The Future of The Fashion Show – Can Luxury Brands Learn From Topshop?

I’m a little bit obsessed with the Topshop / Google+ partnership for Topshop Unique’s Autumn / Winter Show.  And I never thought I’d ever write obsessed and Google+ in the same sentence.

This video has a great summary of what they did:


I love the digital and real-world integration – Google Hangouts online to find out more about the clothes, make-up and the models and a Google+ video booth at the show.

What’s also interesting is a quote from Justin Cooke, Topshop’s CMO about this partnership – after the Facebook partnership last year this is something that is built in Topshop’s DNA – we’re going to be seeing more great stuff them in future shows:

“We already have a great reputation, it’s not like we need to change anything. It’s all about protecting that position of always being an innovator. You’ve got to keep moving. You can’t stop.”

This is something that many luxury brands would do well to keep in mind. Innovation for the sake of it is pointless, but experimentation with clear KPIs and objectives that is balanced with the ultimate goal of preserving the brand’s equity will keep brands moving forward.

What Topshop and Burberry are doing is the future of luxury and fashion marketing  – they are harnessing the behaviours of the under 25s in a interesting way.  As a luxury brand, if you’re not already doing this or developing a strategy on how these platforms and digital content can integrate into your wider strategy, you’re missing a trick.


A Little Reality Check

whats-next2Image via the trickledown

This quote really resonates with me. Working in advertising, I’m expected to keep up to date with the latest trends and technologies and assess if they are right or indeed, relevant to any of my clients.  Time and again, I see that just because something’s the latest thing doesn’t mean it’s the right thing. Our industry is obsessed with the newest and the shiniest and constantly looking for the next big MySpace / Facebook / YouTube / Twitter, but that doesn’t mean that the Average Joe feels the same way or is actually using these things. Sometimes it’s just right to do something simple, straightforward and that can deliver the most bang for your client’s bucks. Need I remind anyone of the Second Life bandwagon?

People still watch TV (TV viewing is up y-o-y), they still read magazines and they still listen to the radio.  They’re going into the office, gossiping with their friends, having a peek at their favourite sites online, worrying about their finances, their job stability, trying to put food on the table and most of all, trying to live their lives the best they can. They’re not rushing into the next big thing. They’re adopting technologies that suit their lives and are easy for them to understand and to use.

As Shirky says, “Technology gets socially interesting,when it has become technically boring.” Although I understand that without risk, there’s no reward, but there also needs to be a more pragmatic view on what people are actually doing with their time & with their lives and how they actually behave.

There’s An App For That

The boyfriend and I have been away in Israel for the last week (more on that in upcoming posts) and serendipity brought us three iPhone apps that became (to varying degrees) very useful in our travels. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that all of these need to become Blackberry apps soon, if they’re not already!

We’re both really busy people (and slightly lazy) who rely on technology more and more to help life go a little smoother, so the BA Flights app helped enormously to check-in in London and again in Tel Aviv. We’re both massive fans of BA and would much rather pay a little more to get comfortable seats, great service and the lovely Terminal 5 experience.

If you fly BA regularly, then this is an app for you.



In Israel, the currency is the shekel and while we were away, the exchange rate fluctuated between 6.50 to 6.25 shekels to the pound. For some reason, currency conversion has always made me go a bit cross-eyed, so it was handy to get our hands on’s iPhone app. It’s very, very easy to use – all you do is choose your currencies and then plug in the amount in the relevant currency box, hit the enter arrow and presto changeo, you get the new amount in your currency of choice.

Of course, you could always use the calculator function on your iPhone, but that wouldn’t be as fun or have the most up to date exchange rates.



And last, but definitely not least was the brand spanking new Ocado app, which we used to make sure we had a grocery delivery on the day we arrived back from Tel Aviv. I’m already a massive Ocado fan (great customer service, fantastic & easy to use website, great deals and a very wide product selection), but this app has taken my Ocado advocacy into the stratosphere. You can use their ‘instant shop’ option and put everything you order most often into your basket, you can search for new products, things you’ve bought most recently or have a browse through Ocado’s recommendations to you.

Once you’re done shopping, you can view all your items in image or text format to check everything through and then go through and pick the most convenient delivery slot.





If I Can’t Hear You, I’ll Lip Read

Wearing hearing aids is a very odd thing. As much as they’ve taught me a lot about myself, they’ve taught me a lot about other people, mainly that there is an intense fascination with ‘otherness’ . 

Here’s the back story: I have a degenerative hearing disorder which has left me with about 60% of my hearing in both ears and judging by the state of my mother’s side of the family, my hearing is going to get a lot worse. After spending too many years living under the delusion that I just needed to get my ears syringed every so often, I finally went to get my ears properly checked out. My fabulous doctor relieved me of my delusions and told me that I needed to get fitted with outer-ear hearing aids – I wear Sumo DMs, if you’re interested

This was almost two and a half years ago and I’ve only just come to terms with the fact that these will be a necessary part of my life until I kick the bucket. 

It’s been tough (who really wants molded plastic hooked around their ears for the entirety of their waking life) on a number of levels.

                1. I don’t have the cool hearing aids that sit inside the ear and make you like a spy. Unfortunately, I have the behind-the-ear version that hooks outside my ear, like the old school headphones that everyone used to wear to the gym. At least the back section matches my hair colour, although heaven forbid I dye my hair!


              2. When some people see that I’m wearing hearing aids, they slow their speech down and speak A LOT LOUDER. I’m not mentally handicapped or stupid, people.  If I’m wearing my hearing aids, I can most definitely hear you. Let’s have a normal conversation. 

              3. There’s a mini-computer in my ear that reads 16 different frequencies. This doesn’t quite make me the Bionic Woman, just yet, but what it does do is extend the range of what I can hear dramatically. Admittedly, if I position myself in the right places, I can hear things I’m not supposed to hear, but mostly I hear a lot more background noise. My brain has had to learn what and what not to filter out and this has taken some time to get used. Imagine the feeling of being on a very loud boat during a storm – lots of nausea, headaches and noise. I can only imagine what Michael Chorost went through on his quest to hear Bolero

             4.  A lot of people don’t know where to look once they realise I’m wearing hearing aids. Some people carry on an entire conversation with me whilst staring at my ears. Some people stare at my mouth in a subconscious mimicry of what I generally do when I’m conversing with someone – don’t worry I’m not fascinated with your mouth. I’m doing some lip-reading to make sure I don’t miss anything. 

wirear-2-tm Fortunately, there’s innovation happening in hearing aid design & technology. Check out Wirear

  Wirear utilises a micro fuel cell, a miniature version of fuel cell that      uses hydrogen from any hydrocarbon fuel.  A 2 ㎠ of micro fuel cell has an estimated  life of six years in this type of application proving a more sustainable  energy source than the current zinc-air batteries that last  approximately three weeks in this application. 

The new form enhances usability and addresses a number of technical problems. The microphone is located in front of the ear, maximizing the opportunity of sound capture. The speaker is placed within the ear canal to reduce acoustic error resulting in improved sound quality and effectively decreasing the ‘echo’ sensation experienced when the close proximity of the speaker to the eardrum gives the sound a natural boost in volume. Another benefit of the distance between these elements is the reduction in auditory feedback.

There’s also Phonak’s ‘Audeo Personal Communication Assistant’. 


Although the Audeo’s got a chipset that’s as powerful as a Pentium processor, judging from these press adverts, they seem to be targeting the hearing impaired ex-Gladiator market.

Sunning Myself in Mars

Mars24 is a really cool downloadable tool for all you astronomy fanboys and girls out there. It displays the Mars sunclock, a graphical representation of Mars and a readout of the time in 24-hour format, amongst many other cool things.

Captain, set course to Mars....

Captain, set course to Mars....


You can also use the program to display a panoramic view of where the Mars Phoenix is currently located, and can adjust it to see north, south, east and west viewpoints. I like the feature that allows you to see the local time for Earthlings and Martians.

I’ll just hook this into my Tom Tom and off I go!