5 Things You May Have Missed This Week

By Georgia Buchanan

1. Instagram Takeovers: The Latest!

This Tuesday we had the pleasure of hosting the brilliantly exciting and innovative PAPER Magazine on our Instagram account. Chief Creative Officer, Drew Elliott, took over our page to bring you, our followers, some exclusive content from the publication that has delivered some of the most controversial front cover pages we’ve had the pleasure to see over the last few years. If you missed it on Tuesday, then go check out the brilliant posts now, at @fashtechldn.

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And make sure to tune in to our next takeover on Monday, courtesy of the brilliant wearable tech jewellery makers, VINAYA. Not only will you be seeing an exclusive look into the VINAYA lab and office, but we are also gifting you with a super early bird price for their latest product, ZENTA, which launched this month via Indiegogo. All you have to do is Pledge HERE to receive an Exclusive FashTech discount - From $119 - up to 60% off retail price.

Designed by London technology design house VINAYA, this stylish smart accessory helps you navigate through the noise of modern day life to take control of your emotional and physical wellbeing. It is the world's most advanced wearable for your body + mind. "ZENTA is the world's first designer biometric wearable that interprets your emotions, helps you understand your own behavioural patterns, and allows you to share how you feel."  - FORBES

Click here to see ZENTA in action, and don’t forget to tune in on Monday!

2. The Fashion World’s Immediate Response to Brexit

No one in Britain (the fashion world included) seems to currently know what to do with themselves following the shock news that we have in fact done the unexpected and left the EU. As we know from the lead up to the big vote, many fashion houses were very vocal in their opinions on the referendum, some using their catwalks to spread a strong pro “REMAIN” opinion. And since the decision to leave, Karl Lagerfeld has referred to the Brexit outcome as a “moment of madness”. It seems the undeniable overall consensus from Team Fashion is that our “decision to leave the EU is unleashing market turmoil and untold damage to the global fashion industry” (Business of Fashion).

People the country over have not been shy in making their voices heard over this monumental moment in Great British history, with millions using social media as their platform to speak out. Amongst these voices are some of the fashion industry’s most prominent figures. Nick Knight, fashion photographer, wrote on his Instagram: “Xenophobia, ignorance, stupidity and fear are now the forces driving this country.” Karl Lagerfeld argued: “I don’t think it will work out. They may have another vote. I don’t think it’s a good idea. The analysis of the vote shows that it is a bad decision. We don’t need to say much more about it.” José Neves, founder and chief executive of Farfetch chose to quote Albert Einstein to express his views on Twitter on the current political state: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” Vanessa Friedman, fashion director at The New York Times RT’d: “Thanks to #brexit, UK no longer world’s fifth largest economy. £ fell so much that France has overtaken UK.” Whilst creative director and designer at Loewe and J.W., Jonathan Anderson, mourned our exit, saying: “It’s really sad. People were very confused about what they were voting for… It’s a nightmare.”

Not only is Brexit casting panic and doubts over the high fashion world, it is also looking likely to throw the future of the retail sector back into chaotic uncertainty once again. Many high street brands are already struggling to survive in the new digital age, with tiny profit margins and rapidly falling footfall, and that was before we made the hugely questionable and dangerous decision to exit the EU. Lord Wolfson, chief executive of Next, already warned that 2016 would be the toughest year in retail since the financial crisis, and now there’s the added pressure of being “hammered by increased import costs from the tumbling value of the pound [and] the threat of trade tariffs with EU countries.” (Ashley Armstrong, from the Telegraph).

It is largely speculation at the moment, albeit based on likely predictions and known facts, and the outcome may well not be as dire as many of us are expecting it to be. However, with the lack of plans seemingly been put in place by the Leave party, it’s difficult to have faith. Time will soon tell just how great of an impact our country’s decision to go it alone will have, but I for one am not all that impatient to find out.

3. Selfridges x Shakespeare

To celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, London superstore Selfridges is set to open its very own theatre in which to present Much Ado About Nothing, one of the late playwright’s most famous plays. Teaming up with theatre company, The Faction, Selfridges’s exclusive theatrical performance will be part of the company’s Shapespeare reFASHIONED campaign. 

The play is being directed by Mark Leipacher and has been adapted for a modern audience to centre around a 21st century setting of CCTV and tabloid journalism. Leipacher described it as “a world in which fashion, appearance and social standing are of paramount importance and rumour, gossip and insinuation can be lethal.” Nine actors will be performing live on stage, whilst five surprise stars will be projected on to on-stage mannequins via hologram technology at various points throughout the show for pre-planned cameos.

The campaign to mark the bard’s death will not only include the opening of the temporary in-store theatre, but also a series of collaborations with designers, musicians and drama groups. For example, fashion designers Dries van Noten and Simone Rocha will be decorating the shop windows with scenes inspired by the bard. Also, Selfridges will be inviting RADA students to take over the 100-seat theatre for two weeks in order to teach customers stagecraft, like the art of stage combat and dance and how to deal with auditions. The superstore is also running ‘The Shakespeare Edit’ in which they give their consumers the chance to snap up Shakespeare-inspired pieces, such as exclusive dresses created especially for Selfridges by Alexander McQueen.

As we know, a strong in-store experience is paramount now to bricks-and-mortar shops’ success as they continue to compete with e-commerce and the consumers’ rapidly-evolving needs. With such a truly original and memorable collaboration created here between a retail giant and a small arts company, we cannot help but think Selfridges has really hit the nail on the head with this one. I for one cannot wait to go see it all for myself!

If you want to go check out the play for yourself, Much Ado About Nothing will be running at the reFASHIONed Theatre in Selfridges from August 23 to September 24.

4. Facebook Live = The Latest and Greatest Platform For Beauty Mags

Word on the street is that Facebook’s live videos are now major competition for YouTube. And with Candace Payne’s Chewbacca mask video breaking record numbers for the amount of times a video was shared online ever, brands have been quick to jump on the new, potentially hugely lucrative platform. Beauty publishers in particular have taken a liking to the idea of Facebook Live, with both magazines and online publishers using the platform to connect with their consumers via real-time tutorials, tips, product reviews, and interviews and BTS videos with influencers.

The use of influencers in brands’ strategy plans and the genuine level of ROI they can provide their sponsors with, is a really interesting topic - one which will be exploring in depth at our “Age of the Influencer?” talk at The Yard in Shoreditch on Wednesday 27th July - but clearly in this case the majority of the big brands are seeing the positives. The beauty world is saturated with video content, with millions and millions of makeup tutorials and reviews etc taking up vast amounts of YouTube’s search space, BUT what is different (and appealing) about the Facebook Live videos is the real-time element of the platform. The videos aren’t pre-made and edited within an inch of their lives. They are raw and real and the audience can interact with their favourite influencers right there and then, seeing the content for the first time as it’s actually happening. It is a sneak peak into the worlds they are aspiring to, as they actually appear; rather than a cut and cropped and delayed representation of what the video maker wants you to see. Not only are influencers being used as the stars of these shows though; many publications are putting their staff at the centre of these projections, giving the audience genuine one on one time with the people who write their favourite articles and discover/recommend their favourite products.

Five of the top beauty publishers using Facebook Live to their advantage are: elle.com, Teen Vogue, Elite Daily, Allure, and The Scene. ELLE in the US have used the platform to live-stream a smokey-eye tutorial with one of the makeup artists backstage at Dior’s 2017 Cruise show a month ago. The 16 min video was viewed 52,000 times with 468 people commenting and asking questions which could then be answered live, on the spot by the model or MUA or ELLE senior beauty and fitness editor. Digital editorial director at Teen Vogue, Phil Picardi, noted the importance of celebrities and influencers in pulling in a large audience, but he also acknowledged how popular the videos with just editors and staff have been. One of their most popular videos, with 77,000 views, was an impromptu video he did on how to conceal a pimple and his skin care routine. May sound simple, but often simple is best. Audiences are starting to go off the heavily-edited, ultra-filtered posts and returning to the more raw and relatable content of the likes of Snapchat and now Facebook Live.

Another great example of how to best use Facebook Live is demonstrated by The Daily Mail-owned publication, Elite Daily. In April, they created something called “Beauty Happy Hour” which is a half hour show in which a team of editors discuss anything from cruelty free makeup to date night looks and so on, airing on Friday afternoons and always done with cocktails on hand. Emily Arata, Elite Daily’s women’s editor, said: “Beauty Happy Hour was inspired by the conversations you have with your girlfriends over a glass of wine. We wanted to bring that conversational tone to a how, and invite our viewers to interact with the team. It’s fun to have the audience see us and get to know us.” These recurring episodes from publishers seem to go down a treat with their audiences, giving the consumer a consistent feature to watch week in week out, in which you get to know the people on screen and get to build a relationship with them through your computer screen. Allure has created a game called “Lipstick Roulette” which has become a favourite with their followers, whilst Condé Nast’s new digital entertainment platform, The Scene, runs a series called “Makeover Monday”, in which a woman gets her makeup and/or hair done live for all to watch.

5. Fashion DIY 2.0

High fashion buyers love couture. Anything to make one’s outfit totally one-of-a-kind; to reflect one’s personality and ensure that no one else’s outfit will be the same. And it is with this in mind that Jimmy Choo will be unveiling his new innovation: a collection of crystal clip-ons, buttons and bracelets that can decorate pumps and clutches and peep-toe ankle-laced stilettos - the best way to luxe up a simple item and turn it into exactly what your heart desires.

Jimmy Choo isn’t the only fashion brand giving their customers the chance to create (to an extent) their own products. Gucci introduced DIY stage 2, a service in the brand’s flagship store in Milan that allows customisation of jackets, tuxedos, coats and shoes, and the Opening Ceremony’s new “embroidery station,” which allows customers to personalise shirts and jackets with patches and graphics. It is clear to see that, in today’s fast-paced digital society where the customer has such a huge say in the direction of a designer or retailer’s next move, handing over an element of the creative control to the buyer is a popular move.

‘Design-it-yourself’ isn’t a totally new idea; the likes of Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Nike and Fendi have been offering products open to tweaking for a little while now, but these new programs are taking the practice to the next level, “empowering customers to make their mark on their clothing in a more elemental, and idiosyncratic way.” (The NY Times). Many people believe it to be the future of fashion. Whilst the designer is undoubtedly always going to be the ring-leader and game maker of a fashion brand, there is now an indication of a dawn of designer humility setting in, allowing the individual to take the reigns in a way that has never before been seen.

Alessandro Michele described of his Gucci service: “The way you dress is really the way you feel, the way you live, what you read, your choices. That’s what I want to put into Gucci and that’s why I decided to give our customers the possibility of customising and creating their own Gucci products.”

Handing this power over to us, however, does come with risks. We aren’t designers after all, and can we really create a product better than the designer themselves? Maybe not, but at least it will be 100% ‘us’. And if it ends up a mess we have no one but ourselves to blame!