Nike is launching a kids sneaker subscription

By Alma Fabiani

Aug 14, 2019

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It’s almost the end of the summer, and for most parents, it means back-to-school shopping for their kids. Just in time, Nike announced that it’s launching a kids sneaker subscription called the Nike Adventure Club, aka “a parent’s best friend” as it is described on the brand’s website. Nike’s first footwear subscription service will let kids select Nike and Converse shoes as their feet constantly grow. Although it is presenting this concept as a favour to busy parents, it’s clear that the company merely discovered another great way of making big money in a less than ethical way.

The club’s pricing begins at $20 per month, so that kids can get new shoes every 90 days. For $30 per month, kids get six pairs per year, and for $50 per month, kids will get new shoes every month. For children, even six pairs of shoes a year seems excessive. According to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (yes, that is a thing), children over the age of three usually only grow one-half a foot size every 4 to 6 months. This means that, technically, older kids need two pairs a year. Of course, parents should be allowed to buy their kids new shoes from time to time, but is it really necessary to get them involved in our consumerist society from the age of two? 

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With the emergence of social media, especially Instagram, our posing skills evolved, and our wardrobes filled up some more. Why? Because we all feel like we need to have a strong ‘insta game’ and show everyone online that we have a great fashion sense. Not only did we see the rise of fashion influencers, but we also witnessed the rise of fashion kid influencers. Don’t get me wrong, I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t admit that I sometimes scroll through 8-year-old Coco’s Instagram page, because she does have great style. But let’s just stop our Instagram craze and think for a minute. Isn’t Instagram an unhealthy platform for kids to be looking at? And is it really okay for big fashion brands like Nike to harvest new ‘sneaker heads’ before they can even decide if they actually want to become one?

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When it comes to children, our society always taught us to be more careful and to spare them from what we as adults are mature enough to handle—understandably. Apparently, that doesn’t apply to Nike and its aim to start building loyal customers as young as aged two, and neither does it apply to other brands. When I typed ‘kid influencers’ on Google, the first link that came up was titled “12 Kid Influencers That Can Help You Target the Younger Generation”, giving brands advice on how to engage with parents and kids at the same time, and how to create content for two different target audiences.

Advertising to kids is an increasingly regulated practice in the U.S. and Europe and, yet, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the under 13 digital media market is showing a 25 percent year-on-year growth rate. On Nike’s website, Dominique Shortell, director of product experience and retention for Nike Adventure Club says, “We’re always trying to answer, ‘What do kids want?’”. Until now, children between two and ten probably never felt the need to receive new pairs of shoes every 90 days, but that could soon change. Nike went as far as thinking of a way to entice kids by creating a printed box that shows up with their name on it and an adventure guide that comes with each delivery.

Having said that, things aren’t always black and white. Nike Adventure Club offers one more service, one that could reduce the waste impact this invitation to consumerism will have, at least one tiny bit. Members of the club will be able to send back one pair of old shoes every time they receive a new one. The returned trainers will either be donated or recycled. We can try to look on the bright side and hope for the best for the future generation.

Nike is launching a kids sneaker subscription


By Alma Fabiani

Aug 14, 2019

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Opinion

Digitalisation is the future of fashion and it is fast

By Maddy White

Sep 5, 2018

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Fashion

Sep 5, 2018

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Social media is an extremely influential part of our everyday lives. From Instagram to Snapchat and more, today’s fashion retailers are using these online spheres to encourage ‘fast fashion’: the quickest possible turnaround from design to manufacturer to consumer. And that’s really detrimental to our waste issue, isn’t it? Actually, not necessarily. Digitalising fashion is probably a crucial step to the survival of the sector, particularly in Britain.

The British high street is in peril; more shops are closing and many brands have gone into liquidation. This is due to several reasons, one being consumer spending has decreased and another is the rise of digital giants—like Amazon—who have entirely dominated the market. This trend aligns with the fashion industry too. Founded in 2006, online fashion retailer Boohoo claimed in their 2018 financial report to have 6.4 million users, up 22 percent from the previous year. The entire company had a pre-tax profit of £43.3 million for the year leading to February, which represented a 40 percent increase on 2017 figures, with revenue hitting £580 million, almost double last year’s £295 million.

The British high street is in peril; more shops are closing and many brands have gone into liquidation. This is due to several reasons, one being consumer spending has decreased and another is the rise of digital giants—like Amazon—who have entirely dominated the market. This trend aligns with the fashion industry too. Founded in 2006, online fashion retailer Boohoo claimed in their 2018 financial report to have 6.4 million users, up 22 percent from the previous year. The entire company had a pre-tax profit of £43.3 million for the year leading to February, which represented a 40 percent increase on 2017 figures, with revenue hitting £580 million, almost double last year’s £295 million.

The increased speed of fashion because of a digitalised process has enabled companies like Boohoo to reap massive benefits as proven in their financial report. Hundreds of styles are uploaded every day to the website, with likely just as many discontinued and sent to the sales page. The company reportedly sources 50 percent of its production from U.K. factories—a very high proportion, as for example ASOS produce around 3 percent of products in the U.K.—and distribute these garments from a central warehouse in Burnley. This is impressive as less than half a century ago, the clothing manufacturing industry in the U.K. employed 900,000 people, by 1999 this was down to 130,000 and now it is less than half. Companies like Boohoo are bringing textile manufacture back to the U.K. in a more innovative way.

Fast fashion also doesn’t have to mean cheap, however with examples like ASOS and Boohoo, the two seem to work in tandem. Fast fashion needs to be locally produced in order to make the production ethical, reduce air miles and at face value, be the fastest method. The process cannot be completed so quickly halfway across the globe; it is just not viable.

Despite the rise of fast fashion, this is an industry that produces waste, a lot of it, and consumers are more aware of this than ever. According to EDGE, a company that connects and supports emerging designers, about 15 percent of fabric intended for clothing ends up on the cutting room floor and it takes more than 5,000 gallons of water to manufacture just one t-shirt and a pair of jeans. Surely though, creating products via fast fashion would only act as an antidote to the above? Retailers do not have to order products in large amounts, they can instead order smaller numbers, see how they are received and then purchase more. This is a more ethical approach to a potential overproduction problem. Yet, this doesn’t counter the idea that consumers could be ordering more clothing, therefore likely throwing them away more regularly.

Fast fashion that it ethically sourced and produced could be the U.K.’s chance to revive the textiles sector, which has been in decline for decades. There are many constraints however on implementing an ethical version of fast fashion and it is not what consumers might initially think. Fast fashion is reacting to trends, increasing production line speed, and not overproducing. ‘Fast’ could certainly be the future of fashion, as it offers huge opportunities like garments to be locally produced rather than being created and shipped from offshore sites. Utilising the internet, social media and collecting data enables a digitalisation of the fashion industry, which will only continue to grow as the high street fades and online giants soar.

Digitalisation is the future of fashion and it is fast


By Maddy White

Sep 5, 2018

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