for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant

Fashionable Prayers

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Seen in Kitson, LA – ‘O God’ women’s prayer necklaces. A ‘holy wood’ or stone pendant on a gold chain disguises a capsule that holds a prayer scroll inside. The necklace is available with a choice of both prayers and pendants for the ultimate in religious customisation, with a perfect selection of prayers for the store’s celebrity shoppers. Try ‘Peace on Earth’ in Emerald, or ‘Happiness’ in Ruby, and you too can be fashionably religious for only $275!

Available online

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Filed under: stuff

Shopping in LA- West Third St

The best place in LA to pick up pieces by hot new designers from all over the globe, West Third street boasts an impressive array of young independent clothing boutiques, many who have only opened their doors within the last two years.

Recognising that the area poses problems for shoppers (lack of cross-walks, minimal parking etc) and that great design alone is not enough to entice customers,  the stores have got together and created a Third Street community which is fighting to establish the area as a key new shopping destination- starting with their first annual holiday party. Taking place on the evening of December 7th, the party will stretch along West Third Street (from La Cienega to Fairfax) and offer food, wine, music and sales.

The stores themselves are impressive not only for their great collections, but also for the wonderful individuality both in merchandise and atmosphere. Some of my favourites-

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MILK – 8209 West Third Street

Opened just over a year ago, Milk sells a mixture of big names (DVF, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti, Derek Lam, Aquascutum) and denim-friendly brands alongside vintage couture pieces, displayed as a jumble of beautiful designs. Owned by cousins Marni and Bari who wanted to create a girly store ‘like a big closet’, the shop offers everything a girl’s wardrobe should include from beautiful shoes and sexy underwear to beauty products and books on fashion, all in a romantic, feminine atmosphere enhanced with literary excerpts printed in gold adorning the walls, and soft chandelier lighting. Pieces ranging from $30 to $3000 happily mix on wooden rails and tables, which are adorned with vintage milk bottles and other finds to further enhance the country theme that underpins the store.

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FILLY – 8032 West Third Street

Selling a unique selection of independent designers sourced from all over the world by owners and best friends Rachel Bratcher and J’nai Cameron, Filly champions up-and-coming names. Those on the rails of the newly opened store include items from the first season by NY designers Madison Marcus, pieces from Israeli company Benot (picked up by the girls in Tel Aviv), dresses by design duo Carson Potter, and Italian designer Diletta.

The store itself is named to encompass both the girly frivolity of shopping and the ranch styling of the interior (influenced by the girls’ love of
horses and the countryside), with ranchwood fittings and bare floors showcasing the delicate dresses and beautiful jewellery.

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South_willard

SOUTH WILLARD – 8038 West Third Street

Surfer Ryan Conder and his girlfriend stylist Danielle Kays prefer a more sleek and sedate presentation for their refined selection of European and American designers. South Willard offers a selection of mens and womenswear from designers such as Hussein Chalayan, Veronique Branquinho, Ann-Sofie Back, Bernhard Willhelm and Bless, among others, as well as their own South Willard jeans- a unisex
design made exclusively by hand in Japan from a soft, lightwieght, richly-dyed denim.  The idea behind the store was the couple’s longing for  a cleaner aesthetic and understated design options, resulting in clever merchandising choices reflected in a stark, minimalist interior. Two and a half years on it seems that they weren’t alone in their longing for  a more serious style previously lacking in the LA shopping scene, and customer support continues to grow.

South Willard

Other Stores on West Third worth a visit-

8117- Satine– designer womenswear
8311- Douglas Fir- refined menswear
8303- OK – great designwares store selling products by Droog, Comme des Garcons etc
7938- Built By Wendy

Filed under: search this out

The Return of Ettiquette- Teaching them Young

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Seen at the MOCA store LA, these books by illustrator Munro Leaf were first published in the 1930s and 40s to teach manners, grammar and polite behaviour to very young children. Titles including How to Behave and Why, Manners Can Be Fun, and How to Speak Politely and Why, define correct behaviour in gentle and sweet guides illustrated with childlike drawings. The teachings reflect the ettiquette of its time, seen now as quaintly simple and yet surprisingly relevant. An interesting choice for a contemporary arts shop.

Also available online

Filed under: for the children, products with a purpose

Skin + Bones

Whilst in LA for psfk I paid a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art to check out their recently opened exhibition highlighting the connections between and shared inspirations of fashion and architecture.

‘Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture’ presents an assortment of work from contemporary (and a few earlier) fashion designers and architects, grouped together under grandiose titles including Identity, Shelter, Structural Skin, and Tectonic Strategies.

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All the usual suspects are represented- outfits by Hussein Chalayan, Yohi Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, Viktor + Rolf and Comme des Garcons are displayed alongside buildings designed by Herzog & de Meuron, Toyo Ito, Shigeru Ban, and Zaha Hadid, successfully depicting the overlapping styles and ideas. Interesting additions to the line-up include delicate constructions by Oliver Theyskiens, geometric designs by Yeohlee Teng, and clever  linear cutting from Narcisco Rodriguez.

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Attention is paid not only to the individual clothing but the total ‘architecture’ of the fashion shows in the same way that buildings are represented both as a whole and in part stages/ through different viewpoints, helping to understand the importance of interaction in both disciplines. Although a little thin on the ground in some areas (some sections contained only clothing with no or very little architectural interpretation) the exhibition does a good job of showcasing interesting global evolutions in architecture.

New architectural ideas currently in production from Greg Lynn, Office
dA, and Neil M Denari Architects utilising innovative manufacturing
techniques, unexpected exterior cladding, and artistically expressive
design are definitely worth seeing.

It’s a shame that there are so few younger designers from both disciplines included, but the exhibition is still most definitely a success- and the accompanying book is even more impressive than the information on display. If you’re in LA you have until March to visit- if not, lots of the information shown is available online

Filed under: exhibition reviews, ,

Interactive Wildlife Projections

Picture_6_1Wildlife is a new interactive installation project by Karolina Sobecka using videos of wild animals projected from moving cars onto buildings. Using a similar idea to her earlier work Chase, the animal’s movements are programmed to correspond with the car’s speed, meaning the animal speeds up and slows down with the car- due to sensors monitoring the wheel rotation. For this piece one main tiger (and corresponding vehicle) is used, with additional animals appearing in the projection as reflections of passing vehicles and pedestrians.

Karolina uses the city as her medium, combining technology and philosphy in gritty, urban settings in an attempt to make the world more beautiful and meaningful.

Watch a video of the projections
shown as part of ZeroOne San  Jose International Symposium of Electronic Art 2006

Filed under: arts & culture, talent worth watching

WINE CELLAR SORBETS

Cleverly combining food and wine for wine lovers throughout the country, Wine Cellar Sorbets produces refreshing sorbets made from vintage wines.
Choose your preferred vintage from a constantly changing wine list that includes a selection of Californian and New York red, white and rosé wines. Available in New York and New Jersey gourmet stores, fine restaurants and caterers, it’s a ‘cool’ new way to enjoy your favourite tipple, and such a brilliantly simple idea I’m amazed it’s only just reached the market.

Wine Cellar Sorbets

Filed under: Uncategorized, , ,

Lets Green San Francisco

Picture_2_6Inhabitat has some great pictures of the grass couches that appeared around San Francisco last weekend.

Part of a series of interactive green installations celebrating the launch of letsgreenthiscity.com, a community-based website aiming to help San Franciscan businesses and individuals go green, the couches were placed at landmarks around the city.

Sponsored by Pacific Gas and Electric Company and ReadyMade magazine, the event was a clever ecologically-friendly guerrilla promotion, and looks like it was pretty successful- lets just hope people didn’t end up with grass stains!

The name of the new site expresses perfectly the dramatic swing towards environmental concerns in the public consciousness- fed up of the Pimp My Life culture; it’s time for ‘Green My Life’. Can’t wait to see MTV’s interpretation!

Filed under: collaborative working, evironmental insights,

Now your Boss can Monitor Your Mood

Picture_4_2A new product invented by folk at the University of Tokyo and GS Yuasa moitors the ‘mood’ of a room- and presents it as coloured light display. The system, called SHOJI (Symbiotic Hosting Online Jog Instrument), measures a room’s environmental conditions (light, temperature, humidity, infrared radiation and ultrasonic waves) and detects the presence and movement of people, body temperature, and the nature of the activity in the room. The idea is that there are two terminals, each in different rooms, reporting on the mood of the other via data sent over the internet and interpreted through coloured LEDs. By checking the color of light on the SHOJI terminal, users can easily understand the mood in the other room.

Tests are due to begin in offices, hospitals and residential settings, with the product aiming to be on the market for general consumption in April 2007 at about $2,500 – $3,300. So watch out- soon not only will your boss be monitoring your work, but he’ll know how happy you are whilst doing it!

via Pink Tentacle – who also reported earlier this year on a similar product prototype called KOTOHANA

Filed under: products with a purpose, technology,

TEXTile – Digital Communication at FWM

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An exhibition at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia presents the work of their artist-in-residence Jean Shin who has created an interactive fabric examining digital communication in contemporary life through thousands of discarded computer keyboard keys. Embedded in a 25 foot textile the keys create a
text that reads from left to right, and is a line-by-line transcript of the e-mail correspondence between Shin and the FWM project staff, the work becoming a documentation of its own creation.

“Shin is known for transforming the mundane into poetic meditations on materiality. Discarded objects from everyday life-used clothes, broken umbrellas, worn-out shoes, old eyeglasses—are amassed, deconstructed, and reassembled by Shin through a labor-intensive process that hints to
the objects’ former function. What remains is a visually compelling and psychologically powerful transformation of life’s leftovers…

TEXTile calls attention to the tactility of what is now a daily act for many—e-mailing. Shin distills the object that allows us to communicate globally down and reconfigures it in a way that calls attention to the physicality of the act of typing, emphasizing the relationship of the body to language.”

Read more at The Fabric Workshop and Museum

Filed under: arts & culture, exhibition reviews,

Dasparkhotel

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Austrian art college graduate Andreas Strauss has created a new type of holiday accommodation; minimal-hospitality units made out of large sections of concrete drainage pipes. The project, called Dasparkhotel is located in a park near the Danube, where three “drain rooms” create perfect sleeping spaces for travellers.

Despite the giant concrete interior, inside the rooms are apparently surprisingly comfortable- if not a little sparse. A double bed, storage, light, power socket, woolly blanket and light cotton sleeping bag are all supplied, and the lacking hotel amenities are provided by nearby washing facilities, cafes and bars.

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Open from May to October, the sleep-pipes are a new experience in economic travel and outdoor accommodation. Bookings are made online, where a personal security code allows entry to your ‘personal suite’ which remains a safe and secure space for your chosen time. The simple “pay as you wish” system means that upon departure you leave as much as you can afford or want to pay.

Future plans include a 30-60 unit Dasparkhotel at upcoming festivals, with great potential for growth throughout the student/festival/ backpacking market. Cheap, ecologically sound, central and stylish- the project is still in the every early stages but could be a great opportunity for a brand to get their products involved?

Dasparkhotel

Filed under: creative ideas

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