5 Things You May Have Missed This Week

by Georgia Buchanan

1.     Tapping into Generation Z

It feels as though the post-millennial teenagers are pretty much running the world at the moment. With some teen fashion bloggers now amounting more followers than household-name brands, and with the Kendall Jenners and Gigi Hadids of the universe staking claim to the biggest campaigns and fanbases the globe over, those in the forefront of the fashion industry can see the necessity to tailor their works to the attitudes of these young trailblazing consumers. Whilst the teen retailers of old (Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle etc.) have seen their popularity (and sales) plummet due to an over-reliance on footfall, other fashion giants like H&M and Zara have adapted, and thus thrived, with the rise of social media platforms. Generation Z is the digital generation. They are “tech genius”, according to Nancy Nessel, founder of marketing advice website Getting to Know Generation Z, surpassing even “tech savvy”. 92% of US Gen Z go online daily, with a huge amount of teens being constantly connected to the internet in some form or other, and much of this time is spent encountering retail, whether it be through online shops like ASOS or browsing products subconsciously via Twitter and Instagram etc. And the exciting part for #FashTech retailers and startups? Technology has also changed what these teens are spending their money on. In the last decade, expenditure on electronics and gadgets has doubled, rising from 4 to 8% of teenage spend. Generation Z want fashion, but they also want tech. But don’t think that this all means they’re an easy sell; these teenagers are sensible shoppers (having lived through an economic recession) and the amount of time they spend on social media platforms, browsing e-commerce et al., has not correlated to an increase in spending. They are far more self-aware, brand-aware and price-aware; there’s less focus on big brand names and more on lesser known brands that are of good value and reflect the individual’s personal style. This is where small fashion startups can thrive and begin to make a name for themselves on platforms like Instagram. In today’s society, if something isn’t shared on Snapchat/Instagram/Twitter/Facebook, then it didn’t happen. Brands need to make their retail experience immersive and shareable, like Primark encouraging shoppers to upload pictures in store with the hashtag #Primania which then get shown on screens in flagship stores. Or the addition of free wifi and changing rooms big enough for 2 people; way more selfie-friendly. Whether you are a huge retailer like Topshop, or a tiny new FashTech startup, you need to know your audience and how to appeal to them. If you want to make waves amongst the post-millennials you have got to be giving them a shopping experience that they cannot live without. Fashion and retail are now so much more than selling a product; you have to understand the world that these young consumers are creating for themselves and ensure that you are an integral part of it.

2.     London vs. Berlin: Which startup ecosystem will lead Europe?

The Next Web featured an article this week comparing London with Berlin, arguing that we are competing to be the tech capital of Western (or all of) Europe; but that when it comes to why, we vary in our strengths. The article talks numbers, percentages, tax benefits, salary averages, and so on to try to ascertain an objective, concrete leader in this comparison. To find out who they found victorious, read the article here: http://bit.ly/1ocrgvyCompetition can be a great motivator for startups and big brands alike, and we welcome the comparisons to Berlin as we see them as another fascinating frontrunner in the #FashTech race alongside London. We are avidly watching to see all of the amazing innovative work that is taking place there. Our Instagram feed was inundated with exciting projects over the course of the FashionTech Berlin week and we can’t wait to get to know more about these German startups. We would love to take FashTech over to Berlin, extending our dialogue to another country and reaching out to these exciting new talents, working together to create the latest innovations in fashion technology.

3.     Sephora Launches Virtual Artist App with ModiFace

We’re big fans of Sephora here at FashTech, and love what they’ve been doing with their accelerator program for female-led beauty startups (as mentioned in our first Weekly Digest). Their next project pioneered by the Sephora Innovation Lab is ‘Sephora Visual’, a revolutionary addition to their Sephora To Go app with the help of ModiFace, which allows consumers to instantly try on thousands of lip colours, any time anywhere. Using ModiFace’s leading facial visualisation and skin analysis technology, and a state-of-the-art 3D Live view that acts more like a mirror than a phone camera, clients can swipe through over 3,000 lip colours by brand, format or shade, and instantly see how they look by virtually applying them to their lips.This is a prime example of a brand taking note of how the consumer world around them is changing and adapting accordingly by joining forces with innovative tech companies to utilise the latest and greatest discoveries they have to offer. Amanda Cosco at Electric Runway says “Virtual Artist is another example of how brands like Sephora are merging physical and digital experiences to cater to the customer of tomorrow. As the lines between technology and reality continue to blur, one thing is clear, beauty is in the hands of the smartphone holder”. Watch the video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qpuym4-JDE

4.     Digital Pioneer Burberry Switches Fashion Week Shows to Consumer Schedules; With Tom Ford hot on their heels

After writing last week about how the fashion week format is changing, this week British heritage brand, Burberry, has officially set everyone’s chins wagging with a bold move to “align runway with retail” by shifting its fashion week calendar, meaning the collections presented will be in-season and thus available to buy immediately online and in-store. We’ve talked a lot in our digests about today’s consumers wanting to be part of something ‘bigger’ than the previous generations; needing their retail experience to give them something more; to be exciting, immersive; to create a moment. And whilst talking to The Business of Fashion, Burberry’s chief executive and chief creative officer, Christopher Bailey, acknowledged just this, saying: “There’s just something that innately feels wrong when we’re talking about creating a moment in fashion: you do the show in September and it feels really right for that moment, but then you have to wait for five or six months until it’s in the store… You’re creating all this energy around something, and then you close the doors and say, ‘Forget about it now because it won’t be in the stores for five or six months’.”This has been a growing problem in the industry over recent months and a number of designers have been acknowledging the need for progression. But few have dared to action that change. Cue digital pioneer and fashion innovator, Burberry. Not only will the brand be showcasing their current collections, naming them for the month in which they appear, rather than ‘Spring/Summer’, for example, they will also be launching the corresponding digital and print ads instantly. AND the move will also see Burberry combine both its men’s and women’s shows together at LFW. And already we have Tom Ford following suit, revealing plans to switch the presentation of his Autumn-Winter 2016 women’s and men’s collections to September rather than doing it on Thurs 18th Feb as originally planned. This huge of a change coming from two massive fashion names will undoubtedly prompt others to follow suit, creating big waves throughout the industry. Is the format of Fashion Weeks as we know it about to change for good? Watch this space…

5.     Tech and the Democratisation of Fashion

The fashion industry is more inclusive now; that is becoming apparent in the shift in fashion week formats, and the consumer behaviours of Generation Z who seek out and actively support the likes of unknown Instagram designers. So young Swedish designer Ida Klamborn’s use of virtual reality to open up her catwalk to fans outside of the standard circle of fashionistas has come at a brilliant time. On Wednesday this week in the midst of Stockholm’s Fashion Week, Klamborn collaborated with Tele2 to democratise the fashion world, replacing her high profile FROW guests with virtual reality robots and giving young fans unprecedented access to her runway show. This ‘Democratic Front Row’ is centred around Klamborn’s real source of inspiration, today’s youth. The live broadcast 360 VR experience allowed global access directly to your mobile. It’s objective is not just to give you a FROW seat, but also give you a platform from which to share your opinion on the collection. Klamborn, nominated designer of the year by Swedish ELLE Magazine and a firm favourite of FashTech’s, is looking to “break the traditional structures” of fashion week by opening its shows and content up to the masses. This use of technology to increase consumer engagement and challenge the norm is becoming increasingly common; another example being Rebecca Minkoff’s AW15 runway which was filmed by a VR camera which gave her customers access to the show. Slowly the barriers are being broking down and that which used to be exclusive content is becoming open for the world to see. Allowing for more collaboration, more innovation and more progress.

 FashTech reveal CLAUSETTE as April Summit Media Partner!

FashTech are thrilled to announce that Clausette, the “First French #FutureofFashion Magazine”, will be joining us as a media partner for our April Summit Read their insightful conversation about 3D printing and fashion with young designer Anastasia Ruiz here: ow.ly/XUa3X