The future of air travel is different. No more little porthole windows, uncomfortable seats, and shitty peanuts. No, the future of air travel has panoramic views, lush couches, and champagne. Ok, maybe not the champagne. But customers of the jet business are looking towards creating more comfortable experiences, opulent ones augmented by innovative interior work. While us plebs might not be seeing this anytime soon, it just goes to show that design will change the way we live and work. Some photos below, courtesy of Dezeen.
Your weekly dose of fashion inspiration, thanks to creatives Thando & Mello from Johannesburg.
One of my goals for 2014 is to champion more creative work. So I’m lucky to kickoff my first post here at Holiday Matinee with a conversation I shared recently with fashion start-up founder Alastair Rae, of artisan clothing shop Albam Clothing. And trust me: when it comes to menswear, you’ll be hard-pressed to find clothes as simple and stylish as Alastair’s. It’s plain, yet elegant.
Alastair started Albam with his buddy James, in hopes that they could design clothes less about trends and more about what customers want. They had no background in design, but they had a vision and the determination needed to make it happen. It was crazy, but it worked. Walking around the shop, you can often notice a few of the people have last season’s coats on. No wonder they were recently featured in GQ.
And that’s what they’re aiming for. You can pull any of Albam’s items out and it won’t look “last season”. Menswear for them isn’t about the extra frills – that highly stylised pocket or that military lapel hanging off your shoulder – it’s about quality. Fitted wear made to last.
Sitting down for a casual coffee near his Beak Street shop, here’s what Alastair had to say about their work, and what’s up in his world for 2014…
How do you describe Albam Clothing?
Classic styles brought up-to-date, stripped back to the point of only what’s necessary - i.e. attention to details while using great quality, interesting fabrics and yarns.
The premise is that we give the customer only what’s needed. We avoid the things that are unnecessary, like external design features that don’t actually serve a purpose.
What inspires you?
I guess, at the moment, we’re starting the designs for the new season. So what I find most inspiring is that you’re spending time in the shop over Christmas and seeing how excited customers get about what we’re doing and how that product works and what it means to them.
And now, we take that as an opportunity, we see how we can take something and look at what we can do for the future. So it’s the challenge and inspiration of 2014 I guess, but really it’s just what we do. It’s to not create a brand new style, it’s to keep the product relevant, keep people excited, and make sure they’re involved in the creative process.
For example, it’s inspiring when we see the customers in the shop wearing our clothes. It starts the whole creative process over again, rather than us sitting in isolation, saying “Here’s the product” then passing it off to go and sell [to salespeople]. We all have an impact on it, we all work on it.
So what’s inspiring is that sort of a symbiotic relationship with the customer. Democratic is the wrong word. It’s just that everyone’s worked on an idea together.
What’s keeping you busy?
Constantly learning, constantly trying to develop. Not getting stuck in the here and now.
The end of 2013 for us was all about the customer. Meeting the customer, getting in and working at the store and trying to show people what we do. For us, it was really this idea of trying to under-promise and over-deliver in both quality and style. Infusing that sense of customer into the business and making sure it happens.
Tell us two things you’re excited about right now
1. The focus internally is currently on shaping next autumn’s range and I’m looking forward to seeing how the designs develop from the sketching stage (where we currently are) to the sampling through to delivery later in the year. It seems like a long way off, but it’ll be here before we know it.
2. Secondly, for one reason or another, I am travelling to both Japan (somewhere I’ve never been) and to the east coast of the States (somewhere I’ve been a few times) in Spring, so on a personal note, I’m looking forward to being inspired by these highly differing places! Who knows what I’ll learn and bring back.
If you dig Albam’s style and want to learn more, peep this video of their store in Shoreditch featured on Monocole. If you’re convinced and want to buy some kit, head to their website. Delivery runs internationally.
Love this little project that weaves childhood imagination with adult creativity. Apparently, the story goes that one day Henry (the kid) posed and then asked the nanny to do something similar (so he could take a photo of her). The whole thing turned into a big concept piece they work on together, aptly titled “Henry’s Concepts”.
Wish I had a nanny this cool when I was a kid. Few photos below, full list on the photographer’s blog.
Hat tip to Jason Kottke for the find.
I’m walking along when I hear the rattle of a sewing machine. It’s light and faint, but you can still hear it distinctly emanating walking down the side street. Like a relic from the past.
The source of this delicate clatter is five8ths, a handmade design shop sitting in Maboneng District. It’s a cute little place, the sort of quaint business you might have found back in the 50′s, turning out old school ties and bespoke dress wear.
The designer, who I’d quickly find out was a friendly American re-established in Johannesburg, is named Liz. She has a clear passion for clothing and fashion, and a keen eye for style. Her work is exquisite – the detail put into the material is absolutely refreshing. It’s not often you see someone take the time to weave together unique products like full-length shirts. She sweats the small stuff.
I have a soft spot for bow ties, and since today is Small Business Saturday, I figured I just had to stop and chat with her. So, without further ado, a snippet of my conversation with Elizabeth Kading, clothing designer.
What inspires you?
I love routines—a big part of my “inspiration” comes from my own daily practice of work. Working in my shop making clothes is, for me, a discipline. Through daily repetition, the process and my skills become refined, and new ideas emerge. The repetition of physical and mental tasks in my work gives me a sense of peace, which is what I need in order to create.
What’s keeping you busy lately?
I have been making a lot of bespoke patterns over the past few weeks. First, I take body measurements, which I use to draft a paper pattern, which I then cut and sew out of muslin. Then the customer comes for a fitting and we tweak the muslin until it fits just perfectly. Once the pattern is finalized, then I make the finished shirt.
My background is in fine art, so I think of each shirt as a sculpture, which fits perfectly around a figure, and moves comfortably and beautifully with the person. I take fit seriously, because my aim with five8ths is to encourage buying fewer, nicer clothes that fit better and that are worn more often.
Tell us two things you’re excited about right now.
1. I recently opened a combined workshop/retail space in Johannesburg. It is set up with my tables and tools, and there are two racks displaying current designs. I spend the days drafting, cutting, sewing, and when shoppers pop in, I tell them the story of five8ths.
Having a place where people can see what goes into five8ths clothing, and where I can talk to them about what I do, and why, has completely transformed my business. I used to work out of my home and sold online and at fairs a few times a year. I wrote a lot about what I was doing, and talked to people at fairs, but it makes a huge difference when people can see the paper patterns hanging from the ceiling, the rolls of fabric under my cutting table, my sewing machine and other tools in the shop. It’s a more comfortable space to try things on and be measured for a custom fit. When people look around my shop and see what I’m doing, it clicks that this is a handcrafted item. You can see the change in the customer’s face when he/she realizes that my shop is different than a shop with factory-made clothing. Another thing I really enjoy is having neighbors. My shop is located in the courtyard of Maverick Corner in Maboneng, so I can just take a few steps out my door for a snack or a chat.
2. You wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to find the perfect crisp, white fabric. I buy the most beautiful Italian cottons and linens, but they all have a pattern on them. And everyone needs a crisp white shirt, so I’ve been searching for a plain-weave white for years (I have high standards…). It was like a treasure hunt—one place leading me to the next…but I’ve recently found a luxurious white Egyptian cotton, milled in Italy. It’s gorgeous and simple, and it sews like butter.
You. You’re a thief and you don’t even know it.
Or at least that’s what Lukas Renlund wants you to think. Lukas is an artist and photographer from Finland who’s been globetrotting around the world asking people to steal his fashion forward and surreal work. But it all comes with a twist. Check out the concept video to see what I mean.
If you dig this, you can check out some of Lukas’ work via his portfolio. Don’t forget to like his fan page on Facebook to follow future project updates – I hear there’s a new video coming out, shot in London…
Loving these minimalist Harry Potter posters by Jeca Martinez, a multimedia artist and obvious Harry Potter fan from the Philippines. The overwhelming single colour background contrasted against the chosen icon reveals the crux of each book, exposing the important through the simple. On top of that, it’s interactive. If only these had been around on the book covers themselves. Now that would be magic.