Nicopanda

As mentioned in our Future 100 report, fashion is increasingly blurring traditional gender boundaries and distinctions. Take hip gender-neutral streetwear brand Hood By Air or “loose luxury” label Baja East, which calls its approach “ambisexual.” (There’s even an androgynous clothing subscription service on the way, Greyscale Goods.) Now Selfridges, which has a knack for tapping into cultural trends in clever ways, is planning “Agender,” a two-month project that intends to “sweep aside the boundaries of gender in retail.” Both online and in a three-floor concept space in Selfridges’ flagship London store, customers “can choose to shop and dress without limitations or stereotypes.” Brands will include Nicola Formichetti’s Nicopanda and Underground shoes.

Continue reading “In fashion and beyond, a push to rethink, blur and mash up gender distinctions” »

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Social media users have grown more sophisticated over the past few years, actively managing both what they choose to share and what others share about them. But many have realized that ultimately, control of their online privacy is out of their hands, thanks to tag-happy, share-happy friends and changing terms of service and privacy controls. As this chart shows, a JWT survey of 6,063 adults conducted in September and October 2014 found that a wide majority of people around the world believe privacy is dead in the social-networking era.

Continue reading “Data Point: Consumers believe social media has helped kill privacy” »

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Read our roundups in magazine form on Flipboard, via the iOS and Android app or online; click here to find our magazine collection.

-We’re entering a “new golden age for marketing,” says McKinsey Quarterly, as marketers boost their precision, broaden their scope, move more quickly and tell better stories.

-In “The Next Internet Is TV,” John Herrman at The Awl considers the future of online media, arguing that websites are becoming outmoded and considering how content might be distributed in the future.

-Nick Bilton charts the rise and fall of Google Glass, and why the “next big thing” proved a flop.

-In a reversal, some Chinese companies are moving their manufacturing to America, reports CNBC.

-Retail consultant Doug Stephens argues that the current economic model for retailers and their suppliers is collapsing and spotlights how it can evolve, in Business of Fashion.

-TechCrunch looks at what Amazon’s college campus locations mean for retailers.

Continue reading “Weekly Roundup: The ‘next Internet,’ marketing’s golden age and tip creep” »

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The Social Efficacy Index, from the J. Walter Thompson Analytics team, is a social forecasting tool that monitored all the Super Bowl ads using a custom sentiment metric to validate whether the investment by marketers paid off. Determined to find a measure of social performance that’s an indication of future business performance, I’ve been tracking social mentions on Super Bowl spots for the past few years and modeling these measures against reported sales to determine what matters. This year, we tracked each spot with 16 factors, from industry and agency to when the spot was released and its tone.

Continue reading “Super Bowl ads and the art of social forecasting” »

Sr. Editor at Large at Fortune PATTY SELLERS PORTRAIT

Fortune writer Pattie Sellers oversees the magazine’s “Most Powerful Women in Business” package, along with the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit and related programs, including the new Next Gen conference for Millennial women. We talked to her while researching Queen Trumps King—the rise in women’s economic and political power as gender dynamics change—one of the macro trends spotlighted in our 10 Years of 10 Trends report. Sellers discussed some key shifts she’s seen since launching the Most Powerful Women list, how men and women think differently about power, and why she believes we won’t soon see a female Mark Zuckerberg or gender parity among Fortune 500 CEOs.

Continue reading “Q&A, Pattie Sellers, executive director, Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit” »

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Consumers are adding sustainability to a growing list of considerations that include nutrition, provenance and fair labor practices, and looking for products and brands that can meet all these criteria simultaneously. As a result, they’re becoming “educated eaters,” learning how food is cultivated, raised or caught. In the three years since we first surveyed American and British consumers on this issue, significantly fewer now express uncertainty about how to make food choices that benefit the environment, as this chart shows.

Continue reading “Data Point: U.S. and U.K. consumers more aware of how to eat sustainably” »

Super Bowl

Read our roundups in magazine form on Flipboard, via the iOS and Android app or online; click here to find our magazine collection.

-This year’s Super Bowl commercials could signal a lower-testosterone, more culturally tuned-in sensibility, writes Kat Gordon of The 3% Conference in Adweek. Time outlines “5 Ways This Year’s Super Bowl Ads Will Be Like No Other,”The Wall Street Journal notes the turn toward more serious or sentimental themes, and USA Today summarizes the ad trends in advance of Sunday’s big game.

-The Wall Street Journal examines how America’s “two-tier” economy is reshaping the market for many goods as wealthy households advance and the middle class shrinks.

-The New York Times analyzes America’s dwindling middle class as more fall into the bottom tier. And a new Pew study of household financial security in America finds a “striking level of financial fragility,” as reported in the WSJ.

-Luxury brands are contending with slowing economic growth in key global regions, reports CNBC.

-Time’s cover story spotlights the sharing economy.

-“First came clickbait. Now comes engagement,” reports USA Today in examining how publishers (and their advertisers) are looking beyond page views.

Continue reading “Weekly Roundup: All eyes on ads, America’s two-tier economy and democratizing finance” »

“There is more information, more readily available, more immediately, in more formats, on more devices and to many hundreds of millions more people than ever before,” notes the BBC in a nicely designed exploration of The Future of News. (Also find the BBC’s full report in PDF form here.) Another good read on the topic comes from The Verge, which delves into how ESPN is evolving to meet the expectations of sports fans, who now get their information in an almost infinite number of ways. Even the venerable New Yorker is experimenting with formats, launching a half-hour docu-series on Amazon Prime. A new wave of exploration and innovation is coming to journalism.

Continue reading “How the news is shape-shifting” »

Alex Pang photo-credit Kristian Kettner

We talked to Alex Pang—whose book The Distraction Addiction explores how to balance the role of technology in our lives—about De-teching, one of the macro trends explored in our latest report, 10 Years of 10 Trends. “We’ve moved from a period of thinking that technologies always bring big, inevitable and unavoidable changes to recognizing that we can use technologies mindfully,” Pang noted in discussed consumers’ changing attitudes toward digital tech, our growing awareness of the downside to over-connection and how brands can tap into this trend. He also outlined a tangential trend, a growing emphasis on the importance of rest and mind-wandering.

Continue reading “Q&A, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author, ‘The Distraction Addiction’” »

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According to We Are Social’s latest Digital, Social & Mobile report, three of the Top 5 social platforms globally are instant messenger and chat apps, and eight of these brands now claim more than 100 million monthly active users. Chinese powerhouse Tencent owns two of these, QQ and WeChat, which will only pick up steam as the company pushes into more markets, from Latin America to India, as well as the U.S. Facebook owns two of these as well, Messenger and WhatsApp, which has climbed to 700 million active users since this chart was prepared.

Continue reading “Data Point: Messenger apps dominate mobile social” »

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Things to Watch

  • The sharing economy grows up
    March 3, 2015 | 3:30 pm

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    Hotel giant Starwood has bought in to the sharing economy. The group, which owns W Hotels, St. Regis and Sheraton, has announced a partnership with car service Uber in which every dollar spent by a guest on an Uber car earns points toward free rooms and other perks.

    Continue reading “The sharing economy grows up” »

  • Digital immersive exercise
    February 25, 2015 | 4:04 pm

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    Equinox’s new revved-up cycle class speaks to a growing exercise trend—digital immersion. This month the gym brand unveiled Pursuit, an immersive cycling concept, to limited U.S. gyms. Equinox describes the program as “an immersive studio cycling experience that uses groundbreaking gaming and data visualization to drive competition and inspire peak performance.”

    Continue reading “Digital immersive exercise” »

  • Science fare
    February 20, 2015 | 2:07 pm

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    The worlds of science, gastronomy and art are continuing to cross-pollinate—from edible conceptual art to molecular gastronomy “lab cafés” to synesthetic dining events. Café ArtScience in Cambridge, Mass., is a recent example. Opened late last year by David Edwards, a Harvard engineering professor, the café serves whiskey “fogs” through a special carafe that turns the liquor into vapor (which means consumers don’t take in any of the calories and feel none of the intoxicating effects).

    Continue reading “Science fare” »

  • Aman’s authentic-luxe travel
    February 11, 2015 | 1:06 pm

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    As travelers continue to seek out authentic and unique experiences, hospitality brands keep raising the bar on hyper-localized offerings and exceptional access. Aman, for instance, is introducing a phinisi-style sailing ship in Indonesia, marrying the brand’s ultra-luxe sensibility with regional tradition. With an outdoor lounge and bar, the option to travel by motor, and air-conditioned cabins, the ship brings every modern comfort to an age-old means of navigating the Indonesian archipelago. Another Aman property, meanwhile, offers a dip into paleontology: Guests at Amangiri in southern Utah can join an official dig at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, working alongside fossil experts for a half-day. The cost of getting one’s hands dirty starts at $600. (Resulting Instagram images: priceless.) —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Aman

  • Adidas’ ‘virtual line’
    February 5, 2015 | 6:55 pm

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    Adidas’ new Confirmed app cleverly harnesses the fervor of collectors who normally line up for limited-edition shoes, moving fans onto a mobile platform. App users create an account, then get push notifications when hot new releases are on the way. Interested buyers in a given metro area—only New York City at launch—indicate their size and, if approved, receive details on where and when to pick up the shoes. An Adidas exec calls it a “virtual line.” In addition to collecting data on these super-fans, the app lets Adidas control which influencers get various styles, drives traffic to selected stores, builds additional buzz and cuts out secondary-market sellers armed with bots that secure advance orders. —Marian Berelowitz

    Image credit: Bloomberg

  • Adventurous play
    February 4, 2015 | 1:09 pm

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    Kids will slide through a “Tunnel of Terror” and get slimy on “Mount Mud” in Tough Mudder’s new obstacle course for the 7-12 set. The endurance-challenge purveyor is partnering with European soft drink brand Britvic on Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder, with events planned for the U.S., the U.K. and Ireland. The concept caters to parents looking to pry kids away from screens and get them moving—there’s now a CrossFit offshoot for kids, starting with preschoolers—in ways that are challenging and fun.

    Continue reading “Adventurous play” »

  • Rivals joining forces
    January 26, 2015 | 7:19 pm

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    Not long ago, a collaboration between two rival companies would have been seen as a counterintuitive and perhaps desperate measure. In 2015, however, BMW’s partnership with Volkswagen on fast-charging electric vehicle stations makes the automakers look self-confident, open and serious about sustainability and the common good.  Continue reading “Rivals joining forces” »

  • Virgin Hotels
    January 21, 2015 | 1:42 pm

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    Taking a cue from private clubs like Soho House—which now has outposts from Berlin to Chicago and Toronto—and cool hotel hangouts like the Ace, the first hotel under Virgin’s affordable-meets-aspirational banner houses a Commons Club. Offering “exclusivity for all,” the Commons hosts a “roundtable of ideas and indulgence” at a nightly social hour and includes a restaurant, bar and study area. Virgin marketing also taps into easyHotel lingo with the promise of no surprise fees and free wi-fi.

    Continue reading “Virgin Hotels” »

  • Google’s Ara phone
    January 16, 2015 | 11:51 am


    A new video from Google shows the latest prototype of its modular phone, which will launch this year in Puerto Rico. Project Ara emphasizes personalization—“What if you could make thoughtful choices about exactly what your phone does, and use it as a creative canvas to tell your own story?”—but the sustainability implications are also important.

    Continue reading “Google’s Ara phone” »

  • Nike taps into urban exploring
    January 5, 2015 | 1:13 pm

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    The city is the new terrain for Nike’s rebranded all-conditions gear, now named NikeLab ACG. Taking a cue from the urban exploration trend (“urbex”)—which involves venturing into unseen and generally off-limits structures and documenting the adventure—Nike says that “For today’s athletes, the city is the ultimate landscape,” complete with “modern obstacles” and many microclimates. Images show an intrepid explorer on a rooftop amid skyscrapers. The urban environment is now as challenging, intriguing and adventurous as the natural landscape.

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