Sunday, 12 September 2010

Ones and zeroes

Old motherboards. Old keyboards. Old power cables. Old laptops. Old screens. Old CPU towers. Old plastic and metal and silicone chips... What happens with a computer that is dead and even less useful than a doornail?

My pal Amy snapped these shots of Bloomberg's studios, where old IT kit has been re-envisioned and reformed. What do you think? I like the thoughtful journey from digital and virtual to analogue and functional. Pull up a seat I say!

Friday, 10 September 2010

In a blue mood

I interviewed a really fantastic lady recently, a fashion designer who is producing a luxury jeans collection in the UK (read the PDF of the feature here). Barbara Graham is her name and Laundry Maid is the label. And to prove she's got her finger well and truly on the pulse, she just sent me a press release about her new endeavours in upcycling. Here it is in its entirety:

Autumn Winter 2010 sees ethical brand Laundry Maid in a resourceful mood with the introduction of Laundry Maid Upcycled; a small collection of jeans, bags and a skirt all innovatively recycled from existing styles into newer directional garments. Developed to sit alongside the label’s core form flattering range of skinny, tailored and tapered leg fits, the concept minimises waste, cuts down on unnecessary consumption of raw denim and introduces exciting new product areas to the line.

A tailored chino in stone has been painstakingly unpicked to rescue knee patches and the brand’s unique uplifting back panel, which have then been applied to a signature tailored jean in slate grey denim. Excess stone fabric has been further utilised to make Jodhpur riding patches for the label’s current favourite, the high waisted skinny jean. The remaining top of the chino combines with the back panel of the tailored jean to create a skirt, nothing is wasted and excess stock is converted into new seasonal items.

Jeans styles have been further adapted to form a snap fastened fifties style handbag and a slouchy cross body bag, each featuring a base and strap handles made from the legs of the jean. In keeping with the label’s ethos, all items are designed, manufactured, laundered and customised in Britain. Due to rarity of supply Laundry Maid Upcycled will be available in numbered limited editions, exclusively at Potassium, 2 Seymour Street W1H 7NA and online at and Ethics Girls, alongside Laundry Maid’s main line. Retail prices start from £80.00 for the bags to £150.00 for the jeans styles.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Swing when you're winning

This week I finished writing a feature on hardcourt bike polo, an underground sport that touched down in London just three years ago. Here's a taster extracted from the story, with images courtesy of Chunk...
'With the sport still in its infancy, you won’t find a bike polo section in Foot Locker or Lillywhite's. As a result, borrowing and hacking are intrinsic features of the scene. Bikes are often cobbled together from spare parts, and Felix Cramer, a college student, illustrates how DIY skills have come in handy in fashioning his much-used mallet. 'It's a golf club and electrical tape,' he tells me. 'I played with it so much I broke the end off it so there was a massive hole. So what you do is put a penny on it or a cork and tape over it.'

Ski poles or bamboo are other common components used to serve as mallet shafts, while mallet heads are typically made from plastic piping requisitioned from building sites or roadworks. 'People find them, happily,' Felix divulges. 'The official rules say 12cm is the longest you can have. Drill holes take the weight out, or people will have one massive hole so they can scoop the ball with the side of the mallet.'

Wheel covers are another modification that calls upon a player’s upcycling savvy. These prevent damage to spokes, and also provide a tactical advantage. 'They’re quite handy,' Felix says. 'If you’ve got the ball on one side of you and the attacking or opposing player is on the other side of you, they can’t see the ball through the wheel.' In London, the ubiquitous signs of estate agents provide the perfect corrugated plastic medium for the job. One player’s wheels sport the unmistakable livery of one of the country’s most notoriously greedy agencies; 'I’m sponsored by Foxtons,' he grins."

For more information on rules and throw-ins (that's polo lingo for pickup games) check out the London Hardcourt Bike Polo Association site.