top 11 social good trends Mega brands are adopting to enact change.
And why you should too…
We have collected data captured by Ai technology, analyzed it, found the consistent patterns and picked the top 11 trends that your brand should adopt or the very least be aware of as we go forward into 2020.
In 2018 and the advent of 2019 we saw the ‘metoo’ movement and initiatives toward women empowerment gain momentum.
We experienced a rising voice for minorities that has become more powerful and have created opportunity for conversations that previously, were swept under the rug.
The fashion industry has never shied from the opportunity of expression and experimentation when movements arise, from runway and editorial concepts to campaigns and bold collections, it has always been an industry at the forefront of social and political statements in the journey of change.
Aside from the fashion world, other industries are also leveraging on social and politically charged movements. Not only to get noticed but also in the strategy for brand longevity as we move into a new space and way of thinking thanks to the Millennial and Gen Z effect.
Time to read: 5 to 10 minutes
Don’t have the time? Here are the key Buzz words to remember:
- Modest movement
- Celebrity leverage
- Innovative, family orientated kids brands
- Engaged pop ups
- The Gen Z effect
- Inclusion and diversity
- Hand crafted and USP
- Activism, disruption and awareness
- Gender neutral rewired
- In harmony with technology
11) Modest wear movement
The modest wear movement has been a long time coming and growing for the past 10 years but the impact is felt now more than ever!
It’s refreshing and well deserved as we move away from misconceptions of modest women from Middle East or Islamic backgrounds. These women are finding their voice and space more often thanks to social media, open and inclusive dialogues.
Modest wear, although its’ roots are founded by Muslim women claiming back their garments, is relevant and transcends for all women which is probably why it has gained so momentum and popularity.
When asked about modest wear most women from diverse backgrounds, use words like – very trendy, sophisticated, classy, good for layering, multi functional and appropriate for the work or professional space.
Forbes states that ”Muslim consumers spent an estimated $243 billion on clothing in 2015. Modest fashion purchases by Muslim women were estimated at $44 billion that year, which was approximately 18% of the total.
Muslim consumer spending on clothing is expected to reach $368 billion by 2021, which would be a 51% increase from 2015.” – not too bad for ‘oppressed’?
It’s no surprise we see luxury ‘Western’ brands try to tap into this market, however, some getting it more right than others.
So which brands are doing well with this segment?
We discover brands that are connecting seamlessly with conservative women are the ones that are
Communicating with them more
The brands that arise from among themselves
The brands who truly take the time to understand their needs.
Brands that are more ‘foreign’ are connecting with these women by getting into the space of collaboration and genuine communication, thus creating a mutual synergy between the women and the brand.
Nike takes on Sport Hijab by solving a problem for Muslim women athletes.
Nike collaborated with female Muslim athlete’s on the struggles they faced while wearing hijab in their competitive space, a lot of athletes could not hear the coach or referee well and would false start or miss signals, they also experienced a weighted feeling from the sweat from the traditional hijab.
The designers at Nike went straight to work to create the breathable head piece that assisted the women to stay focused on their performance rather than battling with their garments.
Arwa Al Banawi and Adidas collaboration
Adidas went all the way in collaboration with Arwa Al Banawi, an up and coming Saudi designer.
The capsule collection has 10 pieces of gorgeously designed athleisure. Adidas made the move to connect with this market through collaboration and finding amazing aspiring talents that are admired in their communities – specifically Millennial and Gen Z.
Diana Kotb – a brand arising from among this niche – is geared toward the women who loves sophistication, luxury and well tailored pieces.
Diana has her background in the fashion industry working with Designers and then Marie Claire. She decided to launch her own collection and made it to feature in Harper’s Bazaar ,Singapore, where she states “As a Muslim woman who wears the hijab, not only was it difficult to find modest clothing, but virtually impossible to find luxury designer modest wear”, which then prompted her to follow her dreams as a designer.
Diana is an example of a conservative woman who understands the needs personally, decided to fill the gap in the market and cater to those needs.
10) Celebrity market surge
Collaborating with celebrities and high profile influencers has always been good for business even before the rise of social media. The surge is now greater than before when there are opportunities for micro influencers that can really zone into a niche for brand strategy.
As a ripple effect, we see high profile celebrities slowly moving away from being included as ‘just brand ambassadors’ but now called upon to be a part of the creative and design process, making them truly engaged with the product and adding in the personal signatures for their fans.
We can name endless collaboration from the past two years from sneakers, make up and perfume lines to clothing brands, but what really stood out for us was Vogue’s unique use of this strategy – a print magazine that doesn’t create consumable product lines but managed to still collaborate with a celebrity beyond a cover or article feature.
Beyonce’s September issue of Vogue.
Vogue took a different approach to this strategy for their September 2018 issue, where they not only had Beyonce grace the cover but also gave her full reign over the content! A first for Vogue and an opportunity for Beyonce to make history. In all epic pursuit, she hired Tyler Mitchell to photograph the issue – He is the first black photographer to shoot an American Vogue in the magazine’s 125 years of history!
Beyonce took the opportunity and made a statement that gave her major credit and connected her community to Vogue.
9) Innovative companies for kids
The kids wear and children consumer market has always been rewarding for many companies and start up brands. From 2019 into 2020 we will see a growth of kids orientated products with smart design features by family orientated brands that know their customer well.
Introducing one of our fun favourites – Kids box!
Similar to Stitchfix – this innovative brand brings a fresh new take on kids styling.
kids take the quiz on the website, and a box that matches their style aesthetics are sent to them! Kids get to choose their favourite items and send the rest back – You only pay for what you take!
This brand is not only socially aware but also has become a platform for kids that are ‘little leaders’ and online stylists for other kids! Brilliant concept.
“Kidbox is at the head of a trend that sees a world in which every person will have their own personalized storefront for literally anything”
Kids’ empowerment focus
Kidbox is also a socially aware company that recently teamed up with TO THE MARKET on a new ethically made t-shirt campaign.
The shirts are made by women in India that are in vulnerable communities, with the phrase “Confidence is My Favorite Super Power” on the front.
To celebrate Women’s History Month, the brand included this new shirt in the March monthly subscription box.
The collaboration between KIDBOX and TO THE MARKET, created empowerment for not only the women who made each shirt, but for the children who wear the styles.
Kidbox made a brilliant move here by genuinely connecting a social cause that involve both women and children.
8) Functional and engaging pop ups
Some brands might say their local pop ups aren’t the same as they use to be, with designers usually stating to us that the conversion rate at pop ups have dropped – Pop ups have shifted from cool, spontaneous places to shop and find unique pieces to spaces where people like to pass the time on a weekend afternoon or for social media stories.
With transactions happening less these days and people showing up for the #hype, we shouldn’t totally disregard the pop up market strategy but rather leverage the social impact we can create for our brand.
How are brands doing pop ups differently? Customer experience is the word to remember.
Servicing pop ups with the consumers needs in mind
We saw Benefit use this technique over the holidays, where they realized customers may be in a rush but need quick and easy grooming services.
The station was themed in a festive bright pink and also included cocktails, festive activities, an on-site Benefit Christmas shop and a DIY gift wrapping station to help last-minute shoppers and make their lives easy. A strategy that was totally consumer focused on what they will need in this time period in comparison to the idea of a space that sells their cosmetics only.
“M&M’s engaged their customers and made them feel a part of the decision-making process of the brand in creating new product innovation,” Sunny Jenkins, evp of HL Group said of M&M’s pop-up success.
Engaged pop ups – getting to know the followers
Kanye West and Adidas innovative move of buying Yeezys at a pop up stall set up as a lemonade stand, a strategy that brings up feelings of childhood nostalgia and fosters community engagement, as the stands were be family run for the day in various neighbourhoods – A different take on the idea of pop up – high end product combined with core community values.
Another great social impact that was added, is that the proceeds of the Yeezy lemonade pop ups went toward mental illness awareness which Kanye West personally struggled with.
7) The Gen Z effect
The new generation is incredibly switched on and tuned into what’s happening around us.
They are the most in touch generation thanks to technology and social media. A generation that has human values of inclusion and acceptance at their core, it’s best to get and stay on their good side.
Brands that are connecting with Gen Z are the ones that make them feel a part of the process, are engaging and keep their needs and values in mind.
Adidas and Stormzy
Brands often draw on popular culture to attract an audience, with the worlds of music and sport most typically being used to target youngsters.
Adidas’s partnership with UK grime artist Stormzy is a prime example of this, with the UK grime artist being specifically used to market the brand’s sportswear range as more youth-focused and cutting edge.
Axe Canada launched #PraiseUp
A campaign designed to combat the outdated and harmful norms of male stereotypes. It was based on its own research, which found that men aged 15 to 25 are more inclusive, in touch with their emotions and accepting.
In order to celebrate and reaffirm the notion that young men should be more open and complimentary, Axe challenged its audience to record themselves giving praise to their friends and post the video on social media. This was a brilliant campaign that understood Gen Z’s new values well and how to incorporate social media to create the hype and make it trend with the #PraiseUp.
6) Inclusion on the runway and diversity in our lives
Whether your brand has thought about it or not, inclusion and diversity are both embraced and accepted in our new future.
It’s time for brands to reassess their teams and find the gaps before Millennial and Gen Z call you out on it.
We advise brands to take a look and introspect, could you be more diverse? Could you function better if you had different inputs from other race groups or cultural backgrounds? Could you tap into new markets by including its people?
Any brand that doesn’t strategise or include diversity, not only in their marketing campaigns but also in their teams, become less attractive and more out of touch with Millennial and Gen Z values.
New campaigns include for the different
As much of the street style photography for Coachella tends to focus on thin white models, influencers, and others with similar aesthetics who abide by more commonly promoted Western beauty ideals, Teen Vogue wanted to highlight the many that don’t fit into this out dated, narrow narrative.
To do so, it primarily focused on non-white attendees, as well as those who could be considered “plus size” or disabled.
With this project, Teen Vogue highlights the beauty of the many different people who are too often left out of fashion photography, and prompts others in the industry to be more aware and inclusive.
The Burberry Spring 2018 Celebrates Diversity
In support of the LGBTQ+ community, Burberry redesigned its classic checkered plaid for their Spring 2018 runway show in support of progression and equality.
It was a bold move of expression, diversity and individualism that the fashion house celebrated with flowy boxy cuts, statement pieces and excessively colorful silhouettes.
Culturally inclusive street wear and collaborations
The capsule highlights unity, projects solidarity and respect for the Mexican culture and heritage that exists in the United States.
With USA migration policies that are largely disconnected from the new world that Millennial and Gen Z want to create, this collection focuses on love, togetherness and brotherhood.
The collection aims to celebrate the infusion of two cultures and it shows this idea through a highlighting item – the US flag merged with the Mexican traditional serape fabric.
Becarra explains that this flag is designed to represent everyone who strives to be legal in the beautiful country of United States.
5) Hand craft appreciation
We seek pieces of items from clothing to furniture, food and cosmetics that have elements of good craftsmanship.
Elements that make products feel that they were made just for you or represent a story that otherwise would not be easily accessible.
Consumers are in search of products that are different from the norm and don’t mind to spend that little extra for something that has a signature of unique or different. Pieces that spark conversation, awareness and support good causes are much desired and ties in with our #1 social trend.
Abadia Middle East fashion brand
Abadia is a Middle East brand working with traditional craftsmanship. They work with over 40 female artisans under their creative direction to bring about unique pieces using traditional weaving (Sadu) and embroidery techniques and knowledge passed down from generation to generation, delicately placed into their final products.
The brand prides itself on being timeless, connecting with heritage, empowerment, its roots and sustainability.
Kaross started as an opportunity for rural women to make a living for their families in South Africa. The woven cloths produced are incredibly vibrant, unique and a celebration of African textile tradition. Their textiles are 100% hand crafted, durable and well made with unique aesthetics much desired by clients looking for pieces that add character to their home decor.
Exploration of hand craft traditions
You can become hands on with traditional crafts by taking part of the many workshops set up and trending in different cities, All centered around celebrating heritage and appreciation.
Locally in UAE we have Al Ghadeer Crafts and Qasr Al Hosn running workshops seasonally, reflecting traditional Emirati burqa design, Khoos weaving, dyeing of natural fibres, Talli (decorative yarn), Sadu weaving, Emirati incense making, Finjan (coffee cup) making, henna production and traditional doll making.
4) Activism, disruption and awareness campaigns
Call out culture is the norm!
We know this from the many hashtags that were trending in 2016 right up to 2019 #blacklivesmatter #metoo #socialjustice. Enough is enough as we see ourselves wanting world peace and economic freedoms for Millennial and Gen Z principles.
The new generation aren’t afraid to speak what’s on their mind and if your brand happens to not fit new core values, best believe Gen Z will call you out on it and probably not think twice to publicly shame brands on social feeds – many brands have experienced this and had to implement damage control.
Love it or hate it, call out culture has opened avenues for discussion and sharing of lives and struggles as we try to find more empathy in the new world.
Dior’s Fall/Winter 2018 Boasts Equality and Female Empowerment – Call out campaign.
The Dior Ready-to-Wear 2018 debuted its distinctive activist fashion statement pieces at Musée Rodin in Paris.
Dior had partaken in the haute couture movement for equality and acceptance by way of runway activist fashion designs and occasionally shocking silhouettes.
What made this Fall/Winter collection striking is its clear historic heritage with its nod to 60’s feminist movements.
Despite the fact that the outfits are informed by a period of significant political upheaval, creative Maria Grazia Chiuri goes one step further by incorporating the narrative of the past to that of the 21st century garments.
Dior’s activist fashion ensembles contain cue’s in the form of graphics and motifs, derived from 1968 – a significant year in France that was riddled with “student protests, workers’ strikes and the birth of the women’s liberation front.”
Disrupting the runway from the norm – Designer Rio Uribe, of Gypsysportny attempts to create a “safe zone for personal expression and body positivity” for everyone— man, woman, non-binary person and child.
The collection boasts provocative black and white designs that reveal and celebrate each individual. The transgender models walk boldly and freely in the safe space created by the high fashion label.
#Unignorable – A social good colour campaign
United Way #Unignorable campaign is a collaboration between the social good organization, artist Malika Favre and global colour authority Pantone.
The campaign consists of a new and bold shade — named “Unignorable” – developed by Pantone specifically for United Way to highlight important social issues across Canada.
These issues range from poverty and mental illness to depression, domestic violence and a lack of employment and job security among today’s youth. Artist Malika Favre’s work translates various social issues through a vivid and simplistic visual language.
3) Gender neutral rewired
From adult to kids we see gender neutral brands make waves in fashion, cosmetics and lifestyle industries.
Gender neutral is not only a focus on our clothing but also how we interact and see each other in social settings, including the bias we associate in regards to our capabilities and opportunities whether in the work space, schools or circles of friends and families.
It’s important for brands to factor this new social point of view when developing products or strategy for engagement. How could you product be fine tuned for both genders? how do you establish campaigns that target better?
Kids gender neutral collections strategy
Brands are focused on casual street wear for kids that can be worn by both girls and boys – pieces that are fun and relevant but non suggestive to gender cliches, like pink is for girls and blue is for boys – the brands also represent elements of inclusion and campaigns around anti bullying.
Abercrombie Kids released the ‘Everybody Collection,’ its line of gender-neutral children’s clothing. The collection consists of 25 different pieces that range from sweaters, outerwear, classic pieces, and accessories.
Whistle & Flute
Whistle & Flute is the sweetest brand for kids! All their fabrics are organic and they definitely understand their target market. They also carry adult sizes and is a brand that is family orientated.
Gardner And the Gang
One of my personal favourites! Gardner and the gang just ticks all the boxes and gets it right for a kids brand! They are fun, colourful, edgey in a playful cute way and they just get kids!
They are also a socially conscious brand and collaborative. Definitely a brand that understand the current market.
Gender-free street wear label WE ARE MORTALS released a new line of futuristic and unique sunglasses.
The label’s distinctive and noticeable style is inspired by futuristic thinking that removes gender from clothes and offers over sized clothing options that mix functionality with fashion.
“Statistics show 38 percent of Gen Z-ers ‘strongly agreed’ that gender no longer defines a person as much as it used to, and 27 percent of Millennials felt the same way,” says Christina Zervanos
2) HARMONY with technology
As we start packing our emergency suit cases for Mars and planning an exit route off this planet, lets stop and take a minute to discover exactly what technology will be needed.
Que the Ai and tech advances that have become all the craze and buzz words. Although a different industry, tech is definitely an element that every company needs, especially in retail and fashion, not just from being inspired by the theme and how we create collections or invent fabrics but also how we run our businesses and retail space.
Here’s a few insights of when tech meets fashion.
High tech fabrics
ĀPA-Intemporal – Created to quickly respond to the changing weather, the outerwear piece is ideal for adventures, as well as city environments.
The minimalist and stylish raincoat is fully seam-sealed and waterproof, with an integrated thermo-adaptive breathable membrane that ensures the individual stays comfortable and dry during challenging weather.
Nike also introduces their incredible sports bra using Flyknit material that has gone through over 600 hours of biometric testing to fit the body comfortably.
The bra selection offers 57 styles with three levels in an expansive size selection up to 44G, constructed from three innovative concepts and 12 materials. Love it!!!
Interactive fashion tech
The latest Han Kjøbenhavn Spring/Summer 2019 collection
Embraces a unique campaign shoot that explores deeper themes surrounding technological immersion. The images boast muted somber colors and it aims to capture the essence of ‘trying to fit in’.
It shifted from kids playing outdoors to indoors bound by electronic entertainment. The capsule uses natural fabric materials along with floral prints contrasted by technical fabrics with modern electronic artwork
Digital models and Ai influencers
Humans? well that’s a thing of the past it seems – introducing digital models and Ai influencers that I’m sure you have come across on your social media feeds.
These models and influencers are on the increase and collaborating with high end brands like Balmain, Ellesse and featured on the cover of Hypebeast, in the pages of V Magazine wearing cool ‘It-brands’ like Balenciaga and Kenzo.
It’s become an interesting space to explore in the cross culture of tech and fashion, how people respond and connect to these non human ‘beings’.
With the coming of Ai technology there will soon be an opportunity for every person to have their own personal Ai stylist or shopper, suggesting clothes and collections that fit our very own taste and body type from the touch of our mobile devices.
Don’t be surprised one day if you come across Ai fashion designers, personal stylists or robotic sales representatives in the mall.
The question is where will your brand fit in the equation?
1) Sustainability – get with it.
Not just a buzz word but probably a new norm and way of life in the future. We see sustainability trend in multiple markets and industries as we strategise to think, rethink and create differently as life as we know it very much depends on us changing!
Sustainability is number one not only because it has made an appearance in almost every trend segment but also due to its urgency and priority as we move forward. Sustainability is a Global Mega trend and one you should not ignore.
We predict brands that don’t incorporate elements of sustainability or environmental awareness, brands that are unable to track their impact on the environment and have that data easily available for their consumers, could easily risk their influence and the possibility of seeming out of touch, dated and not part of the new world values and principles.
Start ups are being created based on the sustainable business model – from new ways to process plastics, create new materials, upcycling , recreating and reinventing pieces – the idea is that there is no need to take new resources from the earth when we can recycle and reinvent every piece we have harvested or are currently using.
The reinvention is where innovation lays and companies understanding sustainability and how to recreate their brands, will probably be the ones that dominate the near future market.
Here are a few brands doing sustainability right.
Ethical and sustainable swimwear
Galamaar is an ethical Los Angeles-based brand that produces environmentally conscious minimalist swimsuits.
The brand takes a firm stance against the practices of high fashion and believes that “conscious consumerism is the New Wave.”
Through transparent LA-located manufacturing processes, carefully sourced materials and recycled fabrics, Galamaar seeks to inspire, motivate and empower environmentally conscious perceptions.
The label’s minimalist swimsuits are created to be chic and timeless. However, their value really comes from the “amazing sustainable techno-fabric.” For its designs, Galamaar uses a nylon synthetic that is created from discarded fishing nets — a material that constitutes almost 10% of pollution. Because of this choice in fabric, the minimalist swimsuits are highly durable and have amazing retention of fit.
Lacoste Aims to Protect Endangered Species
In collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the brand swapped out the green alligator with the number of surviving animals of each species on the endangered list. This was an awareness campaign that the brand wanted to bring to life.
Lacoste is getting rid its iconic alligator logo and replacing it with 10 new logos to spotlight the most endangered species in the world.
The 10 new logos on Lacoste’s classic polo are available online now, with proceeds from the collection being donated to the organizations that protect each endangered species.
Blooming blankets – Upcycled coats
Marine Serre introduces a plus blanket coat as a part of its Spring/Summer 2019 menswear selection.
The unique coat is designed is constructed from upcycled materials that make it sustainable from the production process. To evoke the same eco-friendly message, the entire structure boasts larger blooming sunflowers.
FYI: As we move into A/w 2019 and 2020 collection we will see a rise in bold fur coats with large printing, making this upcycled piece on trend.
Analog Watch Co. bring us these cork watches utilize alternative band materials and make use of an interesting coloring technique. For its ‘Somm Collection,’ Analog Watch Co. leverages the staining properties of tannins — an organic substance that gives wine its flavour.
The result is a beautiful set of cork watches that are sustainable, minimalist and interesting.
In addition to using environmentally friendly materials, the company has committed to planting an oak tree for every cork watch sold.
Ethical and cruelty free hand bags
Extremely elegant and sleek cruelty-free handbag is created by Polish designer Alexandra K. who won the PETA Award for Best Handbag.
The silhouette of the luxe piece reflects the values of sustainable manufacturing both in reference to materials and the environment in general. The product is PU and PVC-free and only non-toxic high-quality materials were used in its making.
The bag was gifted to Megan Markel as a birthday gift, the bags are available by order here.
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