Brands are launching innovative digital platforms, while designers are developing products that offer protection as well as style.
In the fashion and beauty sectors, we continue to see a mix of brand new approaches and a further focus on existing trends and emerging technologies, such as live-streaming commerce and virtual reality, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Brands are seeking to connect with consumers remotely by launching innovative digital platforms, while designers are developing apparel with protective features in an attempt to offer protection as well as style. Here are seven of the most creative fashion and beauty innovations we’ve spotted in recent weeks.
1. HOODED JUMPSUIT HELPS PROTECT COMMUTERS FROM CORONAVIRUS
Italian design company Marta Scarampi has created a jumpsuit specifically to help keep travellers safe while flying and taking public transport. Company co-founder Marta Scarampi designed the one-piece when her sister and co-founder, Lucia, needed to fly internationally. Lightweight, breathable and roomy enough to wear clothes underneath, the jumpsuit includes a large hood and elasticated cuffs.
All aspects of the design have specific safety considerations relevant to what is becoming the new normal of social distancing in public. The elasticated waist and cuffs keep the garment from moving off the body. The hood is large enough to cover long hair and incorporates a collar wide enough to close over the top of a protective face mask.
2. FRENCH FASHION HOUSE OFFERS IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE IN NEW VIRTUAL SHOWROOM
The French fashion house, Balmain, is offering customers an immersive and futuristic experience, with a digital showroom which will unveil its upcoming cruise collection. The showroom features virtual muses and giant projectors, with a 3D avatar of Olivier Rousteing, the brand’s artistic director, acting as a host and guide for customers during their shopping experience.
The exterior of the virtual showroom is a digitised version of Balmain’s iconic Paris flagship store at 44 rue François-1e, onto which customers have to click to enter. Once in the showroom, customers can browse the collection in a 360° view and discover the storytelling behind it.
3. HOODIE WITH A BUILT-IN MASK MAY HELP PROTECT AGAINST COVID-19
Hazel and Carlton Solle founded the G95 clothing company three years ago, to make scarfs with built-in air filters for people who wanted to avoid air pollution but did not want to wear masks. Now, as the coronavirus pandemic ravages the world, the company is making masks for FEMA and some hospitals and is developing more products for consumers, such as a hoodie with a built-in air filter, which uses two types of nanofiltration technology blocking up to 99.75 per cent of particles larger than 0.1 microns. This makes it more effective than some N95 masks (coronavirus is roughly 0.125 microns in size).
4. FASHIONABLE PROTECTIVE CLOTHING MADE FROM UP-CYCLED PLASTIC
Colombian clothes brand Maaji is selling fashionable, virus-protective clothing made from recycled plastic. Since sisters Manuela and Amalia Sierra founded the brand in 2002, Maaji has been dedicated to leveraging the latest research to produce eco-friendly materials, fabrics and printing processes. In addition to this, they have planted over 100,000 trees and continue to lead beach clean-up efforts.
Items for sale include a protective hoodie mask and a long jacket with face protection. The fabrics and protective layers of the garments are knitted with premium post-consumer recycled yarn, from plastic recovered bottles. They also use an Eco Digital printing process that reduces water usage by 98 per cent, meaning that the overall production process produces 80 per cent less CO2.
5. YOUCAM MAKEUP PROVIDING FREE AR TECH FOR BRANDS DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK
During the coronavirus pandemic, consumers turned to online ordering in unprecedented numbers. As a result, augmented reality developer Perfect saw interest grow in its AR beauty app, YouCam Makeup. Now the company is offering cosmetics brands free AR experiences, web subscriptions and product listings as a way to help brands remain connected with their customers.
The company is offering brands a free subscription to their browser plug-in YouCam for Web, to help brands integrate virtual makeup “try-ons” into their websites. Perfect is also waiving the license fee for brands who sign up for YouCam A.R.T., an AR platform for live training sessions. Perfect’s technology lets shoppers sample makeup and hair colours virtually before they buy.
6. INITIATIVE SELLS UNSOLD STOCK TO SUPPORT UNEMPLOYED FACTORY WORKERS
British startup Lost Stock allows consumers to order clothes directly from textile factories in Bangladesh, preventing cancelled orders from ending up in landfill. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and respective closure of brick and mortar shops during the lockdown, many large retailers have stopped ordering from textile factories. It is estimated that over two billion euros worth of orders have been cancelled and that several billion unsold garments are stored in warehouses.
Most textile factories are located in low-wage countries such as Bangladesh. With the textile industry accounting for nearly 85 per cent of Bangladesh’s exports, millions of workers have lost their wages. This inspired the founder of the British purchasing application Mallzee to launch Lost Stock. Through a partnership with a local NGO, almost 40 per cent of sales will be donated to support the workers and their families. Customers can indicate what colours, size and age they prefer, but don’t know what they will receive. Each “surprise box” contains three tops, all made for well-known brands like Topshop or C&A. Each box costs €43 and is valued around €77.
7. ELBOW SOCKS DESIGNED TO HELP PREVENT THE SPREAD OF VIRUSES
Dutch design studio Raw Color, who are known for their bright and colourful designs, have proposed a DIY hack — using odd socks to catch sneezes. To prevent the spread of COVID-19 germs onto surfaces, medical experts have advised coughing or sneezing into your elbow rather than your hands. The design, Elbow Sock, is offering a way to adhere to this practice while keeping your clothes clean.
With the aim of encouraging a DIY mentality during this period, the studio brainstormed to find something that everyone can easily do with everyday household objects. They found that the heel of a sock fits perfectly onto an elbow and came up with the solution of simply taking a pair of scissors to the toe of any sock; after wear, it can go straight into the washing machine. This concept allows the wearer to have complete control of making as many as they like.
Written By: Holly Hamilton
8th July 2020