Choosing A Signature Fragrance

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“More than just belonging to the skull & bones club…”

In an age when we look for personal distinctiveness, mass market fragrances lack character. Why any one of us would want to smell like another person has always been an anathema to me. Fragrance should inspire mystery and romance. They carry an insouciance of luxury with the power to excite. It is also a billion dollar industry. The stuff of which dreams are made.

For those with discerning tastes, there are alternatives to mass market offerings known for their sophistication. What can be more luxurious than something which is ephemeral? Talk about leaving a signature beyond you, nothing can match a wisp of fragrance.

Fragrance brands may not advocate free sex but they might as well with their glossy campaigns and not so discrete visual language. Fragrance also has the power to heal. Think of Patrick Susskind’s wonderfully intoxicating novel, Perfume.

Simply put, fragrances are provocative. They have the power to incite and conjure up animal magnetism. Fragrances can even provoke nostalgia. Think of Marcel Proust and his sensual description of dipping a madelaine into a cup of fragrant lime blossom tea.

The best fragrances have the power to capture a story with your name written on it. As Marilyn Monroe once stipulated, “The only thing I wear to bed is a drop of Chanel No.5″.

On a more innocent level, do you remember when your mother baked that delicious Tarte Tatin how the house was warm with cinnamon, nutmeg, apple, butter, and sugar?

I am not suggesting dabbing hot apple pie behind your ears after a shower, but you get the idea. Our nose knows how to conjugate collateral associations. In my own experience, places and people are linked to fragrances. Think of roasted chestnuts on the street corners of New York. When you splash on Aqua di Parma are you reminded you of your last Tuscan holiday baked in Mediterranean sunshine?

Now imagine a perfumer who can capture the romance of places you adore. Enter one of this business sectors favorite scions: Frederic Malle. His boutique is discretely tucked away on the rue Mont Thabor, a small back street a coins throw from the rue St. Honore. Here you will uncover the rare scents of The Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle.

The decor is pure design and it is easy to overlook. You almost feel as if this is clandestine rendezvous. There is no crowd here. Just personalized attention with access to exceptional fragrances. Each one has its own assertive personality and comes in a flask, which betrays the minimalist styling of the bottle.

Frédéric Malle, the grandson of Serge Heftler, the founder of Dior Perfumes, launched this unique perfume concept store. Steeped in tradition, his expertise has found voice in his and in the team of contemporary noses who make some of the loveliest and most compelling fragrances available anywhere.

When I first stumbled into this shop, the Zen like décor struck me. I marveled at the uniqueness of the fragrances on display. Most men find commercial fragrances either too banal or too feminine. They want something more than bay rum or other typical splashes. At this unique address, your search will come to an end.

Take for example, Geranium Pour Monsieur, which conjures up the veldt in South Africa. Here geraniums have an all-together sharper and peppery smell to the planter box variety. When the leaves are rubbed between your fingers, they emit a hint of mint. There is even a wisp of resin and woody tones. The fragrance is fresh and sophisticated.

Dominique Ropion one of the perfume industry’s great noses created this beguiling scent. His perfume consists of geranium from China, mint, aniseed, spices such as clove and cinnamon, sandalwood, and a large dose of white musk. You are guaranteed to turn a few heads if you wear this, but in the best sense of the term.

Another great concoction is his Vetiver Extroadinaire. The result is warm and earthy but unlike any other vetiver on the market.

Angelique Sous La Pluie has been designed by another great nose, Jean-Claude Ellena. At first “taste” it seems like a splash of gin and tonic. The second wave introduces you to juniper berries, cedar and sandalwood. This fragrance does not claw. It is in fact an ethereal wisp, ideal for summer.

Home Fragrances
Home Fragrances have become quite popular and particularly scented candles. Unlike grandmother’s sachets of lavender, FM has impregnated rubber mats to be put in a drawer or closet. The technique is quite hi-tech. There is one by Carlos Benim, which is called “Saint des Saints”. The name alone called me like a lark as if on a pilgrimage to the mystical East.

The smell is otherworldly. It is as if he captured the odours of an ancient temple in India with the animals and incense dealers out front. I can almost taste the ancient stones riddled with hot red dust. Smelling this fragrance, I almost had a LSD flashback. All that was missing were the monkeys and the 47-degree heat of Delhi.

Choosing a perfume is so personal. Nobody can choose one for you. Many of us have tried hundreds and wound up disappointed. One thing is certain if you visit this amazing boutique. You will come away with a scent likely to become your personal signature. Call it your fragrance of collateral associations.

Article Title: Choosing A Signature Fragrance
Photograph: pellegrino castronovo

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food |.

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

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Tailoring Under The Volcano

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“Good evening Mr. Bond…”

Naples is a town of passion. There are the views, the food, and the fabulous tailoring. From a sartorial point of view, this town is paradise. It has craftsmen and women making some of the most beautiful hand made garments I have ever seen. Take for example, Gennaro Solito and Anna Matuozzo. Witnessing their passion for tailoring and craft is reason enough to pay this city a visit pronto.

Considering that passion is on permanent display in these Mediterranean streets, there are several topics, which can illicit the strongest emotions: beautiful women, pizza, and clothing. Recent sightings of contemporary Venus de Milo, I will leave for another discussion. Suffice to say that Sophia Loren was not a fluke. Just think, this town has more tailors than you can shake a breadstick at.

The most famous is undoubtedly, Mariano Rubinacci. This house does great work, and takes credit for inventing the soft shoulder. Personally, I counsel visiting another less well know gentleman by the name of Gennaro Solito. Many people I know actually prefer this house for its traditional approach to men’s tailoring. Unlike Rubinacci, Gennaro and his son actually cut every jacket and trouser on the premises.

They not only share the same cutting board, the price for their garments puts bespoke in range for any professional who holds a decent job. The value for money is outstanding. For the price of one suit from Rubinacci, you can order two from Solito. This is indeed a grand bargain. Everybody in the Solito family is a tailor. That should tell you something about this institution’s passion for grand pedigree.

It must be said that Solito’s suits are unique. They are also the closest to the drape style of Frederick Scholte, who clearly inspired what is called the art of Neapolitan tailoring.

In an age when certain people think that “slim” is a hallmark of taste, Solito has the opposite, and I must add, more refreshing approach. The coats have a generous drape across the chest and tight armholes to go with the silhouette. He does not like padding of any kind in the shoulders. He also favors wider lapels and a high gorge. The end result is a coat you will find easy to wear and extremely comfortable.

His philosophy about clothes is pure passion: “I like to create honest products. I think that the ratio of quality to price in my clothes is exceptional. Two years ago, the world entered a financial crisis and I think this made people think what the meaning of quality was. They realised that what matters is handcraftmanship and products which last.”

When you think about these statements you return to a genuine definition of what is real luxury. Real luxury is personal and made by passionate people who not only love what they do but also have the ability to share their passion with others. Unlike globalised name brands, “democratisation” is an the attitude. It should not be the dumbing down of quality peppered with spiked prices to pay for lavish advertising campaigns.

Anna Matuozzo started out working for Mariano Rubbinacci. She then launched her own business back in the 1990s. She is gentle, a charmer and exudes a generosity of spirit. Her shirts are like no other you will ever wear with their extremely soft collars. Unlike other bespoke shirts, her collars are never fused. They are made with layers of cloth and sewn together by hand, including the buttonholes.

The style of the cut features a large sleeve head and narrow armhole. The soft curve gives you more movement and the cuff follows the curve of your wrist. She stated, “The principles that define Neapolitan tailoring also define our shirt making. Our garments are light and fluid”.

Although there are 8 people present in the workshop, measurements are taken by Anna or her daughter. The choice of fabrics is startling. She uses cloth from the best Italian mills such as Carlo Riva, which are ideal for warm climates. You will certainly want to order a dozen. Although unnecessary, you will undoubtedly give into temptation.

Another great shirt maker to check out when you are in town are those made by Salvatore Piccolo. His shirt vision is different. The collar is a high-spread and his sleeves feature innovative flourishes such as an elbow dart. Go in and try one on. Salvatore’s mother presides over the hum in the workshop. She says, “The shirt is an expression of the mood of the man. When you are feeling more powerful, you can use a certain style and colour; when you are feeling playful, you will wear something else.

So if you are ready to get off the treadmill of mass consumption, plan a long weekend to Naples. Treat yourself to the craftsmanship of some of the finest artisans working anywhere in Europe today. While, you are here in Southern Italy, why not throw in a few extra days and bask in the glory of the adjacent islands.

Article Title: Tailoring Under The Volcano
Photograph: Solito

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food |.

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

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Meditation 8 Miles High

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Forget any notions of a glass ceiling…”

Meditation can certainly drive us 8 miles high. Call it the acid test of experience. When we can get too big for our spats, we need balance grounded in humility and awareness. Otherwise, our attitudes on self-aggrandizement can ruin the best of us.

Meditation calls for an attitudinal transformation. Nothing is more transformational than chanting on the top of a mountain. There are many forms of meditation from which to choose. It is best to choose one, which is easy to practice and comfortable. The key is consistency and daily practice.

If you have the power to breath, you have the capability to meditate. To claim you do not have enough time is a feeble excuse. Although our world has changed, there are still many in business who are uncomfortable with the concept of meditation and spirituality. However, whether you are comfortable or not, the spiritual world permeates every entity and activity both organic and non-organic. This includes business activities and organizations.

Simply put, meditation will enhance your effectiveness. There is nothing to fear; it is a question of insight. From this standpoint, meditation is a path of audaciousness. Warriors and Zen masters have used its power for centuries. The good news is that it is not linked directly to occupation. It is an applied science. It forces you to consider your place, your purpose, and what you are really doing.

Nobody wants to hear about impermanence nor about emptiness or death. It makes us feel uneasy and we start to fidget. However “real” we believe that we are and the circumstances in which we find ourselves, the reality of any situation is different from our perception. This does not imply that what we do in the time in which we are given does not matter. Big Boss is in the details. So everything does matter.

What I am suggesting is to add the spice of love and compassion to your perception. By doing so, you will witness and experience a quantifiable change in your working world and in your personal life. Remember, what matters most is around you at all times.

There is a great quotation, which comes from a rather unusual source. Let me share it with you: “I go to where the puck will be, not to where it has been.”
– Wayne Gretzky

And you thought, meditation was just for Bobos practicing yoga and eating wheat grass!

Article Title: Meditation 8 Miles High
Photograph: victoramaro

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on | Talent Development | Career Management | Personal Brand Management | Life & Career Coaching | MBA Admissions

Let Careo start by celebrating your success story. We hold to the principle that it is not how good you are, but how good you would like to become. We are honored to have been recommended across the French media in – Le Figaro, L’Express, Capital – and by Success & Career in Switzerland.

As Mahatma Gandhi stated, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world”.

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The Beauty Of Florentine Style Temptations

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“Where simple elegance is pure sprezzy…”

Florence is temptation galore. Oscar Wilde once jested that the best way of handling temptation was “to give in to it”. There is something magical here. Perfect for Dandies as well as a romantic liaison. Remember, this is where E.M. Forester wrote his enchanting novel, “Room With A View”.

This season treat yourself to a lost weekend. Why not walk the backstreets of this Italian gem with glamor. It’s easy. Just by rolling a brightly patterned scarf in pashmina around your neck you will exude the DNA this town exults in.

Sing Santa Maria as you stroll the cobbles with not a care in the world and let La Dolce Vita spirit permeate your inner being. You’ll be in good company. Think back to the time of the merchant princes. It is so much more than mere lucre. Florentine style is a question of good taste. Anyone can have money, just look at Vegas. However, few cities on this earth exude architecture, art, the grace of living well. Spearheading the cultural attack of the senses are the Florentine style ninjas: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raffaello, and Botticelli.

It doesn’t matter how you arrive here. Robert Louis Stevenson might have arrived here by donkey if given the chance. One thing is clear as you enter the city limits: this town is utterly unique. Florentine style advocates congregate at the Pitti Palace in the spring to display their collections, but there are marvelous boutiques and tailors here to keep you licking windows as the French say.

Once you check into your hotel, head for an espresso for your first lesson in Florentine style. You are going to need a shot of adrenalin. There is so much to do. Do not make your visit, “If it’s Tuesday, this must be Florence”. Bin your guidebook. If you must see Michelangelo’s “David”, I understand. Just make sure you have booked tickets in advance. The queues are mind-blowing. Instead, set your own Florentine style agenda by starting off with those wizards of Italian tailoring at Liverano & Liverano.

The best schedule is to float like clouds across a Tuscan sky. Florentine style dictates a relaxed pace. Do not execute your stay with military precision. Wander. Let yourself get lost. Soak in the flavour of the stones and marble. Florentine style is certainly a feast for the senses.

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Challenge your perception of logos. Perhaps you should stock your luggage with paperback copies of Vasari, Dante, or even Aretino. Personally, I counsel coming with an empty bag. This town is more than luxury leather and clothiers. There are edible treasures to covet such as wild mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, salumi to die for, and pear mostarda.

In terms of accommodation, Florence offers much choice according to your personality and budget. If you can afford to do so, treat yourself to one of the better establishments. I recommend staying at the Savoy, The Gallery Art Hotel, or even the Hotel Lungarno, one of those places with a view over the Arno. The interior design is inspired by a classical style with a modern twist and the elegance of an aristocratic palace.

Have cocktails on a rooftop terrace. Do not be deceived and think that Florence is a museum town. This would be inaccurate. It is vibrant and up-to-date. Although the big names are here so are the artisans. These are family run institutions that put Florence on any Fashionista list. One thing I absolutely adore is that on each journey you have infinite possibilities. Last time I was in town, it was a fresco by Masaccio, a hidden garden, and a crumbling facade.

Your neighbourhood café is the best introduction to Florentine style. A dear friend of mine likes to start his shopping spree at Proacacci, 64 Via Tornabuoni for pannini al tartufo. He washes it down with a couple of glasses of prosecco chased by a ristretto. This is guaranteed to sweep away any misgivings of an early morning. This establishment opened in 1885. It has also elevated the moods of Florentine style fanatics ever since.

For men, there are excellent examples of satoria. Two of my favorite Italian tailors are here. One is Liverano & Liverano and the other is Piero & Franco Cisternino. The Florentine style is a slight variation of what you will find from the masters of Naples. Count on hand stitching and attention to detail. Both houses offer hospitality and counsel. Make sure you stay a week so that you can get in your first fitting. Hey, there are worse places to pass the time than this town.

Geographically, the city centre is divided into four historic areas, which take their names from the leading church in the vicinity. They are Santa Maria Novella, San Giovanni and Santa Croce and Santa Maria del Fiore. The most popular shopping areas cross these quarters. A simple warning: Be prepared to have your life transformed and your wallet lightened.

I love the parts of the town known as the Oltrano. This quarter is best known for its artisans. The crowd is young and trendy. The easiest way to access this quarter is on foot by crossing the Ponte Vecchio. This bridge has one of the most romantic views of the city. On the bridge you will find goldsmiths and jewelers clustered together in tiny shops. Once you are in the Oltrano, you will find Geraldine Tayer, who has been creating made to measure dresses for women and handicrafts for over 20 years. Some of the best, bespoke shoemakers in Europe can also be found here.

Then there is the Ristorante Borgo San Jacopo with its slow modern approach to Tuscan culinary favourites. It seems almost every alcove has a terrace to sip coffee and nibble snacks. There are several outstanding wine dealers specialised in the wine of Tuscan estates. All are willing to ship unless you can drive your treasures back home.

For women in particular, the home of Salvatore Ferragamo is not just “the shoemaker of dreams”, but also an iconic women’s fashion designer of Italian chic. Their dress sense is innate and consumed as easily as drinking a chilled Campari and soda.

If you are crazy for silk, you must visit Antico Setifico Fiorentino for its hand loomed iridescent clothe. For exquisite paper, you can worse than going to Guilio Giannini. One of the best glove manufactures, Madova sits at the corner up from the Ponte Vecchio. Before I forget, be sure to visit the Offiina Profumo-Farmaceuti di Santa Maria Novella in order to stock up on their lovely scents and toiletries. The formulas for their perfumes date back to the sixteenth century. Now, how’s that for a true heritage brand!

As I sat with my dear friend Pietro at a local trattoria having dinner, our conversation focused on the poetry of the city. He became quite animated at this juncture and blurted out: “In a city known for its artistic and cultural heritage, is it any wonder that some of the best food and wine in the world comes from this part of Italy”.

With that salvo, he served us both another bumper of Brunello. Tomorrow, we will drink in the treasures of the Uffizi. Ciao!

Article Title: The Beauty Of Florentine Style Temptations
Photographs
Source 1: Access
Source 2: Gallery Art Hotel

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food |.

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

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The Power Of Empathy

camus_empathy

“When touching the human heart is the art of any good story…”

Negative news overwhelms and brings on a feeling of hopelessness. Empathy is a hard commodity to come by these days in a world dominated by violence, misunderstanding, and virtual reality. It looks as though the world as we know it is falling to pieces. Cynics call this reality. In my humble view, there is another way.

As my Master used to say, “Let life lift you on the wings of an eagle. May you find the joy and peace you long for. Above all, remember that life is a journey… NOT a guided tour.

With those words in mind, it is my belief that empathy has the power to lift you on an eagle’s wings. Let me share with you a story I was told by my Dad in an age before iPhones.

“When I was a young boy, we had the first telephone in our neighborhood. Because they were rare in those days, everyone we knew dropped by to make calls in addition to our family. Our living room was more like a cafe than a private space. People gossiped, shared advice, planned birthday parties. We even all cried together during those moments, which tried our lives.

I couldn’t understand why all the commotion over a wooden box pegged to the wall. My mum used it most. I listened in fascination to half conversations. One day, I discovered that an amazing person emanated from that box. Her name was Information Please. To a young child, she knew everything. I was catching a wave and sitting on top of the world each time I picked up the receiver. iPhone users will smile over this quaint tale, but to me it was the sound of pure empathy.

My first personal contact with the genie-in-a-bottle came while my mother was visiting her cousin. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer. The pain was terrible. There was no point in crying because there wasn’t anyone at home. Sucking my throbbing finger, I regretted my clumsiness and walked around the house to ease the pain.

When I got to the staircase I thought, I’ll pick up the telephone. So I dragged our foot stool as close as I could so that I could stand up and reach that magical box. That stool was my proverbial pair of wings. I then unhooked the receiver and held the phone to my ear.

‘Information, please’ I said into the mouthpiece as I heard my parents do countless times. There was a pause and then I heard a click followed by a warm and clear voice.

‘Hello, this is Information.’

‘I hurt my finger…’ I desperately wanted empathy now that I had an audience.

‘Isn’t your mother home?’ came the question.

‘Nobody’s home but me’, I muttered.

‘Are you bleeding?’ the voice asked.

‘No’, I replied. ‘I hit my finger with a hammer and it bloody well hurts’.

‘Can you open the icebox?’ she asked.

I said I could.

‘Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger’, counseled the voice..

Such empathy and understanding I thought. Afterward, I called Information Please for everything. I asked her for help with my homework. She told me where Philadelphia was. She even helped me with my math. Geometry, can be such a bore, don’t you know?

That’s not all. I had caught a chipmunk in the park just the other day. I hadn’t a clue what to feed it. I knew it didn’t eat hamburger or chips. She said, ‘feed it eat fruit and nuts’.

Then, there was the time my pet canary, Cracker died. I really needed empathy on that occasion. I called,Information Please, and recounted how much I loved that bird. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. However, I was not consoled.

I asked her, ‘Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?’ Her empathy aroused deep concern.

She replied pensively, ‘Tony, always remember that there are other worlds to sing in’.

Somehow I felt better. Another day I was on the telephone, Information Please“.

‘How do I spell fix?’ I queried. Presto, I could now finish my essay. And to think that all these conversations took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest.

As I grew older, my family relocated to Boston. I was only nine. I knew that I would miss my friend. Information Please belonged in that old wooden box back home. Somehow, I never bothered to use the new phone that sat on our kitchen table in Beantown. Even as a teenager, I never forgot those conversations we shared. I never knew anyone who showed such warmth, understanding and empathy.

When I was troubled, I would reflect on the conversations we had had together. I even imagined what she would say if I called. In hindsight, I saw how patient she must have been to speak on the telephone to a little boy, she never met or saw. I also appreciated her patience.

In our digital world such empathy is no longer possible. When you make a call, inevitably there is a menu and an automated voice system. When you do hear a human voice, the person could be speaking to you from almost anywhere.

Years later, I found myself on a Boeing headed West on my way to the University of California-Berkely. The plane touched down in Seattle and I had about thirty minutes before I boarded the flight to my final destination. First, I called my sister and then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, “Information Please“.

Miraculously, I heard the clear voice I knew so well.

Information.’

I hadn’t planned this, but I heard myself saying, ‘Could you please tell me how to spell fix?’

There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, ‘I guess your finger must have healed by now.’

I laughed, ‘So it’s really you’, I cried out. ‘I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during those times?’

‘I wonder,” she replied, ‘if you know how much your calls meant to me? I never had any children of my own. I used to look so forward to your calls. In those instants, I felt I was speaking with my son.’

I told her how often I had thought of her over the years, and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.

‘Please do’, she said. ‘Just ask for Sally’.

Three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered,

‘Information.’

I asked for Sally.

‘Are you a friend? she questioned.

‘Yes, a very old friend’, I answered.

‘I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but Sally died five weeks ago.’

Before I could hang up, she said, ‘Wait a minute, did you say your name was Tony?’

‘Yes’, I stammered.

‘Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read it to you.’

The note said, ‘Tell him there are other worlds to sing in. He’ll know what I mean.’

I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.

I recall this now because a dear friend of mine recently died. In that moment, I remembered this childhood story. In that instant, I could hear a voice and the voice said, Never underestimate the impression you may make on others.”

My Dad always did know how to tell a good story and it got me thinking. Whose life have you touched today?

Article Title: The Power Of Empathy
Photograph: archival, curated by ES

About the author:
Tony Akanandasai lives in Bangalore and is a regularly featured columnist on career management.

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Brand Management | Customization 101

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“Distinctiveness, clean as a whistle…”

With finicky clients demanding more customization is it any wonder that brand experts have themselves in a twist. Everyone is looking for extras, bells & whistles, even freebies. It would be natural to assume that customization is the exclusive theme music of the fashion industry. However, you would be incorrect in drawing this assumption. In today’s competitive market, it applies across the board in all industries.

Certain marketing strategists feel that this path is unfeasible for a mass market. Guess again. For example, Dell computers might have been the first enterprise to offer customization across their range, but they were soon copied by others.

As corporate suppliers know, designing your own computer needs with a consultant represents the DNA of this brand. Dell understood that differentiation would mark them apart from anyone else in the industry, and it did.

Other consumer goods operations understood the handwriting on the wall and quickly followed suit. Take Adidas AG when they launched the miAdidas unit which offers custom sports shoes. Even Levis allowed people to customize jeans and jackets on location in branded point of sales.

Perhaps one of the biggest coups was delivered by Nestle when they launched Nespresso. Not only could you now savor a multitude of coffee types in an espresso style in the home or office, you could do so with elan and confidence. One of the beauties of this product is that it now makes it possible to offer an assortment of choice to guests without any bother.

The way forward for a firm wishing to embark on this growing trend is to understand the finer points of their market segment. Smart firms respond by building production facilities and systems with an increasing number of modifications. The purpose is clear: produce and deliver individualized units per customer preference. Like in any strategic plan, you will need to calibrate the benefits and drawbacks.

Advantages
1) Products deliver excellent value for money
2) Makes comparative shopping difficult
3) Shifts the focus from price to benefits
4) Economies of scale/mass efficiency
5) Manufacturer can justify charging a premium
6) Easily differentiated against similar products
7) Provides deeper form of customer engagement and data

Drawbacks
1) Increased overall complexity
2) A significant initial investment + per unit cost of production
3) Layover time – takes longer to manufacture
4) No return policy on custom orders

Take Away
Although progress in manufacturing technology such as computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and computer-aided design (CAD) have increased flexibility, the amount of customization you offer should be weighed against expectations and profitability.

Article Title: Customization 101
Photograph: neoretrostreetstyle

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food.

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

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Applying to Fashion School

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“Everyone wishes they had an uncle named Giorgio…”

Experience has taught me that there isn’t a royal road if you plan to work in fashion, design, or style. The classic path is study at the best possible fashion school you can get admitted to. An alternative path is to choose an outstanding liberal arts education and pepper your studies with internships.

One of my favorites is the Giorgio Armani school of design. No folks, I am not making fun. Giorgio has no official school. What I mean is kick start your career the way he did: Be an apprentice to someone. Learn to sew, cut, and study design the old fashioned way.

No one can teach you good taste. For some it is innate, but even if you have talent in this direction, you need to nurture your abilities in the right environment. Creativity can be cultivated in a multitude of cross-disciplinary ways.

What a fashion school can provide is an aesthetic and intellectual environment to give you the tools and the community to grow your talent. Build a foundation in the fundamentals and learn the mechanics. More importantly, learn how to run a successful business. At some point, you will need to know about sourcing, manufacture, logistics, and the rest.

Finding the right school however, can be a difficult task. We’d like to help. So I had one of our guys draw up a list of the usual suspects, which you can consult on our blog under the title, Fashion School Rankings.

This list highlights more than classic design schools. At most of these institutions you can learn marketing, style, textiles, brand management as well as get a solid grounding in IT.

Methodology
Fashion School Rankings should just serve you as a list to start your investigation. We asked fashion people what they recommended. They responded that you should pay more attention to the application requirements, tuition costs, demographics and location. Not all schools are the same. So what’s the message: If you want to be in fashion, you will need skills, a powerful network and talent.

Tuition
Prices vary. Living in London, Paris or New York is a different kettle of fish than say studying in Helsinki.

How To Apply
Application requirements are similar. What you need is a stellar portfolio, High School diploma or Baccalaureate from a decent Lycée, letters of recommendation, and a powerful letter of motivation. Most programs are delivered in English, but not all.

Questions
If you have questions or need help with the details, drop us a line.
Contact Us: enquiries@whitefieldconsulting.com

Article Title: Applying To Fashion School
Photograph source: style-trumps-fashion

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on Talent Development | Career Management | Personal Brand Management | Life & Career Coaching | MBA Admissions |

Let Careo start by celebrating your success story. We hold to the principle that it is not how good you are, but how good you would like to become. We are honored to have been recommended across the French media in – Le Figaro, L’Express, Capital – and by Success & Career in Switzerland.

As Mahatma Gandhi stated, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world”.

For further inspiration
Visit Whitefield Consulting Worldwide

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The Ray Ban Never Hide Attitude

rb_ray-ban

“It’s pure animal magnetism, darling…”

Imagine racing your Aston Martin through the streets of Paris wearing your Ray-Ban never hide attitude. When it comes to shades, Ray-Ban are hard to beat. They have an irresistible charm, cutting across generations. Just ask Robert de Niro. Ralph Lauren wears vintage Ray-Ban. Even Iggy Pop is rarely seen in public without them.

What is it with the Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses that make this style and fashion icon always top-drawer? Is it the look? The heritage pedigree? It must be all the above.

Perhaps Ray-Ban should sponsor film events such as Cannes. Considering, all film stars worth their salt wear Ray-Ban sunglasses. It is part of their mystique. You don’t need to be one of the people as the French say. You can just pretend, macked out at Le Montana night club.

When celebs are wrapped in Ray-Ban, the brand pedigree is renewed for another generation. According to the Brand Director, Sara Beneventi, brand renewal is the essential key to maintaining the product’s relevance to those who exude the Ray-Ban vibe. She definitely understands the DNA of Ray-Ban from her position at the heart of the Italian group, Luxottica. The group has held the Ray-Ban license since 1999.

Just to give you an example, last week I meandered through the trendy Pigalle district. Six out of 10 people where sporting Ray-Ban. Not bad, knowing how image conscious Parisians are. Ray-Ban is clearly the hottest accessory on the menu for twenty and thirty somethings.

Measuring the current success stories for Wayfarer and Club Master, you see the Italian touch. Bright colors capture the imagination. In the early 1960s, the Wayfarer model first became popular with Jazz and Blues musicians. Jack Kennedy never went sailing without his pair of Ray-Ban. In the 1980s, the Blues Brothers demonstrated their effervescent cool. With retro all the rage, it bears looking into the origins of Ray-Ban and its original founders.

The history of Ray-Ban is steeped in pedigree and myth. John Bausch and his partner Henry Lomb first launched their iconic shades in the 1930s. However, the term lifestyle would have been foreign to them. The firm specialised in optical equipment such as telescopes and binoculars.

Solicited by the US Armed Forces, they developed a specialised pair of sunglasses with a patent glass called RB3, which was capable of filtering the ultraviolet and infrared light. The teardrop shape made it easy to slip into a pocket and was standard issue to every GI and even General McArthur himself. By 1937, the duo commercialised the sunglasses for a mass market and never looked back.

The Aviator-style has a look of authority and command. In the 1980s, Tom Cruise breathed new life into Ray-Ban simply by wearing these sunglasses in “Top Gun”. Even in April 2010, Ralph Lauren was spotted wearing his during the grand opening of his European flagship. Just in 2010 alone, Ray-Ban sold 3m pairs of aviator sunglasses. Neo vintage never looked so au courrant.

The Aviator style has got guts. This is Ray-Ban allure. However, do not underestimate the marketing genius and promotional tactics of Luxottica. The Italian luxury optics manufacturer recognizes that the integrity of Ray-Ban endures across gender and culture. Quite simply, unlike many designer brands this one has genuine style as well as function.

As I look out my window the sun is beaming. No better time to take the old roadster for a spin.

Now where did I put that Beach Boys CD?

Article Title: The Ray-Ban Never Hide Attitude
Photograph: Ray Ban

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food.

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

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All You Need Is Tweed

tweed_Harris-style

“Perfect for small walks in the Hindu Kush…”

Harris Tweed is the ultimate landscape for any season. Take Paris in the month of October. You could do a lot worse than bundling up in a tweed suit fit for a prince. I once thought of wearing Harris Tweed pjs to bed when the heat broke in our apartment. However, my companion was not so taken with this gesture. She preferred that I wear nothing but my soul.

Speaking of tweed, one of my favorite books on heritage fashion filled with allure and enchantment is “Harris Tweed: From Land To Street” by Laura Platman. It is published in London by Frances Lincoln Limited. The pages resonate. Sweeping landscapes and a vibrant people still produce some of the world’s most iconic fabric.

tweed_Harris-style

Considering that this noble industry almost went bankrupt, tweed has once again become all the rage. It seems everyone is featuring the stuff in their autumn/winter collections whether its JCrew, Brooks Brothers and even hipster brands. Just the other day, I spied someone sporting Converse tweed sneakers. Nice touch, what! When it comes to tweed as one of my cronies proudly states, “If it’s tweed, it must be Harris Tweed!”

My earliest memories of Harris Tweed go back to when I was five. My parents had just bought me my first herringbone tweed jacket from Brooks. It was a truly memorable Christmas. The snow was up to my waist, but I was as warm as toast. Most children fall in love with chewing gum and baseball cards. In my case, it was Harris Tweed. I never could get over the logo with its implied mystique.

If you have never touched this fabric, well let’s say, it’s not cashmere. The texture is rough and speaks with the DNA of authenticity. People here live on the edge of the European continent. They know all about the vagaries of inclement weather. My labrador, Bruce loves pawing up any tweed jacket, I’ve casually left about the flat. Wet dog and tweed is so distinctive that someone should bottle it as a perfume. If you love the essence of workwear known for durability, then you will appreciate that Harris is truly indestructible.

In the heyday of the Ivy league style, tweed jackets were ubiquitous across the New England landscape. Every chap worth his salt had at least a brace of tweed hacking coats. My favorites remain the vintage ones. They are so thick, it’s like wearing armor. English travelers in the early twentieth century claimed that the weave could stop the odd Jezail bullet. Not bad if you are in a very tight place.

Lovers of Kipling and “Great Game” explorers swore by their tweed jackets. Even today, the natural tones are profound like the depths of Loch Lommond. I myself favor these coats during my annual forays to India.

As a convicted lover of wide-open space, I know I am not alone in my passion for tweed whether I am hiking in the upper reaches of the Himalayas in search of sages or strolling across the hills of Tuscany, searching for porcini mushrooms. If you have never worn a Harris Tweed jacket, you don’t know what you have been missing. Of course, it is never too late…

Article Title: All You Need Is Tweed
Photographs: the Harris Tweed Authority

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on style | design | culture | art | food |.

Red Herring |
is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand. If you are looking for well-connected and passionate Community Managers to work your social accounts, RedHerring can evangelize your brand via social platforms. Our aim is to combine original high-quality content, with curation and community to gain distinction.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring at redddherring.tumblr.com

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The Champagne Of Business Education

Dom_business-education

“When something extra-ordinary is called for…”

Want to hear a secret on business education? MUMs the word. This is the out-of-the-box MBA off just about everyone’s radar. In general, Business Education in the media tend to focus on classic MBA programs. Perhaps, it is the story of a generous alum donating millions to their alma mater. The worst articles come across as content driven exercises in marketing hype.

It is rare to see a discussion of values or how we as a society would like to see future MBAs behave and use their talent productively. Emphasis at MBA trade fairs focus on ROI, networking, pedigree, and enhanced competencies. Business Education is no longer about learning or becoming a better human being.

Business Education is sold like a commodity because it has become a commodity. About year ago, the FT ran a huge spread on the deluge of MBA applicants. The article although well researched spoke about obtaining an MBA as a must have. What was striking was the fact that this form of post-grad education was being flogged as this year’s hot new It bag. You get my point. MBAs are peddled like a luxury good, consumed, used, and then disregarded. I will not discuss here the reasons most people do an MBA or one of its variants. The answers are as plain as a pikestaff.

Just for argument’s sake, let’s take an another approach, and look at a program, which is dramatically different.

It is off everyone’s radar because it is non-traditional although it is AASCB recognized. The program I will discuss provides an unexpected solution to traditional education and career change. Perhaps, more importantly, it could serve more traditional MBA programs for a template of change to their own curriculums.

Reinterpreting Business Education
The MBA program I wish to bring to your attention is the Maharishi University of Management (MUM) based in Iowa. Before you click off this article, hear me out with an open mind.

What Steve Jobs might have said about this academic institution is that it dares to “think differently”. They offer MBAs another template on business, ethics, and values. Imagine, if the top MBAs taught the components on which MUM specializes?

Perhaps, we would not be in our current political, social or financial mess.

Examine the core curriculum. You can see at a glance, the issues, which constitute the on-going debate within Business Education. Just ask yourself, if you could institute one change in education, what would it be?

What is missing from contemporary business education?

What I have discovered at many noble academic institutions is that business education negates any understanding of consciousness. Without understanding who we really are and how we can implement positive change, all we learn are technical skills and how to manipulate people to assorted ends. It is not for nothing that many business education students supplement their studies by reading Machiavelli’s, The Prince or Tse Su’s, Art of War.

Gaining Awareness
Engaging in any field of study, an educator should recognize that there are three elements involved:

1. The knowledge of the field of study
2. The process of gaining knowledge
3. The type of knowledge a student gains

Most top universities are excellent in training students on mastering the first element — covering the subject of study. The best progressive schools such as IE Business School in Madrid improve the process through innovative teaching techniques, simulations, and stretching the student’s comfort zones to encompass new approaches, which are theory and practice.

However, conventional MBAs fail to expand the learning ability of the student to foster the “best” sense of community involvement and awareness. As practioners know, understanding the field of “consciousness” is like walking on a knife’s edge. It demands balance and commitment to handling adroit situations in a state of equipoise and harmony.

Without this third element, an information-based education is incomplete.
Imagine the Dalai Lama teaching business strategy, and you get the full picture.

Business knowledge might be gained by traditional formats, but what is the cost to the personal growth and potential of the individual?

What is the impact he or she will have on society once engaged in the work world?

The missing element, to borrow a term from Harvard Business School, is to create a truly unique “transformational” educational experience.

If a student can learn to transform their consciousness from within, they will have the capability to change the way the brain functions. Studies in Asia show that this is not wishful thinking but scientific fact.

What is consciousness-based education?
At Maharishi University of Management (MUM), MBA students do study serious business competencies and technical skills. However, added to this they learn to systematically cultivate their inner potential.

By learning how to “master the Self”, the students awareness expands. This not only improves their ability to see the big picture, but also impacts on their abilities to relate to others in non-confrontational and non-zero sum games.

Don’t business leaders recognize that the “financial crisis” has been self-inflicted by so-called experts motivated by their worst human instincts?

A consciousness-based education however, connects everything a real business leader needs to learn in order to the underline the wholeness of life.

All knowledge emerges from consciousness — and in essence, we are all nothing but consciousness. What differentiates MUM from any other MBA business school is their ability to “connect the dots” by tying knowledge of business practices to our inner intelligence.

This approach can have a positive impact by reshaping the principles we think of when it comes to business leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Everyone benefits when we harness such tools to generate a positive change for the commonweal.

Some readers will feel that instituting “Transcendental Meditation” as a form of business leadership training is a bit too radical. Well, in India and Japan, they have been teaching meditation for thousands of years. If meditation was truly inconsequential and bogus, they would have stopped by now. Common sense dictates that there is something here really worth investigating.

Extensive published research on TM found that the technique taught at MUM boosts learning, creativity, improves brain functioning, and reduces stress. If this sounds like an engaging proposition, it is.

I do not suggest that TM is only method nor would MUM. There are many types of meditation, and any serious study of the subject demonstrates that the results inevitably all lead to the same state of mind: self-mastery.

Now who doesn’t want to be master of his or her own being or career growth?

What you can expect from the MUM curriculum?
My investigation shows that the MUM MBA fosters a specialized degree program in Sustainable Business. The program covers the following 5 key areas:

* Self-Sustainability: Develops your inner potential and leadership abilities through consciousness-based education

* Sustainable Entrepreneurship: Focuses on creating successful green businesses that produce real value for society

* Sustainable Business Solutions: Provides the knowledge and skills needed for transforming and managing businesses for lasting sustainability

* Sustainable Management: Emphasizes the people and organizational skills needed for managing projects and operations

* Sustainable Living: Provides advanced knowledge and experience in renewable energy, organic agriculture, and the other principal fields of sustainable living

Pragmatic Criteria
Students with a bachelor’s degree in business may be able to complete the MBA in Sustainable Business in as little as one year.

Other students may be eligible to receive credits for some undergraduate courses previously taken in the fields of sustainability, ecology, environmental science, and related fields. These credits, upon approval, can enable the student to graduate in less than two years.

Sustainable Entrepreneurship
As more and more people recognize the importance of sustainability, new opportunities abound, but an entrepreneurial approach is necessary to recognize and implement them. MUM offers a full range of courses to train students to create new businesses with life-sustaining products and services.

Green Business & Natural Capitalism
MUM embraces the vision that business can be “green both ways” — operating in harmony with nature, and making money. Each of the entrepreneurial business courses teaches principles and examples of green business and natural capitalism.

Sustainable Business Plans
Students apply the knowledge from their courses to create sustainable business plans. Experienced business managers, as well as a team of faculty, provide mentoring and feedback throughout the business plan project.

Continuous Sustainable Improvement
Students learn to design and manage new enterprises through the application of sustainable business process improvement, achieving balanced and integrated improvements in the performance of any organization, and delivering value to all the stakeholders including customers, employees, shareholders, community, and environment.

These improvements include reliability, efficiency and continuous innovation. Using customer-centered approaches, students apply process improvement techniques as consultants to an actual business.

Visit MUM at: http://www.mum.edu/mba

Maharishi University of Management participates in the Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative, an UN-backed global initiative developed to promote corporate responsibility and sustainability in business education. Their endorsement of PRME expresses their commitment to ongoing progress in curriculum development, research, and community leadership in support of sustainable management systems.

Article Title: The Champagne of Business Education
Photograph: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf is a regular contributor on | MBA Admissions | Career Management | Personal Brand Management | Talent Development | Life & Career Coaching |

Let Careo start by celebrating your success story. We hold to the principle that it is not how good you are, but how good you would like to become. We are honored to have been recommended across the French media in – Le Figaro, L’Express, Capital – and by Success & Career in Switzerland.

As Mahatma Gandhi stated, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world”.

For further inspiration
Visit Whitefield Consulting Worldwide

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