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Changing gifts

How did the idea for Milkywire start?

— As a person, when I see a problem, I want to solve it. In 2012, I went to Kenya, because I had decided to become a photographer. At that time, climate change and loss of biodiversity weren’t on my mind. But in the field, I soon learnt that the lion population had dropped by 50% to fewer than 20,000 lions in the last 20 years. I was shocked to learn that even in the national parks, lions were under threat. So I started to engage with various nonprofit organisations working to save the lion. I came to understand that the organisations and the people in the field were struggling against all odds. And these are people that have put their entire life at stake, that have worked on a problem for decades, won every award, been featured in documentaries, and they still struggle to finance their work. The more grassroots organisations I met, the more I realised that this was a systemic problem. It became clear to me; how are we going to save our planet, if the people doing the work don’t have enough resources?

— On the other hand, when I met my friends back home, they kept saying how great it was that I was doing this. Many of them also wanted to support the real change-makers out there but didn’t knowhow. It was obvious to me that there was a gap here, between the people who care and the people who are in the field fighting for the planet. We have the technology, we should be able to solve this in a digital way.

”If 190 million people are following Kim Kardashian, then surely a few thousand can care about our pollinators or saving the last rainforests.”

What are some of the firsts steps that you took?

— I kept coming back to this idea over the course of a few years. I looked at Twitch, Spotify, Patreon, and the idea that in a perfect economy, there are no middlemen. That totally made sense for the charity sector as well. So, in 2018 I decided to give it a go. I had a conceptual idea and the vision was huge. It’s about inspiring and empowering people to take action and provide digital tools to disrupt the sector. We are constantly learning, iterating, adapting. The idea is the same, but how it is executed has been a process.

You have talked about the users of your app as a fraction of those following Kim Kardashian, thus likening them with consumers. Is this a deliberate approach?

— I believe that people care and want to make the world a better place. If 190 million people are following Kim Kardashian, then surely a few thousand can care about our pollinators or saving the last rainforests. Or cleaning the ocean. For every specific grassroots organisation, we don’t need to be more than a few hundred people to change the game. Our biggest challenge, as humans, is that we often feel insignificant. ”A few dollars doesn’t matter… what can little me do?” The reality is actually the opposite. Two thirds of all global giving come from individuals. When we come together we are incredibly powerful. A few hundred can change the world, and it’s already happening on Milkywire.

— The other part is making giving as sexy as fashion. And its getting sexier by the day. The time when we could just use the planet’s resources and go about our days is gone. You have to give back. Employees, consumers, the new generation that is growing up, they all expect you to take action. Brands that realise that you have to give back and take action are going to be winners. Those who don’t will regret it. Giving is already the new black.

”Giving is already the new black”

You’ve also talked about sup-porting an “impacter” — a way to have a friend on the other side of the planet. Is it important to build in a social aspect in the app?

— Yes. We are social creatures, so those elements are always going to be important. On Milkywire, you give directly to the grassroots organisations and you get to see the person, the impacter, doing the actual work. They send video updates on a weekly basis, so you get to see Christine tagging and releasing baby sea turtles in Costa Rica, or Tomas picking plastic out of the ocean. It’s all about bringing people closer to each other. Giving directly to the people doing the good, and seeing them do it, is an amazingly rewarding experience.

You seem to run the operation as a tech-startup? Why is it impor-tant to have a strong focus on tech when creating the platform?

— Many people ask me why this hasn’t been done before. I answer that it hasn’t been possible. When I first had the idea in 2017, I sent a photographer to document a project in Zambia. He was going to call me on a daily basis and share updates, but once he got there, I didn’t hear from him for weeks. He was completely off the grid. A year later, in the same place, the team there were sending updates from their smartphones. This shift in technology is happening right now.

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Catch of the day — Les Deux uses fished up PET bottles in new jacket

Les Deux has unveiled a new versatile jacket that is not limited to just one type of weather or season. It’s possible to ditch the zip-off sleeves and wear it as a vest if the unpredictable Scandinavian autumn weather suddenly turns warm, so that you don’t have to purchase two pieces.

Each square meter of the vest-jacket is made out of 70 PET bottles, and in total the jacket is made out of approximately 120 plastic bottles. The plastic bottles have been sourced by Spanish sustainable fashion brand EcoAlf, who gathers the bottles from the European oceans thanks to over 3000 fishermen at 5o ports, where over 550 fishing vessels set sail from. When the fishermen reel up their nets, they collect the unwanted plastic waste and hand it over to EcoAlf.

This is not Les Deux’s first action towards sustainability. The company recently launched Rewear, an initiative where customers can hand in used Les Deux clothes to get a gift card at one of their 800 worldwide stores or on their website.

— We have launched Rewear to minimize the environmental footprint and increase the total number of times a garment is used. By collecting used clothes and passing it on to new owners, we can re-establish the joy around these garments, and thus extend their lifespan, says Andreas von der Heide, CEO and co-founder of Les Deux, in a statement.

In other Les Deux news, the brand is expanding its physical retailing presence with a new Copenhagen store on Kronprinsgade 14. It opens its doors this Sunday, 1 November, and will work as a social gathering place with a built-in café and other lounging spots.

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Tech company helps everyone to hear everything on a whole new level

Jenny Strömberg has an entrepreneurial background working in growth companies, runs her own software company as well as investing in startups with cutting edge technologies. 

— I have a strong passion for technological innovations that make a difference in our everyday lives and that’s why I’m so proud I’ve ended up at Audiodo.

The CEO describes how the Malmö-based company’s mentioned software is a combination of an app that tests how you hear and an algorithm that filters audio to best suit your sense of hearing.

— It may not be something people have thought about before, but each person has a distinct sense of hearing and this affects how we’re experiencing audio. There are so many layers and intricate details we’re missing when listening to music, watching movies, or playing games and we hope to give everyone the opportunity to really hear everything on a whole new level. 

The technology has obviously attracted the leading sound companies’ interest. The partnership with Skullcandy started two years ago and resulted in the launch of Crusher ANC in September 2019 — the first pair of headphones with Audiodo technology. It’s now followed up with the new Crusher Evo (pictured above).

— This latest launch proves a continued commitment by both our teams respectively to make personal sound commercially available to music lovers all over the world. Skullcandy has worked very closely with us to get the word out about Audiodo Personal Sound because we can’t do it alone. For people to have the opportunity to experience the magic of personal sound, headphone brands need to be dedicated to bringing their customers the best technology that gives the best listening experience. Skullcandy is such a company and we hope there are others who care as enthusiastically about their customers, says Strömberg.

And today, Skullcandy launches a collaboration with designer Hillary Taymour’s New York-based fashion label Collina Strada. Two models, Crusher Evo Headphones and Indy Evo True Wireless Earbuds, feature a colourful tie-dye style print designed by Taymour (pictured).

Jenny Strömberg, what’s next for you?

— It’s our strong belief that everyone should have access to our technology, so we are quite busy getting more brands and headphones on the market. We have just recently launched a wireless earbud with a Swedish design brand, Nocs. And in just a few weeks a third brand will launch our technology. And, lastly, we have a partnership with Canadian hi-fi brand PSB Speakers which will also lead to new headphones being released.

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Back in the game — Atari VCS is the nostalgic console choice for 2020

The gaming industry has ridden out a hectic Q4 for 2020. The two heavyweight console manufacturers Xbox and Playstation have presented new hardware for the first time in 7 years, and pre-order lists are filled to the brim with eager gamers hoping to get a hold of the Xbox Series X, Xbox Serie S or the Playstation 5 next month. But it has flown over many gamers’ radars that gaming pioneer Atari is joining the party too, with the release of Atari VCS this November.

Atari, who helped develop the first-ever commercially successful video game Pong in 1972, hasn’t released a gaming console in 15 years. The Atari VCS was originally presented in 2017 but has seen heavy delays because of unexpected expenses, company transformations, and of course, the Coronavirus. But for the nostalgic and alternative gamer, the Atari VCS is the nerdy and sought-after choice. The console runs Linux, making it extremely versatile, and also comes with an old-school joystick to fulfil the nostalgic feel.

The VCS will also support video and music streaming on top of the gaming and is said to come with a subscription service that will let users get a hold of games and other services digitally, since the VCS doesn’t hold ports for discs or cassettes. It will play more than 100 classic Atari games including Pong, Asteroids and Centipede.

The first batch of Atari VCS 800 Collector’s Edition has already been shipped out to early investors, and the console is set to drop globally by the end of November, with a starting price of roughly US$ 390.

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&Tradition presents 100% recycled plastic Rely chair

Designer Hee Welling spent roughly a whole year researching the right materials for his latest products, the plastic Rely chair. What he settled with? Old car interiors and other plastic materials from post-industrial waste. The two were then crushed into small pieces and mixed with different colours to get moulded into the shape of the seat. The Rely chair’s shell is made out of 100% recycled plastic, and is another great product that surfs the current sustainable wave in design.

Speaking of which, the upholstered version of the chair is also designed with a sustainable mindset. The upholstery is fully replaceable and does not use any glue, allowing users to change worn-out textiles without ruining the base of the chair. This means that the lifespan of the chair is not limited to one generation.

— When creating a design with a simple visual expression, the details become extremely important because there’s so much focus on them. Yet the amazing thing is that when everything — comfort, construction, function, choice of materials, production method, environment and ergonomics — is balanced together, such details slot seamlessly into place, Hee Welling explains about the Rely chair.

Welling’s designs are no strangers to minimalism. The simple and honest design approach is influenced by the outdoors, and his distinct expression has made his products appear in many museums and exhibitions, as well as the Oslo Opera House and Australia’s parliament. Who knows where the Rely chair will end up, but the many colour options and versatile shell certainly aren’t limitive.

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An act of beauty

Leading Scandinavian retailer Kicks’ new in-house brand offers a wide assortment of vegan, fragrance-free, and dermatologically tested skincare-infused makeup, innovative makeup tools, and high-performing skincare.

— The products are developed for active everyday life, says Jenny Kruseborn, Director Private Label at buying department Axbeautyhouse. No matter what situation you are in, there are products that fit your needs. We call this the new kind of beauty routine — THE ACT. It means that products can be combined for either dry skin — the hydra act — or extra glow — the glow act. But they can also be combined for a specific situation like when you are in the gym and want to stay hydrated, but not shine or clogged pores — the sports act — or when you dance all night you want to sparkle in some places and stay matt in some — the party act. Or, when you are in front of a screen all day and want blue light protection and hydration and then go out for dinner and want some extra glow — the from desk to dinner act.

Which products would you like to point out?

— If we begin with cleansers, our ClearComplexion Cleansing Gel is the perfect cleansing product to use both morning and night and suits all skin types. MicroMelting Cleansing Balm melts away all oil-based impurities, such as sunscreen or heavy makeup, and is great to use as the first step for a double cleanse. For serums, ComplexControl Mattifying Serum is lightweight with active ingredients to balance sebum production while giving skin a matt finish throughout the day or night. 5% Niacinamide Glass Serum is very lightweight and not only evens out skin texture and calms your complexion but also provides a perfect base under makeup with a fresh dewy finish. A lot of men struggle with sensitive or acne-prone skin or enlarged pores. Our 2% BHA + 1% Purifying Toner is easy to use to cleanse pores and reduce sebum production. Lastly, the Hyaluronic + EGF + Collagen Charged Ampoule — 7 single-use ampoules are supercharged with a hydrating complex. It can be used when skin needs that little extra moisture boost, or as a 7-day cure.

You’ve identified toners as the next big thing. Why is that?

— There has been a trend and demand for lighter textures during the last few years and also an extended skincare routine so that everyone can find products for their needs. Toners are light in texture, absorbs quickly into the skin, and are easy to add to any routine. So keep your favorite day and night cream, but add a toner morning and evening with Vitamin C or BHA-acid for an added effect. In our assortment we have 5 toners with active ingredients to add to the care-routine, including 7% Niacinamide Re-Texturizing Toner for glass-like complexion and even skin texture, RetinolAction Refining Toner which prevents signs of aging, and Vita-C MultiAction Brightening Toner for extra glow and even skin tone, says Kruseborn.

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NASA and BIG shoot for the moon in new lunar city project

The highly progressive Danish architecture group BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) is no stranger to futuristic and groundbreaking ideas and projects. The Project Olympus might take the cake though, as the company collaborates with NASA and 3D-printing specialists ICON to develop and imagine various 3D-printed buildings on the moon, built by moon dust and other materials found in its surface.

NASA is considering to place lunar terrain vehicles, habitable mobility platforms and surface habitat on the Moon before 2030. For NASA, this means that scientific research and extraterrestrial living can be explored further, with the moon working as a big test lab, or perhaps a layover, for future Mars excursions.

— We want to increase the technology readiness level and test systems to prove it would be feasible to develop a large-scale 3D printer that could build infrastructure on the Moon or Mars, said Corky Clinton, associate director of Marshall’s Science and Technology Office to NASA.

The different buildings will be built and run autonomously by excavation robots. The process of building landing pads and roads can’t really be imitated on construction sites on Earth, so NASA hopes that a large-scale construction system could be autonomous and equipped to work without astronauts’ help. For the designers and architects at BIG, this means completely new ways of planning their ideas.

— To explain the power of architecture, “formgiving” is the Danish word for design, which literally means to give form to that which has not yet been given form. This becomes fundamentally clear when we venture beyond Earth and begin to imagine how we are going to build and live on entirely new worlds. With ICON we are pioneering new frontiers – both materially, technologically and environmentally. The answers to our challenges on Earth very well might be found on the Moon, says Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director at BIG.

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5 just launched essential collabs with a Scandinavian touch

Cecilie Bahnsen x Mackintosh

The Danish womenswear label combines sculptural silhouettes with couture techniques, reinterpreting this with a modern approach. In her latest collab, Bahnsen brings her modern vision of femininity and Danish simplicity to that most utilitarian of pieces, the bonded cotton rain Mac, teaming up with the iconic British luxury brand Mackintosh.

Cecilie has designed seven coats in two silhouettes for her A/W 2020 collection. Both are interpretations of traditional men’s coats from the Mackintosh archive and instantly recognisably as Cecilie Bahnsen, with their sculptural shapes. The first is Bahnsen’s spin on the archetypal Mac, reimagined with her signature volume, a detachable hood, and removable quilted lining. The second is an oversized hooded cape.

CDLP x Cuixmala

Originally designed as a home for international financier Sir James Goldsmith, Cuixmala is a small eco-friendly luxury resort embedded in over 30,000 acres of nature reserve on the Mexican Pacific coast. It’s also well-known for its characteristic color blocking throughout the property, now highlighted in a new capsule with Swedish design company of luxury men’s essentials, CDLP. The collection includes a swim brief, swim short, and throw, where each style is consciously crafted in Portugal using Econyl — an innovative Italian-sourced regenerated nylon fibre made from ocean waste. The Throw is made in 100% modal.

Close Up and Private x An Ivy

Covid-19 has changed a lot of things. Also how we get dressed. But emerging Danish brand An Ivy is putting on a fight for classic menswear, also through the release of a special collaboration. 

Since 2009, artist and fashion legend Sergei Sviatchenko and his son Erik has left marks on the Danish and international fashion scene with the blog project Close Up and Private. They’ve defined a refreshing new style movement with its roots in classical menswear interpreted in a way that is both up-to-date and distinct.

The collab, called The Splash, takes its aesthetic starting point in the distinctive approach to wardrobe classics that have made Close Up And Private one of the most revolutionary art projects on the international fashion scene in the last decades. It’s built around the concept that all items can be mixed and matched and consists of two shirts, five narrow ties with striped, dotted, and club-inspired designs as well as two bow ties.

B. Åkerlund x Handsome Stockholm

Handsome Stockholm is a contemporary Swedish brand for exclusive designer gloves, established with the notion that few accessories are as elegant as a pair of matching leather gloves — they are the final piece of a perfect outfit. 

They also offer the worldwide unique Lose One, Buy One service, which enables previous customers to purchase one replacement glove.

They’ve now teamed up with fashion activist and costume designer, B. Åkerlund (who’s worked with every A-list celebrity in the industry, including Beyonce, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Britney Spears, to name a few) for the launch of The Royal Collection. It’s a line of superb quality leather gloves, inspired by royalty, for which Åkerlund has a particular admiration. Each style is named after a celebrated royal position, including the Queen, Duchess, and Countess styles among others.

Zalando’s sustainable capsule

Following last spring’s launch of the first Small steps. Big impact. By Zalando. collection, the leading European e-tailer now introduces a new sustainable capsule. This time, the drop includes both men’s and women’s clothing where 116 different pieces have been put together by eight European brands; Closed, Designer’s Remix, Henrik Vibskov, Holzweiler, House of Dagmar, Mother of Pearl, Mykke Hofmann, and Progetto Quid. They were selected based on their values ​​around sustainability and asked to create a conscious collection under a common aesthetic, with a focus on using materials from sustainable sources.

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The variable Helix treehouse suits any Scandinavian landscape

British architect and designer Antony Gibbon creates concepts of buildings that are close to nature, or even a part of it. The Embryo, for example, looks like it’s attached to the actual tree trunks that it’s stuck to. The Helix Tree House is similar in it’s mimicking nature, but rather than being built into a tree, it wants to mimic a tree altogether thus making it a proper treehouse.

The Helix works as a two-story house. The bathroom, lounge, kitchenette are located on the bottom floor, with a bedroom on the top floor that is accessed via a spiralling staircase. The exterior of the Helix is clad in slatted wooden beams and the turning facade that resembles the double helix shape of the DNA molecule. Depending on where you wish to place the Helix, the big bedroom window can give you unique and elevated views.

We reached out Gibbons to hear more about the eyecatching living spaces.

What gave you the idea of the turning facade?

— I was particularly interested in biomimicry and biophilia when designing these treehouses. I wanted to create rustic structures which blended into the surrounding environment to create a unique glamping feel. 

Will they be available in Scandinavia?

— Yes, we work with different building teams around the globe local to the region of the client to keep costs down and use local materials as much as possible.

Where would you like to place a Helix Treehouse?

— Anywhere as long as it sits into its surrounding landscape. These structures need trees around them to help work with the design so the Helix does not stand out too much. 

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Elevated living

Lervik is a designer with a wide range of work, drawing everything from chairs, carpets, glass art, lamps, barbecue grills, door handles, sculptures… And elevators.

— I am passionate about innovations, he says, so the products I’ve designed often have smart solutions and new areas of use.

He’s been working with Aritco — a Swedish company that produces the elevators in Stockholm, which is unique — since 2013. Throughout the years, he’s been deeply involved in the process of taking them from an industrial company to a modern design company. The first Lervik-designed elevator for Aritco, HomeLift, was presented in 2016 is now being followed up by the new HomeLift Access. As the name suggests, accessibility has been considered in every aspect of the functionality. It has an adjustable size for different types of wheelchairs, a safety system with an emergency lowering mechanism and battery in case of breakdown, and automatic door openers to avoid accidents. Lervik tells that the goal was to make it so aesthetically beautiful so the architect really wants to draw them into their environment, and not just because certain regulations force them to draw them in. 

— When I designed HomeLift in 2016, we started with a blank sheet of paper and developed a completely new elevator. This time we have updated an existing elevator, so the frames have been much tighter, which has made the work more difficult to achieve a good end result. I have worked with the aesthetics of Scandinavian simplicity in combination with technology, and brought in light as much as I could.

Has the pandemic changed the home lift market, with people staying more at home? 

— I don’t think we have seen the real effect yet, but I’m convinced that people around the world will put more focus on their homes. With the digital technique where we suddenly have started to have meetings from home, I believe that more people will leave the cities for a better life in the countryside. So, that will affect the lift market when people make such priorities.