Need to Know
09 : 12 : 21

A radical renovation of a Texan post office, mindful clothing to bolster self-care and US Black-owned businesses are struggling to stay afloat.

Houston’s historic post office is now a community hub

Barbara Jordan Post Office by OMA, US
Barbara Jordan Post Office by OMA, US
Barbara Jordan Post Office by OMA, US

Houston – At a whopping 500,000 square feet, POST is a multi-purpose space renovated by architecture firm OMA that re-imagines the potential of disused retail destinations. Breathing new life into the long-abandoned Barbara Jordan Post Office – a historic hub for locals – the renovation refurbishes the cultural landmark with all the amenities necessary for contemporary life.

Situated at the vibrant heart of Houston, the renovated space boasts a food hall, rooftop garden, concert hall, recreational areas and co-working spaces. Divided into three atriums, the enormous building is rendered more manageable with the addition of three monumental staircases that lead visitors into different areas in the space.

‘By cutting into the building and drawing people in and through it, we are aiming to fold different programmes into every corner – weddings next to food halls next to concerts next to new ways of working – and to turn Houston to a view that reveals the city's radical ambition,’ explains Jason Long, partner at OMA.

Updating public infrastructure for contemporary use, this project highlights how the Repurposed Retail Market can continue to develop and break new ground.

Strategic opportunity

Multi-purpose spaces are growing in popularity. Companies should consider including new activities centred on community and celebrating an area's history and future growth

These emotional garments can stimulate mindfulness

Emotional clothing by Iga Węglińska, Krakow Emotional clothing by Iga Węglińska, Krakow
Emotional Clothing by Iga Węglińska, Krakow Emotional Clothing by Iga Węglińska, Krakow

Poland – Designer Iga Węglińska is challenging conventional ideas about clothing with an intelligent collection that supports mental and physical health. The Emotional Clothing collection comprises two garments, both using biofeedback to signal psycho-physiological changes taking place in the wearer’s body.

Each garment responds to elements including body temperature, galvanic skin response, heart rate and proprioception. Through this project, Iga Węglińska is exploring the potential for clothing to form part of our Synchronised Care rituals. ‘The intelligent materials used in them [the designs] are supposed to stimulate cognitive involvement and mindfulness – a sense of taking part,’ explains the designer in a press release.

As material innovation continues to evolve, there is a lucrative opportunity for designers to integrate healthcare elements into clothing. Elsewhere, we’ve explored the ways that garments can support immune systems by integrating live bacteria into the fabric. Discover this innovation in our Beauty & Wellness Futures 2020 report.

Strategic opportunity

Clothing retailers must elevate their efforts to create functional garments that support people’s mental and physical health. Consider, for example, how such additions can be applied to activewear to aid fitness performance and recovery

Dua Lipa establishes email correspondence with fans

US – In the age of digital fandom, pop star Dua Lipa is finding new ways to reach and communicate with her fans with the launch of an email newsletter, Service95. This free weekly dispatch will cover a variety of cultural topics, and will include recommendations, political thought and more.

Inviting fans into Dua Lipa’s orbit, the newsletter will offer a more intimate glimpse into the life of the singer. Instead of creating new content, the project will include lists of the musician’s favourite nail salons, books and restaurants – echoing the rise of Curator Kids, who swap content creation for curation. With over 75m followers on Instagram, the project feels like a natural evolution for the young musician and influencer.

As newsletters become a source of lifestyle tips and advice, they represent a fresh opportunity for celebrities to forge deeper connections with their fans. Further, as the role of the contemporary tastemakers continues to shift, new business opportunities are proliferating, a topic which we have previously explored on LS:N Global.

Service95 by Dua Lipa

Strategic opportunity

The media opportunities for actors and musicians are growing. Brands could consider co-sponsoring a celebrity’s newsletter to reach wider audiences

Stat: US Black-owned businesses need greater support

Shopify Hardware Campaign Shopify Hardware Campaign

Research by McKinsey & Co reveals that US Black-owned businesses are disproportionately affected in their first few years of trading. Just 4% of US Black-owned businesses are still in operation after three and a half years, compared with an average of 55.5% for all businesses.

Despite these figures, nearly half (45%) of consumers in the US agree that companies should pledge to support Black-owned brands, suppliers and vendors. Meanwhile, 68% of consumers say their social values shape their shopping choices. In the beauty industry, 92% of Black consumers say that supporting Black-owned brands is important when making their buying decisions.

In the age of the inclusive consumer, harnessing the power of retail can increase demand for Black-owned brands. As we explore in Black Lives Matter: The Business Response, brands and their employees have a responsibility to support Black enterprises.

Strategic opportunity

Brands across sectors must support businesses run by marginalised groups, both through financial incentives and inclusive communications. Create long-term initiatives that continuously support diverse communities

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