August 24, 2011

Last Days of Summer.....

As we approach the end of summer, we leave you with streetstyle photos from some of the most fashion-forward cities in Europe. Photographed by Linzi in collaboration with MBF, these trendsetters showcase their seriously cool summer style on the streets of Amsterdam, Budapest, Berlin, and Reykjavik!

Susan, Fashion Designer, Amsterdam
Maison Scotch top, vintage jacket, Fred de la Bretoniere bag, Sacha shoes, G-Star jeans

Loraine, Student, Amsterdam
American Apparel jacket, Denim Co. top, H&M pants, Asics shoes, bag handmade by a friend

Luus, Amsterdam
Zara skirt, vintage shoes, Brown Paper Bag purse

Julian, Fashion Buyer for Liganova GMBH, Berlin

Nina, Fashion Blogger: Nina Im Wonderland, Berlin
Vintage shoes and dress, French Connection hat

On the streets of Reykjavik

Anna, Budapest
H&M sweater, Hunter boots, vintage jeans, Mango top, Louis Vuitton bag, Urban Outfitters headphones

Yamit, Sales Associate at Seacret, Budapest
Dgani knit shawl 

August 18, 2011

No Rules

We are living in a period where the term "new" is constantly being evolved. As technology speeds up the time it takes to develop new ideas and products, there is always another version or another upgrade for something. Evolution is constant in all aspects and people in all industries are seeing the rippling effects.

Today, for example, there are a dozen new shopping experiences, new terminologies, new occupations and degrees, and new dining experiences. Our lifestyles are constantly being adjusted as these new concepts slowly become integrated into our day to day lives. We sometimes hardly notice the change as we are always eager and ready to embrace whatever is the latest, the fastest, and the best. There are no such things as rules here, and we can only imagine where the future will lead us.

As new ideas and commodities are constantly being explored, today's blog post presents a few of the most interesting and latest ideas we've seen yet. Perhaps they may sound a bit absurd at first, but we are sure to bet that in time, these once perceived "new" ideas will be just another familiar concept.

photo via: NY Times

Opening this Friday in the Soho district of Manhattan, mass retailer Nordstrom unveils it's latest shop concept called Treasure & Bond. Less than a tenth the size of a typical Nordstrom department store, the boutique is unlike any other in that the profits are completely dedicated to supporting charities. Rotating charities once every three months, their first year recipients include the New York Public Library's programs for youths and The Edible Schoolyard NYC. The details of how much it has raised is planned to be noted in their website.

Considering that there is not yet a full-fledged Nordstrom department store in Manhattan, this shop will also act as an experiment for the company to figure out the New York market and test products before opening the store. More catered to the downtown girl, clothes are in avant-garde silhouettes in muted colors and a range of merchandise is carefully selected, choosing products that are hard to find like old re-dyed Afghan kilim rugs and shoes made of Tyvek. The creators of the store are eager to test the boundaries of how much variety can be sold here. While it has always been assumed that a shop is always "for profit," a concept that is all about giving back brings a whole new definition.

photo via: PSFK

Another boutique in the Netherlands also brings a fresh new spin to what is considered a "shop" in that the store rejects money as currency. A pop-up 'time store' called Time/Bank in Maastricht, Netherlands allows groups and individuals to trade their time and labour for products. Open till October 2, 2011, the store is an extension of a sustainable design exhibition, "Re-Action! Sustainability through Social Innovation."

photo via: Neiman Marcus

And while we are still in the topic of shopping, Christian Louboutin's latest slingback shoe "Ecotrash" has come to our attention - and possibly for all the wrong reasons. While we are a bit hesitant to agree with Louboutin that this shoe is "eco-conscious" with it's python skin and and PVC coating, the $1,095.00 shoe is composed entirely of "trash." Using leftover thread, postage stamps, sequins, and fabric swatches from past seasons, the shoe is a true example of the saying, "one man's trash is another man's treasure." This perfectly exemplifies that there really is no limit to what kind of material one can use, and considering the price tag of this heel, luxury is truly being redefined.

photo via: TechCrunch

Due to the high demands of living in a fast-paced society, there is also a new value of time and money. SXSW's latest must-have app Zaarly allows you to get what you want from your local community in real time. A buyer-driven concept, Zaarly solves an individual's need in a time frame that they need it in. Challenging the notion of how much people will pay to get it in a desired time, this app is all about instant gratification in a hyper-local experience. While the payment method and technical issues are still being worked out, this is a concept that we are excited to come in fruition. Having gone from an LA Startup Weekend winner to 1 million in funding in less than 3 weeks, Zaarly is off to a great beginning, completely revolutionizing convenience and a genuine experience of instant gratification.

Last but definitely not least, one of our favorite new ideas is Puma's latest shopping bag. Expected to completely phase out its traditional plastic shopping bag, the shoe maker plans to begin using a 100% biodegradable alternative made from cornstarch. While the bag is able to decompose after 3 months in a home compost pile, the customer can also degrade the bag themselves in less than 3 minutes by simply dissolving the bag under a bowl of warm water. Saving 192 tons of plastic and 293 tons of paper per year, these new bags are a fun and downright innovative way to be eco-friendly. This remarkable concept allows everyday people to take part in the experience of reducing waste, encouraging consumers to really think about being environmentally conscious.

This concludes our blog post for today. Feel free to leave a comment as we'd love to hear what you think!

August 10, 2011

The Musical Hybrid

Collaboration and integration are key trends not only within the fashion industry, but relevant in all businesses and professional fields. One of the latest shifts in the music world, for example, is the development of a multi-media experience, pairing visuals, music, fashion and art, to create an interactive sensory-stimulating experience for the audience. Creating what we call a “musical hybrid,” music has become more than just a song and is used more and more as a compliment to multiple media outlets, resulting in more intensified expressions of particular feelings or emotions.

photo via: Met Museum

Case in point, one of this year’s most popular fashion exhibit, Alexander McQueen’s retrospective “Savage Beauty” hosted by the MET, was not only a display of the designer’s hand crafts, but a multi-sensory experience incorporating video, sound, and technology. John Gosling, McQueen’s longtime music supervisor, assisted in pairing the clothes in the exhibition with the music that Gosling originally played as they went down the runway. Capturing the exact mood McQueen envisioned when displaying his collections, Bjork’s “Frosti” plays alongside dresses in the “Romantic Exoticism” and “Atlantis” plays in the background to the spring/summer 2010 “Plato’s Atlantis” collection. Because music was so integral to McQueen’s work, the musical element of the exhibit gives the audience a fuller experience in understanding the designer’s creative visions.

video via: StyleList

It is no surprise that music has always been influential to fashion designers, and vice versa. In addition to McQueen, many other various designers have shared their love for particular musicians and bands, and their interests are sometimes recognizable through their collections. Appealing to the YouTube generation, rising fashion designer Prabal Gurung has taken it a step further and decided to present his first ever resort wear in an unexpected platform: a music video. Collaborating with Baltimore dance-rap artist Rye Rye, Gurung launched his resort line with his music video aptly entitled "New Thing." The entire video was inspired by the collection, and as Rye Rye was the muse, her presence, music, and personal style brought out the collection in an entirely new, attractive way to Gurung's customers and YouTube fans.

photo via: PSFK

Similarly, conceptually driven Icelandic singer-songwriter, Bjork, also released her new album “Biophilla” not as a traditional CD or iTunes track, but as an iPhone and iPad application. Taking advantage of Apple’s capabilities, each track is downloaded individually to present its own set of experiences. The first track “Crystalline,” for example, includes a game, the music score, a visual graphic experience for the track and extensive sleeve notes. Each song is set apart, not only by it’s musical notes, but by it’s supporting counterparts, to truly allow each track to have it’s own voice. This new album is in many ways, a leading innovation in today’s current music world, allowing traditional content to be experienced in unlikely ways that extend beyond the conventional.

photo via: Behance

Even the sports industry is tapping into the musical world, with Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s leading music company, and Billabong, the world’s leading outdoor sports lifestyle company, forming a strategic, global brand partnership. Bringing together music and action, the two companies will unite the world’s leading artists with equally renowned athletes. Their list of collaborations include live events, music compliations, sports and music merchandise, digital download offers, preloaded audio/visual hardware, streaming radio and TV, and a dedicated music service. By working together, these two leading businesses can even more powerfully break into today's current youth culture and entertainment industry by providing new, exciting experiences.

photo via: Erica Glyn

Ending on a more personal note, we at MBF Trend Consulting were most inspired to write this post by the recent record launch event of musician, composer, and producer, Erica Glyn. Debuting her latest album "Static," Glyn collaborated with filmmaker and video artist, Laia Cabrera (whom we mentioned in our previous posts). Hosted at Flux Studios, a recording studio in NYC's East Village, the entire record was played first-hand on a high-quality studio sound system to a selected live audience.

video via: YouTube

Laia Cabrera and animator/ installation-maker Isabelle Duverger created a cinematic atmosphere to compliment Glyn's music. The three have been collaborating for many years, incorporating and enhancing each other's work. Together, they have crafted a special skill of bringing a profound musical and visual moment that truly penetrates the audience members, leaving the crowd speechless and mesmorized. Erica Glyn's new album is written, recorded, and produced solely by the artist, with contributions from a collection of well-respected artists. For more info on purchasing the album, please click here.

Overall, we believe that synergy is key in moving forward in all industry sectors, whether it be music, fashion, sports, etc. Through collaborative efforts and ideas exchanged between traditionally non-related parties, innovation is born and new experiences and products are developed. We are excited to see how the music industry will continue to grow as technology and new ideas are always being pushed and explored.

August 3, 2011

August MBF Picks Special Edition: Berlin Fashion Week "Round Up" 2nd Edition

It was a pleasure to join all of our colleagues at Berlin's Fashion week and in particular to be in Berlin as a "visitor". Everywhere we were "welcomed" with great service -- always rendered with a smile. Berlin is finally coming into it's own and it's a delight! It is recognized as a fashion metropolis and it is continuously adding to its cadre of well-attended trade shows. As always, our visit was too short with way too much to see and too little time. Here are our favorite picks from our five-day Berlin whirlwind visit!


Eleonore von Schwanenflügel and Stephanie Pupke are two fashion designers who met in 2005 at the Potsdam based Label Wunderkind by Wolfgang Joop. Since then, the two have combined their knowledge and expertise in accessories and ready to wear garments for their own collection. Their vision began in 2009 when they both decided to extend their experiences as freelance designers based in Berlin and Paris. The two have always been driven by the potency
of oppositions in their work: Beets and beans printed onto finest silk foulards create a translation of a self-evident and common context through a bourgeois and elegant expression of form to a recent view on products. The designers contemporary conception allows a connection of disciplines through cooperations with artists, stylists and partners. It retains mainly the idea of a custom fashion label – VONSCHWANENFLÜGELPUPKE.

video via: YouTube

Frida Weyer
First time showcasing a variety of ready to wear pieces, Frida Weyer presented her Spring/Summer 2012 collection aptly named "City Fever" at the official Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week location at Brandenburg Gate. Recognized for her ethereal and feminine silk dresses, the models looked like they were almost floating on the catwalk. We especially loved the prints that were especially made by the designer for this collection.

Valuing transparency, respect of the environment, and sustainability, Haikure is a new ecosustainable brand born under CS Jeans, a leading manufacture of jeans since 1981. Using the QRCode technology, each pair of jeans can be tracked down: from the certified organic cotton to the laboratory where it was processed and up to the producers of each trim and those who are in charge of the different treatments. Partnering with Made-By, the European non-profit organization supports Haikure's environmental and social standards and in validating the transparency of the entire production process. Their latest FW season includes denim bottoms and a variety of shirts, blouses, undershirts, and jackets in organic cotton, cashmere, and merino wool.

HANNA felting
Using local raw natural fabrics, HANNA felting is a true believer of the Slow Fashion Movement. The designer Hanna Petursdottir works closely with local artisans in eastern Iceland who hand work wool that is locally sourced from free-grazing sheep in the mountains and fjords of Iceland. The artisans combine the wool with cotton and knits to create truly unique and natural fabrics. Each piece in her collection reveals the exciting process of the design, making clothes that are both wearable and innovative.

Andreas Murkudis
We heard through the grapevine that Andreas Murkudis is moving his shops from the commercially popular Mitte to the quieter part of Potsdamer Strasse. Situated in a huge loft-like space, we were delighted to find a perfectly curated selection of design objects, fashion, interior design, beauty products, and books.

Interviewing the man behind it all, Andreas Murkudis, our Creative Director and Founder, Manuela Fassbender, gets a one-on-one interview to share with our readers:

Andreas: The idea is to sell products you cannot easily find anywhere, but products that excite people and make one really feel the intensive labour of work that went in making them. Of course we have collections like Celine and Balenciaga, but we also have a lot of products which are handcrafted and are produced in small editions which you hardly can find anywhere, like our hand knitted kids cardigans from Hohgant made in small villages of Switzerland by older women who make these after hours, after they milked their cows. They do it out of passion. Or, a friend of ours, Christoph Keller, who is doing “Schnaps” called Staehlemuehle. He bought a house at the Bodensee with the right to distill and creates amazing “Schnaps” and tells you where the berries he’s using are coming from using beautiful bottles. You can feel again that there is somebody with passion creating something with quality. 

The idea is also to be in the courtyard again in this new location as we were in the old location at Muenzstrasse. We want to have the time to explain and tell the story about each product. One cannot just say: “Here is a vase by Nymphenburg and it costs $3000.” It is no justification to just say it’s cool. One needs to explain to our costumers who is Nymphenburg and how it is produced. I want to infect our clients with what I have in me. This is the idea. And it actually works since 80% of our clientele are our loyal shoppers who come to our location and love to listen to each story. Part of this is, of course, that our co-workers have the knowledge having been at the production sites of Nymphenburg and seeing the production process of many of our products. It is the constant search for special products. It is important for us to go with these brands, not only into the width of it's variety, but also into the depth of the products. For example, I initiated a project with artist Olaf Nicolai who then did a 1.5 year long collaboration with Nymphenburg. This is an example that what we do is more than just about selling a product. 

Manuela: Yes –you want to tell a story. The product has a soul. We are talking about the “new client” – they ask questions, they want to know where things are produced, and they want to hear the story behind it.

Andreas: Exactly. What is also important is that one can write down on a small piece of paper all the names of the coworkers who work in these small companies. Ludwig Reiter has more or less 30 people. It is fun to know who they are or to meet them once in awhile. That connects us and we can do special projects with them or a special collection. This is also true with the Dries van Noten project, which was their first time doing such a project with a store. They created 5 identical dresses in 5 different sizes for us. Then Dries pulled the most beautiful fabrics from their inventory from 2005 to 2011. Every roll had to be measured, swatches had to be created. And we have sold already 3-5 dresses and the people are happy. Dries also said the dress should not be more expensive than any other dress out of his collection even so the time and effort is very individual. It is not being made in Italy, but in Belgium hand made. The customer has a one of a kind dress. Once there is no more fabric, we just leave the empty roll. This project will continue till September 2011. I feel very honored that Dries is doing this. Although I’ve only worked with Dries for 2.5 years, he’s offered that to me. 

Manuela: It is a bit like building a community, right?

Andreas: Yes, we have a great relationship. I also say it is important that I like the people I work with. At one point I decide to work with certain brands and stick with them, even if the turnover/sales at times is going down. I do not think it is just about the turnover. I love to work with companies who are innovative and show quality work. It is cross-pollination for all sides. We recently worked intensively with e15, collaborating with Stefan Diez and my brother, Kostas Murkudis. Stefan Diez designed the chair and my brother created a new color concept.

Manuela: Thank you for this opportunity to talk with you.

Sakina Paris

Since 1998, fashion designer Sakina M'sa has been moderating "Cultural Mediation" workshops in disenfranchised neighborhoods on the theme of clothing and identity. Through these workshops, she employs and trains women and men in difficult situations to inspire them and give them hope for a future. More recently, the designer was part of an exhibition in January at the Museum of Art and Design of New York.


photo via: Uslu Airlines

Uslu Airlines
Mentioned several times in our previous posts, Uslu Airlines is always up to something interesting! Launching their sixth DJ-nail polish "DUS" (Düsseldorf) by Loco Dice, this new polish is a pale lilac, named with the airport code DUS for Düsseldorf, hometown of the curating DJ Loco Dice. As the nail polish is inspired by a DJ, make sure you check out their free downloadable "Uslu Airlines Nail Mix" by Loco Dice.


Pret a Diner
This year, Pret a Diner had a fabulous location right along the Spree River in Berlin. With an open bar and an outdoor lounge area and restaurant, it was the perfect spot for the hot summer nights. Between the cocktails, food, and a great company of friends in an amazing view, Pret a Diner was a great place to end the evenings!

Lastly, congratulations to everyone at Bread and Butter for their 10 year anniversary! The show was fabulous!

video via: Vimeo

And that's a wrap for today. If you were in Berlin for all it's festivities, we'd love to hear from you too. Tell us your favorite picks, as we always love to hear from our readers. Until next time everyone!
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