Is non-party political decision making really possible?
Craig Naylor, managing director, NTR: “It was great to hear [the shadow Chancellor] say that they are working on a system to reduce the influence of party-political interests in policy making. But at the same time he admitted that political point scoring is getting worse! We can only hope that the aggravation of effecting change is making things worse before they get better. I only know that businesses are tired of the rhetoric. I’m more interested now in seeing what we can do independently as an industry – with customers, suppliers and academia – to create confidence.”
Let the macro message get you moving
Chris Tompson, CEO, Xpresss Group: “I’ve been made aware that we must accelerate our investment plans. Jim O’Neill made it clear that, for wider industry and individual companies, the opportunities are in the BRIC economies – for Xpress the focus is Brazil. But his startling statistics on the rate of growth in the BRICs and how quickly those markets are developing show that we must move faster to gain a meaningful competitive position. We’re doing the right things strategically, but we must do them quicker.
Chris Sullivan, chief executive of the UK Corporate Banking Division at Royal Bank of Scotland stated that the bank “is holding £55bn in SME current account deposits.” He held this up as proof that most companies are not looking for debt and are cautious about re-investing their reserves in an uncertain climate.
High-End Fashion Startup Material Wrld Makes Its Official Debut.
Material Wrld, the fashion startup seed funded by Warby Parker and Bonobos investor Great Oaks VC, is today making its public debut. The e-commerce site has come a long way since the beta it had running late last year, and to kick off its launch, the company is introducing a number of new features to help its fashion community discover new styles, ideas and people to follow.
The marketplace was founded by Rie Yano and Jie Zheng, who met while in grad school at Harvard. Both had worked in the fashion industry themselves – Yano in digital media marketing at Coach, and Zheng at Ralph Lauren and J Crew.
As the company name hints, the site plans to go after an international audience. And Yano tells us that currently, some 30 percent of the service’s traffic comes from outside the U.S., despite the Material Wrld’s still heavy New York focus.
“We’re aggressive about entering new markets,” explains Yano, “because at the end of the day, a marketplace is only exciting when it’s international. More than half of eBay sales are done internationally,” she adds. “From the beginning, our business model has been about allowing people to discover and purchase from anywhere in the world.”
The service is going after the high-end fashion consumer, allowing them to photograph and share the items in their closet, and then sell those items to other users in a peer-to-peer marketplace setting. It’s a concept that’s been tried before from startups like Poshmark, Threadflip, Twice, and even kids’ clothes marketplace like ThredUp. But Yano notes that Material Wrld isn’t going after “fast fashion,” as she calls it; it’s very brand and quality conscious. Price points for clothes on sites like Poshmark tend to fall in the $20 to $30 range, she remarks, while on Material Wrld, it’s much higher.
“We’re not disclosing our sales figures yet, but our average order price is around $100,” Yano says. “And we’re actually focused on bringing that average order price up. We’re differentiating ourselves from the rest of the resale space, which is much more like ‘thrifting’ than ‘luxury consigning,’”
With today’s official debut, the site is offering its early adopters half a dozen new features, including real-time notifications of site activity, in a style similar to what you would see on Facebook, a personalized “live feed” of the closets and groups you’re following, also reminiscent of Facebook’s News Feed, and more.
Fashion Week: Models dare to bare in cut-away dresses!
The latest line from label Vizyon, showcased at the LFW, picked up on the current trend of cut-away dresses. Photographs: Uttam Ghosh
Called ‘Enlightened Shadows’, the newest line by duo Shradha Murarka and Ninon Palisse of label Vizyon is inspired by modern art and Gothic references and consists of cocktailwear, structured short dresses and sophisticated red carpet gowns.
Unusual silhouettes, complemented by a myriad palette that varies from earthy brown to electric blue, sport geometric and architectural influences, as well as insect inspirations through cobbled web structures and beetle shell embroideries.
And thanks to this theme, the outfits also managed to mirror the 2012 trends of cut-aways and colour-blocking. To know what we’re talking about, take a look at this slinky yellow and sparkling black number.
For the second series, filming was moved from Whale Beach in Sydney to Mount Eliza in Victoria, where male and female contestants were kept from view of each other in a beachside mansion. In each episode, three male and three female contestants go on dates.
This series, the final dates have been stepped up a notch, with elaborate sets adding to the spectacle – for viewers, at least. The first final date had a Roman theme, with contestants dressed in togas, sharing a bath and feeding each other grapes.
Such activities play to the show’s twentysomething demographic, Benson says. ”It’s for normal people in their 20s who are single and up for a bit of a laugh,” he says.
Contestants would want to be able to laugh off the experience, particularly if their dates don’t like what they see in the ”light reveal” at the show’s end. It might sound cruel but Benson says contestants know what they’re getting into.
”When we went on the casting tour, we were very honest. We said, ‘It’s very likely that you’ll come on this show, you’ll probably kiss someone and they might think you’re ugly and walk away from you.’ And we say, ‘Are you prepared for that?’ They say, ‘Yes.’ We say, ‘Are you sure?’ They say, ‘Yes.”’
There’s hope yet for the rejected, however. After the first series, love blossomed between two contestants from different episodes who met on the show’s Facebook page.