The Borobudur, is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist Temple in Indonesia, and is one of the great wonders of the world. We chose this monument to shoot for our first Ad Campaign in 2014. This temple directly reflects the brands ethos and inspiration. As you look upon the breathtaking Javanese Buddhist architecture, one can see the connections between our design inspiration and this ancient architecture. Ancient temples such as this one are gifts to us and point the way to an integrated world culture.



The monument is both a shrine to the Buddha and a place for pilgrimage. The journey for pilgrims begins at the base of the monument and follows a path around the monument and ascends to the top through three levels symbolic of Buddhist cosmology. Everyone ascends through the world of desire, the world of forms and the world of formlessness. the Borobudur stupa is also a replica of the universe. It symbolizes the micro-cosmos, which is divided into three levels, in which man’s world of desire is influenced by negative impulses; the middle level, the world in which man has control of his negative impulses and uses his positive impulses; the highest level, in which the world of man is no longer bounded by physical and worldly ancient desire. To this day, temples such as this one are still used for meditation and for people to experience other realms of awareness.

Imagine living during this ancient time, away from the distractions of contemporary materialism, you’d experience a connectedness to the earth, energy, and the cosmos. I personally feel that these temples were created to send a message to us that illustrate an evolution of consciousness.

We strive to tell a story of a singularity of consciousness and have created this platform to help us deepen that connection.


The pine cone (fractal form) symbol is one of the most mysterious emblems found in ancient art and architecture. It wasn’t just used by one culture but many around the world. It cant be denied that this symbol has meaningful significance.  It can be found in the ruins of the Indonesians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Christians to name a few. It has been said to symbolize the “pineal gland” or “Third Eye.”  This gland is said to lie at the geometric center of the brain. The French philosopher Descartes famously referred to the pineal gland as the Seat of the Soul. The Third Eye seems strange, even downright alien to us in the West, even today, despite our living in the “information age.”  It has been said to be the gateway to other dimensions of consciousness

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These ancient architects create fractal pineal gland like structures that can perhaps be pointing the way to further self discovery. The pineal gland is the axis point to higher dimensions of consciousness.




dolly at beach

When Dolly Singh first met Elon Musk, it was 2007, and SpaceX had already seen its share of rocket launch failures.

Singh had spent the past six years as a recruiter in southern California, matching those who could build rockets with the companies who wanted to enter the next frontier. Then there was Musk, who to the aerospace community was the software guy from Silicon Valley, and he wanted Singh to come work for him and give up her own independent business and clients.

She knew his résumé, but she also knew rockets were hard.

Musk drew her two lines, Singh said, reenacting it for Business Insider on a Starbucks table in San Francisco seven years later.

One line slanted up, showing the acceleration of Silicon Valley, “better, faster, cheaper.” The famous Moore’s law. The other line was flat. The U.S. rocket industry, Musk told Singh, pretty much hadn’t moved over the last 50 years.

Singh says Musk told her: “It’s not a leap of faith to say that you can take these technologies and pull this laggard industry into the 21st industry.”

Singh took the leap of faith, and spent the next five and a half years touring candidates through the SpaceX campus and watching Musk try to pull the rocket industry forward.

After years of walking around the hard factory floors, Singh realized there was a different industry that needed to be pulled forward, whose line had likewise remained stagnant.

For Musk, it may have been rockets. For Singh, it was the high heel.

“To me, when you’re surrounded by some of the smartest people on the planet, building some of the biggest and most badass machines on this world, the idea that my shoes are such crap became really obnoxiously unbearable,” Singh said.

Singh had been thinking about her high heel problem for about a year and a half before she approached some of her friends at SpaceX, former astronaut Garrett Reisman and rocket scientist Hans Koenigsmann.

Instead of asking for help with high heels, she approached them with an engineering problem: how would they redesign a chassis to support a human’s weight and range of motion?

Thesis CoutureDolly Singh, founder and CEO of Thesis Couture

They took a cue from Musk and broke the problem down to the fundamental laws of physics acting on high heels, or chassis depending on your approach. When it comes to high heels, there’s three: how the shoe distributes weight, what happens when it hits the ground and the friction between your foot and the shoe.

Those are the only design constraints, Singh said. The basic shape of the high heel and its materials — a metal plate, a metal shank and compressed cardboard — haven’t changed in many years.

“A skinny metal rod and cardboard is basically all you’re standing on when you’re wearing stilettos, so it doesn’t take a lot for scientists to see that it’s not a particularly sophisticated structure from an engineering standpoint,” Singh said.

If Singh had stopped there, however, she joked that her friends could’ve helped her design a great chassis, but not a great shoe. She adapted Musk’s approach to building a team, one that had become her own when she helped expand SpaceX.

“Elon isolated to say, ‘Find me the single best person on the freaking planet, then convince me why out of how many billion people on the planet that this is that guy,'” Singh said. “And he does that even if it’s the cook. When we built a yogurt booth inside of SpaceX, he said, ‘Go to Pinkberry and find me the employee of the month, and I want to hire the employee of the month.’”

Realizing that there was potential in remaking the high heel, Singh left SpaceX in June 2013 to join the Founder’s Institute, an incubator, to launch Thesis Couture. As soon as she left, though, Nate Mitchell of Oculus reached out and brought on Singh as Director of Talent where she stayed until the company was acquired by Facebook.

Thesis CoutureA model of the Thesis Couture high heel

While working double duty at Oculus, Singh recruited Amanda Parkes, who has degrees from MIT and Stanford, to be the company’s design director. Her role was to help transform the initial engineering work and vision into something that doesn’t look like an orthopedic shoe, but something a woman would want to wear.

Part of the process, Singh explained, has been finding a way to manufacture heels and prototype them cheaply. Most heels traditionally can’t be manufactured without a mold, but it’s hard to shell out the tens of thousands required to make one if you don’t have a prototype to try to make sure it’s correct.

This is where those lines Musk first drew came back in.

“When something hasn’t changed for more than 50 years, it doesn’t take more than a leap of faith to say I can take the technology and everything that has matured and go back and apply them,” Singh said. “High heels are a $40 billion a year plus industry.”

Singh brought on Matt Thomas, who had done work with Oakley’s military team and had worked at Oculus, to help with the architectural elements and turn the company’s designs into something that can be manufactured.

Thomas also has a background in plastics, which is what the team decided to make the heel out of instead of the old metal and cardboard.

Thesis CoutureA working design of the heel

Thanks to 3D printing and computer programs, the Thesis team has been able to prototype faster and without the high cost initial investment. The company is also going to experiment with manufacturing in both Brazil and Italy.

The mother of four kids has been making the rounds with investors, trying to raise $1 million in angel funding. So far, she’s raised $700,00 from investors including Salesforce’s Marc Benioff and Tom Mueller, co-founder of SpaceX. Musk has not invested in the company, although he did review the slide deck, Singh said.

While they are still in the R&D phase, the company’s first 1,500 pairs will be available for pre-order in the fall. The first pairs will be sold for about $925. After that, the initial selection of Thesis Couture heels will range between $350-950 for different styles.

When it comes to the pre-orders though, Singh has a Musk-like goal: “I want to have it sell out in 60 seconds.”


Via Business Insider: “A former SpaceX exec is reinventing the high heel with the help of an astronaut and a rocket scientist”



What is luxury? A fur coat, a silk Hermes scarf, a vintage Chanel 2.55, or a Guerlain lipstick? Or is luxury time, or even knowledge? Ultimately, everyone has their own version of luxury, but the V&A’s new exhibitionexplores the history of the subject and questions the traditional norms of what is usually thought of as luxurious. By collecting a highly curated selection of objects—from furniture made of human hair, to a classic Hermes saddle—the exhibition investigates the future of luxury through culture, economics, art, fashion and design.


Below, BAZAAR talks with one of the curators, Leanne Wierzba.

HB: How do you define luxury in terms of fashion?

LW: In terms of fashion, we’re really looking at the motivations of the designer and also thinking about the investment, time and application of skills that’s involved in the production or making of an object. So, it would be difficult to say that any one type of material could be considered universally luxurious. One of the fashion designers we included in the exhibition that we think epitomizes luxury is Carol Christian Poell. He’s Austrian by birth but based in Milan and does menswear, primarily. What’s interesting about Carol is that, unlike most designers who begin with the fabric, he begins with the thread. He spends a lot of time and puts in a lot of research in developing textiles himself. He’s developed a textile that is 15% glass beads—they reflect light in a particular way. Another interesting thing about his work is that he doesn’t use lining. You can actual see all the internal seams. All though there’s a very raw aesthetic, it’s completely precise because the lining typically hides a lot of mistakes or other fabric that hasn’t really been dealt with.

HB: Which fashion objects throughout time have represented luxury?

LW: One of the objects we have in the exhibition is a 17th Venetian lace chasuble, of course used in the church. Another fashion example that we have in the exhibition is Iris Van Herpen’s work. What we think is interesting about her is her compulsion to innovate and collaborate. Most of her work is done collaboratively, people from different fields—architecture, industrial design, or music, and she is bringing in knowledge and expertise and disciplines from other industries and applying them to fashion. We have a Savile Row suit in the exhibition, but it’s actually a military uniform. We thought that was incredible that the object is so heavily codified and it has so much cultural meaning—that’s luxury as well.

Snuffbox, Jean Guillaume George Krueger, Berlin 1775-1780

HB: Can luxury be inexpensive?

LW: One of the increasingly recognized luxuries in busy cities like London is time. Regularly, when we speak to people about luxury they say time is their biggest luxury. Time for yourself, time to spend with loved ones and family, and also time to develop knowledge and to become a connoisseur of luxury.

HB: Does sustainability play into luxury?

LW: One of the resources that will continue to grow will be human hair. In the exhibition, we have a project where they’ve created furniture and accessories using human hair, and resin. They’re quite beautiful, but once you look closely and realize its human hair, people are quite disturbed by that—which is interesting, because there’s a huge global hair trade at the moment. Having it re-contextualized as furniture is a really strong statement.

HB: What does the future of luxury fashion look like?

LW: It’s really tied up in supply chains and thinking of production. That’s really the focus of the exhibition. I think the supply chain will have to be more adapted to resolve ecological and ethical issues related to current fashion models. We agree that the future of fashion, especially pertaining to luxury is about small batch production and imbuing the kind of objects you’re creating with meaning and intention. Something that you would really want to invest in, value and hold on to. Luxury is something you’d want to repair rather than discard and replace.

What is Luxury is on view at the Victoria and Albert Museum from April 25th-September 27thand is in partnership with the Crafts Council and sponsored by Northacre.

Pre-collections, which began May 4 with this Chanel Cruise show in Seoul, South Korea, will have a formal schedule in London next month.

Hot on the heels of its successful introduction of London Collections: Men, the men’s wear week whose success has become the envy of all other fashion weeks and spurred the Council of Fashion Designers of America to introduce its own men’s week, the British Fashion Council has announced yet another formalized presentation period: London Pre-Collections.

Scheduled for June 15 to 17, the event will include a special centralized showroom — the Hoxton Collective — featuring designers such as Huishan Zhang, Marques’Almeida and Zoë Jordan. There will also be listed presentations by names including Burberry, Roland Mouret, Anya Hindmarch and Peter Pilotto.

O.K., that’s not a week of events, precisely. But in fashion terms, it counts.

“This season is a pilot for us to learn from and improve moving forward,” Caroline Rush, the chief executive of the British Fashion Council, or B.F.C., said in an email. “The aim is to help buyers, press and brands to coordinate London dates, rather than overcrowding a schedule or duplicating activity.”

There is no arguing that the pre-collections, which began May 4 with the Chanel Cruise show in Seoul, South Korea, and run through mid-June, are formless and confusing.

The simple fact that designers can’t agree on what to call it — Cruise? Resort? Pre-Spring? Spring? — is an indication of its messiness. And yet I am not sure I agree that adding another fashion period is the answer.

After all, for those on the show circuit — and those being fed information about the show circuit this summer — that period of supposed professional slowdown will now be:

London Men’s: June 12 to 15

London Pre-Collections: June 15 to 17

Milan Men’s: June 20 to 23

Paris Men’s: June 24 to 28

Couture: July 5 to 10

New York Men’s: July 13 to 16


But is this really efficient? Ms. Rush says that during the pre-collections shows the B.F.C. would be “focusing on domestic women’s wear buyers, press and some European outreach,” so it is not assuming that people will come from overseas — but that ignores fashion’s very palpable herd instinct.

For an example, see street-style photographers outside shows, who are supposed to be curating their own choices but run like lemmings toward anyone they see their peers photographing. Or toward pretty much any runway trend.

Of course, Milan also created a formal pre-collection period in 2010 —Milano Moda Pre-collezioni — and it did not really draw international attention. Indeed, although Carlo Capasa, the new president of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, emailed that pre-collections remains an important selling period, it lasts from June 11 to July 18 and is not listed on the show schedule of the organization’s website. Meanwhile, major Italian brands such as Gucci still hold pre-collection presentations in New York.

Which makes me wonder if the lesson should be: The answer is not more shows that become optional stops on the circuit and put even more pressure on designers (because let’s face it, as soon as a collection becomes an official “thing,” it implies someone is creating a statement worthy of being noted), but fewer shows with a bigger impact.

That’s just me, though.


What has become of the traditional fashion trend, now that fashion seasons have multiplied and blurred into an almost constant stream of ‘newness’ and an Instagram post can make a look go viral overnight?

LONDON, United Kingdom — In 1937, the English author, critic, curator and fashion historian James Laver drew up a rudimentary timeline of how trends evolve. According to Laver’s Law, when a trend is in fashion, it is ‘smart.’ One year before this it is ‘daring.’ And 20 years later, it becomes ‘ridiculous.’ 50 years, Laver said, was how long it took for a trend to begin to creep back into style.

For years, Laver’s Law made sense. And though the pace of the fashion industry picked up rapidly throughout the twentieth century with the growing mass production of clothing, trends maintained their relatively long and predictable life cycles. Each season, fashion forecasting houses released hefty books containing their predictions on which styles and fabrics would come ‘in’ in future seasons. Designers and brands worked with these bibles and brought their contents to life for consumers when the clothes hit stores a few years — literally, years — later. In this business of books, assessing trends so far in advance and publishing them in hard copy kept the turnover of new styles to a steady, seasonal pace.

How things have changed.

Social media dictates trends today. The trend emerges overnight and disappears almost as quickly.

“Today, the idea of a bunch people sitting in a room and deciding what the colours are going to be in two years’ time or what materials are going to be used in three years’ time is a complete nonsense,” said Marc Worth. In 1997, Worth and his brother Julian founded Worth Global Style Network (WGSN), the trend-forecasting service whose clients today include Coach, Kate Spade, H&M and Victoria’s Secret.

While some of the traditional fashion forecasting houses, such as Paris-based Peclers, still issue their seasonal tomes, Worth believes today’s fashion cycle requires a different approach to understanding trends. “As things have evolved, we’ve moved into the four-season approach, then into drops and the whole nature of forecasting, I think, has gone out of the window.”

In 2005, Worth sold WGSN to British media company eMap for £140 million and, last year, launched the fashion division of Stylus, a service which offers creative research and advice to businesses, but does not, he insists, forecast trends. “We don’t forecast, we don’t predict. We provide inspirations for creatives to create trends; we track trends as they evolve, but we’re not forecasters in the traditional sense,” he said. “Social media dictates trends today. The trend emerges overnight and disappears almost as quickly.”

Indeed, James Laver could not have predicted that the fashion industry would break loose from its traditional, stately bi-annual cycle, moving towards something that, at some retailers, has begun to more closely resemble a feed of constant product drops. Driven by the Internet, media, too, has dramatically sped up, serving up a stream of new fashion trends all day, every day.

Today, trends are born and die within an infinitely faster and more turbulent environment, in which brands, celebrities, magazines, bloggers and end consumers on social media all jostle for influence over what’s ‘in’ and ‘out’ of fashion.

“Social media has absolutely, totally changed the trends landscape,” said Ruth Chapple, head of content at Stylus Fashion. “It’s making some trends stick, while long ago we would have been over them more quickly. The Valentino rock stud, which everyone expected to be a one-season wonder, has been going strong for eight seasons,” she said. “The death of the stud was forecast long ago, but that was very much a social media trend, where the bloggers made that trend stick.” On the other hand, digital media can quickly overexpose a trend, and kill its ‘edge’. “TheKenzo tiger sweatshirt,” Chapple recalled. “Over and done with in a month.”

“The word ‘trend’ is a little bit like the word ‘luxury’ — nobody really knows what it is anymore, where it starts, where it ends,” said Pierre-François Le Louët, president of Paris-based trend forecasting agency NellyRodi.

Like Marc Worth, Le Louët claims his trend forecasting firm is not in the business of predicting trends, which, he says, are plain to see on social media and often prove to be very short-lived. Rather, NellyRodi uses its network of representatives in 18 countries to track the trends happening on the ground in different markets, and then help clients pluck out of the vast array of things ‘trending’ at any one time the specific trends that will work for their brand, in their chosen markets.

“You don’t sell the product of the season that well anymore,” he said. “The most important thing is to work on your brand identity, who you are, how you differentiate from your competitors. Trends are tools that might help you convince your clients how you and your brand understand how the world changes.”

Anne Lise Kjaer, founder of trend management consultancy Kjaer Global, which counts Gap, Swarovski and La Perla amongst its clients, also takes a holistic approach to trends. “A trend is a tipping point, from when a few people are doing it to when many people are doing it. ‘Trendy’ trends, as such, are unsustainable and short-lived. We don’t even look at those,” she said. “More than going to a shop and having a look, you find someone you follow on Instagram or a blog. It becomes a lifestyle rather than a trend. We’re moving from being trend-focused to lifestyle-focused… Some trends turn out to be short-lived, whereas others continue to evolve as they are more about lifestyle choices and style, rather than conspicuous consumption.”

In a sense, the role of today’s trend analysts is comparable to panning for gold. The abundance of ‘trending’ content and the loss of a single, authoritative source that predicts and starts trends have created a serious need for a filter. Brands turn to trend analysts to trawl through this overload of information and find the real treasure; that is, the trends that will work for their brand, the trends that have staying power, and the trends that can be leveraged in specific markets and with specific consumer demographics.

“Brands and retailers have just had to get savvier in how they process information about trends in order to understand which are the macro-trends and identify micro-trends in time to react,” said Katie Smith, a senior retail analyst at Editd, a data-driven fashion analytics platform. “Our customers use trend analysis at every stage of a product life cycle. From designers who are analysing which colours have performed best in retail, or which sleeve shapes continually see discounting, through to buying and merchandising, where trend analysis forms a critical part of every decision around pricing, depth of buy, timing within a season and replenishment.”

“It’s about helping people decide what they should be purchasing and buying at the same time. You need a lot of information at your fingertips,” reasoned Catriona Macnab, chief creative officer at WGSN, which, like NellyRodi and Stylus, uses intelligence from local teams around the world to give clients advice on what’s trending — and what is likely to trend — in specific markets.

On the high street, some of the biggest and most successful brands have built their business models around the ever-increasing speed and volatility of trends coupled to consumer demand for constant newness: it’s less about forecasting and more about responsiveness.

Zara’s highly responsive, vertically-integrated, data-driven business model has made it one of the most agile fashion brands in the world, taking just two weeks to take a product from design studio to its stores, which feature over 10,000 new designs per year. Topshop drops new items every day.

“They have to be able to react faster, they have to be able to keep up with trends and there aren’t many that are able to do so,” said Marc Worth. “People like Topshop can, people like Inditex (which owns Zara) are able to, but the behemoths like Marks & Spencer still struggle to because of the manufacturing and supply chain process.”

Ruth Chapple concurs: “It boils down to speed to market.”

“I think the biggest change has come in high end fashion,” said Alice Fisher, a commissioning editor and style correspondent for The Guardian newspaper’s Observer Magazine. “It’s something I always ask designers about when I meet them because I’m fascinated by how their workload must have changed with the promotion of pre-collection, resort, capsule collections, special collaborations, etcetera.”

Luxury brands, largely still bound to the anachronistic cycle of seasonal runway shows, are forced into a balancing act when it comes to trends, releasing major new styles at the pace of the traditional fashion calendar, while keeping their brand looking fresh between seasons with additional lines, products and digital content.

“Some — like Raf Simons — love it because they always have new ideas and relish the pace,” said Fisher. “Others say it’s really relentless.”


Whether you’re talking about high-end splurges like Chanel bags, or mass-retail staples (think the Nike swoosh), the designer logo has long been considered a status symbol. But, as anyone who’s clicked through pics of the Fashion Week collections — or even breezed through the mall recently — knows, the role of the ubiquitous fashion logo has been moving in the opposite direction.

Some brands have embraced minimalism. Louis Vuitton made news back in 2013 when it pulled back on the use of its iconic LVs in accessories. And, logo-less purses, such as the understated Mansur Gavriel bucket bags, have usurped the popularity of branded carryalls. Now, there’s a noticeable change happening on the other end of the fashion spectrum: Major fashion labels are flaunting the logos of brands other than their own.

Call it the Jeremy Scott effect. For his debut fall 2014 Moschino show, the designer sent models down the runway decked out in McDonald’s and SpongeBob SquarePants motifs. Scott’s throwback vibes continued for spring 2015, with a Barbie-inspired Moschino collection that was almost exclusively pink and plastered with the Mattel doll’s logos. Scott has been repurposing logos — both commercial and indie — for his eponymous line for years, and he’s not the first to do so, but following the financial success of his Moschino collections, others in the industry are rushing to get in on the business.


The trend picked up more steam this season with additional designers hopping onboard: Opening Ceremony showed tops printed with old-school Kodak branding, NYFW newcomer Bobby Abley debuted a collection featuring characters from The Jungle Book, and Joyrich referenced retro Coca-Cola logos in its pieces. David Melgar, creative director of Joyrich, explained the inspiration behind the logo-centric design: “Being that we are heavily influenced by ‘80s and ‘90s pop [and] street culture, I wanted to do something that reflected this time. I liked how the logo had a nostalgic, vintage feel to it and I felt that with the combination of the fabrications that we used, it would bring life to a whole new story.”

Inspiration aside, tapping into these instantly recognizable images is also a strategic move. Jeremy Scott is consistently one of the top-ranked brands on social media for both Scott’s eponymous line (its spring 2015 collection earned 650,000 likes, posts, and tweets), as well as Moschino, which essentially won the Internet last season with 1.5 million total interactions.

It’s smart for designers to capitalize on our nostalgia for other brands, but we have to wonder: How is this even legal? Turns out, there’s a line between nodding to another company’s logo and infringing on its intellectual property rights, and it all boils down to the message the design sends to consumers.

According to Christopher Sprigman, a professor at NYU School of Law, brands that evoke other brands’ logos must first negotiate licensing deals. “I had seen a report that there was a deal made between Kodak and Opening Ceremony,” he said. “If there hadn’t been one, it would raise questions in the consumers’ minds about whether the product was sponsored.” Not having a deal could have spelled major trouble for OC.

Kodak, on Opening Ceremony.

In this case, the partnership with Kodak was part of a collaboration between OC cofounders/designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim and the photo company. As the duo said in an interview with Kodak, “We’ve always loved Kodak’s logos and trademarks, and admired Kodak’s dedication to continuity. We think the capsule celebrates all [the] Kodak values we appreciate.”

Unsurprisingly, this type of licensing deal usually entails a financial transaction. “It’s a situation in which a brand like Opening Ceremony would say, ‘We want to use T-shirts with your logo,’ and Kodak would say, ‘Okay. Pay us money.’ The fashion industry is notoriously for-profit, so this would be typically a deal that exchanges a license for money,” said Sprigman. The goal is to define the relationship between the parties, and if a designer incorporates a logo in a way that might cause confusion about whether it was sponsored, he or she runs the risk of being sued.

The exception? When logos are used in a way in which there’s no risk of misleading consumers into thinking they’re endorsements. One example is using multiple logos. Sprigman cites the streetwear designer Heron Preston. Hissignature tees feature 17 logos splashed all over them, including Google, Nascar, Home Depot, and M&Ms. But, despite all the branding, Sprigman says the message remains clear: “If I had looked at this shirt, I wouldn’t necessarily think that any of these companies were sponsoring the shirt,” he said. “I don’t think the trademark law would require this to be licensed, because I think consumers would conclude that this is a commentary about brands as opposed to a T-shirt sponsorship.”

With London, Milan, and Paris still left in Fashion Month, these clearly aren’t the last of the logos we’ll be seeing on the runway. So, designers, take note: Imitation might be the highest form of flattery, but don’t forget to ask permission first.

The goal was, of course, to do an ollie. Then you knew you would have made it. As a wannabe skater in the 1990s, I could never manage this basic boarder move. Growing up in the not-at-all mean streets of Guildford, skating seemed like it could magic carpet me away from the weight of suburban apathy. Or at least make me feel cool. But I was impatient. Instead of honing my craft, I hung around the skateboarding shops, such as Route One, staring longingly at the skatewear. Those shops were so captivating for a teen looking for some trouble. I remember looking through the racks of sweatshirts and trainers looking for something, an identity I suppose. I must have picked up the same pair of purple Vans a hundred times, so many times, in fact, that I think the staff were convinced I was a shoplifter. In the corner there was a miniscule monitor on permanent loop, showing prolific skaters doing all manner of impossibly difficult manoeuvres. And the sound system blasted out Self Esteem by The Offspring.

The Palace store in Central London

The Palace store in central London. Photograph: Palace

I was in awe of a world dressed by Dickies and Stussy. A world I could see but couldn’t really touch. Niall Kenny, a director and lifelong skater, unpicks the allure for me: “Skatewear is cool because it comes from a skill someone has,” he explains.

These days this cool has seen skater brands like Palace and Supreme pierce the mainstream as the fashion world co-opts its aesthetic. Marc Jacobs and Topmanhave attempted to put their own mark on skating culture while high-profile models like Cara Delevingne, Natalie Westling and Daria Werbowy also skate.

“Fashion has adopted the cultural values of the skating subculture,” says Maude Churchill, senior editor of streetwear and fashion website Highsnobiety. “Now it’s suddenly transferred into a mainstream way of dressing.” It’s a bone of contention amongst the self-sufficient skating community, as Kenny explains.

Palace's logoed hoodie
Palace’s logoed hoodie. Photograph: Palace

“Kenzo did a show in Paris with a model walking down the catwalk holding a skateboard the wrong way. They have no connection to skateboarding and are not doing anything for the industry. They just think it’s cool; that annoys me.” This “trickle down” economy is an important philosophy in the skating community. As Eirik Traavik, editor-in-chief of Dank magazine, explains: “Not only do skaters make the clothes but the skating brands also make the videos and the adverts, so it ultimately feeds back into the skating world itself.”

Although it is questionable whether the fashionistas taking note has been a good or bad thing, skatewear brands have also experienced a peak in mainstream interest. Palace, the DIY-spirited label started by skater Lev Tanju has just opened its flagship store in London. It follows in the wake of Supreme, the hip New York skating label, which opened its first London store a few roads down in Soho in 2011. The previously hard-to-get brand whose cool credentials were impeccable (collaborations with Larry Clark and Jeff Koons, worn by Kendrick Lamar) was suddenly easily available. “When they opened the store, everyone was wearing their clothes, not just skaters,” says Jamie Hopper, store manager of Slam City Skates in East London. “It’s really opened up and people who weren’t skateboarders started wearing the stuff.” Skatewear has now become streetware, worn by everyone including the HD (Hipster Dad) brigade, who can afford it. Adam Horovitz’s character, Fletcher, in While We’re Young is a case in point.

Model and skateboard fan Natalie Westling in September

Model and skateboarder Natalie Westling in September. Photograph: Melodie Jeng/Getty Images

Palace, for example, have seen a bump in interest after the likes of Drake andASAP Rocky sported their pieces. With their dreamy aesthetic (they work with VHS video and their designs have a hazy, nostalgic feel about them), Palace began as a grass- roots company, which is echoed in the vaguely affordable pieces – logoed T-shirts start at around £35. The story goes that founder Tanju was disillusioned with the way skate brands were going so he decided to start his own company. Named ironically after the dilapidated state of their living accommodation, Tanju and his crew began printing their own T-shirts.

“Lev just makes clothes he wants to wear,” explains Kenny, who directed a film about the brand in 2011. In it, Lev explains his own criteria: “I like people who wear whatever they want to wear and don’t give a fuck about anything.” He also echoes the food-chain ethos of the skating community. “All the money goes to the skateboarders to do what they do.”

Part of the reason their clothes became so popular was the fact that they were hard to find in the skating shops. “What’s so desirable is that they are elusive,” says Churchill. “You don’t know what’s going on, they don’t push themselves.”

Traavik doesn’t think the opening of their first shop will lose Palace any cool points. “They’ve got a good team and they’re not too serious about things,” he says. “I don’t think the store will have a negative impact on their credibility.”

The crowd outside the new Palace shop in Soho

Crowds outside the new Palace store in Soho. Photograph: Priya Elan

On the day of the opening I pop down to see for myself. It’s located on Brewer Street, on the parallel road from the Supreme store and sort of opposite a sex shop. The location feels like its part of the old Soho and not the creep of gentrification that has plagued the area, which feels significant. The queue skirts round the block and the shop’s policy of letting no more than five customers in at any one time means that we’re left lined up for three hours after the 11am opening time. Everyone looks young: solvent teens from the home counties, as I was, dressed in a mixture of sportswear, bucket hats and Supreme gear who have travelled down especially for this.

“I was HYPED!,” says Jamie, 18, from Cambridge, who has somehow been in and out of the store three times already. He’s spent £300 on socks, keyrings, a couple of T-shirts and hats. I feel like he might do well on Supermarket Sweep. Like some of the others I talk to, Jamie’s not a skater. “There are two sides to Palace – the stuff that’s for the skaters and the stuff that’s for the other people,” says Alex,18, from Chelmsford. “That’s where their revenue is going to come from, the fashion side, so they’re going to have to keep going.” They both mention that the appeal of Palace is the simplicity and the “basic design” of the clothes.

Inside the Palace store in central London

Inside the Palace store in central London. Photograph: Palace

When I finally get to enter the hallowed shop it is something that’s echoed on the shop floor: a minimal number of clothing racks, a monochrome marble floor and a feeling of scarcity. No wonder it felt as if everyone who entered the shop left with something. So do I. I’m surprised, though, after three hours of queueing, that I couldn’t feel less like buying into the Palace cult and yet my eye catches a couple of items: Palace socks and a long-sleeved T-shirt emblazoned with psych-country crooner Will Oldham’s snaggle-toothed image on it (one of his band monikers was, you guessed it, Palace). Incidentally, Supreme used an image of Neil Young. As I go into the changing room, I spy HRH on the wall. I kind of love these funny, self-knowing reference points. So I buy the T-shirt, feeling slightly as though I’ve fallen under a mass delusion. But maybe that’s OK. “Everything loses its exclusivity after a while,” Alex tells me “but for right now, Palace represents this culture.”

It strikes me that Tanju, his crew and what they’ve done is an actualisation of what I desperately wanted all those years ago. The appeal of Palace is that outlaw gang thing: doing what the hell they want to outside the mainstream, but being paid for it. For the teenage wannabe skater in all of us: who doesn’t want that?


He has never been photographed, is very tall and nobody know what he looks like. But that’s pretty much all we know about the fashion designer Margiela. So how on earth did they make a film about him?

Still image from The Artist is Absent, documentary about Martin Margiela Photograph: PR

When we heard that filmmaker Alison Chernick had made a biopic about Martin Margiela, launching at the Tribeca film festival and now online, we were excited. The cult designer has never been photographed in public, and never once taken a catwalk bow. No one outside his inner circle knows what he looks like, beyond one grainy and unverified picture on Google Images. Finally, we’d get to see the real Margiela!

Well, actually, we don’t. (The clue is in the title.) Although this documentary was made with the full support of Margiela, he never appears in it. (We do get one nugget: Jean Paul Gaultier, whom Margiela assisted earlier in his career, tells us that “Martin is very tall”.) So, how do you make a biopic about a man who has never appeared on camera?


You do it the Margiela way, that’s how. Margiela is about fashion and design in its purest form: no glamour, no image, no ego. In an industry where superstar designers are the norm, he insisted on working collaboratively with his teams. He made collections, which became the hot tickets of Paris fashion week, out of plastic carrier bags and wire coat hangers. He never booked celebrity models, and often covered his models’ faces in hoods.

The result is a 12-minute film which may not show us Margiela, but gives a real sense of the man. You get to see his awesome “collaborators”, the coolest talking-heads ever, who wear black and chain-smoke in the rain while talking about how Margiela subverted the media-circus of fashion and “forced you to look at the clothes”. You get to hear Suzy Menkes talking about the “Greta Garbo of fashion”, footage of his packed-out early fashion shows, and of make-up artists obscuring models’ faces backstage with black paint on decorator’s brushes. Apparently Chernick, who had found some early footage of Margiela with Jean Paul Gaultier, was disappointed when this was vetoed. But as fashion historian Olivier Saillard says in the film, Margiela “proved that you could make things out of nothing, and that’s a very comforting idea for the world”. An anonymous biopic: what could be more Margiela than that?

The Artist is Absent Photograph: screengrab

The Artist is Absent is the first documentary produced by Yoox Group, the internet shopping portal that in March announced its merger with Net a Porter.