REBEL IN A RUSH AT LFW

I feel the need… the need for speed! How quickly do you want your goods and services? This week’s [retail bytes] takes a look at the rise of hyper-convenience.

 The beat: London Fashion Week is always a good place to get the pulse on what fashion tech’s up to, and the A/W ’16 shows were no different. Topshop Unique’s flamboyant show at the Tate Modern was live-streamed from the catwalk using GoPro cameras feeding straight to Periscope as well as their website’s home page. Although many brands have foregone catwalks altogether (like Diane Von Furstenberg’s model party at NYFW), Topshop stuck to their fashion guns and ran the catwalk. The show generated over 15,000 Instagram #TopshopUnique posts in less than an hour! The real winner, however, was the current collection, as celebrity guests like Lottie Moss and Jourdan Dunn were ‘encouraged’ to wear the collection that’s currently in stores. The star-struck audiences hit the website and drove record sales for the brand. Well played, Topshop!

We woke up like this: Speedy reportage from backstage was a key feature at the London Fashion Week shows. Gone are the days when shooting from your hip using a dodgy smartphone in a badly lit make-up booth was The Thing. This year art was in and authenticity was out. Nick Knight/ShowStudio provided a very stylish, beautifully lit (but ultimately posed) report from a full studio temporarily set up backstage at London Fashion Week. The reception was mixed, as fashionistas were really hoping for ‘real life’ glimpses of how the shows came together, and they weren’t impressed with the beautiful but ultimately ‘fake’ coverage shot by the most respected of artists. As Marshall McLuhan said; the medium is the message. The truth on Instagram is better than art!

Blink and you’ll miss it: Hyper-convenience is driving another revolution, and this time it’s about money. Bored with having to queue at the checkout in crowded fashion outlets, millennials are driving the adoption of alternative payment verification methods. According to a recent study, 74% of under 25s are ‘comfortable’ with biometric passwords. Why waste precious time and energy that could be put into Snapchat? Just use a selfie to pay for your clothes! MasterCard has just rolled out an option to use facial verification, based on the unique features that each of us possess. To counter retail fraud, you’ll need to blink to prove you’re a live customer and not just a stolen photo. We bet it’ll be a raving success, as popular passwords like ‘123456’ and ‘password’ are easy to remember but can be cracked in less time than it takes you to blink.

Need a drink? Skip the queue at the pub and purchase your favourite poison with your face – it’s already been tested in Japan; a camera inside a vending machine can assess your age and refuse to give you your Kirin beer if you look too young (or too drunk). Fast and sensible, what’s not to like?

How heavy is your breathing? If you like speed but you’re not a selfie lover try HSBC’s new way of accessing your banking app – simply by chatting to it – it’s even faster and certainly less effort than even the quickest of selfies. It’s provided by Nuance Communications, the company behind Siri, which has been at the forefront of VAI (voice-as-interface) since 1974, so they know what they’re talking about (excuse the pun)! Don’t chip or break a tooth though, as the pattern of air-out flow will change your voice ID and you’ll get locked out of your banking app, according to Nuance Communications guru Brett Beranek.