Category Archives: Shop

VOICE IS YOUR WEAPON

DIABOLICK opened its doors in BCN with one principle objective, to create a brand sincere to the spirit of ‘old school’ and all this phrase embraces.

Ah I love this shop. For me it represents a quite movement of small brands establishing their market and embracing there individuality, and slowly growing. While there are many people creating clothing on the back of image of ‘street culture’ there are few that genuinely understand it. Diabolik Store does. This is displayed by all the collaborations that goes on in this place and projects that they are involved in.

The intention of the shop is to have a space that has a strong background with, music/art/street culture. The architecture of space is inviting and informal. Different levels, stairs leading up and down in to different areas, invites you to have a good mooch at products and the cool murals, for as long as you like. i-am like this, it embraces the ‘experience’ that brands can give you, it encourages you to return.

Downstairs the space becomes shop and gallery. Every 2 months an ‘artist Vs Diabolik’. The motive of the ‘battle’ (drawing battle if you like), to project a new image that sits alongside Diabolik. Not change Diabolik image but opens it up, questions what Diabolik is, can be. Therefore keeping the space and hence brand versatile.

Some original labeling, with pictogram’s, links not only the clothes to the music but show the diversity of Diabolik music connections. Looks damn good too! i-am favourite is the Reggae comb.

Other collaborations with urban magazines, Lamomo, Staf (great layout design), LeCool, Relevant (this is a little gem of a mag unfolding I predict!) centre Diabolik in a BCN movement I feel. Sure there’s always been creative stuff happening in this city but all these guys seem to be on the same course of improving themselves while remaining true to their identity, and that brings me back to what ‘street culture’ really is.

It pretty cool what can be achieved when collaborating together and Diabolik latest concept UFO (Urban fashion Object) which shows it first collection this Jan 09, ( the likes of designers My Jok, Carp111 and Marcos Caberera to name a few) is sure to be a leading brand in years to come.

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A HEDGEHOG IN A LAND OF FOXES

Marti Guixe, most commercially known for his collaboration with the brand Camper and Rei Kawakubo, founder of fashion label Comme des Garcons share an artful strength. These are designers which create their own independent environments and put their ideas in them.

Described as ‘a hedgehog* in a land of foxes’, Marti Guixe is a creator of fantastic ideas. ‘Ideas’ the soul seed to an initial brief and a skill that cannot be taught. This natural ability of independent thinking sieves the many designers apart from the great designers. What i-am like about him is his blatant honestly, for all to see, for example ‘If you don’t need it don’t buy it’ slogans displayed on camper shopping bags. Designers like Marti have an unique thought process and this in itself then becomes part of the design. Humble scribbled ‘idea’ drawings, to final interior/product concepts.

i-am are intrigued with his constant reference to food. Many projects revolve around this theme, one particular i-am favourite is the edible wall, (image shown above), where you go and eat the space your in!!

Why the ‘food theme’ becomes reoccurring in his work? Well, I put it down to him being Catalan. From living here in Spain for the last year I believe the Spanish have their priorities of eating spot on. Regardless of an office deadline, huge volume of work, the Spanish stop to eat! Guixe attempts to put things into perspective.” I have considered that I will buy perhaps two chairs in my lifetime, but I buy food three times a day”.

This brings me to the point of putting things (objects, brands) into to perspective. A perspective, what is that? It is how we view a brand, and it is how the designer wants us to view it. We are often carefully steered into a perception of a brand. Marti Guixe and Rei Kawakubo give us a new perspective by demostrating how they view their ideas not how we are told to view. ‘Shop design, interior design, catwalk design, Rei is often called the designer’s designer’.

She founded the label Comme des Garcons, which means ‘Like Boys’ in Tokyo in 1969. A slow growing company, now annually amassing 75 million pounds her priority has always been creativity. ‘Finding the right balance between the creative and the commercial has always been my work. The two are not necessary opposed’. Her collaborations are wide and varied, from Speedo to the up and coming H&M collection (in UK stores Nov 13th) to connect with the new fashion generation and get a wider audience to experiment with creative fashion. Her concept of Guerrilla Comme shops, which appear and disappear as fast as the seasons have secured her reputataion as a successful rebel, and leave us asking how we can express identiy stronger.

Her concept and direction of Dover Street Market (In London UK), brings together her vision where ‘various creators from various fields gather together and encounter each other in an ongoing atmosphere of beautiful chaos: the mixing up and coming together of different kindred souls who all share a strong personal vision.”

‘I enjoy seeing all the customers coming to DSM dressed in their strong, good looking and individual way. I would like for DSM to be the place where fashion becomes fascinating.”

Reki Kawakubo and Marti Guiex bring to brands their perception of beauty and ideals, regardless of trends. That is admirable, that is lasting and why their work, works!

*’hedgehog in a land of foxes’ illustration by Ganton

Revamp

Revamp

As featured on the ‘i-am’ Experience Fix blog, the eco-fashion company Revamp has been featured in the latest innovation report from research company GDR Creative Intelligence.

Revamp sources emerging design talent to create trendy, sustainable and environmentally-friendly garments and accessories from clothes donated to Cancer Research UK charity shop outlets. Check out the earlier Experience Fix posting on Revamp to find out more about ‘i-am’s recent logo and identity work with this pioneering brand.

Visit the GDR website: www.gdruk.com or download GDR’s Revamp Case Study HERE.

Shop for Revamp fashion and accessories online at www.revampfashion.co.uk or from the Cancer Research store at 24 Marylebone High Street, London W1 (Baker St. / Bond St. tubes)

SOAP RAINBOW

Sweet smells, Delicious colours, and a product you can enjoy everyday! Soap shop Sabater Hnos. Fabrica de Jabones.

Keeping in the neighbourhood, tucked around the corner from Plaza de St Felip Neri is a sweet smelling soap shop Sabater Hnos. Fabrica de Jabones.

This soap shop couldn’t be more individual if it tried. If it were a person I would describe them as, elegant, educated, and dogmatic. Elegant, because of the simple layout, almost barn like, using all the old Spanish features and painting them deep cool colours. Educated, because the shapes of the soap reference periods of art, reminding me of tiles designed by architect, Alvar Aalto, and Rennie Mackintosh, designs, paintings (particularly the logo). The colours are pigments you only find in specialized paint shops. Dogmatic, because this space states this is my style, way of looking at a brand/product, and I will not compromise because I am different! Infact it is rather a nice way of looking at approaching a brand, imagining if it were a person, what qualities would you want it to hold.

Independent brands like Sabater Hnos. Fabrica de Jabones are so valuable to the market. They create original ideas with an everyday product. While they may be small in quantity they are high in quality. While they may be over looked, simply missed by the masses, they are greatly appreciated by those who discover them. This is shop encompasses true BCN style…A pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

Some i-am favourite eye catches. The BCN tiles gift set, (the design as seen on the street tiles of BCN!) and hundreds and thousands soap scoop box. The packaging of produce was all in cardboard, humble and cost effective. Another nice touch was the logo, stamped on bags, again, cost effective and also a nice contrast with the glossier packaging.

THE DETAIL OF RETAIL

The Detail Of Retail. The Five Essential Steps for the Perfect Customer Experience.

‘i-am’ associates have published an Insight Guide entitled ‘The Detail of Retail’. The Book is based on the invaluable perspective of Retail Guru and ‘i-am’ Director Tim Jeffrey.
The Guide highlights five essential ingredients that represent the essence of a Great Customer Experience. The list is in fact endless as is the customer’s demands in exchange for their loyalty. But here is a good place to start. Use this Guide as a checklist against your own brand experience and to hold against that of others.

‘The Detail of Retail’ is available from the ‘i-am’ Shop for £5.00 (+ £3.00 p&p)

Alternatively order ‘The ‘i-am’ Yellow Book – Quotes and Images from a New Perspective’ for £18.00 (+ £3.00 p&p) and receive a FREE copy of ‘The Detail of Retail’

Visit the ‘i-am’ Shop HERE for more images and information.

ALL TOGETHER NOW

I have had my eye on this little place since its been under construction. Even then the papered up, windows were considered, decorated with enchanting doodle drawings that gave it some magic pull and added to the curiosity of what lies behind. Todojunto is a gallery/design/meeting point. In their own words ‘ Todojunto is dedicated to the promotion and exhibition of independent cultural projects. Primarily the space acts as a platform for graphic works (illustration, painting, photography and graphics in general), record labels, editorial and fanzine projects as well as collaborations with different artists and collectives. The overall aim of Todojunto is to enliven the cultural activity of the borough while at the same time offering the city a meeting point that facilitates the exchange of knowledge and reflections surrounding contemporary culture and reality.’

For me it was an inviting, open space. Not a new concept, but new realization with how the world of design is integrating. The cross over/mix of design mediums, ie: music with motion graphics/photography with sound/in general, hand crafted with technology, means that there is now a need for spaces to display, invite, inspire, this movement. If i look into my crystal ball I see there will be plenty more spaces developing like Todojunto, its design evolution.

If you look on to their website you can find more ‘Spaces’ in BCN. Check out the current exhibition (originally hung, paper prints stuck at top with long strip of masking tape!, looked great!) by Julio Dolbeth and Ruio…great blogs! nice skull Snow White drawing!

An an i-am favourite was the hand drawn signage found in Todojunto. Reminded us of the brand Howies and their store in Carnaby St. London

ART IS NOT A CRIME

Montana Shop and Galley is a writers sweet shop! Delicious rows of colours and colours to choose from. The layout is simple, lots of wood used, less is more here. The glass desk top counter lets you peer down into it, at products, old school and new school. Montana is a paint and much more, check out Montana TV.

I like that there is only a small selection of clothing, its refreshing, not to be bombarded with cool stuff and it gives you the feeling your really are a little exclusive. It shows a self confidence in the brand, the shop is there to sell paint, the rest is an taster, education as to the culture that goes along with graff. There is a considered selection of publications, books, mags, neatly tucked in the corner (nice, bit of privacy for you to browse). Here you feel part of the other world of BCN the BCN famous for it’s graffitti. But of course is not like the old days, but it you were gonna move with the times but still remain true to the roots, Montana as a brand have done so.

Nice little free street map for the best spots in BCN to skate/graffiti/longboard/surf and snowboard

So thats Montana Shop and if you step through to the left side of it, and into the left hand side of you brain! there is the Montana Gallery. Ahhh this is great! The space is their for the artist to use however they want. Only one rule, the artist is from a street background. The current exhibition is by Steve Harrington titled ‘Our Mountain’ after a large hill located in La Verne, California.

‘My dad used to take my brother and me there when we were four and five years old. We would hike to the top of our “mountain” every Saturday morning and drink hot chocolate and eat doughnuts while looking over our small town. From the top, as the sun rose, we could see our house, our school, a small airport, a lake and the towering San Gabriel Mountains  washed pink and purple in the morning sun. For me it has since turned into a metaphor for many things  adventure, togetherness, and the sweet days of my chidhood gone by.It just fit. I’ve always dreamt of turning it back into something else, now I can hold onto the memory a little longer.’

Never accept stickers from strangers kids! Sponsors, Sixpack france handing out stickers on opening night. Read their history, nicely written, ‘underground is overground, hip hop is hi pop’. Other sponsors where Element skateboards

Eeer…I don’t know what to write about this exhibition. I’m still left speechless from the sheer beauty and creativity of it all! I’m sure there is a lot of tepee invites sitting pride of place on mantelpieces round BCN.