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Fast Company just released their annual list of the world's 50 most innovative companies, and fully five of the top 10 are fashion or retail related in some way. From Tumblr to Nasty Gal to Amazon, here's who made the cut, and why.
50. Tumblr. "For showing that ads and great content can mix in social media." In other words, for getting brands to pay to exist on a platform that's free for everyone else. Well done, Tumblr.
44. PPR. For greening up luxury fashion. All 14 of PPR brans—YSL, Gucci, and Alexander McQueen included—will undergo an intense environmental review by 2015. Based on that review, PPR claims they'll adjust products and their production lines to make the companies greener. "It's not something that's in addition to what we're doing; it's completely at the core of what we are doing," PPR chairman and CEO Francois-Henri Pinault told Fast Company.
19. Nasty Gal, Modcloth, Styleseat, Science, Snapette, Birchbox, Ahalife. These sites share billing at number 19 on the list for "giving the fashion and beauty business a digital makeover."
10. Target. For understanding how to make big box stores fit a downtown lifestyle. Four-packs of paper towels instead of 34-packs, apartment-scale furniture, and free Wi-Fi are just a few of the ways City Targets are making box stores cool again.
8. Pinterest. For almost solving that sticky issue of how to monetize social media. Per Fast Company: "Pinterest is now one of the top 50 most-visited sites in the U.S., and retailers are excited: The average purchase off a pinboard nets more than double those off a wall post or a tweet. "
5. Fab. For evolving from a flash-sale site into a legit design destination. Though technically this list is supposed to be about innovation and not size, it's hard to ignore Fab's dizzying expansion. Fast Company's stats put the expansion into perspective: "Membership is up sixfold, to more than 10 million; international sales went from zero to 30% of business; and Fab built its own warehouse to ship goods faster." That's a huge amount of growth.
1. Nike. For two "revolutionary" new products (the FuelBand and the Flyknit Racer running shoe) and a "culture of true believers." Fast Company explains: >blockquote>"To produce even one of these innovations in a given year is a rarity for any company, especially one with 44,000 employees. But Nike CEO Mark Parker knows he can't just rely on celebrity endorsements and the power of the swoosh when confronted by big-name competitors such as Adidas and upstarts like Jawbone and Fitbit. 'One of my fears is being this big, slow, constipated, bureaucratic company that's happy with its success,' he says. 'Companies fall apart when their model is so successful that it stifles thinking that challenges it. It's like what the Joker said—'This town needs an enema.' When needed, you've got to apply that enema, so to speak.'"
Head here to see the rest of the list, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
· THE WORLD'S 50 MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES 2013 [Fast Company]
· All The Fashion People Who Made Fast Company's "Most Creative People In Business" List [Racked]