March 23, 2019

What It Takes Book is a book by MAEKAN Community's Dillion S. Phiri and focuses on Africa's young creatives

Creative Nestlings Whatever It Takes Book Dillion S. Phiri

What It Takes is a book that documents the emerging creative class in Africa. The book published by Dillion S. Phiri, founder of Creative Nestlings, serves as a tool to connect Africa and beyond. The multi-faceted Creative Nestlings platform focuses on “nurturing a curious, creative, innovative and entrepreneurial mindset” across Africa. For the book, Whatever It Takes, Dillion and his team captured the story of 60 young African creatives and outlined their processes and challenges in an emerging world. It’s an exciting time for the continent of Africa and its diaspora. The intersection of global network and connective tools are resulting in some exciting opportunities ahead.

What It Takes is available now via hardcover for USD 48.63.

March 16, 2019

Potato Head release some vibey pieces and a collaboration with Gasius for their Spring/Summer 2019 Collection

Potato Head Bali Gassius Spring/Summer 2019 collection

Potato Head, the part beach club, part cultural phenomenon, is back with another collection of sartorial bangers. This comes as a follow-up of their most recent releases with DJ Peggy Gou. As is often the case, Potato Head’s Balinese roots serve as the inspiration for this Spring/Summer 2019 lineup.

Their proverbial backyard inspired the collection’s motifs, including Borneo’s indigenous Dayak people, endangered Sumatran tigers, original photos from Dr. Lawrence Blair’s “Ring of Fire” series, and original artwork by Indonesian artist, Ryan Ady Putra. For those who may be unfamiliar with his work, Putra is a big part of the Yogyakarta-based cult label, Domestik. Potato Head caps things off with the help of UK-based designer Gasius, resulting in a beautiful five-piece assortment. In classic Gasius style, the pieces are quirky, with a unique story only he could conceptualize and bring to the Potato Head audience.

The collection is available now at the club’s webstore and Dover Street Market.

Check out our piece Beyond the Beach Club — Celebrating Bali at the Launch of Indonesia Now to find out more on the emerging creative scene in Bali.

Watch the video for the full story behind the Gasius collection.

Potato Head Bali Beach Hawaiian shirt Spring/Summer 2019 collection

Potato Head Bali Beach Hawaiian shirt Spring/Summer 2019 collection girls

Potato Head Bali Beach Hawaiian shirt Spring/Summer 2019 collection girl

Potato Head Bali Beach Hawaiian shirt Spring/Summer 2019 collection girl

Potato Head Bali Beach Hawaiian shirt Spring/Summer 2019 collection girl

Potato Head Bali Beach Hawaiian shirt Spring/Summer 2019 collection girl

Potato Head Bali Beach Hawaiian shirt Spring/Summer 2019 collection girl

Potato Head Bali Beach Hawaiian shirt Spring/Summer 2019 collection girl

Potato Head Bali Gassius Spring/Summer 2019 collection Hawaiian shirt

Potato Head Bali Gassius Spring/Summer 2019 collection Hawaiian shirt

Potato Head Bali Gassius Spring/Summer 2019 collection t-shirt

Potato Head Bali Gassius Spring/Summer 2019 collection t-shirt

Potato Head Bali Gassius Spring/Summer 2019 collection beach dog t-shirt

Potato Head Bali Spring/Summer 2019 collection Hawaiian shirt palm trees

Potato Head Bali Spring/Summer 2019 collection Hawaiian shirt girls palm trees

March 16, 2019

Objects of Interest — Philips Somneo Sleep & Wake Light

Philip Soneo Light Alarm

If you’re anything like us, we value sleep but waking up is hard to do. Philips wants to make your routine less painful through its light alarm clock. Unlike traditional alarms, the Somneo uses light to get you through those dreary winter months and early mornings, improving your circadian rhythm (that way you won’t be too S.A.D.).

How does it work?

The Someno allows you to be naturally woken up. It can be a helpful addition for those who don’t have an abundance of sunlight or face the rising sun. The Somneo ramps up light in your room and peaks at your expected wake up time, simulating a perfect sunrise. Instead of the standard alarm which makes you groggy, the light system ensures you wake up refreshed. Likewise, the alarm also acts in reverse and can simulate a sunset, helping trigger the natural secretion of melatonin to fall asleep.

The Somneo is available now at select retailers globally. Head over to Philips for more information.

March 10, 2019

The Leica Q2 is an update to one of the best travel cameras around

Leica Q2 Camera Fixed-Lens Travel

The Leica Q was among a niche of high-performing fixed-lens prosumer cameras. Four years after the original release, Leica introduces the Q2. The Q-series shared the competitive landscape with only a handful of other models. These models including the Sony RX-1 and the Fujifilm x100 series, all take a similar approach. These cameras all traded in an interchangeable lens for great optics and small footprints. In essence, this segment made for great everyday/travel companions.

A quick rundown of the specs

  • 47.3 MP full-frame sensor with DC and UHD 4K video recording
  • Leica Summilux 28mm f/1.7 lens (carried over from the Q1)
  • OLED panel with 3.68M dots (a change from the Q1’s LCD)
  • Built-in crop functions to create focal lengths of 35mm, 50mm, and 75mm
  • IP52 dust and water resistance

Price tag aside, why the Q2?

The Leica Q2 comes in at USD $4,995. It’s a unique offering that lacks versatility at times. However, if you’re looking for one of the best cameras in class, the Q2 is hard to beat. The focal crops may not result in a true optical difference but offers a degree of flexibility. The Q1 has been a workhorse travel camera for many. And based on its longevity, the Q2, price aside, is a worthy investment.

Other cameras with fixed lenses and small sizes

Fujifilm x100f (35mm-equivalent 35mm f/2 lens)
+ Significantly cheaper
+ Great lens
+ Smaller than the Q2
+/- Not a full-frame sensor
– Lack of stabilization
– Mediocre battery life

Sony RX1R II (ZEISS Sonnar T* 35mm f/2 lens)
+ Similar full-frame design
+ Cheaper
+/- Most similar to the Q2 across the board
– Challenging controls/handling
– Nearing an update as it was announced on October 14, 2015

If you’re interested in learning more about the Q-series, Craig Mod has an extensive review of the Q1. The essay/review is based on a 6-month test across Japan.

March 4, 2019

IKEA launches its African-inspired Överallt furniture collection

IKEA Överallt furniture collection

IKEA partners with several key African designers to create the Överallt furniture collection. The project was done in partnership with South African partner, Design Indaba. This collection hopes to bring more visibility to the emerging African creative scene.

The background behind the project

Design Indaba founder Ravi Naidoo stated that IKEA’s goals were around highlighting the regions explosive creative potential. And that Design Indaba’s curated a list of multi-disciplinary creatives who expanded beyond just furniture design.

Some of the designers involved

Changing perceptions

The initiative is a great opportunity for African culture to be seen on a much larger and global stage with the help of IKEA, where great work can otherwise be limited by a lack of distribution. Products are inherently easy to understand and comprehend and introduce a common interest, and so in this instance, IKEA’s vast support and audience can introduce African culture to many more people and the stories that come with them.

Some of our favorite pieces

IKEA Överallt furniture collection Reform Studios
Reform Studios’ totebag featuring crisp packets.

IKEA Överallt furniture collection Studio Propolis cast iron dish skillet
Studio Propolis’ cast iron dish and skillet.

IKEA Överallt furniture collection Studio Propolis stool bench
Studio Propolis’ stool and bench.

IKEA Överallt furniture collection Renee Rossouw Sindiso Khumalo
Renee Rossouw and Sindiso Khumalo’s African-inspired textiles.

March 4, 2019

Chinese consumers are buying luxury goods directly at home

Chinese women luxury spending locally in China

Chinese consumers are still driving demand for luxury products globally, but they are making more of their purchases back home. In the past, Chinese consumers would often shop overseas, especially in Hong Kong and Europe. However, the trend is now reversing, and it’s primarily due to today’s macroeconomic landscape. In the doom and gloom of trade wars, luxury products of all things remains a bright spot.

What in the world does macroeconomics have to do with luxury?

Macroeconomics and politics are primarily to blame for this. The ongoing trade war between the US and China impacts demand in many different ways. Since trade wars depend on tariffs, both countries suffer from rising import costs. To combat this, the Chinese government enacted a series of policies to help spur on consumer spending. Luxury brands worried about the possible fallout from the trade war instead had a record year in large part due to Chinese consumption. Beijing increased the amount of tax-free goods consumers could purchase, cut import tariffs and revised its income tax. All these measures help improve demand domestically. As such, local consumers no longer need to travel overseas to purchase luxury goods.

 What else caused Chinese demand to spike?

Other than local government intervention, Chinese consumers benefitted from:

  • A weakening RMB which helps with demand as its less expensive to shop at home than elsewhere
  • Luxury brands tapping into new local markets. For example, luxury brands like LV and Prada expanded to cities like Wuxi, Xi’an and Wuhan. Although you may have never heard of these cities, they host millions of Chinese citizens each, which helps draw investors and brands in the long term.
  • There are more options online for luxury purchases. For shoppers who don’t have access to a boutique near them, they can instead rely on e-commerce giants like T-Mall and JD to source their goods
  • Better touch points. Brands are improving and localizing their store experiences to draw in more crowds

As the global picture continues to unfold, it’ll be interesting to see how Chinese demand for luxury goods continues to evolve, especially in a context of unprecedented debt in China.

February 4, 2019

"The Light" is a Japanese desk lamp designed for non-glare sketching

Japanese manufacturer Balmuda’s The Light ($540) is a dimmable LED desk lamp that borrows a trick from medical lamps used in surgery, casting the light outwards at an angle to illuminate the desktop without glaring into your eyes.

Why is this useful?

Normally, your average desk lamp would cast the light in such a way that you’d get potentially harsh shadows that make it hard to see from a certain angle, especially if you have to draw inside a shadowed area. You could imagine how shadows conflicting with a surgeon’s field of vision is not an option—now you can put that convenience onto your sketching table. The ability to use the lamp’s base as storage is the space-saving icing on the cake.

December 18, 2018

Consumers care more about companies with a social purpose than product quality

Nearly two-thirds of consumers now expect companies to “take a stand” on issues that they also feel passionate about. This result comes from Accenture Strategy’s annual Global Consumer Pulse Research survey.

What should companies take a stand on?
The survey showed that above all, consumers look for “authenticity and transparency” in a company. Whether a company is standing for a healthier lifestyle, sustainable sourcing and manufacturing processes, employment practices or ingredient sourcing, the consumer really just wants to know what they’re buying and who they’re buying it from. The survey showed that nearly half of the 30,000 international consumers involved had changed their buying decisions when disappointed by a company.

Why should brands listen?
In the internet age, the consumer holds all of the cards; brands can be made or broken overnight. With such power in the consumer’s hands, brands can use social purpose as a way of differentiating themselves, polarizing the consumer’s choice allows a consumer to make a quicker decision.

Do we risk social burnout?
In recent years we’ve seen almost all brands take a deeper social position in order to differentiate themselves. In a time when all brands have a similar social purpose, the consumer may experience desensitization towards this trend which may harm the causes that the brands stand for.

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