November 29, 2012

Reinventing Reality

With the end of the year nearing, we are still trying to figure things out moving forward. Despite, there has been an onset of revolutionary change (both good and bad) making its mark in history from weather to the economy, politics, retail, and of course fashion. The past two seasons we've seen major 1950's influences grace the runway leaving Spring 2013 to be quite progressive with its bold, black and white optical aesthetic. And as a result, this renewed Mod look is making a statement all over the press and internet. We need a change and we don't yet know what that change is. Therefore, we look to the exact opposite of the spectrum for answers.

The longer, fuller, more restrictive looks of the 1950's were followed by a drastic change in aesthetic of the 1960's as radical Mod and Space Age influences became all the rage. From conservative to dramatic color contrasts and avant garde influences, this is the exact shift we are seeing in our present day as we move forward in the modern age of technology.

photo via Oyster Mag

Super saturated colors have been the thing for so long now that we are beginning to progress towards a more minimal, neutral color palette. We've noticed this not only on the catwalk with designers like Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga, Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, and Moschino, but through advertisements and prints reminiscent of black and white photographs like Proenza Schouler's fall campaign for example.

photo via

The art world is on board to as the Tate Modern in London showcases fashion photographer William Klein's black and white shots and the Guggenheim displays Picasso's Black and White exhibit, both running now through the end of January. “Black-and-white removes a layer of reality and allows you to see the world in a different way. There is a classicism in the imagery, so when you see it down the years, it makes more of a mark," explains photographer Steven Klein.

video via Mashable

As we already know, history always repeats itself so at this point, it's all about reinventing the past, specifically the 1960s. Tom Sachs brought the space age back with his imaginary Mars Exhibit last spring. Nars Cosmetics is doing it with its Andy Warhol Collection, which even has a Facebook Profile Makeover app so fans can "Warholize" their photos. Marc Jacobs brought the spirit of a 21st century Edie Sedgwick to life on the spring runway with 18-year old model Ruby Jean Wilson. Not to mention his new campaign is mod to the max with the help of the young model, optical illusion prints, and sight-bending mirrors.

photo via NY Times

No industry knows reinvention better than the fashion industry with designers not only launching fresh collections at least twice a year, but major fashion houses updating artistic and creative directors as well. With that said, Marc Jacobs is for sure the master of renewing himself as he goes from layered and embellished one season to simple and clean the next. Just last spring, it was announced Raf Simmons was leaving Jil Sander for Dior. This spring, Jil Sander returned to her namesake and kicked it off with a "Reset to Zero" themed collection. What was once Yves Saint Laurent is now Saint Laurent as part of Hedi Slimane's makeover as creative director. And the latest shake up, Balenciaga and Nicolas Ghesquière are parting ways with much gossip fluttering around about who will fill his shoes next.

video via Daily Motion

So what does this mean? Well, for one, this indicates that a combination of both simplicity and drama represents not only future aesthetics, but future ideals. Just look at H&M's new luxury line, & Other Stories. With a trendy retailer like H&M going meaningful and minimal, maybe we are finally reaching the peak of fast fashion and making a point to slow down, or maybe it's merely an illusion. Either way, a struggle to balance today's savvy digital age with the slower ways of doing things that once were, is producing something in itself by making sense of reality with an entirely new perception. 

November 27, 2012

MBF's 25 Days of Pinterest

As we wrap up another year, we'd like to introduce our 6th annual Holiday Bytes.

This year we will be posting the most innovative (and our personal favorite) “Holiday tidbits” on our mbf Pinterest site starting on December 1st and continuing throughout the month!

So get inspired this season and follow us here, as we pin something new each day!

Also, make sure to "like" us on FB to get our daily updates!

Happy Holidays!

Your MBF Team

November 20, 2012

Giving Back, Moving Forward

It’s been a tough few weeks and between the gas crisis, nor’easter, lack of public transportation and general destruction of homes, businesses and the like that Sandy has caused, we are in for an interesting holiday season. Some retailers like Saks have already felt the effects with its 5th Ave store in Manhattan, which produces one-fifth of its company wide sales alone and was closed for a week and a day due to the storm. Many other companies are already forecasting lower expectations than originally anticipated like TJX stores, Kohls, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and even Macy's for the 2012 gifting season.

So as a result, this holiday shopping season has been pushed up even earlier as retailers try and maximize as much as possible on Black Friday revenue. Stores like Walmart, Target and Sears are even opening as early as 8pm on Thanksgiving itself, deeming the holiday "Black Thursday." However, along with this, comes much controversy about infringing on the importance of this traditional family oriented holiday of giving thanks for those employees who are forced to cut it short or give it up entirely in the name of dollar signs.

photo via MyCityWay

One retailer keeping its doors closed on Thanksgiving is Macy's, who will open at midnight on the morning of Black Friday. Instead, the mega department chain which hosts its annual Macy's Day Parade, is putting its focus on Thanksgiving Day festivities by bringing in a mobile component to its 86th celebration. The MyCityWay Macy's Thanksgiving App, will offer both parade attendees and TV viewers an interactive in depth look into the balloons, floats and performers as well as the ability to track the route and play customizable games.

photo via British Vogue

Others are getting a bit more creative and looking at more innovative ways to attract shoppers. For one, Barney's is partnering with Disney this year to launch a cartoon film following Minnie's adventures at Paris fashion week. Along the way, she runs into some of fashion's most famous faces which includes Lady Gaga, Alber Elbaz, Carine Roitfeld and Sara Jessica Parker to give you a little sneak peak!

video via Forever 21

Forever 21 is releasing its augmented reality app called F21Pop bringing both its windows and magazine to life. The fast fashion chain specifically caters largely to Generation Y-ers so incorporating a digital component into this year's holiday campaign is key.

video via Asos

One retailer definitely capitalizing on the disposable income of Generation Y is nonetheless Asos! This time the online trendy shop is launching a global interactive Christmas campaign featuring shoppable films starring the likes of Ellie Goulding, Charlotte Free and Azealia Banks. Each celebs' personal style will be showcased via a cross-platform approach through images, video and editorial shots.

photo via

Kohl's is making shopper's dreams come true as it unleashes its campaign "Dream Gifts" that offers mega savings and lavish contests like its "dream receipt" component which pays for one lucky shopper's entire purchase everyday in each of its 1,100 stores! Kohl's is heavily pushing its advertising via digital, social media and mobile platforms to include things like cinema ads running on Hulu, ABC, and as well as offering Friday flash sales and sweepstakes on Facebook. Not to mention, with every new "like" on Facebook, the retailer will donate a dollar to Toys for Tots! Among this, Kohl's also has its designated gift pairing displays, an online list builder which includes a real time budgeting feature and free wifi in all of its stores.

photo via Ebay

Ebay is stepping up its game as well with its Holiday Collective, which takes over 40 designer gifts from the like of Chris Benz, Steven Alan, Tibi and Jonathan Adler, etc, and brings them to shoppers at a super affordable price of under $100!

photo via Star Tribune

Meanwhile, some are getting in the holiday spirit by joining up forces to produce some noteworthy collaborations. For instance, Target and Neiman Marcus are teaming up to offer a limited collection of more than 50 products ranging from fashion merch to sporting goods from the likes of Oscar de la Renta, DVF and even Derek Lam. Since the prices range rom $7.99 to nearly $500, it's a great opportunity for both retailers to blend their customer bases and capitalize on profits. 

photo via J.C. Penney

So we've caught you up on a plethora of different retailers but what's J.C. Penney up to as they continue to struggle to reposition themselves? This holiday season the department chain will be handing out over 80 million holiday themed circular buttons with codes revealing prizes like trips to Disneyland, gift cards or free merchandise.

Not only do we have Black Thursday and Black Friday promos to look forward to, but Cyber Monday too! With that said, if you are looking to avoid all the holiday shopping madness, what better way to shop than from the comfort of your own home? According to a recent survey from, nearly 90% of retails will offer some form of free shipping over the next few weeks and we couldn't be more excited for that!

video via ABC

Despite the increased holiday pressures, for many, Sandy is still on our minds. And as sample sale season is among us, many designers are offering the proceeds from these deeply discounted crazed sales towards Sandy Relief Efforts (which is something we LOVE to hear and shop!). On top of that, Gap Inc., Target, Macy's and Home Depot are just a few of the companies donating hefty sums to the American Red Cross to help rebuild the local community.

A lot of crazy things have happened the past year (both good and bad) and we’re sure there’s more to come. So whatever your plans are for Thanksgiving, make sure to be thankful for something this year and remember to give a little back!

November 15, 2012

The Third Industrial Revolution

There are a million similar products out there. Products that vary in branding, size, quality, price, color, extra features, you name it, but besides these differentiations, what really makes one stand out from another? And are these mere tangible things really enough for us anymore?

More than ever, a product or service is only as powerful as the connection it creates with its end user. The acts of buying and selling have been completely redefined as more and more companies are challenged to connect with their customers and shift towards a co-sharing approach. Purchasing isn't just about satisfying the need to own something, but a desire to experience a deeper relationship with a brand that translates into the real world. And just like every relationship, the importance lies in the ability to trust.

video via

With that said, this spawn of companies selling co-shared products and services range in everything from carpooling to couch surfing to even office space sublets. You can swap your house with someone in Paris or instead rent a person's apartment for a week in Berlin. Online dating sites and services that match up roommates are more popular than ever. Not to mention, SpaceSplitter goes as far as creating roommate agreements and helping people manage mutual living costs. Whatever the company may be, the point is they all operate on trust based business models. We don't just want mere products anymore, we want something meaningful. It's all about that sense of community and connecting with other people. We just need more.

So how do we get to a point where we feel comfortable trusting? Well, in this digital age, the first place we undoubtedly start is by doing research on the internet! We check out brands' webpages and read product reviews by previous users, which almost every site is equipped with. We do background checks on people using Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We can even look up where we are eating tonight on Yelp. It's all about credibility and with so much information easily accessible, our first instincts are nonetheless to "google" it! Think about it, the best advertising truly is word of mouth and in the digital age this has obviously been redefined.

video via techcrunch

From the Industrial Revolution to the Digital Revolution, we are right in the middle of a new movement called the Maker's Revolution. Anyone can be a food critic or fashion journalist by creating their own blog, you can independently sell handmade crafts on Etsy or promote your band on Myspace or The point is you can make yourself whatever you want to be and as this digital world continues to grow, the tangible world will have to keep up. The internet connects us with resources from across the globe and more importantly, it gives us an outlet to make our dreams a legit reality. Once the web and manufacturing worlds combine, the possibilities will be endless and we see these virtual things beginning to come to life with the introduction of social media and 3D printing.

As more companies with these philosophies flourish, what does this say about the shift in our ideals as a society? We've been taught how to "work together" since kindergarten but is it finally sinking in? Are we opening up our eyes to the fact that the only way to get ahead is to share our resources and information for the greater good? Or as more and more is accessible to us are we just further pushing the limits to create newness, risk and adventure? Whatever it may be, we don't just own things anymore and our value system is shifting to make things that were own day unacceptable into today, a way of life.

If you are interested in this idea of co-sharing and collaborative consumption and would like to learn more, there are meetup groups scattered around the world that you can join!

November 8, 2012

"It's Not About the Destination, It's About the Journey"

These past two weeks have been a bit hectic with the hurricane, election and now snow! Therefore, today, we’d like to lighten the mood and help you escape on a trip around the world. As we've mentioned plenty of times before, in order to connect the dots, you have to experience the world around you. People always ask "how do we get inspired" and to be honest, a lot of that comes directly from our travels and being exposed to different cultures, both locally and internationally. Combined, we've been all over, so come away with us to our top favorite hotspots around the world. First stop, the west coast! 

1. Seattle, Washington

Seattle is a great place to get the ultimate blend of music culture, eco-friendly attitudes, art, and of course delicious cuisines! While we want to point out some hidden gems the city has to offer, we can’t talk about Seattle without mentioning, Pike Place Market. Established in 1907, this local farmers market and shopping area is a great year round bazaar for organic produce, specialty grocers, fish, flowers and artisan crafts. Be sure to stick around the fish section to catch a glimpse of a live fish throw and you may even see one as big as a 3-foot salmon get tossed in the air.

All this talk of food, brings us to our next spot, Oddfellows Cafe, a rustic eatery that serves both local and organic dishes. With a menu that changes seasonally and includes everything from mussels to steak with potatoes aligot, this dining space is decorated with wood picnic tables and 90% of its furnishings and fixtures are salvaged, recycled, or repurposed.

Seattle also has some of the best antiquing to offer, with merchandise from a variety of different eras and super reasonable prices, you'll find yourself in thrifting heaven. If you are looking for jewelry or vintage suitcases, Antiques by Pike Place Market is perfect. We also love Red Light which is a large space merchandised entirely by era.

If you're in need of a break from the city, escape to Bainbridge Island for a much needed dose of nature. A lovely ferry ride gets you across the bay in 35 minutes and includes a fabulous view of Seattle and Mount Rainier. Fort War Park is a hiking haven full of abandoned military bunkers that have been transformed into a local hangout by graffiti artists so you can get your fix of nature and art all at once.

2. Costa de la Luz

A long-kept secret amongst natives, Costa de la Luz is part of the Andalucía coast in Spain on the Atlantic side – a wonderful unspoiled stretch of coastline running from Tarifa to Cadiz. Considered one of Spain's "breadbaskets," there's something for everyone here whether it be wind surfing, horseback riding, sherry sipping, fine dining, church/cathedral-hopping, or sun bathing (although remember to check when the winds are blowing from Levante or Oriente).

One can drive hours on end through the beautiful undulating landscapes that appear uninhabited. There's a divine selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables, some of it available for purchase at road-side stands. The Andalusian horse farms are definitely a fun activity not to be missed and bring you back to a simpler time of man, horse, and dog.  Also, take some time and pass through the town of Vejer de la Frontera, a classic "pueblo blanco" full of Christian culture with Moorish overtones. The only unappealing attribute along this scenic ride are the windmill farms, which although remain a great source of sustainable energy, can be quite an eye sore to the otherwise radiant setting.

Ok so let's talk beaches! Our personal favorite is "El Palmar" and is approximately 15 minutes from Vejer. This "wild" beach is populated with sand dunes and is 100% undeveloped. Here, spend a few hours with friends in the sun and you'll really understand it's charm. Getting hungry? Walk back to the main road and grab lunch at one of the local beach restaurants. While the food may be simple, it is superb with a selection of jamon, sambas, and varying dishes of Spain's famous paella.

Make sure you spend a day and explore the beautiful Moorish city and port, Cadiz. One of Europe's oldest cities and home of where Christopher Columbus sailed off to discover the Americas, is filled with spectacular architecture of cathedrals, churches and castles. From here, grab a ferry to Puerto Santa Maria to visit the grounds of La Bodega Osborne and get an inside look (and taste) of the world renowned sherries, which are typical for this region of Spain and absolutely delicious! Finish your time here with lunch at the Mariscada, a port where the hot dry winds from Africa are sure to be felt.

3. Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh is a magnificent city full of history, stunning architecture and of course a great pub culture. The city is divided into two towns both old, dominated by medieval design, and new, full of European influences. The Edinburgh Festival is typically held throughout August, so we suggest going in the early fall when it's not as touristy but crisp and lively with locals. While walking down the Royal Mile and visiting the Holyroodhouse Palace (where the royal family visits) are great must dos, stay in the Grassmarket, at the heart of the liveliness of the city. And while you are in the area, if you are looking for some real Scottish culture and feeling adventurous we might add, grab some haggis at The Fidler's Arm, followed by some live music and dancing with some friendly Scots at Biddy Mulligan's.

The city's most know landmark is Edinburgh Castle and seen practically city-wide. However, it is a bit disappointing so take pictures and walk up to the castle for a great scenic overlook of the city, but don't go in! If you are looking for an authentic experience, take an hour trip into the Scottish countryside to Stirling Castle, full of Renaissance architecture, beautiful grounds and a fabulous tapestry exhibit.

What would a trip to Scotland be without trying some whiskey of course? The Whiskey Experience takes you on a tour of a replica distillery and makes you part of the process as you test different flavors. For the real thing, Glengoyne Distillery in the Southern highlands is our pick. Here the staff is super knowledgeable, proud of their heritage and creates an exceptional single malt scotch whiskey.

Also, whatever you do, make sure you take a trip up to the highlands in Glencoe. You will not only experience multiple types of weather all in one day, but the skies open up and the mountains are absolutely breathtaking. The scenery is magical and you may even catch a rainbow!

Edinburgh is a city like anywhere else so much of the beauty is found just in walking around. You'll find men in kilts busking and playing bagpipes, independent art shops like The Red Door Gallery, vintage finds at Godiva Boutique, candy inspired cocktails at Candy Kitchen & Bar, historic museums like The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, tons of little shops full of Scottish tartans and memorabilia and even Camera Obscura, an interactive museum that gives you an optical view of the skyline of the entire city.

Stay tuned for part 2...
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