Monthly Archives: January 2008

Missing the Mark

Several forecasts on the future of technology and design exposed how little attention is paid to the customer. Few prioritize how and why humans benefit from technology, desire or will use it in ten years. Instead the reports glorified novel ideas and small improvements on existing products. Innovation is already an overused word, however, in it’s meaning there is opportunity to institute change. There are very few of us that get excited at the thought of nano-particle formation or new computer widgets. We do enjoy saved time, easier commutes and cleaner environments. Only when companies organize behind the belief that good design equals good business, will the product offerings progress modern life. That said, every now and then beautiful innovation rises to the top, so I am hopeful. NATALIA ALLEN




At DESIGN FUTURIST, I am currently involved in multiple sustainable projects including organic textiles, light shipping and ethical labor for luxury brands. In the high-end market, innovation is not the only factor. I must design beautiful products that provide a sense of cool, opulence and function. Pairing the two components is not always easy. Holistically ‘green’ product design has its limitations including price, what textile mills and manufacturers may be used. Most shrink at this crossroad. Noir however, has decided to build a mill of their own. The most impressive team I have seen since Arcyterx (who build a state of the art factory in Canada to create exceptional technical mountain gear). Noir, a Danish label, designs sexy modern tailor-mades for women. Fifty percent of the collection is made from organic fair-trade African cotton. Some of the cotton is treated to created complex finishes and textures. Noir also shares proceeds with the Noir Foundation, to provide medicine and micro-loans to families. A truly innovative fashion business I support.


Member’s Only Boutique


Member’s Only Boutique
It is no secret that the British tend to favor member’s only. Popular private watering holes for creatives include Soho Hotel, Blacks and Adam Street. New York is gaining pace with Soho House, Norwood and Supper Club. On a recent trip to Notting Hill I met Clare Rous, the founder of Rous Iland, a member’s only fashion boutique. While it is necessary to call before arrival, the store is able to keep odd hours at a member’s request. I visited rather later in the evening and was impressed by the collection of affordable high-end fashion from cutting-edge designers such as Noir and Erotokritos. Fun accessories, weekend-glitter and transitional business attire for the working girl. Luxury, practicality, and style crammed into a tiny private townhouse space. A great example of innovation at retail. Rather than follow the formula of competitors, they tried something different. Well done, I say. For more please visit