PHABRIK Magazine

Culture

Art, Music + Travel

Making it BIG in film without a BIG budget

Top promotion tips for independent film directors by Sophie Childs

Rob Dodds


Super/Model

GL Wood Photographer | Art Director www.glwoodstudios.com


Summer School

SHAD’s students think beyond the classroom

Every Moment A Different World

My Hong Kong Experience by Mark St. James

Where can you find the world’s most delectable dim sum (Michelin-starred Tim Ho Wan, naturally), the most grandiose shopping, the most fervent clientele and the most alluring skyline that, come eight o’clock every evening, lights up in a scene that gives Vegas a run for its money? Why, it’s Hong Kong, of course! Whether I was taking the Star Ferry across the stately Victorian Harbour or hiking through a vivid, green lush hillside on winding paved paths high up on The Peak (the view was nothing short of breathtaking), I found myself in the moment. I was placed firmly where I knew centuries of historic events have taken place leading up to the modern Hong Kong that I love so much today. From ancient grounds and holy shrines like Tian Tan Buddha and the Wong Tai Sin temple to some of the tallest buildings in the world (including the International Finance Centre and International Commerce Centre), there started a fierce battle within me: to continue on with my explorations of the mountainous cityscape, grab another delicious morsel to enjoy…or GO SHOPPING! You can guess where I went. From the largest mall in Hong Kong on the Kowloon side, Harbour City, to any number of world-class shops in Causeway Bay—including the very best from Europe and around the world—the shopping was…dangerous. I found myself staring at pieces that were only seen by the elite because Hong Kong and its booming economy can support that level of elegance. I could certainly get into trouble here. But what I found most intriguing was the home grown Hong Kong fashion scene. Pristine style choices made by passing pedestrians would steal my gaze simply because of the level of thought that went into a single outfit. They were always immaculate and incredibly polished. I could tell that everyone researched which fashion pieces to invest in and which designers to follow. It was this local interest that led me to look inward and meet some very cool Hong Kong designers. Six Lee and Michelle Lai of MISCHA handbags are designers from Hong Kong that flourish because of the demand for fashion that starts from Hong Kong and mainland China. But these big designers aren’t the only ones making waves. Other local fashion designers get a head start at the Fashion Farm Foundation, which is an organization that takes young designers, builds them up and then showcases them for the world to see on global stages including Paris, Milan, and soon, New York. In short, Hong Kong was constantly amazing, with people bustling in every which direction, a million things to eat, see and do, and me in the middle of it all. Describing my week-long stay in this world-class city as a whirlwind would be an understatement. Next time, I plan to stay few more weeks and bring you front row coverage of Hong Kong fashion week! Hong Kong: Asia’s World City is a cosmopolitan of vibrancy, varieties and trendiness. Visitors will be amazed by the unique fusion of east meets west, the diversity of new and old, exquisite culinary experiences and fantastic shopping. Hong Kong offers Every Moment. A Different World. Discover Hong Kong! This article was written as part of a press trip sponsored by Hong Kong Tourism and Mode Media.


Nepal’s Adornment

Photography by Carlos Esteves

Bhaktapur: what a better place to start to feel Nepali life than this historical city! With its narrow streets, several central squares and courtyards, one can come across a temple or touch a statue several hundred years old. Known as the City of Devotees, the typical Newari architecture found here is based on a combination of red bricks and wood carving. The unique use of materials, colors, shapes and forms are exhibited also in the wearable art and clothing. Be immersed in this ancient, "devoted" atmosphere! About the photographer: Carlos Esteves has a degree in Computer Science and a Master of Business Administration. Photography is his major passion and since 2010, his portfolio has been certified by the Associação Portuguesa dos Profissionais da Imagem. He's also passionate about travelling and discovering the authenticity of the places he visits. He was a finalist of the Travel Photographer of the Year competition for two consecutive years and he's always looking to capture his next powerful image.


Pop Collage

By Avery Kremer

COSMETICS Brave a New Wave World Take the softness of airy, feminine vocals and bathe them in the sultry ominousness of moody repetition. Add an analog synth. Repeat with simplistic rhythms worthy of a pulsating dance floor. You’ve now entered the effortlessly cool reality of Vancouver’s minimal synth crew, COSMETICS. Even the band’s name alludes to an authentic new wave structure, stripped down and artificially dynamic. It is a minimalism conducive to the sparse, repetitive melodies and noir motivations of this synthesized dance duo. COSMETICS formed in 2008 when Aja Emma started producing music with Nic M. Emma lends her voice and synthesizer talents, while M brings his unique flair on the synthesizer as well as the duo’s rhythm and production. They write and record their self-described pop collage sound at their OUI! home studio in Vancouver, Canada. This stripped-down genre, an interesting take on pop music, is certainly dance floor worthy! In 2010, Brooklyn label Captured Tracks released their 7" debut entitled "Soft Skin." The following year, their pop-synth production, "The Cries," galvanized the Milan runways, creating a haunting, dramatic atmosphere at the Versace Spring/Summer collection. Currently, COSMETICS’s release list from label Captured Tracks includes "Olympia…Plus," a compilation LP of their finest, circa 2010-2013 productions, one EP, and a few singles including "Black Leather Gloves" and "Sleepwalking." With a long-awaited debut album and a European tour underway, this west coast duo is scaling the new wave world, taking with them their analog synths.


Grand Designs

by Shawna Pandya

From couture to cars, skyscrapers to screens, design matters more than you might think Design, design, design. Omnipresent, yet all too often overlooked in importance. It catches the eye, drawing in the casual observer. Beyond art and fashion, design impacts many industries including medicine, automotive and consumer electronics. “Design,” said Steve Jobs, “is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” More than that, design is what attracts us to interact with something and to want it. Design demonstrates the most nuanced understanding of human motivation. Discerning what will capture a person's attention and stir them to action is a big part of creating innovative design. If we define design as "creating with the intent to evoke specific reactions or behaviours," it becomes a powerful problem-solving tool. When it comes to products, processes and visuals, design can be a superpower. Design & Dollars Given the broad definition of design, it is impossible to pin down its exact global GDP. Apple, known for its obsession with minimalist design, skyrocketed to a net worth of over $700 billion USD in 2014. If Apple were a country, its GDP would be 20th in the world. The web design industry in North America alone neared $35 billion USD last year. The global value of the fashion industry is expected to hit $3.7 trillion USD by the end of 2016. Suffice to say, design is valuable. Design affects behaviour—especially buying behaviour—so it only makes sense to invest in it heavily. Creators of all kinds have picked up on this; they strive to outdo themselves in search of more finesse—and market share. Gone are the boxy sedans of the 90s, replaced with curvier, sleeker versions. Hold the first-generation iPhone next to an iPhone 6: the original is almost clumsy in comparison. Compare Apple to its competitors: you can't argue with his Steve Jobs's eye for design. Designing Behaviour In retail, physical spaces are constructed to guide buyers into entering, exploring and purchasing. Searching online for "retail layout strategy" yields a wealth of articles on storefront optimization. North American shoppers, for example, tend to turn right upon entering a store. Retailers capitalize on this trend by placing attention-grabbing displays there. Now consider layouts in print and digital media. Visual layouts and headlines are designed to catch the eye, converting passersby to readers. The balance of text, colours, figures and patterns can mean success or failure for a newly-launched magazine or website. This push for outstanding design has cultivated completely new industries in the past decade. User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designers were unheard of before the proliferation of smartphones and apps. Now, these designers call the shots in technology. My friend, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, once asked me to aid in his search for a full-time UX designer for his startup. I was laughed at by my designer friends: He wanted a full-time designer? All to himself? Good luck! Designers were in such high demand, they could pick and choose their contracts. No one settled for working full-time for any sole project. The Architecture of Good Design If design is so important, we need to understand what makes for good design. More than aesthetics and symmetry, good design has to feel intuitive. It stirs the desire to engage. It can look deceptively simple, despite being complex and multi-dimensional. A well-designed product can take hours, months, years to develop. It can evolve from its original self. Ultimately, good design elicits that "Ah yes. This is for me," sentiment. What evokes this feeling today will not necessarily be the same tomorrow. The pinnacle of 1970s design is cringe-worthy today (orange shag carpet on brown tile, anyone?). Design evolves—this is as true in home decor and fashion as it is in technology and medicine. Design also drives adoption, sauntering hand-in-hand with ergonomics and usability. I recently met with a group of enterprising biomedical engineers who were designing new tools to permit better access to the brain for certain neurosurgical procedures. I pored over their concept, asked detailed questions and played with the prototype. Their answers were exact, their methods sound. However, when I picked up the tool, I frowned. “The handle is too light,” I said. “The concept is great, but compared to what surgeons are used to, this is far lighter. They won’t like it. A heavier handle will also give you more leverage in surgery.” Medical devices are challenging. Doctors are notoriously picky and creatures of habit. If they can find a reason to resist change, they will. Graphic design icon Ivan Chermayeff, the mind behind the National Geographic and Armani Exchange logos, captured the heart of it, noting, “Design is directed toward human beings. To design,” he said, “is to solve human problems by identifying them and executing the best solution.” Profit and adoption aside, design matters because it is a physical manifestation of vision, leadership and creativity—the new currencies of our age. This becomes especially relevant at a time when automation is increasingly widespread. In other words, be unique or be replaced. Your value is in your individuality, and design is a realization of that individuality. Designers—fashion, graphic, technical or otherwise—take note. You are valuable. You matter. You can make things happen. Design is the future. Design is here to stay.


©2013 PHABRIK Magazine