Your daily mix of foresight & futures

You can scour the Internet in search of the latest consumer trends and cultural shifts, or you can let us do it for you. T&T provides a daily snapshot of the world’s most intriguing happenings and what they mean for the marketplace tomorrow.

barton

When we envision the future of retail, we often imagine digitally connected storefronts, augmented reality experiences, and ever-present shopping opportunities. Our own Futures Perspective, The Future Shopper, hypothesizes that the retail environment will change dramatically over the next 20 years, driven mainly by the mainstreaming of two technologies: screens and sensors. While we can begin to chart how the shopping experience will change in the near future, Barton Strawn, Creative Director of Lumina Clothing, does not see a future in which brick-and-mortar stores are erased from existence. Instead, they will need to adopt an entirely new role. I sat down with Barton in Raleigh, N.C., to talk. 

Nick: In a few sentences, can you please introduce yourself and Lumina clothing?

Barton: My name is Barton Strawn, creative director of Lumina Clothing, an American-made menswear brand based in Raleigh, N.C. The brand was launched after a successful Kickstarter campaign in the beginning of 2012. In November, 2012, we opened our first flagship store in downtown Raleigh. Our goal is to use clothing as a vehicle to show that Southern design and production can become as world class as anything in NYC or abroad.

What need/demand has Lumina clothing identified and how is it positioned to address that need?

There are a few different areas of demand that Lumina is addressing. First, we have made a commitment to producing in the USA, something that the men’s clothing industry has particularly embraced and begun to demand. Currently only 2% of clothing bought in the USA is made here, so we are positioned to grow rapidly. Second, we are trying to provide a good multi-channel attack for sales, leveraging both online and physical outlets to provide a smooth and consistent purchasing process. Finally, we see menswear as an arena for a lot of growth, with few good options and a growing desire for more selection. As we build out our collection, we continue to help solve more of this problem.

How do you believe the way in which people shop for clothing has changed over the past 10 to 20 years? What has stayed the same?

The internet has obviously changed the way people shop for clothing. The biggest impact is people’s access to clothing that they would never have had in the past. For a while, most trends said that physical stores may need to pack it up because everything was being bought online. We have seen a shift back towards physical shopping, but the internet still plays a huge roll. Armed with a cell phone, everyone is an expert of your product these days, so you’d better know your products better than your customer does.

What do you think will impact or influence the way people choose to or need to purchase clothing in the future (the next 10 to 20 years)?

I believe that as more manufacturing becomes automated, you will see things like made-to-measure begin to dominate the market more. The biggest hindrance to adoption is the labor it takes to put each new item together, but as this shifts more to machines, you have an opportunity to change how people think about shopping. They won’t shop for an item that fits well, they will shop for an item and then have it fit to themselves.

Cell phones or any type of mobile device will also continue to evolve the way interaction occurs between customers, sales associates and the clothing itself.

How will the way people acquire clothing evolve over the next 10 to 20 years? Will there still be brick-and-mortar stores, will people still buy clothing, will there be another model, etc.? What does the clothing shop of the future look like?

Brick-and-mortar will always have its place, although it will probably shrink drastically. There was a great experiment done in China where you could “shop” for groceries through a billboard with QR codes and the items were delivered to your house. I think as the urban environment needs to adapt to more people, experiences like that one will become more commonplace. As real-estate prices continue to rise, store owners will find ways to operate with less space as well. The major barrier online is tactile, so if a way to overcome this ever develops, I think online will dominate the industry even more than it does now.

Who do you believe is doing a particularly good job or has created something truly innovative in the fashion retail space (both off and online)?

Hointer is a technology company that is implementing very cool ideas in a denim store they run out in California. They are really trying to push the limits of the digital and physical world, and where they collide. Online, Huckberry is doing a great job of taking the digital environment and creating a very outdoors-oriented tactile lifestyle. Any time you talk about advancing the retail space Bonobos can’t go unmentioned, as they basically pioneered the online menswear market and made it widely accepted.

What are the most important things people should know or think about in terms of how the fashion retail environment will change in the future?

I think that customers have to have a better understanding of how their dollars impact the transitions made in the fashion industry. We hear a lot of complaints about the declining quality of clothing, but then we ask how we can compete with the cheap prices at Target. Every dollar spent is telling the industry what direction it should take. There is a reason why H&M is so large today. “Fast Fashion” might be a taboo phrase now, but every dollar spent there is a vote to increase that industry even more. Words have no impact if they aren’t followed by action and the industry will change according to the action of spending, not just what you say you would like to see happen.

Thank you.

Website  //  www.luminaclothing.com
Twitter  // @luminaclothing
Instagram  // @luminaclothing

lumina

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08/18/2014

garden

As part of this year’s “Dig the City” festival in Manchester, UK, digital design company magneticNorth introduced a new concept: on-demand gardens. The Plot Program was designed to give everyone the opportunity to have a quiet space outside to relax, meet with a friend, or even host a yoga class without distraction.

To create the feel of a garden, rooftops were covered with artificial grass and a variety of plant life, and featured electrical outlets and sensors that reacted to guests’ presence. Users could reserve plots online or via a smartphone app.

The Plot Program’s success and popularity are being reviewed and, if deemed successful, it will be revived and possibly expanded.

According to magneticNorth, inspiration for the Plot Program was driven by consumers’ need for green space and their shifting preference to borrow rather than own.

Link: springwise.com
Photo: plotmanchester.com

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08/15/2014

Optical character recognition is being taken to the next level. FingerReader is a portable audio reading device worn on the index finger of a blind or visually impaired person; it connects with a computer or mobile phone to read aloud as a person moves their finger over the words on a page. FingerReader could provide a new level of independence and autonomy to the blind and visually impaired community (about 11.2 million people).

FingerReader would not necessarily replace Braille, the community’s current form of reading; rather it would provide greater access to and interaction with material not available in Braille. Optical character recognition enables printed texts or images to be computer readable, searchable, and editable, and could become a new platform for those with visual impairment to further integrate into our modern information economy.

Link: huffingtonpost.com

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08/06/2014

GM data

Latin American women are in the midst of a gradual but revolutionary period of change. They are redefining work patterns, gender roles, family paradigms, key lifestyle choices and even beauty standards. But how are Latin American men reacting to these changes?

While some are still striving to keep the macho status quo, many are taking advantage of this era of openness to develop new habits, particularly around personal care. We all saw those careful coiffures in the World Cup and, with procedures like beard implants becoming a thing, we can expect more Latino beautification in the future.

Our newly released 2014 Global MONITOR data show how this trend is manifesting in different countries.

For more information on changes in gender roles and for a sneak peek of our upcoming report on new trends among Latin American Women, please contact Sebastian.Codeseira@thefuturescompany.com.

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08/05/2014

super

A supermarket with the potential to change the future of grocery shopping will soon open in Berlin. Original Unverpackt (Original Unpacked) will have no disposable packaging whatsoever.

Consumers must use reusable containers that they fill with their items, paying by weight. This will not only save packaging and fuel but also reduce waste; consumers can buy the amount they need, not the amount brands have predetermined. The supermarket’s other commitment is to have only one option of each item—because, in their words, “one, the right one, is enough.”

With 64% of German consumers agreeing “I don’t feel that I can make much difference [to the environment] on my own” in our Global MONITOR 2014 data, initiatives like this provide a much-needed boost in the fight for sustainability.

Link: iflscience.com

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08/04/2014

itsokay

It’s no surprise that childhood obesity is a major national concern in the U.S., with about one third of minors overweight. A vast number of campaigns to reverse this have arisen in the last decade, such as Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign and the NFL’s Play60 campaign. However, the most progressive response is a prescription to take a step back from our modern technology-based society: doctors are now writing “Outdoor Activity” on Rx labels to overweight and obese children.

“Outdoor Activity” prescriptions have been successful so far, not only improving youth’s health but also teaching them to love being outside. According to Kay Debrosse, who runs a Massachusetts recreation center, “They love the outdoors more now … They moan and groan when you tell them to get off their computer, but then they don’t want to come back inside.”

These prescriptions resonate deeply with parents and patients because they are individually prescribed by a doctor, instilling a more committed attitude toward change. The gravity of this problem requires exactly what doctors are giving it: a multi-faceted solution that builds healthy behaviors and attitudes.

Links: npr.org, bostonglobe.com
Photo: itsokaytoeat.com

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08/03/2014

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