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Americana – London. A journey through Woodzee eyes

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America. When you’re a European, obviously French and Londoner, many pictures come to mind. Road signs, hip-hop culture, Obama, McDonalds, California girls, NYC girls.
Energy, flights and jet-lag. A pack of sleepless talks and infatuation for parallel timelines.

The guys at Woodzee had the good idea to send me a gorgeous pair of Bamboo black Sierra, made of wood and eco-friendly process. And those shades quickly became my best allies from Commercial Road, London, to East Village, NYC.

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Shades are not any fashion accessory; they are a sort of protection for the solo traveller. An ally which helps you when you arrive in a bar, and that you try to fuse with the locals. Yes, shades can surprisingly enough be the big difference between tourists who will always look tourists. And guys who are afraid of being associated to them. It’s OK being a foreigner, and in my case a Frenchman in New York. But as time runs fast, it might sound absurd, but a style or an attitude can help in meeting interesting people. Or at least connecting with a local mood or environment.

Some people have a drink to feel better and start chatting. Some others are too scared to leave their hotel room. In my case, if you give me nice sunglasses, I can feel more confident.

If you’ve ever read the Smurfs, there’s this episode when a pretty shy guy puts some marmalade on his nose…and because of this artefact, he wins the Olympic Games. Shades are my marmalade. 

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There’s something cool when you wear cool shades: the world become slightly different; colours change, become more intense. Or at least you perceive what’s more intense than the other buildings or urban elements.

woodzee NYC

Putting down your glasses on a table is also a key element of one’s personality. Some guys put them on their head; some others hang them on their shirt. Some others sort them in their boxes. And some guys like me let them live their lives in a Japanese restaurant. You’re intimately attached to what you left behind…and forefront.

woodzee americana

 

woodzee NYC standard

 

Flying back to London, I had this doubt in my mind; did I really live this American journey? Did I meet this American girl wearing stars and stripes? Did I lose myself in some shady bars?

For sure not. I think I’ve lived a lot in few hours there. And no doubt I had a good filter to protect my steps.

 

Thank you Woodzee for this collaboration! Oh and guys, you can discover their new skateboard collection

 

Places:

– secret rooftop East London

– The Standard, East Village, NYC

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BREAKS London: fashion UFO, daily contemporary art

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There are fashion UFOs on this planet; that’s exactly the reaction I had when I received the brilliant T-Shirt series of  BREAKS. Founded by Ryo Yamazaki in 2010, the brand grows between Tokyo and London. A twist of British modernity which matches with punk inspired materials. Not so surprising that BREAKS has an interesting collaboration with a frontman of The Horrors , Faris Badwan. The collection of T-Shirts is inspired by his universe. A melancholia slash dystopia slash new age materials that is very intriguing.

 

BREAKS London punk

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The Courteeners in BREAKS for FAULT Magazine

BREAKS london

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Levi’s Modern Frontiers: a reinterpretation of Bert Berns and his BANG Records

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In 1965, a guy called Bert Berns launched his own records company called BANG Records with his partners from Atlantic Records: Ahmet Ertegün, Nesuhi Ertegün and Jerry Wexler (aka Gerald). When Levi’s asked me to try to copy a Style Icon, I first thought about James Dean…but seriously, the icons who could really make sense today would love our “slashers” generation.

Oxford Street baby © Flavie Trichet Lespagnol

We have a DIY attitude: we are part time musicians, part time marketers. part time desperately looking for a new quest. We gather with other bunches of people. We dream, we fight. We want to make a difference.

I think that if Bert was 20 something today, he would try to launch a modern version of BANG records. It would probably have a social good layer. But there would be rock’n roll, pretty girls dancing with pretty boys, beats and open spaces. We would have more or less the same playlist: “I Want Candy” by The Strangeloves, “Hang on Sloopy” by The McCoys, “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, and “Solitary Man” by Neil Diamond. But there will also be some new electronic inspirations. There will be British influences meeting K-Pop.

© Flavie Trichet Lespagnol

Levi’s 501 is part of this history of people who tried to DO something. It’s rare when a piece of clothes is so much connected to so many individual movements.

I hope you liked this tribute to BANG Records.

 

LevisLogoFor more than 140 years, the Levi’s® brand has been equipping pioneers with the clothing they need to “Go Forth” and explore the modern frontier. From 501® jeans to the trucker jacket and western shirt, Levi’s® Fall 2013 collection features iconic clothing reinterpreted through a modern lens for today’s pioneers

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Levi’s ® via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Levi’s ®

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A fashion story with FIAT 500: my Italian grandfather’s diary and I #Fiat500Glam

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I have recently discovered my grandfather’s diary. An old notebook, half sepia and half blue. He was writing about his Italy in the 1950s: RAI starting to broadcast, the transition between an agricultural state to the industrial revolution. And love, everywhere. This era precisely refers to la dolce vita.

FiatLogo

Some iconic symbols of Italy were born in the 50s. And a particularly important – but small – car is part of a lot of Europeans diaries: the FIAT 500, cinquecento as lovers say. Designed by Dante Giacosa, the Nuova 500 evokes freedom, road trips, reconstruction, the feeling that everything is possible.

Chillout_PurpleflippedSome decades later, the Fiat 500 changed a lot in terms of performance and look. But there’s still this je ne sais quoi which makes it really attractive. The 50s could be very similar to the 2010s: after all, we’ve experienced the crisis and even if everything’s not peaceful, we are also part of this tribe of slashers. We go fast, and we only know that we must keep driving. Our memories could be also full of the cinquecento and of the people who were with us, singing loudly another pop song close to the city. Yes, the City is ours tonight.

Fiat 500, shiny wear outfit: the city is ours tonight

We are modern warriors; our pens are digital but our dreams are concrete and full of brick lanes. There are million miles to cross and love. But isn’t the journey the purpose on its own hey? We chose digital watches but we check the clock on our smartphones. We no longer have to go to the army but we love camouflage style. We are no longer punk or goth’ but we still pick black wristband.

Fiat 500 Street Wear. Creating brick lanes.

This modern ambivalence is not that far from the 50s irony. Because we have everything to create and shape again, humor is also deeply rooted in our veins.

Funk_Whiteflipped

I love this quote by Federico Fellini: “Life is a combination of magic and pasta”. The guys who partied last night also claimed it.

The FIAT brand stands for discovery through passionate self-expression. It encourages people to be in charge of their lives, live confidently and celebrate the smallest of things with infectious excitement. The new FIAT 500 Autumn/Winter Collection campaign has taken inspiration from the well-known paper cut-out doll concept to strengthen the position of the FIAT 500 as a fashion accessory.

Photos by Thien Nguyen

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Fiat via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Fiat/Fiat 500.

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The beat goes on at London Fashion Week with Philips Fidelio M1

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Yes, London Fashion Week happened; a very different edition from last year: less access for bloggers, a mix of teenage brands and more established ones trying to pimp. Well, I guess that this time, the most interesting shows were outside Somerset House. Fair enough, as a lot of massive events happened around the traditional program.

Philips offered us a great Fidelio M1 to keep the good vibes banging and kicking. A chic and comfy accessory that we’ve carried with love and delight.

Here are some pictures from Topman x Black On Black AFTER PARTY, hosted by Shorebitch at Casa Negra. An impressive line-up:

DJ Cable (DMC World Champion)
You Need To Hear This Dj Zara Martin
Bill & Will
Budakan
Sai
Miguel Dare
Mem

 

www.youneedtohearthis.com, @YNTHT_UK, #YouNeedToHearThis

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Collaboration with Bershka and FAGUO shoes: back to school with ethics and education my friends!

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Fashion is changing. London Fashion Week and #NYFW demonstrated – again – the rising importance of highstreet and e-commerce brands.
A sort of back to basics: what should I wear? What’s the impact of my consumption? How to mix ideas and clothes?
Highstreet brands (we consider ASOS as a virtual highstreet brand at the end…) influence big names: we see a sort of democratization of fashion, which meets a sort of fuss for ethics.

The new “Made in Italy” collection by Bershka is pretty surprising: shapes are tailor-made. Quality is here. The brand teaches us why we should love certain types of designs. In the meantime, we’ve met FAGUO. And we caught their insights on this new fashion…

Faguo has just released a new capsule collection with agnès b. and in the meantime you’ve been selected by Unibail-Rodamco for their Grand Prix: does ethical fashion become the new normal?
I think that before talking about ethics, big brands like agnès b. or Unibail are looking for dynamics. These vibes come when they partner with young brands, which generate some buzz. It’s a way for brands like us to uplift thanks to their maturity and their experience. Ethics probably influences them, but it’s more a standard that we apply to our ourselves.
How can we teach consumers to buy “better”?
Through a certain soft power. We’re not Green ayatollahs. We’re just trying to rise awareness for our consumer. When he buys some FAGUO shoes, he plants a tree (he can get more information on our digital map), and he knows our carbon footprint.
This emergency for a more responsible world, is it something that is really shared worldwide?
Responsibility is a key word for our generation. It’s global, even if we don’t use the same triggers. We’ve written this goal in our brand DNA. Every morning we ask ourselves: how to change and how to make the world a better place?

 

Parka Bershka

Jacket Bershka

Shoes Faguo

T-shirt vintage

Denim (flee market)

Photos by Thien Nguyen.

 

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September cover girls: Linda Mai Phung

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A 10 000 kilometer-boulevard, that’s what separates and reunites Paris and Ho Chi Minh City. Our cover girls Linda and Florence just made their way with it, drawing new concepts and trends.

Linda /\ Florence

Lindais the designer-founder of her own fashion label: Linda Mai Phung. Florence is her partner in the adventure. Here’s their story.

- France – Vietnam, what a trajectory, what brought you here in Ho Chi Minh City?

Florence: I came to settle in Saigon in January 2010 to learn the language of my ancestors and find a job. I was there for other reasons: I love the vibrancy of the city and the opportunities it offers. I love the openness of the people I work with and their entrepreneurial spirit.

Linda: Being of French Vietnamese background, I grew up in the Paris suburbs and have always been intrigued by my heritage. The idea of ​​doing a strength and an asset in my personal and professional life grew rapidly after several discovery trips to Vietnam. Then when I really found out about the richness of vietnamese craftsmanship and expertise, it became obvious that I had  to combine my passion for fashion, and move to this city.

Ho Chi Minh City is the land where everything is possible: there is a strong DIY spirit in in Saigon. With little means but a good environment, we manage to get his little mobile carriage of banh mi to earn a little money or create a trendy coffee with friends in an old family house.
Also, 50% of the population here is under 30, so that it is dynamic and that projects spring up everywhere. Basing my label here has not been easy, but the environment was exciting with authenticity and forward-looking people whereas it would have been difficult to build it up financially in Europe .

VQ (UPDATE): Actually this week, creative minds collided. Linda and Marilou, a french artist on a short journey in Ho Chi Minh teamed up to draw a typical vietnamese house to be tattooed. Here’s how it went:

VN House

- What are your projects?
F&L: We have showcased our new collection at l’Usine yesterday, L’Usine is the new trendy creative spot in Ho Chi Minh City. Now we’re trying to push the brands further : we’re travelling to Japan and China soon for business… and inspiration!

http://lindamaiphung.com/

- Now that trends collide online, what would you say about trends dynamics between Europe and Asia? How would that impact on your brands development?

L: In Asia, European designers are still considered very qualitative and creative. In Europe, we do not give enough consideration to the Asian creative scene, it is still seen through the clichés and stereotypes when there are many designers who offer innovative things.

When I show my creations in Saigon, it is often said that LMP has a chic French style. When I show them in Paris, I’m told that it is very influenced by Asian culture …   I think that right now, in a rather unstable socio-economic times, fashion industry likes to reassure itself by putting designers in categories although it would be a bit archaic.
I like to say that the concept of our brand represents a new generation of young optimistic people who love creating, travelling and who are aware and responsible for the world in which they live. There may even be a marketing name to define this group of people: the neo-nomadic eco-happy people? The NNEH,:). (Note: we experts will brainstorm about this and get back to you asap, ok?)

As I started LMP, social networks have allowed me to build brand awareness quickly enough. As I live and work mostly in Asia, it has allowed me to reach out and keep in touch with my clients in Europe.
Also, I could always keep an eye on trends in France and in Europe, and I draw half of my inspirations from there. It is thanks to the internet that LMP is still working today and this global and participative principle has been decisive. Social media allowed me to transmit and communicate the history and image of the brand very quickly.

F&L: It’s a deep question (thanks), let’s have dinner in a fusion restaurant to talk it out!

- So where boulevard wanderers should stop by in the neighbourhood?
In Ho Chi Minh:
Fooding: bun cha gio on Dong Khoi,  Hu Tieu at Tan Dinh market and Quan Nem for fried spring rolls.
Partying: Decibel, Broma, Cargo!
Shopping: Cho Ba Chieu Vintage Market, L’Usine and Saigon Square

- Do you miss anything from France?
F: Smooth core cheese! And live shows, music, theatre…

L: Family, friends and good old croissants.

 

/// Linda Mai Phung - all pictures here.

 

 

 

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