October 10, 2019
October 10, 2019


It’s a Vandal!

As companies continue to try to walk the electrically charged high-wire that is the China/Hong Kong situation, there are bound to be some tragic falls. One of them is a by a brand we all consider pretty hip to the room. Vans. It seems the brand’s annual open design competition, which invites artists globally to create unique designs using the brand’s kicks as their canvas, opened the door to scandal. A pair created by Canada-based designer Naomiso, featuring elements referencing the Hong Kong protests, was the most popular design in the competition, receiving more than 140,000 upvotes. The entry gained the support of social media users who back the Hong Kong protest movement, and who asked their followers to vote for the design to show support for the protests. With the potential repercussions of mainland China weighing heavily on their mind, Vans next chose to remove a “small number” of submissions in a sneaker design competition stating: “As a brand that is open to everyone, we have never taken a political position and therefore review designs to ensure they are in line with our company’s long-held values of respect and tolerance.” The result? A massive boycott of the Vans brands has rapidly escalated, with many in the world of street culture and fashion sharing their dismay that the brand known for freedom and boundary pushing has taken such a stance. Street wear sellers have cleared Vans from their shelves, and Vans owners are dumping sneakers in protest. Vans may have unwittingly provided the world with a physical action to express support and anger over the current Hong Kong situation. Stay tuned for yet another wall show down…


Jokes on Who?

Do you laugh at time? Find mirth in its relentless march?? Well here is a watch for you, and its one that may just strike terror into your heart (and pocketbook!) and it’s not just because you are late! Swiss watch manufacturer RJ has unveiled a limited-edition time piece in its RJ X BATMAN VILLAINS collection, this time featuring the currently popular and always fearsome foe, The Joker. The brand is issuing only 100 of the licensed time keep, ensuring high demand. The piece showcases the super-villain’s aesthetic through its purple and green alligator skin straps, a face airbrushed to mimic the Joker’s makeup and a bezel lasered with a Joker-influenced pattern. Flamboyantly priced at $15,700 USD, this is a piece sure to be snapped up by those with a wicked sense of humor, or with a high hourly fee!


The Last Laugh
The inevitable social activity du jour seems to be the act and art of replacing Joaquin Phoenix’s insta-classic Joker laugh with the famous giggling sounds of other well-known humoristas is under way. Laughs from Ricky Gervais, Nicki Minaj, Bill Hader, Samuel L. Jackson, Eddie Murphy, and more have also been utilized in this ongoing meme-ing. We predict this one will be added to the pantheon of fab movie moments that simply communicate everything.


The Retail Riddle
Two approaches – which would you chose? As retailers continue to struggle with a consumer happier to scroll than to stroll, some are betting on design – both over the top, and under the radar to attract shoppers. First up, a sumptuously serene and almost barren concrete space has been created to showcase the most visible of all products – beauty items. The store, located in Hong Kong, has been designed by renowned design firm AIM Architecture, to resemble a traditional apothecary. Taking cues from traditional chemists – where medicines were stored in apothecary cabinets made up of small drawers – the store is designed to be a space for exploring and discovering. The design group, who previously designed the brand’s first bricks and mortar store in Shanghai, said it wanted the store to offer a tangible experience to customers who would ordinarily only experience the brand digitally. “With this newly opened Hong Kong location, we explored this online/offline duality of the brand even further,” explained the Chinese firm. “In this era of moments, stories and sales, culturally, we are at an intersection. Consumers want convenience but crave experience. Online shopping will never lose its allure, but there’s a real challenge for brands to experiment with the dynamics of modern consumption.” Will a whisper work? Only time will tell. On another continent, a large retail consortium has decided to shout to get its shopper’s attention. Think maybe a skate half pipe suspended in the air over the shopping floors. The age-old French department store, Bon Marche, has hired a specialty designer to create something “impactful “ around their Los Angeles Rive Gauche exhibition in Paris, where a curated selection of LA fashion, beauty, and lifestyle products reflecting the 70s were being displayed. Chicago architecture practice MANA and skateboarder Scott Oster chose to create a skate ramp encased within a reflective silver cube in the atrium. (as one does…) Having grown up in that era and skated professionally, Oster wanted to create something unique and sculptural – or, as he describes, “a piece of art that happened to be skateable”. Inspired by the massive concrete full-pipes he saw as a kid in skateboard magazines, Oster designed a unique full-pipe set within a cube and wrapped with mirrors. Skating events are hosted their several times a week, attracting gawkers – now let’s see if they in turn become shoppers.


Karma Chameleon

Tired of your car color? Worried about the hue of those pants – no worries – now, changing the color of the things you love is simple. Really. A team at MIT has created reprogrammable ink to make objects change color at the user’s discretion. Think cars, shoes, clothes, furniture – anything that uses showcases color. Dubbed PhotoChromeleon, this special fluid gives objects the ability to change color and pattern when exposed to certain wavelengths of light. AND – the change is reversible and repeatable, with users being able to update their items ever day! (Hello influencers!!) The MIT team see this not as a means to stoke our own fickle hearts, but rather as a way of boosting sustainability. “By giving users the autonomy to individualize their items, countless resources could be preserved, and the opportunities to creatively change your favorite possessions are boundless,” added MIT professor Stefanie Mueller.


Overwhelm as an Art Form

Sara Sze’s current exhibition in New York, Crescent Timekeeper, is possibly the exact replica of most of our brains right now. Projections and installations feature a torrent of images and items that flicker and fly across our periphery – illuminating the din of objects, ideas, voices and questions that are hurled at us every minute of the day. The visual effect is gleaming, obscuring, ephemeral, occasionally beautiful, and always kinetic – perhaps one of the best ramp-ups to a reconsideration of all that we ingest through our eyes, ears and lifestyles.


Check Out THIS Check In!!

Anyone out there remember the lush color overkill of Lisa Frank? Well there is NEWS! A Lisa Frank pop-up hotel room is coming to Los Angeles this Fall, open for booking on Hotels.com. Reservations start on 10/11 and it all turns into a pile of glitter on 10/27. Picture the technicolor overkill of purple, green and yellow neon that makes up the dolphin-themed bathroom, and a kitchen with countertops piled high with Cheez Balls, Fun Dip, Rain-Blow gumballs, Pixy Stix, and other vintage-style treats. The bedroom has a light-up canopy bed with a neon unicorn light fixture, while the main area has rainbow stained glass installation. And, of course, there is enough stationery throughout the flat to supply the entire next generation of Lisa Frank devotees. The room will also be stocked with pajamas, slippers, gel pens, snacks, and all the Lisa Frank memorabilia you can fit in your carry-on. Break out the Trapper Keepers – and sign us up!

Just For Fun

Embroidered Emojis?? Who Knew?

Yup, everything old is new again! As textured and hand-worked art pieces and installations sweep the art world, we are pleasantly surprised and pleased to learn that it was this same old school handiwork that gave birth to the emojis we use every day. In the early 1980s Susan Kare joined Apple Computer to design fonts and user interface graphics. A legend of pixel art, Kare created the look of the original Macintosh, from the Chicago typeface to the Trash Can to the Happy Mac icon. Taught by her mother how to do counted-thread embroidery, which gave her the basic knowledge she needed to create the first icons for the Apple Macintosh 35 years ago. “It just so happened that I had small black and white grids to work with,” she says. “The process reminded me of working needlepoint, knitting patterns or mosaics. I was lucky to have had a mother who enjoyed crafts…” Thanks Mom!!



Endlessly breathtaking pieces of artwork are served up on the daily to remind us that there is beauty in the world, and people committed to making it…sigh…. Now isn’t that better?

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Subscribe To Our Weekly Trend Report & Culture Insight!

Join our list to receive a weekly dish of inspiration!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Subscribe To Our Weekly Trend Report & Culture Insight!

Join our list to receive a weekly dish of inspiration!

You have Successfully Subscribed!