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The Starbuck’s way of forming communities by creating cultural value

23 May


Izzy Pugh, Head of Cultural Insight & Marilyn Dutlow from Added Value in South Africa have recently unpacked from an international and local perspective how Starbucks are creating a place and a mind-set that feels like the heart of a community.

Read the full article at The Media Online! on how Starbucks are successfully creating cultural value. (

Interesting Things About… Slow Fashion

4 Mar

We’ve previously written about the fast fashion revolution – the fashion industry’s new verve to release new seasons and new clothes at an increasingly rapid rate.

As well as seeing this stance grow, we’re also seeing an opposite reaction to this frenzied fashion fest. Patagonia’s infamous 2011 “Don’t Buy This Jacket” campaign declared war on rabid consumerism, telling people to buy less and to buy quality. Increasingly brands are following suit and encouraging consumers to slow down on their buying, be considerate, and buy items that last.



Jigsaw’s ‘For Life Not Landfill’

Jigsaw’s recent campaign encourages people to wear their clothing not just for a season, but to save it, promoting mindful consumption. In the advert they juxtapose pieces from their current collection with some of their own vintage items, borrowed from loyal fans. The campaign tells people not to throw away old garments but to save them to create fresh and different looks in the future.



Nudie Jeans

This ethical fashion brand encourages its followers to treat their jeans like a fine wine – one that gets better with age. They believe that as jeans wear down and are repaired by hand, the item becomes more individual and unique. Keeping hold of something old can be more than good, it can be great.



Old Town Clothing

This British brand prides itself on producing no more than 70 made to order garments a week, chosen from a range of sizes fabrics and colours. The production process takes around 4-6 weeks, as they are individually made by hand. The brand wants people to treat their items as pure quality clothing that can be worn for a lifetime, and they refuse to expand their business as they would be unable to ensure the quality of everything they create.


Why this is interesting

In a world where brands like MAC have a constant drip-feed of special releases, this opposing reaction highlights a growing need for brands that are radical in their slowness. We know that fast fashion isn’t going anywhere, but there is also a growing number of people who are rejecting the demand to constantly refresh their looks, and are looking to reshape how fashion exists in their lives. With self-help books telling people to live smarter and be purposeful with their mindfulness, this fashion movement sharply highlights the cultural shift towards a more thoughtful and considered way of being.

From Calmness to Clarity

20 Jan


Mindfulness is getting smart. The narrative of mindfulness has previously been around slowing down, disconnecting and becoming calmer. As the New Year rings in, January is calling on us once again to reenergize and reassess our lives – but this time it seems to be in the form of smart mindfulness.

Mindfulness seems to have shifted from the previously slow and calm methods – such as yoga, meditation and Johanna Basford’s adult colouring books – towards a new approach that is about taking time out to think clearly in order to achieve ambitions. It is less about removing yourself from the world, but instead leaning in with purpose. People are taking time out to rejuvenate and gear up – so they are able to go back in with more vigour and more purpose. The self-help book “Thrive” encourages people to use mindfulness as a way to reach career success. “The Art of Thinking Clearly” also helps people train themselves to think sharply in order to achieve. They both embrace mindfulness as a way of reenergizing yourself and clearing your mind to reach your life ambitions.

We think that mindfulness is going to continue on its path towards the purposeful, direct and active. Maybe in the future even taking time out won’t be passive.

The New Mainstream

30 Mar



Every year the UK’s Office for National Statistics updates the shopping basket of goods and services that is used to reflect the rate of inflation. This year’s struck us as being remarkably hipster – with craft beers, music streaming and headphones included in the list. If these products are representative of a typical British person, is seems to highlight how much hipster style is now firmly in the mainstream.

We think that brands can learn from this. They can shed the fear that hipster cool is only for the few – but embrace the fact that it is now nationally aspirational. They don’t need to be afraid of being too niche, but should accept that this is now the new mainstream. Nationwide, the hipster trend’s move from emergent to culturally dominant has been incredibly swift – putting great pressure on brands need to keep up.

We’re excited to see next year’s index. We predict that coffee machines, grey hair dye and bow ties might be included…


Apple’s China Design

17 Mar

Accompanied by much media fanfare, Apple have recently opened a specially designed store in Hangzhou, near Shanghai. It’s one of 40 new stores they hopes to build in the next two years, forming part of a massive retail expansion into China’s urban heartland.

The building is essentially a giant hyper-optimised box, divided by a single sliver of a floor – 10 cm at its thinnest point – that appears to float in the air without any visible support. The design – by the architectural firm Foster + Partners in collaboration with Apple’s own designers – has been hailed as a pioneering feat of technical innovation and smart design. According to the architects, “Every aspect of the store has been optimized, minimized, and de-cluttered”, making it a perfect embodiment of the Apple brand and a reflection of the products sold within.



Apple is renowned for its physical, design-led marketing. Through encounters with its products and aesthetic, consumer’s most meaningful interactions with the brand take place in the physical rather than digital realm. This has helped make it one of China’s top luxury brands. And Apple has made no secret that these stores are supposed to make a dramatic physical imprint on China’s city centres. They even claim the Hangzhou store will become a ‘new living room for the city’.

This is a clever move in China, where dramatic architectural statements have become especially important in projecting the power of brands. The country’s rapid urbanisation has seen public space become a battle ground where brands – both corporate and personal – vie for the public’s attention with ever more bombastic, often downright eccentric, architectural feats. These range from CCTV, the national broadcaster’s, headquarters in Beijing  (nick-named ‘big boxer shorts’) to a  giant teapot shaped building in Wuxi built by China’s richest man.



But the nature of this love affair with statement architecture is changing – and Apple’s new buildings may come just at the right time. President Xi Jinping recently called for there to be ‘no more weird architecture’, reflecting a broader turn away from ostentation towards discernment and subtlety in the country’s aesthetic preferences. (It’s no coincidence that Apple took over from Louis Vuitton as the country’s favourite luxury brand).

Apple’s new stores certainly fit the bill – grabbing attention with their unique design, whilst avoiding ostentation entirely. Though they may not turn out to be the ‘new living rooms’ of China’s cities, these new stores can only add legitimacy and cultural capital to the brand, cementing its status at the pinnacle of Chinese luxury.

Out and About

3 Oct

The Lost Act (part of the Lost Lectures) is two evenings of interactive lectures with street feast food and inspiring cocktails all in a lost part of London. The lectures aim to push the boundaries of knowledge and controversy with a wide range of speakers including The Chapman Brothers, Polarbear and Helen Czerski.

3rd and 4th October 2014. An abandoned North London Theater; exact location told after ticket purchase.


At the House of Peroni there is a master class on the art of chocolate. Guests will unearth the secrets of exclusive chocolate mastery. The Italian chocolatiers will teach the class the artisanal techniques of the craft and they will sample many luxurious Italian chocolates.

Saturday the 4th October. House of Peroni, 64 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3JX


Join the Glow Neon Fun Run which is fundraising for the Royal National Institute of Blind people.  Participants will be splattered with neon paint and dance to raving music as they complete the 3k East London run. There are Djs UV lights, glow paint and a dance floor at the end to amplify this intense experience.

Fri Oct 17. Mile End Stadium, 190 Burdett Road, E3 4HL




Industrial Celebration

16 Sep

Open for Business is a film and photography exhibition at the Science Museum exploring British Industry through the eyes of nine of the Magnum photographers. It is open until the 2nd November and explores all aspects of industry from handmade crafts to the intelligent high tech world of modern high tech factories. The exhibition reveals the gritty reality facing British industry, and tells the stories of the individuals who work to create the things we take for granted.



The exhibition taps into a trend we have been noticing more and more. We are becoming increasingly in tune with our rich industrial history in Britain and across the Western World.  Some brands are tuning into this change, like Doc Martins which created a short film called ‘The Art of Industrial Manufacture’ documenting their Cobs Lane Factory and the real people involved in making the boots.

The exhibition is on until the 2nd November at the Science Museum London

Demand More

5 Feb

This year consumers will demand more than ever.

If you want a cultural eye on the year ahead, check out our amazing article published in Forbes .




Cultural Trends 2014

20 Jan

Welcome to 2014

Our job is to look at big cultural shifts, we can see that 2014 is going to be a year where consumers demand more than ever.

Check out our fantastic trends video,  and see for yourself.

Made From Cool

8 Nov

Danish clothing brand Jack and Jones has released a series of five short films titled ‘Made From Cool’ starring Christopher Walken. The series of films sees super slick Walken as a skilled tailor, using his bare hands to shear a sheep and cut a pattern.

Check out the campaign here

These films cleverly demonstrate the brands unique and somewhat supernatural flair at creating the perfect suit, transforming our perceptions of traditional tailoring techniques.


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