Archive for April, 2010

Accordion Chair (or couch or bed) – Sustainable and Expandable Furniture


This has to be one of the coolest “gadgets” I’ve ever seen (came across it at Benjart’s blog). The chair modelled after an accordion uses recycled materials and features honeycomb technology to provide the strength to allow one to actually sit on it.

You can pick up your very own chair from Flexible Love for either £250 for the 8-seater version or £450 for the 16 person version. Well worth the money when you think about how easily it can be stored and the number of people it can accomodate… and the awesome tricks you can play with the thing (a la the above video).

The chair is made from cardboard so should NOT be left outside. The furniture is made of recycled wood and paper products and using pre-existing manufacturing processes so as not to have a huge impact on the environment. At present, the furniture is readily available for online purchase in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Taiwan though should be available by special request internationally (check the website and “buy” for more details).

This puppy get’s full marks from the Crockstar team… and given that we’ll be moving shop in the next few weeks we might be coppin’ as well.

Meet Apegon – Bape / Bapesta’s Newest Character [Nigolden Week]

As part of Bape’s newest collection (focussed on wrestling… which you gotta love!) they have introduced a new character to the Bathing Ape family. This man looks more super-hero than ape and it will be interesting to see how he is introduced to the collection. We’re not convinced by Apegon yet but we’ll see what sort of super powers he is capable before passing final judgement.

The topic for “professional wrestlers” and professional wrestling inspired t-shirts on the other hand is something we fully support. Here’s to hoping a Bape-o-Mania yellow and red tee is on it’s way!

Bapesta Wrestling Tees

The shirt will be released as part of the aptly named upcoming “Nigolden week” to celebrate the label’s 17th anniversary. The lead designer and founder of the brand Nigo will be on hand from May 1st-4th to offer a screen printing workshop and meet the adoring fans. The “Nigo’s workshop” event will take place at three different stores as part of the larger celebration for “Golden week” in Japan. Golden week celebrates “Emperor’s day” “Childrens Day” and the “Constitution Memorial Day” to celebrate the 1947 constitution of Japan.

Ultimately- the week can be looked at as a giant bank-holiday weekend and the Bape team will be pulling out all the stops in celebration.

 

We’ve yet to learn Japanese (slackers!) but hopefully if you are in Japan and thus likely to attend we hope you can read the below dates and location for the Nigo’s Workshop event.

Nigolden Week Nigo’s Workshop Schedule

 Image credits: Highsnobiety and Bape

 For more up-to-the-minute commentary on menswear and fashion please follow Crockstar on Twitter.

Government Coalition Fail – Open Letter to Google

*Note- we have now seen the PDF version of this letter and the error appears in the final draft of the open letter as well.

Wouldn’t you think if you were going to send an “open letter” to Google about privacy issues on behalf of a number of countries that you could afford to get a copywriter?

In this open letter directed to Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, apparently the lawyers and team writing the letter couldn’t be asked to proof read the letter before sending it out. This version has appeared on Mashable and a number of other sites and is pretty shocking.

The error in question refers to the following quote (also extracted by Mashable in their article without any question of grammatical accuracy): “… which betrayed a disappointing disregard for fundamental privacy norms and laws.”

I assume what they meant by this, was that it “displayed a dissappointing disregard” or it “betrayed fundamental privacy norms and laws” however I don’t believe the combination of the two works.

My grammar is not perfect, but this is downright embarassing given the context.

The original letter (as reprinted by the Privacy Comissioner of Canada) is included below.

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart, and the heads of the data protection authorities in France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom sent the following letter to the chief executive officer of Google Inc. to express their concerns about privacy issues related to Google Buzz.

April 19, 2010

Mr. Eric Schmidt
Chairman of the Board and
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
Mountain View, CA
USA   94043

Dear Mr. Schmidt:

Google is an innovative company that has changed how people around the world use the Internet.  We recognize your company’s many accomplishments and its dramatic impact on our information economy.  As data protection regulators mandated to protect privacy rights, we also applaud your participation in discussions in many jurisdictions about new approaches to data protection.

However, we are increasingly concerned that, too often, the privacy rights of the world’s citizens are being forgotten as Google rolls out new technological applications.  We were disturbed by your recent rollout of the Google Buzz social networking application, which betrayed a disappointing disregard for fundamental privacy norms and laws.  Moreover, this was not the first time you have failed to take adequate account of privacy considerations when launching new services. 

The privacy problems associated with your initial global rollout of Google Buzz on February 9, 2010 were serious and ought to have been readily apparent to you. 

In essence, you took Google Mail (Gmail), a private, one-to-one web-based e-mail service, and converted it into a social networking service, raising concern among users that their personal information was being disclosed.  Google automatically assigned users a network of “followers” from among people with whom they corresponded most often on Gmail, without adequately informing Gmail users about how this new service would work or providing sufficient information to permit informed consent decisions. This violated the fundamental principle that individuals should be able to control the use of their personal information.

Users instantly recognized the threat to their privacy and the security of their personal information, and were understandably outraged. To your credit, Google apologized and moved quickly to stem the damage.

While your company addressed the most privacy-intrusive aspects of Google Buzz in the wake of this public protest and most recently (April 5, 2010) you asked all users to reconfirm their privacy settings, we remain extremely concerned about how a product with such significant privacy issues was launched in the first place.  We would have expected a company of your stature to set a better example.  Launching a product in “beta” form is not a substitute for ensuring that new services comply with fair information principles before they are introduced. 

It is unacceptable to roll out a product that unilaterally renders personal information public, with the intention of repairing problems later as they arise.  Privacy cannot be sidelined in the rush to introduce new technologies to online audiences around the world.

Unfortunately, Google Buzz is not an isolated case.  Google Street View was launched in some countries without due consideration of privacy and data protection laws and cultural norms.  In that instance, you addressed privacy concerns related to such matters as the retention of unblurred facial images only after the fact, and there is continued concern about the adequacy of the information you provide before the images are captured.  

We recognize that Google is not the only online company with a history of introducing services without due regard for the privacy of its users.  As a leader in the online world, we hope that your company will set an example for others to follow.

We therefore call on you, like all organisations entrusted with people’s personal information, to incorporate fundamental privacy principles directly into the design of new online services.  That means, at a minimum:

  • collecting and processing only the minimum amount of personal information necessary to achieve the identified purpose of the product or service;
  • providing clear and unambiguous information about how personal information will be used to allow users to provide informed consent;
  • creating privacy-protective default settings;
  • ensuring that privacy control settings are prominent and easy to use;
  • ensuring that all personal data is adequately protected, and
  • giving people simple procedures for deleting their accounts and honouring their requests in a timely way.

In addition to respecting these broad principles, we also expect all organisations to comply with relevant data protection and privacy laws.  These laws apply online, just as they do in the physical world.  As well, we encourage organisations to engage with data protection authorities when developing services with significant implications for privacy.

As your users made clear to you in the hours and days after the launch of Google Buzz, privacy is a fundamental right that people value deeply.  As regulators responsible for promoting and overseeing compliance with data protection and privacy laws, we hope that you will learn from this experience as you design and develop new products and services.

We would like to receive a response indicating how Google will ensure that privacy and data protection requirements are met before the launch of future products.

Sincerely,

 

Original signed by

Jennifer Stoddart
Privacy Commissioner of Canada

 

Original signed by

Alex Türk
Chairman, Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (France)

 

Original signed by

Peter Schaar
Commissioner, Bundesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz und die Informationsfreiheit (Germany)

 

Original signed by

Billy Hawkes
Data Protection Commissioner of Ireland

 

Original signed by

Yoram Hacohen
Head of the Israeli Law, Information and Technology Authority

 

Original signed by

Francesco Pizzetti
Garante per la protezione dei dati personali (Italy)

 

Original signed by

Jacob Kohnstamm
Chairman, College Bescherming Persoonsgegevens (Netherlands)
Chairman, Article 29 Working Party

 

Original signed by

Marie Shroff
Privacy Commissioner, New Zealand

 

Original signed by

Artemi Rallo Lombarte
Director, Agencia Española de Protección de Datos (Spain)

 

Original signed by

Christopher Graham
Information Commissioner and Chief Executive (United Kingdom)

 

A. Hallucination LookBook – Menswear A/W 2010

A. Hallucination Lookbook

Thanks to some love from up and coming menswear designer Chung Chung Lee, who along with his partner Hwan Sung Park founded the label A. Hallucination (which we raved about after attending the A. Hallucination Label Launch in February) Crockstar has the distinct pleasure of announcing the official collection lookbook. The Crockstar gang was quite fortunate to get an early look at the collection, and now we are happy to share the book with you all.

A. Hallucination Quilted Dress Shirt

In addition to the coveted HQ images from the show, the lookbook really helps do justice to these incredible pieces and it looks as though the collection has come even further since the initial London show.

As mentioned in the event coverage, the line offers a unique take on the “modern English dandy” and combines immaculate tailoring (a la Saville Row) with the quilting of an English outdoor brand (such as Barobour) and combines them with edgier silhouettes to make the most of modern.

A. Hallucination Duffle Coat and Vest

I think the Crockstar fascination with this brand has been made quite explicit so please have a look through the entire look book at the A. Hallucination website.

As always, please follow Crockstar on Twitter for more fashion insights, news and commentary.

Donnis – Gone (Music Video Premier)


Welp, I had to share this with everyone. It looks like Donnis has finally got his premier on MTV with one of my favorite tracks heard on my pick for mixtape of the year for 2009. The video was just released and is already being featured on Highsnobiety so for those of you that haven’t heeded our advice and grabbed the mixtape please let us know what you think of this track and of Donnis more broadly!

New York Trip – Highlights in Images

First off, apologies for not having posted anything in the last couple of weeks. It has been really busy and I have also been doing a bit of travel. As such, I thought I would at least share some of the highlights from my trip in images. Nothin really to make anyone jealous here- no photos of beaches or anything like that but just some high points and suggestions in case you find yourself in the area.

iPad Hands-on

And fat-fingered people everywhere rejoiced!

 Obviously, with the release of the iPad on April 3rd (in the States at least) I couldn’t resist a test drive. I had read a lot of hands-on reports and felt that this was the sort of thing that is best experienced first hand. I would strongly suggest that anyone remotely intrigued by this little gadget take one out for a spin. I have always been a bit hesitant about e-reading but I found that the e-reading capabilities and promise on this thing are huge. Given how many books I lugged back and forth on this trip alone I think it is well worth looking into an e-reader and since the iPad weighs in at $499 for the 16gb wireless version I cannot really see myself buying anything else.

In addition to the e-reader, improved visibility to the browser and fat-finger friendly keypad the gaming was pretty slick and I think will only get better. This thing could quite easily replace a kindle, an iPod, a PSP and a number of other products so the investment for me (after they work out any kinks) is inevitable. I would love to deny it, but the thing is great and all of my concerns went out the window once I had a play.

The potential for this thing (especially with graphic design) is pretty huge and if Adobe is smart the ability to draw on this thing like any of the Bamboo vector drawing pads could be a huge money maker if Adobe launches some light versions of Photoshop and Illustrator.

Don’t take my word for it though, next time you’re near an Apple store take the time to play with one and see for yourself. They should be available in the UK in the next few weeks though rumour has it that they will be more expensive.

 

21 Mercer Nike Sportswear

21 Mercer St.

Any footwear lover must make the obligatory pilgrimage to their local havens when visiting a new city. 21 Mercer was a no brainer for this sneakerhead. Located on Mercer St. (shocker) right in SoHo and surrounded by a number of other streetwear and skateshops (APC, DC shoes, etc) this is a must see and serves as the flagship of Tier 1 Nike owned and operated specialty stores. This store served as the mold for the 1948 shop in Shoreditch and is a bit of an icon within the streetwear community.

That said, the experience wasn’t quite what I expected. The 1948 store is filled with knowledgeable sneakerheads who know ever release date and can probably tell you ever sneaker ever made by Nike. 21 Mercer was nice and had better decorations and lightin than the 1948 store but it just didn’t have the same vibe. It felt considerably more corporate and despite a seriously dope bleacher setup inside to display the dunks the stock and local feel just weren’t there.

The nail in the coffin? Don’t head to 21 Mercer if you’re looking for Jordans. Whilst the 1948 store is one of the few remaining tier 1 stores in London and (after some shenanigans at NikeTown during the Yeezy release) the only shop that get’s the super premium releases 21 Mercer directed me to NikeTown or House of Hoops to get my Jordan fix. I’m not saying I’ve got anything against either of these locales but come on! Whatever happened to a good old fashioned one-stop-shop?

 Michael Jordan by Shepard Fairey

 Jordan Blue and White by Shepard Fairey

Well, as the image above may have told you, the highlight of the NBA store on 5th Avenue was definitely the artwork and the memorabila. Perhaps none more exciting than a signed print (edition of 50) by my favorite artist, signed by the greatest basketball player of all time from his glory days at my alma mater. In addition to this Shepard Fairey gem the NBA store was filled with tourists, basketball jerseys, signed balls, retros and just about everything a basketball might hope to find. Signed Jordan’s? Check. Signed Lebron posters? Check. Retro Bird jersey? cheeeeck!

The only negative thing i would say about the NBA store (aside from the fact that it is a zoo) is a general lack of options for the personalised jersey selection. Sure they had jersey’s from every team in the league but they seem to be missing out on the proverbial “long-tail” of the basketball market. No Magic Johnson retros? No Charles Barkley retros? No Ty Lawson jersey… bummer, and I was just about to spend some money!

What they lack in variety they certainly make up for in quality. They had both the Shep prints available signed and as much memorabilia as the hall of fame.

 Meerkat Manor

It’s a stuffed me! 

Having been accused of looking like a meerkat on more than one occasion meant that taking this photo was a no-brainer. Equally, so was a trip to the Stuffed Animal Manor of New York (FAO Schwarz). Ever since watching the movie “Big” trips to FAO Schwarz have been an absolute must to satisfy the big kid in me. Whilst most everything stays the same at FAO Schwarz (big stuffed animals, fake Harry Potter Wands, etc.) some things get cooler and cooler. In addition to the normal selection of toys for big kids and little kids alone, FAO Schwarz has one-upped the “make your own” toy market in a big old way. Offering the opportunity to create your own “Muppet What Not” (basically an extra on the Muppets show), you can create your own character from hundreds of different options and watch your Henson-style puppet come to life. I know I’m not the first to notice this and have seen some pretty RAD muppets on the Wonder Web.

The “experience” will set you back about $100 but it beats the hell out of the same ol’ “handmade teddy bears” that every other kid (big or little) can get a hold of.

Approach to Heathrow

And the return home to foggy London town. After a great week it was time to head home. A bit frightening
when you realise just how close you are to the other flights coming back with you…

 

Your comments are always welcome and for more worthless banter please follow Crockstar on Twitter.
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About Me

This is the new home of the Crockstar Limited blog. The blog focuses heavily on trends in fashion music and the internet. The goal is to start an ethically sourced fashion label, but in the meantime the blog will offer insight into the world of an ADD fashion-loving internet geek.