Building beauty communities, fighting for racial equality and going big on ‘hype’ – we look at three beauty brands changing the game.
1. Shiseido’s Beauty Square
Last week, Japanese beauty and skincare giants Shiseido opened the doors to a new multi-brand concept store in Tokyo’s Harajuku district, with ‘beauty diversity’ as its main theme.
The 793 sq m ‘Beauty Square’ is divided into zones including an innovation space, a salon, digitally-led experiences and a brand zone (retail).
The Beauty Square is home to a number of Shiseido-owned brands, including IPSA, Cle de Peau Beaute, The Ginza, Shiseido Professional, Dolce & Gabbana Beauty, Nars, BareMinerals, and Laura Mercier. As the brand acquires and creates more ‘indie’ brands, we see this space evolving to accommodate even more cult beauty offerings.
The ‘Installation Zone’ is purpose-built for digital experiments and ever-changing pop-up stores. Partnering with Zepeto, a popular avatar creation app used by more than 15 million users in Japan, visitors can customise their avatars with make-up from the Beauty Square.
Users of the app can project their avatar into the brand’s virtual space, taking pictures with other avatars of famous brand ambassadors – including Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, who has been appointed as the shop’s ambassador, striking a chord with beauty-loving millennials across the country.
Brands who make the shift from ‘brand to fan’ to ‘brand as a facilitator for like-minded fans’ are resonating with a culture-first consumer. Brands that create spaces, experiences and products that deliberately foster the conditions for people to experience their brand in the right ways – in this case, by bringing beauty lovers together – are winning out.
2. Sephora Takes The Pledge
Amid worldwide Black Lives Matter protests, the beauty industry has been put on notice. A black box on Instagram is not enough, action is needed.
Sephora is the first brand to take #The15PercentPledge to support black-owned businesses.
Started by fashion designer Aurora James, the 15% Pledge is a non-profit organisation that asks retailers to commit to dedicating 15% of their shelf space to black-owned companies.
According to Sephora, only seven out of the 290 brands currently sold in its US market are black-owned, including Fenty Beauty and Pat McGrath Labs.
Since announcing the pledge, Sephora has committed to achieving this in three actionable stages: taking stock of current shelf space and contracts, taking ownership of findings, and taking action to publish and execute a plan to achieve the 15%.
Additionally, the brand’s internal incubator program Accelerate, which usually focuses on female founders, will now focus completely on women of colour.
Commenting on Instagram, James wrote: “With unparalleled influence and power, not only in the beauty industry but in retail at large, Sephora is making a historic contribution to the fight against systemic racism, economic inequality and discrimination by taking this Pledge. We commend their early leadership and look forward to working with them on their accountability and commitment as we join together in the mission to put billions back into the black community."
3. YEEZY BEAUTY
The beauty industry thrives on newness and it seems that the king of hype, Kanye West, has taken note.
Last week, it was reported that West’s fashion brand YEEZY has filed a trademark that will allow the company to market makeup, beauty and wellness items.
Following in the footsteps of wife Kim Kardashian West (KKW Beauty) and sister-in-law Kylie Jenner (Kylie Cosmetics & Kylie Skincare), Kanye could soon be filling our bathroom cabinets with everything from YEEZY face masks to toothpaste, fragrances and haircare.
We’ve already seen the industry borrow from the world of streetwear. Drops, limited editions and pop-ups are all part of the ‘clout beauty’ industry vernacular.
For beauty obsessives, ‘shelfies’ (carefully curated rows of cosmetics and skincare beautifully styled for Instagram) are social currency, and we can see YEEZY front and centre.
SEEN is compiled by LOVE’s Head of Culture, Kat Towers. Want to say hello, ask questions or challenge her cultural knowledge? Get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org