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Something old, something new…

mil wed.jpgThe generation known for its non-conformism is changing everything on its way, even the wedding industry. Cherishing individualism, millennials are turning their backs on marriage traditions saying, out with the diamond rings and high-priced ceremonies.

The new generation of brides and grooms is exchanging big weddings with cheaper alternatives and is rather investing money in housing or trips around the world. Wedding dress specialists are experiencing the price plunge and so is the most blingy segment of the industry. Jewelers are in despair, penny pinching Millennials are skipping the two months’ pay rule on engagement rings and are  going for cheaper rubies or emeralds. It is not only the price of diamonds that is shaking the industry, the younger generation does not want blood on their hands, so ethical sourcing is at the top of their list.

One thing has not changed, a wedding still needs to be absolutely gorgeous. Instead of the newspapers, the tech savvy generation is reporting it on Pinterest and Instagram.

Warts and all

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Fashion industry and media have long been culpable for unrealistic body perception. Lately, however, social media have taken the lead in spreading the unreal body image among the younger generation.

The latest surveys show women are becoming less concerned about celebrities and females in adverts, as they are more likely to compare their appearance with the images published on social media. The researchers from Macquarie University in Sydney found out, social media is already far more damaging than the traditional one. They believe celebrities used to be more distanced and their appearance was less attainable, which is not the case with people we personally know. Comparing oneself with peers and friends is so powerful, two thirds of women between 18 and 35 edit their images before putting them online.

Is the need for showing yourself in good light only the result of competitiveness or is being genuine and flawless boring and undesirable?

The new face, Nadia

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After Cortana, Alexa and Siri, here is a new virtual face – Nadia. Her creators believe, she is going to change life of more than half a million disabled people down under.

New Zealand startup Soul Machines made an avatar that can express emotions and even read facial  expressions. By humanizing the interaction between the disabled and the machine, Nadia will be acting as their virtual assistant. Since she is learning through experience, the chatbot will gradually become more like a real friend, able to read emotions and act accordingly. Nadia looks like a person, but is in fact a super smart computer with the soothing voice of Cate Blanchett. The developers believe, she will make a real difference in the lives of people with disabilities, helping them to overcome the daily hurdles.

Maybe one day she will even be poking fun at Siri, as some are doing now.

La dolce vita

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Bitter aroma, unpleasant for almost everyone, is an unusual choice for popular drinks. Yet, after years of light flavours, cocktail aficionados are starting to embrace bitters.

Amers in France, amari in Italian or Kräuterlikörs in German speaking countries were originally developed as a medicine. Herbs, roots and barks, known for their health benefits, were submerged into liquor to extract the medicinal properties, while the end product was served before or after a meal to keep doctors at bay. Recently, however, a spectre of these bitter tastes has found its way to bars and is, according to bartenders, becoming a popular ingredient in cocktails.

The most famous among them is probably Aperol Spritz. This bittersweet combination of Campari and bubbly Prosecco has spread from its home country to just about every bar around the corner. Marketed as a perfect blend of Italian romance, summertime and La Dolce Vita, who could blame us for liking it.

Size does matter

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Years ago the price of raw cocoa skyrocketed, so chocolatiers retorted to a simple trick –  shrinking the bars. The decision for a stealth price hike, later copied by others, did not go by unnoticed.

Over the last years the food industry got used to the idea, that selling shrunken products for the same price in order to keep the margins intact, is a way to go. But the portion resizing is proving to be a risky business. The brands that are steadily shrinking their products are at risk of consumer resentment. It looks like the buyers are not ready to pretend not to notice how their wallets are getting thinner. The recent YouGov survey discovered that nearly half of the shoppers would rather pay more for their favourite products than see the items get smaller.

Back to the chocolate. More than a third of respondents said they would stop buying their favourite chocolate if the bar got shrunk by more that fifteen per cent. Despite the prices of raw cocoa have dropped in a last year, we can hardly expect the bars will start growing again.

The Fearless Girl

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Facing the most famous bull in the world standing on the Wall Street is the sculpture of a defiant girl. This bronze statue has been commissioned by world’s third largest asset manager to remind us of the power of women. Beneath The Fearless Girl is a plaque with words Know the power of women in leadership.

Curvaceous athletes gear

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The sportswear double digit growth makes it not only the most prosperous segment of the fashion business, but also the most competitive one. No wonder industry leaders are desperately trying to brush off any newcomers and make up different things to get ahead.

To broaden its customer base, Nike is now trying to reach beyond the sporty figure by celebrating athletic women of all shapes and sizes. At the American sportswear giant they are well aware women are becoming more confident and less concerned about the predominant beauty ideal, so they came up with with the first ever Nike Plus Size Collection, that would give curved athletes a chance to pick from various tees, tights and hoodies in different extra large ranges. They boast their workout wear has not only been sized, but have undertaken some serious engineering, so that each design is addressing the specifics of a curvaceous body.

Their move will undoubtedly pay off, however, beyond the engineering they could use some additional marketing effort. Maybe creating a better name of the line and replacing 3XL tags with something more appealing to curvaceous ladies.

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