September 29, 2011

Simple Minds

Today, as we are constantly surrounded by an overload of information via both on and off-line media outlets, it becomes increasingly important to streamline the information we receive. It starts as people begin to clean out their contacts on linkedin and facebook and utilize one of the most fearful words from our digital age, “defriend.”

With so much excess clutter invading our lives, it can get pretty overwhelming. We see it everyday, everywhere. We seem to always be "plugged in." From retail to television to internet and transportation, there is simply too much noise, screaming "look at me!" However, is this overstimulated world beginning to wear us out?

photo via

Looking at the most recent RTW Spring/Summer 2012 runway shows, design has definitely shifted to a more minimal aesthetic. Additionally, what was once financially smart for luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana, has also taken a turn. The two Italian designers have decided to discontinue their more affordable D&G line and instead, further ensure the strength of their signature brand.

photo via Financial Times

Manufacturers of everyday products from toothpaste to chocolate seem to be on the same page as they downsize product assortments on shelves. Not only does this cut costs for businesses, but simplifies our shopping experience by reducing the variety of choices that we can barely differentiate from one to the next. Unilever, which produces everything from Lipton Ice Tea to Dove products, is at the forefront of this movement as they cut back 40% of their goods.

photo via

Not only are product lines shrinking, but stores are as well. Rather than focusing on square footage, businesses are instead approaching customers’ shopping experiences by enhancing the general atmosphere of the store. As demographics change, retailers are going to have to create a more suitable environment to draw shoppers in. It’s about keeping it simple by offering relevant products that consumers are willing to spend their money on rather than producing so much excess and wastefulness.

photo via Patagonia

Patagonia is ahead of the game as it recently launched its Common Threads Initiative, which encourages customers to only buy what they need through their new Ebay online shop. The program promotes recycling and reduces consumption by asking customers to make a pledge to reuse and resell excess products. Patagonia is the first brand to really partner with their customers to control consumption and use the Ebay platform to increase environmental awareness and fight pollution.

photo via E! online

From fashion to the movies, the common theme all around is simplicity. This year's winner of the Cannes Film Festival, Drive, is everything and anything but moderate. With its beautiful and clean cinematography and limited dialogue, the film approaches minimalism from a different aspect by eliminating any extras and stunt doubles. Not only is the cast downsized, but so are the number of wardrobe changes. Whether dressed in a relaxed denim jacket or a bomber with a scorpion on the back, Gosling's character shines through. While very different from the overabundance associated with the movies, Drive does an excellent job of enticing the viewer and keeps us interested despite all the frugality. Like they say, quality over quantity!

photo via

So maybe it’s about time we unplug and check in, but to reality. Marriott’s Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel has the right idea as they offer a package to digitally detox. Upon check-in, guests have an opportunity to de-stress by resigning all devices, including laptops and cell phones as they begin their revival from the sensory overloads of everyday life. To replace any technology withdrawals, accommodations include your pick of an array of classic literature as well as kayaking lessons. If this isn’t the best way to recharge your batteries then we don’t know what is!

As we shift from this notion of affordable fast fashion towards long lasting quality purchases, it is no longer about quantity, but a desire to have real substance in our lives. Instead, we strive to de-clutter unimportant ideas and things and focus on becoming more aware of the world around us. Maybe less really is more. Today, we challenge you to take a deep breath and disconnect!

September 22, 2011

Shop Til You Dance!

For all you fashion culture fanatics out there, we at MBF Trend Consulting have been out and about to give you the rundown on all our favorite super chic happenings from parties to celebrity appearances, performances, and most importantly fun!

To kick off fashion week on Thursday, September 8th, the third annual Fashion’s Night Out was celebrated internationally as stores in 18 countries extended their hours to promote the retail industry and give shoppers an experience with a little extra pizzazz. From modern day disco dance parties to carnival inspired extravaganzas, a particular light, cheerful mood took over New York City. Even the weather was on our side as the dark, gloomy clouds held out just in time for the global fashion event to take over the city.

photo via: Racked NY

BG Best in Show
From catwalk to the dogwalk, Bergdorf Goodman reminded us that canine’s love fashion too! Their 2nd annual dog fashion show featured fashion designers and their pups including Joseph Altuazarra, Cushine et Ochs, Lela Rose, and the highlight of the night, Badgley Mischka’s two daschunds dressed in wedding gowns! Other fabulous highlights from Bergdorf’s include guest appearances galore by Jason Wu, Narciso Rodriguez, Thakoon, and Oscar de la Renta as well as a musical performance by Audrianna Cole. To check out more of the super cute doggie looks check out Bergdorf Goodman's blog!

video via: YouTube

Alexander Wang’s Talent Show
Not only is Alexander Wang an expert fashion designer, but now he can include to his accomplishments, a clever talent scout. His FNO festivities of choice included a daring talent show live from his store where he, and a panel of Glee’s Lea Michele and Vogue’s Anna Wintour and Hamish Bowles picked the winner. Contestants were chosen by sending him a 30-90 second video showcasing their best moves, with prizes that included fall bags and T products. America does have talent and apparently style too! Let’s also not forget to mention the $5,000 shopping spree giveaway that was rewarded from visiting his website during the month of September! Oh la la!

video via: YouTube

Macy’s was the shopping destination for affordable fashion, live music, and a variety of celebrities and musicians alike. The fashion energy was in the air as guest appearances from the likes of editor Anna Dello Russo, model Karolina Kurkova, designers Rachel Roy and Tommy Hilfiger hit Macy’s red carpet. Bobbi Brown and her makeup team gave tutorials and talked with beauty enthusiasts while performances by Joss Stone and Samantha Ronson electrified the crowd!

photo via: Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony at the Ace Hotel
If FNO isn’t a total circus as it is, Opening Ceremony created one. Proclaimed El Mercado De Carnaval and inspired by the liveliness of Argentina, the fiesta featured everything from carnival games to tango performances and even a chat on Argentinean wine with Vogue’s Food Editor, Jeffrey Steingarten. However, this fashion funhouse was not like the rest with stands sponsored by fashion’s hottest, like Rodarte cotton candy, an Opening Ceremony x Muppets water pistol challenge, an Alexander Wang ski ball game among endless goodies by Pamela Love and Band of Outsiders, to name a few. Also who could forget, a special guest appearance by Miss Piggy herself!

photo via: Tiffany

Disco Night at Tiffany
From jewelry mecca to disco dance party, Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue Flagship took a turn in time to not only celebrate in FNO festivities but also take the opportunity to introduce the new Tiffany Era collection. As we see fashion forward trendsetters shifting to a 70’s inspired mindset, Tiffany takes the lead in the jewelry sector to bring forth bold, geometric pieces, which were sported by live models in the windows. As the rest of the store transformed into this 70’s styled disco ball, the spirit of FNO lived on with a Pop Art photo booth, special appearances by Tiffany designers, fashion presentations influenced by nonetheless 70’s style ethics, and a super swank musical performance by Gossip Girl fashionista, Leighton Meester.

Despite all the madness, we managed to photograph some of the fashion obsessed out and about in SoHo dressed in their best and ready to celebrate the spirit of fashion week. Here are some looks that grabbed our eye!

Marciano: Zara jacket and slacks, American Apparel shirt, vintage hat
Ashley: Vintage Escada blouse, H&M jeans, no label jacket, Chanel bag, Jeffrey Campbell boots

Kerri: Betsey Johnson dress
Dominic: Betsey Johnson top and vest

Adtresa: All vintage

While we had so much fun this year, word on the street is this may be the last Fashion's Night Out celebration. Has what started with the primary purpose to promote spending turned into one big out of control party? We guess we'll just have to wait until final word from FNO's creator herself, Anna Wintour. Let us know what you think, where you went, and what fabulous goodies you bought!

September 16, 2011

Falling For Fall

Autumn in New York is one of the best time of year to witness the true beauty this City has to offer. With cooler temperatures and festive activities it’s the perfect time to experience a different side of New York City.

Today we offer you a fun-filled guide about what to look forward to in the upcoming weeks, as we transition from Summer into the crisp calm spirit of Fall!

Leaves Changing
What is Fall without watching the leaves change -- from a lively pigment of green to vibrant shades of crimson, amber, and marigold? The best part about Autumn (as our close cousins refer to it) in the City is the many places you can experience the varying hues of the season -- without ever leaving any of the five boroughs! Take a stroll through Central Park’s open meadow just below Belvedere Castle -- or to Prospect Park Lake to see plentiful rich maples in the midst of transition. Other great spots that really immerse you in nature are Fort Greene Park’s Tree Trail home to over 40 different species of plant life and Inwood Hill Park’s hiking trails. Also, with the Botanical Garden’s online foliage tracker you can detect from home when the leaves will hit their peak in autumnal hues before even planning your visit.

New York Music Theatre Festival
For $20 the NYMT festival offers over thirty musicals, dance productions, concerts and special events in New York City's theatre district. From hip-hop to rock to dramas and comedies, don't miss out on this exciting annual three-week event that highlights new talents, artists, and productions to everyone's liking!

Hats: An Anthology by Steven Jones
With more than 250 hats on display ranging from 12th century Egyptian to contemporary design, this exhibit showcases everything from motorcycle helmets to top hats, plastic tiaras, and of course hats worn by celebrities. Curated by British milliner Steven Jones, the hat collection seeks to educate and influence by showing the process of inspiration and creation as well as featuring contemporary NY milliners. Be sure to check out some of our favorite picks which include Estee Lauder’s turban, Babe Ruth’s baseball cap, and Elsa Schiaparelli’s shoe hat! As they say ... if the shoe fits, wear it!

photo via Jane's Carousel

Jane's Carousel
Looking for something affordable and lighthearted to do? Made in 1922 by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company Jane’s Carousel has been completely restored and opened to the public at Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO. For $2 you can ride a carousel that features 48 charming carved horses, 2 chariots while enjoying a fabulous view of the Brooklyn waterfront! With much of the original elements remaining it’s like taking a short, scenic ride into history.

photo via FIT Museum

Daphne Guinness Exhibition, FIT
Calling on all fashionistas! This week a special exhibition about one of the most profound style icons -- Daphne Guinness. This exhibit conveys her extreme personal style and couture collecting obsession of clothes and accessories -- from the likes of Alexander McQueen, Chanel and Nina Ricci to name a few. As Valentino once said ... "life is a stage for Daphne". You don't want to miss the show!

Fine-Tuning: A Fall Beauty Wish List
Autumn is the perfect time -- right smack in between a fun-filled Summer and the up-and-coming holiday craze -- to take some time for you  self and rejuvenate. It's also a fabulous time to test out the newest and hottest beauty products hitting the market. Our Fall picks? To name a few M.E. Skinlab's new cleanser -- sold exclusively online; Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Lipstick and an absolute must ... Tribeca's Tenoverten Salon. This new nail haven has an entire wall displaying nail hues ranging from mossy greens to your staple pink and red shades and offers a large variety of rare and upscale polish brands like Chanel, NARS, RGB as well as our own personal favorite -- Uslu Airlines. Check it out, let us know which shades are your personal favorites for this Fall!

September 7, 2011

The World Gets Greener...

As one of our core beliefs here at MBF Trend Consulting, environmental responsibility is a trend that we firmly believe in, and one that we expect to last and continue to see as an influential factor in all industries. From what we wear, what we eat, to how we get from one place to another, we have seen many new eco-friendly alternatives and are excited to see the green movement become a global, holistic effort.

Today, we highlight some of the most recent and influential ideas that are shaping today's culture. While in no particular order, here are some of our favorites!

video via: YouTube
Most of us know what it feels like to clean out the closet each year and find piles of clothes, house gadgets, and other little knick-knacks we no longer want or need. Occasionally, we will take the time to drop it off at the nearest Salvation Army, but more times than not, we usually throw these things out or tuck it away somewhere deep down our closets, not wanting to deal with it.

The founders behind Givmo realized this frustration and unnecessary waste, and decided to actually do something about it. Like an online Goodwill with extra perks, Givmo allows people to upload photos of things that they want to give away, and people from all over the country can see your listings in an organized online shopping space. When someone decides that they want your item, he/she agrees to pay the shipping cost for you to mail it to them. For your convenience, Givmo will provide the shipping label and your item can be dropped off or picked up by your local UPS courier. And what's even better, Givmo will donate $1 to charity for every item donated on their site. Considering both eco and social responsibility, Givmo is an easy and creative new way to give away (or find) free stuff.

photo via: Springwise

Ze O Ze
Five pairs in one, Israeli industrial designer Daniela Bekerman's "ze o ze" shoe (translated as 'this or that' in Hebrew) transforms into five uniquely different styles. Using modular attachments, the plain flat shoe transforms to a brogue-inspired lace-up, a Mary Jane kitten-heel, or a casual strappy sandal. Fit to adjust a wide range of multiple occasions, the smartly designed shoe uses less material, produces less waste, and is a great buy for those with a tight budget. With the varying styles all at the price of one, this shoe definitely gives you your money's worth.

photo via: PackWebAsia

Last May, Proctor & Gamble announced the launch of their Supplier Environmental Sustainability Scorecard and rating process. As their next step to environmental sustainability, the scorecard was designed as a holistic effort to encourage P&G's suppliers and partners to track down their total environmental footprint and work collaboratively in becoming more environmentally sustainable. Earlier this month, P&G announced that it is extending their scorecard to another 200 of it's current 400 top suppliers with goals to improve it's corporate environmental performance.  As P&G works with a wide range of industries all across the globe, including packaging, logistics, manufacturing, chemicals, and financial services, this sustainability scorecard program will make huge, lasting impacts in many areas. 

photo via: NY Times

The story behind the San Francisco surfboard company Hess Surfboards is truly as inspiring as the owner himself, Danny Hess. A former building contractor, Hess is a keen surfer who loved surfing but hated the fact that most surfboards are made of non-recyclable materials and must constantly be replaced. Combining his passion for surfing and his life philosophy of being thoughtful about your resources, Hess quit his job and devoted himself full-time to creating environmentally friendly and long-lasting surfboards made from reclaimed and sustainably harvested wood, recycled cork, and nontoxic and recyclable foam. Handcrafted at his California studio, each board is made with the utmost respect and love. Check out his blog to see his latest products!

photo via: AHA Life

Style meets function with S'well's stainless steel water bottle. Made with the highest quality stainless steel, the bottle is designed to keep cold beverages cold and hot beverage hot - for hours. Because the bottle is insulated, there is also never wet condensation on the outside. Perfectly sized to fit into car and stroller cup holders, S'well bottles are ideal for people who are always on-the-go. It's also easy to clean and toxin-free, making it a convenient, chic, and eco-friendly alternative to plastic bottles. In addition, S'well donates 10% of net sales to WaterAid, an NGO that provides access to safe drinking water in the world's poorest areas. Coming in 4 different colors, S'well bottles make a perfect gift for friends or loved ones. Buy yours here!

photo via: Telegraph

A brand with 40 years of heritage, Esprit makes a comeback by teaming up with the Royal College of Art to create 'Esprit RCA Limited Edition'. In a two year design collaboration, Esprit and RCA created a capsule collection, incorporating sustainable fashion design, and selected three students from the competition for their winning designs. Reworked by the company's in-house design team, the collection includes 15 pieces and will be on sale in selected Esprit shops at the end of September. From large-scale, chunky knits, palazzo pants, and dip-dyed draped jersey tops, the collection is young, fresh, and right on trend.

photo via: Replenish

Looking for a non-toxic yet effective household cleaner may sometimes be difficult to find. However, with Replenish's Ultra Concentrated Multi-Surface Cleanser, you not only get a safe (even drinkable) cleaner, the bottle is also long-lasting and reusable, with a patented concentrate mixing and delivery system. 

Each bottle is designed to last up to 3 years with enough concentrate pod at the bottom of the bottle to make 4 bottles worth of cleaner. Simply add your own water, mix, and Replenish will automatically add just the right amount of concentrate to make your cleaning spray. With this innovative design, Replenish has set a goal of eliminating 1 billion bottles from landfills and 1 billion pounds of chemicals out of the environment. 

photo via: Ecouterre

McDonald's may not be one of the first companies we think of when it comes to sustainability, but when we heard about their new eco-friendly uniforms, we were all pleasantly surprised. Worn Again, a resource efficiency business that upcycles corporate textile waste into new products, is partnering with British designers Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway to create a closed-loop system, taking old uniforms and reprocessing them into raw materials for new ones with zero waste. Working with Alexandra, a leading uniform manufacturer, this collaborative project is a young, innovative way to think about sustainability in a broader aspect. The uniforms are expected to be revealed just in time for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. It is planned that employees of the Olympic Park restaurants will be the first to wear the new uniforms. After the games, the outfits will make their debut all across the 1,200 restaurants in the UK. And hopefully, it doesn't end there as we'd love to see this change make their way across the Atlantic. 

photo via: Inhabitat

Who would have thought that the world's largest rooftop farm is located right here in the bustling city of NYC? Brooklyn Grange is a 40,000 square foot elevated organic garden located on top of a six-story warehouse built by Bromley Caldari Architects. Grown by urban farmers, the rooftop cultivates 40 various fruits and vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, fennel, kale, beets, carrots, and a variety of herbs. While it's first farm is located in Long Island City Queens, their goal is to put more farms on roofs throughout New York and beyond, growing more food and improving the overall quality of life in the city. The Brooklyn Grange hopes to reconnect it's city dwellers to its farms and farmers by improving the local's access to good, healthy food. If you live in the city, click here to learn how you can get involved.

September 1, 2011

September MBF Favorite Picks

photo via: NY Times

For this month's MBF's Favorite Picks, we head South to one of the world's most exciting countries: Brazil. With emerging markets in finance, fashion, real estate, and culture, this South American country is making headlines with natives returning back to their homeland, as well as various industry insiders from all over the world. While most parts of the world are facing financial downslides, Brazil's unemployment is at historic lows as the country is now one of the biggest buyers of United States Treasury securities, taking a sharp turn from where the country was heading only 30 years ago. This week, let's take a look at some of the latest news highlighting what makes this country such a hot destination.

photo via: NY Times

1. Comedy Central Goes to Brazil
While the American-based television network Comedy Central has already established itself as a global network with channels in countries such as Britain, Poland, Israel, and New Zealand, this year, the network finally makes its debut in Brazil. With 200 million people, this is a giant stepping stone for the network as it is not only their largest overseas market, but also their first venture in Latin America.

However, this comes as no surprise as comedy is booming in Brazil due to a new generation of comedians and a growing number of entertained fans. The Brazilian comedian Rafinha Bastos is leading the way for his home country as he was also recently named the most influential person in the Twitter universe. Mixing currently existing popular American TV shows like The Colbert Report and The Daily Show With John Stewart, the network also plans to hire native writers and editors to cater to the Brazilian culture. Furthermore, since the economy is booming, the market for cable TV is rising, making it the perfect time to launch the channel.

photo via: W Magazine

2. "USAnatomy" by Steven Klein
Photographer and W contributor Steven Klein's new exhibition "USAnatomy" kicked off earlier this month for Brazilian society. Curated by Chico Lowndes at the Brazilian Museum of Sculpture in Sao Paulo, the attendees were invited to witness 30 rarely seen Polaroids, including the legendary July 2005 issue of W, featuring the celebrity couple, Brad and Angelina. The show will run till August 28 as part of the annual IGUATEMI photo series.

photo via: Coach

3. Retailers Expand Into Brazil
With a growing number of middle-class, retailers are all geared toward capturing the attention of the growing Brazilian market. Carrefour claims that Brazil is an important motor for their growth as the country became the retailer's second largest market in terms of sales during the first quarter of this year.

In addition, the NY-based handbag and accessory brand Coach took a smart move and extended its retail stores into Brazil. Expected to launch it's first stores in São Paulo within the next twelve months, Coach has been eyeing the country for the last year before finally signing a deal with Aste Group, enabling it to expand into freestanding stores in local shopping centers. As the economy is rapidly developing, Coach hopes to catch the attention of the "growing aspirational consumer" and believes that their brand will strongly resonate with the Brazilian market. The trend-based fast fashion retailer Topshop/Topman will also enter Brazil in February or March, as one of their several new global ventures.

photo via: Vandalog

4. Beco do Batman
In order to find the best graffiti of São Paulo, locals recommend you take a walk down the colorful walls of Beco do Batman "Batman's Alley" located in Rua Goncalo Alfonso. Originally just a typical narrow alleyway, artists have brought new life to these streets and turned them into an open-air gallery. While there are some that have remained for long periods, there are always new illustrations popping up each week, making it an evolving art space.

photo via: WWD

5. Myla Launches Swimwear in Brazil
When it comes to swimwear, Brazilians are the expert. Therefore, it's no surprise that British lingerie label Myla is revamping it's swimwear line in collaboration with Brazilian designer Amir Slama, the cofounder of the swim label Rosa Cha. Launching it's Cruise 2012 collection in November, the 60-piece collection includes a wide assortment, from both sleek and simple to elaborate and glamorous. Staying true to Myla's design sense, the styles are all about making women feel confident in their own bodies, designed with supporting structure to sculpt the body. All designs will be manufactured in Brazil, where Slama oversees the process.

photo via: The Rio Times

Since the bus is the most common form of transportation in the bustling cities of Brazil, local commuters were thrilled earlier this month on the inauguration of the "Bus Rapid System," taking full effect in Leblon and Ipanema beginning August 20th. With this new system, buses can ride faster and more efficiently, cutting traffic time and reducing congestion. Of the 55 lines that are currently operating in Ipanema, fifty are planned to be included in the BRS system, with five lines no longer operating. As the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games are slowly approaching, Rio de Janeiro is quickly on it's way in upgrading it's infrastructure.

photo via: TechEBlog

7. The Laranjeiras Residence
Real estate has skyrocketed in Brazil and this house in Rio de Janeiro is a true gem. Called the Laranjeiras Residence, the home features an open box design, meaning that "it was built around the natural surroundings." Using it's landscape to enhance the layout, the concept of the design gives the feeling of freedom within the space. Using large windows, wide openings, high ceilings, and large open rooms, this is an extravagant seasonal vacation house.

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