June 28, 2012

London Is Where It's At!

With only weeks until the 2012 Summer Olympics, London is in the spotlight as the “IT” city of the summer. As the world prepares for this monumental event, an international curiosity is overwhelming the masses in anticipation for not only the competitions, but the overall theme of both the Opening and Closing ceremonies, the architecture, the entertainment, the uniforms, and the various other events encompassing the city. So what can we really expect from this year's Olympic Games?

photo via The Guardian

Well for starters, a few new details have been released that set the tone for the 2012 milestone. Designed by Artistic Director Danny Boyle, the stadium will replicate a "green and pleasant land," which includes real grass, real soil, and a river that allows athletes to appear as if they are walking on water. Overall, the show will establish an authentic British countryside feel that heavily focuses on the environment, as well as features urban undertones to highlight the importance in the growth of cities throughout the U.K.

As far as entertainment goes, with countless volunteers, a possible appearance by Paul McCartney, some controversial lip syncing, and the likes of Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley dressed in London's most renowned designers, what more could we ask for? Well, a London Festival to showcase some of the best nationwide talent of course! From theatre to literature to film, music, dance, and art, London legends such as Cate Blanchett, Jude Law, Damien Hirst, and Yoko Ono, among many others, will participate in a variety of cultural performances and activities during a 12-week celebration that started last week.

photo via fashionmag.com

With so much going on, not only are Olympic fanatics flocking to the U.K. but mid-market shops as well. J.Crew who recently announced their partnership with Hong Kong retailer, Lane Crawford, plans to embrace international markets with a flagship shop in central London. Also, H&M will be opening 2 pop-up shops in both Covent Gardens as well as in Westfield Stratford, next to Olympic Park, featuring sportswear inspired merchandise, as well as a limited edition patriotic colored collection in red, white, and blue. Not to mention, London recently hosted a four day menswear fashion event to showcase both designers new and old and kick-off the collections in Florence, Milan, and Paris.

photo via streamwoman

Foreigners visiting the Olympic Games are expected to stimulate over $7.85 billion into the economy alone this year. While British retailers in the West End shopping district are supposed to get the most sales traffic, you bet this affair has brought out the competition among other international labels as both Gucci's Gucci City and Jimmy Choo's Union Jack Collections reflect Olympic inspired accessories in the form of handbags, scarves, shoes, etc. Even Swatch has transformed a classic London design into a trendy, functional watch inspired by the athletic event.

photo via The Telegraph

So who is wearing who? While Stella McCartney has designed a 590-piece discipline specific collection for Team London, Giorgio Armani will adorn the Italian Team. It has also been announced that Prada will be the official sponsor of the Italian national sailing team's uniforms. Meanwhile, Ralph Lauren will help to create costumes for both the Opening and Closing Ceremony parades.

photo via Ecouterre

However, not everyone is feeling the love as Adidas faces serious claims of worker exploitation. According to War on Want, an organization that seeks to fight poverty and preserve human rights, Adidas employs over 775,00 people in 1,200 factories across the globe who are subjected to low wages, poor working conditions and both verbal and physical abuse. The sportswear clothing brand, is being criticized for spending close to $155 million to establish itself as an official partner while its workers barely earn enough to live. Adidas plans to further investigate these allegations as War on Want continues to gather signatures and petition for a "sweat-free Olympics."

photo via Deezeen Magazine

As the London Olympics will soon come and go, what will become of Olympic Park? According to U.K. nonprofits, the area will be transformed into a park that will withstand for about 100 years. A media center expected to house journalists and press during the games will eventually be used as an office building for tech companies to promote local employment. Overall, the designers of the event hope to "bring benefits to locals and ensure the sustainable utilization of the stadiums." To see a slideshow of more of the Olympic architecture, click here!

Please stay tuned for our Berlin Fashion Week round up next month! In the meantime, check out our All American Pinterest board for some inspiration for the upcoming Independence Day!

June 26, 2012

MBF Salon Profiles Guest Josh Castel

We are excited to announce Josh Castel: President and Principal Partner Of Blabbermouth Social as one of our guests for our upcoming MBF Salon at The Kingpins Show in July.

As one of the industry's most highly respected independent social media companies, Blabbermouth Social helps brands navigate the socially engaged Web and is responsible for helping some of the best-known brands in North America, including Elle Decor, Polo Ralph Lauren, State Farm, and Schwinn.

Josh will be attending our Salon gathering July 24th 10:15 - 11:00 AM and July 25th 1:00 - 1:45 PM. He will join us in our conversation to discuss Digital Media - Driving Today's Retail Industry. This topic will focus on Mobility & Social Media, Changing Consumer Behavior and Brick-and-Mortar & Online Retailers.

To register email: contact@mbf-trend-consulting.com

June 21, 2012

MBF Salon – Where like-minded people come to exchange knowledge through conversation. Join us at these stimulating gatherings this summer at Kingpins NYC, July 2012.

MBF Salon at Kingpins NY -- NYC July 24 – 25th.

MBF Trend Consulting will host a series of gatherings at the MBF Salon — a platform for the free flow of conversation from industry-leaders and colleagues.

The spirit of these salon gatherings -- 45-minutes in length with no more than 16 participants -- a unique coterie of professionals — is the exchange of ideas, concepts and inspirations — in a relaxed environment resulting in thought-provoking discussions.

Each gathering — three-a-day — will be focused on a specific subject matter — under the umbrella of … A Look at the Bigger Picture – a Broad Perspective.

Our gatherings include a “who’s who” list of guests to include Blabbermouth’s Josh Castell, Hostee’s Michael Radparvar, and Ernest Sabine of Ernest Alexander, amongst others.

To view the full schedule please click here.

For more information email contact@mbf-trend-consulting.com.

Additionally MBF Salon will include a Trend Forum display of the exhibitors’ most innovative fabrics for Fall / Winter 2013-14 and MBF’s Key Colours for Fall/Winter 2013-14.

Our program will also include:
  • Season’s Key Trends (Fall/Winter 2013-14) to include juxtaposition of Denim/Casual Market.
  • Overview of Berlin’s Fashion Week July 2012 (Spring/Summer 2013 ***a link to download a digital version of the presentation will be shared with the attendees post-Gathering.

June 15, 2012

Rio+20 Conference

Mona Kim is a creative director based in Paris. After a decade of working in fashion advertising, she is now involved in designing experiential spaces for museums and exhibitions, and brand environments that focus on the integration of words, images, public space, and technology. Most recently, she has designed 7 interactive installations that encourage participation from the citizens of the city of Rio during the Rio+20 Conference that begins next week.

MBF: What is the Rio+20 Conference and what does it hope to do?

Mona Kim: It's an international conference sponsored by the United Nations to promote dialogue, debate, and commitment to a green economy as a means to achieve sustainable development and eradicate poverty in the world. +50,000 people from 193 nations (including world leaders, and representatives from key sectors of civil society, local authorities, NGOs, scientific and technological community, trade unions) will gather to debate, dialogue, commit to, and promote new economy, sustainability, and equality for all. This is a great opportunity for the world, for the city, and for all, to engage in global dialogue to build the future we want in 20 years.

photo via Mona Kim

MBF: How does your project of 7-site specific installations tie in with the Rio +20 Conference? And what inspired you to come up with this idea?

MK: There are 7 key themes in the conference: Jobs, energy, cities, food, water, oceans, and disasters. The main events would be taking place in the RioCentro convention center which is located on the outskirts of Rio, so we wanted to bring the conference into the city, on a "street-level", so that these themes would be presented in a much more accessible manner for "the people." The idea of doing something for this event came from Fundação Getulio Vargas, whom, like many institutions or organizations, wanted to do something and contribute to this event. They are one of the most important foundations in Rio and the client of ORB who had invited me to collaborate on this project.

photo via Mona Kim

So what if a situation was created so that WE also WALK kilometers toward a destination, in order to understand and "feel" the global problem of water in the world, rather than being told? What if we had to pedal in order to generate light? What if we understand what one apple translates monetarily for a child in Africa?

In this line of intent, 7 site-specific installations that address 7 themes were conceived to encourage public participation and interaction in a sensitive and meaningful manner. But of course in the context of such "green"-focused event, it would be irresponsible to design and build blindly. Therefore, clever sustainable construction methods and materials were proposed by our collaborators RaichdelRio Estudi d'Arquitectura. Also, we tried to instill as much as possible, gestures such as using used water bottles to build one of the sphere, or using state-of-the-art LED lightbulbs used to light a sphere would be distributed to the citizens of Rio after de-installation, as a way to really put things into real action and to minimize or re-cycle materials used for fabrication.

photo via Mona Kim

The inspiration and the spirit behind each installation came out of 2 images which really drove it home for me. An image of a woman with a water barrel captures poignantly the simple fact that most of the world has to traverse kilometers by foot just to access drinking water. An image of the man in rural Rwanda generating light through pedal-power reminded me of things we take for granted in our daily life, such as…light to cook with, light to study in, light for playing, etc. We just switch on the light and pay our bills but it's not that easy for the majority of the world.

photo via Mona Kim

MBF: This is a major event for Rio. How is this affecting the city? 

MK: Well, I'm not there right now so I can't precise what is happening on the ground level, but what I do know is that everyone and the whole city is running around madly to mount everything on time. UN conference in 2012, World Cup in 2014 World Cup, Olympics in 2016… the city is going through major revitalization to usher in these international bi-annual events. These events will position Rio and Brazil at the forefront of global presence.

photo via Mona Kim

MBF: So what will life be like in the "future"?

MK: To name a few, it is projected, that in 2062,
 --The average temperature of the planet may be 2 ° C warmer than today.
--Sea level may rise half a meter.
--We will be around 10 billion people, majority of the population living in poor countries.
 --The elderly will be more numerous than children.
--40% of living species now existing on the planet may be at risk of extinction.
--The biological engineering will be able to create living organisms that nature would take millions of years to develop.
--70% of the population will be living in megalopolis formed by several cities, some with more than 50 million inhabitants.
--Perhaps most professions today no longer exists.
--The human brain will be able to directly control mechanisms built into the artificial body.
--A person can go to another planet, but the first travelers may not have time to return.
--Renewable energy and new patterns of consumption may decrease the risk of environmental and social disasters.
Content compiled by curatorial team of Museu do Amanhã for Fundação Roberto Marinho.*

These are the projections. However, any part of these projections can take a different turn, for better or for worse, depending on our actions of NOW.

photo via Mona Kim

MBF: How do you think we can better deal with our global problem of water?

MK: Education at an early age, change of habit on an individual level, bigger pressure on corporations and international businesses, a big push on social media through clever communication strategies, and a change in perspective on what is "clean" or "hygienic" especially in the American society.

photo via Mona Kim

MBF: What do you think needs to start changing in today's world to ensure a better future?

MK: Consume less, produce less, reproduce less. Simplify. Pare-down. Slow down.

June 7, 2012

Mobile Rules!

We can hardly keep up with all the latest, cutting edge innovations affecting and evolving the retail industry, specifically through mobile technology. Retailers in general are struggling with the widespread popularity of online platforms as well as learning to speed up to the fast paced nature of the industry. So how do we keep up? And more importantly, we've discussed showrooming before in our blog, Changing The Channel, but how can we drive traffic to brick and mortar operations and protect against the obstacles of this growing problem?

Overall, there are a few ways retailers can combat the rise of showrooming and the dangers it entails. Most importantly, merchandising is the signature advantage for in-store operations because both online platforms and mobile devices do not have the same capabilities when it comes to visual displays and communication. Not to mention by matching prices, endorsing coupons, and advertising via location, brick and mortar operations can begin to compete with consumers' inclinations to browse in-store and buy online. However, despite these tactics, showrooming will continue to challenge these physical shopping establishments as the digital world further progresses faster than they can catch up.


With "smart" technology taking over and social platforms making a major impact on the way we communicate, texting is another way retailers can tap into their customers through messaging in-store sales via "geofencing."  While many shoppers will shop in-store and purchase online primarily for the purpose of getting a better deal, with geo-fencing, retailers can target their customers in nearby proximities as they sign in via such apps as Foursquare to offer them coupons right to their phones. With everything about convenience, this method will surely drive more shoppers to buy now rather than later as they not only get a discounted price, but the product then and there versus ordering online (at generally the same price but with added shipping costs) and having to wait for it to be arrive.

However, are these new marketing efforts really helping stores as much as consumers? The outerwear company North Face, has been using geofencing since 2010 and not only targets customers near shops but around parks and ski resorts. In the two years North Face has been actively using this strategy, the company has only enrolled 8,000 users which isn't really that significant. In contrast, Kielh's has been experimenting with this strategy as well via its free standing stores and texting efforts and plans on eventually applying it to their kiosks located within department stores.

Google Inc. has begun to expand on its Google Offers sector by promoting daily deals based on location to consumers who access Google maps using their smart phones. Not to mention, PayPal just partnered with fifteen companies including Toys R Us, Barnes & Noble, and J.C. Penney to provide customers with the opportunity to pay via their cellphones. Overall, there is a major presence of mobile usage affecting the entire industry and companies will eventually need to learn the best way to tap into it as the challenge to directly reach one's customer and grab their attention becomes more and more complicated.

Looking at this new type of marketing which is commonly referred to as SoLoMo, Social Local Mobile Search, that requires customers to "check in," not only brings up the issue of privacy but yet again exposes consumers to a never ending overload of information. So who exactly is even using these geosocial apps? Research shows that only about 5% of people actually actively participate and 75% of these people are between the ages of 23 and 40. Analysts classify these shoppers as "the always addressable customer" due to the fact that they are connected to at least three devices, go online multiple times a day, and from multiple locations. This research only further solidifies the fact that companies need to heavily perfect their omni-channel retailing to continue to reach both Gen Y and eventually Z.

photo via TechCrunch

One of these said devices is of course the increasingly popular, iPad, which very few e-commerce retailers have begun to introduce and maximize on iPad optimized shopping experiences. However, just a few weeks ago, the iPad app, Shopmox, was released and offers digital catalog shopping for about 26 stores including the likes of Anthropologie, Gap, Banana Republic, Urban Outfitters, Old Navy, and Fossil. While the app specifically targets a primarily female audience, with many of the products featured falling into the categories of womenswear, maternity, and children's, it does reach out to the men's market and will eventually expand into home decor. In addition, Shopmox also offers a personalized experience as it creates a customizable boutique based on the stores you follow with recommendations and curated products.

video via springwise

Looking over to Seoul, Korean Emart (think Korea's take on Walmart) has placed 3D QR code sculptures throughout the city which can be scanned and used between the hours of noon and one each day based on the sunlight and shadows between that hour. With this code, consumers are directed to the promotion's homepage called "Sunny Sale" where they can purchase via their smart phone and have merchandise shipped directly to their front door. This is an innovative approach to how retailers can drive sales during specific times as well as increase the overall traffic on their sites.

photo via mediapost.com

What are some companies here in the U.S. doing? Well, Bloomingdale's for instance has launched a Big Brown Bag app for its smart phone users that basically gives them inside scoop on sales, in-store events, shopping, customer reviews, and even the ability to pay their bill online. Meanwhile, Macy's in conjunction with its "Brasil: A Magical Journey" promotion, will allow shoppers to throughly experience the journey while in-store through QR codes that take them on a trip to everywhere from the Amazon to Carnival to a soccer game to even encountering a toucan. As both department store legends continue to focus on the importance of incorporating omni-channel retailing into their strategies, specifically relative to mobile technology, they will only begin to tap into an entire new future that will put them at the forefront of the retail industry.

As you can see from simply looking around as well as through your own personal experiences, it's all about "smart" technology whether it be an Iphone, Ipad, or Android. These miniature devices can do so much, with so much more attainable each day. While the retail sector is only beginning to experiment with its capabilities, the industry is starting to realize the importance of omni-channel retailing by placing a greater emphasis on these mobile devices. QR codes, SoLoMo including geofencing, online digital catalogs, and paying via smart phones are only the beginning. So today we ask, how much smarter can our mobile devices get? 
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MBF Trend Talk by MBF Trend Consulting is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at mbf-trendtalk.blogspot.com.