Posts Tagged ‘Shopping’

Ben Cuervo for Innercity Clothing: An Interview

October 8, 2010

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As regular readers will know, we like to do what we can to promote emerging talent across all industries. For the past 8 months or so I’ve had the pleasure of working with Ben Cuervo, a very talented fashion graphic designer and good friend who is now putting all his energies into Innercity Clothing, a streetwear brand of his own making. I had a quick catch-up with him to discuss past, present and future.

(As a bit of a disclaimer, Ben expresses some opinions about various other brands – we would like to make it clear that these are solely the opinions of Ben and not necessarily shared by us at the Fold. We don’t want to upset anyone, or get sued. Ta!)

For those who may not know, tell us a bit about Innercity (how long you’ve been going, what you do, who your peer brands are etc).

Innercity is a brand new streetwear brand based in Bournemouth. We’ve been building it for the last  year but we only launched with our first collection this summer; we took so long because we wanted everything to be right, no half-assed rush job! My partner-in-crime in making Innercity is Wayne Collins, who was the man behind Criminal Clothing. We’re very much picking up where he left off but with a heavier graphic element to the tees.

Given the large number of streetwear brands available to UK consumers, what do you feel sets you apart from the rest?

I think that us just doing what we like and making the best product we can is what set us apart. We’re not churning out stuff for profit; we’re doing what we love. Every tee, hood or whatever took me hours and all my thought and passion. All the big brands hire freelancers!

How can you design for one brand and yet design for 3 more at the same time? That’s why their product is all the same; I live what I design and wear my own designs every day so I have to be proud and believe in what I do. A freelancer doesn’t give a shit; it’s all about the money. Nuff said.

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On a more personal note – how did you get into clothing and graphic design?

I did Graphics at the Arts Institute in Bournemouth; it was awesome! I stood out like a sore thumb with all those arty types but there were a few like-minded people in my class who encouraged me to get my head into it. I did okay, passed my degree then went off trying to freelance. After a while I came back to Bournemouth, worked in a studio for a bit doing normal graphic stuff then met Wayne and did a few tees with him for another brand that I went on to work for.  It didn’t work out well so Wayne said that we can do this ourselves… so we did!

Tell us a bit more about your range.

The brand has two sections to it. There’s the old-school vintage range, which definitely has a hip hop theme, but its more 80’s and 90’s. Music I love! Just like everyone, music is a big influence in what I do. I wanted that vintage feel but without being cheesy, so we came with the old school vintage tip.

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On the other side we have the streetwear tees which are just based on things I see every day and just life experiences that I’ve had. It’s not trying to be cool for being cool’s sake; if you don’t live it you won’t love it.

The material used in the t-shirts has a very unique, almost luxury feel to it for a street wear brand. Without giving away too many trade secrets, how do you achieve this effect?

We spent a lot of time and money getting this right; we custom-made every garment we sell from scratch and we use the best material we can. When we started, we decided that we wanted to go for quality not quantity and so we make our tees in Europe. That way we can keep everything under control and make sure it’s the best it can be; they are without doubt the best quality streetwear tees out there. All you have to do is try one on and you will see; the fit, the fabric, the detail… it’s the bollocks!

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Is there any advice you would give to budding designers or indeed anyone that wants to set up their own business?

Yes, I’ve read loads of books about entrepreneurs and now having started a business myself there two thing I would say. Firstly, you have to start. Trust me, this is harder than it sounds! I started thanks to Wayne and a year later we have a brand in the shops, but a year is a long time; you need the stomach for it. Secondly, do the things you have to do even when you don’t want to. That is also hard but you can never put anything off in this game.

We would like to thank Ben for his time and wish him all the best in the future – keep your eyes peeled for Innercity/Threefold collabs in the future! Innercity is available from these fine outlets:

Monkey Clothing

USC

James & James

Divine Trash

So go and fill your boots. Alternatively, catch them here or on Facebook.

James

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PSFK: The Future of Retail

August 15, 2010

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For many in the world of forward-thinking lifestyle and culture, PSFK is the last word in trend-led design and innovation. Established in 2004 by London-born Piers Fawkes, the company began as a blog detailing emerging ideas from around the world.

Soon, Piers had his first collaborator in Simon King (the name ‘PSFK’ is an amalgamation of their initials). Within 6 years, PSFK has grown from a simple blog to an international company that documents fresh design ideas and holds seminars and conferences for creatives all over the world.

On 30 June PSFK journeyed to London to hold a seminar entitled The Future of Retail; Piers delivered a presentation alongside Jeff Weiner, head of Business Development, detailing the way in which the retail sector will embrace new technologies and ways of selling to the newly ‘enlightened’, post-recession consumer.

Here, we look at the key trends outlined by the team at PSFK and how they are expected to enable retailers to boost sales.

World as Retail Experience
Given the ubiquity of mobile technology and smartphone devices, consumers are more empowered than ever to transform even the simplest of experiences into an opportunity to buy. Increasingly sophisticated mobile apps such as Stripey Lines or Amazon allow users to photograph barcodes, identify a product and engage in price comparisons amongst online retailers. Square, a new accessory and app for the iPhone and iPad, enables mobile credit card payments to be taken via a small attachment that plugs into the device’s headphone jack. After swiping, the signature is entered on the touchscreen with a fingertip and the receipt is emailed.

Pre-View Shopping
City centres can be very crowded and stressful places to shop, particularly at weekends and traditionally busier times such as Christmas. Developments in GPS and wireless internet can provide users with indoor maps of malls, pointing them in the direction of the stores they wish to visit, whereas apps like NearbyNow can furnish the discerning consumer with a complete list of targeted gift ideas that can all be found within one location. Google’s Places feature provides a Streetview-esque experience for its users but in a shop floor context, allowing customers to ‘visit’ the store without visiting in person. Pre-View Shopping concepts cut down on time spent getting from one place to the next, enabling more direct and focused retail experiences for the consumer.

Tablet Enabled Service
Apple’s iPad has taken the concept of tablet computing well and truly into the mainstream, where dozens of others have failed over the years. The sheer volume of uptake of these devices, as well as other touchscreen equipment, allows the use of rich and engaging assistance and visual presentations instore – Miele’s store in Vianen, Holland does just that. On entry, the customer is handed an iPod Touch in return for some basic information, which they can use to navigate the store. The MiBar in Johannesburg, South Africa features touchscreens in the tables which can be used to communicate with staff and other customers, as well as access the menu and order drinks.

Selling the Ideal
Brands have long been in the business of attaching desirable, if intangible, lifestyle connotations to their products. However, most consumers are now able to see past this technique while shopping to some degree, choosing to focus on how this product is going to fit into their lives. Forward-thinking companies are finding ways to utilise this method of shopping to increase sales; by using digital technology and high-quality consultation the brand can help a consumer properly visualise these scenarios, leading to a higher probability of purchase. One example of this is Trunk Club, a clothing website based in Chicago that circumvents many men’s lack of interest with shopping by offering a personal shopper-based system that sends clothes to customers’ homes based on fit, taste and style requirements set out in an initial consultation. If the customer likes the clothes they buy, if not they send them back,all free of charge.

Every Store as Flagship
Flagship stores are a brand’s ‘crown jewels’; the complete aesthetic embodiment of a label’s ethos. However, limiting oneself to just one of these stores per market can be a little counter-intuitive; what about those customers who can’t make it to London, New York or Tokyo? With this initiative, brands are re-imagining the concept of visual merchandising in a way that makes each store visit a rich and involved event rather than just a conventional shopping experience. Mellow Johnny’s, a bike shop owned by Lance Armstrong in Austin, Texas, not only sells and services bikes but provides a coffee shop, showers and bike storage to encourage commuting; ultimately, the store’s aim is to get more people out of their cars and onto bikes. Apple is another brand worthy of mention; amongst open-plan, minimal surroundings they exhibit iPods, iPhones, Macbooks and iPads, all available for people to use and with well-trained staff on hand to assist.

Complementary Curation
While developing brand loyalty is always an important facet of any marketing strategy, the idea that a consumer only wants to buy from one brand is naive. Retailers can overcome this problem by introducing other, complementary brands into their space, offering consumers a choice of other brands that fulfil other needs, keeping them in-store for as long as possible. J Crew’s concept Liquor Store in New York does just that; by stocking brands such as Converse, Barbour and Ray Ban alongside their own products, they get toboost their own brand value simply by association, making the store into a ‘one-stop-shop’ for a certain look.

Revolving Decors
Keeping a look fresh is important for many brands. Some, like Anthropologie or All Saints, have a clearly defined way of presenting their wares instore and so will invest heavily in creating a look that they can maintain for a longer period. Other brands, however, are more flexible and can alter their merchandising each season if they wish. This approach to decor treats the shop floor like a theatre stage; visually engaging yet easily and quickly adaptable. Gap’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue features a permanent pop-up shop next door that they use to promote seasonal and cultural events – this means that they can create engaging conceptual spaces while maintaining the look of the flagship.

Taking the Store to the Customer
In today’s somewhat saturated and over-subscribed retail spaces, it can be difficult to get yourself noticed. One innovative way of solving this problem involves taking the brand to the consumer; mobile shops in the form of bicycle-powered coffee bars, double-decker bus restaurants and Twitter-equipped burger vans are all novel ways of communicating brand values to a potentially aloof audience and brings fun into the equation too. In Spain, gin brand Tanqueray is promoting the Private Cocktail Experience in which they stage cocktail parties in the homes of people who sign up on a microsite.

Instant Show & Tell
Many people like to take a friend or significant other along when they go shopping just to get a ‘second opinion’. However, other people are not always available to go when you want to – what to do? The answer is found in Instant Show & Tell, a trend based around the availability of real-time feedback through social networking websites and in-store technologies. Communities of ‘haul videos’ are already available on YouTube in which girls make films documenting new purchases, while the comment feature allows others to share opinions easily. Additionally, Levi’s has an online feature that can connect with a customer’s Facebook account, customising the options available to show only those clothes that their friends have ‘liked’.

Group Clout
A collectivist approach to shopping online is a method of buying that can drive down prices by employing discounts on group or bulk buys. Retailers also benefit by having access to a larger audience and therefore promoting themselves over a wider market than before. As well as this, in order for a single person to take advantage of such a deal, they typically ‘advertise’ the opportunity across social networks such as Facebook or Twitter; essentially, brands sit back while customers advertise for them. The most widely known example of this is Groupon. This highly innovative site advertises deals for groups of buyers, but only becomes viable once enough people have committed.

all images from PSFK; visit PSFK.com for further reading

James

The 24 Days of Christmas – Day 22

December 22, 2009

As we all know, Christmas is fast approaching and as we all also know, many of you will be struggling to think of interesting gift ideas for your nearest and dearest. ‘What shall we buy to show our love?!’ we hear you cry. Well, fear not, for we at the Fold know that sometimes, thinking beyond the usual DVD boxsets/smellies/Xbox games can be a little difficult, and so over the course of December we endeavour to bring you a new gift idea each day on the run-up to Christmas, totalling 24, and with each one we shall also bring you an accompanying song that somehow represents the gift in some way. ‘Gift ideas and related entertainment?!’ we hear you now crying! ‘How on Earth do they manage it?!’

Day #22 – Lomo Fisheye Camera

An iconic camera. So much has been written about its impact on photography, that to sum it up here would be an exercise in futility. Therefore, those interested can read all about the cheeky bulbous chappy here.

The model above is available from Gadgethub, although you can find various models all over the internet. I saw a rather fetching wooden-panelled one, but it was sold out. For shame.

To play us out, we have Xzibit with, you guessed it, Paparazzi. Lady Gaga can go catch a hot one.

Kristian

The 24 Days of Christmas – Day 2

December 2, 2009

As we all know, Christmas is fast approaching and as we all also know, many of you will be struggling to think of interesting gift ideas for your nearest and dearest. ‘What shall we buy to show our love?!’ we hear you cry. Well, fear not, for we at the Fold know that sometimes, thinking beyond the usual DVD boxsets/smellies/Xbox games can be a little difficult, and so over the course of December we endeavour to bring you a new gift idea each day on the run-up to Christmas, totalling 24, and with each one we shall also bring you an accompanying song that somehow represents the gift in some way. ‘Gift ideas and related entertainment?!’ we hear you now crying! ‘How on Earth do they manage it?!’

Don’t ask.

Well here is gift idea #2: The Tape Express .

For a certain generation, cassette tapes have a special place close to the heart. The thrill of recording the Top 40 every Sunday evening and the ensuing frustration at being unable to edit out the DJ speaking over the end of each song will be familiar to a great many people. You know who you are, dancing round the bedroom with a tennis racquet guitar under your arm, unable to forget that humble 90-minute format. The way we consume our music has marched firmly into a digital future, but spare a thought for all those lonely tapes, collecting dust under the bed (along with your original Walkman), by completely reviving them with the ingenious Tape Express. Using the included EZ Tape Converter software, you can plug the Tape Express into your computer (via USB cable), play the songs you love and have them converted instantly into MP3 files. Those MP3 files can then be taken anywhere you'd take your other MP3s - into your iTunes library, your iPod or MP3 Player, burned onto CD and generally taken across all the usual digital platforms for your own personal use, and you can power it either by USB or our old friend the AA battery. How versatile is that? Looking not unlike an old personal tape player (presumably because it is a personal tape player), but with a somewhat more contemporary design, it's sleek and small enough to be taken anywhere you go, and functions just like your old Walkman - in case you're craving the feel of tape over MP3. You can even use the audio output to connect the Tape Express to your hi-fi or any external amp.

Text courtesy of IWantOneOfThose.Com.

And here, is an ingenious 80min mix courtesy of the kind folks at NewWork & 2tall, DJ Clockwork & Kper:

DJ’s 2tall, Clockwork and Kper spent about a year making this 80 minute mix of over 200 tracks. Expect 10 years worth of beats, beats and beats, from hip hop into electronica, glitch, dubstep, etc. Why? “.. to highlight the lineage of hip-hop production and beat making from the turn of the millennium to the present day.”

Text courtesy of NewWork.

Tapes Rule!

Kristian