KEY TAKEAWAYS / 07.11.2024

Daily news and stories covering everything from the Fashion System, Investment, and AI to WEB3 and Crypto that truly matter in Metaverse Fashion.



👯 Index Ventures has worked with a long list of companies that have become mainstays in the tech world. Think fintech giants Revolut and Wise, public transit app Citymapper and food delivery mainstay Deliveroo.

📢 “We’re just beginning to see where AI can make a difference,” Hannah Seal, partner at Index Ventures, told Fortune Wednesday. “That’s why this is so timely because this is the point at which we really see AI, especially in the application layer, starting to come to fruition.”

💥Index is no stranger to investing in AI companies. Last year, it was among French startup Mistral’s backers in a $113 million funding round, which increased Mistral’s valuation to €240 million ($260 million). Now, it is Europe’s most valuable AI company at €6 billion ($6.5 billion). Scale AI and Wordsmith are also among Index’s other investments.

🎩 While Europe has seen some prominent players emerge in the recent generative AI boom, it still needs to catch up with the U.S. as fewer companies have achieved the scale that the likes of OpenAI and Anthropic have.

🦄 Europe has a robust ecosystem of early-stage AI startups, while Britain is already starting to see funds flow to it in the form of big tech investments by Microsoft and Salesforce’s AI hubs. Index has invented £1 billion ($1.3 billion) in U.K. tech, having backed 17 unicorns.

🦎 “We think Europe is going to be one of the most important ecosystems for AI,” Seal said, adding that Index is “excited to double down” on investing in the region.



😎 Forget for one moment the complex interplay between technological advancement and traditional creative processes in the fashion industry, and have a look at Mango’s first AI-generated campaign.

📢 "This initiative reflects our continued commitment to innovation in the fashion world," Jordi Alex, Chief Information Technology Officer at Mango said in a statement emailed to FashionUnited. "AI is a technological revolution with great opportunities that should act as a co-pilot to extend the capabilities of our employees" he adds.

⛓ What is interesting, however, is that Mango has been integrating artificial intelligence into its operations since 2018. An early adopter of new technologies, Mango said it began developing over fifteen distinct AI-powered platforms across various aspects of its value chain. These innovations span from pricing strategies to personalised customer experiences, showcasing the company's commitment to technological advancement in the fashion industry.

🗣 One of Mango's most notable AI implementations is an internal conversational platform designed to address the needs of employees and partners. This system likely streamlines communication and enhances operational efficiency within the organization. Additionally, the company has introduced an image generation AI platform that serves as a wellspring of inspiration for its design and product teams. This tool aids in the creation of prints, fabrics, and garments, while also providing ideas for window displays, architecture, and interior design, thus fostering creativity and innovation across multiple facets of the business.



😎The former army sergeant from North Carolina — who had turned 21 while serving in Iraq — was on his way to a job interview at Facebook for a product manager role. Pompliano had founded two small tech startups after he left military service and sold the second, a track record that attracted the attention of recruiters at both Google and Facebook. But he had spent his life so far away from Silicon Valley that he had no idea what a product manager even was.

💥That didn’t stop him from pursuing the job. Instead, he read some product management blogs that were all mentioning the same book. So he bought a copy. “On the flight to San Francisco, I literally read a book called ‘The Art of Project Management,’” he told TechCrunch. “Then I went into the interview and tried to regurgitate everything that I had read in the book and not sound stupid. I was fortunate enough to get the job.”

🔅Pompliano just announced his most recent venture: Professional Capital Management. It’s a company he created about two years ago to incubate startups and provide traditional asset management with some of the profits from those incubated companies. Pompliano is upfront that this business idea is going to be difficult to pull off, and that’s one of the reasons he’s attracted to the idea. Any normal person, he said, would probably not sign up to do incubation and asset management at the same time.

⬛As Pomp himself puts it: “If you’re going to play the professional sport of investing, you better be maniacal about finding information, constantly questioning your own assumptions and learning. The only way you can do that is always being exposed to new ideas and people who think differently than you.”


Vogue Business

🔬 Captivating influencers with dermatology credentials are the new must-have promoters for beauty brands. Elf ambassador Dr Jenny Liu (@DrJennyLiu) and social media-famed Dr Andrea Suarez (@DrDrayzDay) were among the most influential TikTok amplifiers for brands last year.

📱 Social media continues to be the primary discovery channel for beauty consumers on the hunt for new products, with 39 per cent of respondents citing it as such. Scientifically backed, versatile and natural ingredients are all driving search traffic according to the Vogue Business Beauty Trend Tracker, reinforcing the power of so-called ‘skintellectuals’ as well as the need for brands to cater to this consumer group.

🎤 Bringing in medical dermatologists, especially those happy to expose science-free claims, is one way of upholding brand credentials — “standing up for truth” is yet to lose its consumer appeal. Though vetting for medical ambassadors or partnerships must be rigorous, as one ‘bad’ dermatologist or a single skin advice scandal can undermine the trust brands seek to cultivate.

🎙 Another way to tap this trend is aligning a brand with other health and wellness spheres. La Roche-Posay’s rise to third place in the Vogue Business Beauty Index ranking coincides, in part, with a very successful SPF partnership with the US Open. The ad campaign drew close to 40 million views on YouTube, making it the most-viewed piece of content during the review period for the Vogue Business Beauty Index.



💍 Samsung proved it could still offer up surprises when it capped off January’s Unpacked with the reveal of the Galaxy Ring. The brief teaser was understood to be key validation for the nascent wearable form factor. While the smart ring concept isn’t entirely new, the category has thus far been dominated by Oura.

♨ At Unpacked 2024, the company shared more details about the Galaxy Ring, which represents the first take on the category from a hardware giant. Samsung has effectively beaten Apple, Google and the like to the punch, with a health and fitness device that slots in nicely with the rest of its health efforts. It can be preordered starting Wednesday at $399.

💥 Samsung has flirted with all number of different form factors; remember the IconX earbuds with built-in heart monitoring? Throughout the course of its efforts, however, everything always seems to come back to the Galaxy Watch. The addition of a ring to its wearable portfolio is promising for a couple of reasons. First, Oura and its ilk have already proved that plenty of customer interest exists. Second, the functionality here augments — rather than replaces — all of the stuff devices like the Galaxy Watch already do.

💎 Of course, there’s some Galaxy AI implications here, as well, pulling together metrics from sleep, activity, sleeping heart rate and sleeping heart rate variability to pull together what Samsung calls “holistic insights and motivational encouragement.” Most intriguing of all, the aforementioned features are all available without a paid subscription. There’s no guarantee Samsung doesn’t go down that route eventually, but for now, that’s certainly a point it has over Oura’s $6 monthly fee.


Business of Fashion

👑In the weeks before June’s couture shows, workers in European ateliers hunched over garments carefully sewing and ornamenting them with beads and other decorative flourishes, at times with little more than skilled hands and an eyed needle. Some 40,000 years ago, a similar scene was taking place, for much the same reasons.

⛓In a new paper that happened to coincide with the couture shows last month, an international team of researchers made the argument that the advent of eyed needles was connected to a “pivotal shift” in clothing and human history. Prior to that point, humans appear to have made the earliest tailored garments — ones that were actually fitted to the body, rather than just animal skins wrapped around it — by scraping hides, puncturing holes in them with bone awls and tying the pieces together with fibres or sinew in order to keep warm in chilly climates. Eyed needles let palaeolithic humans pierce holes and thread fibres simultaneously, which was more efficient and also allowed for more refined stitching.

📢“Eyed needles mark that transition in the function of clothing from a physical necessity in certain environments at certain times to a necessary social function at all times,” said Dr. Ian Gilligan, a researcher at the University of Sydney and lead author of the paper.

🔬 The implication is that fashion and technology have been intertwined from the start. The relationship has often been symbiotic: Fashion in many ways wouldn’t exist as it does without technology, but technology wouldn’t be as it is today without fashion.

🤖 Gilligan said this social function of clothing, which also came to include modesty, is the reason clothing has persisted and why we still wear clothes now. So next time you’re grateful to have clothes and not be delivering a presentation to a group or standing on a crowded bus or train naked, say a little thanks to the eyed needle.

Daily news and stories covering everything from the Fashion System, Investment, and AI to WEB3 and Crypto that truly matter in Metaverse Fashion.