for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant

And i’m back…

Apologies for the serious lack of posting, I took a hiatus from blogging but have decided it is time to return!

I have seen and done so much amazing stuff over the last 8 months that I don’t even know where to begin, so for now will just offer one awesome thing I discovered today, together with a promise to fill in the blanks as much as possible… and post much more regularly from now on!

– everyone needs awesomeness like this:

An Awesome book

An Awesome book

Based on the simple concept of dreaming big, “An Awesome Book” is the inspiring debut work of Los Angeles writer/artist Dallas Clayton. Written in the vein of classic tales by Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, and Maurice Sendak it is a sure hit for all generations young and old.

more Awesomeness

Dallas initially wrote the story for his son, but when other people showed an interest he decided to produce and sell the book himself and its popularity has led him to tour around the US reading it to as many kids as possible with the explicit aim of giving away one book for every one sold.

Watch this video of his experience creating and selling the book, and how incredulous he finds this sudden success of something made purely out of love – that really is awesome! (sorry, it won’t embed for some reason!)

(via booooooom)

Filed under: products with a purpose, search this out, Uncategorized,

FLASH HUGGING IN LONDON

If you happen to be in Soho this Thursday, get yourself along to a Valentine’s Day Flash Hug and spread some love- and body warmth! The communal cuddle is organized by eco-conscious community Green Thing who inject a monthly dose of fun into being good by suggesting something to do and fun ways to do it. At only 135 days old, Green Thing already has a global community of over 5,000 people spanning 140 countries, all looking to share and enjoy their environmentally friendly ways. Past Green Things have included turning your lights off early, using body warmth instead of heating, and swapping something instead of buying it- and by purely being involved in these activities once a month the community have so far saved a total of 1073.05 tonnes of CO2.

The Flash Hug will be taking place at 1.30pm in Soho Square this Thursday, but if you can’t make it in person you can still share in the hugging action through the Live Hug. All this week members of the community have volunteered to turn off their heating and are being streamed live waiting for viewers to hit the hug button and give them a little extra warmth from someone near by.

Valentine’s Day Flash Hug

see more ways to do February’s Green Thing

Filed under: good, search this out, ,

Unpackaged: Shopping As It Should Be

Forget your multi-stores banding around the words ‘eco’ or ‘green’ and giving you ‘plastic bags made from 33% recycled material’, how about going back to the good old days of community shops where products were locally-grown, packaging was scarce, and people were friendly. Unpackaged is just that; a store created to be at the heart of the community, and aiming to make environmentally-aware shopping mainstream, desirable and convenient.

unpackaged

Believing packaging to be unnecessary and wanting to sell locally direct to the community who can bring and re-use their own bags, jars and boxes, Catherine Conway created her wonderful store to show consumers that there is another way possible. As she explained, “Everyone treats consumers like they’re really stupid, as though they need all this labeling and packaging. My customers are really intelligent, they get it”. And so do the suppliers; Unpackaged buys in bulk from fair trade companies, gives preference to suppliers who are cooperatives or social enterprises, and does packaging swaps with smaller suppliers to minimize unnecessary waste.

By starting out at a stall on Exmouth Market a year ago, Catherine trialled her idea with a social enterprise grant and found a base of loyal customers happy to supply their own packaging in return for a 50p discount on each purchase and the experience of guilt-free shopping. These shoppers have followed her up the road to her more permanent address, as have a staggering amount of media folk: despite being open for a mere week, Unpackaged has already received press from BBC London TV and Radio, Radio 4, CBS, The Independent, The London Paper, and most importantly for Catherine, the two local Islington papers.

unpacked store

As part of her prototyping for the launch of the store, Catherine trialled a delivery service for local shared office space the Hub. For next year this is mutating into a very clever monthly green delivery service for local offices, which will help small companies without big ‘eco’ budgets to be as green as possible. The service will mean that once a month Unpackaged will go in and fill up all the washing-up liquid, soap, toilet paper, tea, sugar and other non-perishables with environmentally-friendly products.

And as if all of that wasn’t enough, the store itself has been brilliantly designed by creative geniuses Multistorey to give a simple but striking brand identity that completely encapsulates the ethos of the company whilst staying true to the building which itself used to be the local community dairy. What is there about this place not to love? Lets all hope that many more such stores make a return to our local communities, following the Unpackaged mantra:

Reduce by only buying what you need
Reuse by bringing your containers for a refill
Recycle what you can’t reuse

Unpackaged: 42 Amwell Street,  EC1R 1XT

Filed under: food n drink, good, search this out,

Issey Miyake wins Kyoto prize

Issey Miyake has become the first fashion designer to win the prestigious Kyoto Prize, awarded annually for advances in science, culture and human spirit. Wired has a fascinating article with interviews from both the amazingly talented designer and the founder of the Kyoto Prize, Kazuo Inamori.

‘Wired News: Why is recognizing the advances of the human spirit, side-by-side with science, so important?

Kazuo Inamori: Today people are enjoying a very
rich lifestyle, but many people were sacrificed for that goal. Today’s
human civilization was created at the expense of the planet.

The spirituality of human beings must be treasured and preserved
even at the expense of the advance of material civilization. I believe
the advent of human civilization alone will not make people happy.’

‘Wired News: Your current designs seem to suggest that the designer is less important than the wearer to challenge the wearer.

Issey Miyake: We are looking to people, not the fashion
(community) and we are fascinated by technology. People have become
consumers; they forgot the ways they can participate in their clothing.
A-POC does that. It is important people participate in making their own
clothing. Many of my clothes, I find people wearing very surprisingly. I am pleased to see what people do with them.’

read the full article at wired

Filed under: arts & culture, search this out

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

Swap-O-Rama-Rama

If only I was in NYC I would have been at Swap-O-Rama-Rama yesterday. The clothing swap event fuses  charity, recycling and do-it-yourself workshops teaching you how to transform any of the donated clothes into new wearable pieces. Each participant has to bring $10 and a bag of unwanted clothing, for which they get a day of fun and creativity- sounds like a bargain to me!

It’s easy to move from consumer to creator! At Swap-O-Rama-Rama you’ll find a workshop an hour, each teaching a unique clothing recycling modification skill, and DIY stations where you can learn traditional crafts like embroidery, knitting, beading and appliqué

This year we’ll have a team of stylist volunteers from FIT ready to help you find a new recycled look. And scrapexchange will be bringing scrap yard challenge, a techy wearable DIY event where you can add electronics to your new duds.  a You’ll also find clothing labels that celebrate our collective creativity, they read 100% Modified By Me and 100% Recycled. These are free and offered to you to sew over existing branding and reclaim your creative space from industry.

Producing your own creations, and then adding your own labels? An interesting take on re-using and recycling, and a clever way of re-claiming your originality through clothing. Am already searching for a similar idea in the UK…

Swap-O-Rama-Rama

Filed under: collaborative working, search this out

MICHIKO KOSHINO

Michiko_1
Michiko Koshino has always been a designer who pushes boundaries of fashion into art, and the new Michiko Koshino store is testament to this. Located on Broadwick St in London’s soho the store is ‘presenting fashion within a gallery’- outfits are suspended from the ceiling on mannequins and hangers to create a new kind of interactive retail experience for the shopper.

Michiko3The black drapes, monochrome interior and glass cabinets create a dauntingly somber atmosphere with Victorian undertones that compliment the clothes and enhance the awareness to detail that Michiko’s designs contain.

Alongside the main range and the Mickino Koshino couture are well-chosen conceptual collections by Rick Owens, Sharon Wauchob, Julius and Sue Stemp, all of which reflect and heighten the overall atmosphere that this store exudes. Definitely worth a visit.

Filed under: search this out, ,

LONDON OPEN HOUSE

Once again London threw open it’s doors for all to see this weekend, and I was first in line for a good nose around! Here were some of my personal favourites-

The Central School of Speech and Drama in Swiss Cottage-

an interesting use of angles and light with 5 floors of transparent, fritted and translucent glass wrapping around the building and folds of concrete creating interesting geometric movement
the front facade at night
the central stairwell

Philip Hughes Studio in Camden-

an open, light space enhanced by clever use of mirroring which extends to the outside of the building. The downstairs is dominated by a freestanding steam room with continuous corian surfaces, creating a soft shape space-age pod in an otherwise linear surrounding
looking down onto the mirrored walls
the pod!

Michaelis House in Ladbroke Grove-

built down instead of up this family house manages to be light and airy despite being boxed in by two town houses. An inventive and ecological use of the space acailable
the entrance

Paradise Park in Holloway-

the most impressive visit all weekend, this children’s centre has a hydroponic garden as its exterior walls, an efficient energy kitchen which is used as a social enterprise for locals to run a fairtrade cafe, and green roofs to help provide habitats for displaced species. The architects explanation for the building also showed just how aware of the needs and wants of children they are- and although the centre is still being added to, it is being utilised and enjoyed by many. What was interesting was how a site that before was unloved and used for burnt-out bikes and rubbish has been appreciated by the community rather than vandalised- it just goes to show how important a little respect is.
external walls are hydroponic garden
social enterprise cafe

  • more information on london open house
  • Filed under: search this out, , ,

    NIGHTJAM

    nightjam

    NightJam is a music and photography project exploring the London night through the eyes of homeless young people in King’s Cross.

    “In early Summer 2006, Scanner invited young people at New Horizon Youth Centre in King’s Cross to collaborate on a creative project that expresses how the city at night looks and sounds to their eyes and ears. Through music and voice the group explored the sense of freedom and fear, exhilaration and solitude of the concealing darkness. Between sessions, they captured their nights on camera. NightJam presents two elusive visual and musical journeys through the city’s ‘quiet’ hours.”

  • NightJam
  • Filed under: search this out, Uncategorized, , , ,

    THE CHAP AND HENDRICK’S OLYMPICS


    Yesterday evening Bedford Square gardens in central London was the scene of the “annual olympiad for the immaculate of trouser, the frail of form and the fearful of sport”, arranged by those wonderful fellows from The Chap magazine and sponsored by Hendrick’s gin. A crowd of over 500 gathered to watch events such as the Martini knockout relay, explained by the master of ceremonies as “a particularly hard task when one is used to having the martini made by the manservant”, the cucumber sandwich discus, and the pipe-smoking relay, all accomplished with a theatrical elegance, although my personal favourite was the not quite so refined three-trousered limbo. A brass band and free gin and tonic kept the atmosphere merry!





    There were lots of impressive outfits on display, not only from those competing, and what struck me was just how many men had dressed the part. It just goes to show that the re-invention of the traditional etonian dandy currently dominating the menswear catwalks is a look that men still aspire to, and long may it continue- as a friend commented last night “don’t the men look much more attractive when they dress up”, it’s about time they made an effort too!!

  • The Chap
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