FEB 18 - 03

Sustainable Fashion

Stella McCartney makes CSR integral to its brand

The luxury fashion designer Stella McCartney made ethical fashion an essential pillar of her label a long way before sustainability became a buzzword. The British fashion icon talks candid about the immense harm fashion – the second dirtiest industry on the planet after oil – inflicts on the environment and has paved the way for other eco-minded designers to follow her lead. Now, McCartney has launched a new website that demonstrates its commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) beyond empty promises. Under the name “World of Sustainability”, the platform is ‘entirely dedicated to telling you about our sustainable practices and our journey to operating as a modern and responsible business’. While CSR is typically consigned to a small section of a brand's website, World of Sustainability offers a comprehensive look at all of the brand's initiatives (e.g Fur-Free-Fur, organic cotton, recycled nylon and polyester, vegetarian leather). With governments failing to tackle the challenges of sustainability, consumers are increasingly looking to the corporate world for answers. But since many brands practice greenwashing rather than actually reducing their environmental impact, mistrust is high. Brands will need to prove a deep and far-sighted commitment to sustainability in ordefrr to connect with the next generation, which knows it is no longer a choice or something nice to have. We at Cc are very impressed by Stella McCartney’s brave and highly visible sustainable approach and wish to see more companies following her example and changing their production processes in a really impactful way. What makes the World of Sustainability so special, is, that it clearly illustrates that ethical fashion must not be beige and ugly – quite the contrary, with the help of contemporary photographer Viviane Sassen the project even became a brilliant aesthetic performance far away from stereotypical eco-design.
FEB 18 - 01


The next collaboration trend is composed by arts and science

Some say artists play without fear of making mistakes, they have an openness to trial and error. During our 16 years of business we connected enthusiastically various artists with our clients and supported them during flourish collaborations. Lately it seems as if there is a new wave of collaborations coming. Instead of apparel and consumer goods, we notice a growing interest for arts in the world of science, in particular in biotechnology. The field that marries the scientific know-how of biologists with the big-picture thinking of artists and designers – called “Biodesign” – is growing rapidly. Leaders in this field – companies like Modern Meadow, a startup that grows leather in a lab, or Ecovative Design, a company that produces furniture out of Mycelium (the root structure of a mushroom) – have already created successful businesses designing with living organisms, and the public interest rises. Now, the biotech nonprofit Genspace and the Museum of Modern Art in New York have paired up to support the next generation of biodesigners. In 2016, Genspace announced the first “BioDesign Challenge”, an annual university competition that asks art and design students to create a project that solves a social problem with biotechnology. At the end of the semester, the winning teams are invited to New York City to showcase their designs in front of members of the academic, industrial, and design communities at the Biodesign Summit in June of each year. Daniel Grushkin, the founder of the BioDesign Challenge, says that “design plays an integral role in the development of any technology”. According to him designers and artists visions “drive the scientific community and also influence society’s desires around technologies.” More and more we at Cc notice that artists and designers are getting an essential role in scientific processes, not only in terms of visualizing but also as translators to explain scientific culture to the public and as voices to provoke important debates.  The journalist Gisela Williams addresses exactly that topic in the New York Times article "Are Artists the New Interpreters of Scientific Innovation?". Make sure to read her inspiring text:
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JAN 18 - 03


2018 brings a variety of new inspirational places to explore

Nothing kick-starts a city like a new museum. In 2017 numerous cities around the world celebrated the openings of major new museums, many of them with architecture as worthy of awe as the art itself. Some museums, like the Louvre Abu Dhabi designed by Jean Nouvel were long-awaited – others, such as the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Jakarta, signal the maturation of their country’s flourishing arts scenes. From Marrakech’s Yves Saint Laurent Museum – that houses thousands of garments, accessories, sketches, photographs and objects that represent the Saint Laurent life’s work – to Cape Town’s Zeitz Museum, the first major museum in Africa dedicated exclusively to contemporary art – the new year brings a variety of new inspirational places to explore. We already did our selection. Take a look at the photos and prepare your museum destinations for 2018!
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JAN 18 - 01


Daniel Arsham

On our latest inspirational field trip across the United States, Cc had the unique chance to personally meet and exchange with Daniel Arsham, multidisciplinary artist, prime creative and renowned expert for interactive 3D architectural installations, in his New York studio. Born 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio, raised in Miami and currently based in New York City, Arsham is highly recognized within the international art world for his creative practice that naturally fuses art, architecture and performance into exciting, one-of-a-kind physical experiences. Besides his visual art studio, Arsham also serves as partner and co-founder of Snarkitecture, a collaborative design practice dedicated to explore the experiential boundaries between disciplines (e.g. set design, music videos, commercial store architecture), materials and objects. In his latter function, he has already entered into manifold collaborations with both legacy and emergent lifestyle brands such as, for instance, Adidas and Kith, a multifunctional apparel brand for men and women whose three US-based flagship stores have been conceived and designed together with Snarkitecture. In addition, Arsham has also joined forces with a large number of celebrities such as James Franco, Hedi Slimane, Merce Cunningham and Pharrell Williams. Interviewed by The New York Times on why celebrities have lately been so much into the artist Daniel Arsham who, “with his slight build, round eyeglasses and nerdy demeanor, […] seems an unlikely candidate for art star of the moment”, Williams said in an email exchange with the journal: “Daniel is the master of illusion and science. The metaphors in his work read true to humans. It’s not based upon languages. It’s based upon human reaction and response to his work”.
FEB 18 - 02


Aaron Rose

In February, we want to honor our talented friend and beloved partner of "The Conversation" Aaron Rose as “creative of the month”. Born 1969 in Portland, Oregon, the film director, artist, curator and director of a publishing imprint lives and works in Los Angeles. Today, Rose is well known as one of the cornerstones of the modern urban art movement. When living in New York in his early twenties, Rose supplemented his income by working as a sign painter on the Lower East Side and opened the “Alleged Gallery” in the front room of the old New York store he was living in with friends. This spot would end up becoming a hub for the DIY underground scene in the Lower East Side for more than a decade. Showcasing artists such as Mark Gonzales, Sofia Coppola and Spike Jones, Rose’s gallery would provide the subcultures of skateboarding, surf, punk, hip hop and graffiti with a huge indie platform. His latest project – besides his work as a film director (e.g. “Beautiful Losers”), co-curator (e.g. for "Art in the Streets", Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art), co-editor of a magazine (“ANP Quarterly” by skate/surf brand RVCA) or consultant (e.g. for Nike) – is called "The Conversation”. Two years ago, together with the founders of Cc he established this “progressive gallery space”, where concepts of all mediums can come to fruition through a diverse and talented international group of creative protagonists. As an offshoot of "The Conversation", Rose also created “La Rosa Social Club”, a touring art bar, conceived by artists and considered as a "social sculpture". Already realized in Los Angeles, Berlin and Sydney it will now continue to tour the world. In the rare moments where Rose doesn’t create something new, he prefers spending his time at his very individual Hollywood home. In the recommendable series “My place” produced by NOWNESS, Rose was recently interviewed within his own creative four walls - and we are truly inspired by his love of collecting. Whether on NOWNESS or Freunde von Freunden – the idea of interviewing creatives in their homes seems to thrill the digital audience. By watching and reading the interviews it becomes apparent that the often-cited term “Cocooning” has never been so true like it is today. Even though many tend to suggest that the Sharing Economy would lead to rather minimalistic lifestyles, forty years after Faith Popcorn came up with the trend phenomenon “Cocooning”, it seems as if our own home with all our belongings and memories becomes even more important to express ourselves and to feel comfortable in a fast-changing world. Aaron Rose just gave us a great example for that. Make sure to watch the NOWNESS video!
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JAN 18 - 04


“/Nyden” – H&M’s new brand for the Netocracy

In the early 1990s, the American cultural technology magazine WIRED coined the term ”Netocracy”. The latter represents a portmanteau word consisting of “Internet” and “aristocracy” and refers to a perceived global upper class that justifies its increasing power in society by a strong technological advantage and distinct networking skills. While the term had rather been disappeared over the last two decades, it is currently experiencing a renaissance thanks to H&M. The Swedish clothing giant has just announced the launch of a new sub-brand called /Nyden. The brand name combines the two Swedish words “ny” and “den”, translating into “new” and “it” respectively. The bold slash before Nyden, which also serves as the brand’s logo, symbolizes what Oscar Olsson, creative director of the brand, calls “co-creation” and represents /Nyden’s understanding of the Netocrat’s expectation towards a modern clothing line: “In this future society, as any brand or any kind of provider of anything, you need to embrace the fact that the power is not in your hands [anymore],” Olsson argues. “The power has shifted to what we call tribes.” As a direct consequence of this change of paradigm, Olsson and his team decided to outsource the conventional role of the head designer to ever-changing so-called tribe leaders. The latter might be known either to the mainstream or only within their discrete communities. To name but two examples, two confirmed /Nyden co-creators constitute the tattoo artist Doctor Woo, who has 1.3 million Instagram followers, and the Swedish actress Noomi Rapace, who is not present on social media, but is famous for her signature rebellious style. Olsson is convinced that his approach to co-creation strongly resonates with the Netocrat who “is more sensitive than ever to credibility, authenticity, and personality […]. They’re also more sensitive than ever to exploitation of themselves or other people” and would clearly refuse to be told, pursuant to the traditional, yet obsolete top-down model of fashion brands, what they do and don’t want to wear. Accordingly, /Nyden won’t follow the idea of imposed trends or seasons. Rather, the new brand wishes to create, with the aid of their tribe leaders, timeless wardrobe staples, which convince with their superior materials and cuts as well as with their limited character, and is thus positioned as an “affordable luxury” offering. We at Cc are thrilled to observe new brand concepts emerge that try to explore unchartered paths to better serve and connect with the extremely demanding millennial customer.
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JAN 18 - 02


The World’s leading biomaterial summit explores the materials of the future

Forget what you think you know about the future. Instead of a tomorrow composed of shiny metal and glass, the most promising advances happening today are taking place in the fields of synthetic biology and biomaterials. From sneakers made from vegan spider silk (Adidas), to computer packaging out of mushrooms (Dell) or leather, created without animals (Modern Meadow) – there's a whole cadre of scientists, designers, biologists, artists, and consumer brands using the biological sciences to drive new thinking around sustainability. The science of growing raw materials in a lab is called “Biofabrication” – a new design paradigm centered on cultivating materials with living cells. Organisms such as yeast, bacteria, fungi, algae and mammalian cells are fermented, cultured and engineered to synthesize natures materials but with new functional and aesthetic properties. In the year 2014 this movement reached a wider audience thanks to Suzanne Lee, who organized the first “Biofabricate” summit in NYC, a place where international attendees discover disruptive research, and companies, literally grow the materials of the future. Last December the annual conference took place at “New Lab” in Brooklyn and brought together key speakers of the industry, such as Cyrill Gutsch (Founder of Parley for the Oceans), Andras Forgacs (CEO of Modern Meadow) and Christina Agapakis (Creative Director of Gingko Bioworks). The summit Biofabricate provides a perfect place to nurture collaborations, share knowledge, build community and accelerate innovation. Working closely with both biotechnology companies and consumer brands, we at Cc observe the transformation of material fabrication with a strong interest and are excited to discover which possibilities arise through the programming of DNA and consequently which fundamental problems of the earth can be solved with it (e.g. climate change, hunger crisis, overpopulation).
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DEC 17 - 02


The trend of collective Connectedness

During our latest inspirational tour along the American West coast for one of our biotech clients, we also had the chance to attend the festival LA17 in downtown Los Angeles. The latter represents the 11thflagship event of the Summit collective that aims at curating one-of-a-kind physical experiences that connect, educate and inspire the world’s brightest thought leaders. For three days, LA17 thus gathered the crème de la crème of today’s cultural elite such as Jeff Bezos, Malcolm Gladwell, Paul Hawken and Wim Hof while hosting a diverse range of talks, performances, wellness classes, art installations, gourmet food and unparalleled experiences designed to stimulate both new relationships and perspectives. The Summit community thereby follows the philosophy of connectedness on all levels that compose the human existence, that is mind, body and soul on the one hand and nature, community and knowledge on the other hand. Translated onto a meta level, this balanced and sound lifestyle reflects a mega trend that we at Cc have already been observing since quite some time now: Ever more people wish to really get to know themselves and to cultivate a real bond to themselves as an individual, to take their lives at a slower pace and to lead a more conscious and authentic life in order to reach maximum fulfilment. This trend has lately even found an institutional manifestation, if not downright a true physical Mecca of collective Connectedness: The Assemblage in New York City. Coined as the “Enlightened Soho House” by The New York Times, The Assemblage defines itself as a member club at the “intersection of technology, consciousness and capital” and wants to serve as a refined co-working space that enables its members to work, collaborate, exchange, meditate, recharge their batteries and get inspired by their peers in a both aesthetic and healthy environment.