for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant


With high-street retailers getting designer copies into stores within weeks, and transeasonal collections creating confusion on the catwalks, the newly relaunching fashion brand Halston have decided to shake up the traditional industry structure by offering a selection of their new range on fashion e-tailer Net-a-porter the day after the show.

Last season Net-a-porter scored a coup by offering the chance to order the new RM for Roland Mouret collection the day after the show, but whilst this still left a few months wait for delivery, the new deal with Halston will let shoppers buy – and receive – the new collection 24 hours after the catwalk show.

‘As the collection goes down the runway on 4 February and the press and buyers are seeing it for the first time, two of the key pieces will be sitting, wrapped, packed and ready to go in our distribution centres in Manhattan and London for worldwide delivery,’ Net-a-porter founder Natalie Massenet explains.

‘We are allowing a luxury brand to reclaim the right to sell to the customer first. We are only doing it with two looks, but hope that we are offering a glimpse to brands that we can change the fashion system and say, “We can get the product to the customer, because we can market and distribute in the world.”‘

WWD are calling it a groundbreaking move, saying ‘At a time when customers can see runway looks on fashion sites and blogs within hours of a designer’s final exit, and stores ask for earlier and earlier deliveries based on the strength of pre-collections, many industry executives are increasingly questioning the commercial validity of the much-hyped bi-annual runway extravaganzas’.

24 hours after the Halston show, Net-a-porter will present edited video footage of the runway show. Shoppers can then click and buy two looks, a $1,495 shirt dress for daytime, and a $1,795 silk evening dress. Due to launch today is a microsite on Net-a-porter featuring a retrospective of Halston curated by fashion writer and historian Colin McDowell, aiming to increase brand awareness in the run-up to the brand’s relaunch.

via WWD

Filed under: life online,



With the recent reports on McDonald’s being allowed to run it’s own A-level qualifications and Government offering cash incentives for losing weight, it seems that the British Government have got a bit confused in how best to educate the next generation. How refreshing then to see some people taking it upon themselves to teach children about the importance of giving rather than just receiving. The Observer reports on the Dragon School in Oxford’s new plan for ‘generosity’ classes, teaching philanthropy to the next generation of business brains. Having employed Daniel Gill as the exclusive private school’s director of social impact, Gill decided to introduce lessons on philanthropy as an alternative way to give back to the community.

‘I think it is crucial,’ he said about the initiative. ‘We are sowing the seeds for a new generation. We do want the pupils here to understand that by any stretch of the imagination they are privileged. We hope a lot of them will be successful in the future and in a position to give.’

Classes include giving children a pound, asking them to ‘grow it’ and then encouraging them to discuss which charity to donate to. They are also asked to consider whether their school fees have been well invested and to think about what else the money could be used for.

Beyond private school privilege, the article also comments on the Institute for Philanthropy, a non-profit organisation that aims to teach all people understand the impact of giving:

‘Philanthropy is not just about money; it is about time,’ said Musa Okwonga, a spokesman. Lending a charity a manager for two days a week could be equally valuable. The consultancy recently started working in a handful of state schools in London with 14 and 16-year-olds. ‘Giving is not an impulse, it is a skill,’ he said.

The organisation is running a Youth and Philanthropy Initiative – a unique programme designed to teach secondary school pupils the basic skills of effective giving and to highlight the positive impact they, as young people, can have on their communities.

Institute for Philanthropy

The Observer: Generosity Classes at Top School

Filed under: education, for the children, good,



With the latest issue of French Vogue styling their editorial shoot on multi-tattooed Amy Winehouse, and John Paul Gaultier sending his couture models down the catwalk complete with tattooed shoulders and legs (well, tights), it looks like the fashion industry is all for getting inked this season. A recent article in the NY Times also points to the current appetite for temporary tattoos as an adornment to an outfit- from the cute childhood ink transfers to more elaborate unique designs applied by make-up artists. In a time where many feel individuality is losing out to high street hegemony, tattoos are losing the social stigma once connected and seemingly helping fuel a return to self-expression:

“Temporary tattoos are back,” said Michael Benjamin, the president of Temptu, a New York supplier of mock tattoos and body paints. In more than a decade as Temptu’s chief executive, Mr. Benjamin has seen their status wax and wane. He said that in the last year or two, his business has doubled. And these days, he has an armful of competitors, companies like Funtoos, Tattoo Shock and Body Graphics.

Danielle Fonseca, who applied ink-transfer tattoos to a gaggle of models at Mr. Jacobs’s party, views them as a faintly kinky adjunct to traditional makeup. “They offer a kind of branding,” she said, “a way people have of defining themselves.”

“Tattoos add personality and character,” said Donald Simrock, a makeup artist who has fashioned a variety of fakes for fashion shows and advertising campaigns. “Like that vintage car you buy, they can be an extension of your personality.”

Tattooed for a Day, Wild for a Night

Filed under: stuff on the streets,


We’ve seen cars, bikes, bags, even dogs as part of ever-expanding popularity of rental schemes, but this is the first cow-rental plan I’ve encountered! New Zealand agricultural provider and finance company PGG Wrightson have launched a new livestock leasing plan to help farmers combat the rising price of dairy cows.

PGG Wrightson finance general manager Peter Engel said New Zealand had 3.92 million cows, worth about $7.83b. In the last 12 months, the value of a single dairy cow has risen from $1250 to $2000, making the capital value of an average dairy herd worth around $700,000.

The option could be used by farmers wanting to convert to dairy and those wanting to buy more land, who needed to free up some capital, or sharemilkers looking to expand quickly. It could also attract equity partners who wanted to buy out other partners.

The plan is based on a five-year lease, at a cost of 2.7% per cow per month. The cows go back to PGG at the end of the lease. Farmers would own the progeny, letting them build their herds.

read more here


Filed under: stuff,


Inspired by the most traditional of water-travel methods, SkySails aims to get cargo ships using wind power once again. With oil prices rising considerably, and industry increasingly interested in searching out cheaper alternatives, SkySails’ ‘wind propulsion system’ claims to be attracting a considerable amount of interest and it’s no great surprise why.


Essentially the system is two giant kites that act as sails that are connected through a towing rope rather than on a mast directly attached to the ship, plus a wind-optimised routeing system to get the best puff possible. According to the company, using the system average annual fuel costs can be lowered between 10-35% depending on the wind conditions, and up to 50% under optimal wind conditions. They estimate that at the current price of oil that could equate to a saving of 1/3 of a ship’s diesel costs. This has yet to be proved, though the company aims to do just that through it’s first commercial pilot, which launched on Tuesday.

‘A newly built cargo vessel was towed by the innovative wind propulsion of the Hamburg-based company SkySails on the North Sea near Bremerhaven, Germany for the first time. The 160m2 SkySails supported the main engine of the 132m long Multi Purpose Heavy Lift Carrier MS “Beluga SkySails” of the Bremen-based Beluga Shipping with approx. five tons tractive force at low wind.

The cargo ship will set off from Bremen to Venezuela and gain first experiences with the new system during the maiden voyage. “The maiden voyage marks the beginning of the practical testing during regular shipping operations of the SkySails-System. During the next few months we will finally be able to prove that our technology works in practice and significantly reduces fuel consumption and emissions”.


Filed under: evironmental insights,



Virgin held a press conference today for the unveiling of SpaceShipTwo, their first official space tourism vehicle specially designed by veteran aerospace designer Burt Rutan. Whilst the original concept design, SpaceShipOne, was launched over a year ago, this final refined model is now apparently 60% completed and due to start taking its first travelers next year.

As well as touting the exciting potential of galactic tourism and describing 2008 as ‘the Year of the Spaceship’, Richard Branson used the event to highlight his vision for space as a solution for the future of the planet:

“Our population is now heading to 9 billion people by the middle of this century — that’s three times more than when I was born. With the end of the oil era approaching, and climate change progressing faster than most models have been predicting, the utilisation of space is essential not only for communications but also for the logistics of survival through things such as weather satellites, agricultural monitoring, GPS and climate science.

I also believe that someday we will be able to use space as a source of energy for the planet, through solar power satellites, using the most sustainable source available – our Sun.”

Read the full transcript and see more pics at Virgin Galactic

Filed under: brand extensions, visions of the future, ,


M&SLeading UK retailer Marks & Spencer has teamed up with Oxfam to incentivize charitable donations. The ‘M&S and Oxfam Clothes Exchange’ aims to get everyone recycling their old clothes by offering a £5 M&S voucher in return for donating a bag of unwanted clothes to one of the charity’s stores that includes at least one item of M&S clothing (they will accept anything except underwear). A six month trial will run from January 28 in 790 branches of Oxfam across the UK and Republic of Ireland, with vouchers received valid for a month, in the hope that free money will encourage more recycling and reusing.

According to the press release:

The Exchange is designed to both raise money for Oxfam’s work to tackle poverty and injustice and to reduce the one million tonnes of clothing sent by the public to landfill in the UK each year. The announcement marks the first anniversary of Plan A, M&S’ ‘eco-plan’.

Stuart Rose, Chief Executive of M&S described it as ‘a triple win – it’s good for customers, good for people in developing countries and good for the environment’, although M&S may find it’s not so good for their profits. Which makes it a campaign to be applauded: with pretty much every wardrobe in the UK containing at least one piece of M&S clothing, and no restrictions on the age or state of the donation nor the amount of times a person donates, Oxfam may find itself giving out quite a lot of vouchers!


Marks & Spencer Plan A

Filed under: clever promotion, good,

The Great British Light Switch: Energy Saving Light Bulbs for All

Another weekend, another energy-saving light bulb giveaway, this time endorsed by the Prime Minister himself. The Great British Light Switch sees energy provider Southern Electric teaming up with national daily The Sun to offer two free light bulbs with every Saturday newspaper. A total of 4.5 million light bulbs are due to be given away, which according to their calculations equates to a total electricity saving of 41GWh per year: enough to power 10,000 households and apparently save a whopping £20,300,000 per year!

greatbritishlightswitch‘On Saturday January 19th The Sun is teaming up with Southern Electric for the Great British Light Switch – the biggest campaign ever run on a single day to giveaway 4.5 MILLION energy saving light bulbs. If all of these bulbs are installed we will cut total C02 emissions by up to 387,000 tonnes over the lifetime of the bulbs – that’s enough greenhouse gas to fill Wembley Stadium 49 times, or the equivalent of taking 100,000 cars off the road for a whole year!

Never before has an energy efficiency campaign of this size and scale been undertaken on one day, but we need YOUR help to make a real difference. There is no voucher to cut out – simply buy your Sun on Saturday January 19th at one of the 17,000+ retailers participating in our campaign and you will receive a twin pack of energy saving light bulbs ABSOLUTELY FREE!’

It’s an impressive stand for a newspaper more associated with breasts and football than current affairs to be involved in leading a campaign on climate change, and has the potential to create a real impact on general public attitudes towards making changes for a greener lifestyle.

The Great British Light Switch

Filed under: evironmental insights, good

Vans ‘Finger Fracture’ Touch-Screen Gaming for the iPhone

A brand that’s quick off the mark when it comes to new media formats, it looks like Vans have teamed up with the Miami Ad School to create a very cool-looking skateboarding game for the iPhone and iTouch that challenges finger dexterity using Apple’s touch screen technology.

vans iphone

Game Description:

‘Vans Finger Fracture is a swift skateboard game. In arcade style the user explores different levels and jumps over obstacles, always going for the best trick.

iPhone’s touch screen allows you to steer the skateboard in an intuitive way, as we know it from finger boards. Through special combinations and movements, like in the real World; a huge range of tricks can be performed. but you won’t break your neck doing it, rather your fingers’

You choose a rider by selecting one of the shoe models, each of which is loaded with a different specialism such as airtime, speed and balance then control, steer and perform special tricks using different finger movements. Definitely the coolest mobile gaming idea so far, ‘Finger Fracture’ even uploads your scores to a worldwide ranking list- bring on the global battles! No word on whether this is still a concept or due to be launched, anyone in the know?

vans iphone game

[via Trendwatch]

Filed under: brand extensions, , ,

Radiohead ‘Secret’ Gig Attracts 1500 Fans Within Hours

A supposedly surprise intimate gig by Radiohead caused a fair amount of commotion in London last night as the intended venue Rough Trade East record store and the surrounding area of Brick Lane was inundated with nearly 1500 fans. The band had quietly announced the gig on their website in the morning and had planned to give tickets to the first 200 fans and place screens outside for anyone else, but with the whole of London in the know by lunchtime and numbers swelling rapidly the event had to be quickly relocated to the club opposite; 93 Feet East. In return for running three hours late due to the move, the crowd was then treated to the whole of their new album rather than just the few songs they had planned. The event was also webcast live on for anyone who couldn’t make it to London that quickly!

After the great media coverage they received for sticking their fingers up at the music industry and giving the album away for free, the band have managed to get another dollop of free PR- with every newspaper across the country picking up on the story, the boys will have no doubt helped future ticket sales. But it somehow doesn’t seem like that was their aim. They are in no way the first band to offer ‘intimate gigs’, just the first to respond to their fans and adapt to a situation to be as inclusive as possible. As one fan said “the whole approach of Radiohead is different. Love it”.

From their website:

So, we’ve got a small gig tonight.

It’s in London at the Rough Trade East shop on Brick Lane, and we’re planning to play a short set of in rainbows material. It’s very limited free entry, first come first served. Also, as it might be a little uncomfortable for anyone queuing early, they’re planning a numbering system so people at the front of any queue can get snacks and toilet breaks in the store. Good bagels round there. But dress warm…doors won’t open until 7, and we’ll play at about 8.

For those who can’t get in – and it’s pretty small in there – we’ll have some screens and speakers outside, if we’re allowed. I think we are. And we’ll also webcast it. I’ll put the link up here, as well as any other info, later today.

Hope you can make it – should be….interesting. Us being us, we’re taking far too many instruments…..

watch a 3 minute video of the event at the Guardian website or watch the whole event at

Filed under: clever promotion, entertainment,