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!

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