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18 October 2019

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: Senja Cosmetics, Finland. Branding by Werklig


This week: Topshop's self-care clothing, spiritual skin cleansing, Freitag's bag swap, London's first rum blending house and upcycled luxury sweaters.

Topshop and Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) collection, campaign by Havas London

1. Topshop turns care labels into wellbeing manifesto

UK – Coinciding with World Mental Health Day, clothing retailers Topshop and Topman have launched a series of garments promoting self-care.

Targeting younger consumers, the brands have partnered with mental health charity Campaign Against Living Miserably(CALM) on a range of T-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts. The designs take cues from clothing care tags that normally provide washing instructions; instead the oversized labels encourage wearers to take better care of themselves by sharing problems, taking time to ‘iron them out with a mate’, and if they’re ‘feeling completely spun out’ to call CALM's helpline.

Priced from £16 to £35, a donation of £5 from each item purchased will be given to CALM to support its helpline and webchat service. The clothing collection is part of the wider campaign led by Havas London, #LetWhatsInsideOut, urging people to reach out to friends, family or CALM’s services.

Topman in particular is demonstrating how a men’s retail brand can help to destigmatise notions of the sad boy, using fashion as a marker of progress and openness.

Strange Bird

2. Alchemic skincare with a spiritual edge

US – Emerging skincare brand Strange Bird unites consumers’ rising interest in spirituality with traditional Chinese beauty regimes.

Created by life coach Tina Rudolf, the brand aims to turn skin cleansing into a daily wellbeing ritual – something she calls Positive Impact Skincare. The range, which includes the Inner Clarity Cleanser and Inner Balance Serum, takes inspiration from the skincare routines of Rudolf’s Chinese mother and grandmother. Its ingredients include ginger, ginseng and goji berries, alongside mineral essences from rose quartz, amethyst and clear quartz crystals.

To elevate skincare routines ‘into a ritual of self love’, each product is inscribed with a mantra and a spiritual prompt. ‘Strange Bird combines ancient Chinese beauty traditions with high vibrational alchemy to help women create a daily practice that supports their skin goals and their life goals,’ Rudolf explains.

With traditional Chinese medicine tipped to be a growth market in the 2020s, Strange Bird represents a new direction in Ritualistic Beauty.

S.W.A.P by FREITAG, image by Fabian Hugo

3. Swipe right for Freitag's bag exchange

Zurich – The Swiss bagmaker has launched an exchange programme that lets customers freely swap their Freitag bags using a platform inspired by dating apps.

Freitag’s S.W.A.P. (Shopping Without Any Payment) platform encourages sustainable and conscious consumption, while creating an online community among the brand’s customers. The programme, which gives the brand’s long-lasting products a second life, allows owners to exchange their bags with each other, without spending any money.

To get started, customers must register their bag and upload a photo. From there, they can swipe right on bags they like and left on ones they don’t. When two users match, they are able to negotiate the swap between themselves. As each of the brand’s products are unique, there is no chance of duplicates circulating throughout the programme and Freitag envisions a ‘never-ending bag swap craze’.

By creating a social, interactive platform to extend the life-cycle and use of its products, the brand is giving Community Commerce a sustainable edge.

4. Hayman's spotlights the history of British rum

London – The gin producer has launched Charles Merser & Co, the first rum blending house in London for more than a century.

The new rum brand launches its first product, Merser’s Double Barrel, in October and represents a fresh era for the heritage gin distillery. Charles Merser & Co will source, blend, marry and bottle mature Caribbean rums to create new tastes ‘distilled in the Caribbean but very much made in London’.

James Hayman, co-owner of the distillery, says that his family was once involved in London’s rum trade and sourced liquid from West India Docks to create its own proprietary blends over 100 years ago. ‘Over recent years, people have come to understand the important role that gin has played in London’s social history but rum’s story remains untold,’ says Jonathan Gibson, brand director. ‘With Merser’s we aim to explore that history, to bring back those lost traditions and to encourage a renaissance of interest in London rum.’

By expanding into rum in an oversaturated gin market, Hayman’s is highlighting London’s overlooked social history while also challenging the meaning of provenance.

Charles Merser & Co
ReCashmere by Everlane

5. Everlane gives cashmere a second life

US – The ReCashmere collection will halve the carbon footprint of traditional sweaters.

To create the collection, Everlane teamed up with the Millefili mill in Italy, which specialises in upcycling cashmere wool. The mill collects worn sweaters through a recycling scheme, then – likened to painters mixing pigments – it chooses different colours to comb into new yarns. Finally, Millefili blends them with extra-fine merino wool to create cashmere with a 50% smaller carbon footprint.

The mill has also assessed the lifecycle of ReCashmere to measure the environmental impact of a sweater’s life, from manufacturing and repairs to recycling. Recently, cashmere producers have struggled with increasing global demand, which has had a damaging effect on grasslands and goat herds in Mongolia.

To see how fashion brands around the world are innovating to give garments a second life and decrease their impact on the planet, explore our Fashion sector.

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