Category Archives: Innovative Wellness

No to Nano-silver

Nanosilver 05-02-08

Freshness during the day is more than just applying deodorant in the morning. Due to many consumers longer workday’s, consumers are in search of apparel fabrics that, not only feel fresh but also smell
fresh for longer periods. Many of these fabrics require certain finishes in order to maintain its freshness.

According to a survey conducted by Taylor Nelson Sofres Inc, 51% of male consumers would pay the extra dime to purchase clothing with specialized freshness treatments.

Silver has a natural antimicrobial ingredient that seems to inhibit the growth of bacteria and it has been used for years as bandages to cover up wounds and irritations. Because silver particles are measured using the nano scale it does not modify any fiber characteristics or performances. There are even
washing machines that spray out the particles that place the nanosilver straight into the clothes while they are being washed. The hope is that we not only have clean and fresh clothes but we can also be cleaner and bacteria free.

So what’s the catch? Silver run-off found in the concentrations has been linked to systemic disorders including retardation, cancer and blood disease. Yikes.

HANNA

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Organic, Eco and Affordable

Organic, Eco and Affordable

Increasingly, mass-market fashion designers are creating eco-friendly products. The rising demand for GREEN has encouraged brands such as: Levi Strauss, Quiksilver and The Gap to provide organically grown and eco-friendly products at a competitive price point.

GREEN garments are being made from exotic materials such as: corn, wood pulp, recycled plastic, byproducts of soybean oil, seaweed, organically grown bamboo and cotton.

Sportswear brand, Patagonia produced the popular “Synchilla Marsupial”, a polyester fleece made from 85% recycled soda bottles and unusable second-quality fabrics.

Wellman Inc, a U.S. company, produces these fibers from recycled products (FRPG) and packaging products (PPG). Their efforts keep 3 billion plastic (PET – polyethylene terephthalate) bottles out of landfills each year (bottled water will become a trend of the past).

Kate O’Connor, a designer known for her fluid lines enjoys the soft hand of silk and other luxurious fabrics. She found a less expensive alternative to silk in bamboo.Bamboo fiber is completely biodegradable and is the fastest growing wood plant farmed. Bamboo fabrics absorb moisture well and help keep you cool. Bamboo is also anti-bacterial, making it useful for producing next-to-skin garments. With all its benefits bamboo is controversial because many bamboo fabrics do not last as long as cotton fabrics.

The fashion and textile industries are in the early stages of exploring and innovating GREEN materials, that said, the future is a go. NATALIA

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

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.

Missing the Mark

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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