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Looking back on 2021

  • I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring. - David Bowie

Below, in no particular order you will find the topics, articles, books, podcasts, collaborations, etc, that stood out to me when looking back over the past twelve months.

In case you’ve not read every email I sent you - how dare you! - this will catch you up. Plus, I’ve added a couple of extra nuggets further below for you. Enjoy!

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It was a big shock for many of us, especially those who work in and around the fashion industry, when the news came out on November 28th that Virgil Abloh, the hugely talented creative polymath best known for his brand Off White, and for being the artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, had passed away at the age of 41 from a rare form of cancer. May he rest in peace.

A few days on, I still feel very moved by this news, but I write about it here not because I think you need to hear it from me. No, it’s because someone clever and kind I follow on Twitter pointed me in the direction of the obituary written by Show Studio. Most other outlets had failed to mention that Abloh was the first African American man to be appointed artistic director at a French luxury fashion house. They also duly pointed out the sheer breadth of his creative talent across art, architecture and design, as well as fashion. Read it here; it’s short, factual and moving.

To read more about his life, I recommend this piece in the New Yorker.

more sustainable tech

This morning, my coach took off her dark navy puffer jacket, and as I was getting ready, she noted she’d torn out one of the seams. The brightness of the down gave it away. She explained it wasn’t meant to be washed regularly, but she puts it in the machine twice a month. That surprised me. I asked if it was a Patagonia jacket because she could get it fixed for free. She said no. She’d not heard that the brand offers to repair ’ad vitam’ any items bought with them. This level of care and repair is simply outstanding and one that’s driven sustainability-minded consumers to them for years. Care and repair is an area where customer satisfaction and loyalty meet sustainability. I'd love to see more brands get precious about extending the life of their products.

Like that, but different, this article on how B Corp Certified company Fairphone designed a more repairable and hence more sustainable new phone immediately grabbed my attention. It’s worth noting that when it comes to tech, issues of repairability impacts design, as is explained in this article, and it needs to be at the forefront of companies’ minds as they work on new products. I hope more companies take note. I’m still relatively attached to an IOS interface; other than that, Fairphone gets my vote.

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image credits @microsoft

Meta plans

He did it. James Corden did it. His Late Late Night ‘News’ section is all the news I need. At least today! He provided me with the metaverse updates I hadn’t read about, with an added layer of humour. The first news is Microsoft Teams plan to introduce avatars in online meetings. It sounds hilarious, and also, I want to say preposterous. Then again, I don’t use Teams. I wonder what Zoom will come up with?

Also, Nike filed trademark applications last week with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for Nike-branded virtual goods, including clothing and sneakers. Virtual shopping is about to kick off on another level. Are you in?

James isn’t ready for the metaverse; frankly, neither am I.

Watch here

image credit via @unsplash

Trending down

Work less, get poorer and stop climate change. I’m serious! That’s the suggestion offered by writer Simon Kuper in the FT Magazine. A four-day working week could be one of the most effective means to cut our carbon emissions. Well documented, this article opens up many interesting avenues for us to consider what our current life trends are doing for us/to us and the planet

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I am a 'quickstart'; that's what I discovered when I took the Kolbe Index. It felt reassuring when I got the results because they felt like me. My' action style' is jumping into things with the understanding that I'll figure things out on the way. That's how as a toddler, I tried to jump into an orange and black inflatable boat (and fell into the lake, oops - not a foolproof method clearly).

That's also how I met Yancey Strickler, author, entrepreneur, co-founder of Kickstarter and father of Bentoism. Curiosity coupled with my quick-start mind took me to a Zoom gathering, which led to a rich year of meeting lovely people from around the world, all asking themselves questions like 'how we can make things better for ourselves in the future while considering the needs of 'now us' and 'now me'?

The good thing about having a podcast is that I have an excuse to have deep conversations with people. And it was a real pleasure to have a one-on-one with Yancey about his path, from his passion for reading to becoming a music critic to what got him into the business of developing ideas. We also talk about coaching, value, identity in the digital era, the long self and how Bento can help us to a better 2050. Enjoy!

Listen here

image credits @hudson hintze via Unsplash


Interested in getting into a mindfulness practice? Perhaps you want to anticipate your January resolutions or get yourself a spacious mindset ahead of the end of year and holidays?

I am delighted to announce that I will be hosting several weekend workshops on mindfulness and meditation in the coming weeks (in person!), in Geneva’s old town. Online workshops will follow for those not in Switzerland and you can sign up for details here.

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image credits via @design museum
by Anne Muhlethaler @annvi


n last week’s Looking Forward, titled ‘Fashion as Self-Care’, I edited out a short paragraph in which I mentioned how visions of landfills have impacted me and my behavior towards clothes. It didn’t quite fit into the narrative of the story, which annoyed me, but I did feel able to bring it up in the conclusion at least : my Loving Kindness message to fashion. Thankfully, a new exhibition gives me an excuse to bring the subject up again.

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image credit via @TED
by Anne Muhlethaler @annvi

mind matters

Attention is a subject worthy of an entire newsletter alone (perhaps something for another time). Dr Amishi Jha is a specialist in the matter: the professor in psychology at University of Miami and Director of Contemplative Neuroscience for the Mindful Research has just released her new book, Peak Mind. Expect strategies to learn how to focus, train your mind and perform at your elite-level best, all borrowed from mindfulness but thoroughly established in rigorous scientific studies. To give you a taste, listen to her in conversation with Lewis Howes on his podcast, the School of Greatness. She emphatically says towards the end (I even scribbled it down to repeat to you):

‘What you pay attention to IS your life’.

So I wonder, what do you pay attention to?

Listen here

image credit @rawpixel
by Anne Muhlethaler @annvi

Screenwriting techniques, story and UX

I am putting the finishing touches to an interview with Yancey Strickler, ex CEO of Kickstarter and Bento creator. In listening back I was interested to notice that he chose to storyboard his book, 'This Could Be Our Future'. In doing so, he found the right metaphor (the Bento) to convey the message and concepts he'd been exploring.

Read article here
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Essential reading on the future of work, storytelling & wellbeing

Join us weekly with the Mettā View

Essential reading on the future of work, storytelling & wellbeing