Ever get the feeling you're being watched? That's because whenever you are online, you’re inevitably open to some form of data voyeurism: your searches are remembered and they trigger responses in the form of 'relevant' or 'tailored' ads that are fired your way through a process of algorithmic intuition. Often, targeted marketing of this sort can feel intrusive: basically, it's a nuisance when your computer pretends to know you by pushing purchases that are supposedly 'hand-picked' according to your digital preferences.
There is a solution and online retailer Yoox has nailed it first. How? By flipping the data driven process on its head. Instead of using algorithms to send shopping suggestions, Yoox has used its own propriety artificial intelligence tools in the manner of a giant focus group. Here's how:
Like all algorithms, the Yoox AI programme reveals trends and shopping patterns across social media and online magazines in key markets. The point of difference is that Yoox has used this data to create a brand new collection as a response to these findings, instead of following the conventional digital merchandising method, which predicts what you may want to buy according to your Google searches.
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Essentially, it's an algorithm that listens and creates as opposed to one that stalks and bombards. The new own-brand label is called 8 by YOOX; the number alludes to the double OO of the Yoox name, which itself was chosen to represent the pairing of the binary code embraced by the Y and X of the male and female chromosomes. But all you really need to know is that 8 is as simple by name as it is by nature: the line is made up of stylish essentials created from first grade fabrics such as supple Italian leathers, fine cashmere, premium cottons and wool, with many pieces between £50 and £100; the top end price is about £350 for leather jackets. Both men's and women's collections will be launched bi-annually with the debut line available online now.
So what do the new 8 by Yoox collections reveal about online influencer trends and global fashion predilections this season? Surprisingly everything is ultra-chic and beautifully cut. Colours reflect a move towards Italian sophistication (tans, navies and rich reds) and cuts are streamlined and unfussy. In the greater scheme of things, the Yoox 8 aesthetic points towards a collective embrace of classism and that can only be a good thing.
PS. The little 100% leather bucket bags are an absolute steal at £96
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