Category Archives: Luxury

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

design-futurist-natalia-fabric-display-philips

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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.

Green Architecture, Brave New World

For some urbanites, a sustainable lifestyle means unplugging their MacBook at night, carrying a reusable tote bag to Whole Foods, and buying organic cotton t-shirts at American Apparel. While doing all these things can certainly help to lower one’s carbon footprint, believe it or not, there are even greater ways to live green. Enter a new wave of architects and designers, who (literally) take green lifestyle to new heights.

As natural resources dwindle, it is no wonder that sustainable architecture is a rapidly growing trend. Carbon neutral buildings and green housing projects are cropping up in cities around the world. Many countries now have their own rating systems for green buildings, such as the well-known LEED standard in the US. Companies like URBN Hotels are revamping the concept of eco-hotels by updating them for the urban jet-set. These new hotels feature minimalist aesthetics, recycled materials, and 5 star luxury, just for starters. From New York to Singapore, green housing projects are also making appearances. The benefits of living in one of these apartment complexes include solar powered energy, water-based air conditioning, and rain-water collection systems. Even the pre-fab home has seen a recent rise in popularity since it’s mid-century beginnings, with a new exhibit at MoMA in NYC dedicated solely to these DIY properties. Lastly, another emerging and innovative concept is the “smart building,” which incorporates bio-mimicry techniques into architecture, creating buildings that are seamlessly integrated with their surrounding environments.

What is interesting, and relevant, about all these new concepts is that it takes sustainability to a whole new level. In these new eco-buildings, people don’t have to consciously change their behaviors to live green; rather, it becomes their surroundings that are changing instead. Instead of focusing on changing the way people act, these buildings are designed to directly change the way people live by infusing sustainability into their daily lives. WU

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/

Dye Sustainable

European textiles fair Pitti Filati opens next week in Florence, as many spinners are busily preparing for the upcoming season’s latest trends.  According to many fashion forecasters, color will play a big role this Fall/Winter.  Simultaneously, the trend for “green” fashion remains strong, as demand for organic fibers has slowly increased over the past few years.  As a result, spinners are looking towards more sustainable methods of production.

Scottish company Todd & Duncan plan to introduce an organic cashmere range, while Italian spinners Loro Festa will present organic merino wool.  Since bold and intense colors will play a large role in the upcoming season, many companies are looking to the Global Organic Textile Standard, and only using dyes that have been approved organic.  

The goal of these companies is to attract and retain buyers for organic yarns.  The market is strong in Japan and in select European countries, although it is nearly non-existent in America.  To keep organic fibers in the fashion market, spinners must stay innovative and develop new methods of producing sustainable textiles that will capture the interest of the fashion industry.  WU

MacGregor Golf: Interview with Innovator

Greg Norman

MacGregor Golf is a 100 year old golf company, one with a new CEO. Michael J. Setola shares with us his vision and strategy for keeping the innovative brand strong.

NATALIA: Please give folks a bit of insight as to what your role entails.
Michael: As CEO of MacGregor, my primary role is to manage the investments and direction of the company. As it relates to product, inventory is our largest investment, so I keep a keen eye on product and product development.

NATALIA: How did you first become interested in fashion?

Michael: Funny story, but my first job was with Hanes Underwear. I was selling boxers and white briefs. Suddenly for the first time, colored underwear came on the scene and I saw the effect of fashion on something as simple as underwear. I was hooked on the excitement of newness and the effect great product has on business.

NATALIA: How would you define good innovation?

Michael: Good innovation is the combo of design, merchandising and sell through to the consumer. It needs to be relevant as truly new, but have meaning to the consumer.

NATALIA: Is innovation important to you? MacGregor?

Michael: At both the Greg Norman collection and in our MacGregor Golf Club companies, innovation is what separates us from the field.

NATALIA: How is innovation realized in your business?

Michael: Design, product development, technical services and production all must work together to bring innovation to the market in sync.

NATALIA: Any challenges or successes you have had bringing innovative design to market?

Michael: There are always challenges in getting all these components firing at the same time. Often, one area is ahead or behind in the ability to deliver innovation, so a project may be delayed.

NATALIA: What are some of the current innovation projects you are working on?

Michael: In apparel, climate controlled fabrics are becoming more important for the active golfer. Body temperature regulating developments are in our market and improvements are in the works. In golf clubs, we have a new metal that we are introducing to the clubface for game improvement.

NATALIA: Do you feel technology in fashion is just a trend?

Michael: Everything is a trend. It’s just about how long it stays with us. Technology will be with us for a long time, the consumer likes it.


NATALIA: In a few words please share with us your vision for the future.

Michael: Companies that innovate and develop consumer centric products will excel even more in the future. The combination of economic challenges and modern expectations will raise the bar for products to succeed.

Michael J Setola