Bridging coaching, consulting and storytelling - Meaningful communication and strategy that drive purpose

image credits @roksanda & iodf

NFT first at Roksanda

There was some talk last week of how less exciting the turnout would be for this edition of London Fashion Week with several of the biggest names, especially Burberry, not presenting their collection on schedule this season. Without them, international buyers and press have been known to skip London to go straight to Milan and Paris.

But if we were worried about lack of impact, I’m glad to see womenswear designer Roksanda Ilincic stepping up boldly into the limelight. The designer presented a daring collection while also launching the first NFT, designed in collaboration with Institute of Digital Fashion, to be sold during London Fashion Week (and in sterling, not crypto!) at the end of her catwalk show. She (her team rather) did well to dress a couple of FROWS (of front rows) worth of influencers and friends of the brand. It looked good on social and felt great (to me), between the colour and the relaxed glamour on show, despite what I assume to be the grey February surroundings.

Lastly, let’s point out that experimenting comes at a cost and Ilincic partnered with ClearPay, one of the main sponsors of the collection. I'm guessing putting all of this together wasn't cheap (or easy) for an independent label like Roksanda. Another reason to cheer!

Discover here

image credit @shutterstock

Fashion trends and the forever wardrobe

I remember the days when I used to run to H&M for something new. Anything, really. I’ve had some seriously bad outfits over the years, particularly as I discovered, along with the rest of the world, the (sometimes silly) options afforded to us by fast fashion. This wasn’t a lasting love affair. I became pretty disgruntled with the way most of my favourite clothes would fall apart, with the occasional exception of course (I’m talking about you, a-line green leather skirt), when I could exclaim to someone paying me a compliment: “This? Oh, I’ve had it for ages, and it’s from …”
These days, I’m pretty posh in my shopping choices, and with a sensitive skin (I can’t bare anything itchy) natural fabrics are my go-to and I’m aware of the privilege.
So this article by Jess Cartner-Morley at the Guardian felt like an important one to read, for several reasons. She explains that the whole “new look” for spring is the “forever wardrobe”. But it doesn’t come at all price-points and as she points out rightfully, “we cannot shop our way to sustainability, but neither can we make an industry that employs one in eight of the world’s workforce disappear overnight.”

Read here

image @🦊 Quick Brown Fox

Work and the polymath playbook

Lucky me. As I was doing some reading and research for this newsletter, I landed by chance (for once reading someone else’s newsletter) on this fantastic essay by polymath Salman Ansari (startup founder, CTO, engineer, teacher, writer, illustrator etc), aka 🦊 Quick Brown Fox.

Reflecting my theme of adaptability, he carefully makes the point of the polymath’s advantage, and the resilience that comes with becoming expert in different or even diverging fields. He thoughtfully brings up the fact that the term itself, polymath, is not one that is easily adopted, and comes to use instead the word ‘generalist’ which also relaxed me a little when I read it (and considered my own identity around my multi-pronged expertise).

He invites us to start with thinking about “that thing you secretly want to do”.
What just came to mind?
That might be a signal.
I smiled and thought: gosh, I must share this article. Let me know if this piece steers you towards a hidden passion, I’d love to know.

Discover here

images via @voguebusiness
Études Autumn/Winter 2022 collection. Courtesy of Études
Campbell Addy
Steven G shot to fame after modelling for Savage x Fenty.
James Corbin starred in a Valentino campaign, in collaboration with Italian publication The Greatest Magazine.

Men's size inclusivity problem

The first time I attended London Fashion Week, it was still held in flimsy tents in front of the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. So that first show I went to was pretty fresh, the February wind hurling around us.

My biggest shock though, aside from being shoved around by rather rude PR people (some are nice, I swear), was the body shape of some of the models. One in particular was so tall and so thin, and had limbs so long, she reminded me of a Daddy Long Legs. I found it hard to watch her walk the runway.

A couple of years later, when I saw the first ‘plus size’ woman show up on stage, a mere size 42 (French), it felt a little like a joke, a novelty item to get the designer’s name a front cover in next day’s fashion week reports. The sad thing though, for those attending the presentations, is that these girls weren’t good at walking.They were generally just cast for photoshoots, and not trained, as runway models - the towering heels (often not in the right size) were particularly treacherous.

Things have moved on the womenswear front. A bit. I should add that I’ve been around enough fashion shows in my time to understand the huge implications of putting on a presentation during one of the fashion weeks, wherever you are. The costs are exorbitant, the workload incredibly intense, the timings, the sampling, etc. and casting is very complicated. There is one thing that the ‘good shows’ do (and that’s according to me): they somehow represent the society that we live in. I love seeing different generations as much as ethnicity, sizes and shapes on a runway. Maybe you do too?

That’s why this article in Vogue Business about the state of the plus-size men luxury problem intrigued me. The absence of size diversity in men’s shows and campaigns is notable. It’s really worth focusing on this, and not just because of the business opportunity. Read more here.

Read here

image @HBR (HBR Staff; Source image: Caique Silva/Unsplash)

When a catalytic event changes our sense of self

There was a time when everyone I knew would introduce me as ‘Anne from Louboutin’. Internally, I was ‘Anne from London’ for 13 years which earned me the nickname ‘the queen of England’ by Jlenia, our head of production. When I decided to step out of the long tenure I’d had there, there was a major change of identity to deal with as I was no longer either of these personas that I’d inhabited. At first, I was worried that my value would suddenly disappear, having gone from a big title in a company that (finally) most people knew of, to no title in my own little company. Who'd want to give me the time of day? Turns out, most people did. My sense of self was certainly altered, I was lucky, I didn’t get stuck in ‘identity paralysis’ (probably because I threw myself into some online courses).

Perhaps this is why this Harvard Business Review article felt so important to share after I read it. The writers sum up the glaring importance of dealing with this identity change when they explain:

“Our identities are shaped by how we feel about them, so to make a successful transition, we have to acknowledge and actively work on our emotions.”

If you’re anything like me, working on emotions is something you’ve not really done much of. So, to avoid getting stuck after something big changes in our sense of self, we need to work at letting go of our past identity and let ourselves be intentional about what comes next. Read more here.

Read here

image @unsplash

A superpower we all need: resilience

This past week, I’ve been on the receiving end of some bad news. Someone close to me has gone through a big loss and after months of not doing great, has now sunk into a pit of dark depression. I felt devastated when I heard the extent of the self-destructive patterns which have enveloped him and pulled him far away from friends and loved ones.

The one thing that I am already taking away from this experience, the ways in which it touches me, is that WE (a global we, which includes me!), we need to work on learning resilience, we need to learn to cope, speak, get help, so we can adapt to the change. When things are hard, sometimes the hardest thing is to ask for help. I hope this article from the New York Times offers some strategies, which you can either explore for yourself and/or share, because many of us need this advice right now. Read here.

Read here

Image via @NYT
A look by The Fabricant, designed for Ruby9100M and auctioned as an NFT. It was inspired by the culture of Hong Kong, Empress Wu Zeitian, and Ruby’s “identity as a digital trailblazer and Empress of the Metaverse.” Credit @ Fabricant

fashion in the metaverse and why you need to know about this

I just purchased a rather outlandish sweater on sale. I have been looking at it for weeks, and it finally was at a price that felt acceptable for me. It’s burgundy, and it is adorned along the whole length of the sleeves with bright red feathers. No, I’m not kidding. Since I‘m currently not socialising (omicron obliging), I think it will look great on Zoom. There was a black and navy version, and I went: Nah, I can go for red feathers. Perhaps the showgirl in me is emerging.

If anyone could convince me to pay attention to what my future avatar(s) could look like, or rather how they’d be dressed, it’s Vanessa Friedman at the NYT. Now the thought of putting any money into virtual dressing sounds insane to me until I listened to Friedman’s own experience(loved the audio option) in a recent interview for the paper. You’ll immediately see that for some of us (I’m not there yet, but I see it coming), in a couple of years, there will be a need to consider how we present ourselves when Roblox perhaps replaces Zoom for our meetings. You don’t need to be convinced, but you probably should listen.

Until then, I’ll be enjoying my new feathery sweater. Pictures next week, I promise. Read or listen here.

Read or listen here

images via @Selfridges and @pacorabanne

NFT meets retail therapy

London’s Selfridges, ever the early adopter, launched a pop up earlier this month in The Corner Shop combining fashion, collaborations, and NFTs with Pacco Rabanne and the Foundation Victor Vasarely. If you aren’t familiar with the artist, Hungarian-French Victor Vasarely pioneered the Op Art movement – short for optical art – in the 1960s with his undulating, hypnotic forms that appeared to shimmer, bend and swell before the viewer’s eyes.
Shoppers can purchase original Vasarely artworks in a curated and climate-controlled gallery space, as well as browse and shop an array of other items created in collaboration with the foundation, including NFT’s available via a digital screen in store.
Finally, proceeds made by the foundation from this project will be used to restore and upkeep works at the foundation in Aix-en-Provence, France. Overall, it’s a pretty cool project; it’s a shame I don’t plan to be in London in the next few weeks.

Read more here

images:
@ Jaewon Kang, 2020
@ Lamborghini

NFT's are everywhere and these aren't bad

While the first few NFTs of weird ugly digital pet images were intellectually hard to connect with, the work of sculptor Jaewon Kang from physical to digital feels both interesting and compelling. Perhaps this will feel like that for you too. Discover here.

Meanwhile, Lamborghini decided to work with Swiss artist Fabian Oefner to launch their first collection of NFTs. The detail that went into creating the pieces is extensive, and the resulting five artworks will go on sale at auction on the brand’s NFT dedicated website. In both these examples, art and craft are key, which I think will spur the NFT-curious further into their explorations.

Discover here

image credits in original articles

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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Essential reading on the future of work, storytelling & wellbeing

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Essential reading on the future of work, storytelling & wellbeing

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