Leading the list of environmentally damaging practices is the production of leather, linked to the destruction of forestry and use of heavy metals, and cotton, which is hugely demanding of water. Kering’s EP&L estimates that leather alone accounts for 25% of its environmental impact, while 17% is linked to cotton. Overall, Kering announced, supply-side damage stands at 93% of the total. Only 7% of impact comes from its own operations in shops, offices or warehouses.
A bus powered by cow manure has set a land speed record in the UK. The biomethane-fueled “Bus Hound” hit a lap speed of 76.785 mph around a test circuit in Bedford — the fastest time recorded for a regular bus. As reported by BBC News, the Bus Hound is usually in service in the town of Reading in southeast England, but mechanics removed its speed limiter (usually set to 56 mph) to see how fast it could go.
At first blush, the new design doesn’t seem markedly different. It’s got a black background now, to match what people are used to on their phones, tablets, and TV sets. Those little arrows that scroll through the service at the speed of a glacier are still there, but now they jump between entire rows of choices. And the service does a much better job of letting you see information about a show as you click around, instead of accidentally playing something you only wanted to know more about. Under the hood though, the changes are the culmination of years of research aimed at gleaning every nuance about how humans hunt for things to watch. Netflix has been tossing out breadcrumbs in various configurations, and seeing how we gobble them up. This is the newest handful for us to taste test, and it comes with the hope that we’ll feast.
Now every time a child’s foot is measured with the device, be it in a Clarks store in the Bahamas, or China, the anonymous data is fed back live to Clarks’s HQ in Somerset, feeding a growing database, for shoe specialists to scrutinize. The HQ is a converted factory building – a factory that used to house Clarks’s shoe manufacturing operation, which has since moved to China. The building now houses a vast research and development facility. Here traditional cobblers carve wooden models, alongside colleagues using 3D printers. Upstairs, armies of smartly turned out buyers examine endless rows of shoes to second guess the next season’s fashions. Tucked away in the corner of this warehouse sits Scott Godley, a project manager closely involved in the iPad project. On his desktop computer a spreadsheet spools out the latest batch of global foot data coming in from the army of iPads. He recalls the older, simpler method of collecting data – used until last year. “Periodically, maybe every ten years, we’d do a foot survey.” This involved sending a man in a van, a foot specialist, driving around schools and shoe shops in the UK, taking a random sample of foot sizes.
“In the 50s, all young girls aspired to look like their mothers. In the 60s, the big change was the mothers wanted to look like the daughters,” quips acclaimed fashion designer David Sassoon. Now retired, Sassoon – creator of eveningwear for Princess Diana and other members of the Royal Family – is surrounded by colourful top-end beach clothing from the 1920s and 30s. He is helping put the finishing touches to London’s Fashion and Textile Museum’s new summer exhibition, Riviera Style, which looks at how resort and swimwear fashions have changed since 1900. The rules regarding beach etiquette have changed tremendously he says. “Today you can practically walk on a beach with nothing on.”
One finding from the study was that young people who received free school meals said they were more likely to read poetry outside of class than those who did not qualify for free lunches.
Sculptures, along with landmark pieces of design including furniture, fashion and even toys are among museum exhibits that are suffering decay, ranging from discolouration to a disintegration to powder, shrinkage and stress cracking. In the V&A, the Blow chair – designed with layers of PVC in 1969 as the first inflatable chair to be mass produced – has become completely rigid. The foam in an early 1970s Larry the Lamb toy – within the V&A’s Museum of Childhood holdings – has deteriorated and can no longer even be handled; while once-slinky 1960s PVC dress has become “very sticky” because plasticers are coming to the surface, attracting dust that attacks it still further.
Most locals might still be in a state of baffled amusement that the DIY handiwork of a young London-based architecture collective, Assemble, in doing up some of the area’s empty homes has been shortlisted for the country’s most prestigious art award. But the members of Assemble are at an equal loss for words – mainly because they’re far too busy for the news to have sunken in. There is work to be done. In the back yard of one of the houses, a couple of the group are pouring pigmented concrete to make a series of fireplace surrounds, beautifully cast in moulds made of debris collected from one of the derelict properties. Indoors, others are convening a meeting with future residents to present options for their new floors and front doors, around a group of intricately crafted doll’s house-sized models.
Farms dotted with the gigantic spinning blades of wind turbines have become a standard sight on long-distance road trips, but what if there was another way to capture energy from the wind? A startup out of Spain is working on that very idea. The company’s called Vortex Bladeless, and its turbines look like stalks of asparagus poking out of the ground.