March 27, 2014

A New Era

Every day we hear about experimental leaps in technology and how it is revolutionizing the ideals of the retail sector. With so many new developments and changes, what can we expect to actually stick around to transform us from the present to the future? 

photo via CNBC

We first introduced the idea of Bitcoin about a year ago and now that successful retailers like accept this electronic payment others are beginning to incorporate it into their changing business strategies. Hudson's Bay Co. which operates Hudson's Bay, Saks and Lord & Taylor department stores has launched a new shopping app Pounce that utilizes the digital currency so customers can directly shop and purchase from the retailer's catalog on their mobile phones. 

video via

Speaking of department stores, the infamous Nordstrom has launched a new initiative called the Fashion Project which is an online donation experience that takes lightly worn designer clothing and does two great things: donates to a charity of your choice and as long as 5 pieces meet the requirements, the donator receives a $40 gift card. This is just one example of the growing demand for "re-commerce" which all has to do with the current state of the economy and a desire for unique clothing with a bit of a story. 

Leading e-commerce giant Amazon is making another unprecedented move via an online storefront of 3D printed products. By partnering with the startup 3DLT, Amazon is now the first major retailer to actually capitalize on 3D printed designs like quirky jewelry, plastic toys, iPhone cases and belt buckles. Besides making profits and trying to take over the world, what is Amazon really masterminding? Well maybe one day they won't need warehouses because they'll be selling 3D files that consumers can purchase and print at home, ultimately creating a just-in-time retail experience aka one day we'll be able to order anything we want, exactly as we want it.

photo via WWD

In other exciting news, there are a load of store openings to look forward to like H&M's Cos in both SoHo and Beverley Hills, the first ever Nasty Gal store, and the launch of Cross Company's new ethically minded mega-chain that will all be hitting the US market soon.

And things don't stop here. With fashion photographers becoming brands, models acquiring PH.Ds, and even something called Fashion 2.0 Awards for best social media achievements and top innovators, what else does the foreseeable future hold? Well for one, we are spending way more time shopping on the web and this alone will shape a new era of retail. 

March 20, 2014

It's Only Up From Here

While the rest of the world is still trying to figure out how to balance the online and offline worlds, e-commerce is making significant strides in India as the fastest growing segment industry-wide. With the help of new reforms allowing foreign retailers to enter India's market, we will see a major push for new international brands making headway into Asia's third largest economy.

photo via TechCrunch

E-tailers like Flipkart have recently hit $1 billion in gross merchandise value making it not only way ahead of its target date but the largest retailer of mobile phones. While they specialize in the likes of everything from consumer electronics to books, clothing, and apparel, their success has sparked the possible emergence into furniture later this year. Not to mention, Flipkart will also begin delivering packages for its competitors via its eKart Logistics services which is much like what Amazon has done in the US.

Despite, India's fashion industry is among the fastest growing sector with an expected growth from $60 to $100 million over the next four years making it a hot destination for many new companies to open up shop. Brands like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart all have their eye on India's online marketplace. Since they had to put their brick and mortar store expansion on hold, Walmart has specific plans to launch a model much like that of Amazon and eBay with a direct online to consumer approach instead.

photo via live mint

Not to mention UK fashion based brands, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridges are about to make their debut via the online retailer

Both Swedish power players H&M and Ikea are looking to break out into the Indian market as well but by taking a more traditional method via opening physical stores. While this route is much more challenging, once their applications are approved and given the nod by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board, we're betting they won't waste much time moving in.

Samsung's huge presence in India has led to Apple's plans to open up small, neighborhood shops via their distributors Redington and Ingram Micro in areas where there is high disposable income. By reintroducing the iPhone 4, Apple hopes to gain market share by offering a phone that costs much less than the current models available from its competitors Samsung and Sony. While they may be a bit late to the game, better late than never.

Whether it be fashion, furniture, or smartphones, India's e-commerce is booming allowing for new leaders to take precedence. While Flipkart is making some serious moves as well as the expansion of new international brands, it is causing other Indian e-tailers like to launch new initiatives, like the first exclusive online wholesale site. Rather than making huge investments via brick and mortar stores, many are taking an online approach as a means to test out the market and experiment with new concepts. 

March 13, 2014

The Perfect Match

Technology is finally getting a major style upgrade. While we've been watching the evolution of wearable technology for a while now, it has yet to really make a fashionable statement. However, now we can not only create the impossible but wear it too. Functionality may be key, but if it can look good in the process then what's there to lose?

photo via NY Post

Imagine 3D printed press on nails, a bag you can never misplace, or a sweater that lights up depending on your mood. Well guess what? It's all possible. There is even a new jewelry line that detects sign language and a ring that brings the gestures of a magic wand to life.

photo via NY Times

We've consistently been seeing the evolution of advanced fabrications and smart clothing grace the runway more and more each season. At the most recent Paris collections, Iris van Herpen was the latest designer to experiment by mixing "the artisanal and the technical." Her collection deemed "biopiracy," explored the theme of "owning something you don't" and blended silks with tiny threads of plastic.

video via NBC News

Francesca Rosella of CuteCircuit took an entirely different approach this Fashion Week by giving her models the power to customize their outfits via an iPod. These garments did everything from shimmer to change color and even play videos through the use of micro-LED lights and camouflaging batteries as buttons or clasps.

photo via NY Times

Trackable wristbands are about to be a thing of the past. Tory Burch has teamed up with Fitbit to create a tracker disguised in well-designed pendants. There's also the Shine, an aluminum disc designed by Misfit Wearables that comes with optional necklace and leather band. Surprisingly enough, the wrist isn't exactly the best place to be collecting data since we tend to move it in unpredictable ways so keep an eye out as a new crop of wearable tracking devices emerge in some unexpected places.

photo via Business Insider

Kenneth Cole is one of the first companies to thoroughly incorporate Google Glass into its marketing campaigns. This new initiative invites men to document gentlemanly deeds they perform each day via an app and Google's cutting edge eyewear. Through an omni-channel approach, the 30 year old label is promoting its new men's fragrance across multiple platforms and appealing to a select group of fashion's most innovative.

3D printing and technical fabrics may be the future of technology infused fashion, but this is just the beginning. With the help of bluetooth developments, new fabric innovations, and of course, style worthy developments, we are about to reach a new era where we won't have one without the other. It's looking like fashion and technology just may be the perfect match.

March 6, 2014

MBF Profiles: Danielle Meder

We first mentioned Danielle Meder two weeks ago during our Fashion Week Roundup and were so impressed by her visionary illustrations that we had to know more. With fashion week just over yesterday, we thought it'd be the perfect time to catch up with the famed live sketch artist and find out how she got in the business and what medium she plans on working with next.

photo via Danielle Meder

MBF Trend Consulting: Please tell us a bit about your background. How did you become an illustrator and specialist in designing paper dolls?

Danielle Meder: I was homeschooled when I was a kid so I had a lot of time on my hands. We grew up in a log home near a very small town, and my first contact with the idea of fashion was through history books I got at the library. I started drawing paper dolls inspired by the history of costume when I was just a kid. When it came time for me to attend university, I chose an applied program in fashion design so I would be able to learn the technical aspects of pattern drafting and sewing.

MBF: You are calling yourself a Trend Theorist. What are the thoughts behind being a Trend Theorist?

DM: I’ve been fashion blogging for quite a while, writing about ideas and sharing my drawings. However, once fashion blogging became a trendy thing around 2008, I found that the assumptions people made about being a “fashion blogger” no longer accurately reflected what I was doing. So I invented a new title for myself, and that is “trend theorist." It’s not totally clear what a “trend theorist” is, which means I get to define it for myself.

photo via Danielle Meder

MBF: You have covered quite a few amazing designers at the NY RTW Fall 2014 shows – which ones where the most exciting? How did you get invited to the shows? Had you done previous work with the designers or someone on their team?

DM: Thank you! This season I was most excited to sketch Son Jung Wan, Yigal Azrouel and Skingraft. I was given access to these events by sending a request to the designers’ PR contacts a few weeks before.

MBF: When did you start sketching at live events? How has it changed/evolved over the last couple of years?

DM: I’ve been sketching at runway shows since 2006. It used to be very rare to see people sketching at the shows – but in 2013 there was a very identifiable uptick of artists at fashion shows – from young students to more venerable illustrators like Bil Donovan.

MBF: When sketching fast passing models how do you capture the essence of the look in seconds? Also how do you quickly determine whether to use the Ipad Paper app or watercolor?

DM: I decide on what medium I am using before the show starts. Once I am sketching while the show is on, I don’t have time to think too much about anything – live runway sketching at its best is spontaneous and intuitive.

photo via Danielle Meder

MBF: You have worked with a variety of clients – what project enticed you the most?

DM: My two favourite projects were collaborating with FiftyThree on live sketching New York Fashion Week on the iPad for Women’s Wear Daily, and a series of magnetic paper dolls I produced for The Cut.

MBF: In your opinion, why is live sketching becoming an emerging trend? Was it ever this popular before?

DM: I think the current trend for live sketching is a reaction to the ubiquity of photography. People are interested in alternate ways of recording events that have a more human touch.

MBF: What are the biggest challenges you encounter when working with clients and how do you overcome them to take your career forward?

DM: Certainly the challenge that I’m most concerned with is avoiding running with packs of other young people doing the same thing I’m doing. Being independent is both a curse and a blessing; I have absolute freedom within the confines of my circumstances. Transcending my station in life using whatever limited resources I have available is the locked door I am picking at, every single day.

photo via Danielle Meder

MBF: What does the future hold for you? What is your favorite medium now and what do you see as the next medium you might use?

DM: I am more interested in content than medium – so fashion itself interests me far more than illustration as a practice or whatever pencils and paper I happen to be using. I see my future expanding beyond illustration, as I’m becoming more interested in returning to my training as a designer and working with physical materials.

MBF: Who are the people that inspire you most? Do you follow other illustrators or blogs to get ideas?

DM: I avoid following other illustrators as it’s very important for illustrators to be different from one another – I don’t need the existential angst of comparing my career to others, and I don’t want to risk having my style unintentionally influenced by other illustrators. As such, I tend to study the work of dead illustrators more closely (especially Joe Eula and Kenneth Paul Block) and keep glancing sideways to maintain an awareness of the careers of my peers.

I am very inspired by writers, and I have a lot of friends who are writers. I find a certain kinship with the way that they think and work. Whenever I talk with my friends who are writers, I walk away with a million ideas.

photo via Danielle Meder

MBF: Our MBF Profiles ends with a questionnaire that follows in the footsteps of Proust's Questionnaire and American TV show host James Lipton's "10 Questions."

MBF: Your favorite swear word?

DM: “Fuck.”

MBF: Your least favorite word?

DM: “Should.”

MBF: Your favorite word?

DM: “Freedom.”

MBF: What turns you on?

DM: Blue collars.

MBF: And of course, what turns you off?

DM: Academics.

MBF: What sound do you love?

DM: Industrial steam irons.

MBF: If you could pick any profession – what might you be?

DM: My own. But if I had to choose another, I think I’d like to work in a greenhouse. I like tending to plants and I enjoy warm places.

MBF: If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?

DM: Paris…missing another PFW at the moment.

MBF: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

DM: “…”
Creative Commons License
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