Category Archives: Brands

Nokia Designs that Save, Cost More

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In the New York Times article, “Nokia Tries to Undo Blunders in U.S.,” journalist, Kevin J. O’brien interviews executives at Nokia, a Finnish company and the world’s largest cell phone maker, about its decline in the United States.

Nokia’s comments are best summarized by this quote: “Among its biggest blunders, analysts and former Nokia executives say, the company failed to design many of its phones to the tastes of American consumers, instead mass producing devices for the global market to save on production costs.” That move cost Nokia almost a 30% share of the American market. On Thursday, Nokia posted a 1.36 billion loss and a global sales decline of 20%.

Evident in this story: the value of good design, and the cost of short-term thinking.

Example, Nokia was slow to develop a smart phone that could compete with the iPhone, a consistently growing sector of the cell phone market. And refused to tailor merchandise to local tastes and demands, at a penalty. The cell phone industry is extremely competitive and good design is an important element to any business success story.

Now, “Mark Louison, president of Nokia’s North American unit, says the company is laying the groundwork for long-term success.” Long-term, is a word not often uttered in corporate America. That said, having a vision of the long-term, the future that is, will be critical to any company looking to thrive.

If  only more executives  would take the time to understand the long-term picture and build for local markets, we would all benefit from an environmentally and economically sustainable world. NATALIA

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Hip-tech Pop Culture

When I see performers like Kanye West and Lady Gaga sporting light up clothing and accessories I can’t help but think that this could be a glimpse into the near future of fashion.  The visceral use of the technology lends itself in performance but could there actually be a real world purpose? Yes, but not yet. A new technology called Lumalive has emerged, and like most fashion technology collaborations, Lumalive is best suited as marketing buzz. Until there are more fashion designers that understand material technology and see the big picture, we will continue to see frivolous high-tech innovations.

Lumalive is a branch off product from Phillips, and specializes in pieces of clothing with embedded LED lights that can create moving images within the textile itself. So far, they have been pushing the idea that this is an eye catching way to promote your company, product or event.  The images that are created within the garment are very generic and look like a scrolling movie theater marquee. None the less, the experience is visually stimulating, and as this technology evolves the images will become more complex.

It seems inevitable that its novelty will wear off and that Lumalive will make its way into mainstream retail. Considering how fast trends in fashion move people may just crave a light bright garment for back to school.  Now the idea of illuminating clothing becoming accessible doesn’t seem to be so Tron-esque anymore.

CABEZAS

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Fashion Jobs of the Future

Chair of Fashion at Parsons, Simon Collins, moderates an informative panel of fashion industry leaders selected to discuss future careers in a fast-changing fashion industry. NATALIA

DESIGN FUTURST tv Sustainable Series

Our top 5 global brands designing beautiful sustainable fashion.

Recycled Fashion

Believe it or not, the fashion industry is responsible for a large part of the world’s pollution. From manufacturing to shipping, tons of toxic chemicals, CO2 and greenhouse gasses are discharged, and huge amounts of oil and energy are consumed.  That said, where can one go for stylish, yet eco-friendly clothing?  Enter Goodone, a British label that creates hip and trendy clothes made from recycled garments. 

Founded by two Brighton University graduates, Nin Castle and Phoebe Emerson, Goodone takes second-hand or throwaway clothing and repurposes them into new garments that don’t look obviously recycled.  Their style has an urban and edgy vibe, with each garment being unique since all textiles and prints come from used clothing.  All products are locally hand-made from individually chosen recycled garments or sourced from textile recycling factories.  What is innovative about Goodone is that they are providing a creative and sustainable solution to counteract the damage that the fashion industry has been wreaking upon the environment.  By using materials that already exist, they don’t need to consume more energy or expend more toxic waste in order to manufacture new products.  And unlike some other companies that have hopped on the recycling bandwagon, Goodone’s garments are not only eco-friendly and fashionable, but also completely realistic and wearable.  Now that’s fashion with a conscience.  WU

Eddie Bauer’s Mountain

Eddie Bauer is going back to its original roots by hiring mountaineer legend Jim Whittaker for insight on its expedition outerwear. The goal is to revive the brands sense of adventure and produce better performing products. Also to move away from its focus on indoor casual apparel in hopes of a big comeback.

When conservative companies hire athletes as design consultants they take a pronounced risk. In my opinion it is a great way to get the inside scoop on athletic apparel. Athletes know best what works and what does not. Brands that hire designers who live and breathe the brand are more successful.

Eddie Bauer’s new line of apparel will be put to the test when their new collection is launched in 2009. Their goal is to sell $450 per square foot, which is far from their $260 per square foot from last year. If sales increase for Eddie Bauer, these types of partnerships may become a more common occurrence. HANNA

Première Vision Inquisition

Premiere Vision: The Premier Textile Workshop

July 17, 2008 – NEW YORK
Today, I visited Première Vision’s “Preview New York.” Held in Chelsea’s Metropolitan Pavilion, textiles companies from around the world gathered to present their finest fabric samples at this textiles tradeshow. I was looking forward to this event. While stuck in traffic en route, I speculated on all the wonderful new things I would find. Like Indiana Jones on a treasure hunt, I was eager to discover some avant-garde, never-before-seen textile, or a radical new way of producing fabric from recycled tires.

After receiving my visitor’s pass, I checked the guidebook to plan my course of action. The exhibitors were categorized into four “style universes,” with the names Seduction, Distinction, Relax, and Pulsation. There was also a catering table, but the lack of a cocktail bar narrowed down my options. No matter, I decided to start in the universe of Relax. Streetwear is my field of expertise, so I was immediately drawn to the stone-washed, sand-blasted denim booths. I struck gold at my first stop, a Turkish company called Birlik Mensucat. The manager informed me that their cottons were 100% organic, even the dyes and production process were certified eco-friendly. Sounds good to me. We traded cards and I moved on, encouraged to find more organic textiles.

I wandered through the various textile universes on the hunt for innovation, making stops here and there. One of the more noteworthy visits was at Hasegawa, a Japanese textile manufacturer. Their tissue-thin silk/cotton jerseys were the finest I had ever seen. I was also intrigued by a platinum-colored jersey, which, upon inquiry, discovered it was actually metallic ink printed on fine-gauge silk jersey. I immediately ordered a swatch book.

Premiere Vision Preview New York

Premiere Vision Preview New York

After a couple dozen booths, I realized that the majority of the gorgeous fabrics that I had seen were simply not organic or sustainable. In fact, sustainability didn’t even seem to be an issue, since there was no indication of it anywhere on the maps, booths, or trend displays. It was becoming tedious to have to enquire whether or not every company I visited produced eco-friendly textiles. Just as I was ready to admit defeat, I spotted a shirt with the words “100% Organic Cotton” hanging outside a booth. The booth belonged to French company Siat & Lang. The manager showed me some beautiful shirting fabrics, all 100% organic and made in France. I ordered some last samples before heading out.

During my cab ride back to the office, I reviewed all the companies I had visited. Unfortunately, I did not find as many interesting textiles as I anticipated, and was hugely disappointed by the lack of eco-consciousness in the overall exhibition. Perhaps there is a separate textile show out there specifically for sustainable materials. However, I think that if Première Vision wants to continue labeling themselves as “the premier textile workshop,” they should expand their vision and look at current issues of sustainability that are increasingly relevant to the world of fashion. WU

All photos courtesy of Première Vision. http://www.premierevision-newyork.com/