Fashion and technology are closer than ever – from RFID integration in clothing tags to blockchain use for verification and supply chain traceability. As the industry focused on ways to make the business more data focused, technology is paving the way.

Below are some of the key articles from my coverage in this area. 

Google reveals it has no plans to monetize its AI try-on feature

Agencies and services are increasingly courting fashion brands to provide accurate e-commerce try-on features to reduce returns. Now, Google’s newly launched AI diffusion-based VTO (virtual try-on), announced on June 14, is bringing in competition by offering its search engine product free of charge for brands that are part of its merchant program.

Virtual try-on, or the ability to try on clothing on brand e-commerce sites, has been a mixed-bag proposition for brands from the luxury to the mass

Puma expands its web3 shopping experience

Launching on Tuesday, Puma’s second digital world and shopping experience, Black Station 2, expands on the company’s initial launch into web3. Its first web3 project, Black Station 1, launched last September at NYFW as part of its “Futrograde” fashion show. The brand used learnings from its community to inform the second launch.

Puma’s Black Station is a digital world where users can view an immersive environment created with game developer Unreal Engine. They can also shop for limited-edition

Holograms, AR technology and RFID tags: The store of the future is taking shape

Retail innovations including clothes with RFID tags, digital mannequins and seamless checkouts are removing the friction in the shopping experience — and exceeding Gen Z’s expectations.

Brands including Uniqlo, Zara and H&M are introducing in-store retail solutions that use these new technologies to facilitate product discovery, customer try-on and a seamless checkout experience.

According to May 2023 insights from a Klara study involving Gen-Z and millennials, 44% of Gen-Zers believe they wil

Farfetch’s Dream Assembly accelerator is evolving

Dream Assembly, the 1-year-old luxury brand accelerator, is moving beyond its core focus of visually appealing digital fashion startups like DressX. Now, the executives leading the program are looking for backend innovators who can facilitate the seamless infrastructure set to fuel the evolving fashion and technology landscape. Owned by Farfetch, the accelerator provides startups with executive training and facilitates connections with investors and mentors.

This comes amid a change in how digi

How the fashion industry will use the Apple Vision Pro headset

The Apple Vision Pro headset, which debuted at the Apple Conference on June 5, is bringing an injection of innovation into the field of wearables. The field had stalled with clunky headsets and glasses from companies like Meta and Snap. But fashion industry experts are hopeful about the new iteration’s possible applications, starting with its initial release in 2024 and into the future.

The headset, a ski goggle contraption going for $3,499, is being positioned as the most immersive approach to

Brands are pairing customer service associates and AI to improve the shopping experience

AI-assisted virtual live sales associates are improving the bottom line for brands, while helping to make the online shopping experience more personable and also reducing product returns. While more brands invest in AI chatbots, human-AI collaboration is having more positive effects.

Amazon is one of the biggest companies integrating AI into the online shopping experience. Last week, tipped off by a job post, it was reported that the company is looking for a senior software engineer to “reimagi

Forever 21 x Barbie brings AI fashion design to Roblox

Barbie owner Mattel and Forever 21 have incorporated AI in their collaborative Roblox activation, launched on May 18. The Roblox game coincides with the launch of a physical Forever 21 x Barbie capsule collection available on Forever 21’s mobile app, e-commerce site and select stores. The digital counterpart is available on Roblox.

Both the physical and digital collections feature 76 pieces, including dresses and tops in pink and blue. This is the second phygital collection from Mattel’s Barbie

Dermalogica is using ChatGPT for education and upskilling

This month, premium skin-care brand Dermalogica launched a ChatGPT version of its “Dermalogica: The Book” skin-care treatment manual, used to train professional skin-care therapists. The brand’s wider push into technology integration is centered on equipping its workers to harness AI rather than be replaced by it.

As ChatGPT and AI are becoming hot topics across the beauty business, Dermalogica is looking to get in early. The new version of “Dermalogica: The Book” integrates a chatbot-like AI f

Exclusive: Ulta Beauty and Lush among first to join Metaverse Beauty Week

On Tuesday, Neutrogena, Ulta Beauty, Lush and Lottie London were announced among the first brands set to participate in Metaverse Beauty Week. The event will take place across Decentraland, Roblox and Spatial from June 12-16. It’s being marketed with the tagline “Reality Gets a Makeover.”

The brands and retailers taking part in the event want to both engage their existing fans by bringing them into a digital space and connect with social gaming fans already active in web3 environments. For thei

Beauty brand Klorane invests in a Twitch campaign with niche content

Brands are leveraging the live-streaming platform Twitch to offer unique content that engages viewers. French beauty brand Klorane’s Twitch strategy was centered on an educational nature and gaming stream called “BotaniQuest.” It featured influencer and streamer Baghera Jones playing cowboy video game “Red Dead Redemption 2”, in a quest to find plants in the game. Klorane’s focus is products with natural ingredients, and it wanted to emphasize that in this partnership. Seventy-five percent of th

Digital fashion brand Play! Pop! Go! launches first physical collection

Play! Pop! Go!, the digital play platform with a namesake digital fashion brand, is launching its first physical collection. At the end of May, the company will debut eight streetwear-inspired staples in the signature graphic style of the brand. Soon after, timed with a physical pop-up store at Paris Fashion Week in June, the company will debut its first digital fashion collaborations, with eyewear label Bonnie Clyde and Gucci Vault artist Pet Liger.

Play! Pop! Go! aims to be a more playful and

Exclusive: Coty launches employee-focused metaverse space Coty Campus

Built as a gamified training place for its workforce, the Coty Campus is a first-of-its-kind experience for a beauty company. Launching in the fall, it’s intended to transform relationship-building and collaboration among Coty’s 11,000 global staff members.

International cosmetics company Coty hasn’t shied away from the metaverse; it’s already focusing on AR, VR and digital spaces, Shanna Weinblatt, senior director of innovation, said on the Innovation Storytellers podcast. Now, its new launch,

'As a retailer, we're in the entertainment industry': Why American Eagle launched resale with an AR store

Gen Z is set to account for nearly two-thirds of secondhand purchases in the next five years, according to the April 2023 report from resale company ThredUp. American Eagle is trying to facilitate accessible resale shopping for this customer by selling secondhand products through a Snap AR store. Previous AR stores have driven $10 million in total revenue for the brand, and now it’s leaning further into the technology to drive sales.

Selling secondhand items in a way that’s appealing to Gen Z h

Exclusive: Metaverse Beauty Week is coming

Metaverse Fashion Week wrapped up on March 31, and now, another consumer goods event is being added to the metaverse roster: Metaverse Beauty Week. Running from June 12-16, the first-ever event will be hosted on immersive social platforms Decentraland, Roblox and Spatial. Creative agency Cult LDN is organizing the week, which has included the participation of retailers and big-name and niche beauty brands.

The event’s organizers promise to take learnings from MVFW and improve upon them. “We’ve

How Unilever is using robots, AI and testing quantum computing to innovate in beauty

Multinational consumer goods company Unilever, which owns brands ranging from Dove to premium Tatcha and Hourglass Cosmetics, has used machine learning since the 1950s. Now, it’s developing robotics and AI for use in product testing and development.

Unilever’s beauty and wellbeing arm represents 20% of the company’s annual revenue – in 2022, that equated to $13.3 billion, and sales have been on the rise. The company’s 120,000-square-foot Materials Innovation Factory (MIF), opened in 2017 in par

How fashion brands are using generative AI

Generative AI-produced pictures of imaginary Nike collaboration sneakers have circled social media for weeks. But that’s just one example of how AI can be used in fashion; its uses are already valuable and vast, spanning marketing, engineering and immersive experiences.

AI has stirred buzz in the last month, thanks to new and increasingly user-friendly AI tools. Just last week, on March 20, image editor Adobe Firefly and graphic design platform Canva rolled out new AI technology supporting text

Adidas and Tommy Hilfiger to debut cross-platform digital fashions at Metaverse Fashion Week

Decentraland’s second annual Metaverse Fashion Week will be held March 28-31. Brands including Adidas, Coach, D-Cave, Diesel and Tommy Hilfiger are on board to engage with web3 communities while offering gifts and token-gated access at what organizers report is the largest digital fashion event. Last year, the event hosted 108,000 attendees. During its five days, more than 7,000 wearables were bought totaling around $77,000.

Metaverse Fashion Week has received many updates since the first itera

What's the industry impact of Instagram cutting NFTs?

Instagram’s parent company, Meta, cut NFTs from its offering on March 13, as part of the company’s wider cutbacks to focus on profitability. Whether that will have an impact on fashion depends on the company.

In a tweet on March 13, leader of commerce at Instagram’s parent company Meta Stephen Kasriel said that the company will cut NFTs and instead focus on different ways of monetization on Reels. He also mentioned that the company is exploring ways that creators and brands can connect with fan

Aura Blockchain: the privatization of a blockchain is the way forward

Luxury fashion and the Italian textile industry are both relying on blockchain to move them into a new age – who will come out on top?

Blockchain as a technology has permeated the fashion industry, among others, showing how technology can be used to help fashion develop across singular platforms. As a way of building trust between brands and consumers, it allows for tracking the supply chain or it provides an opportunity to offer offers and discounts to the customers, among other uses.

Milkywire – How Gen Z are moving charitable giving online

Gen Z are becoming the driving force for change in climate action. Forms like apps are showing an easier way to connect with grassroots climate organizations

Changes have affected most sectors with the online boom during the pandemic. Some, like fashion, have resorted to trying out new business models that revolve around digital garments and special collections inviting thinking about the future of a world that is more aware of its impact on the planet.

Arianee, the company at the forefront of digital passports for luxury fashion

The growing problem of factories around the world bypassing auditing or not following ethical production standards: Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel is at the forefront of digital passports

Issuing physical certificates of authenticity has been the standard practice for luxury goods, however, these can easily get lost or damaged. Some companies have moved their records online and keep databases of their products along with customer details.

The future of fashion is digital but why do industry leaders consider it a dilution of quality?

«We as a fashion industry need to begin to accept digital as having its own culture, its own savoir-faire and its own appreciation of artisan and digital». In conversation with Matthew Drinkwater, head of The Innovation Agency in London

The impact of overproduction has led places like Ghana’s famous Kantamanto market, the largest second-hand market in the world where clothes come in in vacuum packed bales, to refuse donations.
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