning and colours inspired by superhero costumes, the designer wants to ‘communicate both energy, serenity and power to the individuals, inviting them to take care of themselves, to build the necessary physical and mental resilience to take care of the world.’ By approaching the theme of sustainability in this way, the collection echoes the ideas we explore in Synchronised Care – recognising that personal health is interdependent on the world around us.

As the fashion industry continues to count the cost of its planetary impact, we forecast that the coming decade will usher in an era for tracking and rationing fast-fashion garments. Meanwhile, ethical consultancy CogDis is placing spirituality at the heart of sustainable operations in the fashion sector.

Strategic opportunity

Clothing can recognise and mitigate the emotional toil of climate change and other societal impacts through what people wear. Take cues from the wellness sector to create comforting garments that support people’s psychological states

Bumble café entices daters with IRL meets

Bumble Brew Bumble Brew
Bumble Brew Bumble Brew

New York – After a period dating centred on virtual meetings, relationship app Bumble is facilitating in-person connections through the opening of an all-day café and wine bar. Located in downtown New York, Bumble Brew marks the brand’s first permanent physical location after a series of successful pop-up concepts.

Working with Delicious Hospitality Group and design agency Float Studio on the space, Bumble caters for the growing appetite among daters to move from Socially Distant Dating towards digital interactions that catalyse in-person connections. ‘We’ve seen a resounding response to the Bumble Hive pop-ups we’ve hosted around the world and noticed a clear appetite for a permanent space where people could connect,’ says Julia Smith, head of brand partnerships at Bumble. Alongside its dining options, the company will also host a programme of live events to elevate the experience for daters.

The dating app’s hospitality venue also aligns with the social needs of Generation Z – a cohort that is especially hungry for in-person interactions after global lockdowns, seeking engaging hangout spaces to foster new connections.

Strategic opportunity

Beyond dating apps, social media services have an opportunity to engage Generation Z by creating enticing physical spaces and experiences that bring digital connections to life

Something Spaces plugin spotlights Black artists

Global – Responding to the lack of diversity in the art world’s physical institutions, creative agency Something and nonprofit organisation Where are the Black Designers? are launching a web browser plugin spotlighting Black creatives. Called Something Spaces, the plugin will automatically present artworks by both established and emerging Black artists and designers each time users open a new tab.

In this way, the initiative recognises the opportunity to elevate marginalised voices through digital spaces and habitual online behaviours. ‘We fill under-utilised spaces such as browser tabs with inspiring artwork creators that are often overlooked,’ explains Roshannah Bagley, studio manager at Something. ‘We’re on a mission to reimagine these spaces by turning them into canvases for creativity.’

Looking to the wider sector, such projects feed into the interests of Deprogrammers – a growing community of young people rejecting traditional education systems in favour of cultural learning through digital platforms and virtual tools. Elsewhere, cultural institution Somerset House recently created an interactive platform to explore the history of Black art.

Something Spaces browser plugin

Strategic opportunity

Beyond filling latent browsing moments, across sectors organisations can respond further by ensuring virtual and physical space is given to amplify underrepresented voices and creatives

Stat: Expectations accelerate for customer service online

Pop-up X Department Store, exploring a non-contact retail experience by Nikita Kay Pop-up X Department Store, exploring a non-contact retail experience by Nikita Kay

With more people having relied on e-commerce solutions as a result of the pandemic, a study by OpenText finds that there is now an even greater expectation for high-quality digital shopping experiences.

According to its findings, 72% of e-commerce shoppers say that having an excellent digital customer experience is a key factor in their purchasing decision. A further 66% of are more likely to buy again from brands that treated them like an individual – for example, through personalising their shopping moment.

Looking ahead, customers will expect retailers to provide frictionless and intuitive digital experiences; with 56% of respondents indicate they will only buy from brands that understand and respect their communication preferences.

As new consumer groups become comfortable with using e-commerce platforms in the inter-Covid period, there is growing opportunity for brands to introduce more circular and conversational communications.

Strategic opportunity

Brands must recognise that personal service and tailored experiences are as important in the virtual realm – if not more so than bricks-and-mortar – with Covid-19 pushing many more people to begin their retail journeys online

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