March Journal

Get your skates on!

In the month when International Women’s Day reminded us that the gender pay gap remains scandalous and the iconic NME rolled its last print edition off the presses, we also had the big freeze. Cue ice skating on frozen canals in the Netherlands. It’s a special time and we’re loving it.

Back to world-class women for a moment and this summer the V&A in London will be showing Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, an exhibition of clothes, photographs, paintings and possessions, some of which have never before left her native Mexico. The artefacts were only discovered in 2004, when a sealed room in the Blue House – Kahlo’s home with her husband, Diego Rivera, in Mexico City – was opened. He had requested it stay sealed for 15 years after his death in 1957, but it remained closed for 47. The exhibition will offer a chance to see, in glorious detail, the elaborately embroidered traditional Mexican dresses and exquisite hand-painted corsets that established Kahlo as one of the 20th century’s most enigmatic style icons.

I am my own muse, I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better. - Frida Kahlo

Co-op trials “pay in aisle”

Time-pressed shoppers will soon be able to pay in the aisle and avoid the till all together, using their phone to purchase goods at the Co-op with an app built in partnership with Mastercard. The “shop, scan and go” initiative is being trialled in Manchester with a wider roll-out beginning as early as this summer.

The Co-op says it has seen the number of cash transactions in its stores drop by 15% in the last 18 months alone. Matthew Speight, director of retail support at the Co-op, said “It is all about consumer choices and convenience”.

Back to black

We love Asif Khan’s pavilion at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, described as the “darkest building on earth”.

The temporary structure is painted with Vantablack VBx2, a chemical substance made of vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays that absorb over 99 per cent of light.

It’s a sprayable version of Vantablack, which British artist Anish Kapoor controversially acquired exclusive rights to in 2016.

Sneaker equality

Great news from Nike – unisex sizing will give women access to selected Jordan classics and to the most coveted Nike collaborations, including the next releases from Virgil Abloh x Nike The TEN. We absolutely cannot wait. #Happy #Designers #Love #Nike #Sneakers

The new “sustainable” parts including leaves, bushes and trees will hit shops later this year.

But while the process for making them may be greener than for traditional Lego bricks, they will not be bio-degradable. It will be “a long time” before Lego is made out of sustainable materials according to Tim Brooks at Lego. Bricks are made from ABS plastic, derived from crude oil, but with pieces regularly washing up on beaches, Lego has committed to making them sustainable by 2030.

Space Disco!

Two days after Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon Heavy Rocket, World Club Dome took clubbing into a new dimension with the world’s first zero-gravity rave.

Sir Trevor Bayliss

We couldn’t let this month’s journal out without paying tribute to the marvellous Trevor Bayliss, inventor of the wind-up radio, who passed away on March 5th.

The radio’s hand crank could deliver an hour of running power after just 30 seconds of winding. Inspired after seeing a TV report about the spread of AIDS in Africa, Bayliss wanted to give people access to news, information and AIDS education without having to rely on an external power source.

He also invented a wind-up lamp, electricity-generating shoes and a self-weighing briefcase, and was vocal about how little money he made from his brilliant and potentially life changing inventions. Now that is what we mean about the importance of design.

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