News 16.10.2023

Need to Know

The Macallan and McCartney sisters team up for a Scotland-inspired collection, Houdini Sportswear opens a circular retail hub and investment in AI cools down.

The McCartney sisters collaborate with The Macallan on luxury homeware

Together: A Collection for The Macallan by Stella and Mary McCartney
Together: A Collection for The Macallan by Stella and Mary McCartney
Together: A Collection for The Macallan by Stella and Mary McCartney
Together: A Collection for The Macallan by Stella and Mary McCartney

UK – Scotch whisky distillery The Macallan Estate has collaborated with Stella and Mary McCartney on a limited-edition collection of 11 unique lifestyle and bar accessories, celebrating their love for the Scottish countryside.

The luxurious line contains everything to enhance the whisky-drinking experience. Each item is carefully crafted, and pays homage to artisans. Expect hand-made glassware, a ceramic flask encased in an apple-leather sleeve, a pair of brass ice stamps and a brass napkin weight. The 11 pieces will be sold exclusively as a set, with a limited run of 300 priced at £10,000 ($12,135, €11,560).

‘We wanted to create a collection that celebrated the highest quality of materials and incredible craftsmanship that would be fitting of the shared values between us all,’ Stella McCartney said in a press release from The Macallan.

As explored in our Luxury Recrafted macrotrend, Maisons are turning to cross-skill collaborations to position themselves as guardians of craftsmanship and upscale artisan production.

Strategic opportunity

In a world filled with dupes, high-quality craftsmanship is the lifeblood of luxury. Look to artisan manufacturing methods rooted in rich heritage narratives to create one-of-a-kind products, treating your buyers like collectors

Houdini launches a one-stop-shop circular retail hub in Stockholm

Houdini Circle, Stockholm, Sweden Houdini Circle, Stockholm, Sweden
Houdini Circle, Stockholm, Sweden Houdini Circle, Stockholm, Sweden

Sweden – Rent, reuse, repair, buy, try or subscribe – all in one place. That is the promise of Houdini Sportswear’s new retail concept bringing circular fashion to the high street.

The Swedish outdoor brand has been championing circular services such as rental and preloved resale for more than a decade. With its latest move, Houdini is taking another step by rethinking its business model to break away from traditional consumption patterns.The brand’s new retail concept, Houdini Circle, embodies this change, merging existing repair, rental and remake services. This user-centric approach makes the shopping experience seamless and convenient, merging all the existing services and products into one retail hub – from repaired garments to exclusive remade pieces.

‘So far, most sustainability stories are focused on production,’ says the brand’s CEO Eva Karlsson. ‘We need to start offering seriously better alternatives to what’s out there, and make sure these alternatives are accessible to more people. We believe putting our user first is key to doing that.’

Find out more about retailers implementing intelligent, empathic customer journeys in our EQ-Commerce macrotrend.

Strategic opportunity

Take inspiration from Houdini Circle – making your business more sustainable may open up new avenues for profit and enhance the consumer experience

United Airlines elevates the in-flight experience with ‘best sleep in the sky’

Saks, United Airlines, US Saks, United Airlines, US

US – United Airlines has undergone the most extensive revamp of its business class in seven years by offering sustainable products from high-end retailer Saks Fifth Avenue and Therabody products from October 2023.

A recent survey conducted by the airline revealed that sleep is a top priority for international travellers – 61% of them select flights with sleep quality in mind. Sleep even trumps wifi access, with 66% of respondents prioritising sleep over internet connectivity and 74% valuing rest above in-flight entertainment.

New amenity kits on board include high-end face sprays, hand creams, eye serums and cleansing towelettes. Passengers also receive a large pillow, duvet and an extra cool gel pillow from Saks. In addition, a limited-edition recycled plastic day blanket imagined by fashion designer Claude Kameni is available.

The firm also offers a wellness boost by partnering with tech wellness company Therabody. The latter will open Therabody Reset Suites in all United Polaris lounges. These semi-private rooms include Therabody Loungers, Theraguns, RecoveryAir JetBoots and SmartGoggles.

In The Airports Bringing Humanity Back into Travel, we previously analysed how airports are elevating pre-departure wellness, retail and leisure to re-invent themselves.

Strategic opportunity

As travellers prioritise comfort and wellness in the air, find inspiration in Guilded Luxury to offer personalised premium amenity kits that cater for the specific needs of passengers – enhancing their overall experience and fostering customer loyalty

Stat: Investors are having second thoughts about generative AI

AI imagery by The Future Laboratory, UK AI imagery by The Future Laboratory, UK

Global – According to financial data and software company PitchBook, investment in generative AI start-ups is slowing, as investors realise that the majority of applications are still too unreliable for widespread use. PitchBook reports that the number of generative AI deals fell by 29% between Q2 and Q3 2023.

Big Tech’s domination of the current generative AI sector is also thought to be contributing to the slump, with massive investments from companies such as Microsoft and Amazon potentially scaring off start-ups and investors.‘Momentum is definitely waning as the market comes back to Earth,’ Index Ventures partner Bryan Offutt told Pitchbook. That being said, PitchBook notes that investment in generative AI remains high by historic standards, and the industry is still hot relative to the broader venture capital slowdown. Investors are simply settling in to play the long game.

As venture capitalists search for the next OpenAI, keep up to date on all the latest developments in LS:N Global’s Artificial Intelligence reporting.

Strategic opportunity

For AI start-ups, an upcoming challenge lies in rebranding from futuristic experiment to reliable market opportunity. The next life stage of generative AI will require demonstrating practical and dependable use cases to investors

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