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Archives: November 2012

In Brief: Ikea Linked to Forced Labor, Google Gives for Green Buildings, Nike to Sell Cole Haan

• Fast furniture giant Ikea knowingly benefited from forced labor in the former East Germany to manufacture some of its products in the 1980s, according to an Ernst & Young investigation commissioned by the company. “Even though Ikea Group took steps to secure that prisoners were not used in production, it is now clear that these measures were not effective enough,” the company said in a statement released Friday. A related investigation into purchase practices in Cuba (as trade with Cuba was supposedly initiated by the former GDR state trade organization) concluded that Ikea has never had any long-term business relations with suppliers in Cuba and found no evidence that the IKEA Group was aware of the possible use of political prisoners in Cuba.

• Google is pitching in for greener buildings. The company is donating $3 million to the U.S. Green Building Council. The grant, announced Wednesday at the annual Greenbuild International Conference in San Francisco, will help to transform the building materials industry and accelerate the creation of healthier indoor environments. “Working with Google enables us to broaden our efforts in the materials industry as we prepare for the next version of the LEED green building program, LEED v4,” said USGBC president and CEO Rick Fedrizzi. “This updated rating system will paint a more complete picture of materials and products, enabling project teams to make more informed decisions.” The Google funding will support research on building materials and health, development of transparency tools, and engagement of stakeholders from across the industry.

• Nike has inked a deal to unload Cole Haan. The buyer is private equity firm Apax Partners, which has agreed to pay $570 million for the 84-year-old footwear and accessories brand. The deal, expected to close early next year, is part of Nike’s move to focus on its Nike, Jordan, Converse, and Hurley brands. The company sold Umbro last month to Iconix Brand Group for $225 million.

Scott Dadich Named Editor-in-Chief of Wired

With Chris Anderson leaving the Condé Nast camp to spend more time with his robots (as CEO of 3D Robotics), Wired didn’t have to look far for its next editor-in-chief: it is Scott Dadich, who served as creative director of the magazine from 2006 through 2010 before ascending to the role of iPad Whisperer (a.k.a. vice president for Condé Nast digital magazine development). “Scott has been at the forefront of the company’s digital innovation for the past three years, developing the design for a digital magazine that has become an industry standard,” said Condé Nast editorial director Tom Wallace, in a statement issued Friday announcing the appointment. “His return to Wired…will ensure that it continues its pace-setting growth.” Wired recently announced a 2013 rate base increase from 800,000 to 825,000, marking the magazine’s eleventh consecutive year of rate-base growth.

Previously on UnBeige:
Seven Questions for Scott Dadich

Quote of Note | Frédéric Malle on Home Fragrance

“A home fragrance is first and foremost a good smell. It doesn’t have to mingle with the skin. Furthermore, it doesn’t have to last and evolve in the same way. Home fragrances are more one dimensional. The most technical aspect of working on a home fragrance is to develop a perfume that marries itself well with the supporting base, for instance the wax.

In other words, when working on a home fragrance one just concentrates on beauty and on comfort which is simpler than doing a perfume. However, evaluating candles or perfume guns is a tedious and long process. You can only smell one at a time (or one per room), rather than smelling four of them on your arms!” -Perfumer Frédéric Malle

Behold, Slate’s New Photography Blog


A composite image by Shawn Clover.

Shrinking newspapers are putting the squeeze on photojournalism, but some online media outlets are moving to pick up the slack. Slate recently launched Behold, a photo blog that aims to feature the “best, funniest, most inspiring photography projects around.” The site, which has a companion Tumblr for the truly text-averse, is a delightful mix that ranges from archival images (long lost Robert Capa shots, Bill and Hillary Clinton as youngsters) to hot-off-the-proverbial-presses fare (photos of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy) and even artful combinations of the two: don’t miss Shawn Clover’s composite photographs that blend shots of San Francisco in the wake of the 1906 earthquake with present-day street scenes.

Like this post? Then you’ll love LiquidTreat, a weekly newsletter designed to quench your creative thirst. Sip generously from past issues and subscribe (for free) here.

Learn HTML in a Weekend

Admit it. Your seven-year-old nephew could out-HTML tag you any day and you think that a Cascading Style Sheet is something with a thread count. That’s where the Mediabistro mothership comes in. They’ve asked us to tell you about an upcoming weekend course in HTML Fundamentals. In one hands-on, hyperlinked NYC weekend (December 1-2) artist, designer, and interactive developer David Tristman will guide you in breathing digital life into a pre-designed web page. Along the way, you’ll learn how to turn a PSD layout into HTML, the fundamentals of CSS3 styling of color and transitions, and why “@font-face” describes more than the contorted visages of typographers on deadline. By Sunday, you’ll be creating fully functional web pages, debating the finer points of inline and block display, and have gained all the tools necessary to launch your own site. Register here.

Name a Planet! Spacey Startup Uwingu Creating ‘Baby Book of Planet Names’

This week a team of sharp-eyed astrophysicists announced their discovery of a new planet: a young, cold, and roguish type that refuses to orbit any star. They’ve named the sunless planet…CFBDSIR2149. While this is an improvement over “Uranus,” it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. An astronomy- and space-focused startup is seeking to end this squandering of planet-naming opportunities with its first commercial project. Uwingu–”sky” in Swahili–is challenging the people of Earth to create a “baby book of planet names” for the 160 billion or more planets astronomers now estimate inhabit our galaxy, the Milky Way (cut to image of delicious candy bars).

“You can nominate planet names for your favorite town, state, or country, your favorite sports team, music artist, or hero, your favorite author or book, your school, your company, for your loved ones and friends, or even for yourself,” suggests Uwingu founder and CEO Alan Stern, an aerospace consultant and researcher who formerly directed all science program and missions at NASA. Each nomination costs 99 cents, with proceeds going to create a private sector fund for space projects. Names can be up to 50 characters (latin letters only), from any language or culture, and “can be anything the average grandmother would be proud to hear her grandchild say.” A contest will determine the 1,000 most popular planet names in the database, which will be communicated to planet-hunting astronomers for consideration. Voting is now open (votes also cost 99 cents each). Among the early leaders are “Pale Blue Dot,” “Heinlein,” and “Ron Paul.”

Cubes: Conde Nast Shows Off Its Lucky Side

Conde´ Nast recently hosted MediabistroTV at its Times Square offices. Lucky magazine style editor Lori Bergamotto walked the crew through the magazine’s offices revealing the hidden corners where nail polish and make-up are put through their paces, colors and fabric samples are checked by the art department, shoes and handbags await their close-ups and racks of outfits hang around waiting for their models.

Take a look at all the small parts that make up a big fashion magazine like Lucky.

Next Thursday Mediabistro TV premieres, “My First Big Break: Ken Burns.” You can view our other MediabistroTV productions on our YouTube Channel.

The Elder Statesman’s Greg Chait Wins $300K CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Prize


CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner Greg Chait with runners-up Tabitha Simmons and Jennifer Meyer Maguire. (Photo: CFDA)

Greg Chait has a golden goose. OK, technically it’s a bronze swan, but you get the idea. The French-born, New York-based designer was presented with the Rachel Feinstein-designed avian trophy by actress (and Vogue cover girl) Emma Stone on Tuesday evening at New York’s Center548, where the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue announced the recipients of the ninth annual awards from the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. Chait, who helms Los Angeles-based cashmere label The Elder Statesman, bested nine other finalists to take home the $300,000 Fashion Fund prize and a steady stream of business mentoring from industry veterans.

Runner-up honors–$100,000 each and a lovely bronze egg–went to accessories designers Tabitha Simmons and Jennifer Meyer Maguire. The other finalists were Andrea Lieberman (A.L.C.), Greg Armas (Assembly New York), Sofia Sizzi (Giulietta), Justin Salguero, Daniel Silberman, and Alina Silberman (Illesteva), Jennifer Fisher (Jennifer Fisher Jewelry), Max Osterweis and Erin Beatty (Suno), and Wes Gordon. Get to know them better by tuning into The Fashion Fund, a seven-part series that premiered on Vogue.com last month. Here’s the climactic final installment, complete with footage of the judges’ deliberations and Tuesday’s awards ceremony.

What Keeps Jeff Koons Up at Night? Picasso.


(Photo: UnBeige)

Jeff Koons resembles his work: shiny, appealing, and reassuringly ebullient. He speaks with the endearing charisma of a born salesman, hooking you with cultural and art-historical references before the hypnotic upsell to humanistic psychology, in which everything can be viewed in terms of “life energy” and human potential. (His fondness for mirror-polished stainless steel, for example, is all about “the intoxicating quality of looking at something that affirms your own existence.”) Koons’s monumental balloon-flower bouquet, “Tulips” (1995-2004, at right), is expected to fetch between $20 million and $30 million this evening at Christie’s in New York, but what really keeps the artist up at night isn’t the prospect of overtaking Jasper Johns as the most expensive–or most life-affirming?–living artist. It’s Picasso.

“At night, what I like to do, as an individual, when my wife is getting ready to go to bed and my children are already in bed, I go online and I just look at Picasso’s work. I really enjoy it,” Koons told NYU professor Pepe Karmel in a recent public conversation at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, where the “Picasso Black and White” exhibition is on view through January 23. Koons is a frequent visitor to the online Picasso catalogue raisonné, which he likes to browse in chronological order and follow the subtle adjustments to recurring motifs. “There are very similar works–Dora Maar, over and over again, but always a little different each time,” said Koons. “And then all of a sudden, bam! Something will come in that generally has an ugliness about it. It’s really not the most beautiful thing when it happens, but it’s something so new and refreshing. And then the next day he’ll go right back into his repetitive vehicles and these themes. I guess it gives him a sense of being, a sense of freedom, a sense of definition, to give him the courage that when he makes those movements into these kind of uncharted, completely different dialogues that are just so powerful.”

Get the Scoop on Visual Communities and Commerce at Social Curation Summit: Register Today and Save

Join social media pros, brand marketers, entrepreneurs, and VCs at Social Curation Summit on December 12 in Los Angeles to get the scoop on social news, brand loyalty, and next-generation storytelling platforms. The summit is the must-attend event for anyone interested in the emerging technologies that are transforming the way we share, follow, and engage online—Pinterest and Tumblr, anyone? Connect with expert speakers, including those from StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Storify, and Snip.it. Check out the speaker lineup and program here. Time is running out to save, so register now. Register before midnight to save $100.

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