Need to Know
03 : 09 : 18

Henry at the Life Hotel highlights West African cuisine, White Bear Studio endorses design among children from minority backgrounds, McDonald’s aims to become more sustainable.

New programme promotes diversity among future designers

SHAPE by White Bear Studio, London SHAPE by White Bear Studio, London
SHAPE by White Bear Studio, London SHAPE by White Bear Studio, London
SHAPE by White Bear Studio, London SHAPE by White Bear Studio, London

London – The all-female design consultancy White Bear Studio has devised a scheme aimed at getting pupils from inner-city schools into design. Support, Help, Advise, Play and Encourage (SHAPE) will be delivered to schoolchildren aged between 13 and 15 as a free workshop and mentoring scheme. After the end of the workshop, participants will be entered into a design competition and the winner will receive a work placement at a London design studio.

‘There is a lack of diversity in the design industry,’ says Kelly Mackenzie, founding director at White Bear Studio. ‘One of the main contributing factors is the shortage of design and creative problem-solving resources in schools.’

Despite women accounting for two thirds of those studying creative arts and design at university, figures published this year by the Design Council show that the industry is still dominated by men. In addition, only 12% of design managers and owners are from black and Asian minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

As explored in our Alternative Education Market, brands beyond the technology sector are playing an active role in education to ensure the calibre of their future workforce through diversity.

Fashion brand Garzez takes pride in Venezuelan roots

Santiago Mendez and Garzez Santiago Mendez and Garzez
Santiago Mendez and Garzez Santiago Mendez and Garzez

Venezuela – Founded by 29-year-old fashion designer Alejandro Garcés, Garzez is a streetwear brand that looks to promote its country of origin. For his latest campaign Garcés has created garments reminiscent of tuki culture – a dance style native to Caracas, where dancers commonly wear colourful clothing and foreign logos.

In line with streetwear brand Vetements, which often parodies well-known labels, the collection includes reworkings of brand logos from Nike, Fila and Marlboro to make a statement about the current state of Venezuelan politics and the country’s faltering economy. Marlboro, for example, has been re-imagined as Malandro, meaning ‘a young criminal, punk or thug’ in Venezuelan culture.

‘My inspiration is humanity. I love all forms of cultural manifestation and I always look at them from the outside, with an anthropological point of view,’ Garcés told i-D.

First explored by LS:N Global in our Emerging Youth: Mexico market, designers across Latin America are using their garments as a platform to publicise the problems in their home country as well as taking a stand against the influence of global brands.

McDonald’s develops its restaurant experience

Chicago – The fast food conglomerate has demonstrated its environmental credentials in the design of its new Chicago restaurant, which forms part of its Experience of the Future initiative. Designed by Ross Barney Architects, the recently opened eatery includes various biophilic elements and energy-saving technologies.

More than 70 native and drought-resilient species of trees have been planted, interspersed between permeable paving that minimises the need for irrigation and reduces storm-water run-off. A plethora of solar panels help to offset its non-renewable energy consumption as well as contributing to powering the LED lighting fixtures and energy-saving kitchen, heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment. The location is applying for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) status. Diners at the 24-hour, high-tech restaurant can either place their order via a mobile app or at the self-order kiosks, before waiting for table service.

Although McDonald’s has been typically associated with unsustainable businesses practices, it is following the lead of other brands such as Bulgari, which are creating spaces that have a minimal impact on the environment.

Mcdonald’s, Chicago Mcdonald’s, Chicago

A restaurant that showcases the African diaspora

Henry at Life Hotel, New York Henry at Life Hotel, New York
Henry at Life Hotel, New York Henry at Life Hotel, New York

New York – Renowned chef JJ Johnson is relaunching Henry at Life Hotel with a new menu that focuses on African, Caribbean, Southern American and Asian cuisine. Inspired by his travels across Africa and Asia, as well as his own Afro-Puerto Rican heritage, dishes include the Afropot – featuring king crab, corn cobs, clams, mussels ­– and tamarind jerk barbecue chicken with soy-braised collard greens and plantain purée.

‘Regardless of where I’ve travelled in the world over the past five years, I’ve always walked away with a good culinary perspective of food through the West African lens,’ says Johnson. ‘Most people don’t really know what I’m talking about because they haven’t been to West Africa. So, I’m explaining that at Henry.’

Henry at Life Hotel joins a growing number of restaurants exploring the complexities of West African cuisine, which has until now, been largely overlooked by Western consumers.

Stat: WhatsApp usage outstrips Facebook

Consumers are spending considerably more time in WhatsApp than in Facebook, according to data from AppTopia. While WeChat is ranked second in terms of the apps people spend most time on, the figures fail to take into account data from all of China’s third-party Android stores.

The figures do, however, demonstrate the pervasive potential of dark social marketing. In 2016, adidas experimented with this by introducing its own network of dark social influencers, known as Tango Squads. ‘It’s clear that WhatsApp is the global messaging app of choice,’ AppTopia spokesperson Adam Blacker told Forbes. ‘Apps having to do with communication take up most of our time spent on our mobile apps.’

While social media platforms such as Instagram are introducing measures to curb time spent online, WhatsApp has so far made no indication that it is working to cut down the amount of time users spend in the app. Read our Opinion piece for more on what technology brands can do to combat phone addiction.

Thought-starter: How Patagonia continues to drive sustainable innovation

Alex Weller, the brand’s marketing director for Europe, explains to deputy foresight editor Kathryn Bishop why civic causes will remain integral to its progress.

‘We believe that if you’re in the business of making physical things, there is really no such thing as sustainability. The products that we build take material from the landscape and resources from the earth. We use a lot of energy to move our products around the world, and ultimately sell them,’ says Weller.

‘So, recognising your impact, owning that impact and being able to address it, is something that I believe all companies should be able to do, for no other reason than people are increasingly expecting this from the companies they choose to spend their money with. People are starting to understand that the money they spend doesn’t stop the moment they make the transaction.’

As Weller explains, the brand has big ambitions for how it can assure its position as a globally recognised leader in environmentally conscious clothing and outdoor gear. ‘Getting to a point where we have 100% fair trade, 100% recyclable, organic or bio materials is going to take some time, but that’s a goal and it’s an ambition. Crucially, our drive is not to simply stay competitive in that space, or to stay ahead of the pack. The need to do that is driven by our own value set.’

Read the full Q&A here.

Patagonia, US Patagonia, US
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