H&M’s “Fashion Mixer” catalogue turns apparel pieces into music

H&M is now launching a music project in Asia that see’s the brand’s fashion catalogue working as a musical piece.   The project—called fashion mixer—enables consumers to turn apparel pieces into musical sounds and then mix them.  The project is based on H&M’s “Divided” collection, which features clothing for both men and women.  Essentially, each item of the collection has it’s own sound effect ranging from beats to melodies and voices.  Users can add various fashion items by dragging and dropping them onto a special sampler on a mobile device that fuses the sounds to create a one-of-a-kind tune.

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Why I am Curious:

It’s interesting to see brands play with the power of music. Some brands are doing it right and some brands haven’t quite figured it out.  I think this project from H&M will be something of interest to their core audience.

Food Meets Fashion

Clothing retailer Uniqlo has launched an iOS app that blends fashion and food by showcasing 24 recipes from six up-and-coming American chefs.

Each recipe in the Uniqlo Recipe app features a palette of bright colors and textures, which are matched by the chef’s Uniqlo outfits. For example, Chef Brian Leth wears a brown cardigan to introduce his Dark Chocolate Sandwich recipe. Users can click to instantly buy each of the featured clothing items the chefs are wearing. The app also includes a kitchen timer featuring cooking sounds.

Why I’m Curious

It’s amusing to see a fashion retailer pair its offerings with food in this way. The two don’t inherently go together, yet the brand has found a way to connect them through shared attributes like color and texture. The end result is an application that provides functional utility in addition to entertainment. Given the disparate nature of the two elements however, I wonder how many people will actually download the app.

J.Crew previews entire fall catalog on its Pinterest page

J.Crew, which built its business via glossy mailings, just took a crack at catalog 2.0. They are looking to build buzz for its fall line by posting the entire line on its Pinterest page before it appears on the company website or in its printed catalog.

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Read more here.

Why I am Curious

A 24×7, large scale focus group (+60K followers on Pinterest + anyone else who stumbled on the platform): The move is also aimed at giving J.Crew insight into which items are likely to be popular based on repins and comments.  It gives the company its own sneak peek at which items will sell well.

What color underwear are you wearing?

Hanes is asking [female] Twitter users to post tweets revealing the color of their underwear, along with links to cheery color-specific pages from a campaign website. The website also showcases underwear color trends by region and individual color pages for yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, blue and green.

#undercovercolor

Branded content: 

Hanes

Hanes 2

User generated content: (140 characters would have been sufficient!)

Hanes 3

Why I am Curious:

Purple is trending in NYC today!

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The Undercover Color campaign is about looking for a fun, easy way for women to get involved. It is a great conversation starter, captures the attention without being disruptive, and offers an excuse for users to engage.

Missed opportunity: they did not include the campaign hashtag on the TV spot:

Crowd Sourced Fashion Shoot

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The Selfridges department store launched an interactive ad campaign to promote its new denim department made up of images shot by the public.

The shop held a catwalk event and invited audience members to take pictures of denim-clad models using their smartphones or digital cameras. The images were used to create a collage to live online and on digital billboards. Photos and video from the experience can be viewed here.

Selfridges is also inviting jeans fans to submit Instagram photos of their favorite denim using the hashtag #denimlovers. Selected photos will appear in the store’s window displays and each week, one winner will receive a free pair of jeans.

Why I’m Curious

There’s still quite a bit of room in the digital space for unique crowd sourcing. I appreciate seeing brands execute these programs to freshen a somewhat routine initiative – in this case a fashion shoot. There was just a 16 hr. turnaround to collect the images from 300 shoot attendees to create the finished collage. In the end, the experience could be viewed at all angles and shared by anyone. I think it’s a neat way to work with influencers and get people involved and invested in the branded experience. Additionally, the Instagram hashtag sweepstakes rounds out the social photo sharing aspect of campaign.

Design Your Sneakers Using Instagram

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Instead of looking through Nike’s online color options to customize a new pair of kicks, Nike is inviting consumers to use their Instagram photos. The new PHOTOiD web app, combines filtered Instagram photos with Nike’s custom ordering process: First the user grants Nike permission to access to their Instagram account. Once a photo has been selected, the software applies the color palette to a pair of Air Max 1, 90 or 95 sneakers (based on the available color library for each footwear option). Designs can then be purchased and/or shared with your social network.

Why I’m Curious:

With all the data/content generated online every day, there’s a persisting question of, “Now what do we do with it?”. This is one of the reasons why I think this program is noteworthy – it recycles pre-existing UGC content to get people to interact with the brand. With a wealth of Instagram photos to utilize, on top of a fairly simple user flow, users are encouraged to spend time on the brand site and try out multiple designs with their photos. And for what it’s worth, there’s the potential to create a truly personal tangible product, inspired my emotionally resonant moments in consumers’ lives.

As far as I can see, it’s unclear if Instagram is making anything off this partnership with Nike, but this could be a viable revenue model for the platform. At least for Nike, it’s a clever mechanism to determine ROI from social media. I wonder if Instagram plans to build similar revenue-generating partnerships with brands in the future.

Fashion Gets Funny

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Local fashion designer Rachel Comey is turning her website into a giant livestream for New York City’s independent women in comedy. Starting at 4pm and continuing every Thursday for the next three weeks, some of the city’s best comedic talents, including Portlandia’s Carrie Brownstein, This American Life’s Starlee Kine will be performing for an online audience.

Why I’m Curious: A lot of the women who wear Comey’s clothing are women in the arts – so naturally it makes sense to celebrate and align with these women (especially because they have a following). While comedy and fashion don’t often overlap, it’s certainly an activity that one could multitask at (i.e: you can easily listen to stand up/laugh while shopping for clothes).

Touchscreen T-Shirts Only A Few Years Away.

Most people have to keep their smart phones within arms reach. But what if instead of having your technology an arm’s length away, it was on your arm? Imagine: clothing with touchscreen capabilities built right into the fabric. A truly ‘wearable’ technology.

Under Armour is working on it as we speak, but they’re not quite there – yet.

From PSFK:

Earlier this week, Under Armour officially unveiled Armour39: their next generation of wearable technology. Armour39 is an athletic performance monitoring system that measures ‘what matters most: WILLpower.’ WILLpower is Under Armour’s proprietary measurement for how hard an athlete pushes him or herself during a workout on a scale of 1-10, taking into account heart rate, calories burned, and past performances, among other things.

In promoting the new Armour39 system, Under Armour has released a commercial entitle “I Will” that seems to suggest a greater shift towards wearable technology. The video first focuses on the Armour39 system and chest strap, but transitions to a future concept suit that has touchscreen capabilities built directly into the fabric. The messaging in the video below makes it appear that Under Armour is currently working on such a suit, and not just promoting it as a concept.

Why Am I Curious

Microsoft is already working with researchers to create a new version of Kinect technology that can transform any surface into an interactive touchscreen.  The idea of being able to connect and engage through any object – a notebook, a wall, a hand – without being tethered to specific device fascinates me because it allows connectivity in the most immediate sense.

We have so many devices that collect and store our personal data – biometrics, athletic performance, etc. and it’s really interesting to think about how an article of clothing can  replace those devices and give us the opportunity to review, analyze and adjust to the data in real-time.  As a runner, I think about the practical applications as the technology becomes more refined – apparel manufactures could use that data to adjust the “functionality” of the clothing itself.  A shirt that can easily track external air temperatures, body temperature, heart and perspiration rate, etc. can take that data and alert the runner that they need to open/close a vent, remove sleeves, or even have the shirt self-adjust by increasing/decreasing wicking capabilities or turning on a heating element – all before the one actually experiences the adverse effects of a weather change or over-exertion.  And of course, we can collect and use the data to influence r&d, product design, even marketing communications.

Although there aren’t many specifics around the technology being used in Under Armour’s touchscreen apparel, they company has confirmed that this is a real project.

‘Tis the Season for the Interactive Holiday Window


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NYC’s holiday windows bring out the inner child in tourists and locals alike. Cartier’s interactive window display lets passersby open and close their famed red boxes by waving their hand. Motors are hidden underneath the table, along with a Mac Mini that sends data to controller boards that control the movement of the boxes. A few weeks ago, Barney’s unveiled “Electric Holiday,” an animated short created in collaboration with Disney. The video starts Minnie throughout her journey to Paris’ Fashion Week and loops on LED tiles at the Madison avenue location.

Why I’m Curious: High fashions and jaw-dropping jewelry used to be enough to get passersby to gawk at a window (and hopefully go in). But this year’s window displays certainly take that a step further by creating interactive experiences that truly invite the user in with the special ingredient of magic.

Le Tote is Like Netflix for Fashion

Le Tote is a new fashion-rental subscription service based in San Francisco that works similarly to Netflix and Airbnb. Members pay a monthly fee of $49 and receive a bag that includes three pieces of clothing and two accessories.

From PSFK,

The fashion items can be worn, and exchanged for new ones as long as the user has an active subscription. Le Tote is targeted at young, female shoppers who are constantly seeking ways to refresh and update their wardrobes. Unlike the popular fashion rental service Rent the Runway, Le Tote aims to provide everyday type of clothing rather than high-fashion pieces.

If a member really loves the item, they have the option to purchase it as well. The site is still in beta and has over 10,000 members.

Why I’m Curious

I’m interested to see if Le Tote gains popularity the way Rent the Runway did. Rent the Runway had a specific target of high-end items for special occasions like weddings and events where people didn’t want to dish out a ton of money for a few hours. Not to mention, the few hours of wearing from Rent the Runway makes the clothes stay in mediocre shape. I’m curious to see if the quality deteriorates fast due to everyday wear, which would defeat the purpose of the service.

File Under Slightly Creepy

Styleblaster is a slightly creepy social experiment “fills a need for live fashion information.” The website is a new kind of fashion blog that feeds a snapshot of every person exiting the Bedford Avenue subway station in the trendy Williamsburg neighborhood in NYC.

The idea is stemmed from the noticeable change in the neighborhood in the past 10-15 years: “To answer the changing times, we introduce Styleblaster, a realtime account of what people in Williamsburg are wearing. Unlike a typical streetstyle blog, Styleblaster documents all — the visiting fashion plates, the hipsters and have-nots, the native Polish and Italian proud who have for years called this neighborhood home. And above all — the dapper salarymen and businesswomen who stand to inherit the area.”

Why I’m Curious

Blogs and social media have opened a gateway for users to snap and share pictures of their daily looks.

Old Navy Creates Human Coupon

In celebration of its 5 million fans on Facebook, Old Navy wanted to give their fans an exclusive deal with a coupon.

From PSFK,

CP+B brought hundreds of people together to create a 30% off coupon. An aerial shot of the 120ft x 60ft promotion features colorful props and a barcode made of 88 placards, which is readable by in-store scanners.

Old Navy reached the milestone on Tuesday, Oct 9 and the coupon is valid from 10/12-10/14

Why I’m Curious

It’s always an interesting to see if and how a brand will reward fans at various milestones. Old Navy not only rewarded fans with a downloadable coupon, but also provided fans with engaging content.

The video is simple and kind of goofy, but so is a majority of Old Navy’s content and commercials. The integrated approach of a downloaded human coupon, a branded video for social channels and a reward for fans turns a simple idea into a larger campaign.

Diesel Uses Animated GIFs for its Latest Campaign

From PSFK:

Diesel’s latest ad campaign might make you do a double take. At first glance, the ads look like traditional, static outdoor ads, but take a second look, and you’ll notice the ads are actually subtly moving.

Shot by famous fashion photographer Steven Meisel, ‘Screen Tests‘ for Diesel’s Autumn/Winter 2012 campaign is an extenuation of the brand’s theme of ‘portraits for successful living.’ The ads feature young, contemporary models interacting in playful settings, and just as the campaign name suggests. As the ads start to move, viewers are able to engage with the models, to feel as if they are actually present watching the fashion shoot, rather than merely looking at a still ad.

The photographs have been turned into cinemagraphs—unlike their jumpy cousin the animated GIF, the movement in the photograph is more refined and subtle, confined to one distinct area. In one shot, a model exuberantly kicks her feet back and forth, while her face is fixed in the same defiant expression. In another, a model smirks as she captures a Polaroid of her still companion. You need to look closely and pay attention to each photo to be able to see that a model is kicking her feet, pointing a camera at you or swinging the mic back and forth.

With the use of cinemagraphs, Diesel is taking advantage of a relatively new photography technique; in early 2011, Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck were the first photographers to coin and use the ‘cinemagraph’ technique. Diesel’s cinemagraphs will be used throughout stores and on digital billboards this fall.

Why Am I Curious?

I am curious because this is a technique I have never seen before and despite the movement being a subtle one, I cannot help but feel like the model in the image is directly engaging with the audience and commands attention. I am also excited to see that technology is seeping into other formats of advertising – even stills or prints – and that this is giving brands new and exciting opportunities to stand out. I wonder what new ad formats these type of collaborations will lead to in the near future.

Weather and Fashion Forecast

By Vicky

Wevther is a new website that shows the weather forecast for New York City as well as what you should wear for the day. The creator of the website found that weather sites would give people data on the temperature and if it may rain or snow, but never gave insight into what people should wear that would keep them warm or cool enough. Now, that problem is solved with Wevther. The recommended clothing of the day come from Svpply.

Why I’m Curious

I have been in situations where I would check the weather and wonder what that really meant in terms of if I should bring a cardigan along or not. With Wevther that problem is solved and it gives fashion forward recommendations for what people can wear. Though Wevther isn’t associated with any brand, I think it would be interesting if this was a brand extension instead of an individual project. Clothing brands could definitely tap into this to recommend what people should wear for the day. It would be even more convenient as a mobile app, so people could check the website for what to wear when they wake up.

Online Start up Offers Personal Shopping Experience through Pinterest

Nearly Newlywed is a newly launched startup that lets women rent gowns and bridal wear by highly coveted designers, including Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta, Rodarte and Carolina Herrera. The social media-powered online boutique lets women pay a fraction of the usual price tag — $10,000 to $15,000 — for designer wedding dresses. The dresses are guaranteed “nearly new,” meaning they have only been worn once or twice.

The small team based in Brooklyn, N.Y., connects with customers nationally. Utilizing Pinterest, Nearly Newlywed founder Jacqueline Courtney offers personal shopping consultations with soon-to-be brides. Courtney gets to know the brides through their wedding inspiration boards, from which she makes dress recommendations on Pinterest.

Dresses — both in-season and unique styles — are 50% to 80% off. The Nearly Newlywed rental price covers the cost of the dress. Meaning that if you fall in love with the dress, you can keep it. You can choose to return it for 30% of the final sale price with the “Nearly Newlywed Guarantee.”

Why Am I Curious?

Women have always been planning their weddings — gathering inspiration, tearing things out of magazines, and now, with social media and especially Pinterest, everybody’s tastes and inspirations are out in the open, Nearly Newlywed takes advantage of this phenomenon and uses Pinterest to offer a fun, unique and seamless way to have a dialogue with these women and provide a service that bridges the business’s offering and the women’s tastes.

We have seen concierge services offered through other social media platforms, but the Pinterest application is new to me, and I find it highly relevant and useful. As I mentioned, I tend to get tired just looking at the gorgeously curated Pinterest boards because they remind me how long it would take to find those items and to look like that. I love that Nearly Newlywed is actually providing brides to be with suggestions. I wonder if other brands, like Saks’s or Neiman Marcus’ of the world, that are retail giants but try to offer a personal  level of service to their customers will follow suit.

Kaleidoscope, An App for Curated Street-Style Fashion, Arrives on iPhone

Between Pinterest, Fancy, Have to Have, Pose, Fashism, Lucky Shopper, Thre.ad, Snapette and about three dozen others, it’s fair to say the world is not in dire need of another fashion inspiration or social shopping app.

However, all that aside, there are a few things that make Kaleidoscope different. For one, its high-quality feed of street-style images. Instead of depending on user-generated content for fashion inspiration, Kaleidoscope displays thumbnails of photographs pulled from lookbook.nu or produced on its own. Between 30 and 50 new images are posted each day. The startup is currently forming partnership with select bloggers to bring their content to Kaleidoscope’s feed as well.

Kaleidoscope also brings quality curation to another key part of its service: product recommendations. The app uses ShopStyle‘s API to locate products that match the clothes in each photograph, and internal staff — i.e., the startup’s interns — filter through the options to offer users the best fit.

Also, it is integrated with third-party networks which makes it easy to share looks straight to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

The app only has a few thousand users at present, but the expectation is that the number will multiply quickly now that it’s available on iPhone. The company is also doing a big marketing push around Coachella, including a partnership with Details magazine.

Why I am Curious?

I am curious if this app will be more successful than its earlier counterparts that do not have the aforementioned features. It seems as though they are fixing the things that tend to go wrong with other fashion inspiration based platforms. There is something to be said about engaging users via user-generated content. However, the flipside of this is the quality of the content. The street-style photos may not always be high quality or form a cohesive content pool. I like Kaleidoscope’s model of not depending on the user for content but forming partnerships with an already established content curation sites or bloggers with an existing following.

However, the most interesting thing to me about this app is their integration with the ShopSytyle API to make product recos. I like looking at inspirational “real-people” fashion photos but I do not  have the time or the patience to figure out where to find the pieces to put together a look that I may like. I hope that through this API integration, Kaleidoscope will be able to point people to where they can purchase a piece they see on the photo but also make recommendations for similar looks at different price points. Because for some reason it so happens most things that tend to grab my attention on these curation platforms tend to be at the “aspirational” price point.

Sneakers with sensors and accelerometers bring all-new opportunities in tracking

Nike just launched a new set of baseball sneakers this week that are embedded with pressure sensors and accelerometers to collect previously unmeasurable, movement-based statistics across multiple levels of speed and agility. Nike+ Basketball lets you know how high you jump, how quick you run, and how hard you play. In addition to these precise stats a universal NikeFuel score is captured—all allowing the user to compare to previous games plus general exercise with their friends.

– Judy

Why I’m Curious:

As the idea of quantifying yourself becomes more engrained in everything around health and wellness, I think we will see more and more ways to track each thing you do. Having your basketball sneakers track movements (much like Nike+ originally did in your shoe with running) seems like a logical next step in building a robust ecosystem for athletes, in compliment with the innovative Nike FuelBand and specialized Nike+ mobile apps.

Sephora’s Sensorium, A Pop-Up Museum for your senses

Sephora just launched an experiential pop-up museum, the Sensorium, in the Meat Packing district.

As noted in Cool Hunting‘s write up:

Starting with the history and science of perfume—dating as far back as 2000 BC—the multimedia pop-up goes on to present fragrance as a composition of emotional alchemy: the complex interaction of impressions conveyed by various ingredients and how they blend together.

It is an ingenious and thrilling experience that heightens one’s perception of scent by its interaction with sight, sound, as well as an individual’s memories and emotions. In addition to a momentary stop in a scent-deprivation chamber and a fragrance “flight bar,” visitors also pass through “First Scent,” an audio-visual set-up that coordinates with custom fragrances redolent of early-morning breakfasts, salty beach air and freshly-cut blades of grass—scents that are distinct and recognizable on their own, but often fraught with one’s associations to specific moments and memories.

Why I’m Curious:

I think this is a creative way for Sephora to demonstrate the power of fragrance by tapping into a person’s five senses in ways they may not be used to.

Patagonia and eBay’s unique partnership

Patagonia and eBay recently partnered up on the Common Thread Initiative . The purpose of this partnership is to help Patagonia and its customers reduce their carbon footprint by asking customers not to buy new Patagonia gear unless they really need it.

– Judy

Why I’m curious:

Patagonia’s interest in being environmentally conscious is not new, but its  partnership with eBay is. This is a unique way into Patagonia’s target audience’s interest in the environment and sustainability. And, Patagonia is putting a stake in the ground to demonstrate that it truly means what it claims to stand for.

Here’s the full article from Outside:

Don’t Buy Patagonia Stuff New Unless You Really Need It

Tonight, Patagonia and eBay announced a new partnership, the Common Threads Initiative. Together, they asked owners of fleece and Gore-Tex everywhere to pledge to reduce consumption, reuse old gear, recyclerepair what’s broken, and reimagine a world where people don’t stress the earth with purchases.

Yes, you read correctly. Patagonia is asking us not to buy their stuff, or any stuff, unless we really need it. And then they’re asking us to buy used stuff when we can. And they’re asking us to sell those still warm puffys and barely frayed packs gathering dust in the back of our closets on eBay, to a troller who will buy an old jacket instead of buying a new one.

To show they really mean it, Patagonia and eBay have partnered on a Patagonia-specific resale site powered by eBay that you can access from Patagonia’s website. But there is one catch–you have to pledge to the five “Rs” to use it.

Patagonia wants 50,000 pledgers this year. Sign today, and whether or not you start bidding, you’ll be one of the first. But don’t just sign so you can get first dibs on nearly new gear which for the next few days is probably mostly from the Patagonia sample racks. Think about what you’re agreeing to, and like Patagonia, walk your talk.

Luxury vending machines tied to Fashion Week

For New York Fashion Week, Hudson Hotel partnered with upcoming designers to feature “fashion necessities” in a vending machine within the hotel lobby.

– Judy

Why I’m curious:

While the idea of a high-tech vending machine isn’t new, I like the idea of a vending machine that provides luxury items. I think this is interesting because it turns the typical vending machine idea of being for everyone on i

ts head. This is clearly targeting the design-conscious. It also appeals to the lifestyle consumer mindset of getting what they want, when they want it, and where they want it. Moreover, Hudson Hotel’s partnership with emerging designerselevates the hotel’s brand positioning as a potent combination of urban adventure, daredevil design, and true affordability.

Here’s the full PSFK article:

To celebrate Fashion Week in New York, USA, Hudson Hotel will feature a large vending machine in its lobby that will carry fashion ‘necessities.’ The luxury items will be from upcoming and promising designers from the U.S., including a diamond and wood strand bracelet from Ruby Kobo, a python clutch from SANG A, hand-made 7-fold wool ties from Public School, and a rabbit fur jacket from Jolibe. Other designers include Alice Ritter, Gemma Redux and Grey Ant.

The idea of an innovative vending machine isn’t new. PSFK featured an article this year on the rise of the hi-tech vending machine. There’s even been a vending machine shaped like Santa that dispenses MUJI Christmas products.