Category Archives: E-commerce

Phones of the Future

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We were eagerly awaiting the G-Phone. Instead Google surprised us with Android, an operating system for mobile devices (http://code.google.com/android/).

More than 30 technology and mobile companies including T-Mobile and Motorola have come together with Google to create an innovative mobile platform that is more user-friendly. The new platform allows for seamless access and movement of data.

Android is an open-source software and runs on Linux version 2.6 and Java. It includes typical applications such as: contacts, maps and a web browser, but with more of the Internet’s efficiency and usefulness.

Android software stack
1, Optimizes multiple virtual machines to run at once with Dalvik
2, Accelerates graphics by combining both 2D and 3D graphics based on OpenGLS
3, Faster Internet with 3G networking and WiFi technology
4, Streets views, pan around, and zoom in with GPS
5, Open source WebKit, enables you to view a screen as it would appear on a desktop

Researchers are expected to improve and add to the Android Software Development Kit (SDK), leaving the possibility for endless innovation. Phones containing the Android platform will be available later this year.

Google does not want to sell us a phone, they want to revolutionize the way phones operate. They won’t sell us an operating system, they want to provide it to every phone for free. So how will Google make its investment back? Ad revenue of course. Now that’s clever. NATALIA ALLEN

Sold on Skandium

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Not too long ago, I discovered a brilliant shop along Marylebourne Road in London. Skandium is a hub of modern Scandinavian furniture, lighting, kitchenware, and glassware for the home and office. Unlike Ikea, the products are made with quality and built to last. Skandium was named after the rare earth metal scandium, a rough dark metallic that turns pink or yellow when exposed to air. Skandium unites functionality and simplicity and provides a fresh aesthetic to traditional English homes. Developed by a collaborative team of many architectural designers such as, Arne Jacobsen, Poul Henningsen and Alvar Aalto, Skandium design is both ergonomic and beautiful. Their designs are mainly associated with clean lines and clutter-free interiors. Although its designs have minimal ornament its pieces are far from simplistic. The works maintain a contemporary refinement and classic elegance fit for today. Good news, Skandium designs developed between the 1930’s and 1960’s have become valuable collectors items, much like Bauhaus. Today’s Skandium products may be the collectables of the future. NATALIA ALLEN

The Wonder Block

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After being homesick for New York’s small-scale boutiques among San Francisco’s downtown skyscrapers, Scott Lee conceptualized Wunderbloc.com, a website that allows viewers to discover, browse, and review the myriad of New York boutiques by neighborhood. With this website, Lee gives boutiques a uniform platform to represent themselves—to announce store news, display products, and receive consumer feedback. Furthermore, Wunderbloc offers an opportunity for the privately owned boutiques to collectivize and organize community events with one another and others within their area, creating a personal feel and space. Lee gives the boutiques an opportunity to counter the Internet marketing campaigns of chain stores. Because the website organizes by neighborhood, the boutiques have a community feel, resonating with the indie ideals of localism. More than just a list of individual stores, each boutique is a personality, an attribute to the distinct areas of New York. With pictures of storefronts and neighborhood landmarks, the website catalogues the different areas of the city through fashion. Moreover, the snapshots of random streetwalkers (examples featured above) of each neighborhood, labeled fashionistas, give a distinctly human picture of NoLita, SoHo, UWS, etc. The website showcases fashion in a unique way, as an exhibition of authentic lifestyles and communities defined by creatively dressed pedestrians, famed neighborhood blocks, and most importantly small-scale, local boutiques. All in all, Wunderbloc is a counter to the pre-packaged, singular and generic fashion chains across the country. YAO

Show and Tell

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Showstudio.com has been a keystone site for me for the past few years. Photographer Nick Knight has developed an amazing platform where the worlds of art design, fashion, photography, theory, films, and just really cool content collide in a thought provoking and entertaining way of digesting fashion, images, and presentation.

Roger tredre, Editor in Chief of WGSN contributed his thoughts in an essay called, “ Fashion’s Ecopolitical Drama”. This is the beginning of numerous essays from theorists for “Political Fashion” a project conceptualized by Nick Knight on Showstudio. Roger’s essay highlights fashion fickle relationship with “what’s new” particularly with the green movement we are witnessing. He stresses that there is no time better than the present to implement our knowledge in a way where it becomes a part of the fashion cycle, and not just a momentary trend.

In this essay Roger tredre states, “For fashion, in particular, fence-sitting is not an option. The hard truth behind the rapid depletion of the world’s resources is that we must learn to consume less. But fashion is intrinsically linked to consumption. From clothes to mobile phones and cars, fashion is the driving force of modern consumer culture. Indeed, the recent retail industry emphasis on “fast fashion”, based on a faster turnover of trends – coupled with ultra-low prices – has encouraged us to buy more, not less.”

How can the fashion world straddle both worlds of consumption and quality? I don’t feel suggesting to others to buy less is the answer. The world is expanding, always offering something new, even if it is not a tangible product. Desire is always going to be there. The fashion world needs to offer a desire for quality. It’s not about consuming less. It’s about consuming intelligently. SOSA

Ten Trends to Top

My synthesis of the most significant trends impacting design, commerce and the success of global brands.

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1 Internet- the Wild West of the First-World
Approximately 2 Billion users and growing. The World Wide Web is the future of interaction. Brands must develop intelligent and creative strategies for how to effectively utilize the Internet.

2 Diversity- the Second-World is gaining
Cities such as Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires and Qatar are rapidly rearing a middle-class eager for aspirational products.

3 Environment- Green is the color of choice from fashion to fuel
Sustainable products and practices are top of mind with consumers. From luxury to mass-market the audience is aware and choosing to side with the environmentally conscious.

4 Innovation- New is never new for long
A buzz-word with real meaning. Global corporations shall look to technology and creative ideas to distinguish and revitalize sluggish performance. Studies show that consumers continue to choose technologically enhanced products at retail 2 to 1.

5 Travel- Mobility is key
Increased space travel, domestic and international flights are a big part of our future. An emerging foreign middle-class that demands inexpensive travel coupled with a new wealthy-class that is willing to pay for on-demand jet service has created a boom, here to stay.

6 Super Luxury- Personalized exclusivity for the exclusive
Traditionally high-end designers frequent collaborations with mainstream retailers have led to over accessibility of luxury branded products. In response, a new category called Super Luxury is the future. Brands will reclaim ownership and focus on core customer specific designer products.

7 Egalitarianism- the most accessible is best
While luxury brands strive to be most luxurious, mass-market brands are becoming more accessible. Providing style and taste to the majority at a low price point will continue to be important for retailers and designers.

8 Alternative- Anti-mainstream and extreme everything
The popularity of dance movements such as Techtonik and sports such as snowboarding are a small example of the power of the underdog. Many customers identify with lifestyle brands that provide the feel of being emerging and alternative.

9 Slow Fashion- the anti-thesis to Fast Fashion
A classical approach to purchasing, dressing and selling apparel, where time is not sacrificed and permanence is the goal.

10 Wellness- Healthcare outside of the hospital
A promise of longevity and prosperity influence what consumers choose to buy, from fashion to food. Products that genuinely promote balance and healthfulness shall continue to be popular in global markets.

Please email innovate@designfuturist.com for more information.

Copyright © 2008 NATALIA ALLEN, LLC. All rights reserved.

The Fashion Influencer

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At a recent lecture at the New school University, I was asked by a student to give my opinion on the most influential factor to the future of the fashion industry. My reply, “The Internet is the single most important new factor in the success of a fashion brand”. Don’t take my word for it, as of September 30, 2007; 1.244 billion people use the Internet according to Internet World Stats.

The Internet is a platform for a second-world. Like it or not, most people live, play, learn and communicate on the Internet in near equal proportion to physical reality. After years of record spending on the Internet, brands are finally moving to establish a presence. I believe this is the beginning of trend that will mature and increase.

In less than 20 years, Internet technologies have made large strides and the future looks bright. Bandwidth will increase, as will the amount of households that own a networked computer. New generations rich and poor will be connected through the Internet. Therefore, brands will need to develop a sophisticated Internet strategy to stay relevant, global and ahead of competition. NATALIA ALLEN

Arm Architecture

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Luxury for men has traditionally been relegated to timepieces or high-performance automobiles; here to expand the offerings of this growing market sector is ARMREVOLUTION. Specializing in thoroughly modern cuff links that speak to architectural inspirations, and the sleek elegance of Japanese steel, this London-based brand infuses its product with a cloak and dagger sexiness that is hard to resist. Engraved with a unique identification number, and housed in a polished acrylic box, each pair grants the owner access into exclusive ARMREVOLOUTION events.

 

A visit to the website (https://www.armrevolution.com/) reveals a world of ambiguous intrigue, where you’re introduced to Arm Architecture by a trio of raven-haired beauties. It is the seamless combination of urbanity, opulence and function that makes ARMREVOLUTION a performance pick for masculine style.

Kenya Robinson