News 12.03.2019

Need to Know

West Elm offers soft furnishings subscriptions, promoting gender-neutral language and streaming services fuel music spending in the US.

Solapa is a suit brand for young Puerto Ricans

SOLAPA by MitiMiti Studio and designed by Alessia Sistori of B.O.B studio.
SOLAPA by MitiMiti Studio and designed by Alessia Sistori of B.O.B studio.
SOLAPA by MitiMiti Studio and designed by Alessia Sistori of B.O.B studio.

Puerto Rico – The brand, created by MitiMiti Studio, provides tailor-made suits that cater to the individual style of the Caribbean country’s young men.

Solapa combines traditional quality with contemporary designs and a wide range of sizes to celebrate the individuality of each customer. According to the brand, the suits are aimed at young entrepreneurs of the Caribbean, for whom personal expression through clothing is paramount.

The branding for Solapa, which was designed by Studio B.O.B., features loud graphics and an unusual colour palette of lilac, brown and mint green. The campaign includes images of teenage boys dressed in suits, hinting at the brand’s target youth audience.

Solapa is rethinking the concept of the well-dressed male dandy and creating a new visual code around masculinity that doesn’t shy away from loud colours, femininity or elegance.

Residents of this district control their own data

Brainport Smart District by UNStudio, renderings by Plomp, Helmond Brainport Smart District by UNStudio, renderings by Plomp, Helmond
Brainport Smart District by UNStudio enables residents to produce their own resources, such as food and energy, manage their own waste disposal and own all of their data, Netherlands Brainport Smart District by UNStudio enables residents to produce their own resources, such as food and energy, manage their own waste disposal and own all of their data, Netherlands

Netherlands – An architectural practice based in the Netherlands has unveiled plans for a smart residential development where residents control the use of their data.

The concept for Brainport Smart District (BSD), to be located in the Dutch city of Helmond, envisions the area as a ‘living laboratory’. Residents will produce their own resources, such as food and energy, manage their own waste disposal and own all of their data.

Created by Amsterdam-based UNStudio and its sister company, UNSense, the project includes a residential area called 100 Houses, which will investigate how data can be used to improve lives in urban areas. Devised as a response to the data monopolies held by large technology companies, 100 Houses will offer an entirely new economic model.

By allowing locals to take ownership of their data, UNStudio is positioning data-sharing as a form of ‘labour' to be compensated in the same way as any other work. People will exchange these earnings for access to local amenities like food and transport, which in turn contributes to the self-sufficiency and growth of the local community.

Explore our Smart Cities vertical for more on the future of the urban environment.

Rent the Runway introduces rentals for soft furnishings

New York – The clothing rental company has partnered with home retailer West Elm to make soft furnishings available as part of its subscription services.

From this summer, Rent the Runway (RTR) subscribers will be able to choose from 26 exclusive bundles of West Elm products. These bundles, which include decorative pillows, throws, quilts and coverlets made from materials such as organic cotton, velvet, hand-spun silk and Belgian flax linen, will be available as part of RTR’s existing subscriptions.

The partnership marks the first time West Elm has made products available to rent, as well as the first time Rent the Runway has expanded its offerings beyond apparel and accessories.

With members able to keep items for any time period they choose, this rental model will provide subscribers with the flexibility to change elements of their home as often as they choose. ‘We know that clothing is often a vehicle to help people feel confident and expressive, and this new partnership will unlock that feeling through home decor,’ says Jennifer Hyman, co-founder and CEO of Rent the Runway. For more, read our Furniture as a Service microtrend.

West Elm and Rent The Runway, US

The Unbias Button promotes non-gendered speech

The Unbias Button by ElaN Languages, film by J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam

Amsterdam – ElaN Languages has launched a new translation feature that will suggest gender-neutral alternatives to common words.

The translation company has developed the tool to address the influence of language on attitudes towards gender and occupation. According to JWT, women are less likely to apply for jobs with masculine suffixes, such as cameraman, fireman and salesman, while feminine words like midwife are also negative for society.

To counter this, The Unbias Button is a plug-in that offers gender-neutral translations of words, making users more aware of their unconscious bias. ‘As a translation, language and communication training partner, we are a strong proponent of gender-neutral language so that all readers can relate to the texts in front of them: men, women, and people who don’t identify with either of these,’ says ElaN Languages.

The concept of gender is becoming more nuanced, which means we must reformulate gendered language. For more, read our macrotrend Neutral Culture.

Stat: Streaming subscriptions fuel US music spending

In 2018, US music spending hit its highest level in the last decade, rising 12% to £7.5bn ($9.8bn, €8.7bn), according to figures from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). More than 50m US consumers paid for a music-streaming service at the end of 2018, the RIAA found, and more than 1m people signed up for a music subscription each month.

The RIAA reports that streaming services account for three-quarters of all recorded music sales in the US. With the US standing as the world’s largest music market, these shifts are slowly reinvigorating the wider music industry, which has suffered as CD sales continue to decline.

As listening behaviours and preferences evolve, new Sustainable Music Streaming platforms are emerging that take a more considered approach to streaming.

Thought-starter: Are mindful influencers practicing what they preach?

Foresight writer Holly Friend investigates the rise of the mindful influencers, who tell followers to reduce their use of social media yet continue to use it to promote themselves.

Social media is ruining your life. It’s a message that has been plugged into us by governments, brands, academic researchers, and now a more unexpected breed of propagator – the influencer.

Over the last few years, many of us have been re-evaluating our relationship with technology. Not only are we being fed worrying statistics, such as Ofcom's estimation that we check our phones every 12 minutes, but we're being sold expensive holidays under the guise of digital detoxes and sleek 'dumb phones' to help still our fidgeting thumbs.

A new tribe of mindful influencer is also emerging. While not promoting complete abstinence from our devices, they are telling us to approach social media with a more mindful, moderate lens. Rather than adhering to a damaging form of Neo-Luddism, they are encouraging others to embrace a slower version of social media that puts themselves, not their followers, first. But are they simply capitalising on a new fad – a Millennial hunger for the latest iteration of self-care?

Look out for the full opinion.

adDRESS The Future in collaboration with PERL.WWW by Carlings
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