Archive | April 2013

#menswear 2.0 / Tumblr, The Pandorialist, Ali’s outfits, Mensweardog and the longing for irony.

‘Two fundamental literary qualities: supernaturalism and irony.’

Charles Baudelaire

The Internet is full of everything: cats, other cute animals, scary stuff, silly stuff, serious stuff, stuffy stuff, cats, fashion bloggers, foodies, cats, other cute animals, LOLz and OMGs and YOLOs and, finally, cats.

When it comes to menswear, we often have the impression that it’s just about poses, manufactured coolness and people who take themselves and their outfits a bit too seriously. There is something missing: irony, i.e. playing with concepts and ideas and storytelling, without the “pull my finger” kind of attitude or being too tedious. Don’t get me wrong, we all agree that style is King, but, at the end of the day, a pair of trousers is just two tubes made of fabric, even though said fabric is Loro Piana cashmere.

The following Tumblr blogs represent a rather interesting twist on the contemporary idea of #menswear.

What Ali Wore


The Telegraph claims ‘It’s no surprise then that our tastes for ‘real-life fashion’ are changing, so gorged are we on unattainable designer duds adorning unattainably beautiful bodies. Enter Ali, an 83-year-old Turkish father of 18 and the latest street style star to capture the blogosphere’s attention.

A doctor-turned-tailor, the octogenarian resides in Berlin where he captured the attention of waitress/photographer Zoe Spawton, who spotted him walking past the café she works in each morning. After watching him stroll past in a series of natty get-ups, the 29-year-old plucked up the courage to approach him last summer and ask whether she could photograph his daily fashion choices for a blog.’

The blog amasses a staggering 120,000 hits a day.

Stylish animals

As the name suggests, The Pandorialist is like The Sartorialist, but with a panda bear.


Hell yeah, it’s Mensweardog!


And, least but not least, the best collection of Accidental Chinese Hipsters you’ll ever see.


What do you think?

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Drink brands and social media #FAIL / How NOT to do things: Keglevich vodka.

‘My second marriage had a lot to do with alcohol.’
Mercedes McCambridge

We could talk about Buddhist rituals, conviviality from Dante Alighieri to the new ‘speakeasy’ in Soho, Ernest Hemingway and Jackson Pollock and how much it matters when it comes to French post-structuralism, but the truth is, at the end of the day, that we drink booze in order to get tipsy. Fact.
Now, you cannot really say that when you take care of a drink brand on social media, therefore you have to edulcorate the whole thing, and turn it into a lifestyle-related matter – you drink XXXXXX because you are a seasoned and urbane man, not because you want to get hammered, that’s the spirit.

Here are a few ways you can do things, when it comes to alcoholic beverages and social media.

The playful / ironic way
Have a laugh, this is supposed to be fun. Be responsible when you drink, but remember: alcohol is a social lubricant, and helps get the creative juices flow, so go ahead, enjoy! Look at Molinari and Newcastle Brown Ale. Top quality.



The luxurious / sophisticated way
You are not a dull, boring man with a grey, meaningless life. And this is not a drink. This is something else. Something more. From Frisco to the red carpet, you are a major player of that chess game they call ‘life’. You don’t get drunk, you get deep. That’s the difference. Absolut and Disaronno docet, in this case.


The “real deal” way
A drink by yourself means you are having trouble with the wife. A pint with a friend means it’s Friday, everything is alright, no worries, Bob Marley singing in the background, spring in Seville. Life is good. This is the “Guinness way”.


And then, there’s the Keglevich way, AKA the “WTF-cheap-not-funny-extremely-sexist-rude-oh-Lord” way.
Seriously, how bad is this?


What do you think?

London Web Agency Appnova – keep following us on Twitter @appnova and “like” us on Facebook for useful news and tasteful digressions about geeky stuff.

The power of words in the World 2.0 / Feat. Waterstone’s, Burberry, looting crisps and CHAOS by Sylvester Stallone.

Words are extremely powerful, everybody knows that; think of Jesus, Martin Luther King, Jr, ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’, ‘Speaking words of wisdom, let it be’ and so on and so forth.

Words are your brand’s philosophy and identity made sound, but a great deal of companies forget it, very often. Lots of them struggle with language, or use the same vocabulary, mostly made of five words: Stunning, Gorgeous, Lovely, Exclusive, Spotted. Boring, boring, boring, boring. Boring. In other occasions, they simply don’t care, as long as they have some halfway decent copy, they think the product will take care of the rest; but imagine Burberry’s Twitter account going: ‘Yeh we fink r sales are da shiznit init? LOL’. Right, it would look weird.

Now, here’s someone who knows how to use words, whether it’s an in-store pun, a billboard at Camden Town tube station, or on social media. Not surprisingly, they sell books.

Foreword – remember the London riots, in 2011? The city was burning, madness and despair in the streets. In certain areas, every shop was being looted. I mean EVERY shop. In fact, the kids were so desperate to nick stuff, they even looted Poundland (in the image below, you can see a young lady running away with £3 worth of crisps).


EVERY shop was pillaged, then, but one: Watersone’s.
From The Guardian: ‘Reading the riot acts: why wasn’t Waterstone’s looted?’
London Evening Standard might know the answer: ‘The shop that no rioter wanted to loot… because it sells books’
‘On the worst night of London rioting almost every shop in Clapham Junction was ransacked – except one. The bookshop.’

Someone with basic Photoshop skills tried to manipulate the situation, but the results were quite poor.


Jokes aside, the guys at Waterstone’s reacted the best way ever: with irony, wittiness, and bright words:


They were not new to this. Check the following tweets.




And the in-store jokes.


And, last but not least, this billboard I spotted the other day at some tube station. Aesthetically speaking, it is indeed one of the worst looking billboards ever (together with CHAOS by Sylvester Stallone, pictured below): mainly black, no attractive women featured, no images. Still, a great piece of advertising.




The result is an increase in buzz, brand awareness, virality and, ultimately, sales. GENIUS.

What do you think?
London Web Agency Appnova – keep following us on Twitter @appnova and “like” us on Facebook for useful news and tasteful digressions about geeky stuff.

Luxury Beauty Brands 2.0 / How to look classy online, feat. “Snooki” Polizzi, L’Occitane en Provence, The Sanctuary and Josie Maran.

I don’t have a TV set. The last time I had one I was at uni. It was 1997. The other day I went to visit a friend; he’s got a TV set, and suddenly I found myself channel surfing like a young Leroy “The Masochist” Smith in Big Wednesday.

After a little while, I sat and wondered:


It looks like there are way more Snookis, WAGs, Tulisas, Geordie Shorettes, TOWIE-sque beauties out there than Carole Bouquets, Audrey Hepburns and Zooey Deschanels.

Moreover, brands often – even plush ones – when it comes to social media, tend to adapt their image to the latest trend, which means that several times they end up looking like a chav, i.e. a not very classy individual with an expensive Burberry cap.

It’s true, thanks to gangsta rappers and Reality TV stars now luxury brands are much more ‘street’ than before, LOL and YOLO and the rest, but still, a luxury brand should stay true to its roots and perpetuate the purest ideals of beauty, elegance, and excellence (that means Coco Chanel is a good style icon, Nicki Minaj is not).

So, if you really need to give it a twist, use your brain.

Want to depict immortal beauty and allure? Ask Ellen von Unwerth to take care of the photoshoot, just like The Sanctuary did (and yes, you are right, we created their website ;)).


Want to engage your customers and keep them coming back for more? Choose culture, nature, healthy recipes and Vintage Posters of Provence, instead of OMG-scandal-scoop-unseen-footage-blah-blah-bloody-blah.

Look at L’Occitane en Provence on Pinterest, for instance.


Want to use Instagram in a different way? Stop posting pictures of parties with Rihanna and Drake, and give us some real pictures, like Josie Maran. She’s a mom and a business woman, and found a way to make these traits live together; moreover, her Instagram images show a brand’s human face, and the real deal, i.e. how to look cool and well-groomed even if you have to take care of a wild 1-year-old baby.


What do you think?

London Web Agency Appnova – keep following us on Twitter @appnova and “like” us on Facebook for useful news and tasteful digressions about geeky stuff.

Tumblr and the “Stylish and F***ed Up Generation”/ Design & Architecture, Sex and the Narcissistic World of Gen Y.

What is Generation Y? Nobody really knows. Academics are confused, sociologists are puzzled, and even leading-edge brands such as Burberry are at sixes and sevens, when it comes to this rather special breed of customers.

According to Wikipedia, ‘Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, is the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when Generation Y starts and ends. Commentators use beginning birth dates from the latter 1970s, or from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.’

The plot thickens.
I googled the term, and found a handy service from the Financial Times, called Lexicon. Well, I thought, whatever the FT says, it must be at least close to the truth, right? Not so sure about it.
‘Globally, generation Y (gen Y) refers broadly to the demographic cohort born between 1975 and 1995. The group is seen as reliant on new media and digital technology with short attention spans. They expect entertaining and fast-paced information and are assumed to be self-centred, demanding, and hard to integrate into teams.’ The article continues: ‘As consumers, gen Y attracts much attention from market researchers who have realised early on that the group itself has different values, such as placing emphasis on environmental issues, but in other respects gen Y varies between countries.’
The FT describes Gen Y as a pretty capricious, whimsical, quirky and hard to define bunch, then.
The Boston Globe has a little more sympathy for these young fellows: ‘For young people today, the American dream of working hard, saving money, and becoming richer than their parents may be out of reach. Americans in their mid-30s and younger have accumulated less wealth than their parents did at that age more than 25 years ago — a trend that threatens to weaken the economy overall, according to a study by the Urban Institute, which analyzes social and economic problems.’

Now we understand a bit more: Gen Yers have different values, are more narcissistic but also more civic-minded than previous generations, tend to spend a lot of time online – Tumblr, rather than Facebook – and have a tragic sense of beauty. In sum, we can say that: the future seems grim, political correctness is not mandatory anymore, and Gen Y are a stylish, narcissistic, culturally aware and fucked up bunch of souls curating/creating incredibly sparkling and fascinating Tumblr blogs about design, “things I like”, cool stuff, and content that is hotter than a vindaloo.

Here’s three cool Tumblr blogs you should check out, if you want to understand – and eventually sell stuff to, you greedy, impertinent corporation – the Gen Y.

Apple Wayfarers
A perfect snapshot of a certain fringe of Gen Y – the ones who read Jean-Paul Sartre, watch Jean-Luc Godard’s movies listen to Tyler, The Creator and prefer Wolfgang Tillmans over Terry Richardson.


Life on Sundays
Stylish interiors, details, beautiful objects, stunning images, with a NSFW twist – because pornography is now part of our online lives, and is also getting classier – and a strong melancholic aftertaste.


Rolling Thoughts
Exquisiteness and design for the Gen Yers, constantly fluctuating between the bright and dark sides of life: the yin of bikes and cycling and the yang of booze and cheese sandwiches, well-behaved girls smoking and drinking, all wrapped in a fucked up dandy cape.


What do you think?
London Web Agency Appnova – keep following us on Twitter @appnova and “like” us on Facebook for useful news and tasteful digressions about geeky stuff.

Social Media in the Pharmaceutical Industry, Part 2 / Less Tavor, More Tumblr. Or, Think Outside the (Pill) Box.

I was having a “Sunday Roast Social Media Conversation” the other day, trying to explain to a friend my views on the beauty of medicine, and the importance of aesthetics in life; he said “a pill is a pill, mate”, to which I replied “Ceci n’est pas une pill”, paraphrasing René Magritte’s The Treachery of Images.

He didn’t get it. Neither did I.

The nitty-gritty, anyway, is that a pipe is a pipe but also something else, and pills are pills but are also something else – something beautiful to look at, with all their colours and shapes – and once again art and medicine found themselves sharing a compartment on a train, and once more we should try to think outside the (pill) box, and realise a pharmaceutical company should have a social presence that goes beyond the mere link-news-functional-post-done-ciao.

Nothing new here – Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome, the American-British pharmaceutical entrepreneur who co-founded Burroughs Wellcome & Company, was also a philanthropist and an art lover. According to Wikipedia “Wellcome had a passion for collecting medically related artefacts, aiming to create a Museum of Man. He bought very widely anything related to medicine, including Napoleon’s toothbrush, currently on display at the Wellcome Collection. By the time of his death there were 125,000 medical objects in the collection, of over one million total.”

If you leave in London, go see the Wellcome Collection TOMORROW. If you don’t leave in London, come down here and visit the Collection instead of Primark and other “cheap and unchic” attractions. Here’s the Collection’s website:

How to turn this into digital matter, then? A few suggestions will follow.
Anyway, once again, remember the dogma: INFORM AND ENTERTAIN.

In 2009, I went to the Wellcome Collection to see “Exquisite Bodies: or the Curious and Grotesque History of the Anatomical Model”, an astonishing collection of anatomical models. From the bearded lady to Damien Hirst’s Hymn, how cool would they look on a Pinterest board?

L0051902 Bearded Lady


Wax Anatomical Model

You can’t avoid Facebook
Yep, that’s true – Facebook is like Rihanna: wherever you go, you can’t avoid it. Therefore, make the most of it.
Pfizer is doing a good job on the social network, posting inspiring things, vintage photographs and beautiful etchings.

(From the Pfizer Photo Archives: An etching, circa 1915, of Pfizer’s manufacturing plant in Brooklyn, New York)


Use Tumblr!
As you probably know, I’m a big fan of Tumblr. How to use it, when it comes to medicine-related stuff? Look at Medical School ( Brilliant.

Is this one of Yves Klein’s monochrome works from The Blue Epoch? Nope, it’s the human spinal cord in cross section.



Abstract painting or colourised SEM of anthrax bacteria?

Colorized SEM of Anthrax Bacteria

What do you think?
London Web Agency Appnova – keep following us on Twitter @appnova and “like” us on Facebook for useful news and tasteful digressions about geeky stuff.