The retail apocalypse has officially descended on America

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Thousands of mall-based stores are shutting down in what’s fast becoming one of the biggest waves of retail closures in decades.

More than 3,500 stores are expected to close in the next couple of months.

Department stores like JCPenney, Macy’s, Sears, and Kmart are among the companies shutting down stores, along with middle-of-the-mall chains like Crocs, BCBG, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Guess.

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Modern-Day Witchcraft: This Hair Dye Changes Color

Last year, Lauren Bowker was halfway through a nostalgic re-watching of the cult ’90s teen film The Craft when the idea struck. More specifically, it was during the “glamor spells” scene, when Robin Tunney’s character goes from brunette to platinum blond just by combing her fingers through her hair. “It was in that moment that the penny kind of dropped,” says Bowker, “I was like, ‘We could do that.'”

That wasn’t posturing: As a chemist, fashion designer, and the founder of the London-based material design studio, The Unseen, Bowker is something of a high-fashion alchemist. Her color-changing leather purses and otherworldly wearable Air sculptures are a measured mix of stunning aesthetics and seriously complex science.

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The future of wearables: Silkworms fed graphene produce ‘super silk’

Graphene just keeps getting better and better. The so-called super material – a one-atom-thick layer of carbon that has proven to be incredibly strong, flexible, light and conductive – has now been fed to larval silkworms which then created “mechanically enhanced silk”.

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Virtual Reality ‘Sunglasses’ Launching This Year

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Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for virtual reality headsets the size of “normal-looking glasses” may well be realized 10 years ahead of schedule after a Chinese firm announced plans to release lightweight goggles later this year.

VR startup Dlodlo said its V1 headset would “redefine” virtual reality glasses when it is released in October, leaving behind the bulky aesthetic of current headsets such as Samsung’s Gear VR, the HTC Vive or Facebook’s Oculus Rift.

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Scientists create self-healing fabrics that also protect from harmful chemicals

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Protective clothing is critical to the health and safety of workers who handle hazardous chemicals. A new fabric coating promises to not only neutralize toxins, but also to heal tears and holes on its own while the clothes go through the laundry.

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The biggest Product Design trends set for 2016

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Winners of Inc.’s Iconic Design Awards come from all varieties of categories this year, including toys, sportswear, environment-saving home goods, and more. However they all share one key quality: they nail what customers want now.

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A robotic suitcase that follows its owner around

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One of the biggest stresses of going on vacation is packing. Dragging almost-bursting cases on and off conveyor belts and around airports is not what most people enjoy doing, but the days of lugging heavy luggage through various ports and stations may well be over, thanks to a new invention – a suitcase that follows you around.

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Did a Chinese startup just build the world’s first bendable screen bracelet phone?

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Moxi Group, an unknown company in Chongqing China, passed these images of a magical, flexible bracelet smartphone around to the financial news press a couple days ago. However, here’s the fine print: Moxi actually claims to be working on a black-and-white version of this concept, with a color version “by 2018.”

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Ringly and MasterCard announce partnership to allow customers to pay with smart jewelry

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You are about to have another option at your fingertips to pay for things.  Last week, the smart jewelry company Ringly announces a partnership with MasterCard that will allow you to pay for items with the tap of a ring. (Video)

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11 amazing pairs of futuristic shoes

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Fashion designers are starting to use all kinds of technology in their garments.  Scientific progress has always been an important part of shoe design — the invention of vulcanized rubber by Charles Goodyear directly led to boots that could climb Mount Everest, for example — and pro athletes consistently turn to Nike, Reebok, and other companies to create performance-enhancing footwear.

Here are 11 pairs of shoes for the future, some that heal themselves, give you directions, and even generate electricity.

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World’s first 3D printed fashion collection printed entirely at home by designer Danit Peleg

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3D printing is beginning to gain some traction within the fashion industry. It has gained popularity by some of the industry’s most popular designers, and has attracted the attention of both celebrities and fashionistas from around the world. (Video)

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