sneakers, brands, culture

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Cleveland-based Digital Marketer.
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sneakers, brands, culture

07/09/2018 Culture no responses

Hallucinations, Instagram, Sex, $7m & Kasuma

Yayoi Kasuma

Those who’ve secured a ticket for Yayoi Kasuma’s Infinity Rooms exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art are in for a treat.  The shows opened Saturday, 07/07/2018 and runs through Sunday, 09/30/2018.  Kasuma first gained prominence in the 1960’s with the “Infinity Mirror Room—Phalli’s Field” exhibit at the Castellane Gallery (New York).  Her ability to create vibrantly constructed environments that feature full-length mirrors, densely arranged polka-dotted objects and flickering LED lights is unmistakable.  Kasuma’s mastery of immersive art by manipulating space and creating infinite reflections in solitary settings gives the visitor a personal experience. Her 66-year career, which has produced over 50,000 works, unofficially began with drawing polka dots at age 10 in Japan.  Today, Yayoi is the highest-selling, living female artist and in 2017 her own dedicated museum opened in Tokyo.

Kasuma’s popularity skyrocketed in the 2010’s when her art became more commercial by launching a Louis Vuitton collaboration.  Instagram’s birth and meteoric growth helped amplify her recognition. Kasuma’s work being participatory art bodes well in today Instagram’s crazed society, where she’s its most popular artist.  Hundreds of thousands of images can be accessed from filtering on #yayoikusama, #Kusama and #InfiniteKusama.  The exhibit’s individually timed viewings inhibit the perfect picture opportunity for art enthusiasts and millennials.  Kasuma gets advertised by each artsy, selfie which features her work as the backdrop. In turn, this fuels her success along with the exhibit’s instant sell outs and hour-long lines.

Interesting Kasuma facts :

5. Her obsession with dots resulted from hallucinations she started experiencing as a kid.

“I call them my repetitive vision,” she says. “I still see them. [They] cover the canvas and grow on to the floor, the ceiling, chairs and tables. Then the polka dots move to the body, on to my clothes and into my spirit. It is an obsession.”

4. Kasuma suffers from mental illness and voluntary lives in a Tokyo psychiatric hospital.  The nearby studio where she paints gives her a therapeutic outlet.

“I only slept two hours last night. When I get tired from making pictures, I find it really difficult to go to sleep. But it’s how I get away from my illness and escape the hallucinations. I call it psychosomatic art.”

3. Recurring themes of her work (aside from polka dots) are sex, nets and pumpkins.

2. In 1959, her paintings sold for $200 each.  In 2018, they sell for $7m and up.

1. In 1966, Yayoi was the first woman to represent Japan at the 33rd Venice 

06/01/2018 Shoes no responses

Nike’s Best LeBron Spots

We Are All Witnesses

In 2007, skeptics thought Nike was crazy for paying a high school basketball player a $90 million endorsement deal before his playing a single professional game.  Fifteen NBA seasons into his illustrious career, Nike’s faith in LeBron James was wise. As LeBron embarks on his 8th consecutive trip to the NBA Finals it’s fun to see the creativity Nike and its agency, Wieden and Kennedy has used to commemorate many chapters, sneaker releases and achievements of LBJ’s career in Miami and Cleveland.

I’d like to pay homage to my favorite player and brand by looking at Nike’s best LeBron spots.

5.  LeBron in Miami

4. Witness

3.  Chalk

2. The Chosen One

1.  Cleveland’s 1st Championship!

01/03/2018 Business no responses

Technology Innovations at Adidas: 2017

2017 was a milestone year for Adidas.  The German brand’s ability to use new technology to innovate products and engage its audience along with savvy branding has ignited its rapid growth to improve its position against Nike.

Time Magazine nominated the Adidas FutureCraft4 Sneaker as one of 2017’s Best Inventions.  This is Adidas’ first futuristic shoe made from 3-D printing.  They partnered with Carbon, a Silicon Valley startup who uses light-sensitive plastics in their 3D printing process.  Its created from light and oxygen from a process called “Digital Light Synthesis” and allows for tailoring the shoe’s midsole directly to the consumer’s need.  This breakthrough innovation is revolutionary because Carbon’s technology cuts the time it takes to print the shoe’s sole from an hour and a half to as little as 20 minutes.  In the future there will likely be on-demand printing stations in Adidas’ retail stores.  

In September Adidas surpassed the Jordan Brand as the second most popular sneaker brand.  The creation of Adidas’ “Boost” midsole can’t be understated in powering the brand’s impressive growth, making it the “crown jewel” of the Adidas empire.  Adidas collaborated with with BASF (the leading chemical company) to blow up and reshape a material known as TPU into miniature energy capsules, which make up a white, spongy, styrofoam-like midsole.  The innovation of this pillow-like cushioning system makes for a more comfortable shoe.  Adidas’ Innovation Team conducted rigorous testing and the Boost foam is believed to yield the highest energy return of any running shoe on the market.  Temperature testing also showed that Boost foam is also three times more temperature resistant than standard EVA material.

The Boost midsole cushioning system is a common feature in Adidas’ top three selling shoes from 2017: the UltraBoost, the NMD and the Kanye West designed “Yeezy” Boost 350.  While the UltraBoost has been widely called “the world’s best running shoe”, the NMD and Yeezy Boost are marketed more to fashion and design-minded enthusiasts.  Kanye’s involvement with the brand creates instant marketability for these products and helps Adidas’ versatile nature and substantial growth as a lifestyle brand.

In 2017, Adidas also leveraged emerging technologies for brand building.  For their launch of a female focused studio Space (May, 2017), LDN in London, Adidas used a Facebook chatbot instant messenger to ease the booking process for its free fitness sessions.  The brand achieved high user engagement from offering this singular interactive tool.  “In the first two weeks alone 2,000 people signed up to participate, with repeat use at 80%. Retention after week one was 60%, which the brand claims is far greater than what could have been achieved with an app.”

In May, Adidas affirmed its commitment towards its sustainability efforts with its collaboration with Parley for the Oceans by using plastic debris in the ocean to make three different versions of the UltraBoost.  On average, the shoes reuse 11 plastic bottles per pair and feature laces, heel lining and sock liner covers that are made from recycled materials.  The shoes were an instant hit and Adidas surpassed its yearly goal of selling 1 million pairs of UltraBoost sneakers made with ocean plastic.  

The brand’s “Calling All Creators” ad campaigns are brought to life by some of its physical, manufacturing and design projects. The recent opening of its Speedfactory warehouses in Germany and Atlanta allows it to use a lean workforce with 3-D printing technologies, robotic arms and computerized knitting to make running shoes.  This enables speed so the brand can react to consumer demands in days and eliminate the headache of shipping delays and expenses.  In March, the opening of its secretive Creator Farm warehouse in Brooklyn serves as a thinklab where designers can create any innovation from an array of machinery and materials.  An amount of Adidas’ success from a design standpoint is fueled by its three top designers, Marc Dolce, Denis Dekovic and Mark Miner who all left Nike in 2014.  

Similar to the dominance Nike experienced in the 90’s with its invention of the Nike Air, Air Max cushioning midsole in its products, Adidas now has its breakthrough invention.  Adidas’ recent technological advancements and accolades are impressive.  By innovating its approach to digital, design and manufacturing processes the brand has achieved extraordinary results in 2017!