Future+ Fridays | Issue05

Our weekly newsletter taken over by Carlota Rodben founder of Beyond Luxury

Hi! It's Carlota, two-time author, entrepreneur, advisor/consultant, and an expert in luxury innovation and futures. You might know me from my latest book, Beyond Luxury: The Promise of Emotion, or from its podcast spin-off, Beyond Luxury, or maybe you don’t know me at all. And in that case, it is an absolute pleasure to introduce myself and have you here!

Every quarter, I'll take over the Future+ Fridays Newsletter to share the top 5 things that caught my attention, along with a curated roundup of news at the exciting crossroads of creativity, culture, luxury, sustainability, and technology. 

This week, to celebrate the release of the Season 2 Trailer of the Beyond Luxury podcast, we're spotlighting the biggest topics that will be discussed with some of our brilliant guests: the new creation and consumption of media, a return to the basics in hospitality experiences, the transformative power of AI in creation and personalisation, the digital realms of influence, sustainable business models, and so much more.

If you're joining us for the first time, be sure to subscribe to the Future+ Friday Newsletter for your weekly dose of insights and dive into the book Beyond Luxury: The Promise of Emotion and podcast Beyond Luxury where I push the boundaries of tomorrow. 

I'm excited to explore the future of luxury and innovation with you. Let's dive in!

Photo: Carlota Rodben ; Beyond Luxury Book

📖 In this week’s issue- 

Season 2 of the Beyond Luxury podcast has just debuted! A new episode comes out every Tuesday for the next 3 months. 

We have 12 episodes and one Bonus episode, featuring 15 distinguished guests, all recorded at the Apple Studios in London, Platoon7.

In the episodes, we delve deep into the evolving landscape of the luxury industry, touching on art, culture, beauty, fashion, travel, hospitality, technology, sustainability, creativity, and experience. 

Our guests include:

Jack Ezon, Founding and Managing Partner of EMBARK Beyond
Michel Tjoeng, Co-Founder of ChatLabs
Ashumi Sanghvi, Founder of MAD Global & Future+
Milton Pedraza, CEO of The Luxury Institute, LLC
Massimo Moretti, CEO & Founder of ITAK
Pablo Rodriguez-Fraile, Founder & Chairman of Aorist
Diana Verde Nieto, Co-Founder of Positive Luxury and author of "Reimagining Luxury"
Lauren Ingram, Founder of Women of Web3
Geoffrey Perez, Global Head of Luxury at Snap Inc.
Bonnie Langedijk, Founder at HURS
Delphine Tour Helin, International Beauty & Tech Director at YSL Beauty at L'Oréal
Omar Karim, AI Image Maker and Creative Director ex-Creative Director/Strategist at Meta
Natasha Franck, CEO at EON
Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel, CEO at Arianee
Jake Gajdamowicz, Co-Founder & COO at Uniqly.io

For this week's newsletter takeover we offer a slightly different take on Future+ Fridays, giving a special sneak peek at 5 key conversations from the podcast:

  1. 🌍 Navigating the future of media and technology in luxury with Ashumi Sanghvi

  2. 🛎 Rediscovering human connection in hospitality experiences with Jack Ezon

  3. 🤖 Revolutionising luxury brand engagement with AI and data analytics with Michel Tjoeng

  4. 🎭 Virtual influencers and spatial computing with Omar Karim

  5. 🌿 Achieving true sustainability: integration to the point of making sustainability teams obsolete with Diana Verde Nieto

👩‍💻 Also on our radar, in case you missed it- 

  • EBAY Eyes the Luxury Fashion Resale Market 

  • Rosie Huntington-Whiteley Joins The Equity Studio

  • Reddit's IPO Sees Significant Surge

  • Spam Issues in OpenAI’s Chatbot Store

  • AI in Marketing: Best Practices for Personalisation

  • Could Trading be One of the Business Models of the Future? (Written by Diana Verde Nieto)

  • Alessandro Michele has been named the new Creative Director of Valentino

📲 Are you a brand or PR team that has news to share? Fill this form here to be featured to over 2000+ marketers, execs and innovation teams across fashion, luxury, beauty, retail and emerging technologies.

🔎 Deeper Insights:

  1. 🌍 Navigating the future of media and technology in luxury with Ashumi Sanghvi

Ashumi shares her experience witnessing the media evolution from print to digital and now into immersive experiences. This shift, significantly influenced by the rise of social media and new tech software/hardware, has transformed and will only continue to reimagine how luxury brands communicate with their audience, moving towards a true omni-channel approach that spans various digital platforms. Reflecting on the early days of digital transition, Ashumi recalls the initial scepticism around digital magazines and e-commerce, a sentiment that has drastically shifted to widespread acceptance and integration as essential components of the marketing mix.

Ashumi Sanghvi and Carlota Rodben
Photo: Courtesy of Beyond Luxury

We explore the current technological advancements shaping the media landscape, particularly the introduction of hardware like Apple Vision Pro and the impact of Meta's push into virtual spaces. Ashumi highlights the democratisation of immersive experiences made possible by such technologies, suggesting a future where media consumption extends beyond smartphones to more interactive and tangible platforms. This evolution presents both challenges and opportunities for luxury brands, emphasising the need for adaptation to maintain cultural relevance and deepen consumer engagement. Ashumi's insights into the cyclical nature of technological adoption and its implications for the luxury media landscape underscore the importance of agility and foresight for brands navigating this ongoing transformation.

Why it matters: History doesn't always repeat itself, but it often rhymes. It's crucial to note the shift from traditional print media to digital platforms and the initial resistance encountered, leading up to the current trend towards immersive experiences. This progression is significant as it mirrors broader shifts in consumer behaviour, the future of media content creation by brands, and technological advancements that shape how luxury brands interact with their audience. The emergence of social media and integrated omni-channel marketing strategies, along with the introduction of innovative hardware like the Apple Vision Pro, marks a transition to more engaging and tangible consumer experiences. For luxury brands, adapting to these developments is not merely about maintaining relevance; it's an opportunity to deepen consumer connections, enhance brand loyalty, and pave the way for future innovations. 

What does this mean for the future of luxury storytelling and brand engagement? 

How will these shifts redefine the landscape of consumer interaction and brand loyalty?


  • Significant shift in luxury media from print to digital and immersive experiences, driven by social media and technological advancements.

  • The introduction of hardware like Apple Vision Pro and platforms like Meta highlights a move towards democratising immersive consumer experiences.

  • Adapting to these changes is crucial for luxury brands to maintain cultural relevance, deepen consumer engagement, and innovate in brand storytelling and customer interaction.

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  1. 🛎 Rediscovering human connection in hospitality experiences with Jack Ezon

Jack has witnessed a significant shift from conspicuous consumption to conscious consumption, particularly post-pandemic. This change reflects a deeper desire for meaningful experiences over material possessions. Luxury is no longer defined by the opulence of physical goods but by the emotional impact and connections they create. Consumers are increasingly seeking bespoke, personalised experiences that resonate on a personal level, moving away from branded luxury to unique, character-rich offerings. This evolution is evident in the hospitality industry, where consumer preference has shifted towards spaces that offer a sense of place and personality, rather than traditional luxury brands.

AI Generated on Midjourney

The concept of luxury today revolves around emotional resonance and the ability to make consumers feel special and understood. It's about creating moments that connect with the heart, demonstrating a profound understanding of the consumer's desires and needs. This approach requires a deep dive into personalisation, moving beyond generic gestures to actions that genuinely reflect the consumer's individuality. The emotional connection is the cornerstone of luxury, with experiences designed to leave a lasting impact, fostering loyalty and trust that is won from the heart rather than through financial transactions.

Why it matters: This shift towards emotional luxury and conscious consumption is crucial for brands aiming to remain relevant in a rapidly changing market. It highlights the need for a deeper, more genuine engagement with consumers, focusing on creating memorable, meaningful experiences. This evolution challenges brands to innovate and rethink their approach to experience physical, digital, or phygital emphasising the importance of personalisation, emotional impact, and authenticity in building lasting relationships with consumers.


  • Luxury has evolved from conspicuous consumption to conscious consumption, emphasising meaningful experiences over material possessions.

  • Emotional impact and personal connections have become the new benchmarks for luxury, with consumers seeking bespoke experiences that resonate personally.

  • The shift challenges brands to innovate and deepen their engagement with consumers, focusing on personalisation and authenticity.

  • Brands that successfully adapt to this shift, creating emotionally resonant experiences, are set to build stronger, more trusting and loyal relationships with their consumers.

  1. 🤖Revolutionising luxury brand engagement with AI and data analytics with Michel Tjoeng

Michel's journey began in the early days of e-commerce, evolving from creating digital experiences for major brands to harnessing the potential of customer data for personalised engagement. His work at De Beers as the Global Head of Digital marked a pivotal shift towards data obsession, exploring tools to understand customer behaviour in real-time and leveraging insights to enhance user experience. This exploration led to the creation of ChatLabs, aimed at automating the integration and activation of diverse data streams to deliver tailored customer journeys.

Michel's vision extends beyond traditional data collection, focusing on structuring unstructured data to enable AI-driven personalisation. ChatLabs aims to replicate the nuanced, human-centric approach of luxury in-store experiences online, dynamically adjusting content and recommendations based on individual customer intent and preferences. This approach eliminates the friction inherent in traditional online shopping, guiding customers through a curated journey that mirrors the personalised attention received in physical stores. By understanding and acting on the unique triggers and motivations of each customer, ChatLabs aims to deliver hyper-personalised, engaging online experiences that resonate on a personal level.

Why it matters: The shift towards AI and data analytics in luxury brand engagement is crucial for adapting to the evolving expectations of consumers in the digital age. The goal of attaining structured and usable data for personalisation and client experience from unstructured collected data is crucial today. As customers seek more personalised, relevant, and engaging online experiences, luxury brands must leverage technology to deliver on these demands. Michel's work with ChatLabs represents a significant step forward, offering brands the tools to create immersive, personalised online experiences that rival the bespoke service of luxury in-store encounters. This evolution is not just about staying ahead in a competitive market; it's about redefining the relationship between luxury brands and their customers in a digital-first world.


  • ChatLabs focuses on automating personalisation by dynamically adjusting online experiences to individual customer preferences, akin to luxury in-store service.

  • The initiative is driven by the necessity for luxury brands to meet consumer expectations for more personalised and engaging online interactions.

  • By mimicking the bespoke attention offered in physical stores, ChatLabs aims to redefine the digital journey, making it as personalised and immersive as the in-store experience.

  • This evolution signifies a pivotal change in the relationship between luxury brands and their customers, emphasising a digital-first approach to luxury shopping.

🔮 Are you a journalist, trend forecaster or futurist with a unique perspective on the intersection of creative, culture and technology? Apply to become a Future+ Creator today.

  1. 🎭 Virtual influencers and spatial computing with Omar Karim

Omar Karim explores the transformative realm of virtual influencers and the impact of artificial intelligence on the luxury industry. Transitioning from traditional advertising to the innovative spaces of Meta, he uncovered the untapped potential of AI-driven creativity… a hot and taboo topic these days. This exploration led to the creation of a virtual influencer named Egorhythm, among many others. Crafted on a modest budget with no team behind him, Egorhythm not only achieved unexpected success as the first AI powered DJ virtual influencer booking important gigs such as a radio show, but also ignited a broader conversation about the role of virtual influencers in contemporary marketing and the ethical considerations they raise.

Images: Virtual influencers @Shudu.gram & @lilmiquela

Omar's insights extend into the realm of spatial computing and immersive experiences, underscoring the cultural impact of these emerging technologies and their potential to redefine consumer engagement in luxury markets. He advocates for the development of killer experiences that leverage spatial computing to transcend the limitations of reality, offering unique and innovative brand interactions. The conversation further explores the synergy between digital craftsmanship and traditional craftsmanship and luxury values, suggesting that digital experiences– when thoughtfully designed and executed– can enhance brand narratives and deepen customer relationships without detracting from the essence of luxury.

Why it matters: The integration of virtual influencers, AI, and spatial computing into the luxury sector are just some of many upcoming tools that could be a pivotal shift towards more personalised, engaging, and innovative client experiences. As brands strive to remain relevant in an increasingly digital world, the ability to merge traditional luxury with cutting-edge technology becomes crucial. This evolution not only opens new avenues for creative expression and marketing but also challenges brands to consider the ethical implications of digital representation and authenticity. By embracing these technologies, luxury brands can forge deeper connections with their audience, offering bespoke experiences that resonate on a personal level while navigating the complexities of digital ethics.


  • Egorhythm, AI-powered virtual DJ influencer, showcases the potential for innovative marketing and ethical considerations.

  • Spatial computing and immersive experiences are highlighted as future avenues for unique consumer-brand interactions.

  • Blending AI digital craftsmanship with traditional luxury values to enhance brand narratives.

  • The integration of advanced technology in luxury marketing demands a careful approach to authenticity and digital ethics.

  • Virtual influencers and spatial computing present opportunities for personalised and engaging luxury experiences, marking a shift towards a digitally-enhanced future.

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  1. 🌿 Achieving true sustainability: integration to the point of making sustainability teams obsolete with Diana Verde Nieto

Diana's work, including her recently published book Reimagining Luxury: Building a Sustainable Future for your Brand and founding Positive Luxury, underscores the evolving relationship between luxury brands and their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) responsibilities. This evolution reflects a growing recognition of luxury's power to influence and enact positive change, moving towards a model that values sustainability as integral to business strategy rather than a separate initiative.

Image: Diana Verde Nieto / Reimagining Luxury Book

Diana's perspective on reimagining luxury encompasses a future where luxury is not only about the sustainability of the industry, supply chain, materials, and business models, but also about democratising luxury experiences. This shift towards accessible luxury experiences, such as enjoying the Prada Café or engaging with a brand through social media, illustrates a broader trend of luxury adapting to the values and expectations of younger generations. Gen Z particularly, is redefining luxury through their preferences for sustainability, circularity, trading, and pre-loved items, challenging traditional notions of luxury consumption as the business model we know it to be today.

You can read more about what Diana thinks of trading as a new business model in the article above on the “also on your radar” section.

Why it matters: The reimagining of luxury to incorporate sustainability and inclusivity is crucial for the industry's future resilience and relevance. As consumer values shift towards greater environmental and social consciousness, luxury brands must adapt to remain competitive and meaningful. This transformation involves embedding sustainability into every aspect of business operations, from product development to marketing, ensuring that luxury not only signifies quality and exclusivity but also responsibility and positive impact. By embracing this change, luxury brands can lead by example, driving broader societal shifts towards sustainability and inclusivity.


  • Diana focuses on integrating sustainability into the luxury sector, emphasising the need for luxury brands to adapt to changing consumer values.

  • The concept of democratising luxury experiences reflects a shift towards more accessible and inclusive forms of luxury, resonating with younger consumers' values.

  • Gen Z's approach to luxury, characterised by a preference for sustainability, trading, and pre-loved items, challenges traditional luxury consumption models.

  • The future of luxury lies in embedding sustainability into every aspect of business, moving towards a model that values inclusivity, responsibility, and positive impact.

That’s all for this week. For more insights and deep dives on these topics and many more, don’t miss out on all episodes every Tuesday on the Beyond Luxury podcast! 

I hope you enjoyed my takeover and see you next quarter on Future+ Fridays! 

As an insider scoop for the Future+ Community, we are releasing the first episode of the Beyond Luxury podcast with Michel Tjoeng, Co-Founder of Chatlabs, the winner of the LVMH AI Awards of 2023. It is ready for you to listen on the podcast anywhere you like to listen 🎧!

Bonus content for the long-weekend:

📚 To read -

👀 To watch -

  • 📺 Watch "The New Look'' on Apple TV+ if you haven't had the chance yet! You'll gain insights into the relationships among the era's greatest “couturiers”, their origins, and how these narratives are now being presented by the brands themselves. Owned brand film production is emerging as a new form of media storytelling for brands, as Dior has done here. 

🗣️ To listen -  

I hope that you enjoy them!

Remember, the best way to predict the future is to create it !

Follow me on LinkedIn, Instagram @carlotarodben and @beyondluxury_official, Twitter, and don't forget to follow, rate, and subscribe to the Beyond Luxury podcast on your favourite podcasting platform to make sure you don't miss out on the next episodes! 

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