Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Strongest website of 2013.

Qatar: A tiny country asserts powerful influence

My Philosophy: Dame Dash

The Internets went wild when a photo of Jay Z and Dame Dash together surfaced back in August. Reunited and it felt so good. Though the relationship between the former Roc-A-Fella partners went sour after years of rumored personal differences, Dame assures his bank account is what kept him from beefing. "Because people part ways in business doesn't mean they should be considered enemies. That's just some hype that the press sold," he tells VIBE. "Anytime I ran into Jay, it was what it was going to be. I made too much money to be mad at him." For the final installment of My Philosophy, Dame Dash also speaks on his loyalty to Cam'ron and Jim Jones and his strong belief in karma. "My thing is to make everyone around me rich, not to say be responsible for that, [but] because I'm always secure with the friends that I love are alright," Dame adds. "We used to live by that code called the Circle of Success." Watch him discuss the happiness of success and why he pays the bad press no mind above.

Monster looks to rebuild brand after loss of Beats

Monster looks to rebuild on its own after losing Beats by Dre

The audio cable company was in a coveted position as the decade began after launching what became the hottest headphones on the market, Beats by Dre. The audio devices had hip-hop/production legend Dr. Dre as a namesake and soon became synonymous with headphone chic. Celebrities like LeBron James, Diddy, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber launched their own signature Beats by Dre lines, and a host of other performers, athletes and entertainers became unofficial representatives as the most famous faces on the planet sported Beats on their ears.

But Beats Electronics ended its partnership with Monster last year. Even though Beats is still superhot, Monster CEO Noel Lee believes his San Francisco-based company has the proper pieces in place to regain its mojo.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Kanye West on Juan Epstein!!



These are selected clips from an interview with Kanye West conducted by Tomas Koolhaas in October 2013 for his film 'REM' -a documentary about his father, the architect Rem Koolhaas.
CONTEXT:In May 2012 OMA (Rem Koolhaas's architecture firm) designed a temporary pavillion for Kanye West at the Cannes film festival. The purpose of the pavilion was to screen a film purpose-made by Kanye West that was shot using seven cameras recording simultaneously from different angles. The pavilion housed seven separate screens, each one showing a separate camera angle. Despite the innovative nature of the film and the pavilion itself the entire endeavor received only a limited amount of coverage in the mainstream media. 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Ruth Glass

Ruth Glass (born Ruth Adele Lazarus, 1912–1990) was a German-born British sociologist.
Glass's work reflected her belief "that the purpose of sociological research was to influence government policy and bring about social change".
A lasting legacy is her coining of the term 'gentrification', which she created to describe the processes by which the poor were squeezed out of parts of London as upper-class ghettos were created.
Between 1935 and 1941 she was married to Henry William Durant, the statistician and pioneer in the field of public opinion polling. She married David Victor Glass, a sociologist and demographer, in 1942.

Stop making

Some hard 2 digest wisdom courtesy of: Bob Lefsetz
Thanks Nate @ tumblr
"The album is dying in front of our very eyes.
In other words, what kind of crazy fucked up world do we live in where Katy Perry’s new album “Prism” only sells 287,000 copies in its debut?
One in which everybody’s interested in the single, and no one’s got time to sit and hear your hour plus statement.
This is not emotion, this is statistics. The shelf life of news is shorter than ever. The shelf life of art… You blink and it’s done.
I’m fine with you preaching to the choir, making an album for your fans. You gotta go where you wanna go, do what you wanna do, with whomever…
But if your plan is to increase your audience, spread the word and make money, suddenly the album just isn’t working. The youngsters are streaming singles and the oldsters are staying home. How do I know? Elton’s album isn’t even in the Top Fifty and McCartney’s album barely broke 20,000 this week, and there wasn’t a better oldster hype than for these two projects. People just don’t want ‘em.
So what’s the industry to do?
Have a rethink.
In other words, hype doesn’t work.
No one had more hype than Miley Cyrus, but “Bangerz” didn’t even sell 45,000 copies this week. She can go on SNL, tweet her life away, but it’s not moving the needle. Lorde is selling as much as her without the benefit of scorched earth, proving that quality music is as good as hype, but…she’s not burning up the chart either.
We’ve turned into a nation of grazers. And the artist’s job is to constantly be at the smorgasbord. Not to deliver one big meal that is picked at and thrown away, but a constant presence in the public’s face.
Media cannot be limited to the album release date. It must be a 24/7, 365 day a year effort. Same with creativity. If your track gets traction, more power to you. If it doesn’t, go back in the studio and make more.
In other words, if you’re sitting at home bitching that you’re not making any money because the Internet stole your business you’re RIGHT! There are so many diversions that no one’s got time for mediocre anymore. They just want superior. As for piracy… If you think “Prism“‘s sales are low then you believe people are leaving AT&T Wireless because of Skype.
Yes, AT&T’s subscriber numbers are declining. Oh, they’ve got some new iPad accounts, but contract subscribers are moving on to the cheaper T-Mobile and the better Verizon. Castigate me all you want, but the statistics don’t lie.
Just like these album numbers.
If you’ve got a concept album, go ahead and record it. If you’re only interested in selling a little, be my guest. But if you want to penetrate the consciousness of a large group of people and grow the pie, an album isn’t working. Hell, it’s not even working as a revenue model!
Labels are no longer in the record business, they’re in the star business. How to maximize the revenue of an individual or band in as many media as possible, in as many ways as possible. Yes, while you were bitching about piracy your whole business model disappeared.
If music were the government it’d need a new hit. What I mean is the debt ceiling debate is history, the government needs a new hit single to stay in the public eye. But if it was run by musicians, they’d keep imploring people to read about the debt ceiling debate and the government shutdown. But the public has moved on.
You put out these albums and in almost every case, the public moves on in a matter of WEEKS! A few bought it, they heard it, and they’re satisfied, and left waiting for years until you grace them with a new release. The rest of the public is just waiting for a hit single to burble, and if it does, they’ll tap their toes and snap their fingers and ask WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU GOT?
And what you’ve got had better be just as good as the hit.
No one wants album tracks anymore. Not unless they’re every bit as satisfying as the hit.
So it’s not only classic rock acts who are no longer putting out albums, soon no one will do it. Oh, it won’t be soon, because artists think making albums is part of their DNA, going into the studio and making a ten track “statement.”
But that’s like saying typewriters have to be an office fixture. And you can’t post online unless you write in multiple paragraphs. And texting must be abandoned because it’s not in depth enough.
The goal of a musician is to be AHEAD of the audience.
Right now everybody’s behind.”

Monday, 18 November 2013

Saturdays Surf NYC’s Co-Founders Talk About the Brand

While it first started out of a passionate love for surf culture, New York-based Saturdays Surf NYC has turned into a seriously influential force. Colin Tunstall, Morgan Collett and Josh Rosen all co-founded the brand back in 2009, continuing to spearhead its numerous operations. Amongst other things, this includes running a coffee shop, designing a full range of menswear apparel, and also curating a namesake magazine with non-advertisements and rare interviews. All of this takes an unfathomable amount of work, surely, but the powerful trio has so far pulled off each progressive move with grace and casual vibes. Here HYPEBEAST got a moment to catch up with the guys in New York for a conversation on Saturdays’ creative process, beach culture in an overtly metropolitan city, why they chose to expand in Japan, and the future of the brand itself. Enjoy the interview below.

With New Launches, i-D and Dazed Embrace Digital-Age Dynamics

i-D and Dazed, two of fashion's most respected youth-focused media companies, are adopting new digital-age approaches to content, platform and monetisation.

LONDON, United Kingdom —  Today, British style bible i-D, which was acquired by global digital media and publishing group Vice Media in December of last year, is overhauling its online presence with an innovative video-driven experience. The move will be swiftly followed, next Monday, by the launch of Dazed Vision, “the in-house video arm” of Dazed Group, independent publishers of Dazed & Confused,, AnOther Magazine and AnOther Man.
In recent years, the media habits of young fashion consumers have changed dramatically. And the new launches — by two of fashion’s most respected youth-focused media brands — reflect a media landscape that’s being radically re-shaped by the dynamics of the Internet, giving rise to new approaches to content, platform and monetisation.

OPEN - ARTI - Chief Boima e Venus X talk (Full)

 new york, the internet, money, history, music, culture, diplo and much more.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Check this shit bruh!

Kanye West Unreleased 2002 Interview With MTV

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Ethiopia Skate | A Message to the World

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This is the story of a group of kids in Ethiopia bringing the world of skateboarding to their homeland. Abenezer Temesgen, the young founder of Ethiopia Skate, uses skateboarding to empower the youth to find their own voice. With only 7 boards between 25 kids they ask for help from the world community of skaters as they enter a new frontier of skateboarding. We just want to skate.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

One Minute Wonder 43 - Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu is an artist and a proud mother of three. Born in Dallas, Texas she released her iconic debut album Baduizm in 1997 and was hailed as one of the leading figures of the neo soul genre. She has since released other influential albums such as Live and New Amerykah Part One & Two. Badu is furthermore an avid activist and heads her own charity organization, B.L.I.N.D., providing community-driven development for inner-city youth through music, dance, theater and visual arts. This is Erykah.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Major Vs Minor Leagues- Ebro talks to The Combat Jack Show

Brits spend one in 12 waking minutes online

The average Briton spends one in every 12 waking minute online, racking up around 43 hours of web activity each month. This is almost double the time spent online in 2010, where the monthly average was 22 hours.

This increase has been matched by efforts from the advertising industry to keep us well supplied with ads when browsing the web: companies spent £3.04 billion in the first half of 2013 delivering adverts to mobile devices and PCs.
Averaged across the 46.1 million internet users in the UK, this meant that over the first 6 months of 2013 companies spend £66 per head supplying us with adverts.
Spending on mobile ads experienced a noticeable boom, up 127% from the first half of 2012 to the first half of 2013 to hit a grand total of £429.2 million.
Analysts suggest that this is due to high numbers of smartphone ownership (over two-thirds of the population or 68 per cent of us has one) and the rise of faster mobile data.
The introduction of 4G networks in the UK has seen the spend on video advertising for mobiles shoot up 1,260%, from £1.7 million in the first half of 2012 to £23.0 million in the first half of 2013.
The research from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC also looked at exactly what online activities attracted consumers most, with entertainment being the largest single draw, accounting for 22 per cent of online activity. This was followed by time spent on social networks and blogs.
Commenting on the findings, Tim Elkington, Director of Research & Strategy at the Internet Advertising Bureau , said: “Nothing illustrates the internet as an entertainment platform better than the fact that over one in five minutes online is accounted for by entertainment, and that advertisers spent almost 1,300% more on mobile video than a year ago.”
“With smartphone penetration crossing the two-thirds landmark and the successful roll out of 4G, 2013 could be the year when advertising spend on mobile crosses the £1 billion threshold,” said Elkington.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

The House That Hova Built

My wife (Zadie Smith) interviews Jay z, for the New York Times Magazine. Circa 20012. Here.

Steve Stoute: How Did I Get Here?

Click on image to enlarge.

Desert Island Discs - Zadie Smith (here is a woman I want to marry)

The BoF 500

The BoF 500, an innovative, multi-channel initiative, exploring the people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of BoF and powered by social media. Discover it at

Business of Fashion, the brainchild of fashion business adviser and writer Imran Ahmend, has just launched the BoF 500, a list of the 500 most influential names in the global fashion industry. The BoF 500 was whittled down from an original list of over 2,000 leaders and agenda-setters within the industry and includes fashion designers, executives, retailers, creative heads, media members, models, digital entrepreneur, and those working behind-the-scenes. The list includes unique characters such as Brazilian designer Pedro Lourenço, who at 23 is the youngest on the list and Iris Apfel, the 92-year-old muse and current senior member of the list. The BoF 500 has a page devoted to each of the 500 members with information on what they are doing, and the list can be broken down based on country and role. Have a look for yourself here.

Monday, 2 September 2013

The anatomy of a modern-day deal


The most organised clubs work as much as 12 months ahead of time, sometimes even longer. Clubs will scout players relentlessly, both in person and by using computer programmes, such as Scout7,  which allow them to watch any game in the world at any time and which store statistical data on every professional player. Once they have drawn up a list of targets, some of the biggest Premier League clubs employ consultants to undertake due diligence on the players in question. 

These consultants talk to former team-mates, family members and friends to establish what kind of character the player is. Does he drink? Does he smoke? What is his relationship status? Does he have any skeletons in the cupboard?
In one case, a Premier League club decided not to pursue a transfer when they were told a player, who had just captained his club side in a convincing defeat by their bitter rivals, had been spotted out drinking and joking with friends a few hours after the game. It was decided, for good or for ill, that this player lacked heart and commitment and that the fortunes of his team simply did not mean enough to him.
The club passed and moved on to a different target. Each report on a player will come back with three results: green, amber and red. The final decision, however, is always taken by the club. And even if the report comes back red, a manager may feel talent makes it worth the risk. 


Football Association Premier League rule K5  states that 'a player under contract shall not directly or indirectly make any approach to another club without having obtained the prior written consent of the existing club to who he is contracted.' The reality of the 21st century transfer deal is that no club bids for a player until they have made contact with their agent to gauge the player's interest in the move. 
You might say that is tapping up, but clubs often use agents as intermediaries or go-betweens to distance themselves from direct contact with the player - it is one of football's many open secrets. No club wants to go to the trouble of agreeing a fee with a rival, only to find the player has no intention of joining them - it could lead to public embarrassment and criticism.
Once a club has established a target's interest in joining them, they can approach his club knowing that a deal is realistic. Recently, a Premier League club actually flew a player and his agent over to England before the clubs had agreed a fee. A source close to the deal said "it is the way of the modern transfer deal. Often the last thing that is agreed is the fee between the clubs." 


A transfer deal can be fraught and fragile, it often doesn't take much to make the whole thing collapse. The deal for Willian was the prime example. Over the course of a weekend, Liverpool grew increasingly optimistic that they had landed him from Anzhi Makhachkala. But his agent, Kia Joorabchian, wanted to secure the best possible deal for his client, both financially and in terms of his career.
Spurs then hijacked the move, outbidding Liverpool. Willian passed a medical at Spurs, but there was to be a twist. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich intervened. They matched Spurs' offer, offered even more lucrative terms and the lure of Champions League football and the deal was finally done.
It was an example of why it is hard to be certain of anything in the transfer window and just how quickly things change. On one deadline day, a leading international striker had been sold from one Premier League club to another in a multi-million pound deal.
What neither club had bargained on was the player falling asleep at the airport and missing his flight and therefore the medical. With the deadline fast approaching, the deal was scrambled over the line with the help of the trusty fax machine and a friendly pilot. It happens.


The simple answer is often because one of the parties wants it to. Everyone has an agenda in a transfer window - clubs, players, agents. Perhaps a player wants to tell the world he wants to leave a club but doesn't want to go as far as releasing a statement in case he ends up having to stay? Perhaps a club wants it to be known they have rejected an offer for their star player to start an auction? Perhaps an agent wants his player to be rewarded with a new contract?
Even managers are not immune from using the media. The journalist's job is to weigh up all the information that comes their way and assess what can be trusted and what might be leaking out to drive an agenda, rather than being based in fact. Some managers, agents, players and even football clubs do not always tell the truth, however.
In one instance during this transfer window, an agent made contact to say a foreign club had approached a Premier League defender. The English club confirmed, off the record, that the story was true. The next day their manager denied an approach had been made.
In another situation, a club confirmed a story, again off the record, that ultimately ended up being incorrect. It can be a viper pit of mistruths.


This summer has shown that players approach things in very different ways when they want out. Suarez went public with an explosive interview that only hardened Liverpool's resolve not to sell him to Arsenal.
Wayne Rooney said nothing, but he didn't need to as sources close to the player indicated he was "angry and confused" about his status at Manchester United and wanted to be allowed to join Chelsea.

Gareth Bale and his advisors have been altogether more careful. There is no doubt that they were frustrated by the protracted nature of his potential world record move to Real Madrid, but they kept their counsel throughout. Bale did, however, miss training, although sources at the club disagree on whether he was ever expected to report with his future in doubt.
It isn't easy for clubs to ride out these sagas, but this summer's transfer window has shown, if nothing else, that players don't always get their way.
Suarez agitated and went public with his frustration but Liverpool owner John W Henry stood firm and refused to accept that he had to sell to a rival club, Arsenal, simply because his star player wanted to leave. Likewise, Manchester United did the same with Rooney. Both are strong examples of clubs wrestling some power back from their players, but the biggest deal of the summer did see Bale granted his wish to join Real Madrid.
All clubs have three categories of players in their squad - those who are not for sale under any circumstances, those who would be sold for the right price and those they are actively seeking to sell. Often players who are the subject of bids are taken out of training by the selling squad. Often injury will be blamed but in many occasions the club wants to protect their value and prevent a last-minute injury damaging a deal. 


Football agents have a bad name and are often portrayed as greedy, cut-throat operators who cause trouble and are simply out to make money. The truth is that there is a broad spectrum of agents in the game, but in a general sense they are there to either look after the interests of a player, or to act for a buying or selling club to broker a deal. 
The most thorough agents will look after a player's commercial interests, their financial planning and their public image. Agents normally take around 5% of a player's salary and sponsorship deals. Clubs deal with agents in very different ways. Some Premier League clubs now pull out of deals over agents' fees and commission.
One club signed a player who broke their transfer record this summer but simply refused to pander to the agent. When the player checked in at his hotel ahead of the medical, no room was booked for the agent. No flight had been booked. Their deal was with the player. But agents should not be seen as the bad guys, they are advisors and, like referees, you don't hear much from the very best ones.

BBC Three - Secrets of the Superbrands (Fashion)

Alex Riley thinks he's immune to brands. When it comes to fashion, technology and food brands he just goes for the cheapest and what works for him. He's convinced he's not seduced by the advertising, celebrity endorsements and hype which surrounds the big global brands. So how did that pair of Adidas trainers get in his wardrobe? And how did that can of Heinz Baked Beans make it into his shopping trolley? And why does he have a Nokia mobile phone in his pocket rather than any other make?
With the help of marketeers, brain scientists and exclusive access to the world of the superbrands Alex sets out to find out why we buy them, trust them, even idolise them. Programme created by the BBC

Saturday, 31 August 2013

BBC Three - Secrets of the Superbrands (Food)

Fashion week's celebrity circus

When Fashion Week Was Made of Simpler Cloth

The drumbeat for Fashion Week started a month ago in my in-box, and now it’s up to oblivion level, white noise in the black season.
I can’t get ready for Fashion Week, though. (And part of me wants to return the F and the W to lower-case status, so I don’t feel as if I am actually attending a trade show.) Maybe it’s the 45 shows on my plate that give me pause. Besides, the things I love about the four-city tour are almost all personal, like getting up at 5 every morning to “make the doughnuts” (an expression I first heard from Michael Kors to describe, in my case, a review for the newspaper) or a slow walk at night back to my hotel (Paris, let’s say) to digest the day, especially a day of decent shows and gossip.
At the start of my fashion-writing career, when in Paris, I used to send photos from The Associated Press, then near the top of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, and afterward walk down the street. It was generally midnight. Sometimes you would see models going into Thierry Mugler’s place or hanging out in the little cafe nearby. But the street was pretty empty. I was never scared, as I might be a little today. I used the time to give myself a little pep talk, along the lines of “there are good days and bad days,” and, undoubtedly, to reconnect with normal things, which in Paris were always around you.
Now, almost everyone uses a car and driver, a convenience that gradually became a necessity. As for pictures, it takes about 30 minutes to move a day’s worth of images. I like the speed of things nowadays — it has a merciless appeal — but when you are a little more footloose you can’t help but believe that decisions are more in your own hands. I think many people crave that power.
Take, for example, this business of commanding guests at shows to tuck in their legs and handbags, so the photographers can get a tidy shot of the clothes. It’s pretty embarrassing, like sitting in study hall. One of the great things about pictures of shows in the ’60s, or ’90s is that the scene is messy. The models seem at the center of a respectable orgy. Some of this realistic quality still exists. But the goal today is branding, and that expectation, that everyone will be doing it during FW, can really put the starch in your collar.

By CATHY HORYN (the times, August 23, 2013, 4:18 pm)

Designer calls for a halt to fashion week's celebrity circus

Oscar de la Renta halves his guest list for show in New York as critics say too many poseurs crowd the runways

Some of America's most prominent fashionistas are calling time on the overcrowding, demand for endless "newness" and general hoopla that has become an obsession in the industry.
Before this week's opening round of New York spring-summer 2014 presentations, Oscar de la Renta, one of the most respected figures in American fashion, has announced that he will halve the number of people at his show. De la Renta, a former couturier for Jacqueline Kennedy, said decision-makers in the business should not have to fight their way through "30,000 people, and 10,000 who are trying to take pictures of all of those people, who are totally unrelated to the clothes".
His call for a new, sober approach to replace the traditional, celebrity-infused fashion week frenzy has struck a chord. In the New York Times, leading fashion journalist Suzy Menkes echoed his call, rueing the pace of high fashion, which she described as "a whirligig that seems to be spinning out of control", with designers being asked to produce as many as 10 collections each year.
In an earlier article, Menkes told of how she could hardly get into shows "because of all the photographers snapping at the poseurs". She wrote: "There is a genuine difference between the stylish and the showoffs – and that is the dilemma. If fashion is for everyone, is it fashion?"
In the same newspaper, critic Cathy Horyn reminisced about the messiness of fashion in an earlier era, when the models seemed to be at the centre "of a respectable orgy". With the fashion conglomerates focused on global branding, guests are commanded to tuck in their legs and handbags so that photographers can get tidy shots of the clothes. "It's pretty embarrassing, like sitting in study hall," Horyn wrote.
The notoriously fickle industry is being transformed by social media technology. As the control and judgment of a select few is challenged, designs and ideas that would once take months to reach the public are now global – and illicitly replicated – in a matter of seconds. Fashion is changing, and with it the fashion show, said industry consultant Robert Burke.
De la Renta, who this year engaged John Galliano to design some of his collection, represents a counter-reaction. "If a show is highly chaotic and a real circus, the people that do matter aren't going to be put into the best of moods," he pointed out. "Do you want to jeopardise the experience of the 100 people that matter with the 500 people that don't?"
Burke described a "circus" of bloggers and people holding out phones and posting on Instagram and Facebook. He said that the number of people taking photographs is dramatically greater than even five years ago. "Sometimes you can hardly see the show because people are jumping up to photograph each other," said Burke. "Designers want to bring the focus back to the clothing. Bloggers and celebrities are important, but there needs to be a balance."
Some designers, such as Tom Ford, already show their clothes to a select few and forbid photography. But with fashion's global audience accustomed to instant pictures and streaming, Ford's approach may not be the answer either. Business is business and, without orders, the fashion show would cease to exist.
British fashion creative Simon Doonan, author of The Asylum, a fashion memoir published this week, said that publicity is all fine and dandy, "but at the end of the day designers need orders. A discerning buyer makes their selection objectively. Their choices are not based on which designer gets the most celebs in the front row."
  • The Observer,

Friday, 30 August 2013

What Most Schools Don't Teach These Billionaires - Short Documentory

This list of college dropout billionaires is based (where not otherwise noted) on an annual ranking of the world's wealthiest people compiled and published by Forbes magazine on March 11, 2009.[1] The list does not include heads of state whose wealth is tied to their position (see List of heads of state and government by net worth). College dropout refers to a person who has dropped out from a college or university before completing his/her degree. Some of the world's most famous and richest billionaires (including the second richest man in the world, Bill Gates) are college dropouts. The combined net worth of these dropouts is USD 246 billion.[2] This list is not exhaustive.

The average net worth of billionaires who dropped out of college, $9.4 billion, is approximately triple that of billionaires with Ph.D.s, $3.2 billion. Even if you remove the world's second richest man, Bill Gates, who left Harvard University and is now worth $66.0 billion, college dropouts are worth $5.3 billion on average, compared to those who finished only bachelor's degrees, who are worth $2.9 billion. According to a recent report from Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research, 20% of America's millionaires never attended college.

Learn about a new "superpower" that isn't being taught in 90% of US schools.

Starring Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg,, Chris Bosh, Jack Dorsey, Tony Hsieh, Drew Houston, Gabe Newell, Ruchi Sanghvi, Elena Silenok, Vanessa Hurst, and Hadi Partovi.

Kevin Plank: Great Brands are Like Great Stories

Kevin Plank, Founder and CEO of Under Armour, discusses his experience of founding Under Armour, and transforming a garage start-up into a high-growth global company.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Making the Cut – A Cut Above on Building a Brand and Belgian Style

Visit the Belgian city of Antwerp and you’ll find yourself in one of the world’s top — and most overlooked — fashion destinations. Growing up in an environment where, on any given day, one could rub shoulders with Raf Simons or the Antwerp Six fostered a passion and sensibility that prompted Robin De Flô to open A Cut Above in 2008. The retailer quickly became one of the city’s go-to spots for high-end streetwear and a meeting place for creative types from diverse fields and backgrounds. When, in 2012, the decision was made to shutter its doors, A Cut Above channeled its retail savvy into a first collection of pared-back, high-quality garments. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with De Flô for a chat on ACA’s beginnings and evolution, along with the Belgian fashion scene from which it sprung and the label’s plans for the future.
Be sure to visit A Cut Above’s website for more information, as well as our online store for a selection of the label’s goods.

Why Is Japanese-Made Fashion So Expensive?

With a failing global economy and an increase on “fast retail” where the focus lies more on cost over quality, many fashion enthusiasts are questioning labels, their prices and ultimately their products. Japan has always been known for their high standards, but unfortunately is no exception to the aforementioned doubts. So does the country have justification for what they put out, or will we see an end to “high fashion” from the Far East? There are a few underlying factors and examples that may help shed some light to this matter.


Artisans from yesteryear Japan were synonymous with handcrafted, exquisite detailing in their fashion and general lifestyle, and such aspects are commonly found in modern day apparel. The details are further supported by the use of rare and delicate materials, fusing function and fashion together for the end-consumer. Many are already familiar with the use of leather from cowhide, but the Japanese have consistently found the fabric from more unorthodox animals; luxury streetwear fashion brand visvim has often used the rigid texture from deer, elk and even antelope. Cattle leather may seem commonplace, but the treatment of such a raw material may differ in Japan from the rest of the world, utilizing exotic oils and chemicals to help set them apart from what people may initially perceive. Aside from the material and the process, one must also remember the before and after of leather use into the equation – it is often forgotten that such animals may be hard to find and acquire, the raw material must be maintained properly during the process, and afterwards must undergo intense testing to pass all quality control standards, of which may take more time and consideration for rare materials not often used due to their lack of documentation.

Production and Manufacturing

The workers within the production line may not be what most expect – a conveyor belt of uninterested, mindless drones whose goal is to execute one single task over and over again until their shift ends. Americana relic experts The Real McCoy’s production room is comprised of young, energetic, knowledgeable workers, free to think on their own and indifferent to the desperation of a minimum wage salary. They work under a direct connection to the company, either as generation clothiers or simply fans of the brand. It may seem trivial, but a 26-year-old Japanese native with a respect for local brands will always have a sharper image of what they are doing in fashion over an immigrant in their 40s or 50s perhaps sending paychecks home for their child’s schooling. A younger eye and unweathered hand working at their own pace will be able to notice a missed stitched or misaligned eyelet long before a factory worker ever could. And while this methodology may produce a smaller amount of units per season, the quality surely makes up for it and, ironically, may end up selling a higher percentage of the product in the end.

Wholesaling and Pricing

Most are unaware of the wholesale system in Japan and how it actually differs from other markets. An inside source gives insight into how, for starters, conventionally it is the buyers that set the retail price margins on their own prior to purchasing. Japanese fashion brands however set their own retail prices under guidelines found in fear marketing. This skews the profit margins greatly and cannot be compared with international finance. For instance, wholesale prices of 50%-60% of retail pricing is considered common, with certain discounts naturally depending on order amount or sheer quantity. Most brands however delve even lower, with wholesale prices reaching as low as 25%-35% of the item’s “in-store to the customer” price. This would ultimately break down to approximately 30% of the sale going to cost of the garment, 30% to the brand, and 40% to the store. Furthermore, the production affects pricing as well – traditionally the big brands’ method of production is purely in-house, while Japanese independent brands hire outside agents to aid in aspects such as pattern-making, production management and so on. Outside hire not only benefits the brand with unique styling that may differ season to season, but also requires independent salaries and a higher overall budget. Material procurement is also a factor, where Japanese brands produce zippers, cloth and buttons originally rather than source from other countries. A relative lack of trade show attendance solidifies this point; most Western brands visit such events as Premiere Vision in Paris on an annual basis to assemble their collections. Finally, one must keep in mind that the wages for workers in Japan is incomparable to those of Chinese or Indian workers, which in the end again goes into cost.

Customer Service

While Western patrons may not take notice of the shop they’re in, consumers in Japan tend to take their shopping experience a little more seriously. You’ll often find features in a boutique available that may not seem obvious or conventional, but are certainly appreciated. One retail outlet of considerable mention is A Bathing Ape, notoriously known for their finite details in their products but also in their retail locations. Exclusively constructed by famed design firm Wonderwall, their use of aluminum and concrete is only the tip of the iceberg in the appeal of the BAPE STORE chain. Keen eyes will notice the camo-embossed leather sofas, Ape Heads seared into the hangers, custom-made amenities like receipt holders and credit card trays, jaw-dropping displays of excess, etc. While all of this may seem unnecessary, customers find themselves visiting, returning and even traveling to new shops simply to experience the atmosphere. To further support the shopping, customers are treated with services not available outside of Japan, such as loyalty cards, item transfers from store to store, and on occasion even free delivery. Subscribers to BAPE MANIA, an exclusive annual membership loyalty program, are given special deals and exclusive gifts sent to them in the mail, plus a select number of “Premium Days” in the year where they can enjoy discounts on a large number of items.

It’s impossible to calculate exactly what goes into the cost of each and every brands’ premium products released, but consumers must remember there are multiple factors that must be considered. Companies like Uniqlo and H&M are certainly disrupting the natural order of things in fashion and style previously dominated by runway traditionalists and exotic clothiers. The future of fashion will not be as clear cut as many feel — either a defined path towards fast retail or a return to handmade craftsmanship and quality. What the future fashion scene will see is more collaborative efforts between these two options and hopefully a balance between the two will emerge, offering yet another alternative to choose from.

Big Sean - Family


In the this installment of his vlog series, Big Sean reflects on his family while he travels from Detroit to Paris and everywhere in-between.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Paris Is Burning

Paris Is Burning is a 1990 documentary film directed by Jennie Livingston. Filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, it chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the African American, Latino, gay and transgender communities involved in it. Many members of the ball culture community consider Paris Is Burning to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the "Golden Age" of New York City drag balls, as well as a thoughtful exploration of race, class, and gender in America.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Take My Picture

When we set out to make this short, our intention simply was to observe the phenomenon of fashion bloggers and street style stars. As we started to review the footage, two salient trends became apparent: fashion editors frustrated by the ensuing commotion outside of shows, and the rise of "peacocking" street style stars as a result of the proliferation of blogs. This film examines these themes from both perspectives.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

SI's 100 Best Michael Jordan Photos


Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Rise of Fashionable Technology

I’ve always been fascinated by the next big thing. I still slap myself for missing the boat in a major way three years ago.
“There’s an app for that.” With those five words, Apple launched what is now known as the app economy. It’s not an exaggeration – the app economy has created nearly 500,000 jobs according to The Miami Herald, and it has birthed fast-growing companies such as Rovio and Zynga (albeit it has seen better times). It is also projected to be worth $55 billion by 2015.
It was the BlackBerry and the iPod that initially ushered in the age of mobile devices. As hardware gets smaller and grows more powerful, the devices are now bred in another form. These new devices are sleeker, better-designed and offer more practical methods of improving our lives. They can help us track our habits, improve the way we feel, and offer more control in our lives.
The most bizarre part is a lot of the new technology take the form of accessories. Let’s look at some products that are bringing about the rise of fashionable, wearable technology, firstly by examining the most practical of fashion functions: clothing.

Improving Clothing Function

The essence of clothes, in addition to fashion, is to protect wearers from the elements. Japanese company Fast Retailing has focused on using technology to improve their garments functionally. In comparison to typical fast fashion companies (Zara and H&M), which manufacture small batches of items to follow trends extremely quickly, Fast Retailing’s primary subsidiary UNIQLO maintains its low prices by manufacturing large batches of clothes up to a year in advance.
Because UNIQLO is known for its basics, demand for its items are forecastable and stable, and UNIQLO is able to continue manufacturing in large batches. UNIQLO’s offerings resonate well with consumers because it weaves technology into its items. This includes technology like HEATTECH, a technology used to generate and retain heat in its fabric, and AIRism – the counterpart of HEATTECH – UNIQLO’s cooling fabric. This technology allows UNIQLO to create basic articles of clothing that stand the test of time.
Fashion and technology are starting to converge. While fashion companies like UNIQLO are making it happen, there are even stronger catalysts coming from the other side of the field: technology companies are churning about gadgets disguised as fashionable accessories. How will these changes improve our lives?

Altering the Real World

Google’s Project Glass has made a strong statement in 2012. This concept device connects to your smartphone via a set of glasses, and displays information on a screen built into the lens. You can have your text messages, emails and media beamed into your field of vision, or summon them via voice command. Google Glass also has a built-in camera, which means you can snap photos and video clips hands-free (and inconspicuously).
Project Glass is one of the harbingers of augmented reality; as this video demonstrates, in addition to integrated communication, it can overlay your world with maps, reminders and all sorts of neat additions. Glass holds some serious implications for the way we communicate with others, the way we interact with our environment, and the accessibility of information.
Despite riding the cutting edge of technology, Google Glass has been embraced by the fashion world. Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg armed her models with several pairs for a fashion show that took place a few months ago. “It’s a very important component of making technology desirable and compelling,” said Google co-founder Sergey Brin in an interview. “It’s got to be stylish and fashionable.”
It’s Brin’s, and Google’s hope that its integration into fashion will remove some social risks and accelerate mainstream adoption of this technology (or prevent it from ending up on this list).

Tracking Biometrics

While a device like the Google Glass is capable of adding on a layer to our visual reality, other devices are dedicated to bringing more clarity to a less visible aspect of reality. Wearable technology and audio device manufacturer Jawbone recently launched the second version (after a disastrous first) of its biometric bracelet, UP. The Jawbone UP’s premise is built on the principle of changing habits: the first step to improving your life, and building better habits, is tracking and dissecting your current habits.
The Jawbone UP primarily tracks three types of information: activity (such as steps throughout the day, which then measures calories burned), sleep (hours spent, and how much of it was deep sleep), and the types of food you eat (either through scanning a barcode, or manual input via UP’s food glossary feature).
The Jawbone UP syncs to users’ iPhones via a headphone jack, and the measurements are then compared to the goals they had set for themselves. This gives users insight into where they can improve most in their health, and how much they must adjust their daily routine in order to reach their personal goals.
In addition to its tracking ability, the Jawbone UP also has an outstanding built-in alarm clock function. Built on its abilities to measure user sleeping patterns, the UP also has the ability to wake users up with a gentle nudge while they’re in a lighter form of sleep. A review on The Verge claims that this function makes waking up a lot easier.

Giving Watches Superpowers

In addition to telling the time, watches have doubled as a fashion statement. The Pebble e-paper watch goes beyond these two functions by connecting wirelessly via Bluetooth to users’ iPhones or Android smartphones.
The Pebble is built using a high-resolution e-paper display (similar to a Kindle), which makes its image readable even outdoors. The use of a digital display means that the watch face can be customized according to user preference; it can display time digitally or as a traditional analog watch face.
The killer feature of the Pebble is its ability to run apps. The Pebble watch is connected to your phone, which means that it can act as its remote control and display (i.e. change music while you’re on a run, measure speed with its accelerometer if you’re a cyclist, or display text messages and alerts). Pebble’s team makes its product expandable by allowing third parties to develop apps, and so the watch comes with an open SDK.
The possibilities for Pebble apps are incredible. For example, its built-in vibrating motor (I unsuccessfully tried to find another way to say that) combined with its connectivity to users’ phone means that it can serve up reminders based on user locations. If a user needs to buy milk today, it could display a reminder when he’s near a grocery store. The concept of the Pebble is simple enough; it builds on the power of current mobile devices. This next piece of fashionable technology builds on the power of something everyone already uses every moment of their lives: the brain.

Opening up the Mind

The InteraXon Muse is a headband that measures brain waves. It has four sensors: two in the front, and two behind the ears. InteraXon founder Trevor Coleman likens it to a pulse reader for the mind. “The same way taking your pulse will tell you how your body’s doing during physical exercise, this’ll tell you how your brain’s doing during mental exercise,” explains Coleman in an online fundraising campaign video.
Its initial application is based on tracking brainwaves. Users will be able to look into how certain activities are affecting their minds. Is the yoga class truly relaxing? Is the new promotion too stressful? Is the memory-training class they’re taking working?
Within 10 years, InteraXon believes that Muse will be able to control other computing devices and toys, match users up with other individuals of similar brainwaves, and stay alert on long drives. This is huge – it could potentially extend to other connected devices, which holds enormous implications not only from a science-fiction telekinetic standpoint, but an extremely practical one for the bedridden or the paralyzed.
InteraXon is connecting the mind with the physical world. It has already created campaigns to demonstrate how the mind can control many things (ranging from a thought-controlled beer tap to mentally controlling lights several provinces away on the CN Tower). In contrast, Nike is looking to build upon people’s current physical capabilities by using technology to improve the way they perform in their lives.

Breeding Further Change

Nike has consistently been on the forefront of technological change. They were one of the first to leverage the power of mobile technology with the original Nike+iPod equipment, which connected with earlier variants of the Apple iPod and iPhone to measure exercise performance.
The Nike+ service evolved to take the form of a bracelet, similar to the Jawbone UP. Dubbed the Nike+ FuelBand, this product similarly measures physical performance (without the sleep or diet aspects that the UP tracks). While its feature set is more focused in scope, it is connected to devices via Bluetooth and served as a much more reliable product than Jawbone’s first variant of the UP (which received complaints as UP bracelets randomly stopped working).
Recently, Nike announced a collaboration with TechStars to launch their own accelerator and help entrepreneurs bring their ideas to reality. It is focused on companies that plan to build software on the Nike+ platform.
The benefits of having entrepreneurs join the Nike+ accelerator is access to the extremely impressive TechStars network, which ranges from powerful investors to experienced mentors. The accelerator also helps with funds – in exchange for supporting each company with $20,000, TechStars will be taking 6% of each company entering the Nike+ accelerator.
Data has been huge when it comes to making decisions in corporations, and has been crucial to improving bottom lines. Now, these devices, platforms and applications mean that data can be accessed by consumers to improve their health, well-being and quality of life.
While the main function of technology has always been to make life easier, the importance of design used to be overlooked by most companies. Now, the fact that technology is becoming more fashionable simply means an even quicker permeation into mainstream culture.
While apps have made a huge dent on our world in an extremely short amount of time, their effects will pale in comparison to what fashionable, wearable technology has in store.
Herbert Lui is passionate about entrepreneurship, art, and technology. In his spare time, he covers technology and startup news for Techvibes. If you want to connect (or heckle), please feel free to reach out on Twitter.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

ILL-FITS: The Trend of Performance Sneakers & Suits

As Hypebeast’s readership continues to grow, so does the size of our inbox. From props and complaints, to line sheets, aspiring brands and PR companies, we are constantly getting hit up by many of our loyal readers for various reasons. We’re making a conscious effort to respond to all of you guys and with the help of our contributing editor and native New Yorker, Robert Marshall, we’re creating a new op-ed installment titled ‘ILL-FITS.’ Primarily intended to answer the messages from all of you style advice seekers, Robert Marshall will tackle one of your questions and we’ll post it up here for you to contribute to the discussion.
Call me old-fashioned, but I have trouble understanding why men pair a finely tailored suit with sneakers intended for superior athletic output. Can you explain its purpose and do you think it’s a trend that’s here to stay?
Its purpose is twofold, both in style and function. What must be said however is this coupling of a suit and a pair of technically-sound sneakers is really just a contemporary reproduction of an ongoing trend. Although its inception is difficult to pinpoint, its emergence can likely be traced to the casual revolution of the mid 20th century where men could be seen sporting a suit atop iconic silhouettes like the Chuck Taylor All Star. Many see this relaxed choice of dress as quirky, facetious or even immature, and it’s generally reserved for those that carry a disdain for the bureaucracies and insecurities of fashion. What’s more is that although it playfully tones down the formality of a suit, this clashing of dress-codes also serves as a benefit for those that travel by foot dressed throughout the day in a stifling jacket and pair of trousers. Typically speaking, opting for your tennis shoes will prove to be much more comfortable on your tired dogs than a pair of dress shoes when trekking through a sprawling metropolis. As far as the recent transition to innovative athletic sneakers like Nike’s Flyknit model is concern, it’s just a natural progression of a decades-old trend. With a new wave of lighter, more comfortable models being produced, each release offers a modern alternative to this bold style statement.
In regards to its future existence, it’s truly difficult to say whether a trend or style of dress will fade to obscurity or continue to grow engulfing a number of similarly positioned fashion choices. I do however think its prevalence depends on the footwear industry’s ability to craft products based on the needs of the contemporary man rather than recycled silhouettes with outdated materials. What I mean by that is this outfit selection is not only one of exploration, but also a purposeful cry for utilitarian designs that compliment our expanding lifestyles. If one were to put its ears to the runway you’d find that men still possess an innate, no-frills attitude when it comes to clothing – a trait often neglected in women. So until shoemakers begin to understand that men don’t just want to look great, they want to feel great as well; I think the notion to pair innovative sneakers with a bespoke suit will continue to be a common occurrence especially during the forthcoming warmer months. Despite that, brands like Cole Haan represents a growing market segment that not only creates with style in mind but versatility as well. So what are your thoughts Hypebeasts: will this trendy pairing continue on or will shoemakers take notice and look to curve its existence?
Author:Robert Marshall

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Nike Basketball | Kobe Bryant: #COUNTONKOBE

Count on the sun to shine. Count on the rain to fall. Count on snakes to bite. Count on grass to grow. Count your blessings. Count on Kobe.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013


Tuesday, 1 January 2013


Henry Wolf, 1971

"the more the masses get treated and talked to as intelligent adults, the more discerning and demanding they become"