5 Things You May Have Missed This Week

By Georgia Buchanan

1. Kate Spade to Launch Wearable Tech Collection

NYC based accessories brand Kate Spade is set to venture into the fashion tech world for a second time this year with a wearable tech collection launching in just three months’ time. The news of the collection has taken the Twitter world by storm, with fash tech fans very excited to see what it may hold.

Featuring a smartwatch, a bangle tracker and a silicone tracker, the collection will range from $125-250 at retail, and will initially be sold on just the company’s own website and speciality stores, before rolling out via wholesale channels. The products’ features include tracking one’s activities and sleep patterns, controlling music volume, selfie-taking, time-zone updates and notification technology, and a countdown function.

Having already teamed up with Everpurse to create handbags and accessories that charge iPhones last year, it is clear that Kate Spade’s interest in fashion tech is ongoing and we are very excited to see the reaction to this new collection at the end of the year.

2. Consumer and Retail Innovation: Where Do Investors Look For Innovation?

In a two-part piece for Forbes on what drives consumer and retail innovation, Ryan Caldbeck has this week been unearthing where investors may go looking when on the hunt for innovation.

Caldbeck lists the biggest and the best industry tradeshows (the likes of SuperZoo, HBA, Outdoor Retailer, Cosmoprof, Natural Products Expo West, Natural Products Expo East, Fancy Food Show, and Global Pet Expo), as the home of young, innovative consumers brands looking for investment; a place where not only retailers, but also more recently, private equity investors, are on the lookout for interesting new products. Due to the recent (and ongoing) explosive growth in the consumer and retail sectors, the market is attracting an increasing number of smart investors. However, early-stage consumer investing is notoriously rare because of a lack of financial infrastructure supporting these new talented start ups, and thus investors are left with antiquated, laborious methods for sourcing.

Private equity investors’ role is to raise a fund, deploy the capital and generate returns, but with small, new consumer brands, this is not always possible. Small deals like this take time, which investors don’t really have to give when the result is unlikely to make a dent in capital deployment, and thus it’s nearly impossible to get anything moving. “The clock is ticking,” Caldbeck concludes.

3. The Fashion Publishers Nailing Instagram Stories

Since the launch of Instagram’s new Snapchat-like feature, brands and publishers have been grappling with how best to utilise their Stories for maximum impact. Many brands began using the feature immediately, in exactly the same they would Snapchat Stories, to broadcast live raw BTS footage of ‘a day in the life of’ their working world, but some of the major fashion publishers have been somewhat more methodical in their approach.

Cosmopolitan’s social media editor, Elisa Benson, described how they are trying to be original and innovative with their use of the platform: “Any time a new product like this launches from a major [platform] I’m always pushing my team to do something bigger and more exciting than just a standard office tour.” An example of this is the magazine’s “Cosmo Around The World” Instagram Story this week, featuring 24 hours of updates from editors around the globe.

Vogue acted as a launch partner to Instagram Stories when it first debuted, sharing a series of stories from ambassadors of the magazine around the world, such as Suki Waterhouse and Cindy Crawford. Sally Singer, digital creative director at vogue.com, said of the platform: “Instagram stories allows us to connect with our followers with greater depth, humour and immediacy than ever before. We’ve found that it’s a great way to engage our fanbase, who is hungry for live, on-the-ground content.”

GQ meanwhile is using the new medium to share teaser posts that tie directly to upcoming online and print content, so that is designed like a “package straight out of a magazine”. John Lockett, the publication’s engagement editor, explained: “Our Snapchat strategy is to capture really ephemeral moments. On Instagram, we’re curating a feed that presents the GQ universe in a bold, visually striking way with incredible imagery. We definitely want to translate that experience to Stories without jeopardising quality.”

Marie Claire, in another considered approach, is utilising Instagram Stories to share exclusive NYFW looks from major celebs and industry icons. “The idea is to give the reader a guided seven day tour of the full Fashion Week experience,” Jessica Pels, site director of Marie Claire, told Glossy.

4. Why Fashion Needs STEM

A number of aspiring fashion students often jump at the chance to drop science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM skills) as soon as possible in order to take up more creative practices such as textiles and art, but these former challenging industries are fundamental to many areas of the fashion world.

Due to rapid developments in technology, we know that the fashion industry is experiencing a number of disruptive changes, from e-commerce sites to ‘buy it now’ app buttons and even 3D printing. Sports companies are working with the latest technologies to create cutting edge almost ‘superhuman’ garments. Athleisure clothes can now boast an “anti-bacterial” feature.

“Fashion is a unique blend of business, science, art and technology. It requires a polymath, a person who can understand all of these skills. The most compelling reasons to learn STEM skills is because technology and rapidly changing business models have made surviving in the business more competitive than ever,” writes Mark Liu for theconversation.com. If you want to get ahead and make a name for yourself in this extremely demanding, ever-so-quickly developing, technologically-enhanced fashion world, then STEM skills are your ticket to the top.

To read more about Liu’s thoughts on this subject, click here.

5. Summit Videos Now Online! 

Full video content from our London April Summit is now online!

Simply go to our YouTube channel HERE and watch hours of exclusive panel discussions and presentations from some of the industry’s most exciting thought leaders.

If you want to experience this sort of content yourself first hand, then you can get your tickets for our Winter Summit now HERE.