Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Who says a watch has to tell time?

Interesting concept of boiling something down to pure aesthetic form--this silicone bracelet is molded to look exactly like the Rolex Submariner.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Creative Confidence

David Kelley's TED Talk, click here

Is your workplace divided into "creatives" versus practical people? Yet surely, David Kelley suggests, creativity is not the domain of only a chosen few. Telling stories from his legendary design career and his own life, he offers ways to build the confidence to create... 

David Kelley’s company IDEO helped create many icons of the digital generation -- but what matters even more to him is unlocking the creative potential of people and organizations to innovate routinely.

As founder of legendary design firm IDEO, David Kelley built the company that created many icons of the digital generation -- the first mouse, the first Treo, the thumbs up/thumbs down button on your Tivo's remote control, to name a few. But what matters even more to him is unlocking the creative potential of people and organizations so they can innovate routinely.
David Kelley's most enduring contributions to the field of design are a methodology and culture of innovation. More recently, he led the creation of the groundbreaking at Stanford, the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, where students from the business, engineering, medicine, law, and other diverse disciplines develop the capacity to solve complex problems collaboratively and creatively.
Kelley was working (unhappily) as an electrical engineer when he heard about Stanford's cross-disciplinary Joint Program in Design, which merged engineering and art. What he learned there -- a human-centered, team-based approach to tackling sticky problems through design -- propelled his professional life as a "design thinker."
In 1978, he co-founded the design firm that ultimately became IDEO, now emulated worldwide for its innovative, user-centered approach to design. IDEO works with a range of clients -- from food and beverage conglomerates to high tech startups, hospitals to universities, and today even governments -- conceiving breakthrough innovations ranging from a life-saving portable defibrillator to a new kind of residence for wounded warriors, and helping organizations build their own innovation culture.
Today, David serves as chair of IDEO and is the Donald W. Whittier Professor at Stanford, where he has taught for more than 25 years. Preparing the design thinkers of tomorrow earned David the Sir Misha Black Medal for his “distinguished contribution to design education.” He has also won the Edison Achievement Award for Innovation, as well as the Chrysler Design Award and National Design Award in Product Design from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and he is a member of the National Academy of Engineers.
"We're focused more and more on human-centered design; that involves designing behaviors and personality into products."
David Kelley

Giorgio Armani

The Future of Armani

Giorgio Armani single-handedly built a billion-dollar brand his own way, but where does his empire go from here?

By ALESSANDRA GALLONI - Wall Street Journal Magazine

It was Giorgio Armani's obsession with health that led to his brush with death. For 10 days in May 2009, Armani, one of the most influential fashion designers and entrepreneurs of our time, lay in a hospital bed with what he describes as "a very serious" case of hepatitis. The cause of his illness wasn't the stress that comes from juggling a global empire of clothes, accessories, furniture, cosmetics and real estate. It was the supplements. Then 75 years old, he was drinking them every morning in a small glass as he hit the gym. "My doctor told me: Get rid of all this shit you're drinking," Armani recalls.

Armani won't say exactly what he was taking, only that the substance poisoned his liver. Why he was taking it, however, is clear: The house Armani has built is a reflection of himself—the trim, toned, tanned and T-shirted figure that is synonymous with the brand—and he wants to secure a long life for both.

Few people in the fashion world are as entwined with their brands. In most companies, a creative director designs and an executive manages. Armani does both. Many important designers, including Karl Lagerfeld and Marc Jacobs, work under contract for brands that aren't their own. Armani hasn't designed for anyone else in more than 30 years. Most houses are owned by large conglomerates, and for those that still belong to their founding families, ownership is usually shared. Armani owns 100 percent of Giorgio Armani SpA.

Armani takes full responsibility, and credit, for anything that bears his name. At a meeting last year about a new Armani-branded hotel in Marrakech—hotels are the designer's latest big venture—Armani sparred with the architect Jean-Michel Gathy over the layout of the rooms. "This bathroom is too big. It's a bathroom with a house on the side," Armani said in French. "I tell you this is a beautiful room. You can walk around naked, and no one will see you," insisted Gathy. "You don't need to walk around naked every day," snapped Armani. "This is too structured, too busy. I want simplicity, simplicity." The layout has since been changed.

Gathy says that when he was negotiating his contract to design the hotel, Armani did not want him to be publicly recognized as the architect. Gathy, who has designed many luxury hotels worldwide, had to persist for several months before Armani backed down. (Armani did not comment on Gathy's contract.) "He's a control freak," says Gathy. "But that's what it's like to work with Armani. He's the old man, the icon, the alpha male in the room. And that's no problem."

The Armani way has bred huge success. The Italian designer revolutionized the wardrobes of professional women in the 1980s, taking them out of floral skirts and putting them into chic, deconstructed pantsuits in elegant neutral colors. He unleashed the marketing power of Hollywood and introduced high fashion to the red carpet. His company's unified direction and financial heft—it had $800 million in cash on its books as of 2010—have allowed it to remain independent, even as much of the world's fashion business has coalesced into the hands of two large French corporations. People trained at Armani are among the best recruits in the fashion business, according to executives at rival firms. More than $8 billion worth of Armani products was sold around the world in 2010. He is worth $7.2 billion, according to Forbes, and owns nine homes and two yachts.

"Giorgio is one of the few designers in the world who has always understood consumers," says Gabriella Forte, a consultant for Dolce & Gabbana who was a top executive at Armani for nearly 20 years. "His brand isn't only about fashion; it's bigger than that."

Yet Armani, who turns 78 in July, looms so large over his company that it's hard to imagine a future without him. Over the past two decades, Armani has flirted with the idea of a stock market listing and once even thought about selling a stake to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA. "But he could never bring himself to do anything. Selling would have been like breaking his toy," says Paolo Fontanelli, who was chief financial officer of Armani in the 2000s.

By Armani's own estimation, the current management team is small and hasn't been in place for long. Only a couple of top managers are permitted to speak for the brand, largely because Armani doesn't trust others to do so. Some top executives who have left over the past few years say they felt there was limited upside career potential. "Giorgio Armani SpA has become huge, and there are few people managing it," says Armani. "I wouldn't say these people are on trial, but they haven't yet earned closeness" to his inner circle.

Armani sees his business eventually in the hands of this group he calls I Fedeli, or the faithful. It includes his two nieces and his nephew—Silvana and Roberta Armani, the daughters of his late older brother Sergio, and Andrea Camerana, the son of his younger sister Rosanna—as well as Pantaleo Dell'Orco, known as Leo, a former model who has been a collaborator and friend of Armani's for 20 years. The 57-year-old Silvana, reserved and understatedly elegant in her slacks, button-down shirt and ponytail, started out as a model and swimwear designer for her uncle in the 1970s, and today oversees the women's collections. Armani sometimes pulls her with him onto the runway. "Two or three times, we've been backstage, he's grabbed my hand, said, 'Put on some makeup,' and taken me out with him for a bow," says Silvana. Dell'Orco, 59, is her counterpart for menswear. Together, they are probably closer to the designer than anyone else. And though he has ceded a great degree of creative control to both of them, when there are disagreements—and there are many—Silvana explains: "In the end, he's always right."

Roberta, 41, is a tall, gregarious figure with a mane of wavy brown hair who also started out as a model for her uncle and now manages events and red-carpet affairs. Often photographed towering affectionately over Armani, she has become the second-most-recognizable face of the brand. The 42-year-old Camerana joined Armani 12 years ago after cutting his teeth in the food industry. Holding the title of director, he works with Armani on the business side and describes his work as "smoothing over frictions between Armani and his managers." Camerana says that his family is working on strengthening the company's internal organization "so that it will work, whatever happens."

Yet at their biweekly office meetings, or over weekend family lunches at Armani's country villa in Broni, south of Milan, discussing tomorrow remains difficult. "There won't be a single new genius, or new Armani. Rather, there will be lots of little Armanis," says Silvana. "We can't talk about succession with him. It's like saying, In a while you'll no longer be here. It's terrible. Talking about it would be terrible."

Armani readily admits he wouldn't be where he is without the help of another man, Sergio Galeotti, a tall, mustachioed architectural draftsman from Italy's Tuscan coast with whom the designer became romantically involved in the mid-1960s. At that point, Armani had worked as a window dresser and buyer at Milan department store La Rinascente and was designing for Italian menswear house Cerruti. A decade younger than Armani, Galeotti was a bon viveur and free spirit who became an energizing force for the aspiring designer. "He woke me up from a sort of torpor, from the little life in which I was living," recalls Armani.

As they began to think about forming a business, Galeotti and Armani toyed with the idea of teaming up with Walter Albini, then an Italian designer who was becoming famous for his luxury women's sportswear. But even at that early stage, Armani feared someone stealing his spotlight. Moreover, he wanted to design for women, which was and still is a bigger business than designing for men. The couple dropped the idea, and in 1975 they started their own label. Galeotti, then 30, would manage from behind the scenes. Armani, 40, would be the creative mind—and face—of the brand.

In those years, Galeotti worked tirelessly to launch and burnish Armani's image. One day Armani was heading to a textile fair in Como, a lakeside town north of Milan, when he found a Rolls-Royce parked outside his Milan home. "We had no money at the time, and yet Galeotti had rented it for me," recalls Armani. "He said, 'You can't go to this fair in any old car.' It just goes to show how much he really wanted me—not him—to shine." Armani soon settled into the relaxed but refined style for which he would become famous. Though he had been influenced by the more structured looks of French couturiers, such as Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel, Armani saw his fashion as transcending fantasy. "I wanted to dress the woman who lives and works, not the woman in a painting," he says.

The late 1970s and early 1980s began a period of huge expansion for Armani and Galeotti. They forged a licensing agreement with one of Italy's biggest manufacturers at the time, Gruppo Finanziario Tessile (GFT). In 1979, Giorgio Armani Corp. was founded in the U.S., and soon after, the company signed a licensing agreement for beauty products with L'Oréal and opened the first Emporio Armani store in Milan.

The real turning point came when Fred Pressman, owner of Barneys New York, took notice. The department store placed a large order and launched a major ad campaign that shot the Italian designer's look into households across the U.S. Armani's increased visibility ricocheted to Hollywood, where filmmaker Paul Schrader asked him to design John Travolta's wardrobe for his new film, American Gigolo. As the famous story goes, Travolta dropped out and Richard Gere played the role, providing Armani with the perfect pin-up for his sleek suits. This was years before cinema product placements became a carefully studied marketing strategy for fashion houses—and for Armani it was a major coup.

Success brought fame and riches. In Italy, which was reeling from bloody ideological battles of left-wing terrorist groups in the 1970s and '80s, Armani was hailed as a sign of economic renaissance. "Like my brother Gianni, Giorgio brought Italy into all the most beautiful corners of the world," says Santo Versace, brother of the late designer and chairman of the eponymous brand. Armani and Galeotti bought a holiday home on the island of Pantelleria, off Sicily, and the country villa south of Milan. And they moved their offices to Via Borgonuovo 21, a palazzo just minutes from the city's most high-end shopping district, which would subsequently become Armani's home.

But at the height of Armani's success, Galeotti was struck with leukemia. In 1985, for several months, he lay first in a hospital bed in New York City and then in a room at the luxurious Hôtel de Crillon in Paris, while Armani scrambled to keep the business afloat, which included preparing his ever more anticipated collections. "Can you just imagine what people were thinking when they knew that Galeotti was in a hospital bed in New York and that he had no chance of survival?" says Armani. "But I had to go on. I had to prepare the show." After presenting his women's collection in February of 1985 in Milan, Armani rushed to Paris with a videotape to show Galeotti. "At the end of the cassette, all he said was, 'Thank you, thank you, thank you,' " recalls Armani. Galeotti died in August. "It was the most difficult moment of my life," says Armani. "When Sergio was gone, everything was gone." John Hooks, who was working at GFT at the time and would later become one of Giorgio Armani SpA's top executives, says that most people at Armani's manufacturing partner believed that Galeotti's death would spell the end of the fashion house. "No one thought Armani could do it by himself," recalls Hooks. "It took sheer guts."

Instead of shriveling up, however, Giorgio Armani SpA expanded. The company entered Asia, via Japan, and launched new product categories, such as jeans, sunglasses and leather accessories. It opened new stores for different lines, including an Armani Exchange location in New York City and Armani Collezioni stores in Milan, London and Tokyo. The designer also made his first forays into the lifestyle business, with cafes and restaurants.

It was then that he caught the attention of LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault, who throughout the 1990s was creating an empire by buying out distressed family-owned fashion houses that were running out of cash to grow their businesses. In 1998, according to both sides, Arnault and Armani began to discuss a possible partnership in which the designer would have remained creative director and LVMH would have taken a 20 percent stake in the business. But nothing ever took shape. "I would have been managed," says Armani. "And so I thought to myself, If they want, they can go over my head."

Determined to remain independent, Armani set out to expand his production capability. Until then, Armani had largely outsourced the manufacturing of clothes, shoes and handbags. Between 2000 and 2005, the company bought out many of its old partners, including GFT and a group of shoemakers in the industrial area near Venice. It then expanded in Asia, opening 35 boutiques in China over the course of two years, and built a megastore in Milan that houses several Armani labels and is an outpost of high-end sushi mecca Nobu. He also enlisted Japanese architect Tadao Ando to design a 558-person theater, named Teatro Armani, in which to stage his men's and women's fashion shows, and created Armani Casa, a furniture business that adapts the designer's sleek, minimalist lines to sofas, tables and other interior designs.

By the mid-2000s, Armani had been in the ready-to-wear business for more than 30 years, and his label covered everything from suits to underwear. What was missing, he says, was "intense luxury, the way the French do it." So in 2005, he launched Armani Privé, an haute couture line of evening wear, with prices starting at $35,000, which shows in Paris alongside houses such as Dior and Givenchy.

A year later, Armani teamed up with Emaar Properties, a Dubai-based real estate developer, to build eight luxury hotels under the brand's name. So far two—in Dubai and Milan—have opened. Marrakech is slated to open in 2015. It is expected, according to Gathy, the architect, to include a 13-foot-wide river meandering through the desert sands, gardens and villas. Those around him agree that the hotels are perhaps Armani's most ambitious project yet. "They are a monument to his fashion, a path to immortality," says Roberta.

On a sunny afternoon last summer, Armani visited the half-constructed suites and roof-terrace spa of his hotel in Milan, which opened in November. "Fashion comes and goes, but all this remains," said Armani as he climbed seven flights of stairs without ever pausing to catch his breath. At the top, he looked out to admire the view and suddenly stopped, visibly irritated. "Is that the Mandarin?" he asked the engineer, who quickly assured him, "Yes, but don't worry. It doesn't have any of the view or the light we have here."

The Armani business does have some weaknesses. Armani himself acknowledges that he never developed a strong accessories collection. That has meant missed financial opportunities. The business hasn't grown as fast as many of its rivals over the past few years, especially in North America and Europe. In 2011, Armani's operating profit was $373 million and its revenue was $2.4 billion. Armani says the 13.6 percent rise in its sales last year was well above its historical average, but rival companies regularly hit double-digit sales increases.

Another concern is that as the company has added new lines—such as Armani Jeans, AX and Armani Collezioni—it has become harder to keep their identities distinct. Armani and Hooks, one of the designer's closest managers for a decade, were sometimes at odds over whether to open megastores that brought them all under one roof. Armani says he felt that Hooks wasn't aggressive enough in pushing the retail strategy. Hooks says he believed that merging the lines into single stores "dulled the edge and diluted the message."

The designer had been planning to revisit the retail strategy before he got sick in 2009. Upon returning to work at the end of the year, Armani shook up his management team with the aim, he says, of reinvigorating the brand. He made Hooks deputy chairman, with a more strategic rather than operational role, and Livio Proli, who worked at a company subsidiary, was named general manager. (Armani did not allow Proli to be interviewed for this article.) But 18 months after the changes, Hooks left, in part because of what he says was "a worrying trend by the new management to concentrate their efforts on more accessible collections." Hooks's departure was a personal disappointment to the designer. "Hooks didn't accept the change," says Armani. "But I am sad he is no longer here. He was my window on the world."

Armani is also in a perennial tug of war with the fashion establishment, which tends to exalt the more tormented or intellectual work of designers like the late Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton's Marc Jacobs and—much to his irritation—Miuccia Prada. They criticize him for not unveiling anything new. Armani is proud that 99 percent of his runway wares can be found in stores, and says editors should pay more attention to what consumers want than to what looks good on a magazine cover. Massimiliano Finazzer-Flory, Milan's former head of cultural affairs and a friend of Armani's, says that unlike many designers, Armani creates without pretending his fashion is art. "Armani is not an artist," he says. "He is an artisan in the true sense of the word. He believes in the art of doing." Yet like anyone in a creative business, says former Armani executive Forte, Armani is sensitive to "always being considered at the top of his creativity." That's why, despite his nearly 40 years under the spotlight, last February, Armani was back on the runway, subjecting himself to the flood of judgment that a 10-minute fashion show can bring.

An hour before his Emporio Armani presentation, the designer slipped on a pair of plastic shoe covers and stood on the pristine white runway to give the 70-odd models his ritual pep talk. "Don't walk like ostriches. Be elegant. Be happy," he ordered in Italian into his microphone, as his personal assistant Paul Lucchesi translated into English. "Smile!" he added, a request almost never made of models. Minutes before the show, Armani was still fussing with the looks, straightening the blue Basque hats and exchanging capes and coats. Silvana walked off, muttering under her breath to a colleague, "I can't believe it. He is pinning on every single hat. He is still making changes." During the show, the designer stood behind the curtain, delicately holding each model's hand as he nudged her out. With the last, he checked his hair in a small mirror as Lucchesi spritzed some Bois d'Encens perfume—Armani's favorite—over his head and then walked onto the runway.

A few days later, Armani was in the third-floor living room of his Via Borgonuovo palazzo with Lucchesi, who is tall, handsome and extremely protective of his boss. Armani says, "He is the person who makes me feel reassured because he thinks for and like me." That morning, Armani was wearing a gleaming white shirt, navy blue jacket and black trousers made with a blend of polyester, a fabric he likes to remind people he made cool again in the '90s.

The three-story palazzo is one of the designer's nine homes—which include apartments in New York City and Paris, and villas in Antigua and Saint-Tropez. It is the place where Armani spends most of his time, especially after cutting back on travel and events following his 2009 illness. The home is grand in its architecture—with a winding staircase between the first and second floor; a series of large bay windows leading to a terrace; and a private cinema. But it has an understated interior that is curato, or polished, as Armani likes things to be, and comfortable. The colors—beiges, grays, taupes—are also characteristic of the designer's palette, and most of the furniture, such as a round wooden dining-room table and a lacquered black bookshelf, is influenced by the simple lines and textures of 1930s and '40s Italian architecture.

Two large onyx panthers stand in the entrance, and there's a larger-than-life statue of a Roman god in his gym but no expensive artwork on the walls. (Armani says he believes art belongs in museums.) Instead there are black-and-white photos of people he has worked with, such as Michelle Pfeiffer, and those dear to him, especially his mother Maria, nicknamed Mariú. Shelves and coffee tables display trinkets picked up around the world—an ivory elephant from India, a piece of volcanic rock from Pantelleria.

Like so much else around him, Armani's house is a reflection—literally—of himself. In his bedroom is a large photograph of him dressed in a tuxedo. In one of the bathrooms, there are photos of him at age 18 in a bathing suit, flexing his muscles. "I know, it's a bit megalomaniac. But I wasn't bad, eh?" he chuckles. In his mirror-paneled dressing room sit rows of neatly folded dark-blue sweaters and about three dozen jackets. "Though I wear only two," he says.

Sitting down, Armani returns to the role of fashion designers. Fashion makes no sense, he says, unless it serves the primary purpose of dressing people. Take, for instance, a winter collection made of organza because organza is trendy. "Well, that's absurd, because in winter it's cold and you can't go around naked," Armani says, rolling his R s the French way, which in Italian is a slight idiosyncrasy of speech that exudes an air of aristocracy. "This is a serious business," he adds. "This isn't a game. This is not just about fashion victims." Yet he chafes at not being a critical darling. "Why do I still care?" he continues. "Why do I put myself in a position to be cast aside or not considered as I would like to? Because I am a creative mind, because I still aspire to be one."

He says he thinks about succession every day, "when I wake up in the morning and when I go to sleep at night." There is a hint of remorse that he didn't work out a deal with LVMH. "Today the two companies together would be really something," he says. One option he's exploring is a foundation—similar to the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation behind Rolex—that would protect his heirs' financial holdings and provide strategic guidance. As he sees it, his nieces and nephew will need some support. "It's difficult to judge their capacity," he says. "I'd say they're about 70 percent there."

But then he stops short: "Look, this succession issue has been at my throat for at least 15 years. The question is always the same, and so is the answer: As long as I'm here, I'm the boss." 

Read more:

Randa Fun Facts

·        Consumers purchase 100 men’s fashion accessories from Randa, every minute. That’s 6,000 items an hour, 144,000 units per day, every day.

·         Randa has sold over 1 billion ties, enough to lasso the moon. Twice.

·         In 2012, Randa will deliver more than 20 million leather belts.

·         Randa is the #1 or #2 supplier in our classifications to 14 of the 15 largest apparel retailers and with our new leather goods factory we will penetrate the fifteenth later this year.

LED technology and design

LED technology has allowed designers to create lighting products that no longer have to conform to any familiar shape. This lamp that was scrap wood in a past life:

"When the designers at RUX finished a recent wood-based project, their workshop was littered with leftover wood scraps and offcuts, everything from Maple to sun-bleached Ipe salvaged from the Coney Island boardwalk. Instead of tossing away the bits and pieces, they decided to make it a design challenge to come up with a product that not only made use of the leftover materials, but made it a central part of the final design. The result is the Stickbulb lamp, a skinny LED light housed inside the wooden scraps that can be painted and joined in a variety a ways.

The Bang series joins three sticks together with a steel 'knuckle' or joint - a fresh take on the tripod lamp. It comes in three sizes, Little Bang, Middle Bang and Big Bang. The Torch is a floor lamp made up of just one stick that juts through a weighted steel base so that it leans forward just slightly. My favorite is the Wall Torch, which can be positioned in two ways. You can take it out of its base (no, it's not hot) and face the stick against the wall to create a soft glow, or you can face the light out and raise the stick up to a 90-degree angle to make a reading light. The LED strips look great alone and in a group, housed in raw wood or painted."

Also check out what Audi is doing--they are one of the leaders in this department.

Meet Andrew Rosen

Andrew Rosen Article

As the CEO of Theory and Helmut Lang and an investor in on-the-rise New York labels like Rag & Bone, Alice + Olivia, Gryphon, and now Proenza Schouler, Andrew Rosen occupies a unique and uniquely powerful perch in American fashion. If he didn't invent the concept of the contemporary market, he's probably made more at it than anybody else. With sales set to exceed $700 million, Theory is on track to its biggest year ever. On June 4, he'll be recognized for his accomplishments with the CFDA's Founders Award, which is given in honor of Eleanor Lambert, who established the trade organization half a century ago, when Rosen's father, Carl, was himself a captain of the American fashion industry. Two weeks shy of the Awards, sat down with the third-generation garmento in his Meatpacking District headquarters to discuss family, the future, and the changing face of luxury.

Andrew Rosen Article

Match your nails to your flip flops!

Now the summer is here and our toes are all exposed, it's time to start thinking about all the lovely nail polish you can splash on to add colour to your look. There are so many to choose from this season: neons, metallics, dark plums and more - but Havaianas have made it really easy - they've teamed up with Mavala to match nail varnish colours to their flip-flops!
Even better, if you're going to be in London between now and the 5th June, you can pop into therecently refurbished (and gorgeous!) beauty hall at John Lewis Oxford Street and enjoy FREE a pampering treat for your feet that will have you running for the nearest beach as soon as you leave the store!
You'll get a complementary shape and polish with a matching or clashing Mavala nail colour when you buy a pair of Havaianas in store. All complimentary appointments can be booked at your convenience at The Havaianas Beauty Bar exclusively (Whist stocks last and subject to appointment availability).

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Design Your Own Earbuds

f you cannot find a pair of headphones that visually meets your needs from Kotori’s more than 100 variations, you may have more serious problems than just the lack of cool audiowear.

However, if you just don’t like any of the suggested colour combinations, you can easily design your own by selecting the colour of each of the 10 components, or just hit shuffle and see what happens randomly.

In the appealing Japanese style that it both cute and sleek in its rounded friendliness and minimalist functionality, Kotori headphones have a yummy sensibility that makes you want to choose several pairs at once. Each of the seven pre-set themes – pop, sweet, cool, vivid, natural, animal, and delicious – has 15 variations.
These headphones will likely add a few problems to your life, though: They are so cool that you will forever be telling everyone where you got them AND you will have to keep a close eye on your Kotoris as your design-hungry friends will want to borrow them.Design Your Own Earbuds

Vintage Denim Bowties

Italian Denim Bow Ties - Click Here

Classic with Denim Soul

Untitled presents the first bow ties denim collection: Vintage Wash, Stone Wash, Bleaching and details from denim world.
Firenze, April 13, 2012, Untitled shows man classic bow ties with raw soul. Washed and stoned denim fabrics hand-crafted in Italy.
The project starts from Federico Batelli’s idea, 35 years old polyvalent designer and from Annalisa Petroni creative  experience in textile area.
Untitled is an exclusive project that will be distribuite in Italy, Germany, Holland and Spain.

Summer Suits

Summer Suits - Click Here

THAT time of year is upon us: the sticky season, when the only suit a man can get excited about has one of two words in front of it: “swim” or “birthday.”

So some of the recent goings-on in the world of men’s attire seem strangely unseasonal. First, the relentlessly fashionable online retailer Mr Porter is staging a huge suit initiative starting June 6 to coincide with the new season of “Suits,” the television show about two scheming lawyers whose closets are stocked with the aforementioned garments as well as a skeleton or two. There will be a pop-up shop, a fashion show on the High Line, a choreographed appearance of men in suits on bicycles tearing all over town, an iPhoneapp to play Dapper Dan on, and God only knows what else — but it will involve suits.
Just last week, the up-and-coming men’s wear designer Todd Snyder opened a special shop of his practical-but-stylish suiting at Odin, the downtown New York store where one would scarcely expect to find a single suit much less a collection of them. And the unstoppable clothier J. Crew, taking off on the success of its Ludlow suit, recently opened a seductive little shop devoted exclusively to Ludlow suiting on a sleepy corner in TriBeCa. On a recent Saturday the wait for a dressing room was longer than the wait for a table at Super Linda around the corner.
It’s no secret that men’s tailored clothing has been on a roll. According to NPD Group, which tracks the clothing market, for the 12 months ending March 30, 2012, sales of tailored clothing (suits, jackets and trousers) were up 11 percent over the same period in 2011. In an economy in which double-digit growth in any category is remarkable, the fact that 2011’s nearly $4.5 billion market in tailored clothing rose to almost $5 billion this year is extraordinary.
One reason for the climb: a revamped, dressed-up, stripped-down suit that has all but reinvented a moribund idea: the summer suit a man would actually enjoy wearing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Six Myths of Product Development

HBS: Six Myths - Click Here for Article

Most product-development managers are always struggling to bring in projects on time and on budget. They never have enough resources to get the job done, and their bosses demand predictable schedules and deliverables. So the managers push their teams to be more parsimonious, to write more-detailed plans, and to minimize schedule variations and waste. But that approach, which may work well in turning around underperforming factories, can actually hurt product-development efforts.
Although many companies treat product development as if it were similar to manufacturing, the two are profoundly different. In the world of manufacturing physical objects, tasks are repetitive, activities are reasonably predictable, and the items being created can be in only one place at a time. In product development many tasks are unique, project requirements constantly change, and the output—thanks, in part, to the widespread use of advanced computer-aided design and simulation and the incorporation of software in physical products—is information, which can reside in multiple places at the same time.

HBS: Six Myths - Click Here for Article

Baseball Wallets


Have an unusual love of baseball and repurposed vintage goods? Then get ready to throw down for one of these Coach Baseball Glove Wallets ($350). Crafted from 70-plus-year-old vintage baseball gloves — each wallet consists of roughly 1.5 gloves — these stylish wallets are limited to just 200 pieces, and due to their vintage nature, each one will be completely unique, making them every bit as collectible as that foul ball you caught on your last trip to the ballpark.


Stalward Ties

Skip the menswear store and add a proper splash of style to your business wardrobe with Stalward Ties ($64). Handmade and hand stitched in a family-owned Chicago factory using the finest fabrics available, these handsome ties are available in a range of colors, styles, and fabrics, and each one features a loop constructed from surplus army gas lamp wick for an added bit of vintage charm.

Music to Cook By

In a world of extreme visual stimulation, pure audio still has the power to inform and inspire. The dining reporter Jeff Gordinier recently interviewed a handful of New York City chefs who depend on music as such a pivotal part of their creative process that they would feel adrift in the kitchen without it. As part of the reporting process, The Times asked 10 culinary creators to give us five songs they couldn’t cook without. Multimedia producer Jacky Myint created a simple and elegant page to house their playlists and to allow users to sample the music. And for the more visually inclined, multimedia producer Catherine Spangler produced a nice piece of video of some of the chefs in action and the music that keeps them moving. 

NY Times Music List for Cooks

Three Rules for Innovation Teams

Three Rules for Innovation Teams
Thursday March 29, 2012
by Harry West

Our business at Continuum is design and innovation (if you've used a Swiffer or pushed a new Target shopping cart, you've encountered us), so naturally we are always looking for ways to innovate how we innovate. Three refinements to our team approach are making a difference: actively managing creative friction; making project rooms the focal point of the work environment; and pushing as much creativity into commercialization as into conceptualization. Follow these rules, and you'll see a dramatic difference in your own team's ability to innovate:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Connect anything to the Internet...

This Is How You Will Connect Everything in Your Home to the Internet

The guys who brought you the iPhone and Gmail now want to connect your washing machine, light switch, and just about any other electric device you can think of to the Internet. Get ready to be amazed.

Hermes Belt Hangers

Ed Turner and I saw these hangers last week in Milan... Price tickets and product information were tucked into a small slot on the back of the hanger. djk

Watch Out!

Wristwatches that help screen your messages and more...A watch that displays texts, weather, twitter & caller ID all in one quick glimpse of the wrist.

The Customer is King

Catering to Today’s Consumer
The customer is king.

That retail mantra has never been more true than in the age of the Internet as shoppers — many of them wielding smartphones — are forcing retailers to play by their rules, delegates at the Global Department Store Summit earlier this month in Paris heard.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pantone Color Forecasts?

Pantone Article Are Pantone Color Forecasts Accurate?
Click the link above to read the article.

Dart board, crystal ball, science, or wishful thinking?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

4 Ways to Kill a Good Idea

Fear, Delay, Confusion, Ridicule... Don't let this happen to your idea at Randa. Be heard, be open, imagine what's next. DJK

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Augmented Reality - Glasses

Google Glasses - Way Cool. I want a pair right now... djk

Click here for amazing YouTube Video - Google Glasses Video

Google Glass Project

As you can see in the video below or on the Project Glass Google+ page, this new wearable technology will basically consist of a pair of clever glasses which contain a display, a camera, a microphone, and everything necessary to make some sci-fi fantasies come true. (But keep in mind that the Project Glass designs are simply ideas, not final products at this point though.)

So what will you do with a pair of these strange glasses?

Well, you might wake up, slip on your Google glasses and set some calendar alerts before looking up directions to your first meeting of the day. While walking to your destination, you may pause to snap a photo of a funny sign (which you instantly share with your friends via a social media service of your choice) or find a coffee shop. Later you could start a video-chat with a friend and show him or her your current view.

And you'd do all of this without ever reaching for a computer or smartphone. You'd simply speak or tap a button on the glasses and the appropriate actions commence.

In theory, the glasses should — pardon the pun — augment your day-to-day life, but one could imagine that some folks would get distracted by all the information appearing right before their eyes at any given moment.

But let's be honest: Even those concerns are not be enough to prevent most of us from eagerly lining up to purchase Google's glasses once they're available. After all, who hasn't dreamed of subtly looking up information while seemingly paying attention to a conversation?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Got Silk?

Got Silk? It's not just from worms; try spiders and goats, too.

Apparently, you don’t need Kevlar to stop bullets. Human skin combined with spider silk-infused goat milk can do the job just as well. Dutch scientists recently brought this combination to life, pushing the limits of science. The project is called “2.6 g 329m/s” which is the standard weight and velocity that a Type 1 bulletproof vest can protect against - DJK

If Customers Ask for More Choice, Don't Listen

What are our Randa thoughts on this topic?

If Customers Ask for More Choice, Don't Listen

In his provocative book The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz's warns that giving consumers more product choices actually lowers their purchase satisfaction. Schwartz reasons that having too many options makes us fear missing out, which causes anxiety, analysis paralysis and regret.

If you plan to rob an Internet cafe remember to log off Facebook first... DJK

Sent from iDavid

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Jamming for Creativity

Like great Jazz, creativity stems from encouraging talented people to think “outside of the box,” to allow for, even stimulate, unproven ideas within a framework of loose structure.  As my colleague John Kao states: “Creativity flows from Jamming.”

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design

100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design

Click here to read article

100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design

From visual puns to the grid, or what Edward Tufte has to do with the invention of the fine print.
Design history books abound, but they tend to be organized by chronology and focused on concrete -isms. From publisher Laurence King, who brought us the epic Saul Bass monograph, and the prolific design writer Steven Hellerwith design critic Veronique Vienne comes 100 Ideas that Changed Graphic Design — a thoughtfully curated inventory of abstract concepts that defined and shaped the art and craft of graphic design, each illustrated with exemplary images and historical context.
From concepts like manifestos (#25),pictograms (#45), propaganda (#22), found typography (#38), and the Dieter-Rams-coined philosophy that “less is more” (#73) to favorite creators like Alex SteinweissNoma BarSaul BassPaula Scher, and Stefan Sagmeister, the sum of these carefully constructed parts amounts to an astute lens not only on what design is and does, but also on what it should be and do.