Category Archives: Customers

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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Bark Cloth

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Bark cloth has been made throughout tropical and subtropical communities for ages and was a symbol of stature of the social elite. Today bark cloth is used as a sustainable, renewable material outside of these traditions. Traditionally, the inner bark of a fig or paper mulberry tree was harvested then through a two-week process of soaking and pounding the bark until it is thin, flexible and strong. Then a gum base is applied to attach pieces of the bark cloth together. Finally, after the men had gotten the bark cloth to this stage, the women painted it. Bark cloth was used for various ceremonies from mourning to weddings. The traditional Ugandan production of bark cloth is so specific it is considered a masterpiece of cultural and world heritage and is certified by UNESCO.

The final product is a strong, light, soft, textured material that withstands high humidity.Unlike Rayon and Lyocell, both made from tree pulp, bark cloth can stand high-humidity locations and the dampness does not cause shrinkage.

Aside from locals in Africa, Hawaii and other equatorial locations, there is a more modern production of bark cloth as well. The modern production is more of a weave and incorporates some Lycra or other material into the cloth and uses machinery for the pounding. The advantage of using bark cloth is that it is a natural process and the bark is renewable since it can be harvested from the same tree once a year. However, this more modern production often requires starting the material in one country and shipping it to another to be finished which counteracts some of the sustainability that is desirable about using bark cloth.

Bark cloth is used for hats, bags, as well as interior design fabrics. In the 1950’s there was quite a bit of bark cloth used for interior, and this vintage bark cloth is available widely online. While it is difficult to find any specific name brand designers using bark cloth, it seems that with the new Bark Cloth Initiative between Germany and Uganda that there will be more bark cloth on the market and hopefully it will trickle into mainstream fashion. At the moment, most examples of bark cloth are in textile museums, online purchases of vintage materials and local tropical communities.

At present modern bark cloth is also used by quilters and can be purchased from the New England Quilt Museum. Bark cloth can also be purchased by the BarkCloth Hawaiian Fabric Shop phone at: 808.422.4321. GANDRUD

 UNESCO

Making of Bark Cloth

Bark Cloth Production in Tonga

 

 

The New, Green Museum

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The California Academy of Science in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park has long been dedicated to the study of nature, and after 8 years and half a billion dollars in sustainable renovations, Italian architect Renzo Piano’s design is a pioneer in sustainable architecture. Unlike traditional theater museums, this museum is built inside the park, well underneath it to be more specific. The 2.5 acre living roof is the signature element. After walking the grounds in silence and observing the hills from a run down building, Piano sketched a simple rolling hill with a line underneath and with only his sketchbook, Piano beat the other five competitors.

Not only has Piano’s design been compared to Frank Lloyd Wright’s spiraling Guggenheim Museum and Frank Gehry’s titanium Guggenheim in Bilbao, the new museum is expected to capture the attention of the public with its design and green focus. Hoping to receive the highest ranking from the U. S. Green Building Council, a platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, the living roof absorbs storm water and according to the museum will prevent 3.6 million gallons of polluted water from entering into the eco-system. The living roof is also home to wildlife and California wildflowers. It is said that the roof keeps the building 10 degrees cooler and turns carbon dioxide into oxygen.  Solar cells produce 5-10% of the museum’s energy as well. The structure is insulated by nearly 216,000 pairs of Levi’s jeans, paying homage to the native San Francisco denim company.

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Underneath the living roof, the museum houses the Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium, Kimball Natural History Museum and includes a four story rainforest, a coral reef, a 100,000 gallon tank with Pacific coast marine life, a swamp, a habitat for penguins and exhibit on climate change and global warming.

Piano explains, “You almost never get a chance to build something in the middle of a great park, so it needed to be transparent…here you need to know about the connection with nature, so almost anywhere you are in this building you can see through to the outside.”

California Academy of Science: http://www.calacademy.org/
More on Renzo Piano: http://architect.architecture.sk/renzo-piano-architect/renzo-piano-architect.php

NANCY GANDRUD

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