Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

First business

Wearing the right dress can be the first business flirtation between an actress and designer, too. A bit like a wink across the room. In 2011, 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld was nominated for an Oscar for True Grit. Seizing a style moment, she wore a striking fuchsia-, tangerine-, and black-striped Prada dress with a flounced hem from the spring collection to the SAG Awards that year. The chic choice paid off. Within two months, Steinfeld became the new face of Miu Miu, Prada’s edgier little-sister label. Steinfeld was just spotted front row at the Chanel couture show in Paris, so stay tuned.

Jewelers, of course, must deliver never-before-seen sparklers too. Many stylists plunder the archives of a house like Cartier or Van Cleef & Arpels for statement pieces with heritage and vintage caché. “Finding the new unseen look and style in a piece of jewelry is also in top demand”, says Beverly Hills jeweler Martin Katz, who outfitted Jodie Foster, Sally Field, and Helen Hunt with lush diamond bracelets and bold earrings at this year’s Globes. “When I come up with unusual rings or bracelets that have not been seen on the red carpet before, stylists grab them immediately”.


Decoded Fashion and CFDA Host Fashion Hackathon.

On Super Bowl Sunday, when most New Yorkers were prepping for the big game, hundreds of fashion and technology devotees were going head to head.

Decoded Fashion, a company aiming to connect the fashion and technology worlds, and the Council of Fashion Designers of America hosted something called a “fashion hackathon,” at the Alley, an event space on Seventh Avenue. An assembly of programmers, developers and graphic designers were given 24 hours to create an app or start-up idea to be pitched to a cast of judges (this reporter included). Five semifinalists were chosen to complete their pitch by the last day of New York Fashion Week, Feb. 14. Judges were instructed to identify apps or solutions that could be useful to the fashion industry and support the CFDA mission of considering the future. Originality of ideas, user interface and design, and overall technical achievement during a day of coding were also weighed.

Fashion may be an unlikely subject for tech geeks, but the event drew a large number of participants, as well as the support of the CFDA (including the designer Zac Posen); Condé Nast; and new-media fixtures like Dennis Crowley of Foursquare, Dirk Standen, editor-in-chief of, and Valentine Uhovski of Tumblr.

“I’ve been to a lot of hackathons, two to three hundred people, but this is the first hackathon I’ve been to that attracted 600 people, half of them women,” said Drew Schutte, the manager for emerging technologies at Condé Nast.


Zero Dark Thirty’s Fashion Blooper.

In the Oscar-nominated film, Jessica Chastain’s character carries a Proenza Schouler PS1 bag. The problem? It first appears in the film five years before the bag even existed. We all know Jessica Chastain has great style – but who knew Maya, her nerdy CIA character in Zero Dark Thirty– was also fashion-forward?

And we mean really fashion forward: throughout the film, the feisty Maya carries a tote bag from high-fashion label Proenza Schouler, which retails for $2,350 in stores. But there’s a catch: she wears the bag as early as 2003 –and the Proenza Schouler PS1 bag was not actually released until 2008.

Chastain’s Maya is first spotted with the PS1 as she arrives at the US embassy in Pakistan around 2003. She carries it across the globe for the next five years while interrogating terrorists at CIA black-op sites in Poland and Afganistan. The bag takes its last on-screen turn as her character is caught in the unfortunate cross-fire at the September 20, 2008 attack on the Mariott Hotel in Islamabad—two months before the PS1 even launched in November 2008.

A representative for Proenza Schouler confirmed to The Daily Beast that it was in fact the PS1 bag that was featured throughout the film.


Opinion: Speed dating matches govt with vendors.

It’s been referred to as speed dating but it certainly seems to have achieved its purpose. More than 700 small to medium-sized businesses got to briefly present to 15 government departments this month at Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre in a day entitled Meet the Buyer.
It wasn’t just about pitching their wares. There were plenty of things to be learned about the way to deal with government agencies, each of whom typically fielded two representatives who were essentially acting as conduits back to the agency and marrying providers up with the appropriate people within their agencies.
There were also a series of briefing sessions during the day on how to do business with government.
ICT vendors were just one of a group of industry sectors which took the opportunity. They first had to register, outlining their capabilities and which agencies they’d like to meet. The agencies then chose those which were appropriate, and formal invitations were issued.
Around two-thirds of those who applied were successful in getting at least one meeting scheduled.
Each got to meet for 15 minutes, followed by a five-minute transition period before the next meeting.
“It was really innovative,” says one ICT vendor. “It avoided a lot of hit and miss getting to the right people.
“They’re trying to get suppliers to engage much earlier in the procurement process. That’s really good for smaller businesses, which otherwise might be inclined to walk away from tenders when they see the big players responding.
“If this results in only one in 10 doing better business, it is justified. Not to mention the public relations value for the government.”
Several other attendees spoken to by Computerworld had similar views.
“They’re opening the door to innovation,” said one.
It’s likely now that attendees will be surveyed as to the success of the day. The Ministry of Economic Development’s manager of government contracts, John Ivil, has been quoted elsewhere as saying the event could become an annual one, depending on demand, and perhaps be held in a different centre each year.
With all-of-government and syndicated agreements progressively being put in place, the face of procurement is changing. It certainly seems to be providing an opportunity for smaller companies.
That should be good news for those who have developed home-grown, innovative technologies, which may now be duly considered, rather than departments defaulting to the often over-expensive offerings from the multinationals.
This should also go some way to addressing the concerns of NZ Rise, the non-profit incorporated society formed by a group of New Zealand IT company business leaders with the aim of improving the global competiveness of the New Zealand IT industry.
NZ Rise has been particularly concerned about the cost of government and local body tender processes, in particular how request for proposals discriminate against New Zealand companies.
Meet the Buyer will hopefully avoid the process of responding to Expressions of Interest or Requests for Information before an RFP is issued. Often the EOI or RFI becomes a fishing expedition that requires nearly as much work to respond to as it can take to respond to an RFP.