21ST CENTURY FASHION

In this week’s [retail bytes]: Have you been stuck in a mile-long Starbucks queue as your morning coffee is postponed to cater for more digitally-savvy customers? It’s time to get on board with the latest retail innovations…

Shape shifters Today’s women are taller, bustier and richer, as revealed in recent research by Bluebella. The findings show that the body shape of the average British woman has changed considerably since the ‘50s as a result of more exercise and a protein-rich diet. We go to the gym about twice a week and eat more calories to stay healthy, so it figures that we need bigger lingerie, ramping the average bra size up to a 36DD.

Each fashion brand has its own sizing but, as our bodies change shape, the sizing becomes out-dated, causing a high number of returns for online shops. Perhaps fashionistas just need to buy 3D designs from their favourite brands that they can 3D print at home? This would allow the garment to be made in a bespoke fit and in real time. Sizing to fit the elf-like women born in the ‘50s who’ve never seen the inside of a Muay Thai gym just will not do. Skinny waifs are out, strong and healthy is in.

DIY designers Post-luxury is the big new trend and personalisation is emerging as a key driver. Homemade 3D printed dresses are exactly what Danit Peleg has piloted to deliver a bespoke dress that fits 100% perfectly. Her delicate, stretchy, lace-like designs look enticing, feel great on the body and have the advantage of being wholly customised just for you. Danit used the Nettelo app to 3D-scan Amy Purdy, a leading Paralympian snowboarder for the Rio opening ceremony, where she danced with a robot. Watch and marvel!

Body electricIn the area of wearables, LEDs and Swarovski are new best friends, with Clara Daguin’s new collection in collaboration with the eponymous crystal company appearing in a fabulous medley of real and artificial lights. Daguin, famous for designing an outfit for Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst, is pioneering the merging of lights into fabrics with innovative cuts. Who needs lighting designers if your jacket can light up the room just as well?

Even faster food Design is moving forward but in e-commerce there’s still a struggle to jump the last hurdle towards seamless delivery. Customers hate paying extra for delivery and go to extreme efforts to avoid it. However, it’s a different story when it comes to a hungry customer. Dominos have been piloting delivery to bus stops (in Blackpool, randomly!) for a while now and are rumoured to be considering the offer for London routes. Can’t wait to get home to eat? You’ll definitely pay that extra premium to have it delivered to your chosen bus stop on time! Hyper-convenience is being re-defined for the millennial generation.

When digital transformation backfires When is too many orders bad for business? When you’re a sad analogue customer in the extra-long Starbucks queue, as all the baristas are rushed off their feet making coffee for the digital orders. Starbucks has launched smartphone pre-ordering to avoid queues, but of course they completely underestimated demand. The result is a massive annoyance at the counter as non-digital customers can see and smell the coffee but can’t get it as there are 20 digital orders that need to be filled. Back to the drawing board as the stock price dives.

HOT OFF THE PRESS: Funding incoming! Are you a start-up in Manchester or Leeds? Get in touch as a new Accelerated Digital Ventures fund with £150m is being set up to serve the needs of the UK’s brightest entrepreneurs. Show us what you got, northern inventors! A free advice session with our growth-hacking fash-tech and retail-tech gurus is available in March and April in both cities – email eva@theretailpractice.com for appointments.