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Sustainable Lifestyle: green is the new black

Sustainable Lifestyle: green is the new black

Sustainable Lifestyle: green is the new black

International markets value and perceive the importance of lifestyle brands being sustainable, ethical, and transparent differently. Scandinavia in particular is well-known and praised for standing at the forefront of sustainable development. Ranging from fashion weeks in Copenhagen and Stockholm aiming to be fully sustainable, to fashion brands having high sustainable standards, it is now challenging to find a Scandinavian fashion brand that does not use sustainable materials or openly shares its production processes. 

Two models which work exceptionally well for fashion and lifestyle brands are circular and slow. We have gathered exclusive insights from 3 Scandinavian-based sustainable fashion brands to find out more about these models and how to implement them.

Circular fashion

There are multiple ways in which brands can now engage in a circular fashion, the most common way that sustainable brands use is to facilitate the recycling opportunities of a product. It’s essential that brands guide consumers on how to recycle their products by the end of use. It is also worth noting, that circular fashion is not only about the use of sustainable and re-purposed materials, but also includes pre-owned selling and buying which has been rising in popularity.

Vintage fashion is no longer described as outdated, but has become sought after and recently expanded 21 times faster than conventional apparel model commerce since 2019. Pre-owned fashion brings fashion one step closer to being circular and is the most obvious way of extending the lifetime of a product.

The concept of circular fashion is fast-growing and is gaining much attention among sustainable fashion brands, as the fashion industry is facing pressure from a new generation of consumers who demand more sustainable options within fashion. In fact, the potential value of fashion’s circular economy is said to be at $5 trillion. Making circular fashion processes an attractive and promising alternative to fashion’s linear production model.

VOCAST spoke to two entrepreneurs who both founded circular fashion brands so you can learn more about what it means in the Scandinavian market:

Industry insight: The Vintage Bar & reWear it

Marie Louise Schultz | Founder at The Vintage Bar

At the end of 2017, Marie Louise Schultz started The Vintage Bar with a clear mission, she wanted to inspire people and make them inspire others by showing that secondhand can be as cool as new: “I hope to inspire people to sustainably participate in fashion by selling and buying secondhand. I knew I wanted to start something myself, and I was aware of the impact of the fashion industry on our planet, so it was also important for me to support conscious behavior.”

Yasmin Matos | CEO & Founder at reWear it

Yasmin Matos is the CEO & Founder of reWear it, Denmark’s fashion rental mobile app. Yasmin is Brazilian and moved to Denmark to launch her startup. The app was launched in the market last July: “Our platform was built for women who love fashion but also want to reduce consumption, giving them access to brands they desire at a lower cost. They can make an extra income lending their unworn items, and get to wear new clothing with more frequency, fulfilling the desire for fashion.”

 

In your opinion, what are some common perceptions consumers have about circular fashion and brands that market themselves to be sustainable?

Marie Louise: As we come out of the COVID-19 crisis, consumers are looking for even more purpose from brands than before. They are expecting brands to be authentic to who they are and to offer products with value. Furthermore, consumers are having higher expectations of brands when it comes to their sustainability goals, and also when it comes to the fashion life cycle, such as overproduction and overconsumption.

Yasmin: I believe that many consumers understand how important it is that fashion brands take sustainable initiatives but also that only “initiatives” are not enough. Fashion circularity is not a concept fully understood by many, but most of them are aware of the necessary actions. The problem is so big and the whole industry needs to change, but consumers are also changing by themselves as the industry is not really doing enough; choosing to buy less, going for second-hand shopping, upcycling, renting, and so on. I believe consumers will definitely appreciate seeing brands changing and taking major steps towards circular fashion and sustainability, but being very honest and transparent about the impact they still may cause.

What kind of role do you think that the Scandinavian lifestyle industry is playing in the global conversation about sustainability?

Marie Louise: Being the home of some of the most sustainable brands, Scandinavia is playing a major role in the global conversation about sustainability by showing forward-looking and innovative business models. Globally, the lifestyle industry is of course doing things to reduce the enrivonmnetal impact of fashion, but Scandinavia is without any doubt speeding up the industry’s transition in a more sustainble direction. With events like the Global Fashion Agenda (Copenhagen Fashion Summit), the Scandinavian lifestyle industry is guiding the global industry to take action by introducing more conscious and innovative approaches. These event gather an important list of stakeholder to spread the word.

Yasmin: I chose to found a sustainable fashion-tech startup in Denmark specifically because of the role Scandinavia is playing when the talk is on green solutions. Scandinavian lifestyle is all about being part of a community, making life simple, practical and meaningful, and these are essential values when considering changing our habits drastically to help the environment. The whole world is watching what we are doing here, to see how it goes, how it works, and I do think that Scandinavian companies are working to lead the actions.

Have you noticed any trends in circular and sustainable fashion brands when it comes to marketing?

Marie Louise: More than anything else the tone of voice has changed to a sustainability narrative that is attractive to the specific target audience.

Yasmin: The most recent campaign by Levi’s in the Nordics has the same saying as reWear it’s pitch deck (“Global clothing consumption has doubled in the last 15 years. We can change that.”), so I believe that mentioning a green solution in the same package of a new pair of jeans or a nice dress, is definitely a marketing trend nowadays. Many brands are using and will use that but as said before, the consumer is getting every day more aware of the problem. I believe that it’s also a trend that we will have tools to measure which brands are really making real efforts before buying them and which solutions really work.

Slow fashion: a discussion with Buena Onda 

The second model that fashion and lifestyle brands can implement to be truly sustainable is the slow fashion model. A slow fashion model follows the opposite principles of fast fashion meaning that collections are fewer, pieces are more specific and waste is rarer. Slow fashion brands tend to follow the idea that creativity and authenticity to the artistry, production, durability, and wearability are worthy of as much time as it takes to get the product right for the consumer.

Designers are given as much space as they need to create their art, tailors are given proper time to construct the products in a safe and ethical environment. This model easily leans into ecological sustainability because products are designed in such a way that will naturally produce less waste – in essence, they are created for honest direct demand rather than inauthentically driving sales.

 

Farah Raghed | Buena Onda Founder & Creative Director

Buena Onda is a summer lifestyle brand that releases only three items every summer. Founder & Creative director Farah Raghed sat down with VOCAST to discuss some of her insights as a brand builder and consultant on what slow fashion really means and how the industry can learn from a slow business model:

What are some common perceptions brands have about what slow fashion means, and what advice can you give to those wanting to implement a slow fashion model?

Farah: Before I got into this space, some brands released six to eight or even up to 36 collections a year if not more – and when I used to read about slow fashion in the media, it usually highlighted the quality, craftsmanship and storytelling. So when the idea for Buena Onda came, it was to step away from everything I’ve known to do things my way –  I went slow because I saw the industry in front of me going really fast and that model not really working.

 

Creative directors can’t be creative at the snap of a finger, human creativity just doesn’t work like that. So we also started to see that sustainability elements and positive impact elements were becoming a part of the more simplistic model by default.

 

“The principle about starting a slow brand is putting you back in the equation.”

Would you also say that it’s not just about ecological sustainability but also humanitarian sustainability – people’s working and living balance for example?

Farah: Yes, it’s a holistic approach, we follow a full circle model meaning we radiate positive impact at every level of operation. So when you’re good, your business is good, nature is good and when you’re good to people nature and yourself your soul is good.

This holistic approach to brand building gives people the space to be human and give them time in what they are pursuing. It’s a mindset shift to go into this slow pace. What you see in the industry and on social media can make you feel like you’re out of the loop but you take the decision to be out of that loop.

So would you advise consciously removing yourself from the societal exceptions?

Farah: Yes, and I work with a lot of founders and co-founders consulting them on their brand building and the beautiful thing when they do slow down is that their engagement numbers go up, why? Because their quality is going up. So I would really advise those wanting to be a slow brand is find where their bliss is, how can they work in a way that suits their lifestyle, their mindset. So design a brand in a way that suits you and makes you feel blissful more often than not.

What kind of role do you think that the Scandinavian lifestyle industry is playing in the global conversation about sustainability?

Farah: Well, Scandinavia has some good PR across the globe about an area that is very conscious sustainably – it has a good reputation. In the space of fashion, having come to Copenhagen to consult for some major fashion brands here, I think that a lot of brands are still following a fast fashion model. So I believe that there is still a long way to go in terms of changing the mindset of the businesses in the fashion space, but I think that the majority of them are taking big strides towards that which is pretty incredible. I believe that they have the right intention around it but for any company running for X amount of years, it takes time to shift and change.

 

It really is about a mindset shift and it would be absolutely amazing to see more Scandinavian brands take that route and think smaller. I will say though that Scandinavia is having a great global conversation especially with the launch of Vogue Scandinavia with a perspective no Vogue has had before. But in general,

 

“we’re coming to a point now when consumers aren’t having it any other way and brands will be driven by consumer demand and it’s a beautiful thing.”

Have you noticed any trends in slow and sustainable fashion brands when it comes to marketing?

Farah: Sustainability isn’t just about the materials we use and the packaging we use, yes it’s intertwined into that but for us, we follow a path of true sustainability so that means the essence of how we do things is sustainable. Our marketing is very human-centred – we don’t say B2B or B2C it’s human to human for us. We don’t bombard our community pushing them to buy products from us, we tell stories, share chill summer destinations and share blissful imagery. We post our campaign and when our consumers wear them we repost them and people see them around.

 

“From a communications standpoint, our sustainability message is what we are – our brand speaks for its self: its three items every summer and every collection connects to the next over the years.”

Greenwashing: the do’s and don’ts of sustainability marketing

With the relevance of sustainability in lifestyle marketing, it is essential to use it as a valuable aspect and not turn into what could potentially be considered as “green washing”. Greenwashing can be defined as when a company uses false claims to suggest its eco-responsibility, making it challenging for consumers to have a clear overview of how sustainable a brand is. It is for that reason that a brand’s sustainability claims should be humble and specific, sustainability is a journey and there is always work to do before reaching a point that fully satisfies consumers.

There are various ways in which brands can reach a stage of transparency through honest marketing strategies, while also avoiding any reference that could possibly be considered as greenwashing:

Use numbers instead of words

Avoid using words such as “eco-friendly” and “sustainable” without presenting any numbers. Consumers find numbers more meaningful. Present the sustainable goals of your brand through science and data. If your products are made of recycled material, be clear about what percentage of your products are made of recycled materials.

Be transparent!

Provide detailed information and tracking about supply chains. Trace the source of where the materials come from, customers like to know from where their clothes come. This also includes transparency about your company’s carbon emissions water consumption and waste production. Share honest information about the work conditions in which the manufacturers work, consumers value good work ethics.

Offer visual engagement

Consumers enjoy being informed on what a company does and how it contributes to sustainability. A relevant way to offer informative sources is through pictures and videos, demonstrating what causes a company to stand behind, while also informing and encouraging the audience to get involved.

Sustainability goes beyond green

As a company, go beyond caring for the environment. Diversity and inclusion are huge assets when ensuring sustainability. Acknowledge and be transparent about diversity and gender equality within the company. Diversity, gender equality, and work ethics are of growing relevance, and consumers appreciate knowing that they are purchasing products from a brand that supports equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Facts & figures:

  1. 57% of consumers are willing to change their purchasing habits to help reduce negative environmental impact.
  2. 71% of consumers indicate that transparency is important and they are willing to pay more for brands that provide that.
  3. 46% of consumers are value-driven in the clothing and footwear industry, while 35% are purpose-driven.
  4. 45% of consumers look for brands that are sustainable and/or environmentally responsible.
  5. 72% of consumers are willing to pay more for brands that are sustainable and/or environmentally responsible.

Sustainability across 10 markets

DENMARK 🇩🇰

What kind of magazines, influencers, media can we find on the Danish list?

This curated list includes sustainability influencers, online platforms, and sustainability advocates. Many of the influencers included in the list are incorporating sustainability in their everyday life, their platforms aren’t solely focusing on sustainability – but they are focused on living a sustainable lifestyle and inspiring others to do the same. The common belief among the contacts of this list is; that even the small things matter in creating a sustainable future. 

How do these contacts reflect the current view on sustainability in Denmark?

Sustainability has become an integrated part of Danish society and is somehow almost expected amongst brands and large corporations to be incorporated. This change in society is a reflection of a rising interest in sustainability among Danes. Many contacts in the list are into re-using, and how to be more sustainable simply by being more aware of your consumption and re-using what you already have; Signe Hansen and Ann P. are both advocates of re-using. 

Sarah Friis – Danish Lifestyle Researcher 

SWEDEN 🇸🇪

What kind of magazines, influencers, media can we find on the Swedish list?

This curated list is a mix of influencers, editors, online platforms, and other creatives advocating for a sustainable lifestyle. Some are opinion leaders traveling around Sweden giving lectures like Johanna Leymann, while others simply want to inspire people with their choice of consumption and through the brands they’re interacting with like, Signe Siemsen. 

How do these contacts reflect the current view on sustainability in Denmark?

Most influencers and editors on the Swedish market are interested in sustainability and make sustainable choices from time to time. But they don’t live a sustainable lifestyle. The contacts on this curated list want to inspire others and make a difference, either through their social media profile or in their profession. They don’t brand themselves as sustainable, even though they have the aesthetic, but educates their audience through their content. The slow-living lifestyle that is so prominent on the Swedish market is dominant on this list.

Josefine Forslund – Swedish Market Coordinator 

NORWAY 🇳🇴

What kind of magazines, influencers, media can we find on the Norwegian list?

The sustainable lifestyle Norway list comprises a variety of different contacts. The selected contacts present various approaches to sustainability, including influencers that promote more mindful consumption and sustainable brands, magazine editors that put sustainability on the agenda, to entrepreneurs of more eco-friendly lifestyle businesses. This illustrates how sustainability is present across numerous lifestyle practices and businesses.

How do these contacts reflect the current view on sustainability in Norway?

Norway has implemented sustainable approaches and business processes from early on and has thus earned a reputation as an environmental nation. In recent years, there has been an increased focus on environmental concerns, especially among the younger population. This is also seen among influencers and editors. While there are few influencers that fully devote their brand and content to sustainability, they do to a larger extent than before strive to make sustainable choices. These contacts can effectively spread the message of more environmental consumption.

Sara Linvåg Næss – Norwegian Market Coordinator 

GERMANY 🇩🇪

What kind of magazines, influencers, media can we find on the German list?

This curated list summarizes the most relevant German contacts when it comes to the topic of sustainability. Here you can find influencers, magazines, podcasters, editors, blogazines, and freelance journalists, of which all have one thing in common. This is, having a conscious lifestyle at heart and writing essentially about what inspired them.

From relevant online magazines such as „Viertel Vor“ & „Fashion Changers“ to elevating personalities such as Kim Gerlach and Annemarie Bernhard, this list has united all advocates for responsible living. 

How do these contacts reflect the current view on sustainability in Germany?

The topics of sustainability and conscious living have received a lot of attention in recent years. Climate change and our natural habitat dissolving have convinced many Germans to change their views and look out for sources that promote a lifestyle that encourages dealing with resources more responsibly. Political uprising underpins this movement, with green parties and entities all over the country gaining popularity. Editors, Magazines, and Influencers are interested in sustainability and the incorporation thereof in their content in one way or another. A mindful way of life that focuses on the „right“ choices characterizes this list. 

Kevin Pretzel – German Market Coordinator 

FRANCE 🇫🇷

What kind of magazines, influencers, media can we find on the French list?

The sustainable lifestyle list for the French market consists of some of the most prominent sustainable influencers. Covering topics such as sustainable fashion, tips to living a zero-waste lifestyle as well as inclusivity and body positivity. The list also consists of various media such as podcasts about sustainable fashion and online publications that focus on sustainable lifestyles and brands.

How do these contacts reflect the current view on sustainability in France?

Most of the contacts within the french sustainable lifestyle list are passionate about sustainability and want to encourage their followers to have a sustainable lifestyle as well. The other contacts are interested in specific aspects of sustainability, such as nutrition and interior, and are rather seeking to inspire their audience. Lastly, many influencers, editors and magazines, in the French market, do not only consider “being sustainable” as only caring for the environment,  but also value inclusivity and diversity, and consider it as being as essential as sustainability.

Ema Laurenzana – French Lifestyle Researcher

ITALY 🇮🇹

What kind of magazines, influencers, media can we find on the Italian list?

The lists include the main contacts when talking about sustainability and the environment in Italy. From sustainable fashion to healthy food and lifestyle tips in general. Along with influencers and sustainable editors for the main magazines, the list includes magazines such as DailyGreen (which covers all topics concerning the environment, green economy, and lifestyle), Solo Moda Sostenibile (about sustainable fashion), and so on. 

How do these contacts reflect the current view on sustainability in Italy?

Italy is getting there when it comes to being sustainable, many influencers promote a healthy lifestyle and more people are becoming involved in second-hand buying or recycling of products and materials. I think the list matches the overall interest that Italy has towards become more sustainable. However, the country is still in the early stages of the process.

Federica Manzi – Italian Lifestyle Researcher

THE NETHERLANDS 🇳🇱

What kind of magazines, influencers, media can we find on the Dutch list?

The Dutch sustainable lifestyle list consists of influencers covering subjects such as sustainable fashion, plant-based food, and also sustainable home interior. The list also includes various media focusing on sustainability, such as online publications and podcasts. Lastly, there are also contacts within the list who do not specifically define themselves as “eco-friendly” but rather cover subjects such as inclusivity and self-love.

How do these contacts reflect the current view on sustainability in The Netherlands?

Sustainability in the Netherlands is very important, and it is becoming inevitable to not find a media or an influencer that does not take a stance on sustainability. Most of the contacts within the list are really seeking to inspire people to make a change, whether it be in terms of consuming habits or nutrition. It is also important to note, that some of the contacts consider their lifestyles as being fully sustainable, making them particularly selective when it comes to working with brands.

BELGIUM 🇧🇪

What kind of magazines, influencers, media can we find on the Belgian list?

The curated list for the Belgian lifestyle market consists of influencers that stand for sustainable fashion, interior, nutrition, and also traveling. Furthermore, the list also includes magazines, editors as well as chefs, covering sustainability as their main focus.

How do these contacts reflect the current view on sustainability in Belgium?

Most of the contacts in the list are interested in sustainable fashion or interior but do not fully live a sustainable lifestyle, although they are still careful when selecting brands or products that they use or wear. While the magazines and chefs within the list, are seeking to inspire others to shop and cook sustainably.

THE UK 🇬🇧

What kind of magazines, influencers, media can we find on the UK list?

This curated list contains a mix of magazines and influencers all advocating for a sustainable lifestyle. The majority of the magazines are online publications and cover all areas of lifestyle such as fashion, home interior, beauty & wellness, food & gastronomy, family life, and even travel. The influencers in this list vary from boho-chic green living advocates to city-dwellers sharing their conscious life habits with their followers.

How do these contacts reflect the current view on sustainability in the UK?

Sustainability is not as ingrained into the British lifestyle as it is in Scandinavia, however, the eco-boom amongst influencers especially is on the rise and these are the leading creative contacts to get to know. Magazines targeted towards sustainability have usually been separated from other lifestyle magazines in the UK, but recently sustainability editors and segments in traditional lifestyle publications are becoming more common.

Georgina Juel – The UK Market Coordinator

THE US 🇺🇸

What kind of magazines, influencers, media can we find on the US list?

This list is made up of a mix of online platforms, magazines, influencers, and creatives dedicated to sustainability in most aspects of life. Many of the contacts are individual creators such as Simply Living Well who’s showcasing dedication to the suitability movement through home/living content while others like Mikaela Loach take on the role of activist and voice opinions regarding the movement bluntly often while showing off a great sustainable outfit at the same time.

How do these contacts reflect the current view on sustainability in the US?

Those interested in sustainability in the US like to make that clear, as they often, like these contacts subscribe to an idea of the movement that reaches beyond the individual commodity. Although the dedication to the movement in the US is quite the individual standpoint supporters of the movement represent a view of sustainability that is often versatile and involves slow-living/low-impact, social justice, and environmentalist aspects. They are advocates for living well through these practices and gladly brand themselves as such. They won’t hesitate to stress the need and urgency for a shift to a sustainable lifestyle approach to their audiences whether that’s by showcasing sustainable fashion options or advocating for policy change. 

Cerena Kulego – The US Lifestyle Researcher

Sustainability contacts

DENMARK

Signe Hansen – Signe is a well-known sustainable influencer focusing mainly on fashion, living in Denmark.

Reach: 84.1K

Instagram: @useless_dk

Website: https://www.uselesswardrobe.dk/blog/

SWEDEN

MAKE IT LAST – Make it last is a network of fashion creatives, with a focus on sustainability. Make it Last produces digital media content, consult brands and reach creative audiences.

Reach: 28K

Website: https://makeitlast.se

NORWAY

Celine Aagaard – is a veteran in the Norwegian media landscape, and has been the Editor-in-Chief of several leading magazines. Additionally, she has established herself as a fashion influencer, advocating more environmental, timeless clothing pieces, and as the founder of her own, sustainable clothing brand. She currently holds the position of Sustainability Expert at the newly launched Vogue Scandinavia.

Reach: 188K

Website: https://envelope1976.com/

GERMANY

Fashion Changers – is an online publication that creates content about sustainability in the fashion and beauty industry.

Reach: 27K

Website: https://fashionchangers.de

FRANCE

Rosa B – is a French influencer and YouTuber, based in Lille. Rosa makes content about vintage fashion and upcycling, she also often shares sustainable brands that she appreciates.

Reach: 82K

Website: https://rosabohneur.fr

ITALY

Doina – Is a Moldovian fashion influencer based in Milan, Italy. She cares deeply about the environment, sharing tips and sponsoring brands that are sustainable. She is the ambassador of “no more plastic” and she owns a jewelry line made of recycled materials. She has worked with many high-end and luxury brands, including Louis Vuitton. 

Reach: 802K

Website: http://doina.co/

THE NETHERLANDS

Bedrock Magazine – is the online magazine for a conscious and healthy lifestyle, the pillars are simple: mind, body, and a better world. 

Reach: 361K

Website: https://www.bedrock.nl

BELGIUM

Eline Reynders – is an online marketeer with a heart for sustainability and fair fashion based in Belgium.

Reach: 30K

Website: https://www.elinerey.be

THE UK

Flora Beverley  – Flora is a health and fitness blogger from the UK. Her blog focuses on beauty, food, travel, physical and mental health, and sustainability. With her blog and social media platforms, she aims to document her lifestyle in a way that inspires her follower to be more healthy in the body, the mind, and the planet.

Reach: 132K

Website: https://foodfitnessflora.blog/blog/

THE US

Jazmine Rogers (That Curly Top) – Through her colorful style and feed, Jazmine approaches sustainability from a specific angle: the intersection of sustainability and race. Shedding a light on the fashion industry, its exploitative working conditions in developing countries, and environmental inequities which are strongly intertwined.

Reach: 124K

Website: https://www.canva.com/design/ 

Georgina is the UK Market Coordinator at VOCAST, responsible for British fashion and lifestyle research. Along with her work at VOCAST and studies at Copenhagen Business School, she is passionate about conscious fashion reform in the industry.
Ema is the Lifestyle Researcher for the French market at VOCAST. She grew up in Brussels and previously worked with fashion PR. She is currently stuyding a master’s degree in international development and business and has a strong interest in sustainable and ethical pratices within the fashion industry.

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VOCAST has been curating lists for the UK Fashion and Home Interior sectors for some time now, and now we want to share with you the true potential of the British lifestyle scene and how you can unlock this vast market.

Brits are known for their varying array of accents, priding themselves on having good manners, and complaining about the bad British weather. They really love tradition, but when it comes to fashion and interior it’s more fun with a twist. This is one of the reasons why the “Scandi Chic” trend has boomed in the UK recently – Scandinavian lifestyle brands know exactly how to balance familiar and minimal, yet bold and daring design, which Brits love!

Find a recap of important things to know about the market. Here is why and how you should go about conquering the UK Lifestyle Market:

Tradition is in our DNA

The UK’s full name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and it’s made up of four different nations: England, Scotland, Wales, and NI. We all refer to ourselves as Brits – but also as English, Scottish, Welsh, or Northern Irish depending on which nation we come from and there is an important difference between the four. For example, even though they’re both British, you should never call a Scott English!

Brits are by nature very traditional – we do things a certain way and it can take a minute for us to get our heads around changing those ways if we’re comfortable with them. Brits are aware of their access to a big international market due to the nature of English as a language. It’s a blessing and curse that our native language is the most widely spoken in the world because it means that, despite the large markets we opperate in, we’re not used to adapting culturally. On one hand, we have some of the biggest lifestyle publishers in the industry who are genuinely able to reach across the whole globe without translating their work. However, it can make us appear closed-minded and often unaware of how traditional our values are because we have little ability to access the international lifestyle industry unless it’s been translated.

There’s power in diversity

London is most defiantly the fashion capital of the UK, and you will often hear Londoners’ pride in the diversity and international makeup of the city. Though there is arguably a very classic and traditional British style (think Burberry and Vogue pre-Edward Enninful…) one of the most exciting things about the British lifestyle industry is its internationality and multiculturalism. There are designers and journalists from all over the world who come to the UK, especially to London, to study in English-speaking universities and now these people play major roles in the UK’s lifestyle industry. Brits love international fashion and interior design – a lot! Brits will joke about having Italian shoes, German kitchens, French beauty products, and Scandinavian dining chairs that they’ve gone and bought in American-style malls. We are an island out on our own, somewhere culturally between Europe and the US. We love to merge internationally diverse designs into our lives to be more like our “neighbors”.

“Manners Maketh Man”

The lifestyle industry in the UK is vast and it ranges between various styles and budgets. But, what matters to Brits when engaging with design and lifestyle is experiences, impressions, and personality. When we shop, we’re preconditioned to notice and remember how polite and funny the brands’ employees were – which is just as important to some Brits as the design of the products themselves. The same goes for media and journalism. We want to buy things that are being promoted by models and influencers who we think “are actually probably really nice in real life” than from an ad that feels like a brand is talking at us with no personality. Hence, good manners and a quick sense of humor are really important traits that the UK press looks for in people they work with, from brands to influencers.

 

Get acquainted with the UK’s media landscape

Included in VOCAST’s UK curated lists

 

Media moguls

Due to the nature of the English language, working with the British press and UK native influencers will not only give your brand access to a British audience but a global one. 

Alicia Roddy is one of the Uk’s biggest Fashion Influencers with over 1 Million followers on Instagram, followed by Hannah Desai, Lydia Millen, and Victoria Magrath, all of whom can be found in our Top 10 Fashion Advocates list, with consent, ready to be contacted. These prominent, globally known influencers only make up four of the many relevant influencers. With brands working with different aesthetics, brand values, and products, there are countless micro as well as macro-influencers.

Alicia Roddy

Alicia Roddy is one of the UK’s most prominent fashion influencers sharing fashion, beauty, and travel-related content on her social media channels. 

Hannah Desai

Hannah is a London-based fashion blogger, with her large following and respected presence, she is one of the most important British fashion influencers.

Lydia Millen

Lydia Millen is the author of a fashion and lifestyle blog and in 2016 she went blog to vlog, launching her Youtube channel with videos focusing on high fashion, beauty, travel, and day-to-day life.

Victoria Magrath

An expert fashion and beauty ambassadorship with a global audience, Victoria is the lady behind the award-winning fashion, travel, and beauty blog Inthefrow.

 

Print and Online Publications

As the design capital of the UK, London the home of all the major publishing houses and magazine HQs’ in the UK. Discover a few of the many publications you have access to through the UK Curated Lists below!

British Vogue

Vouge really is the most famous British fashion publication. You can find other Condé Nast magazines with consent to contact such as House & Garden, LOVE, GQ, and Glamour in the UK curated lists.

Wallpaper*

Wallpaper* is a design and style magazine that pushes creative territories and covers everything from architecture to motoring, fashion to travel, interiors to jewelry.

i-D

i-D is dedicated to fashion, music, art, and youth culture, founded by designer and former Vogue art director Terry Jones in 1980.

 

Meet some of the editors

Sarah Harris

Sarah Harris is the deputy editor and fashion features director at British Vogue. She reports on current affairs, women’s interests, and fashion.

 

Dylan Jones

Dylan Jones OBE is the Editor-in-Chief of British GQ, GQ Style, and GQ.com. He is also a Chairman of London Fashion Week Men’s, as well as a Hay Festival Trustee. 

 

Donna Wallace

Donna Wallace is the fashion and accessories editor at British Vogue and was previously accessories editor at Elle UK.

 

 

To get access to the UK curated lists of these Magazines, Influencers, Architects, Editors-in-chief, Editors, and more:

   

Georgina is the UK Market Coordinator at VOCAST, responsible for British fashion and lifestyle research. Along with her work at VOCAST and studies at Copenhagen Business School, she is passionate about conscious fashion reform in the industry. 

 

 

 

 

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Up & Coming Influencers: community curators & social shifters

Up & Coming Influencers: community curators & social shifters

Up & Coming Influencers: community curators & social shifters

Up and coming influencers, otherwise known as micro-influencers, are without a doubt one of the most exciting demographics on social media in the eyes of any lifestyle brand. Micro-influencers are usually defined by having a humble number of followers whilst having a very strong engagement and conversion on their SoMe platforms – meaning that they have a measurable level of trust with their audience. This niché group of influencers are golden to marketing strategies.

Community Curators

A community influencer, in the most literal sense, is an individual who impacts the lives, decisions, and habits of those in their close vicinity. When it comes to social media this vicinity may not have global bounds, but a community it is nonetheless and micro-influencers play a vital role in SoMe communities. Oftentimes, they are connected in real life to other micro-influencers in their city or industry, and together they have an immense impact on the livelihood of consumerism within the community that they are not only a part of and are helping to shape. 

Whether it be within fashion or home interior, brands can utilize this method of marketing to their advantage by targeting the exact group of consumers they want – be it a community of Copenhagen city-girls who are sustainable in their fashion purchases, or a global community of home interior lovers who are obsessed with pastel color pallets. The amazing thing about up and coming influencers in any given market is that they curate content for the community that they themselves are a part of. So they know who they’re talking to and how to get the job done when creating content with your brand!

Social Shifters

As influential community curators within the lifestyle industry, up and coming influencers also have the power to enact real social change. A micro-influencer is not just a marketing tool, they are a talented content creator who is great at what they do because they know how to connect with their audience from a place of trust and honesty – whilst telling visually beautiful stories of course! As Gen-Z gets older, and the purchasing power of this generation grows, the market will have to adapt to them. According to Forbes:

“today’s consumers, particularly younger demographics, are looking for brands who care about connecting with consumers through authentic, nontraditional representation.

It’s particularly critical for brands to make diversity a priority in their influencer outreach because of how influencer marketing works. Audiences are drawn to influencer marketing because of its relatability. Influencer marketing works best when it comes from a place of authenticity and audiences can relate to what’s being shared.” 

The pool of micro-influencers is more diverse in comparison compared to macro-influencers and that’s what’s so rich about them. By working with micro-influencers, brands can reach so many different consumer profiles. Society and its values are constantly changing, and studies show how younger consumers are not only more engaged in social media marketing, but the influencers that they tend to follow are more diverse and socially aware, as found in a study reported by Marketing Dive:​

 

  • Almost half (44%) of Generation Z has made a purchase decision based on a recommendation from a social influencer, compared with 26% of the general population.
  • 36% of influencer-following consumers saying they follow a more diverse group of influencers than they did before the protests against racial inequality started in the summer.
  • 65% of consumers saying they would stop following an influencer who says or does something that doesn’t align with their personal ethics and values.
  • 32% of respondents saying they had purchased more products/services from businesses that are endorsed by influencers from different racial and cultural backgrounds.

On The Rise

Up and coming influencers are, as the name suggests, always on the rise. This means that an influencer who is rising in the Danish home interior sector today may be a top advocate within the industry by next year. The interesting thing about these influencers is that by working with them now, as they are still classed as “micro”, your brand will have access to communities that have great engagement and conversation rates from SoMe marketing and who really trust the influencer you’ve partnered with.

Hence, linking your brand to that concept of authenticity in the eyes of these communities. Moreover, as they become “macro” influencers, your brand will be associated with a content creator who can grow from a position of consumer trust and social significance. You can read even more about the ins and outs of influencer marketing in our article Influencer Marketing: An ever-changing industry that is here to stay.

Industry Insight

We spoke to Alessandra Giffuni, The Founder of The Talent Lab, to hear her expert insight on what makes an up and coming influencer exciting for brands and why you should actively be working and co-creating with them.

Alessandra Giffuni is an entrepreneur based out of Milan. A creative at heart, she is passionate about marketing, education, and real-world experiences as a means of learning.

She was first introduced to the fashion industry while pursuing her Master’s Degree in Marketing in Milan, Italy, which eventually led her to co-found Global Fashion Travels, an educational travel experiences company that brings the New York and Milan fashion worlds to entrepreneurs and university students across different programs.

In 2020, she founded and currently leads The Talent Lab, a global influencer marketing agency that operates between Milan and Miami. The Talent Lab exclusively represents over 30 talented influencers and content creators across different markets and works with the world’s most renowned brands and conglomerates in influencer marketing campaigns.

In your opinion, what would you class as an up and coming influencer?

Within the Italian market specifically, I would say it’s between 20 to 60 thousand followers, in our agency we would define them as micro-influencers. We see a lot of them emerging more and more with really professional content, often the same level of content as the more macro talents we have.

There is also a big trend, especially, with talents that are considered part of a minority that has been underrepresented in the marketing industry, they are finally emerging on a larger scale, which means the overall population is recognizing them as part of mainstream culture. They tended to have smaller numbers in terms of followers and, right now, they have a big role so brands have shifted their attention to these types of profiles too to make a more diverse representation happen. With this, I’m talking more about Europe, in the US, although not perfect, it had already started. There is a focus on inclusivity and representing the diversity of a country in marketing initiatives which wasn’t really there before in the way it is now.

This is just one of a few reasons, though; micro-influencers tend to have a closer relationship to their community and their engagement is higher, so if a brand would like to reach really specific segments, for example, if they’re advertising locally, it makes sense if they’re working with a local talent that will reach the exact community that they want. Micro-influencers here (The Talent Lab) have a high engagement, close ties to their community, high conversion rates – these are the main characteristics. But yes, we see brands becoming more and more inclusive, so that’s really great and a good direction.

 

Do you think that this social activation towards diversity in marketing comes from brands’ initiatives driven by events we’re watching in the news, or rather brands looking to what competitors are doing?

Or, is it a natural trend being pushed on social media by young people following different types of profiles?

It’s all of the above. It’s something that was bound to happen and should have happened earlier in my opinion and I’m very happy to see that this is finally going on. Of course, every market in Europe is different and some markets were ahead of this social change already, for example, France. Here (Italy) it was a pretty big change.

From last year to this year, we saw a huge shift in attention, with Black Lives Matter playing an important role. I think what happened at the beginning of the pandemic really shifted the perception of people in general. Then, when the market demands something brands pay attention – and I think it’s a must that brands pay attention. Maybe some did it because they had to, it’s a learning curve for everyone, but some did it because they understood it and are genuine about it.

In general, though it was bound to happen and, as I said, it happened too late in my opinion. It is also definitely related to Gen-Z – they’re more activists than us millennials! They absolutely care about social change and it’s a very interesting generation. As generations get older and have more purchasing power brands will listen, and some US data shows that the highest conversion rate that social media can have is with Gen-Z.

 

So with this in mind, if we think about numbers and performance, how do you tell if a micro-influencer is up and coming and therefore worth watching out for?

If they grow really fast that’s a good indicator. Especially if we are talking about Instagram, because growing isn’t as easy as it was a few years ago. So, if a talent or content creator is growing a lot it’s a great indicator that they have a great engagement and they are creating content that has been found interesting enough that it’s allowing this growth. With YouTube it’s pretty steady, you don’t really go viral overnight, it’s pretty rare – unlike Tik Tok, where we currently can witness talents going viral overnight. 

 

Then would you say that there’s a correlation between the time taken to create content and the growth rates of influencers?

I don’t think necessarily. Certainly, a good portion of really good content may take a long time to develop. For example, Tik Tok can take a very long time to record, especially if it requires a lot of transitions because then it becomes a whole process. It’s just more the style of Tik Tok is very relaxed, you can be in your sweat pants and in your living room, so it may look like it did not take too long to create but it actually did! Whereas Instagram tends to be glossy.

YouTube usually requires a whole production. Many creators choose a studio set up to create quality content. YouTubers we manage use studios and some of them edit all of their own videos so they really need to have entertainment skills and technical skills. It’s really time-consuming to keep the platform updated. The quality of content is a big driver, but it’s really the relevance that’s another huge driver. It’s who you’re speaking to and if the content is relevant within the platform.

 

So what would your advice be to brands wanting to collaborate with micro-influencers perhaps rather than macro-influencers – particularly when it comes to different marketing initiatives and storytelling ideas?

I’m not advising to do either or, it really depends on what the specific brand wants to do. For instance, if you want to advertise more locally or to a specific community then you’re probably better off reaching that community with micro-influencers. At the same time, you have to have a lot more points of contact to reach the same amount of people, maybe you need 10 micro-influencers to reach the same amount of people as you would have reached with one macro talent with a good engagement. Also, the consistency of working with one talent versus 10 means that the storytelling of that brand is more “under control”.

A key part of influencer marketing is that talents communicate in their own style and the more talents a brand works with the more differences there will be in how the brand story is told, so it just depends on what needs to be achieved. I think actually working with both micro and macro talents is the better strategy based on the marketing initiative. We do work with both types of talent and we get great results with both – it’s all about your approach and your objective.

I also think it’s great for brands to experiment as well, and see how an activation may differ with different types of talents implementing it. Talents all have their own way of communicating that will reach their community in a way that is relevant for them. Giving them the freedom to do that is going to give really good results and I think brands can, and should, experiment to learn what works best for their objectives – they can get so many valuable insights from letting different talents do their thing!

Marketing is a science but also a form of art. Something can work once and you can do it repeatedly but it’s eventually going to get boring and it won’t be relevant anymore. Yet you do need to be continuous – you need continuity to get exponential results so by collaborating multiple times with the same talent you get a fuller picture of what story is being told. But, continuity also means continuously trying new things, and then also bringing back from the past when there’s relevance again.

In other words, marketing never stops. I don’t think it’s so much about reinventing the wheel, I just think we need to be relevant at the appropriate time and to achieve that, you need to be consistent.

 

Georgina is the UK Market Coordinator at VOCAST, responsible for British fashion and lifestyle research. Along with her work at VOCAST and studies at Copenhagen Business School, she is passionate about conscious fashion reform in the industry.

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Streetwear: Fashion x Culture  with insight from London, Paris, and Milan

Streetwear: Fashion x Culture with insight from London, Paris, and Milan

Streetwear: Fashion x Culture with insight from London, Paris, and Milan

Streetwear is a common term often thrown around without much thought to what it really means, what its values are, or where it comes from. Many genres of fashion can be defined with a general understanding and consensus that most of us subscribe to. It isn’t too difficult to separate luxury from high-street, bespoke from fast-fashion, formal-wear from leisure-wear. But fashion genres that are not made for the consumer rather curated and developed by the consumer, can sometimes be hard to define.

Understanding what streetwear is, where it comes from, and what it means to community insiders is essential to create and promote top-selling collections that are not only current, but timelessly rule-breaking. Because of its community-based nature, streetwear influencers, editors, and stylists are a voice of respected authority and therefore make very valuable brand partners. Streetwear is a dynamic genre of fashion, open to creative brands sharing meaningful messages to the world through their designs.

Unintentional Fashion Pioneers 

What is Streetwear?

Hypebeast defines streetwear as “fashionable, casual clothes”, but explains that this definition undermines the “multi-billion dollar” industry that streetwear has become. Streetwear as we know it today originated in the ’90s, in the hip-hop scenes of New York, the surf-skate and graffiti culture of Los Angeles, and within the nightlife of Japan. James Jebbia has said that his influence as a designer “was definitely the young skaters in New York. Also traveling to Japan and seeing their great style. Traveling to London. It was a combination of that.” Designers like Jebbia and Shawn Stussy pioneered streetwear in the US with their brands Supreme and Stüssy, and designers such as Nigo and Hiroshi Fujiwara aka “the godfather of Harajuku”, led the movement across the Pacific.

It is important to view streetwear as a movement, not as a trend because it is a cultural phenomenon. 90’s graphic tees, loose-fitting jeans, and statement sneakers were created purposefully as an expression by their consumer: the rapper, the skater, and the rebel. In the ’80s and ’90s, many traditional brands would not dress some musicians or sports stars, so the community had no choice but to make their own clothing and define what fashion meant to them. Virgil Abloh expressed this community shift in an interview last year: “I grew up in the 80s and 90s and in that generation we had our own idea of what a fashion designer is, and we had our own idea of what a musician was”. Still today, streetwear is lead by a close-knit group of musicians, skaters, artists and now social media influencers, who create clothing and curate looks for themselves as an act of self-expression, culture, and community knowledge.

An Ever Growing Movement

Why is everyone talking about streetwear?

Streetwear has risen in mainstream fashion over the past few decades. Unlike most other fashion genres, this growth was not pushed by brands, rather brands were sought out by consumers wanting to be “in” on the exclusivity of streetwear clothing. Exclusivity in the form of capsule collections, limited editions, and artistic collaborations are defining signatures of streetwear. Many luxury brands now use limited editions as a sales tactic, aiming to promote the feeling of exclusivity for the consumer.

Traditionally, luxury brands promoted the feeling of exclusivity with their high price ranges through authoritarian top-bottom communication. Streetwear has taught the industry that limited editions do promote a sense of exclusivity, not through prices, but community spirit. Brands like Off-WhiteNikeBalenciaga, and Palace, have been acting as an inspiration for traditional brands to design “fashionable, casual clothes” and established luxury fashion brands are releasing streetwear-inspired collections more and more often.

What is a streetwear collaboration?

The Louis Vitton x Supreme collaboration in 2017 was unmatched, GQ called Kim Jones’ collection “one of the collaborations of the century”. It’s no surprise that Jones blessed sneaker-heads again this year with Dior x Jordan, British Vogue wrote that Air Dior’s were “the most-wanted trainers of all time”. Inevitably, as the consumer base for streetwear clothing grows, the definition of streetwear is changing. For example, as more women began wearing streetwear, the male looks begun to be worn with a bold feminine twist. This created a space in the market for female-run streetwear brands that catered to the women who had been wearing clothes designed for men, by men. This is one of the reasons that today, streetwear has a very unisex feel.

For more insight on what streetwear means to its community, VOCAST’s British and Italian researchers spoke to three leading industry insiders. These women are authorities in their fields and work in three of fashion’s most influential cities. 

Insight from the Fashion Capitals: London, Paris, and Milan

LONDON: 

Simone Beyene is a 25-year-old stylist and visual artist working with photography and film. She currently works as Mabel’s stylist and will be graduating from Central Saint Martins next summer.

Being around the music scene has been exciting as it does have a big influence on streetwear, especially in London because it’s a very lively and fun city. I think streetwear, in general, has a very heavy base in skate culture, it’s a big part of what we would call streetwear today. In London, there are brands like Palace and Places+Faces that started as young guys printing t-shirts. The core of streetwear for me is a printed t-shirt that’s been washed a million times. Rock culture and band t-shirts are a big part of streetwear, but bold colors and prints that are a bit crazy or quite funny show there is a humor to it as well.

Streetwear in London is also based off of early hip-hop in New York, and how rappers used to dress in the ’80s and ’90s. Many musicians that loved skating, like Pharrell, were known to brands as friends so these brands could just give out clothes. We all want to look like our celebrity idols or people who we love and I think that’s how streetwear became big and exploded. Especially because music travels all over the world.

I think what’s very interesting as well is that, for me, streetwear is more of a unisex look. It’s quite fun to take oversized things and make it more girly by playing with the proportions, cropping baggy clothes, and creating feminine shapes. “Matchy-matchy” tracksuits and crop tops with gold body jewelry is a big part of female streetwear too, and we saw it a lot in the late ’90s with celebrity hip-hop brands.

Now, luxury brands are taking on streetwear and are making clothes that they specifically did not use to make. You can see that luxury brands, like Louis Vitton, Dior, and Gucci, are using a lot of monogram and it sells well because streetwear is very popular and people want to be a part of the culture: streetwear is a youth culture, it’s the way that the youth dress and these kids never wanted to look like anything except their version of what was cool. Now for the first time in a long time, brands are employing more people from the culture and giving references to where their collections come from. It’s important to remember the kids that created this style that brands are now profiting off of.

PARIS:

Selma Kaci Sebbagh is a Creative Director, Press Contributor, and influencer. Her impressive sneaker collection, which she features daily on her Instagram, has caught the eye of several high profile publications. 

Streetwear is hard to define right now in 2020, I would say that 10 years ago it was easier to actually define. Streetwear is something that can be mixed, it can be worn by women and by men as well, which means it’s something that can be shared. I used to think that the term streetwear could be negative somehow because maybe it was an easy way for people to say something’s stylish. Streetwear is wearing the brands behind the clothes, not just a huge logo with no meaning behind it. Often, I have asked brands about where their clothes come from and how they are made because it’s important to think about the impact on the planet.

In the French market, especially for the young generation, there is an awareness about sustainability and people want to make a change. I do honestly believe that the new trends in streetwear will be focused on being more sustainable. When it comes to Parisian streetwear there is not an exact style; social media gives us a sense of not having any borders which enables us to look around beyond one style.

Something that is changing the definition of streetwear is that there are more and more women’s brands growing, especially through social media. Seeing girls and women being allowed to actually change the way that they want to dress every day allows us to have a different vision of style and streetwear. It stops brands from being closed-minded so that they do more for us, which I think is great.

MILAN: 

Amanda Margiaria is an editor at i-D Italy, one of Italy’s most prominent publications focusing on streetwear fashion and culture. She writes about everything from fashion weeks and industry news, to culture, politics, and music.

There is no single definition for Milanese streetwear because this style encompasses many different social layers and subcultures. The Milanese skaters wear streetwear, the Milanese hype-kids wear streetwear, the Milanese influencers wear streetwear, but their clothes have little to do with each other. The fil rouge, though, can be found in the attitude of all these people. They wear what they wear because they’re making a clear statement. Their clothes say:

We don’t want to homologate to the Italian style, something you’d associate to tailor-made suits, eccentric hats, and the Pitti Peacocks. We are unique, we are outcasts and we wear streetwear because we want to be underdressed in every social situation.

Streetwear is all about the message you want to convey. If you wear streetwear, you refuse to meet the expectations of society. Streetwear was born out of rejection for social norms, and this rebellion will always be the key element of streetwear. From a style point of view, though, I think streetwear is going towards more unique and sustainable clothes and accessories, because what’s better than an Off-White sweater? A custom-made sweater, made of recycled Off-White textiles. Streetwear can survive only if the customers’ expectations are met; so it will still be something exclusive and at the same time very democratic because, as we stated in a recent article, if this style wants to stay relevant, a political and social commitment is of foremost importance.

Listen to the People 

As streetwear establishes itself in the mainstream fashion market, driven by the force of consumers, it is clear that the genre can no longer be reduced to an “urban style” or something not-applicable to established fashion Maisons. Streetwear is the true voice of the fashion consumer, which makes for an indispensable expression that should be reflected in contemporary fashion brands and their product portfolios. Streetwear will always seek to embark upon new grounds and break outdated practices as consumers are increasingly conscious about issues related to equality and sustainability. Therefore, openness to cultural phenomena and a transparent approach to the related issues, is the key to the streetwear consumers heart, worldwide.

Georgina is the Lifestyle Researcher for the US and UK Market at VOCAST, responsible for both American and British fashion and lifestyle research. Along with her work at VOCAST and studies at Copenhagen Business School, she is passionate about conscious fashion reform in the industry.

Olivia is the Italian Market Coordinator at VOCAST. She studied Fashion Marketing & Communication at IED in Milan, where she also began working with fashion marketing and PR. When not at VOCAST, she can be found in her kitchen developing recipes, dealing with the transition from pizza to rye bread.

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The Urgency of Digitalisation: Innovation and Sustainability

The Urgency of Digitalisation: Innovation and Sustainability

The Urgency of Digitalisation: Innovation and Sustainability

The urgency of digitalisation in the fashion industry is being fast tracked. COVID-19 is pushing the industry in a direction that it was already walking towards, only now, it is a sprint. Digitalisation can be used by companies to change up their working habits and excel in the current climate however, there are long term benefits to digital solutions that must be taken into account as well. When offices re-open, photoshoots are re-organised and fashion weeks are re-scheduled, it is likely that the industry will be re-modelled, as it endures the aftermath of this global scale quarantine. Consequently, we may truly be about to enter a new era of fashion.

 

Radical Innovation

The relentless expansion of digitalisation is becoming more and more central for the success of fashion brands and the industry has experienced a significant paradigm shift in recent years. According to The State of Fashion 2019 (1) previously stable and thriving firms are facing imminent threats from several angles, due to the rise of advanced technology and changing consumer demands. The clash between fashion and technology, driven by speed and data, has set the stage for a new revolution in the global industry. Therefore, firms must realise radical innovation and disrupt themselves, by implementing innovative digitalisation, if they want to survive this revolution which is set to be characterised by sustainability. The State of Fashion 2020 (2) reported that to thrive in the present environment, companies must get digitalisation right and address those consumers who are increasingly concerned by the climate-change agenda: “based on our executive survey, the words on everyone’s lips are sustainability, digitisation, and innovation”.

 

Creating Lasting Change

As fashion brands begin to radically digitalise during this pandemic, it is vital that companies continue to project forwards beyond the uncertainty that the next few months have in store. In order to use digitalisation to genuinely provoke lasting, positive change, there are two essential concepts to consider: innovation and sustainability. Innovation reflects how relevant a brand is, sustainability measures a brands integrity. Fashion brands have been using creative methods of digitalisation in both innovative and sustainable ways over the past few years. Brands like Dior have used augmented reality for try before you buy solutions in makeup and accessories. Additionally, virtual reality clothing has been retailed by brands, such as Carlings, which enhance their consumers’ social media presence in a more sustainable way. The industry has been dabbling in the most current digitalisation tools technology companies have to offer. Now, in light of this global crisis, we can use these modern, creative initiatives to be leaders in battling world wide challenges.

 

Climate Change: Responsibility and Accountability

The fashion industry is notorious for its unsustainable practices. The UN Environment Programme (3) reported that: The fashion industry produces 10% of global carbon emissions, which is more than all international flights and maritime shipping. It produces 20% of global wastewater, and textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of water globally. As consumers continue to buy more and more, if nothing changes, by the year 2050 the fashion industry will use up to 25% of the world’s carbon budget. But, this is hardly news. The industry has been aware of these dark statistics for some years now, and numerous fashion brands across the world have already put vast sustainability measures in place.

Recent statistics from the European Space Agency (4) show how social lockdown is having a positive effect on the air pollution of major European capital cities. Factors such as a decrease in travel and the temporary closing of factories are directly linked to the fashion industry, and they are also significant reasons as to why there has been a decrease in air pollution, according to the BBC (5). The maps below show how both France and Italy have seen a decrease in pollution, specifically nitrogen dioxide concentrations.

If more evidence such as this continues to be proven, and as companies are continued to be forced to find new ways to operate during both lockdown and during the aftermath of this crisis, a unique opportunity is apparent. Digitalisation used in a radically innovative way can not only keep business running smoothly in this pandemic, but can also create a forceful push in sustainable reform across the industry. This is an opportunity to set a new standard of how we produce and consume fashion. Not only because we know we have to prioritise sustainability, but because we have no other option but to use digital solutions to operate business.

 

Sustainable Innovation in Practice: Digitalising the Cat Walk

In February 2018, Gerrit Jacob, a graduate designer at Central Saint Martins, collaborated with Three Mobile and Rewind, a London based technology company, to create the world’s first 5G runway. To learn more about how this form of digital innovation can help and inspire fashion brands in their sustainability endeavours, VOCAST’s UK Lifestyle Researcher spoke to Rewind.

As an immersive technology company, what do you believe are some of the benefits that fashion brands can gain from digital innovation to help them reach their sustainability goals?

From virtual showrooms to digital instead of physical sampling, immersive technologies—virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR)—can slash the waste generated by physical fashion both behind-the-scenes in the fashion industry, and in our future digital wardrobes.” Sol Rogers, CEO and Founder of REWIND.

Your work in fashion week was hugely successful, what do you hope this will lead to for the future of sustainable fashion innovation and breaking outdated practices?

Hopefully, it will open the eyes of the fashion world to what is possible. 5G connectivity teamed with XR devices will entirely upend how buyers, press, and consumers interact with fashion. For an industry that is highly creative, the opportunities here are endless—the only limit is your imagination. Plus, virtual reality cuts out the need to travel, so the excessive carbon footprint of the industry can be addressed too.” Sol Rogers, CEO and Founder of REWIND.

Finally, we are currently in unknown territory with many countries, communities, and companies going into social lockdown, what do you believe immersive technology can offer the fashion industry in terms of staying connected and keeping businesses running and growing?

COVID-19 has clarified the need for technology that facilitates an alternative to in-person fashion shows, presentations, and showrooms. Immersive technologies have the potential to connect us in new ways, enable effective remote collaboration in the design phase, and even offer an alternative to the traditional catwalk.” Sol Rogers, CEO and Founder of REWIND.

 

A New Era of Fashion

The way that the fashion industry has been heading over the last few years in undoubtedly towards a sustainable and digital future, but the current global crisis is forcing the industry to take digitalisation to the next level. Radical innovation is essential to continue a brands’ business growth and upkeep global relevance. Digitalising traditional practices is possible, if brands start actively working with creative technology. As social lockdown continues all over the world, the initial evidence is telling us that this decrease in a fast-paced society is beneficial for the planet. Therefore, let us challenge ourselves to use the immense powers of digitalisation to the best of our ability. The industry is currently going through the perfect opportunity to not only push sustainable fashion further than ever before, but to create a brand new era of fashion. An era where art and technology push the boundaries of what fashion represents and how we consume it, in an innovative and sustainable way.

References: Photo credit: Copenhagen Fashion Week image bank. Image credit: European Space Agency. (1) McKinsey. Retrieved April 6th. Online The State of Fashion 2019: A year of awakening. (2) McKinsey. Retrieved April 6th. Online. The State of Fashion 2020: Navigating uncertainty. (3) UN Environment Programme. Retrieved April 3rd. Online. Putting the brakes on fast fashion. (4) European Space Agency. Retrieved April 3rd. Online. Coronavirus lockdown leading to drop in pollution across Europe. (5) BBC News. Retrieved April 3rd. Online. Coronavirus: Air pollution and CO2 fall rapidly as virus spreads.

Georgina is the Lifestyle Researcher for the US and UK Market at VOCAST, responsible for both American and British fashion and lifestyle research. Along with her work at VOCAST and studies at Copenhagen Business School, she is passionate about conscious fashion reform in the industry.

Laura is the Customer Success Consultant at VOCAST. Pursuing her passion for digital marketing and PR, she leads project onboarding, guides clients to improve their communication strategies and is responsible for the fashion and interior research in the Danish market.

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