November 23, 2010

Geek and Chic

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When interested in scoping the latest fashion trends, Google is probably not the first place of choice to pop up into your head. Unless you are using as your search engine, it probably has nothing else related to your next season's wardrobe.

However, Google has shocked the online community last Wednesday, circulating lots of buzz with their new e-commerce website As if their own online search engine, Gmail, and Youtube wasn't enough to manage, they have now taken a dip (or more like an Olympic dive) into the pool of the fastest growing categories on the Web - apparel, accessories, and footwear.

Similar to existing online shops like Shopstyle.comRevolve Clothing and Retail Therapy, which have all been around for some time, allows consumers to create their own shops with real merchandise to buy. However, what is unique about is that these shops can be shared, creating a new world of social networking in the e-commerce world. Celebrities, designers, and even bloggers have already set up their own "boutique" so consumers can shop and dress like their favorite style muse or brand, whether it's the fashion house Marchesa, American designer Diane von Furstenberg, actress Sarah Jessica Parker, TV reality star Olivia Palermo, or bloggers Susie Bubble and Rumi Neely. For those who are more trend driven, boutiques can be explored through a refined selection of trends, ranging from Classic, Romantic, Street, and Boho. Using the same lingo as Twitter, you can "follow" these boutiques and keep a list of your favorite shops.

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Google has a huge advantage over other mega sites like Amazon and Ebay, which have both been trying to improve their apparel sector for years. It is much more understandable to consumers to go to Google's for a $1,000 designer dress rather than Amazon and Ebay, which are more about finding you the best deal for your dollars. is less interested in finding you a money-saving purchase and rather much more interested in giving you a new, exciting shopping experience. With Google's popularity and the more or less blank attachments to (in comparison to Amazon and Ebay), they have a clean starting ground with millions of eager online consumers.

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And to go above and beyond, also just launched their free iPad app with user-friendly interface, making today's iPad shopping as close to the real deal of browsing clothes on an actual clothing rack. Greeted with a welcoming chime when you launch the app, it is similar to the sound you hear upon walking into a shop. All about imagery with very little text, storefronts can be browsed by a flick of the finger. 

Combining the latest trends of social media, online shopping, and the idea of the curated, is a product of what consumers are demanding today. It is a genius concept of combining something new with the familiar, making it an excitingly fresh concept that is completely adaptable to today's culture. Using language and visual layout that is now second nature to most of us, this site may quite possibly be a huge indicator of where the retail industry is headed next. If you are like many of us here at MBF where we use Google's Gmail for email, Blogger for blogging, and Youtube for videos, you may be asking yourself "How dependent have we become to Google?!"

November 16, 2010

Fashion's Global Collaboration With Sustainability

With no universal standards and practices in the vast and rapidly growing field of eco design it now seems designers and corporations alike are helping set the parameters for the finer points of eco design. 

Eco design, especially fashion, have often been relegated to niche projects rather than mainstream products, but corporations like Lexus are trying to bring eco fashion to a broader audience. The interplay between fashion and sustainability is a mutually beneficial relationship. Fashion is one of the easiest mediums for consumers to make a positive impact on the environment. Likewise, fashion and style is what moves consumers to consume whether it's a car or the clothing themselves-we all desire things that are in vogue.  

With this understanding, Lexus, in partnership with the CFDA launched the Eco Fashion Challenge. A panel, including CFDA's executive director Steven Kolb and eco-friendly label Loomstate co-founder Scott Mackinlay Hahn, selected Monique Péan, Costello Tagilapietra, and Maria Cornejo who were awarded $25,000 and will have Lexus' backing to produce their Fall 2011 show. Maria Cormejo, who is not expressly known as a sustainable designer, apperance on the list begs the question: What exactly does Lexus consider eco fashion? Lexus and the CFDA requirement was clothing that was "at least 25 percent sustainable or uses 25 percent sustainable materials." The designers were also judged on their business strategies and overall commitment to the environment. The Lexus' Eco Fashion challenge is just another building block in their 'hybrid  lifestyle' seen on their recently launch site

Emma Watson let it slip last week that she'll be collaborating with Alberta Ferretti on a organic clothing line due sometime early next year. While no name was given to the collection, the clothing is said to be inspired by the classic style of 1960's fashion icon Jane Birkin. While this is the first foray into sustainability for the Alberta Ferretti label, Watson was selected primarily based on her previous work with U.K. company People Tree

image src: people tree

The genesis of her collection for People Tree began with Watson's frustration at the lack of  fair trade and organic clothing for people her age. Watson's popularity and fan base, from her role in the Harry Potter movies,  brings a younger market to sustainable fashion. Her collection entitled "Love from Emma" featured easy, summery separates that could be mixed and matched and 80% of the collection utilized organic fair trade cotton. Since 2001 People Tree has had a deep investment in fair trade and sustainable design. Last week they were even awarded with the title of Most Sustainable Brand by WGSN at their Global Fashion Awards. 

Indeed People Tree seems to have some of the most rigorous requirements and definitions in eco fashion. To insure the clothing they produce meets the correct fair trade principles they are counseled by 50 Fair Trade groups in 15 countries. As seen in our video interview with a People Tree representative they produce their collections in Bangladesh,India and Nepal with half of the collection composed of organic cotton while the other half showcases the skills of the artisans in the countries the pieces are made. 

November 11, 2010

Green, Green, Everywhere...

MBF Trend Consulting's very own Creative Director and Founding Partner Manuela Fassbender was interviewed by 4FashionAdvice where she gave her view on the future of fashion which lies in eco and sustainable design. Here at MBF we believe in sustaianable fashion with more, as Fassbender says, "transparency, honesty, integrity." 

It seems that everyone these days is trying to go green with varying intentions. 
image source: nyt
The New York Times reported that in San Francisco they recently passed the country's first Healthy Nail Salon Recognition ordinance, now the city must publicly identify nail salons that use products with harmful chemicals. On the heels of this, Kim Pham has opened the Nova Nail Spa one of the first 'green' nail salons in San Francisco. Pham grew concerned about the harmful effects the chemicals in polishes and top coats she was using could have on her health; prompting her to use environmentally friendly products like 'vegan' polish and organic lotions. She says the appeal of an eco salon is that "healthy is different for the customer." Here at MBF we wonder just how much an 'eco' mani-pedi goes for?

image source: stella show management 
While green salons are born from genuine concern for one's health, not everyone has such pure green intentions. We spied this morning an ad for The Pier Antique Show and Fashion Alley, which is coming to New York's Pier 94 this weekend, which markets the show as: "Hot Shopping That's All Green & All Recycled." The organizers for this show are using people's growing concern for the environment to not only manipulate their interest but also their wallets. They even go as far, on their website, to call antiques "Luxury Recycling" and calling you to "buy vintage" in order to "go green." 

From nail salons to antique markets and fashion, it's easy to see sustainability is on everyone's mind. Read more of Manuela's thoughts on eco-fashion and the rest of her interview here.

November 4, 2010

November MBF Favorite Picks

In this month’s picks we focus on the digital interventions currently occurring in fashion. Digital media allows for an intersection between a wide array of media forms from music to film and fashion.

1. Burberry Acoustic 'Idiot' by Life in Film

Burberry has been the forerunner of bringing fashion into the digital age. They broke into social media with their street style site ArtoftheTrench and now have Burberry Acoustic, a group of beautifully filmed performance videos created by Burberry. Creative director Christopher Bailey wanted to “put together an incredible group of ongoing acoustic sessions from some of the finest talent coming out of the U.K. and bring them to the broad global Burberry audience." In this video by the British group Life in Film they perform their song ‘Idiot’ in the streets of Milan ending their acoustic set in the Burberry men’s store.

2. has solved a problem plaguing eCommerce since its’ beginning-the lack of dressing rooms. The ordering of incorrect sizes and subsequent returning of products raises overhead costs for eCommerce retailers. solves this by being a virtual fitting room for online clothing retailers where online shoppers can see which size of clothing fits them best, before making their online purchases. How it works is a robot mannequin, which can replicate over 2,000 body shapes, is created from your measurements, from there you are able to see the true fit of the clothing as it looks on your mannequin body. See the robot mannequin in action in the above video.  

3. I-Ella
image via: iella
I-Ella is an invitation-only marketplace where members can edit their wardrobes and shop celebrity closets while making a positive social change. Members are invited to not only share their closets-but buy, borrow, swap or lend clothes to other members.

4. LOUD Radio
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Veteran American designer Tommy Hilfiger has launched his own digital radio station in partnership with THE HOURS ENTERTAINMENT and Goom Radio. The radio station LOUD, which will stream online will also be available in 18 countries and in 9 languages, is to promote Hilfiger’s new fragrance LOUD for her and him. Tommy Hilfiger have also contracted U.K. indie pop group The Ting Tings to create a signature track for the scent. The song called “We’re Not The Same” was played when The Ting Tings headlined a LOUD concert in Berlin. You can listen to the LOUD station stream live at the Tommy Hilfiger website.

5. ShopItToMe
image via: shopittome
 ShopItToMe is an online personal shopper that keeps track of sales occurring online. Members specify what categories interest them, from clothing to accessories, as well as their sizes and ShopItToMe scours the web to find related items for the best price. The service works in two ways, one based on the members preferences they send personalized email alerts with their picks and all sorts of goodies like markdowns, secret promotion codes, and VIP sales evens. Similarly you can also search through deals that are relevant through their Shop It To Me search service.  They currently have over 3 million subscribers and make over 2 billion product recommendations every month.

6. Plum Willow
image via: nyt
Plum Willow is an “online social shopping experience” targeting the tween to teen market. Visitors of the site can share inspiration with friends, build their own dream closet, and buy clothes through the site. What makes Plum Willow unique is they employ High School interns, part of their target audience. Instead of designing what they believe their audience wants, by making their audience part of the design and decision making process, they have a more effective site.

7. AhaLife
Welcome to AHAlife from AHAlife on Vimeo.
 AhaLife is a curated eCommerce site that focuses on one product at a time and invites their members to be a part of the selection process. Each day they showcase one lifestyle item and tell the in-depth story of the product, the designer, and the creative process. AhaLife is dedicated to bringing their customers a “one-of-a-kind experience every day” with a little help from their “global network of curators.” AhaLife taps into consumer’s preference for a more personal, curated recommendation based eCommerce experience that welcomes the consumer into the process.

8. H&M 'Design is Relevant'

H&M created several mysterious videos to tease their upcoming design collaboration with Lanvin. H&M invited the fashion masses to take guesses as to who the celebrity design collaboration was with. By engaging their audience in this way they created genuine enthusiasm and excitement for the upcoming Lanvin collection. After the designer announcement, H&M promoted the collection by putting out a truly surreal fashion film directed by Hollywood director Mike Figgis, which has been much buzzed about and dissected on fashion blogs.

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