Keeping up with paper.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Governments are increasingly ramping up their efforts in reducing CO2 emissions and toxic waste and in the process slowly decrease our impact on nature and the ever so sensitive ozone layer. Recycling has throughout the recent 20 years been the simplest way of showing kind-heartedness towards earth and employing green living by granting every possible piece of material a second life through the process of recycling.

Paper is a pest. I reckon that 70% of the paper that makes it into our hands is insignificant waste such as receipt for a £1.35 bottle of water, monthly bank statements or dismal 5% store voucher handed out on the high street. It’s all rubbish -- literarily. The internet have partially reduced the number of visits we have to pay our local recycling station to get rid ourselves of papers waste that is good for nothing except ferociously fuelling fire if anything was to go wrong in the home. Store catalogues are losing their essence of existence as websites listing the full updated assortment are now a norm in the world of retailing and Google having unofficially emerged as the new yellow pages for search of products, locations and companies. The Jetsons’ prophecy is becoming true, we are moving to a paper-less society and subsequently sparing more trees from getting cut down. Now we just have to wait for the civil aviation association to grant everyone permission to fly alien saucers.

Amazon’s E-Book reader, Kindle, is very close to what the 1970s sci-fi community dreamt of – a thin piece of plastic pulling reading materials from a central data base. E-book readers are as revolutionary as MP3 players which exploded on to the market in 2002-2003. Currently only available in the United States, the Kindle has internet connectivity that allows the user to purchase thousands of books and newspapers from Amazon.com. In the real world it means this means morning papers are downloaded directly to your device regardless of where you are in the country and that travelling with 2-3 novels will be less than paper weight as the Kindle can accommodate hundreds of books. Once Amazon’s success with their E-Book reader has been recognised by other consumer electronics manufacturers, E-Book readers will be in everyone’s bags along with a laptop and a smart phone -- this against the backdrop of the war between print and online media. Carrying confidential document is no longer nervous duty thanks to memory sticks with finger print readers and encryption that makes it impossible for anyone to access secret PDF files – and in the process make suitcases with locks less dependable for protection of back-dated shares or secret voice recordings.
Online media has played a central role in the reporting of the civil unrest triggered by the controversial results of the Iranian presidential election. With the international media suspended from reporting, protesters opposing the results became reporters themselves through the means of uploading photographs and videos on twitter and blogs. Democracy has finally reached its true potential curtsey of the augmentation of freedom of speech by the web 2.0 where everyone’s voice has a platform to be expressed. The speed and instantaneousness of the web makes traditional newspapers obsolete and shed light on the reality that newspapers are old the second they have been printed and even more so when purchased 09:00am in the morning. On the web we can follow a news story as it breaks and even enjoy updates by the minute. Is print media then on the high-road to extinction or is the death proclamation a statement without ground.
Looking beyond physical vs. nonphysical aspects of media there is today a certain definitive difference that favours the existence of print media. It doesn’t take much more than typing a word into the search bar on Google to get a glimpse of how oversaturated the internet is. Every word or name Googled is stringed to abundance of millions of hits of which only a few of them leading to websites baring the sough after information. Only 1 in 50 websites can rival the intellect, depth and enlightenment of a glossy magazine that can keep you crawled up and barefooted in a sofa for hours puzzled over the brilliance of the reading material scanned by your eyes. The internet culture is obsessed with speed and volume, and disregard literature substance and beautiful imagery that entice readers into willingly paying for media. Just a handful of websites have had a success at charging customers for content online. And the websites mastering the art of getting online subscribers are surprisingly those with a printed counterpart such as The Wall Street journal and the Financial Times. Until online media has comes to term with the generally inferior quality of content than print media, the news and magazine-stands in corner shops will remain stocked up. Let’s not forget tangibility. We love to collect things and surround ourselves with them and create a sphere of comfort and security. As much I wish to own Kindle or try one out for a few weeks to read my books on, I would miss the texture of rough paper between my thumb and index finger when I flip a page or the colourful front covers that give books a personality.
The same lack of human touch is a negative attribute that comes with a Blackberry which when replaced with a new model, all previous calendar entries are left behind – unlike with a traditional mole skin covered calendar which is a joy to flick trough years after it’s out of date and mesmerize over the historical of your footprint – your very own handwriting. The ease of pulling a pen and piece of paper out of your hand and scribbling down a few sentences in the matter of seconds is embarrassingly less time consuming and complex than waiting for a laptop to boot up or trying to type on a fiddly touch screen based phone. Needless to say, it wouldn’t be advisable for anyone to buy a pocket calendar if there is not legitimate need for one. Dedicated stationary stores stock a dizzying number of different calendars and organisers. Creatively free people might prefer a manuscript note pad with no lines, page numbers of parameters what so over. Then there are jotter pads for short worded individuals who keep most of thoughts in their heads and only put a few crucial bits of information to paper. It’s quite a personal affiar because stationeries are tools for managing time and thoughts. What notepad size or number of pens you chose to house in your bag is dependent on the needs of your social and professional life. Best of all, stationary keeps your hand writing skills so that your ability to write neatly don’t degrade and dies before print media dies.

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New-age Britian - Jaguar XJ.

Sunday, 19 July 2009


After endless of increasingly dismissive teaser videos and photos, Jaguar finally took the wraps of their latest cat, the new XJ. Taken place at the underappreciated Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea last week, Jay Leno unveiled the car along with Ellen Mcpherson who stole some lime light with gorgeous legs in a seductive shade of bronze. Moving on to the more important topic of the car, Jaguar taken a giant leap from the pact of other British car manufacturers by going down the path of voluptuous and muscular shapes, as opposed to sticking to the more upright wedge shape Jaguar africandos are used to. Like the slogan states, “The Icon re-imaginated”, Jaguar are reinventing themselves – this under the leadership of Ian Calum, head of design

This year the UK manufacturing industry will face the lowest electricity bills in decades – but all for wrong reasons. Machines in factories across the country are in standby mode, lights have been turned off and staff on a 4 day work week all because customer orders are not coming in fast enough. The unfortunate businesses which have swirled deep into the financial world of red numbers and failed to secure fiscal relief from the government, have had to file for bankruptcy. Even highly successful business that flourished in the highs of the credit bubble, haven’t managed to escape wrath of the deepening recession. If both viable and non-viable business are failing then what is the key to survival?

A common denominator shared by the crème of British luxury companies is their long history. Many have been in business since cavemen first discovered that wood can float on water. Having been operating for 50-300 years companies such as Purdey, Bentley, Harrods and Jaguar are have earned their stripes for surviving through recessions, great depressions and world wars. Against all odds, these companies have retained their business formula, image and appeal, with little or few changes made to business model. Either their management have been on the lazy side on running a business or they got the alchemy for success right from the start. Tradition and heritage has been close to the hearts and has been one of the key ingredients to success including worldwide recognition. When financial constraints are narrow, consumers see value and security in buying their favourite long term tradition brands. It’s back to basics. Caramel flavoured popcorn recommended by a spouse is ignored in favour of tradition salt pop corn while spam and nonsense product face neglect. Life is stripped to its essence and we get a clear picture of the products that define and matter most to us.

One of the biggest benefit in buying a product from a family owned business is that they are less prone to change in product offerings. How many times haven’t you managed to lose or involuntarily damaged personal belonging only to feel gutted knowing that it’s irreplaceable because it’s no longer in production? Only a few luxury companies offer an identical product over a several years long period – the only exception being fragrance companies. However, a great majority of leading luxury British craft companies repetitively supply the same or near identical versions of a product for years. But standing by tradition doesn’t come without risks. Iconic, small niche companies such as Bentley, Purdey and even watch manufacturer are under financial umbilical support from foreign conglomerates or investment firms which have rescued these venerable companies from bankruptcy.

Contrary to the association with high quality and exemplary craftsmanship, Jaguars and British cars have over decades gained an unfavourable reputation for poor reliability and quality of build. Japanese and German auto makers have on the other hand, been at the forefront of industry leading technology. Despite the hearsay about engine breakdowns, gearbox failures and oil leaks, luxury consumers have not been deterred from dreams of speeding in a drop-top racing green E-Type on the Isle of Man. Rationale and Jaguars have never stood side by side. Jaguars have never been bought on the basis of acceleration numbers, torque or built-in seat vibrators. Likewise with Aston Martins, Bentley’s and Rolls-Royces, a Jaguar is an extension of your style and perception of yourself – it’s something you wear and passionately get attached to. That is why no effort or attention to detail have been spared for the development of the new XJ which is a highly sculptured car. Emphasized by the flush relationship between the roof, rear windshield and boot lid which together form a smooth-lined rear-end that resembles the tail of a high speed train, deep thoughts are behind this undoubtedly revolutionary design.

On the opposite end of the car is a recognisable nose design with an empowering grill and sinister head lights easily recognisable as Jaguar traits. Very little else on the car is shared with the outgoing XJ model, as Ian Calum is leading Jaguar away from its past-oriented philosophy to a more new-age identity – Sort of like a change from Gordon Brown to David Cameron. The new direction has the potential to attract a clientele of new customers formerly uninterested in Jaguars, while traditionalist sober over the glamorous interior lit by new age blue-coloured light also deflected by the abundance of glossy surface finishes in the cabin. The highlight of the science fiction theme is the convoluted all digital dashboard. It is a TFT screen displaying visually captivating interface which resembles something one would expect to see in the Starship Enterprise. Unchartered territory has not been entered as the dual aerospace-influenced vents above the center console are nowadays a common decoration in even low-end cars, leaving the Jag cockpit echoing a generic design flaw.

However, the same cannot be said about the magnificent wood work that wraps around the interior in a style only seen in an auditorium like the Royal Prince Albert Hall or on small luxury yacht – a highly inventive design touch that could only have been conceived by a marvellous designer like Ian Calum, BMW’s former Chris Bangle and the Aston Martin DB9 and Vantage designer Henrik Frisker.

The XJ is a defining car of Jaguar’s efforts to turn the page and start a new chapter having been acquired by Indian Tata Motors from Ford’s poor and financially devastating parenting effort. Reviews and opinions on Jaguar’s mid-sized sedan, the XF, have nothing but short of praise and amazement for Jag that is surprisingly both seductively good looking and also offer a competitive driving experience that’s on a par with its German’s rival. Whether or not the new XJ’s shockingly radical appearance is the high road to success will be determined at the end of its life span, 6-7 years from now. It will either be visually outdated or have beautified over the years like its much admired predecessors or a walnut chest drawer.

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Everything has a begining and an end.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

I’m forever grateful for your patience in taking your time in visiting the blog despite the abnormally infrequent posting. And it pains me much knowing about the disappointment and frustration that arise from not being greeted with new reading material every time you access I Luw Fashion.

During the first 6 months of 2009 I endured the busiest period of my life. There have been adventures, rewards, challenges and epiphanies. It has come to my discovery that time is a scares and very precious resource with no substitute. Today I wake up wishing there were twenty five and half hours in one day instead of just 24. Previously I have divulged you of my primary occupation which is undergraduate marketing student. In May I successfully completed my second year and good lord has it been intense. In addition to the challenges at the classroom bench, my polygamist approaches to life lead me to take a giant leap into the world of music. Fascinated by production and having grumbled on it for a few months, I headed out against gusty winds in late January and bought a keyboard. My childish logic was that if I can press buttons on my piano, playing keys on a piano cannot be any different. The hypothesis was indeed right, playing the piano is child’s play. Composing the soundtrack for the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie together with Hans Zimmer, is not one of my long term goals but I to purposefully want to make use of my newly acquired skills in the future.
Having read theoretical material and watched instructional videos in the vicinity of my home, I have in 7 months managed to go from finger fatigue and mental frustration, to smiles and harmonising syncing keys with one another, creating what we refer to as music. The path to learning how to play the piano has not been without turbulence. From April-May, my keyboard as well as the blog had to take a backseat in my life as the academic career of mine needed increasingly needed more attention. Contrary to the knowledge of the public, blogging can be very time consuming. From researching and photo editing to writing and publishing, one post can take 6-12 hours to complete depending on the degree of depth and quality of the post. I love media production and enjoy every minute I spend conceiving a post but time has lately not been on my side. Currently I’m enjoying the summer break and spend most of my time working a full time job that leaves me with little time and energy for blogging. On the positive side I have devoted a great deal of time and energy to a vision or more precisely an enterprise I’m trying to bring to life, namely, the successor of I Luw Fashion. Wanting to pursue media production as an occupation I’m striving for progression and aim to endeavour a greater challenge with more resources than this very blog. A compelling and inventive concept has been drafted and even though we are currently in a recession, the prospects are good. This blog is destined to remain active in the foreseeable future but will eventually have to parish or fade away as it reincarnates into another form. Alternatively I have to settle for doing editorial work for someone else.
In the mean time, stay putt. I’ll work my hardest to dampen my summer crush for playing the piano which has been one daily nocturnal activity of mine during the recent weeks. Maybe I’m taking an unconscious break from writing as I’m trying to get over a two and a half year’s blogging hangover of posting 2-3 times every single week? What I can assure you is that media production is my future and that the spirit has not darkening.

Thank you very much.

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SpringSummer 2010: Lavin men's.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Lanvin, Milan, 2009, Spring Summer 2010, runway, designer, gallery, mens style, men's style
Alber Elbaz is in a time bubble of runway fashion extraordinaire. As a designer, his benevolence reaches new heights with each years. It seems as though he cannot fail judging by the recent 4-5 Lanvin collection that graces the catwalk during Paris fashion week – they have all been expressions of high fashion in its purest and most compelling form.

Unlike many prestigious design houses like Louis Vuitton, Giorgio Armani and Prada, Lanvin has little mainstream appeal. The average consumer on the street enjoys status and has a healthy appetite for clothes easily recognised by others. Symbolism is therefore an apparent and important appeal of designer clothes. Well renowned monograms and logos are powerful in triggering spending happiness in consumers who would otherwise not considered parting ways with a few hundred sterling pounds for a Gucci monogram weekend bag if it didn’t have a double G monogram across the canvas. Lanvin stores are houses of no recognisable symbols or labels that would imprint themselves into the heads of consumers wishing for signs that over and over remind them of what designer label they are getting involved with. Discretion is a paramount element of Lanvin’s identity and this is further enforced by the location of Lanvin boutiques. Away from vicinity of comparable brands lined up on famous shopping boulevard destinations like Champ Elysee, Rhodeo Drive, Bond Street and Madison Avenue, London´s Lanvin boutique is cloaked in a residential Mayfair district on Mount street which is incoincidentally where Marc Jacobs set up his London Store, next to a restaurant where Michelle Obama unexpectedly stopped by for meal last month.

New Yorkers similarly face an adventurous quest in finding Marc Jacobs store in London positioned down town in West Village where tourists and non-faithful MJ fans would not bother to explore or find by simply paying a visit to the MJ website. On the other side of the double edged sword MJ has specialty stores selling accessories and memorabilia at prices that would lead to a powerful surge in sales if the whereabouts of the locations got out to the wider population – a valiant concept that would get no support by most premium corporations. Ideally, top designers want to pursue Lanvin’s on-way-street of limited availability and high exclusivity and luxury.


And sure is the Spring Summer 2010 collection luxurious. Soft and silky materials ensure a comforting and tender summer fit. The emphasis on the waistline evokes timorous for those who are embracement over their physical state, but spring 2010 is 8 months away leaving ample time to shave body mass down to a 30-31 size in waist line. Universally accepted designs are regimental ties and double breasted blazers in shiny blue, red and white stripes, which are more masculine than the proposed Marie Antoinette waistlines.

Due to the low presence of logos, eyes are left to focus their attention on the clothes – rather than blindly falling in love with logo embroided using a silk thread. The source of Elbaz’s well deserved respect and admiration is his casual non-pompous approach to designing clothes for men. All his runway presentations have a colourful character with an inviting appeal. Lacking in intimidation to ones financial self-confidence, he’s a non-stereotypical designer with a marvellous vision for what can be described as one of the top three most assuring labels for men. This raises question surrounding the purpose of the fake moustache. Not that it’s taints the splendour of the collection but it is a draft and distracting element which the collection could have done without. Warmly welcomed is the return of the visors which are not only come in alluringly handsome prints but also appearing to be hand-tied. A clever solution compared with a elastic band that has the potential or ruining your hair when putting on and taking off the visor. Much else of what’s seen eke of ease and the collection is bridled with loose fitting pieces made out of soft materials that flow masterfully with wind.


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