DESIGN - Max Reyner my good friend and Head of Insight at Prote.in talked to Oki Sato, founder of legendary Japanese design studio Nendo. Sato has consistently designed objects that are simply beautiful, in a world where we adorn and badge objects to give them status, Sato simplifies and adds meaning. A skill that only a handful of designers have.
Here’s how it works:
: They are looking to promote stories and ideas and as opposed to businesses and will reserve a few spots for non-profits, but request that they keep the aforementioned in mind.
: They are able to accommodate roughly 25 characters a line [including spaces] for a total of 125 or less characters on the 5 lines of the billboard.
: They will change the text every Sunday or the next day if the weather is bad [since it does involve two people up on a billboard for four hours]
: For people that want to rent for a month it’s $400, plus $50.00 for any weekly changes beyond the original post with the maximum cost being $550 for the month.
: All text for the billboard must be approved by the Waffle Shop as well as Eve Picker from We Do Property and Skip Schwab from East Liberty Development [they haven’t said no yet].
: Email them if you are interested at email@example.com[a]fiend
Where did the inspiration for Marwood come from?
Inspiration came from a friend venting his frustration at not being able to find a certain tie. It got me thinking that I see so many bad, cheap looking ties... too shiny, too puffy, too brash. After that conversation I kept coming across really lovely vintage patterns in a slimmer width with a matt finish and interesting patterns and colour combinations and started to collect them. I had wanted to work on my own project of some sort and this evolved from there.
How did you turn Marwood from an idea into a brand?
I started Marwood by creating a blog. It was a simple way to start putting something down on paper, but in a more official and considered manner. It has been an effective and disciplined way to record research and make me think about what Marwood could be if there were no boundaries. The branding had been integral to Marwood from the start and I worked closely with graphic designer Sarah Carr (who designed all of the branding) to create a clean, non fussy, strong framework for the product.
Why did you decide to make neckties?
Neckties became a vehicle to explore all the elements of design that interest me - acute attention to detail, pattern, colour and proportion. It also needs experienced craftsmanship to be made properly and so allowed me to work closely with skilled manufacturers in the UK and learn their process.
If you could pick anyone to wear a necktie who would it be and why?
Patti Smith will do nicely. Or Jack Kerouac in his day would have been the perfect man for the job. As muses they have the right sensibility and attitude to design for - independent and individual to the core.
What are your plans for next season and beyond?
Next season is currently in the development stages. We are still going to be working with English lace and the silk mill that we have started with... But we are moving it forward. We also want to add complimentary products to the range but it will be gradual. Ideally it will evolve steadily so that each product can have the type of attention that the necktie is having.
How important is local manufacturing to Marwood?
Local manufacturing is really important to us. To have constant and accessible contact with your manufacturer ensures a considered, quality product. Also it feels right to use the genuine skill and experience of a historically English product rather than imitating it for a cheaper price point. I think it is about finding the best people to do the job and if that's on home turf then that will always be the first stop.
What is the perfect accompaniment for a Marwood necktie?
A sharp looking tie bar. Some of this seasons silk and wool patterns would look great with a grey chambray shirt or tattersall - anything textured. I would love to see the lace mesh bowties used as a new take on the dinner suit [black/white tie] as well.
What keeps you busy when you're not at the helm of Marwood?
Outside of Marwood I still freelance. Aside from work I am trying to make time to train for a half marathon in May - however this feels ambitious at the moment!
What have you learnt that you would have liked to have known when you set out with Marwood?
A crash course in business/sales/press would have been great. Saying that, I am not sure I would have embarked on it if I had known the extent of the jobs needed to get a product out there. It feels good to have learned so much already.
Do you think that making in the UK is viable for small businesses?
I think it is viable but in my experience it produces an expensive product... So it is for a high end product using quality cloth.
What challenges do you envisage for Marwood?
Challenges are definitely price points. Ensuring that we don't out price ourselves and stay honest to our customers. They will want to know that, if they are paying a lot of money, they are getting an individual product that will last.
Do you have plans to sell online?
We are currently offering a personal order service online and this will eventually lead to an online shop. Marwood has moved so quickly since launching in January, so we are going to watch and learn this year to time any big ventures properly.
Marwood will be stocked at bStore from April for an exclusive Spring/Summer 2011 collection for them. The Autumn/Winter 2011 range will also be available in bStore and Edifice [Japan] from the end of May/June.
If the the Marwood blog is not in your bookmarks we highly recommend it as a source of sartorial splendor: marwooduk.blogspot.com
Marwood photography by Emilie Bailey
Pick of the articles for us was Helen Babbs piece on the November 'draw-off' of the Thames at Richmond. In many ways this article is what the magazine is about - telling you about something you were not aware of and making you want to go and see it for yourself. The first issue also comes with a map of fruit trees in Hackney - again, prodding you to head outside and explore.
The design of the magazine is also a vital part of its appeal [as you can see from the pictures.] Tina Smith, the art director of Lost in London and Lucy Scott see the title as a backlash to the ubiquitous free-zines that are increasingly common in London.
'We had seen a few independent mags launch with uncompromising editorial and design values and it seemed to us like a backlash was underway against the multitude of free-zines popping up everywhere - not that they're bad necessarily, but just that there's a different sort of publishing to be had on the other side. The Ride Journal in particular was an inspiration.'
With the first signs of spring well and truly upon us [you can smell it along the New River Walk in Islington, honest] we are very much looking forward to the next issue of Lost in London. We shouldn't need to say when it comes out...
DIGITAL - joes[a]fiend was invited to the breakfast launch of Dunhill's new DAY 8 iPad app [iTunes link] recently. Over a delicious/insightful breakfast at Bourdon House we took the opportunity to ask Richard Ascott [Head of digital] of Dunhill a few questions about the new digital launch and how luxury experiences translates online. Here's what he had to say...
Why the iPad?
We chose to launch DAY 8 as an iPad app because it is the best screen in the world and we wanted to pay our content justice. With the iPad you know precisely the size and resolution of the end users' device, so it can be optimised in a way never before possible.
How will the iPad content be different from the 'traditional' digital offering?
Content will be shared across both the app and the DAY 8 site. The app also has the added functionality of caching content, allowing DAY 8 to be a truly mobile experience – a lot of Dunhill customers are time poor, being able to access DAY 8 during a flight for example allows us to work around our client's timetable and lifestyle.
What is the biggest challenge for a luxury brand going online?
It’s a balancing act - heritage vs contemporary / exclusivity vs. accessibility and convenience. Ultimately the most important thing is to use technology only in a way that adds to the end user experience, not just to tick a box or because everyone else is doing it. There is an element of temptation with all of the accessible platforms and technologies out there; being a luxury should be as much as showing restraint as adopting these.
What is the biggest opportunity for a luxury brand going online?
To be able to engage. To provide a joined up world where all communication touch points lead wherever you are in the world. You are also able to know your customer like never before. A live streamed fashion show, for example, is not for everyone. If what you are doing does not improve the experience for your customer, do not do it.
Who aside from Dunhill is leading the digital landscape in terms of brands and why?
Net-a-porter: They have a joined up approach where experience, commerce and customer service are seamlessly integrated.
Nike+ : Have created an elegant solution to a problem that we didn’t know we had and have given it without asking for anything in return.
Why is the content relevant to the digital Dunhill offering?
To play in the digital world you have to be relevant and engaging to your target audience. Everything that makes it onto DAY 8 is aligned with the Dunhill brand pillars; Creativity, Intelligence, Culture, Travel & Elegance. Many pieces of content fall into more than one of these categories.
We can never let our editorial standards slip because, along with product, it’s the content that shows our customer we understand the values that they share with us.
What should luxury brands avoid when going online?
Becoming a ‘me too’ brand. Just because an online strategy works for one brand it does not mean that it will work for another – however similar the brands may be. There must be honesty when communicating online, the online customer is incredibly savvy and is only two clicks away from being able to share their opinion with the world.
What is the most experiential part of the Dunhill online offering and why?
Our aim is to create the perfect experience for Dunhill customers online. DAY 8 is showing that people want to spend time there and we see it as one of the services that adds value to our online user.
In addition we have spent a lot of time on the e-shop to create the simplest, easiest and most efficient shopping experience, BUT, this is always a work in progress. With digital if you ever think you have it completely solved or finished you might as well quit.
What is the most experiential part of the Dunhill offline offering and why?
The Homes of Alfred Dunhill - the pinnacle of male luxury. Services are at the forefront of the Homes concept, whether it be the Spa & Barber’s and Private Screening Room of Bourdon in the heart of Mayfair, or the fine wine reserve and restaurant of Prince’s Building, Hong Kong. Each Home is a totally immersive experience – a journey into the Dunhill world whilst also reflecting the city in which it stands. From the perfectly restored 1920’s neoclassical style of the Twin Villas, Shanghai to Ginza Tokyo with a façade designed by leading robot designer Mr. Tatsuya Matsu.
We view Dunhill.com & DAY 8 as the global brand Homes for Dunhill. They embody the brand and are ideals everywhere.
What is your favourite iPad app and why?
One app we love is the Guardian eyewitness, it is widely thought of as one of the best photographic experiences on the iPad. We wanted to use this as a starting point for the way we presented imagery, to see if there were any areas we can improve and add in video and copy.