Issue #126

Megan Hotson


Welcome to your weekly dose of TooXToo, this week featuring River Studios, PLT’s second hand marketplace, Serena Williams’ younger AI self, and Budweiser’s basketball courts… 

River Studios  

Fashion retailer River Island has unveiled their latest concept ‘River studios’ which launch in Derby’s Derbion shopping centre.  

The brand hopes their new concept will “reinvigorate the modern high-street” presenting their retail with a new elevated visual approach.  

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The brand commented on the interiors look, and feel, explaining: “The interior will present a quirky mix of old and new, to create a fresh, unique environment, where natural materials mix with recycled and distressed furnishings and juxtapose with digital content to bring River Studios to life”. 

River Island have harnessed various technological elements to enhance the customer experience. For example, smart fitting rooms which will identify and display items that customers want to try, before they buy.  

As well as this they have utilised RFID in their aisle design to create an omni-channel browsing space, promoting a seamless customer experience. There is also a more personalised element – an AI styling consultant ‘Chloe’ on hand to answer customer’s questions and offer style advice. 

PLT’s second hand marketplace 

Pretty Little Thing are responding to the desire from consumers to buy pre-loved fashion – the fashion brand is following in the footsteps of others encouraging consumers to shop more ethically.  

Second hand brand eBay has been promoted as the more ethical way to shop and try new styles through TV’s recent series of Love Island, and Depop has recently collaborated with Sims to bring thrifting to the digital realm.

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 PLT have created a new app which will facilitate those “striving to be more mindful when it comes to how they consume fashion”, however – the marketplace has received various complaints for having misplaced intentions.  

The brand has been accused for ‘green washing’, with backlash suggesting that this app is not a deep enough commitment from PLT to reverse their endorsement of fast fashion, and negative environmental impact. One PLT sceptic commented on twitter, “Are you reducing the number of products you make in the first place? If not, then this is just a load of greenwash”.  

The message this brand is encouraging: ‘Re-sell, re-wear, and re-cycle’ is an important one, that consumers are responding to in the current climate, however, if PLT do not address other aspects of their operation which are un-sustainable, their new initiative will struggle to gain traction.  

It is important that when a brand wants to demonstrate an eco-centric commitment, or behaviour, that it permeates all aspects of the business to ensure that it feels genuine for customers.   

Serena Williams’ Younger, AI Self  

Nike have created a younger Ai version of Serena Williams to celebrate her 27th year as a professional athlete.  

Collaborating with AKQA studios, Nike have been able to pit Serena Williams’  2017 Australian Open performance, against her younger self in her first grand slam at the 1999 US open.  

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The process required acquiring hours of archival footage, which was then digitally learned by a machine learning AI tool. The result? A re-enacted performance of the professional athletes’ performances from throughout her career. The accuracy of the software allowed the re-made matches to mimic Williams’ exact style – including her shot selection, recovery, agility, and decision-making.  

The AI ran the simulated match up for 130,000 games, and the final gameplay was streamed live on YouTube to an audience of 1.69 million.  

Nike are demonstrating the future of sports analytics that allows for more accessible, and readable data visualisation. As well as looking back at the careers of celebrated athletes, this digital advancement will allow sport, and athletes personally to continually evolve to break new boundaries or expectations.  

Budweiser’s Basketball Courts… 

Budweiser have exploited a legal loophole to rally different artists together in a bid to save Brazilian basketball courts from property developers. 

Sports is an invaluable way to foster community bonds, and spirit. Sport also creates spaces for youth to express themselves and stay active. Street basketballs are as a result highly valued spaces in Brazil, but spaces that are under the watchful and dominant eye of real estate markets.  

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Budweiser have identified a clause within Brazilian law to prevent these courts being taken into possession by developers. According to the law “A place of public interest with artistic value is considered public heritage and cannot be demolished."  

 To strengthen the case to keep these courts, and demonstrate their value to local communities, Budweiser have appealed to local artists to paint the courts to embody the culture and connection people feel to the sport and spaces.  



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