Freshness Week In Review: 1/03/2011 1/08/2011

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There's no getting around it: this week was defined by electronics (and thankfully not by another snowstorm that brought NYC to a standstill). We covered a number of items from the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (internet refrigerator, anyone?), but that wasn't the only source of interesting technology this week - take the Jordan III Inspired OLYMPUS Camera, for example. In case you missed it, Freshness took readers through some of the must-see spots of Tokyo this week, led by Marvin Chow of Google. This week also brought another city tour, with some rarely-seen sights: the Underground Tour of New York's subterranean spaces, captured by some intrepid urban explorers. Lada Gaga, who amazingly has been out of the news cycle for a few days, jumped back in this week to announce Polaroid's digital camera-meets-sunglasses project. In streetwear fashion, one big story was the unveiling of the BLK Collection from Yosuke Aizawa's White Mountaineering label, which showed quite a departure from the label's more colorful textile artistry. Not one to lay low, Kanye released the cover for his upcoming single H.A.M. this week; the song will release January 11th, but the cover is a visual treat designed by Riccardo Tisci, creative director at Givenchy. We also unveiled a new feature this week at Freshness: RE-Fresh, which aims to explore the roots of the sneaker culture around us. In business, the big story this week was clearly the Goldman-Facebook deal, but in late breaking news, it also seems that the iPhone is finally coming to Verizon's network. Finally, the week's news was rounded out by a mastermind Japan themed ramen shop, which left many non-Japanese scratching their heads.

RE-Fresh: Nike Blazer (1972)

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Just as a breather before the technology heavy news, a note on our new RE:Fresh feature. Reviving old classics and retro designs is a staple of the sneaker culture. Most of the time we don't take the time to really explore the context though, so we're kicking off a bi-weekly feature dedicated to the classics that define the present.

» RE-Fresh: Nike Blazer (1972)

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Kanye West x Jay-Z "H.A.M." Single Cover Art | By Riccardo Tisci

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For Kanye, 2010 was largely about My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, an album often mentioned in best-of-the-year lists. West takes every opportunity to emphasize his arriviste-seeming appreciation of haute couture personalities and contemporary art, and his album covers are starting to serve this purpose as well. For ...Fantasy he recruited well know contemporary artist George Condo, and for the upcoming single H.A.M. (off the highly anticipated with Jay-Z, Watch The Throne). For H.A.M., West recruited Riccardo Tisci, who brought some of the same goth baroque that he's brought to Givenchy, where he serves as creative director. Ticci also worked in snapping pitbulls - a rap staple that evokes the Snoop Dogg heyday.

» Kanye West x Jay-Z "H.A.M." Single Cover Art | By Riccardo Tisci

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Lady Gaga x Polaroid Grey Label

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If you thought Lady Gaga news would somehow stop in 2011, or that 2011 wouldn't bring any Polaroid news, you would be wrong - as proved Polaroid's Grey Label products, announced at CES by Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (Lady Gaga). Aside from the Gaga leverage, the collection aims to bring the tactile experience of Polaroids to digital photography (no shaking necessary) with new printing technology. It also includes a digital camera that allows users to "develop" their photos - kind of a small step towards cameras having built-in Photoshop. The collection is highlighted by a pair of Blade Runner-esque glasses with a built-in digital camera, which can wirelessly transmit the viewers perspective.

» Lady Gaga x Polaroid Grey Label

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UNDERCITY Urban Exploration Of New York City's Underground | Video

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While New Yorkers were struggling to navigate post-storm streets above ground, a duo of explorers was making their way through the secret underground spaces beneath the city, and they recorded it in a 27 minute video. The story was picked up by a number of major news outlets, and had many people waiting on subway platforms peeking down the tunnel with a bit more curiosity than usual. The video mixes spelunking, good old fashioned trespassing, and informal sociology on the people who live beneath the streets.


» UNDERCITY Urban Exploration Of New York City's Underground | Video

White Mountaineering BLK Fall/Winter 2010 Collection Lookbook

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White Mountaineering is arguably the most interesting and creative label to combine elements of streetwear and runway fashion in recent seasons. Designer Yosuke Aizawa captured the haute mountaineering trend that was already well underway from other fashion shining stars including Moncler but he set new benchmarks by combining cutting edge textile science and couture design. His BLK Collection for Fall and Winter 2010 incorporates the same high-tech materials the brand has made use of in the past, but it's perfectly obvious that this collection is far different: monochromatically dark, and in many pieces far less structured evoking some European contemporaries like Damir Doma or Odeur.

» White Mountaineering BLK Fall/Winter 2010 Collection Lookbook

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Verizon Wireless Apple iPhone 4 Announcement | January 11th, 2011

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Verizon has been betting heavily on the Droid platform, after not coming to terms with Apple in 2007 about the iPhone. But in the meantime, especially in the city, AT&T has left some people frustrated with the bandwidth available. Of course, this hasn't prevented anyone from being glued to their iPhone, but it has made another carrier option extremely attractive. Not to mention the millions of Verizon customers who've wanted an iPhone for years. The long awaited announcement came this week, when Verizon held a private press event at Lincoln Center, covered by the Wall Street Journal. Nothing is 100% sure yet, but it's potentially great news for consumers and shareholders alike.

» Verizon Wireless Apple iPhone 4 Announcement | January 11th, 2011

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Air Jordan III Inspired Customized OLYMPUS PEN E-PL2 Digital Camera

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Interesting technology news wasn't monopolized by corporations or the CES this week - Hong Kong-based designer James of Hong Kong made news with a Jordan III inspired OLYMPUS PEN E-PL2 Digital Camera. The independent designer created several versions of the camera, all incorporating the aesthetics of the original AJ III colors and materials - including, of course, the iconic elephant print. Obviously a very limited release item, but arguably one of the most fashion-forward cameras we've seen - kind of an anti Hermes Leica.

» Air Jordan III Inspired Customized OLYMPUS PEN E-PL2 Digital Camera

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mastermind JAPAN x Hidechan Ramen MASTER NOODLE Pop-up Store

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As globalized as the streetwear fashion world is, from time to time items pop up that are a bit culturally exclusive. The mastermind JAPAN x Hidechan Ramen noodle pop up is a perfect example. In the US, ramen is the stereotypically cheap, simple (and somewhat obsolete) college dorm food of the 1990's. In Japan, it's the basis for a nationally beloved type of comfort food restaurant. And this isn't the first streetwear influenced restaurant projects - in fact, Nigo himself put his imprimatur on a curry restaurant just recently. Now he's joined in the food business by mastermind Japan, and at the mastermind Master Noodle shop, diners get to take home a limited edition mastermind Japan noodle bowl.

» mastermind JAPAN x Hidechan Ramen MASTER NOODLE Pop-up Store

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Fresh Destination: Tokyo | Marvin Chow of Google

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Tokyo represents the alpha and omega street fashion, in addition to being one of the most vibrant cities on the planet. It's also potentially overwhelming and confusing to the outsider. There are a number of perfectly adequate guides to the many offerings of the city, but few as perfectly suited to the Freshness perspective as Marvin Chow. Chow is the Asia Pacific Marketing Director for Google, and he combines an amazing breadth of knowledge about city with a well-developed curatorial sense. Freshness took a tour of Tokyo, focusing on the best and most interesting options in shopping, eating, and design. It's amazing armchair tourism, or great for some insight prior to a Tokyo trip.

» Fresh Destination: Tokyo | Marvin Chow of Google