How to build a data architecture to drive innovation—today and tomorrow, plus two actual features

Today’s issue of  the TextileFuture Newsletter will offer an array of three different features, all based on actuality.

The first one entitled “How to build a data architecture to drive innovation—today and tomorrow” is based upon a report by McKinsey and  forms part of our already  published aspects of Innovation in our last Newsletter.

The second one continues our series on West Africa, this time based upon a feature in Vogue Business, we touch the boundaries of fashion and digitisation with some very actual facts and taking into account the growing importance of African Fashion.

The third one presents the result of an actual surveyon wearing face masks in the USA, executed by McKinsey, and is entitled “In the US, people say their use of masks may endure”, and responds to questions also asked elsewhere around Covid-19.

Here starts the first feature:

How to build a data architecture to drive innovation—today and tomorrow

By guest authors Antonio Castro, Jorge Machado, Matthias Roggendorf, and Henning Soller. Antonio Castro and Jorge Machado are partners in McKinsey’s New York office, Matthis Roggendorf is a partner in the Berlin office, and Henning Soller is a partner in the Frankfurt office.

The authors wish to thank Josh Gottlieb, Sameer Kohli, Aziz Shaikh, and Nikhil Srinidhi for their contributions to this article.

Yesterday’s data architecture can’t meet today’s need for speed, flexibility, and innovation. The key to a successful upgrade—and significant potential rewards—is agility.

Over the past several years, organizations have had to move quickly to deploy new data technologies alongside legacy infrastructure to drive market-driven innovations such as personalized offers, real-time alerts, and predictive maintenance.

However, these technical additions—from data lakes to customer analytics platforms to stream processing—have increased the complexity of data architectures enormously, often significantly hampering an organization’s ongoing ability to deliver new capabilities, maintain existing infrastructures, and ensure the integrity of artificial intelligence (AI) models.

Current market dynamics don’t allow for such slowdowns. Leaders such as Amazon and Google have been making use of technological innovations in AI to upend traditional business models, requiring laggards to reimagine aspects of their own business to keep up. Cloud providers have launched cutting-edge offerings, such as serverless data platforms that can be deployed instantly, enabling adopters to enjoy a faster time to market and greater agility. Analytics users are demanding more seamless tools, such as automated model-deployment platforms, so they can more quickly make use of new models. Many organizations have adopted application programming interfaces (APIs) to expose data from disparate systems to their data lakes and rapidly integrate insights directly into front-end applications. Now, as companies navigate the unprecedented humanitarian crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for the next normal, the need for flexibility and speed has only amplified.

For companies to build a competitive edge—or even to maintain parity, they will need a new approach to defining, implementing, and integrating their data stacks, leveraging both cloud (beyond infrastructure as a service) and new concepts and components.

Six shifts to create a game-changing data architecture

We have observed six foundational shifts companies are making to their data-architecture blueprints that enable more rapid delivery of new capabilities and vastly simplify existing architectural approaches (exhibit). They touch nearly all data activities, including acquisition, processing, storage, analysis, and exposure. Even though organizations can implement some shifts while leaving their core technology stack intact, many require careful re-architecting of the existing data platform and infrastructure, including both legacy technologies and newer technologies previously bolted on.

Such efforts are not insignificant. Investments can often range in the tens of millions of dollars to build capabilities for basic use cases, such as automated reporting, to hundreds of millions of dollars for putting in place the architectural components for bleeding-edge capabilities, such as real-time services in order to compete with the most innovative disruptors. Therefore, it is critical for organizations to have a clear strategic plan, and data and technology leaders will need to make bold choices to prioritize those shifts that will most directly impact business goals and to invest in the right level of architecture sophistication. As a result, data-architecture blueprints often look very different from one company to another.

When done right, the return on investment can be significant (more than $500 million annually in the case of one US bank, and 12 to 15 percent profit-margin growth in the case of one oil and gas company). We find these types of benefits can come from any number of areas: IT cost savings, productivity improvements, reduced regulatory and operational risk, and the delivery of wholly new capabilities, services, and even entire businesses.

So what key changes do organisations need to consider?

1. From on-premise to cloud-based data platforms

Cloud is probably the most disruptive driver of a radically new data-architecture approach, as it offers companies a way to rapidly scale AI tools and capabilities for competitive advantage. Major global cloud providers such as Amazon (with Amazon Web Services), Google (with the Google Cloud Platform), and Microsoft (with Microsoft Azure) have revolutionized the way organizations of all sizes source, deploy, and run data infrastructure, platforms, and applications at scale.

One utility-services company, for example, combined a cloud-based data platform with container technology, which holds microservices such as searching billing data or adding new properties to the account, to modularize application capabilities. This enabled the company to deploy new self-service capabilities to approximately 100,000 business customers in days rather than months, deliver large amounts of real-time inventory and transaction data to end users for analytics, and reduce costs by “buffering” transactions in the cloud rather than on more expensive on-premise legacy systems.

Enabling concepts and components

  • Serverless data platforms, such as Amazon S3 and Google BigQuery, allow organizations to build and operate data-centric applications with infinite scale without the hassle of installing and configuring solutions or managing workloads. Such offerings can lower the expertise required, speed deployment from several weeks to as little as a few minutes, and require virtually no operational overhead.
  • Containerized data solutions using Kubernetes (which are available via cloud providers as well as open source and can be integrated and deployed quickly) enable companies to decouple and automate deployment of additional compute power and data-storage systems. This capability is particularly valuable in ensuring that data platforms with more complicated setups, such as those required to retain data from one application session to another and those with intricate backup and recovery requirements, can scale to meet demand.

2. From batch to real-time data processing

The costs of real-time data messaging and streaming capabilities have decreased significantly, paving the way for mainstream use. These technologies enable a host of new business applications: transportation companies, for instance, can inform customers as their taxi approaches with accurate-to-the-second arrival predictions; insurance companies can analyze real-time behavioural data from smart devices to individualize rates; and manufacturers can predict infrastructure issues based on real-time sensor data.

Real-time streaming functions, such as a subscription mechanism, allow data consumers, including data marts and data-driven employees, to subscribe to “topics” so they can obtain a constant feed of the transactions they need. A common data lake typically serves as the “brain” for such services, retaining all granular transactions.

Enabling concepts and components

  • Messaging platforms such as Apache Kafka provide fully scalable, durable, and fault-tolerant publish/subscribe services that can process and store millions of messages every second for immediate or later consumption. This allows for support of real-time use cases, bypassing existing batch-based solutions, and a much lighter footprint (and cost base) than traditional enterprise messaging queues.
  • Streaming processing and analytics solutions such as Apache Kafka Streaming, Apache Flume, Apache Storm, and Apache Spark Streaming allow for direct analysis of messages in real time. This analysis can be rule based or involve advanced analytics to extract events or signals from the data. Often, analysis integrates historic data to compare patterns, which is especially vital in recommendation and prediction engines.
  • Alerting platforms such as Graphite or Splunk can trigger business actions to users, such as notifying sales representatives if they’re not meeting their daily sales targets, or integrate these actions into existing processes that may run in enterprise resource planning (ERP) or customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

3. From pre-integrated commercial solutions to modular, best-of-breed platforms

To scale applications, companies often need to push well beyond the boundaries of legacy data ecosystems from large solution vendors. Many are now moving toward a highly modular data architecture that uses best-of-breed and, frequently, open-source components that can be replaced with new technologies as needed without affecting other parts of the data architecture.

The utility-services company mentioned earlier is transitioning to this approach to rapidly deliver new, data-heavy digital services to millions of customers and to connect cloud-based applications at scale. For example, it offers accurate daily views on customer energy consumption and real-time analytics insights comparing individual consumption with peer groups. The company set up an independent data layer that includes both commercial databases and open-source components. Data is synced with back-end systems via a proprietary enterprise service bus, and microservices hosted in containers run business logic on the data.

Enabling concepts and components

  • Data pipeline and API-based interfaces simplify integration between disparate tools and platforms by shielding data teams from the complexity of the different layers, speeding time to market, and reducing the chance of causing new problems in existing applications. These interfaces also allow for easier replacement of individual components as requirements change.
  • Analytics workbenches such as Amazon Sagemaker and Kubeflow simplify building end-to-end solutions in a highly modular architecture. Such tools can connect with a large variety of underlying databases and services and allow highly modular design.

4. From point-to-point to decoupled data access

Exposing data via APIs can ensure that direct access to view and modify data is limited and secure, while simultaneously offering faster, up-to-date access to common data sets. This allows data to be easily reused among teams, accelerating access and enabling seamless collaboration among analytics teams so AI use cases can be developed more efficiently.

One pharmaceutical company, for example, is setting up an internal “data marketplace” for all employees via APIs to simplify and standardize access to core data assets rather than relying on proprietary interfaces. The company is gradually—over 18 months—migrating its most valuable existing data feeds to an API-based structure and deploying an API management platform to expose the APIs to users.

Enabling concepts and components

  • An API management platform (often called an API gateway) is necessary to create and publish data-centric APIs, implement usage policies, control access, and measure usage and performance. This platform also allows developers and users to search for existing data interfaces and reuse them rather than build new ones. An API gateway is often embedded as a separate zone within a data hub but can also be developed as a standalone capability outside of the hub.
  • A data platform to “buffer” transactions outside of core systems is often required. Such buffers could be provided by central data platforms such as a data lake or in a distributed data mesh, which is an ecosystem consisting of best-fit platforms (including data lakes, data warehouses, and so on) created for each business domain’s expected data usage and workloads. For example, one bank built a columnar database to provide customer information, such as their most recent financial transactions, directly to online and mobile banking applications and reduce costly workloads on its mainframe.

5. From an enterprise warehouse to domain-based architecture

Many data-architecture leaders have pivoted from a central enterprise data lake toward “domain-driven” designs that can be customized and “fit for purpose” to improve time to market of new data products and services. With this approach, while the data sets may still reside on the same physical platform, “product owners” in each business domain (for example, marketing, sales, manufacturing, and so on) are tasked with organizing their data sets in an easily consumable way both for users within their domain and for downstream data consumers in other business domains. This approach requires a careful balance to avoid becoming fragmented and inefficient, but in return it can reduce the time spent up front on building new data models into the lake, often from months to just days, and can be a simpler and more effective choice when mirroring a federated business structure or adhering to regulatory limitations on data mobility.

One European telecommunications provider used a distributed domain-based architecture so sales and operations staff could expose customer, order, and billing data to data scientists for use in AI models or directly to customers via digital channels. Rather than building one central data platform, the organization deployed logical platforms that are managed by product owners within the company’s sales and operations teams. Product owners are incentivized to promote the use of the data for analytics and are using digital channels as well as forums and hackathons to drive adoption.

Enabling concepts and components

  • Data infrastructure as a platform provides common tools and capabilities for storage and management to speed implementation and remove from data producers the burden of building their own data-asset platform.
  • Data virtualization techniques, which started in niche areas such as customer data, are now being used across enterprises to organize access to and integrate distributed data assets.
  • Data cataloguing tools provide enterprise search and exploration of data without requiring full access or preparation. The catalogue also typically provides metadata definitions and an end-to-end interface to simplify access to data assets.

6. From rigid data models toward flexible, extensible data schemas

Predefined data models from software vendors and proprietary data models that serve specific business-intelligence needs are often built in highly normalized schemas with rigid database tables and data elements to minimize redundancy. While this approach remains the standard for reporting and regulatory-focused use cases, it also requires that organizations undergo lengthy development cycles and have strong system knowledge when they want to incorporate new data elements or data sources, as any changes can affect data integrity.

To gain greater flexibility and a powerful competitive edge when exploring data or supporting advanced analytics, companies are evolving to “schema-light” approaches, using denormalized data models, which have fewer physical tables, to organize data for maximum performance. This approach offers a host of benefits: agile data exploration, greater flexibility in storing structured and unstructured data, and reduced complexity, as data leaders no longer need to introduce additional abstraction layers, such as multiple “joins” between highly normalized tables, to query relational data.

Enabling concepts and components

  • Data vault 2.0 techniques, such as data-point modeling, can ensure that data models are extensible so data elements can be added or removed in the future with limited disruption.
  • Graph databases, a type of NoSQL database, have gained attention in recent years. NoSQL databases in general are ideal for digital applications that require massive scalability and real-time capabilities, and for data layers serving AI applications, thanks to their ability to tap into unstructured data. Graph databases, in particular, offer the ability to model relationships within data in a powerful and flexible manner, and many companies are building master data repositories using graph databases to accommodate changing information models.
  • Technology services such as Azure Synapse Analytics allow querying file-based data akin to relational databases by dynamically applying table structures onto the files. This provides users the flexibility to continue using common interfaces such as SQL while accessing data stored in files.
  • Using JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) to store information enables organizations to change database structures without having to change business information models.

How to get started

Data technologies are evolving quickly, making traditional efforts that define and build toward three-to-five-year target architectural states both risky and inefficient. Data and technology leaders will be best served by instituting practices that enable them to rapidly evaluate and deploy new technologies so they can quickly adapt. Four practices are crucial here:

  • Apply a test-and-learn mindset to architecture construction, and experiment with different components and concepts. Such agile practices have been applied in application development for quite a while and have recently moved into the data space. For example, rather than engage in drawn-out discussions about optimal designs, products, and vendors to identify the “perfect” choice followed by lengthy budget approvals, leaders can start with smaller budgets and create minimum viable products or string together existing open-source tools to create an interim product, releasing them into production (using cloud to accelerate) so they can demonstrate their value before expanding and evolving further.
  • Establish data “tribes,” where squads of data stewards, data engineers, and data modelers work together with end-to-end accountability for building the data architecture. These tribes also work to put in place standard, repeatable data- and feature-engineering processes to support development of highly curated data sets ready for modelling. These agile data practices can help accelerate time to market of new data services.
  • Invest in DataOps (enhanced DevOps for data), which can help to accelerate the design, development, and deployment of new components into the data architecture so teams can rapidly implement and frequently update solutions based on feedback.
  • Create a data culture where employees are eager to use and apply new data services within their roles. One essential tool to achieve this is ensuring that data strategy ties to the business goals and is reflected in the C-suite’s messages to the organization, which can help reinforce the importance of this work to business teams.

As data, analytics, and AI become more embedded in the day-to-day operations at most organizations, it is clear that a radically different approach to data architecture is necessary to create and grow the data-centric enterprise. Those data and technology leaders who embrace this new approach will better position their companies to be agile, resilient, and competitive for whatever lies ahead.

Here starts the second feature:

FashionWest African designers explore virtual worlds

By  guest author Ekow Barnes from Vogue Business

Leading names in West African luxury fashion discuss the potential of digital fashion shows and marketing.

Back in May, Congolese designer Anifa Mvuemba, founder of fashion label Hanifa, staged a mould-breaking virtual fashion show over Instagram Live using beautifully conceived 3D renderings instead of models. The show was an unprecedented global hit, both on social media and in the mainstream press — arguably one of the fashion moments of lockdown.

Mvuemba’s achievement highlighted the potential of technology to transform the digital fashion show into a spellbinding spectacle. It also shone the spotlight on innovation in the West African fashion world, where designers are eager to reinvent their marketing strategies in the time of lockdown.

Besides Hanifa, other West African labels such as David Tlale, Christie Brown and Allëdjo Studios have launched collections in recent weeks through virtual shows or via lookbooks on social platforms. Kassim Lassissi, a Beninese designer for the brand Allëdjo, even found a live DJ to host his launch on Instagram. The virtual experience, it seems, has been truly embraced by African luxury fashion.

Vogue Business asked movers and shakers across the West African fashion scene to share their views.

The designers

Anifa Mvuemba: Hanifa has 285k Instagram followers, with tens of thousands of them tuning in for the brand’s virtual catwalk, showcasing her Pink Label Congo collection, staged on 22 May. Although she’s based in Baltimore, in the US, Anifa Mvuemba draws her design inspiration from her home country of Congo. The self-taught designer first conceived the idea of a 3D show five years ago.

“I feel as though African designers will be innovative with the resources they have access to for creating a fashion show,” she says. “In my case, I previously learned 3D technology prior to Covid-19 and was able to amplify that experience in the form of a fashion show much later. The future of fashion shows for African designers is limitless. We just need the access and knowledge to bring our ideas to life.”

Aisha Ayensu Obuobi: She’s creative director of Christie Brown, one of Ghana’s best-known luxury fashion brands. Aisha Obuobi first fell in love with fashion watching her seamstress grandmother at work. Christie Brown, named after her grandmother, was founded back in 2008, staging its first runway show in Accra, Ghana. Responding to lockdown, the company came up with a digital “see now, buy now” show for Spring/Summer 2020, which drew more than 29,000 viewers on Instagram. “Little did we know that there was a whole pandemic on the horizon,” Obuobi recalls. “But it forced us all to reinvent ourselves in our ways of doing things.”

The 3D creatives

Percy Nii Okine: He’s a Ghanaian 3D visualiser, working with a variety of brands as well as emerging fashion designers. “West African designers are gradually warming up to virtual possibilities with regards to fashion and are willing to imbibe new ideas to push African fashion on a global scale,” he says. “Post-Covid-19, virtual shows won’t become the new convention but [will represent] a good alternative to the physical fashion show.”

Baboa Menson: The founder of BalmLabs is a CLO3D specialist from Ghana who focuses on conceptual design and photoreal visualisation of concepts for fashion designers. “I think it’s a bit early to tell, but I believe virtual shows will create many more jobs and opportunities in the industry,” she says. “I’ve started to see a rise in designers wanting to incorporate 3D technology into their process. It’s mainly a result of the pandemic. It is exciting to see how significant it’s going to be.”

Travis Obeng-Casper: An emerging designer and CLO3D artist, Obeng-Casper has worked for design labels such as Tongoro and Christie Brown and highlights the sustainable benefits of digital design. “Covid-19 has helped start the conversation, I think,” he observes. “African fashion is embracing digital design to increase efficiency and decrease waste, especially while working remotely: 3D sampling allows brands to experience creative freedom during the process and makes the selling process efficient through the utilisation of realistic imagery.”

The show producers

Omoyemi Akerele: The founder and executive director of Style House Files, the fashion business development agency that produces Lagos Fashion Week, expects the October event to be a hybrid of digital and physical experience. “I have always been intrigued by the innovative and expressive use of digital models like Kim Zulu and Noonoouri, and the possibilities that exist as we embrace technology even further to build more efficiency, right from the design experience to retail,” she says. “It’s also been super exciting to see designers like Hanifa and Christie Brown adopt technology/digital experiences for their fashion presentations this season. At Lagos Fashion Week, we can’t wait to incorporate elements of digital technology for October.”

Claudia Lumor: The executive producer of Glitz Africa Fashion Week Ghana is optimistic about the potential of technology. “Innovation and creativity are with us, and virtual shows are now a way [forward] when we go back to our normal lives. But there is nothing like a physical fashion show. I believe virtual shows and physical shows will work hand in hand.”

Nuel Bans: The founder of Style Lounge Weekend, a platform that connects emerging young designers and contemporary brands with local buyers and influencers, says the consumer needs to be converted. “Virtual fashion shows could be a great thing if only brands will educate their customers to embrace this new normal. [There’s a] cost-effectiveness to digital production. I believe virtual shows in Ghana can be of positive benefit to the industry if the ideas are executed perfectly.”

The retailers

Reni Folawiyo: The founder of Alára, a concept store in Lagos (designed by superstar architect Sir David Adjaye), seeks to redefine luxury fashion for Nigerians, stocking Western labels such as Stella McCartney and Dries Van Noten and African brands such as Maki Oh, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi, Kenneth Ize and Christie Brown. She’s upbeat about virtual fashion shows and presentations.

Indeed, she believes that digital communication is a practical solution for African fashion. “Because of the widely flung distances and expense of travel for African designers and the industry in general, a lot of the interactions in fashion on our continent have been done digitally. We have bought collections we haven’t physically seen on many occasions. Our African designers are not new to this and they do it well. If we can keep delivery times shorter and shorter, then for us this can be a great success.”

Viola Labi: The high-profile luxury retail strategist believes that technology is an essential tool for the future. She opened the first Versace Collection boutique in Accra, Ghana, and is also the founder of consultancy Woven Worldwide. ‘’We must develop a strong supply chain across the continent to turn it into a viable competitor on a global scale. International luxury brands in Ghana, such as Versace Collection, have the capital to invest in software and can truly provide futuristic experiences to interact with clients.”

Key takeaway: The African fashion world is keen to explore virtual fashion shows, for both practical and creative purposes — and a new generation of designers is leading the way.

Here starts the third feature:

A Survey: In the US, people say their use of masks may endure

The survey content and analysis were developed by Priya Chauhan, a consultant in McKinsey’s New Jersey office; Sonja Hellstrom, a consultant in the Washington, DC, office; and Joe Hughes and Josh Rothenberg, a senior partner and associate partner, respectively, in the Chicago office.

They wish to thank Tony Gambell, Ryan Miller, and Anika Ranginani for their contributions to this work.

This article was edited by Daniella Seiler, an editor in the New York office.

Americans are largely optimistic about COVID-19’s progression, according to a new survey, and their responses suggest that the use of face masks will remain commonplace in the months ahead.

As shelter-in-place restrictions lift across the United States, more businesses reopen, and most states require face coverings in public settings, 1 results from a new McKinsey survey indicate that US consumers are meeting the next normal with their masks on. 2 The use of masks and respirators is nearly universal across the country, with 97 % of all respondents saying they wear a mask at least once in a typical week. 3

Furthermore, mask wearing is a behaviour that may endure. A majority of respondents say they expect to wear masks nine months from now, 4 and they also report a generally optimistic outlook on COVID-19 (Exhibit 1). Eighty-eight percent believe the country’s infection rate will be lower or the same in nine months, whether, or not, a vaccine is available, while only 12 percent of respondents believe the COVID-19 situation will get worse. Beyond the near-consensus on mask use and the COVID-19 outlook, the survey results point to a few patterns in how and where people are using masks. First, respondents who are male and younger in age—who are most likely to be back at the workplace, and more likely to have jobs that require face coverings—report higher rates of medical-grade mask use than others. Second, the use of cloth masks is consistently high across geographies, though the use of medical-grade masks is more prevalent in larger cities and urban areas. And third, respondents tend to use their preferred type of mask regardless of their destination.

Respondents at work report higher overall mask use

While mask wearing is reported broadly, the results indicate some notable differences based on age and gender (Exhibit 2). Across age groups, the weekly use of face masks is highest among respondents ages 18 to 64, particularly for medical-grade products. Adults 65 and older, a group that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has identified as one at higher risk of developing more serious complications from COVID-19, 5 report the least frequent overall mask use. Only 13 percent of these respondents report wearing an N95 respirator at least once a week. By gender, men and women report similar use of both surgical and cloth masks. But 42 percent of men report wearing N95 respirators at least once a week, compared with 26 percent of women.

Younger respondents and male respondents are also more likely than their counterparts to say they have returned to the workplace. At the time of the survey, more than one-third of all respondents report working on-site—and those who have gone back to the workplace report higher use of N95 respirators than those who have not returned (47 percent, versus 25 percent). By age, younger respondents (18- to 64-year-olds) report working on-site more than three times as often as respondents who are 65 and older (Exhibit 3). By gender, 43 percent of male respondents have returned to the workplace, compared with only 30 percent of female respondents.

Respondents report similar differences by age and gender in their reuse of N95 respirators at home (Exhibit 4). Those who continued to work on-site during the pandemic also report higher overall use of N95s, both on the job and for personal use, than others. Of all respondents who report using N95 respirators, younger respondents (ages 18–64) are nearly three times as likely as older respondents to report using the same N95 at work and at home. By gender, 57 percent of male respondents wear the same N95 respirator at home and at work, compared with 35 percent of female respondents.

Use of cloth masks is consistent, while use of medical-grade masks varies between rural and urban settings and by region

At the time of publication, 72 percent of US states had mandated the use of masks in public places (Exhibit 5)—which likely explains why the rate of wearing cloth masks is consistently high regardless of respondents’ geographic location (Exhibit 6). 6

For N95 respirators and surgical masks, there are notable differences in use based on the setting. Respondents in larger cities, where residents are in closer proximity, are more likely than those in rural areas, the suburbs, and smaller cities to report the use of medical-grade masks, especially N95 respirators. When comparing the use of medical-grade masks by region, respondents in the Midwest report the lowest rates of wearing both surgical masks and N95 respirators, while those in the Northeast report the highest rates of wearing N95 respirators.

Respondents wear their preferred type of mask wherever they go

Finally, respondents report using masks in a variety of public places—and the type of mask used varies little by the destination (Exhibit 7). Whether they are going to a grocery store or pharmacy for essential errands, to an office building, or on public transportation, respondents most often report the use of cloth masks, followed by surgical masks and N95 respirators. For every type of mask, use is the highest in enclosed spaces where people can expect to encounter those from other households (for example, a retail or grocery store) and lower in outdoor settings or gatherings of friends.

Over time, individuals’ commitment may be the biggest variable in the use of masks

While the survey reveals a clear consensus on the use of face coverings at least once a week, lagging usage in several settings suggests that some consumers’ initial concerns about COVID-19 may be beginning to fade. As COVID-19 continues to unfold, many elements will guide public opinion and behaviour: for example, government and business policies about face coverings, recommendations from public-health agencies, access to safe and effective face coverings, and the virus’s epidemiological progression. But ultimately, the US public’s personal motivation and commitment to mask wearing will shape how, if at all, the use of face masks evolves in the months ahead.

The Newsletter of Last Week

The Serial Innovation Imperative: The Most Innovative Companies 2020 by Boston Consulting, and IMF updated World Economic Forecast

The highlights of TextileFuture’s News of last week. For your convenience just click on the feature.


Lululemon buys Mirror, an At-Home Fitness Start-up, for USD 500 Million


Agriculture’s resilience has been tested by COVID, making fighting climate change even more vital than ever, says Syngenta Group

Government policies providing more than USD 500 billion to farmers every year distort markets, stifle innovation and harm the environment


Federal Swiss FDFA supports ETH Zurich project to produce affordable ventilators for developing countries

Antiviral Remedy

Comprehensive hygiene management is gaining in importance in the Corona crisis: Antiviral properties of selected Sanitized® products on hard, non-porous surfaces are confirmed                


The European textile and clothing industry presents its strategy for the future


A spotlight on the year’s best products: celebrating the winners of the Red Dot Award on Instagram

Awards – ESA Start-up competition announces four winners


Switzerland and United Kingdom seek closer cooperation on financial services


The fascination of everyday things

Swiss Autoneum realigns financing sustainably

Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group stake in Hugo Boss doubles to 10.1%


Transaction completed – STOLL was transferred to KARL MAYER on July 1, 2020


Brazil Sees Huge Jump in share of China’s  Cotton Import Market,but most countries will see declines ranging from 7 % to 73 %, states ICAC

Cutting Jobs

Harrods to cut 700 jobs


Swiss Retail trade turnover soared in May 2020 after easing of COVID-19 measures

International community continues making progress against offshore tax evasion declares OECD

Swiss Consumer prices remained stable in June 2020

OECD annual inflation slowed to 0.7% in May 2020, driven by energy prices; food prices inflation continued to rise

U.S. Employers added 4.8 million jobs in June, and the U.S. unemployment rate was 11.1 %, a recovery


Tonello presents Range of Technologies for Garment Disinfecting


Clariant completes the sale of its Masterbatches business to PolyOne for approx. USD 1.6 billion

Carbon Fibre

Teijin Increases Capacity of Carbon Short Fibre


“Circularity is in our DNA” states the CEO of Sympatex

Teijin Aramid’s HSE Report 2019: 215000 tons of avoided CO2 emissions; now it’s time to collaborate for circularity and to “close the chain”


Clariant’s shareholders approve all agenda items

Under Armour moves to terminate USD 280 million deal with UCLA Under Armour moves to terminate USD 280 million deal with UCLA

Lululemon Jumps on Another Fitness Trend


ISKO is main sponsor of ISPO Re.Start Days with ISKO Vital™+, its superior quality face cover line

AATCC Call for Presentations


Profits with a purpose to be the new dictum in the fashion industry


Finland puts sustainability top of the agenda


High Tech Clothing

High-tech clothing – Wearable Health


White staff and a white curriculum: Inside fashion education 

Covid-19 Grants

Swiss Federal Council releases guarantee for SR Technics


My Size Expands Footprint in France; Announces Additional French Retail Apparel Brands to Integrate MySizeID to Increase Customer Loyalty and Reduce Returns


The lightest shielding material in the world

Material Experience Centre

The Santoni Materials Experience Centre (MEC)


My Size Integrates MySizeID Into SWEET FIT Virtual Fitting Mirror


What is noise?


BASF working toward circularity in recycling of mattresses


The DITF are developing different approaches for reusable masks


Second Stakeholder Consultation by Textile Exchange

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa: A Cautions Reopening


Milliken & Company Publishes Second Annual Corporate Sustainability Report Sub-Saharan Africa: A Cautions Reopening


Webinar on Human Health and Resilient Food Systems (July 3, 2020)

U.S. Trade Webinars