Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Starbucks de-brands

So, The Future Laboratory says the best way to face the future is by "expecting the unexpected", but here's something I never thought I'd see. The brand that invented the 'third space'. The brand that introduced the notion of a traveling cappuccino. The brand that put hundreds of independent coffee houses out of business. The brand that you see on literally every street corner of the Western world. Starbucks - that massive global brand - is about to begin trials of unbranded stores in its hometown of Seattle. According to Marketing Week, the so-called '15th Avenue Coffee and Tea' will "revert to Starbucks' original positioning as a quirky, local coffeehouse [and] it will run poetry events and sell unbranded coffee as well as wine and beer". Can big global brands do this? Can they just take it all back and pretend all that world-domination stuff was just a 'phase'?

The most galling aspect of this de-brand is that I'm pretty sure everyone will love it because the timing is absolutely perfect. The very people who, just two or three years ago, were strutting around with a Chloe 'it' bag in one hand and a Starbucks double latte in the other, are precisely the Blingamalists now investing in a pared down Philip Lim carry-all, having their Net-a-Porter purchases delivered in black bags, considering the Waitrose 'Essentials' range and, from next week, getting their Starbucks-standard caffeine fix in unmarked cups. It's genius. Goddamit.

(Photo via

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Local Colour

When the sun comes out in Shoreditch, so do the colours.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hard core fashion

Absolutely blown away by the Balmain A/W09 collection. Just look at those shoulders! Look at them! You're looking at the future, my friends.

But until I save enough money, or until I find a place that does an a-class copy, I'll have to make do with these little mittens from Gloved Up. So post-MJ death right now.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Love these two examples of time keeping outside of the box.

First up is a digital clock from Kibardindesign consisting of autonomous digits which each have a self-contained power supply. Able to be placed anywhere, light sensors will switch the clock to an invert mode: the figures are white in the dark time of day and black at daytime.

And then there's this beautiful calender from Oscar Diaz which uses the capillary action of ink spreading across paper to display the date.

Suddenly my Lumie doesn't look quite so cool.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wow! Check out Godiva's new flagship store! Looking sweet - in every sense of the word!

More pictures at
In a spin.

The world has gone a little bit crazy this week - thank God it's Friday. First, a bank went into meltdown (yes, another one) over a report written by a 15 year old intern. It is not so much the age of the author that troubles me, rather the commotion and panic it caused. It further proves just how out of touch the people at Morgan Stanley are. According to the bank, the research document prompted calls from "dozens and dozens of fund managers, and several CEOs". Either I'm living in a little Shoreditch bubble, where news, views and trends are shared and discussed constantly, or these fund managers need to spin their swivel chairs around 180 degrees and look out their floor to ceiling windows at the world.

In other news, Twitter has apparently caused a slump in ticket sales for summer comedy, Bruno. According to The London Paper (fact), a fantastic opening weekend was marred by Twitterers slating it around the globe. Fascinating how, what started out as a fad for the verbally incontinent, is turning in to the go-to place for peer-to-peer recommendation.

Oh well, while all others are losing their heads, one of my colleagues restored order and rightness, by purchasing theses little numbers from Classic Wardrobe.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Despite having kvelled over the latest Ordning & Reda range of slick computer and desk accessories, this boho laptop case really floats my boat. Going against everything the minimalist tech look stands for, this case feels crafted, authentic and unique.

Laptop bag from new website discovery,

Friday, July 10, 2009

We're not in Kansas any more

Things are getting weird. These two comedy video virals make my head spin.

Has a brand name become a verb to the extent that we use it to describe our behaviour with a competitor brand?

And... in a world where software packages are turned into 24-style movies...

Going for a lie down.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Amazon phenomenon Three Wolf Moon t-shirt finds its mojo.

Hmm, the 3WM tee with shoulder pads... trend of tomorrow? You heard it here first!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Tee-shirt dresses with built-in shoulder pads. Are we really going there? Really?

Dress by Ann-Sofie Back for Fred Perry

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Watching the MJ memorial

Seems only fitting to add my voice to the millions of views currently being expressed around the world, in many different languages and on many different platforms. The London Paper tonight asserted that this was America's Princess Diana funeral and, certainly, the Americans are giving it all the national outpouring of grief we saw back then. How it differs, however, is due to the exponential growth in social networking. Never before have platforms like Twitter, online newspapers and blogs allowed every view to not only be expressed in real time but also re-tweeted, commented upon and to 'go global' in a matter of seconds. In 1997, could a friend of mine have created and uploaded a tribute film to YouTube within hours of the news breaking? Could the New York Times have crowd sourced photos from the memorial event via Twitter? Could we have watched events unfold via live streaming on the Internet? As technology makes us further and further removed from reality, events which unite us all through communal emotion act as a release. And yet we turn to technology to reach out to others and share the outpouring of feeling we are experiencing. We are living in strange times - times of change, access and democracy of reporting.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Kids today

Arranging play dates on their mobiles, while the nanny cruises them around in Maclaren pushchairs, tots today are pretty tuned in. According to a recent survey, these little ankle biters are more likely to be swayed by brand advertising than their own friends.
Walking yesterday on that green bastion of upper-middle class Guardian readers - Hampstead Heath - I overheard one pre-schooler exclaim "Daddy, people like skinny". Referring to her preference for Starbucks lattes or commenting on our modern preoccupation with size 0? Who knows, but let's say I won't be surprised to walk past the play pit next time to find debate raging on Suri Cruise's wardrobe and the benefits of micro-biotic baby food.

Above: the GlowPhone from Firefly Mobile aimed specifically at kids.