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Lord of the skins

Lord of the skins

Who said a little magical thinking couldn’t work wonders? Welcome to the age of Neo-Tolkienism – the golden era of fantasy storytelling following the likes of blockbuster franchises Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings.

We’ve found ourselves in the midst of a mystical revival, with beauty brands like Fresh offering its Elixir Ancien – a hand-blended oil treatment created by monks in a monastery in the Czech Republic.

The name and packaging conjures up a time untold, when chemicals and synthetic ingredients were yet to exist. The popular buzzword ‘elixir’ also hints at a powerful, mystical force behind the science. It’s certainly put a spell on our daily beauty routine…





Forget your everyday health check. We’re talking tattoo checks, thanks to Brazilian suncare brand Sol de Janeiro and its efforts to raise skin cancer awareness.

Proof of brands putting people’s needs before their own, Sol de Janeiro trained over 450 tattooists with the skills to be able to spot skin lesions and the basic signs of skin cancer.

These talented tattooists are then able to impart their knowledge of sun protection and the symptoms to their customers (but of course, sending them off to a proper dermatologist once they’re done).




Window dressing

Window dressing


Stereotypical things you will never hear a man say #34: “I’m just popping into town for a spot of window shopping.” Well that may be about to change thanks to NEO’s new concept storefront in Nuremburg.

First of all, it’s not really a window: it’s like something out of Minority Report. Secondly, it allows shoppers to interact with the models, spinning them around through touch hotspots and pulling up additional product information. Thirdly, it enables shoppers to place items into a window shopping bag and then check out via their smartphone.

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NEO – part of Adidas’s casual sportswear range aimed at teenagers – has already successfully tested the idea in Russia and China, and has now given the go ahead for a further 10 locations across Germany. Certainly one window that’s giving shoppers plenty of opportunity.




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Sleek, sophisticated, stylish. Probably not the first words that come to mind when you think of laundry branding. (More like bright, garish and in-your-face.)

But shaking up the shelves is L’eaundry, a luxury brand that wants us to treat our clothes as well as we treat our skin. With the strapline ‘Treat your second skin like your first’, the ingredients are intended to ‘pamper’ clothes by gently washing them and leaving them with a light aromatic fragrance that lasts until the next day.

And you can forget the smell of summer flowers or grass, too. With a choice of ripe green figs or woody olibanum, L’eaundry’s aroma wouldn’t be out of place in a posh beauty hall. If it’s good enough for your pulse points, it’s good enough for your pants.




No ordinary shirt

No Ordinary Shirt 1

Whoa. Wait a minute. Wearable technology? Yes, clearly big goals are being kicked in Australia. Meet the ‘Alert Shirt’: a jersey that allows fans to experience what AFL football players are feeling live during televised games – from the couch.

The almost unbelievable blend of wearable merchandise and technology captures and broadcasts information at key moments during a match, enabling a continuous flow of communication.

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Made possible by a Bluetooth smartphone app that transmits real-time game data to the jersey, the connection between players and fans is transformed into powerful physical sensations experienced instantly by the wearer. Phoar, what a game! 




Empowericons 1

SMILE! WINK! KISS! Let us introduce you to the world’s first Afro Emoticons, courtesy of Oju Africa. In fact, the actual word ‘Oju’ means ‘faces’ in the Yoruba language from Nigeria.

Designed from a dream of digitally uniting Africa, the Afro Emoticons are addressing the need for techno-diversity (#EmojiEthnicityUpdate) – while sharing African funk, soul and smiles with the world.

They’re ready to use on Android platforms, as well as IOS any day. And let’s face it. With celebrities like Miley Cyrus becoming increasing vocal about the need for a more diverse range, why wouldn’t you?



Music to your beers

Music to your beers 1

Is it a boombox? Is it a crate of beers? Happily, it’s both. This is the latest packaging from Beck’s, designed to hold a six-pack of beers and look uber cool at the same time. (Bottoms up, Damo.)

Along with the beer, the box also contains other music-y items, like hip hop inspired pop-out glasses, coasters, retro cassette tapes and a USB with sponsored Beck’s track lists to listen to while you drink.

The mash-up between beer and tunes isn’t new to the brand, which has been featuring music-inspired labels on its bottles for the last few years.

It also has an ongoing initiative called The Green Box Project, a global fund that supports independent talent in art, design, music, and fashion. Through the project, Beck’s will fund and showcase 1,000 projects over the next three years. Thirsty work.

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Drink inside the box

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When is a box not a box? When it’s a table, of course. To help Nikka Whisky stand out on European shelves, international distributor La Maison du Whisky has given it some snazzy new packaging that can be configured into a variety of shapes.

Inspired by origami and himitsu-bako – puzzle boxes used by samurai to carry secret messages – the foldable limited-edition box holds six bottles of Nikka Whisky, as well as a couple of glasses.

It can be opened, closed, fanned and stretched, forming all sorts of different shapes – including a handy table-top. (Especially useful if you’re picking your booze up at the airport ahead of a long haul flight. Obviously.)

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The anti-social network

Earlier this year (April to be precise) a story hit the UK’s headlines of a 4-year-old girl who was ‘addicted’ to her iPad. Whilst many of us may have scoffed and thought ‘I’d never let that happen to my child’, it turns out that in Japan they’re taking the problem incredibly seriously.

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The Japanese Ministry of Education is proposing an ‘Internet Fasting Camp’ to help cure some of the estimated 500,000 adolescents who are believed to suffer from internet addiction. The condition is being held responsible for a number of sleeping and eating disorders, and even cases of depression and deep-vein thrombosis (normally associated with long-haul flights).

It’s a problem that’s not just unique to Japan – it’s a global issue that’s most likely to get worse before the rest of the world start to take notice. (Don’t worry, the irony of us sharing a Poke about the dangers of social media isn’t lost on us.)


From ironic to iconic

There was a time, not so long ago, when receiving a winter-pattern sweater on Christmas day would be greeted with insincere smiles and thanks. But in this world of ironic cool that we live in the Christmas sweater has been elevated to a must-have status, and Coke Zero’s Sweater Generator has just added a competitive edge to it.
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 allows you to decorate your own personal Christmas kitschwear with a variety of festive icons – from narwhals and ninjas to T-Rexs and turkeys. Once you’re happy with your creation you can upload it and bombard your friends with requests to vote for it through all the usual networks.

The 100 with the most votes will be ‘carefully handcrafted by loving machines and shipped to their loving creators, just in time for the tacky sweater loving season’. Somewhat surprisingly, at the time of writing this was the sweater with the most votes:
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