Beyond Athleisure – Performance in the Age of the Aesthetic

Over the last 13 years, Goose has had the privilege of working with both fashion lifestyle and cutting-edge, technical sports brands, so the convergence of ‘Athleisure’ appeared to be a likely and natural progression for the industry. But why should Athleisure just present itself as a trend? Why shouldn’t it move with trend and be innovative based around our demanding lifestyles and the aesthetics that surround us?

Having loved the challenges of combining functionality with fashion aesthetics since the mid 90s, it is refreshing to see it return with a new form of elegance and eccentricity, boldly strutting down the last few season’s catwalks. It is also interesting to see performance brands trekking down from the mountains, embracing lifestyle and the cityscapes to deal with the everyday demands of busy life and commuting.

If you have ever been unlucky enough to suffer the London Underground at rush hour (or any metro system for that matter), any time of the year, no doubt you would have experienced extreme temperature fluctuations, the issue of keeping your possessions safe and the ergonomic challenge of compacting yourself into a tiny space. If you’re a commuting cyclist, you need ways to keep dry, carry items, be seen and move freely.

 

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It’s with these aspects of modern life in mind that we tackled a new concept for the brand, Falke. It sees the journey of two different people and explores the demands of the city grind and global commute in relation to apparel. We designed a range that addressed these issues. Not only has this concept worked for brands; but for uniform projects also, where the combination of performance elements, a contemporary aesthetic and traditional uniform requirements have proved very successful.

Some Fashion and Lifestyle brands are already doing this well; such as Levi’s with their commuter jean in their ‘Bike to Work’ wear collection. They bring in details like the dipped back hem, 3m reflectives, water repellency and venting etc. Kickstarter funded brands such as DU/ER have produced a Coolmax stretch denim designed for urbanites who love denim and being active. Then there’s the Ministry of Supply; another Kickstarter success, raising over $400,000 to create a ‘performance’ business wear line, looking at temperature regulating NASA engineered phase-change fabrics and thermolamination to bond collar and cuffs.

 

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From the performance side, outdoor brands like Peak Performance are applying their know-how to urban active lifestyle ranges, whilst other brands, such as Aether, create products like the Polar Trench Coat to keep you looking smart and warm in the colder climates. Fitness brands, like Lululemon, also bring elements of luxury performance into their product ranges such as technical cashmere.

 

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Lifting fabric, fits, details and silhouettes out of their traditional contexts and  re-designing them into a category that has new meaning and purpose is where the success of this model truly lies but it will be very interesting to see where this also leads to. With on-going technical development in the apparel industry, the notion of being more comfortable in our own clothes should be incorporated further with performance innovation combined with emerging trends. This means creating dialogue with manufacturers to look at how we can rethink product and how it works for the body, applying the science with the aesthetic to create something new.

There is a lot we can learn from both of these sectors; but fundamentally, we need to combine, innovate and make performance beautiful.

Because lets face it, our lifestyles will always demand this.

 

Jenni Arksey.

 

 



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The House of St Barnabas’ Art Social, 2015

Goose likes to explore different avenues of culture, society and art to continually inspire the team. This month’s highlight was the Art Social – a week-long event of talks promoting the development of ‘Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs’ – a theoretical model understanding human motivation, management training, and personal development to assist employers to help employees fulfil their own potential. The event was held at The House of St Baranabas, a Soho private members club and charity that helps homeless people back into work. The event ended last weekend with music, flower workshops and art showcases in the private gardens.

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I attended talks curated by Paula Lopez Zambrano that showed eight short films which lasted 30 mins each followed with a Q&A with the artists.

The films collectively showcase powerful feelings of belonging and the idealisms of society and communication all of which pull into focus Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs. A favourite was ‘Street Walking’ by Keef Winter. A film that looked at two polar opposite historic festivals: The Orangemen March in Belfast and the Shi’ite men performing rhythmic dances in Bahrain. What was found to be most interesting was the contrast in cultures and the unity festivals can create, the passion that comes from believing in something, and the lengths at which people are willing to go to for cohesiveness. This is particularly demonstrated with the Shi’ites need for a self-flagellation ritual called ‘Tatbeer’ – the beating of ones back with a chain.

A particular highlight was the flower appreciation society class where you could create button hole arrangements plus musician, sound designer and producer, Tony Nwachukwu, held a music workshop. The courtyard served delicious fresh stone baked pizzas where visitor can look at the amazing art that adorns the walls and roof of the House.

The Art Social is an annual event, but for those who missed it this year, it’s still worth a visit to check out gigs, art collection and talks given by actors, musicians, directors and creatives. To support the charity, donations of £100 are suggested with memberships packages starting from £600 annually. Individual talks from being free to £15 for non-members.

More info at https://hosb.org.uk/artsocial15/

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Goose’s Top Five Spots in London for Vintage

1. Portobello Market

 

Friday morning is a good time to venture out west to Portobello market. Getting off at Notting Hill Gate station, you can walk down to Westborne Grove and look at the high-end shops and cut back down to Portobello Road, or walk straight around the crescent to the top of the market. Also in the area is The Garb Store, on Kensington Park Road, which stocks both men’s and women’s. The women’s has a luxe feel, although prices are a little high, whilst the men’s has a cooler casual vibe with more affordable prices. They also stock soft accessories, footwear, household and stationary. The staff are incredibly friendly whilst the store has a relaxed, cool ambience that mirrors stock (win win win!) Once you’ve finished exploring, head back onto Portobello Road and explore the market.

 

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Portobello Market, for us, is currently the best for men’s and women’s vintage apparel. The majority of the market, near the Westway Bridge, is filled with garments that are of a high quality and perfect for the key trends coming through from the SS16 catwalks. Military and smart classics for menswear and soft feminine chiffons, lace and prints for women’s. I bagged an Aquascutum ladies trench which plays into the key androgynous look for ladies from Tony who’s been working on the market for over 18 years, in the same spot.

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After the market head up to Golborne Road to pick up some bric-a-brac bargains (this is when you are going to have to root around!). Golborne Road is known for its mix of vintage and antique shops. Jane Bourvis has one of the prettiest shops on the road, filled with the beautiful lace dresses and accessories.

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It’s best to get to the market around 10am as the stalls are all set up and it’s still relatively quiet.

http://shopportobello.co.uk/

 

2. Levisons

 

Men’s vintage can seem like a sea of plaid shirts, knackered tee shirts and denim jackets but at Levisons you find pieces that have been lovingly selected to present in a store full of the best military, workwear, tailoring and knitwear. With new additions added on a weekly basis to wet your appetite. It’s definitely worth a visit.

http://www.levisons.co.uk

1 Cheshire Street, London, E2 6ED

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3 The East End Thrift Store

 

This place is like marmite. You’ll either love it or hate it. Five years ago this obscure warehouse, accessible from a tiny alley off the Mile End Road, west of Whitechapel station, was a nicely curated repository dedicated to all things vintage with defined sections of styles separating menswear from womenswear, accessories from footwear. Today, the site resembles a charity shop recovering from a freak tornado that ripped its way through the building. The rather slipshod approach to retailing demonstrated here may be a nightmare to find bargains but the mayhem has helped to bring prices down to next to nothing. Pay £10 or £20 to fill a bag or a slightly bigger bag full of your chosen stuff. However, the hard part is the rummaging around to find non-crap to fill your bag. If you have time to spare, dig and fling and you shall find retro suede jackets, classic Levi 501s, furs and shearling coats and 50s dresses. It’s pretty good for 90s stuff at the moment. For the less patient, there is the adjoining Assembly Vintage store, to the right, with racks of individually priced garments organized similarly to the East End Thrift Store of old and the £5 Store section to the left.

IMG_2071 IMG_2064IMG_2072http://www.theeastendthriftstore.com/

 

4 Costumier and Furrier

 

Although the Angel has followed the way of the franchise more and more over the last few years, little pockets of bohemianism still thrive in tucked away corners of the area. A well known spot for vintage is the Camden Passage, just five minutes walk from the tube station, where little boutiques of 1920s dresses and antiques flank the main alley. The main market is held on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays with an alternative book market held on Thursdays and Fridays. Set apart from this enclave is the Costumier and Furrier; a little vintage and taxidermy shop set in Chapel Market just west of the Angel tube station. It’s another practitioner of haphazard retailing but this just adds to the fun. Georgian dresses can be found nestled amongst stuffed reptiles, ancient tomes and the odd Burberry mac. Spend a little time here and you would be able to pick up a bargain for your wardrobe or home.

2 White Conduit Street, Islington London, N19EL (no website)   http://www.camdenpassageislington.co.uk/

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5 Sunbury Antiques

 

Just on the outskirts of south west London, is not only one of the biggest, but the the best vintage market there is. Sunbury Antiques Market is a twice-monthly indoor and outdoor market nestled in the grounds of the famous Kempton Racecourse. Now in its 36th year, and still going strong, it hosts over 700 stalls, exhibiting a vast range of antique goods on offer including retro furniture, vintage fur & frocks, eclectic prints, jewellery, taxidermy, paintings, cameras books and much, much more. It’s a fantastic place to get inspired and get your creative juices going. Getting there early is a must as most vintage retailers pick up their bargains here for re-sale. Doors open at 6.30am and admission is free.

Kempton Park Racecourse
Staines Road East, Sunbury on Thames
Middlesex TW16 5AQ

http://www.sunburyantiques.com/

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Wilderness Festival – Oxfordshire

Wilderness Festival was this weekend in Oxfordshire.Taking on a more high-end boutique feel, the festival consisted of craft workshops, forums and debates accompanied by tasty food tents that included Moro and Hix. Victorinox hosted Christopher Raeburn making bags from military blankets.

Bjork was a tad melancholic but her set still sounded great and her production was spot on. More lively and upbeat was the George Clinton and Funkadelic Sound System the following night as well as DJ Harvey in the Hidden Valley. Best of all was a travelling gazebo with its own disco ball, sound system and about 100 people crammed under it aimlessly wondering around. 

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Tate Sensorium

Francis-Bacon---Figure-in-a-Landscape,-1945-TateFigure in the Landscape 1945 – Francis Bacon

After queuing in an orderly, British manner I managed to get my ticketed time slot for the Tate Sensorium on the second day of the Sensorium exhibition. The exhibition focuses on sensory stimuli and the remarkable way in which the body interacts with this information; Can taste, touch, smell and sound change the way that we see art?

Ticketing is separated into morning and afternoon slots and are released on a first come, first served basis with the morning release at 10am and the afternoon one at 2pm. It’s advisable to get there early (if my experience is anything to go by) as they had allocated all the morning tickets by 10:15am due to the restrictions of just 4 people being allowed in the exhibition every 15 minutes.

I was called into the pitch black exhibition room where four artworks were waiting to be experienced. Each artwork is illuminated and I was invited to step into the installation where different sensory experiences await. The combination of sound, smell, touch and taste draws you into each piece giving you a deeper awareness and emotion than if you were viewing each artwork using sight alone. Without giving away any too much, not all of the sensory stimuli are necessarily pleasant, but it is definitely a unique, interactive way to experience art!

Sadly, the Tate were having some technical difficulties on the day meaning that the wristband devices, which measure your response data to the exhibition, were unavailable to wear. This was a shame, as I would have been very interested to see the visual outcome of my experience. However,the Tate staff assured me that it was just teething problems and the wristbands would be up and running for the rest of the exhibition.

The exhibition runs at The Tate Britain from 26th August to 20th September.

By Laura G



Working Lunch – Top Five Restaurants for Meetings

We like to eat. So whenever there is a chance that we can merge business with the pleasure of eating, we take any every opportunity we can get, and collectively, we have tried quite a few places – some from the budget options to the Michelin starred.

London is teeming with great places to try but our top five restaurant choices have been based, not only on great food, but its ease of access and its location to fashion hubs around the city. They also have great atmosphere, so next time you are here for a visit – whether it’s to talk business, schmooze a potential client, or for just a quick lunch, check these places out. We highly recommend them.

 

1. Hereford Road, Notting Hill

This restaurant occupies a former Victorian butchers shop and specialises in simple, high quality, British food. Championing locally sourced produce at reasonable prices, customers will be treated to a seasonal menu that includes roasted quail, duck livers, hake with sea dulce and Blythburgh pork chop in saffron. The decor is highly inviting and cosy with separated booth areas and great views of the kitchen. It’s also 11 mins cab ride away from Portobello Market and the apparel tradeshow venue, Kensington Olympia.

http://www.herefordroad.org/

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2. Grain Store, King’s Cross

Chef, Bruno Loubet, provides a highly eclectic menu that comes from sustainable sources which are brought together in innovative ways. Multi-national influences are on show here with dishes such as ‘Smoked tofu and smooth cep pate, fig chutney and mead bread’ or ‘Vadouvan mash, lemon cucumber, kohlrabi and lamb breast confit’. Although there is meat and fish on offer, the menu leans more towards veggies. Cocktails are also a must here.

http://www.grainstore.com

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3. Forge & Co, Shoreditch

Tailored towards social working, F&C is great for those who need to get stuff done but also a good feed and a few alcoholic beverages. The fare here is pub style food that includes: Ox heart burgers and Chicken liver and foiegras parfait. They also do breakfast and brunch menus served in sofas in the lounge area.

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4. Dabbous, Fitzrovia

This Michelin starred restaurant is unfussy in both decor and ethos but the food is anything but. The tasting menu is a manageable five courses and focuses on bringing out the produce’s subtle, yet complex, flavour and is well thought out. Wine and cocktails, served both in the separate Oskar’s bar downstairs as well as the restaurant are clean and crisp and compliment delicate dishes such as Smoked Eel and Kimono as well as Peas and Mint. We were able to get a table within one month of booking but reserving earlier is recommended.

http://www.dabbous.co.uk/

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5. Brasserie Zedel, Piccadilly

Nestled in the back of Piccadilly is a classic, art deco, marbled expanse that has all the chic and atmosphere of 1920s Parisian cafe. The spacious setting is good for a quick lunch where all the classics are available from Escargot to Boeuf Bourguignon and Filet de Saumon Poche, and all at a similar price of a standard bistro.

https://www.brasseriezedel.com

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‘Seeding Brand Longevity’ Seminar – Outdoor Show, Friedrichschafen

Back in July our CEO, Jenni Arksey, was at Friedrichshafen giving a talk on Brand DNA, called ‘Seeding Brand Longevity’. She discussed the ideals behind Brands that have developed their true personality and long term strategies and how they engage with consumers through product and marketing. This is a particularly hot topic as we are entering into a period where the mid-zone brands [so not entry level such as H&M, price point or luxury] are struggling to get consumers to connect and buy into their brand. They require a strong story and this is not always easy to identify with all the product and marketing campaigns out there.

“Brands are like friends; they will connect with you, know what makes you tick and probably even look like you. If they turned up looking like a completely different person, one day, speaking a different language – you would be deleting them off your facebook page. It’s the same with a brand.” 

Jenni also touched on a formula we have used with several brands who wanted to define their brand DNA. We call this the DNA Synthesis. This is where we blend certain elements of the brand, which could be the heritage, the location, cultural relevance or innovation to identify its core or its essence. From here, we explain where and how these  elements can be applied to product and marketing to produce a strong identity that consumers can read, understand and engage with. O’Neill and Lee Cooper were the two case studies that were discussed that have both have been able to reposition their brand and enable growth [ Lee Cooper has been 20% year on year since 2010 ] and most importantly, both are visible again, standing out in their relevant markets.

Jenni concluded by stating “Your consumers want the genuine article more and more, the real story and they crave uniqueness in a world where everything is morphing together. If you have a story then tell it, sell it and build on it.

It’s about seeding brand longevity through authentic stories rather than short term trends. However, addressing such trends in conjunction with the brands DNA enables product to flow flawlessly from season to season so it becomes recognizable to the consumers – and they will trust in the brand’’

It is something we, at Goose, have seen flourish in those brands who have decided to commit to their own stories.

 



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