Category

CREATIVITY

Category

Genderless clothing brands are a good thing. 

Because they encourage people to share what they wear.

And because they (should) do away with any silly stereotyping.

Here are some to take a look at.

https://eckhauslatta.com 

Based in New York, quirky, quite nice and slightly bonkers.

https://t-o-o-g-o-o-d.com/clothing

Minimalist, cool and – again – a bit mad.

www.bethnals.com

Decent denim-obsessed basics.

Not terribly adventurous but yes – interesting and affordable.

https://vertigga.com

Another American brand.

Youthful.

The (odd) Wilde Boots are interesting.

Genderless.

I personally see genderless clothing as simple, common sense idea.

Not a political stance and neither for or against any particular group or persuasion.

Just something that, if done well so that it encourages us all to buy less and buy better, makes sense.

The examples here are early entrants to the category.

The category itself is young.

I suspect some enter it as it feels newsy.

The best will do it because of how it can effect our world positively.

They are the ones that will last.

Wear It. Share It.

We live in a world where over 70% of all clothing made is either burnt or buried within 3 years.

Things need to change.

And genderless clothing could be one small part of that change.

Wear it… then share it.

To find out what you’re great at, you have to do shit.

Not ‘do shit’ as in ‘do things badly’ you understand.

I mean you have to actually do things.

Rather than just talking about them.

Perfectionism.

Perfectionism is self-sabotage.

It just is.

Waiting around for that perfect opportunity.

Or that perfect moment.

The thing to know here is that, perfect opportunities do exist.

But you don’t know if they’re the real deal until you take the step and actually do them.

Because some things that you’d bet your life on being perfect – aren’t.

And some things that look imperfect – once you start them – turn out to be perfect.

Things People Say.

Ooh, I’m a perfectionist me.

So I’m not doing it until it is perfect.

Really means

I’m scared.

And that’s fine.

Doing any great thing has to be a bit scary.

Do Shit.

So, if you want to be shit hot.

Do shit.

Because – no shit – it’s the only way to know.

One Friday in the summer of 2009, at about 2pm, I received a telephone call.

I was at work at the time, leading the biggest business (to date) that I have created.

It was called onebestway.

A Creative Agency.

The telephone call went something like this:

Hello, onebestway, Mike here. How can we help?

Hi, can I speak to the owner please?

Yep; that’s me. How can I help?

I’m calling from Virgin 1. The digital TV station. We’re looking for a team to take part in a television programme. We’ve researched you a little. Can I explore this with you?

Sure. Go ahead.

We’re relaunching the channel. This summer. And the flagship show for the launch is called The Naked Office. Basically we are looking to place a psychologist with a team. He will bond them so closely that, after a week, they’ll all be comfortable coming to work together – naked.

I paused.

It was a Friday as I say.

So this was a mate being silly right?

No.

It was a producer from a production company called Shine .

And the invitation was real.

Moments.

So this was one of those defining moments.

We all get them.

Maybe not exactly like this.

But we get them.

I had already said yes in my mind.

But I had to ask the team.

All but one said yes.

So we did it.

The Naked Office. 

The Naked Office aired in the autumn of 2009.

About 5 million people saw it in the UK after the repeats and the interviews.

Globally it was more.

Adventure.

It was great fun.

An adventure.

Some of our industry thought we were brave and ballsy.

Some thought we were sensationalist and crackers.

Both were right.

David Taylor.

David Taylor was the psychologist in the television programme.

David has authored 5 books now.

And David and his wife Rosalind became good friends of mine.

Here they are.

Saying yes. 

Anyhow, do I regret it?

100% no.

Would I have regretted it had I not done it?

100% yes.

When In Doubt.

So.

My advice when faced with whatever weird and wonderful opportunities might arrive in this too-short life of ours.

When in doubt…

Say yes.

If you are reading this story in your email, there’s a photo you might want to see with today’s story at 50odd.co.uk.

But then again…!

David Taylor (nice chap): www.nakedleader.com.

I’ve not suddenly turned into a Pub Quiz compare.

But I thought this was quite interesting.

What do these sayings all have in common?

Too much of a good thing.

Wear your heart on your sleeve.

Fight fire with fire.

Dead as a doornail.

Vanish into thin air.

For goodness sake.

Green eyed monster.

The world is my oyster.

What’s done is done.

Wild goose chase.

Break the ice.

Set your teeth on edge.

Let me know in the comments.

Just this week, on LinkedIn, there was a post about logo design.

It was by a nice chap from Scotland.

The chap was a dragon from the digital version of Dragon’s Den.

So very successful he was too!

Anyhow, here’s what he wrote, alongside little images of four similar logo concepts.

Each of the four logos, by the way, was with a different font, colour way, layout and/or with one of the letters turned quite randomly into an abstract shape.

His copy:

What do you think A B C D or none of the below?

This is the first draft of the branding concepts and it would be good to get your feedback.

He provided a link to the project also.

I responded:

What’s the project’s point of difference please?

The thing you want us to think or remember about them please?

What sets them apart from the other options that the customer has?

He responded:

It will all make sense when we do our big reveal.

I responded:

I ask because, without this information it is impossible to know which logo is strategically correct.

All we are left with is a beauty parade.

And that’s not the way to create a professional logo.

Thank you.

I’ve not had a response to this second remark.

Logo Design.

However, about 230 others did respond to what they thought of the logos.

With things like:

Love the first one. An expression of simplicity in a contemporary world.

And:

D has a clean look.

And:

A – for the A Team!

And

C but without the two dashes.

And

A or C.

And

D looks good to me. Might be worth adding a little green from A in the same colour as the ‘M’.

This went on.

For over 200 comments.

All of them utter, utter, utter, utter, utter drivel.

Annoyed. 

The reason I get annoyed with practices like this is because – and all professional designers worth their salt know this – the creation of a logo is mostly strategic.

You see, if a graphic designer can’t get clarity, simplicity, memorability, readability and transferability (so it can be used big and small and across several applications/media) into every logo they create then they are not graphic designers.

They’re idiots.

No graphic designer should get major accolades for these things.

Truly great creators of professional logos or corporate identities (or whatever we’d like to call them) help brands to communicate their point of difference – why people should choose them – within the design.

This is not always possible because some businesses don’t actually know their point of difference.

Then brand consultants are needed (but that’s another story).

But the point is, these stupid, pointless beauty parades should never ever appear on LinkedIn.

Or anywhere.

They are embarrassing.

Not only because the designer should know which is the best strategic solution for the brand – but because the whim of an arbitrary group of followers is entirely irrelevant.

And I find them annoying because people actually charge for these silly beauty parades.

And that is wrong.

In summary, a professional graphic designer will create you a visual mark for your business.

A great logo designer will do all of that too of course.

But she or he will definitely, definitely, definitely quiz you to develop a deep, deep understanding of your specialness, your journey, your ambition, your purpose and the reason that you should be chosen above all others.

Then try hard (it is not always possible but we must try) to weave in or sprinkle reference or echoes of this into the right logo for you.

So, if your ‘logo designer’ EVER asks you which iteration you prefer (and there should never be more than 1, 2 or 3 to choose from) – with no explanation as to which is strategically the best for your brand…

… SACK THEM!

There is a lot of chat currently around why lots of high-end luxury fashion brands are changing their logos.

The talking point, more specifically, is why do they all now look the same?

YVES SAINT LAURENT.

BALENCIAGA

BURBERRY.

BERLUTI.

BALMAIN.

There are lots of opinions on this.

Some say it’s so that the images are better for the digital age.

So they work better on screens.

Because they’re less fussy.

Some say it is to shed memories of a past riddled with things that – these days – are considered politically incorrect.

Or just silly and outdated.

Some say it is to create a simple and visual core for the brand.

So the brand can react to a market that is changing faster than ever.

With campaigns that are born, burn brightly, then switch off.

Leaving the simple core to endure.

Some say it’s so that the brands can visually ‘high five’ each other.

Acknowledge that they are part of the one luxury clothing branding elite.

Some say that as categories blur… luxury / premium / luxury streetwear… it’s a way to push the actual physical brand into the background and let the collections speak louder for themselves.

All I know is that it’s interesting.

That these super-brands are actively morphing to all look alike.

My personal view is this…

They do want to flock together.

I think they feel safer that way as new independent brands come in at the bottom end.

I also think they are playing safe for a faster moving and unpredictable future.

This simplicity keeps them as part of the old club but allows them to create innovative campaigns around the edges.

Campaigns that match or react to the current mood.

I understand all that.

I suppose the only think that may be missing, if indeed I am right in any of my assumptions, is adventure.

Risk.

Verve.

Wow-ness.

In summary – a  willingness to be pioneering.

At a strategic level.

I think a brand can get so big and have so many people reliant on it (shareholders, shops, existing customers and the pounds that they spend) that it gets a bit boring.

Scared to pioneering anything.

So it just follows what the market signals that it wants.

Risk.

I am not a fan of just ‘following’ in this short life of ours.

I like brands that go out on a limb.

That DO take risks and stand out.

And say something different.

That stand for something.

So my comments above are not about the similar font styles I don’t think.

They’re more about what this move to sameness might mean.

I hope it does not mean that these brands are becoming followers instead of leaders.

I am actually exploring a similar simplification of the Always Wear Red logo because we are less ‘luxury’ and more ‘premium contemporary.’

So a simpler look feels right to me.

But I will never lose the risk and the adventure behind the brand.

Because I love all that.

And I think our expanding customer base do too.

I love creativity.

And adventure.

I also want to think about the strategic reasons – for me – why I might change the logo.

Because – just so you know – logo design is a primarily strategic and not an aesthetic decision at all.

I’ll go into that more in another story.

Here’s a ‘Business of Fashion’ article highlighting the similarities between these fashion super brands:

https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/opinion/the-revolution-will-not-be-serifised-why-every-luxury-brands-logo-looks-the-same-burberry-balmain-balenciaga

I like clever, creative people.

But I am not so keen on jealous ones.

Or those that try to put other people down.

So I really do like what Joseph Heller has been heard to say to the occasional slimy, smirking journalist.

Impolite and disrespectful journalists that are looking to make a name for themselves.

Heller – politely – silences them.

With just two words.

Journalist:

So; Mr. Heller. Why is it that you have never written anything as good as your acclaimed novel ‘Catch 22’?

After a suitable pause.

Heller:

Who has?

Perfect.

Mending things is good.

But things are getting cheaper.

Time is getting shorter.

And mending skills are undervalued.

So we throw things away.

Kintsugi

Kintsugi is a Japanese art form in which breaks and repairs are treated as part of the object’s history.

Broken ceramics are carefully mended by artisans with a lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum.

The repairs are visible — and beautiful.

Kintsugi means “golden joinery” in Japanese.

In. Not Out.

I think valuable things wear in.

Not out.

Clothing I mean mainly.

But other things too.

I tend to buy less and buy better.

I know what I like so I don’t really want loads of things.

Just a few, excellent things!

And if they bend or break or bruise I like repairing them or having them repaired.

In fact, at Always Wear Red we have a Forever Repair Service.

AWR customers choose to have black knitted pieces repaired with black thread, or red thread.

Visible mend.

Or invisible mend.

In time, I’ll let you know what people plump for.

And in the meantime I hope that you, with regards to clothing, plump for a “Wear It, Share it, Repair it”  approach.

It must be the right thing to do.

It rhymes.

Here are a couple of suggestions.

The first suggestion is a bit strange.

The second is stranger still.

But both are worth doing.

Why?

Because today or in a few days, you can do these things.

There will come a day when you can’t.

Suggestion 1

Ask someone you love and that loves you to stop what they’re doing, switch off and look you in the eye.

Then ask that someone you love and that loves you, this question:

Would you like to come on an adventure?

Then watch their face…

Surprise?

Happiness?

Joy?

Suspicion?

And would they trust you?

Before you ask, you will have already thought about what they would really like to do.

With you.

A meal?

A hotel?

Both?

Something else?

But I think it is important to phrase the question like this:

Would you like to come on an adventure?

And why should you do it?

Because today, or in a few days, you can.

There will come a day when you can’t.

Suggestion 2

The next time you are alone at home, stand in front of a mirror and ask yourself a question.

Out loud.

Would you like to come on an adventure?

Then pause.

And think.

And watch your own face.

Would you trust you?

Adventure.

I hope you smile when you ask yourself this.

And that you feel a little excited.

And that you start to imagine.

And to create.

And to plan.

Why should you do it?

Because today, or in a few days, you can.

And there will come a day when you can’t.

Life is little.