THE BALLET DANCER BRINGING MOVEMENT TO FASHION

Jordan Robson has a talent for alchemy. With a trained background in classical ballet, he discovered how to make clothes move as a model. The connection between fashion, dance and photography that he witnessed happening on sets inspired him to explore movement directing, a form of choreography that focuses on the natural ways our bodies inhabit spaces.

As a performance artist with London’s Theo Adams Company and a self-made movement director of his own right, Robson channels his creative energy into helping images and video come to life. Robson works with a wide range of creative types, models, dancers, actors, performers and photographers. As he says, “You don’t have to be trained. Everyone can learn to move in a different way.”

We caught up with Robson to chat about dance, fashion, femininity and why London is a darker place than New York:

When did you start dancing?

I actually started quite late for a dancer, I was 15 or 14. And I just started once a week, doing contemporary class. And then I always said I was going to be a lawyer, and I didn’t realize I could have a career in dance until I was about 16 or 17. After school I got a job offer at a company in London, called Ballet Boys. Terrible name, but good company. So at that point, I thought, “Oh my god, all of my dreams have come true.” I always wanted to be a dancer, go on tour and travel the world.

And then, something like last year, maybe even a bit before that, I stopped and took note that maybe this isn’t what I wanted. And then I did a shoot with Tim Walker, along with Emma Watson for Vanity Fair. There were all these huge looks, and Emma was in the changing room for a long time, for personal time if she wanted to read or take a nap or something. First I was employed as a dancer, but then because there’s all this free time and we wanted to be productive, we started staging what was going to happen next — where Emma would go and what it’s going to look like. I was kind of astounded, almost, just talking about it and being creative with him. I really loved it. It was kind of a happy accident; a push into a new direction. From there I decided that it was the next step.

What was is about a dance career that you realized wasn’t appealing to you?

It’s hard work, but I think that you’re prepared for that in the beginning. I think as a dancer you spend so long trying to get somewhere. Training, and auditions — it’s quite ruthless. And you get there, and you’re expected to do something else, but you’re always working for somebody else. I think dance is a super personal thing, and for me it was not having much say or any input, and I wanted to get my creative juices flowing. I didn’t have that much input at all, or any artistic expression.

How did that epiphany on the Tim Walker set translate into what you’re doing now?

I got really interested in working with films and videos, because that’s where I think a lot of stuff is headed, and photography is never going to not do that. More and more, you see dance in music videos, all over television, and in the background of singers and performers. And then I’m also really super inspired by the old McQueen shows — there’s so much movement. Runway shows aren’t what they used to be anymore. They used to be so spectacular. Now a lot of the time it’s just white walkways and walking around.

They say the best models are the ones who can dance. 

I think for people that want to sell clothes, you’d want to have somebody that can move and show it off the best. Because it’s the way you move in clothes, or the way your clothes move when you’re in them. It’s so special to have it crossover.

And now you’ve moved into the performance art space.

For such a long time I just said that I was a dancer, and not that there’s anything bad with being just a dancer, but I felt like I just wanted to do more. Now I do a lot of performance art with a company in London called Theo Adams Company. They’ve worked with Louis Vuitton in Tokyo and Fiorucci, and we just did a thing with Halpern in London. There is a dark side, but it’s fun. When you say dance, people tend to think ballet or contemporary, well mostly ballet, or hip-hop, and it’s very niche. But I feel like performance art to me, you can be more of an artist.

Are there certain themes that you find yourself coming back to often?

Yeah, that’s kind of the result of London. It’s also part of the reason why I’m so obsessed with moving here. The dark side of London, which sounds so dramatic, is really fun, but it is quite a negative place overall, at least that’s how I feel, and I’ve lived there for five years. You come here, and the energy is so much more positive, there’s just so much more energy in general. So much flow to things.

To New York specifically?

Yeah, to New York. But, on the other side of that, there’s such a difference in humor, I think, between London and New York. I think that darker side is more accepted in London. With this company, Theo Adams, we do a lot of crying and staring into the audience and screaming. Lots of lip syncing, but it’s very angsty in a way that’s quite disturbing, and I feel like that caters toward London. If we brought it here, it would be like, what the hell is going on? I mean, I’m sure some people would love it as well, but as a general audience, I don’t know.

Hey, maybe New York needs that.

Yeah! Personally, when I do it, I always come back to femininity. Just because like, for this photoshoot we did, I wanted to explore skirts and dresses, and the movement qualities of that. It’s such a cliché that everyone’s mother is such a strong woman in their lives, but mine especially was, so I always feel like I’m drawn to that. I think it’s because I’ve been so pigeonholed as that, for such a long time, being the manly dancer onstage.

Did you feel restricted in that role?

Yeah, especially in my last company. It was an all-male troupe. It caters to the audience, but it was quite commercial, and they wanted hyper masculine strength. Even from before then, I wanted to get away from that.

Was that the ballet company?

Yeah. So, I think it’s just trying to go against that and again, trying to find a crossover. Because in dance you have to be strong and you have to be slow and graceful, but it’s still boxed into “male dancers do this, female dancers do that.”

Do you have any role models?

I think the great thing about it is that there have been movement directors forever, and I’m really inspired by Les Child especially, who did all the old McQueen shows. And Stephen Galloway in New York does a lot of stuff here in fashion. I work quite a lot now with Ryan Heffington, who produces all of the Sia music videos and many other things. So there are definitely people that inspire me, but there are I think three or four that I know of that do this job. There’s not a lot in comparison to the amount of photographers and videographers. There’s definitely people that inspire me, but I hope the way I do it will feel a little bit new.

Sustainable fashion: Students tackle Singapore’s textile waste

One garment at a time, fashion students from Raffles College of Higher Education are helping to cut Singapore’s 150,000 tonne textile and leather waste footprint through a collaborative upcycling project.

While Singaporeans rush to buy new clothes to replace old ones in the run up to Chinese New Year, fashion students from the Raffles College of Higher Education in Singapore will instead spend the next few weeks working to upcycle donated clothes.As part of their school project, tertiary-level students and senior lecturers in fashion design and fashion marketing are collaborating with real estate developer City Developments Limited (CDL) and Eco-Business to collect, process and resell donated items for EcoBank, a charity initiative by the two firms.

During a recent session held at City Industrial Building in eastern Singapore, students and lecturers spent hours categorising donated items and select clothes that were suitable for upcycling. 

Upcycling involves unstitching old garments, combining and reconstructing them; a process which not only demands the creative input of adding the students’ ‘own touches’ to the designs, but also the logistical task of maximising the materials used in each garment, to reduce waste.

Fashion design students told Eco-Business that making a complete set of clothes alone will take between three and four days, if they work really hard. They expect the entire project to take a few weeks given the volume of donations.

“People don’t realise that clothes are part of what’s killing the world.”

Maria Angelica Torres Cruz, fashion marketing student, Raffles College of Higher Education

Yet, the big pile of donations in the room is a small proportion of Singapore’s fashion waste footprint. In 2016 alone, 150,000 tonnes of textile and leather wastewas generated, of which only 7 per cent was recycled.

Maria Angelica Torres Cruz, a fashion marketing student at the Raffles College of Higher Education, told Eco-Business that “people don’t realise that clothes are part of what’s killing the world. You think you have to save electricity, save oil, save water, but nobody thinks about saving your clothes.”

Fashion consumers don’t think about how it hurts the environment. They just think about what they want now, and what’s on trend,” added Torres.

Pointing to a pile of clothes, Torres emphasised that most of the donated clothes were of very good quality. Some even had their price tags on.

To raise awareness about the need for socially responsible fashion, the fashion marketing students are documenting their upcycling project and will commence their multimedia campaign today, on Eco-Business’s Facebook and Instagram page.

The campaign seeks to encourage consumers to apply the 3Rs—Reduce, Reuse, Recycle—to fashion, and to call on clothing manufacturers to produce sustainably designed clothes. Noting the lack of a textile recycling plant and recycling bins for clothes in Singapore, Torres said it is high time for the future of fashion to be sustainable.

Fast fashion companies such as H&M have developed initiatives to reduce their environmental impactsuch as allowing the exchange of old clothing for discount vouchers in many of its stores, but acknowledged that the technology for recycling is limited. “For this reason, the share of recycled materials in our products is still relatively small,” H&M reported.

Anisa Johnny, senior lecturer in Fashion Marketing and Management, noted that one constraint for producers in Singapore is the price sensitivity of consumers. But she challenged producers to innovate: “Think of sustainable textiles. Doesn’t end up in landfills but doesn’t cost too much for the customer to support.”

Johnny continued that the onus does not only fall on producers. “We’re all involved in fashion waste, every single one of us.” She thus encouraged consumers to buy less, buy better and fix things instead of throwing them away.

Creating a sustainable fashion business is precisely what her students seek to do. The upcycled clothes will be on sale at the upcoming EcoBank bazaar, held at City Square Mall from 2 to 4 March 2018, giving them a second life.

Recognising the difficulty her students faced in the project, Johnny said: “I know it’s tough for them. But it’s really important when you see [fashion waste] upfront, then you think ‘I’m going to do something about it’. It’s so powerful.”

She added: “I wish we can get more adults to volunteer, and more companies involved. It would suddenly hit home.”

First monkey clones created in Chinese laboratory

Two monkeys have been cloned using the technique that produced Dolly the sheep.

Identical long-tailed macaques Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua were born several weeks ago at a laboratory in China.

Scientists say populations of monkeys that are genetically identical will be useful for research into human diseases.

But critics say the work raises ethical concerns by bringing the world closer to human cloning.

Qiang Sun of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience said the cloned monkeys will be useful as a model for studying diseases with a genetic basis, including some cancers, metabolic and immune disorders.

“There are a lot of questions about primate biology that can be studied by having this additional model,” he said.

Zhong Zhong, one of the first two monkeys created by somatic cell nuclear transfer

Zhong Zhong was born eight weeks ago and Hua Hua six weeks ago. They are named after the Mandarin term for the Chinese nation and people.

The researchers say the monkeys are being bottle fed and are currently growing normally. They expect more macaque clones to be born over the coming months.

‘Not a stepping stone’

Prof Robin Lovell-Badge of The Francis Crick Institute, London, said the technique used to clone Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua remains “a very inefficient and hazardous procedure”.

“The work in this paper is not a stepping-stone to establishing methods for obtaining live born human clones,” he said.

WATCH: Dolly – the world’s most famous sheep

Prof Darren Griffin of the University of Kent said the approach may be useful in understanding human diseases, but raised ethical concerns.

“Careful consideration now needs to be given to the ethical framework under which such experiments can, and should, operate,” he said.

Dolly made history 20 years ago after being cloned at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh. It was the first time scientists had been able to clone a mammal from an adult cell, taken from the udder.

Dolly the sheep

Since then many other mammals have been cloned using the same somatic cell nuclear transfer technique (SCNT), including cattle, pigs, dogs, cats, mice and rats.

This involves transferring DNA from the nucleus of a cell to a donated egg cell, which has had its own DNA removed. This is then prompted to develop into an embryo and implanted in a surrogate animal.

Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua are the first non-human primates cloned through this technique.

In 1999, a rhesus monkey embryo was split in two in order to create two identical twins. One of the baby monkeys born through that technique – called Tetra – has the title of the world’s first cloned monkey, but it did not involve the complex process of DNA transfer.

‘Much failure’

In the study, published in the journal Cell, scientists used DNA from foetal cells.

After the DNA was transferred to donated eggs, genetic reprogramming was used to alter genes that would otherwise have stopped the embryo developing.

Hua Hua, one of the first monkey clones made by somatic cell nuclear transfer

Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua were the result of 79 attempts. Two other monkeys were initially cloned from a different type of cell, but failed to survive.

Dr Sun said: “We tried several different methods, but only one worked. There was much failure before we found a way to successfully clone a monkey.”

The scientists say they followed strict international guidelines for animal research, set by the US National Institutes of Health.

Co-researcher Dr Muming Poo, also of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, said: “We are very aware that future research using non-human primates anywhere in the world depends on scientists following very strict ethical standards.”

US flu outbreak is worst since 2009 swine pandemic

An emergency room nurse (R) treats a hospital patient for flu this month in Escondido, California

More Americans are seeking medical care for flu than at any time since the “swine” pandemic of nearly a decade ago, say US health officials.

Thirty-seven children have died and nearly 12,000 patients have been admitted to hospital nationwide.

The outbreak could surpass 2014-15 when 34 million Americans fell ill, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In that season, 710,000 people were admitted to hospital and 56,000 died.

The director of the CDC, Dr Daniel Jernigan, said thousands of people were going to doctor’s offices and emergency rooms to seek treatment for flu-like symptoms.

“This is the highest level of activity recorded since the 2009 pandemic,” he said.

All 50 states excluding Hawaii are reporting “widespread” flu activity.

A 12-year-old boy in Florida, described by his family as a healthy child, became one of the latest to die from the virus.

Dylan Winnick died on Tuesday a day after developing a fever, according to stunned family members.

In 2014-15 the number of child deaths from flu reached 148.

Schools in at least 12 states have closed this year because of the deadly virus.

Also being mourned is Karlie Illg Slaven, 37, who died on Monday in Indiana from a flu-related illness after taking care of her two sick children.

Her distraught father is advising the public to get a flu shot, saying his daughter was the only household member not to have been vaccinated for the virus.

Mother-of-two Tandy Harmon died last week in Oregon after being diagnosed only two days earlier.

Dr Jernigan said baby-boomers – those in the 50 to 64 age bracket – are currently being hit particularly hard.

The 2009 swine flu pandemic was exceptionally widespread because it was a new virus.

However, the H3N2 virus that has swept the nation this year is the most deadly of the so-called “seasonal” strains.

The strain, also known as the “Aussie flu”, has been around for 50 years and was first called the “Hong Kong flu” in 1968.

H3N2 also wreaked havoc during the 1997-98 and 2003-04 seasons, and is known to be particularly harmful for young children and the elderly.

YouTubers say positive work ignored because of controversial stars

Humza Arshad and Em Ford

YouTubers say controversial characters like Logan Paul detract from the good work they do online.

Make-up vlogger Em Ford says she “fundamentally disagrees” with his controversial video made in Japan’s Aokigahara forest.

“It’s disappointing to not see any of the good things championed,” she tells Newsbeat.

The Brit is annoyed a campaign raising over £700,000 for Mexico earthquake victims got little media interest.

She’s part of YouTube’s Creators For Change programme, which aims to inspire creators who share positive messages through their videos.

Em talks about make-up with her million subscribers for My Pale Skin, but it’s showing her struggle with acne that inspires her followers.

“You could look at my channel and say I just review foundations or talk about face masks,” she says.

“When you have acne, that foundation is the one thing that can give you back the control that acne has stripped away from you and make you feel better about yourself.”

“I will keep posting pictures of my face and I will keep encouraging other women to post pictures of their faces regardless of pigmentation, colour or whatever society issue is going on there, until it becomes normal,” she adds.

Both Em and Humza Arshad, who has close to 400,000 subscribers on his Humza Productions channel, say that despite a lack of media coverage for some positive efforts by YouTubers, the impact is seen in the response to their posts.

Humza posts mostly comedy videos but one of his most watched clips is a hard-hitting piece on Islamophobia in the UK.

It has been watched more than a million times across the world.

“It took me maybe 5 or 10 minutes to write but it came from the heart,” Humza tells Newsbeat.

“Because it was real, it was authentic, I knew a lot of people would relate and react to it.”

Humza has tried to put a message in all his YouTube videos since he started uploading comedy sketches about a wannabe gangster called Diary Of A Badman.

“I wanted to do videos that were funny and made people laugh but think at the same time,” he says.

“I thought it was very important to leave a positive message and not just do pointless comedy.”

Humza says YouTubers like him, Em and others working to promote positive messages can “genuinely change a life,” and believes even Logan Paul’s controversial video prompted a positive discussion about suicide.

And Em says that the success she has found on YouTube goes against modern stigma against young people and how they rely on technology and social media.

“There’s this stigma that young people are just glued to their phones, YouTube or TV all day long,” she says.

“When I was 24 I started a company through my phone.

“Had it not been for that phone, had it not been for the internet or the programmes that inspired me on TV when I was younger I would never have made a film and I would never be trying to get out a positive message.”

Apple’s iPhone battery ‘slowdown’ to be optional

iPhone 7 Plus

A software update will let iPhone owners switch off the “battery saver” feature that slows down some models, Apple has confirmed.

The option to switch off the feature will appear on the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, SE, 6S, 6S Plus, 7 and 7 Plus models.

Last month, Apple apologised after it was found to be deliberately slowing down some of its devices.

Customers were angry that Apple had not been upfront about its actions before the practice was discovered.

Many had long suspected the company slowed older iPhones to encourage customers to upgrade.

Apple admitted slowing some phones with ageing batteries but said it was done to “prolong the life” of the devices.

The ability to switch off the battery saver will appear in iOS 11.3 when it is released later in 2018.

The company said the feature “dynamically manages maximum performance to prevent unexpected shutdowns” but customers will be able to “turn it off”.

Price drops

Replacing an affected iPhone’s battery also restores its performance.

After the practice of slowing older iPhones was discovered, Apple said it would reduce the price of an out-of-warranty battery replacement from $79 to $29 in the US for anyone with an iPhone 6 or later.

In the UK the price dropped from £79 to £25.

“With so many older iPhones in the market the battery performance issues have become a concern for a lot of consumers,” commented Ben Wood from the tech consultancy CCS Insight.

“Apple has also been under regulatory scrutiny so it is likely trying to offer as many options to consumers as possible so they can decide the best way to maximise the battery life on iPhones that are eligible for the new battery programme.”

Most boomers infected with liver-damaging hepatitis C virus do not know it

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Few Baby Boomers have been tested for the liver-damaging hepatitis C virus, despite recommendations that all members of that generation have the blood test at least once, new research suggests.

The share of boomers who had the test barely budged in the two years after health authorities first recommended it for everyone born between 1945 and 1965, according to a report published Wednesday in American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Just 13.8% had been tested by 2015, up from 12.3% in 2013, when testing was recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), said the report, based on a nationwide survey of 24,000 people.

“That is not a big increase,” and means most infected boomers remained unaware they carried a potentially fatal but curable virus, said report co-author Stacey Fedewa, an American Cancer Society researcher.

Just 10.5 million out of 76.2 million boomers had the test by 2015, the survey found. It is possible testing has increased somewhat since then, Fedewa said.

For reasons that are not fully understood, boomers make up three quarters of the estimated 3 million or so Americans chronically infected with the virus, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Left to smolder for decades, the virus can cause liver cirrhosis and liver cancer and is the leading reason for liver transplants; it eventually kills up to 5% of carriers, CDC says.

Boomers grew up and became young adults before the virus was identified in 1989. So it is likely many were infected through medical procedures and transfusions before improved infection control techniques and blood screening nearly eliminated those risks, CDC says. But shared drug needles, the major cause of transmission today, also played a role back then, CDC says. Sexual transmission, which is less common, likely played a smaller role, according to CDC.

“Some boomers engaged in high risk activities in the past that they no longer engage in,” but their risk remains, Fedewa said.

The reason the task force, CDC and other medical groups now recommend widespread testing is that treatment has improved dramatically over the past few years, said Michael Saag, a professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a spokesperson for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

“Someone who has hepatitis C and gets 12 weeks of treatment, typically one pill a day, has a 95% to 98% cure rate,” he said. Older regimens took much longer, had more side effects and had a 40% success rate, he said.

But the costs of the new drugs may be dampening enthusiasm among doctors and patients for testing and treatment. Current regimens have sticker prices of about $90,000, though those prices usually are negotiated down by drug companies and insurers, Saag said.

Low-income AIDS patients fear coverage gains could slip away

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When Tami Haught was diagnosed with HIV, she was one day shy of her 25th birthday. The diagnosis did not come as a shock since doctors had determined her fiancé was dying of AIDS several weeks earlier.

In the two decades since, Haught, 48, has turned to expensive prescription drugs to keep the deadly infection in check. In 2005, she began receiving help purchasing her medications through the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), a federally funded network of programs in each state that assist low-income HIV and AIDS patients. Since the Affordable Care Act was implemented, ADAP instead has helped her buy an insurance policy to cover a wide assortment of her health care needs.

Nationally, more than 139,000 clients were served by ADAPs in June 2015, according to the latest report from the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), a coalition of state officials responsible for administering HIV and hepatitis programs. About half of those clients were getting help purchasing insurance through the federal health law’s marketplaces or elsewhere, a switch from the program’s historical role of paying primarily for expensive prescriptions.

Advocates fear Republican plans to overhaul the health law could cause such upheaval in the individual insurance market that the program could not afford to continue the premium assistance and would be forced to turn primarily back to subsidizing medication.

“We are at a pivotal point in HIV where people are talking about the end of the epidemic,” said Ann Lefert, senior director of the prevention and care program and policy at NASTAD. “It’s hard to imagine that if the health care coverage changes dramatically, it would be hard to get there in the same speed.”

According to the AIDS directors’ report, in June 2015, about 72,000 got help paying for their insurance, including nearly 4,000 who also received assistance to purchase medication. That’s more than twice as many as got insurance help in 2010, when the health law was passed.

To qualify for ADAP assistance, prospective clients must meet standards determined by the state. Individuals must prove their residency and recertify every six months. NASTAD reported more than 70 percent of clients served by ADAP in June 2015 reached viral load suppression, or undetectable levels of HIV in the blood. By comparison, only 3 out of 10 people living with HIV in the U.S. reached suppression in 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

ADAP is required to choose the most cost-effective way to assist clients. Currently, that option often is financial assistance for purchasing an insurance plan that covers broad health expenses. But before the ACA, when insurance companies could legally exclude customers with preexisting conditions or charge them very high premiums, buying insurance was difficult for HIV patients.

Consequently, the program focused primarily on helping patients buy the pricey drugs they needed. It struggled to meet that demand, however, often using waiting lists to determine which low-income clients could be helped. At its peak, 9,278 individuals waited to access ADAP services, according to NASTAD. The program eventually eliminated the waiting list in 2013.

For many of those low-income patients, it was the only help available, given they weren’t eligible in many states for Medicaid, which generally limited eligibility to children, very-low income families and people with debilitating conditions.

“Most people had to be disabled in order to get access to Medicaid services, even though the treatments that became available in the 1990s prevented you from being disabled,” said Jeffrey Levi, a health management and policy professor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

But the ACA’s provisions — principally, the Medicaid expansion undertaken by 31 states and the District of Columbia; subsidies for low-income people buying plans on the insurance marketplace; and consumer insurance protections —enabled ADAP to spend less on purchasing drugs and use its funds more efficiently to help clients buy coverage. They could use the assistance to pay the portion of premiums not covered by federal tax subsidies and expenses not picked up by their plans, such as deductibles and copayments.

The NASTAD report also found that ADAP paid an average of $1,678 per client for medications in June 2015. In contrast, the program contributed an average $444 to health plans for clients. Some insured clients, however, also received help paying for medication.

While Lefert said she doesn’t anticipate waiting lists returning to ADAP if the health law is partially repealed, other experts worry about how far existing funds can be stretched.

“Now you’re going to have a bunch of people rushing back to the [ADAP] pool with not enough dollars to cover them all,” said Matthew Rose, policy and advocacy manager for the National Minority AIDS Council.

Changes to the health law could interrupt treatment and lead to gaps in care, said Erin Loubier, senior director for health and legal integration and payment innovation at the Whitman-Walker Health clinic in Washington, D.C. And without protections from discrimination based on preexisting conditions, she said, people could shirk screening for fear of losing their jobs or health insurance.

Haught, of Nashua, Iowa, now works as a training coordinator for the SERO Project, an advocacy group fighting against HIV criminalization laws around the nation. Haught said she’s surprised that she’s lived 23 years past her diagnosis, which allowed her to see her son graduate and spend time with her grandson, Chase. Taking her medication is critical.

Why this luxury apparel retailer wants to be the Spotify of fashion

Online fashion retailer Farfetch has been attracting attention this year.

In August, founder Jose Neves said a New York floatation was the “next logical stage” for the company, with a valuation rumored to be $5 billion, and in February it made headlines when Natalie Massenet joined as non-executive co-chair.

Massenet founded rival Net-A-Porter in 2000 and sold her stake in it to Richemont for an estimated £50 million ($66.8 million) in 2010, before it merged with Italian website Yoox in 2015.

And Farfetch’s future success may be down to how it recommends products to shoppers. Chief Marketing Officer John Veichmanis said he takes inspiration from how Spotify recommends music to listeners when thinking about the best ways to promote the platform.

Speaking to CNBC, Veichmanis said he would like people to be able to discover up-and-coming designers via a similar type of algorithm. “Music is very similar, it is very personal. I love Spotify because it introduces me to loads of artists I would never have listened to and I suppose that’s where I take our inspiration from,” he said.

“If you look at music, someone can sit in their bedroom now, create an amazing track and distribute it themselves, and I think that has to come to the luxury (fashion) space as well.”

Farfetch presented a 'store of the future' at its FarfetchOS conference in April 2017

Nic Serpell-Rand | Farfetch
Farfetch presented a ‘store of the future’ at its FarfetchOS conference in April 2017

Farfetch lets individual fashion boutiques sell to consumers, rather than holding stock itself, and the site has around 280,000 items for sale at any one time.

“We use information consumers have given us to tell them better stories (about products), and that’s an emerging space. I don’t think anyone is doing this very well and it’s something we are really keen to learn,” Veichmanis said.

Creativity and technology

Veichmanis, who has worked at various tech companies including Apple and Skype, said his job is made harder because people who shop for luxury fashion want something unique.

“A lot of the focus is on data science and looking at computer vision to understand which garments go together really well (or) what type of fabrics, rather than saying, ‘Well somebody’s bought this, and 10 other people have bought this other one.’ That’s completely the opposite of how people buy fashion, they want a unique perspective,” he said.

John Veichmanis, chief marketing officer at Farfetch

John Veichmanis, chief marketing officer at Farfetch

To that end, Farfetch has more than 200 people in its marketing team, of which around 25 percent are in data science and analytics, bringing in a much-needed collaboration between creative people and tech experts, according to Veichmanis.

“Our perspective is that the industry hasn’t really moved on: there is a lot of capability to target consumers, but then often you will talk to the creative teams telling the stories and they are completely disconnected from what the technology can do. What we are trying to do is put those people together,” he told CNBC.

Net-A-Porter owes some of its success to its fashion content, including digital magazine the Edit and printed title Porter, and Veichmanis said it’s also a key part of marketing for Farfetch, ahead of advertising. “We are publishing content every day, we are not thinking about paying for Q1 or Q3 (advertising). If we see something that is relevant, we publish it.”

Farfetch founder Jose Neves

Nic Serpell-Rand | Farfetch
Farfetch founder Jose Neves

Farfetch also has about 100 personal shoppers for its biggest-spending customers and around 25 people who merchandise the website, putting products together to make outfits.

Machines are unlikely to be able to completely take over the role of curator, but the company spends much of its research and development budget in working out the best way to recommend products to people — and not just the top spenders.

Having such a large product selection might delight fashionistas, said Veichmanis, “but that’s not useful unless you can make it relevant to a consumer.”

People are dyeing their hair to match Pantone’s color of the year

Pantone's color of the year, Ultra Violet, has made its way into salons. Learn how to achieve the trendy look with tips from an expert.

When Pantone announced the 2018 Color of the Year, it didn’t take long for people to jump on the bandwagon. From lip color to eyeshadow to nail polish, Ultra Violet has been popping up all over the makeup aisles and in beauty routines. But perhaps the most daring way people are incorporating it into their look is by dyeing their hair various shades of this bold color.

A quick search for “ultraviolethair” on Instagram yields hundreds of images showing variations of the purple hue, like dip-dyed ends and subtle streaks, to give you all the inspiration you need. But if you’re thinking of taking the plunge and trying out this trendy color for yourself, there are a few tips to keep in mind.

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Willow Larkin, Premier and Master Colorist at Gene Juarez Salon and Spas, says anyone can pull off Ultra Violet hair, but there are a couple things to take into consideration. She says that bold and vivid violet tones require more maintenance and might not be acceptable for every work environment.

“Intense violet involves a lightening process prior to a stain to create vivid results and aren’t always easily removed out of the hair, while at the same time can fade rapidly depending on home care and hair porosity,” she said. A more muted tone could be more appropriate for your lifestyle, and depending on placement, can be easily hidden and requires less upkeep.

If you want to participate in the trend without over-processing to your hair, Larkin recommends darker shades of violet or eggplant, which she says can be a good option for someone who doesn’t want as intense a look. These shades also can be achieved without having to go through the bleaching process, but will show up when the light hits it. Anyone whose hair is already lightened can achieve a similar effect with a rinse or stain, which Larkin says will fade within a few washes and requires less upkeep.

For commitment-phoebes, Larkin has the perfect solution. She says you can get the look of Ultra Violet hair with extensions or clip-ins, which can be easily placed and moved. “Clip-in extensions are an awesome choice for younger kids and anyone who wants to easily remove and place their own sections and requires zero commitment,” she said.

A higher-maintenance color like Ultra Violet needs special attention to keep the color looking its best, so it’s important to use the proper products after you leave the salon. Larkin recommends “a professional brand sulfate-free shampoo” to help prolong the life of your color. She says to also beware that vivid colors like this can transfer onto lighter colored clothing or white bathtubs.

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Unfortunately this isn’t a color that can be easily achieved at home and is best left to the professionals. Many stylists are also “specially trained to tailor services for each individual client to preserve the integrity of the hair and increase the durability of their color,” Larkin says. Attempting a DIY dye-job can also result in an unwanted shade or damaged hair, which will end up requiring a trip to the salon anyway to have it corrected.