Monthly Archives: April 2009

From tiny acorns, mighty oaks grow…

“I had another dream last night. Cherry blossom popping up everywhere, the streets turning pink. So, the second I blinked my eyes open I knew that another mission had begun. I wasn’t sure what it was yet, but that didn’t matter..”

These are the opening words of the Cherry Girl, a mysterious, playful creature “discovered” by MTV, whose  mission is to make tiny, positive impacts on her surroundings whilst still living a beautiful, mischievous existence.  She represents the new hedonism for Generation Y: teens and twenty-somethings for whom fun is still the most important thing, but not at the expense of the environment and those around you.

In keeping with her peers, Cherry Girl is highly active on social media, charting her minute-by-minute exploits via her Twitter feed (which now has over 800 faithful followers) and her blog, where she discusses topics as diverse and bizarre as “clean graffiti” and leaving fortune cookies for random strangers to chance upon on their daily commute.

cherrygirl1

The most interesting thing about Cherry Girl is that you’re not quite sure what she is all about, where she comes from and what she’ll do next. The video that introduces her is almost eerie with the electro music and sepia tint and it takes a while to understand what is going on.   Perhaps that’s the point. She is a teenager after all and no teenager wants to appear straightforward.

The prettiest tea in the world

I cannot have a blog with the word Tea in the title and fail to mention this gorgeous site by Lolita Lempicka.  It makes me want to host an afternoon tea party, complete with matching china tea cups and saucers and a proper cake stand. It is unapologetically girly, frivolous and extravagant, right down to the jaunty birdsong in the background…but everyone needs a little bit of that once in a while especially in these dour, economic times.

Check it out for yourself. A screengrab simply does not do it justice.

Lolita Lempicka

Tweet.Meet.Give.

It used to be that to do your bit for charity, you’d file through some old clothes, throw them into a bin bag and lug them to the nearest charity shop, hoping that someone would see them in a new light, pay a few pennies for them, and in return you’d get to clear up some space in your wardrobe.

Not anymore.

Those of us on Twitter and Facebook can’t escape the “tweets” and “invites” from the charities looking for our cash and our attention. The savviest ones, like charity:water, are using social media to offer a level of transparency and accountability like never before, and throwing in a fun time to boot.

A few months ago I went to along to Twestival – an event organized via Twitter by charity:water and held in over 200 cities worldwide. For a $20 ticket, I made a donation to clean water projects in Africa, mixed with other social media geeks, and danced to super-cool DJ’s Eclectic Method.

twestival

Twestival was a perfect example of a movement/cause starting online, generating a load of buzz and then culminating in a gathering of like-minded individuals offline.  Everyone I spoke to at Twestival was a self-confessed“social media addict”, many of them working in advertising/media/marketing and wanting to “do their bit” whilst still having a fun night out. As would be expected, people were tweeting here, there and everywhere with tweets displayed on a big screen.

As the Twestival motto so aptly puts it “tweet.meet.give.”

Twestival re-entered my consciousness recently when I received an invite via Twitter to “watch us drill the first Twestival drill in Ethiopia” where from the comfort of my laptop screen I could see where my money went to, right down to the drill bit spiraling it’s way into the dusty Ethiopian soil. I was even invited to email questions for the community that was being helped by charity:water.  Wow: talk about seeing where your money goes. See more footage here.

Only downside? I’m going to have to find another way of clearing space in my tiny Manhattan-sized wardrobe. Hmm.

one of the charity:water projects in Kenya

The art of wardrobe building

Last summer I had the pleasure of working on reinvigorating an old English tailoring brand called E.Tautz. It officially launched earlier this year and I’m pleased to see it has received some very positive coverage online on a number of blogs.

E.Tautz

E.Tautz

The project began over coffee in Shoreditch, London, where my friend Oli and I were handed over a bundle yellowing receipts – one of which belonged to no less than Sir Winston Churchill himself – and a few newspaper cuttings from 1867. Armed with these leads, we set to the task of uncovering more about the history of this ‘Sporting and Military Tailor’. Many days were spent foraging through the endless aisles of the British Library for clues and information about this fascinating old brand. Our research uncovered that E.Tautz was one of the most renowned tailors of its time – outfitting nobility from around the world. It was a true gentleman’s brand with fabulous signature pieces such as a “The York Golfing Coat” and an outfit specially designed for “Otter Hunting”.

As we began to get a picture of the Tautz men of years gone by, we realized that what made them stand out is that they approached getting dressed as you would an art form, with meticulous attention to detail and pride.  This is what inspired us to create the E.Tautz philosophy of “the art of wardrobe building.”

A man’s wardrobe is more than merely a storage space; it is a collection of pieces as carefully put together as any collection of paintings.

This philosophy felt incredibly relevant to a time where people are turning their backs on “fast fashion” and a “buy, buy, buy” attitude. We’re looking for pieces that will last and be loved for more than a saturday night out. Yes they may be a little costly, but you can be sure to love the E.Tautz pieces for some time to come. I’m not sure that men do the “cost per wear” justification in their heads as much as girls but if I was a guy, I could definitely find a way to justify the the purchase of an E.Tautz piece.

E.Tautz

E.Tautz

Women’s Aid

Post Rihanna and Chris, domestic violence has become a topic of somewhat macabre interest in the celebrity gossip magazines. Fortunately, this time out of choice and in an entirely fictional setting, another beautiful, young celebrity has put this issue further into the spotlight.

Watching Keira Knightley being beaten to the ground in ‘Cut’, a short film created for the charity Women’s Aid, had a similar effect on me as those shocking pictures of Rihanna’s battered face. You just don’t expect to see a beautiful, stunning celebrity as a victim…and I guess this is the eternal problem with domestic violence. Often, no one other than the victim and her abuser know what happens behind closed doors, or in the case of celebrities, behind red-carpet-ready smiles and glamorous parties.

I’ve never been a big Keira fan – I can’t get over the irritating omnipresent pout – but I really  admire her for taking the time to do this powerful fim. It’s not the easiest of issues to be ‘the face’ of and it is an issue that is not commonly taken up by celebrities. It’s not quite in the same league as cuddling a cute rescue dog.

p.s. love Keira’s hair in this. Envy.