Cannes Lions

Circulate: Ahluwalia

ADA, New York / MICROSOFT / 2022

Awards:

1 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

London-based, LVMH prize-winning fashion designer Priya Ahluwalia is using her eponymous brand Ahluwalia to change attitudes and consumer behavior around sustainable fashion by using upcycled materials for her collections. Ahluwalia sought to bring fashion-conscious UK consumers into her process to unlock a new crowdsourced supply chain. In collaboration with Microsoft, we brought that vision to life with Circulate. With a development budget of $350K and a campaign budget of $150K, we worked closely with the nimble Ahluwalia team and Microsoft to empower sustainably minded UK consumers and the Ahluwalia brand. Our powerful new tool for circular fashion helps crowdsource materials for upcoming fashion lines — all housed on a digital platform within the Ahluwalia website. The mobile-fist site takes design cues from social media and Gen Z ecommerce resale platforms to appeal to young audiences and make the submission process as easy and seamless as possible.

Idea

Microsoft is dedicated to helping every person and organization achieve more; integrating their AI tools allowed us to streamline the submission process on Circulate, empower a BIPOC woman-owned fashion label, and encourage sustainable fashion at the consumer level. Seeking to disrupt traditional supply chains by crowdsourcing materials, Circulate is a digital platform and program housed on Ahluwalia’s main website that encourages consumers in the UK to donate their “loved but unwanted” garments to help build Ahluwalia’s next collection and power circularity in the industry. Ahluwalia is a luxury brand, and wanted to welcome fashion fans who a) have materials to donate and b) might not be able to afford Ahluwalia garments. Our easy-to-use site powers garment donations at the consumer level and offers discounts for every garment donated, solving two brand concerns simultaneously.

Strategy

Seeking to disrupt traditional supply chains by crowdsourcing materials, Circulate is a digital platform and program that encourages consumers in the UK to donate their garments to help build Ahluwalia’s next collection and power circularity in the industry. Ahluwalia is a luxury brand that uses upcycled garments, but to unlock these non-traditional supply chains and turbocharge the collection process, they wanted to welcome fashion fans who a) have materials to donate and b) might not be able to otherwise afford Ahluwalia garments. Our easy-to-use site powers garment donations at the consumer level and offers discounts for every garment donated, solving two brand concerns simultaneously. Integrating Microsoft AI tools allowed us to streamline the submission process, empower a BIPOC woman-owned fashion label, and encourage sustainable fashion at the consumer level. Circulate creates a steady stream of materials, enables creative efficiencies, and also unlocks crowdsourced supply chains in ways not previously possible.

Execution

On the Circulate microsite, the Ahluwalia team puts out an open call for garments and textiles, engaging their core community and fans. Users can then upload images or video of a garment they’d like to donate. Microsoft’s Computer Vision API analyzes and sorts garments that can be upcycled into a database for Ahluwalia, identifying characteristics like color, material, and label info — allowing the team to quickly approve garments and send users prepaid shipping labels. Users can then ship the garment to Ahluwalia’s studio and redeem points towards future Ahluwalia purchases. Designed to be mobile-first, Circulate takes design cues from social media and Gen Z ecommerce resale platforms to appeal to young audiences and make the submission process as easy and seamless as possible. Development began on March 18, 2021 and Circulate launched in the UK (the only market where it currently operates) on November 2, 2021.

Outcome

Our goal was to provide a new model for circular fashion, pointing the way to a sustainable future and inspiring a new generation of consumers, designers, and suppliers to create a bigger impact across the global fashion landscape. Since launching Circulate in the UK (the only market where it is currently available), we’ve had over 44,000 users interact with the Circulate platform, and garnered over 362 million earned media impressions — proving that our concept is not only relevant, but useful. We were able to demonstrate real-world use cases for Microsoft AI tools within the fashion industry, create a blueprint for circularity in fashion, and invite consumers into what is usually an opaque sourcing process, all while streamlining production for the small Ahluwalia team. Circulate points to the possibilities of innovation within global supply chains, and empowers consumers to participate in circularity within fashion.

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