Posts Tagged fashion

Smart Mirrors Transform Retail

neimanmarcus smart mirrorNeiman Marcus MemoryMirror

Many retailers are experimenting with different ways to engage their customers in their brick and mortar stores, by integrating the advantages provided by online shopping (Amazon) with the advantages of the physical shopping experience.

This year, we’ve seen a variety of high-tech smart mirrors pop up in certain flagship stores. Here are a few examples of how clothing retailers have been using these interactive mirrors to enhance the shopping experience for their customers:

Neiman Marcus,  San Francisco

Neiman Marcus’s MemoryMirror attempts to shortcut the long process of trying and retrying on clothes. The MemoryMirror shows you a 360-degree view of yourself with the outfit on and allows you to compare outfits side-by-side.  You can also snap photos of you to share with your friends on Facebook to ask for their opinion before you make your purchase.

Lululemon, New York

Lululemon’s mirror acts more like a digital community board that encourages their customers to engage with their community.  The mirror has 5 options: “see community events” (where you can see different exercise classes, film screenings, and community discussions surrounding healthy living in the area), “find places to sweat” (where you can see a list of yoga, pilates, and other fitness classes to attend), “plan your run” (where you can see and view description of nearby running routes), and “view our favorites” (the favorite go to places of Lululemon customers in the area).

Ralph Lauren, New York

Ralph Lauren’s mirror is located in the fitting room itself to transform the frustrating dressing room experience. Shoppers can interact with the mirror to change the lighting in their fitting room and can select a different sizes or colors of their outfit, which an employee will immediately get for you. The mirror also recommends other items that would go with what you’re trying on.  And if you don’t want to buy something that day, you can send the info of the item to your mobile phone.

We look forward to seeing the impact on sales these smart mirrors will have and seeing how retailers will continue to innovate the in-store shopping experience.

Lululemon Smart MirrorLululemon Digital Community Board

RalphLauren Smart MirrorRalph Lauren Smart Mirror

Top Innovative Business Ideas from Fashion & Beauty

The fashion and beauty industry has evolved over the years. And with the emergence of new technologies – such as 3D printing and sensors – many companies, from the big time-old players to newer startups, are disrupting the way they conduct business and build their products to drive their industry forward.

Springwise recently released their Top 10 Innovative Business Ideas from Fashion & Beauty. Here are our favorites from the list, plus a few more we thought were interesting:

Wearable Innovation in Fashion
Jacket Uses Vibrations to Guide Wearers Around Paris: Australian based start up Wearable:Experiments introduced their “Navigate Paris“, an elegant location-based jacket that guides you throughout the city of Paris with slight vibrations in your sleeve indicating left or right turns. This clever design uses technology to allows tourists to actually be free from technology and to experience the city how it was meant to be experienced: through your own eyes, and not through a mobile screen.

Stealth Tech Innovation in Fashion
Orwell-inspired Clothing Stops Phones From Being Hacked: Bringing style to stealth tech, fashion brand The Affair has launched a line that features the Unpocket created with metalized-fabrics which blocks all radio signals in and out (wifi, GPS, cell, and RFID).

Try Innovation in Fashion
Try-Before-You-Buy Service Only Charges Customers for the Clothes They Keep: Try is Google Chrome plug supporteing lenient return policies,  allowing customers to try on clothes from participating retailers (from brands like J.Crew, Nike, and Zara) at home for 10 days and pay for the ones they don’t return to the retailers.

3d skin innovation
3d Printed Skin Could Become the Standard for Cosmetic Testing: We’ve seen the magic of 3D printing with the Kickstarter Pancake Bot, MX3D’s Metal and Resin Drawing Robot, and Adidas’s Futurecraft 3D printed shoes. Now the beauty industry is also tapping into one of the biggest innovation trends this year. Bioprinting startup Organovo teamed up with L’Oreal to create 3D printed skin for cosmetic testing.

Smart Bra - Wearables - Tech Fashion
Smart Sports Bra Cools You Down When You Perspire: Debuted at MADE Fashion Week, the smart bra from Chromat measures your temperature and perspiration levels and opens and closes vents to cool you down or warm you up.

Smart Jewelry - Wearable - Innovation
Smart Jewelry Alerts You for Most Urgent Notifications: In an effort to combat the common urge to check the mobile phone every second, Altruis smart jewelry is a ‘modern day pager’ that passes through only the most important alerts based on predetermined keywords.

Check out the complete Springwise list here.

Image credits: Springwise, Wareable

Tech and Fashion Innovation

snakeskin

Wearables have been getting a lot of attention lately – from the Google Glass to Apple Watch to Jawbone and FitBit. Intel will soon be joining these brands in offering a wearable bracelet. While the actual functionalities have yet to be disclosed, Intel has partnered with the luxe boutique, Opening Ceremony, which is known for its carefully curated unique merchandise from up and coming designers. The result is a beautiful, snakeskin bracelet that doesn’t have the traditional tech semiotics of a wearable.

This is a great move on Intel’s part, knowing that the cold, non-stylish appearance of wearables in the marketplace is a huge barrier to accessibility. And Intel is not alone in their approach. It seems to be the route that a few tech companies are taking with FitBit and Tory Burch, and Google Glass and DVF, or even if you look at the design of the new Apple watch, which is less traditional techy looking and more stylish in appearance.

It’s interesting to see how tech and fashion is positioning wearables at the intersection of form and function. It’s definitely a hook that will appeal to a certain segment of the population. Consumer insights will play a significant role in unpacking more hooks, particularly the more implicit and emotional thoughts, feelings, associations and ultimately motivations consumers have surrounding wearables to encourage mainstream adoption. The partnerships between fashion names and tech demonstrate how quickly wearables will soon be a more integral part of everyday life. This is great news for researchers as we have more tools to gather data and connect with consumers in real time/in the moment situations, which can only result in deeper insights.

Serving San Francisco’s fashion rebels

camping

The other night I had dinner at a Castro restaurant that Yelp calls “trendy, intimate, romantic, casual.” What Yelp didn’t mention is that San Franciscans will always pull out the tees and sneakers, “casual” restaurant or no. After a year in San Francisco I should be used to it by now, but I was still surprised to see folks in that little Castro restaurant whom even my native Ohio counterparts would consider “underdressed”.

The pragmatic approach to fashion in San Francisco makes some sense, of course. In an area that’s well-known for being both laid back and fit, and where “proving yourself” means having great, even world-changing, ideas, why would you want to dress on-trend? Levis are practical, comfortable, and multi-purpose; Patagonia shorts mean I can go hiking at a moment’s notice. Even fashion-focused Missionites prefer making fashion their own – such as repurposing thrift items – to touting big-name labels.

It seems that there’s almost an intention behind the backlash against “trendy” fashion in San Francisco. As it turns out, San Franciscans already knew what everyone else is starting to realize – dressing slightly “off” from what is traditionally expected can actually gain you more respect. Harvard Business School recently came out with a piece of research that showed that people who intentionally wear something a bit different are seen as independent, purposeful and unique.

Through extensive immersive observation and comparison (aka moving to SF after living in Manhattan), I’ve begun to identify subcategories of San Francisco’s independent fashion-rebels, including:

  • The Extreme Basics – “I’ll let my ideas, and not my clothes, do the talking” (note: You may have heard of the “normcore” in SF; I like to call these folk “The Extreme Extreme Basics”)
  • The Function-Forwards – “I want to be ready to hike the trails at a moment’s notice”
  • The Retro Recyclers – “I love rediscovering and repurposing vintage pieces to show my own unique style”

For apparel brands and retailers looking to innovate, this can have many applications. It’s about focusing on the attributes that can emphasize the values of these fashion-rebels – whether that be emphasizing the practical usability of apparel, focusing on the functionality, or playing up the boutique, “unique” qualities.

It turns out at the end of the day, as an Ohio kid by the way of Manhattan, I am an SF kid at heart (at least, when it comes to fashion). I love the fact that here, I can always pair my respectful skirts with a tee and some all-purpose Converse.