3D-Printed Fashion?

Francis Bitonti Cloud Collection

(Hiscott, 2014)

By now, we’ve all heard of 3D printers. For instance, even Stephen Colbert had a guest make a 3D print of his face on The Colbert Report. No matter how you’ve heard of it I think we all can agree that the chance to use one would be great. But now, 3D printer users have found a new use: fashion. Fashion Designer Francis Bitonti has begun utilizing 3D printers, called MakerBots, to design and distribute intricate bowls, sculptures, and more. These are all a part of Bitonti’s Cloud Collection, which includes four housewares products: a plate, a vase, a bowl, and a serving bowl. Consumers can even customize the surface noise or relief of the product. While the line itself is interesting and innovative, its distribution is even more so. Instead of buying any of these products in a store or online, users who own MakerBots buy the code for $1 and print them at home. If a customer does not own a MakerBot, they can join a 3D Hub, and print it for more. Bitoni said: “We tried to make something where the consumer could engage in the narrative of the object and be part of the design, but not necessarily have to become the designer” (Hiscott, 2014). Using 3D printing allows the designer to customize a delicate structure that couldn’t be made by hand.

Francis Bitonti Couture

(Hiscott, 2014)

But this new, innovative mode of production doesn’t stop with housewares. Bitonti also designed a gorgeous 3D printed gown for Dita von Teese in 2013. He also designed the Bristle Dress and a belt called ‘Winter Froze You Away,’ both pictured above. (Hiscott, 2014) However, some argue that as cool as designs like these may be, they reduce the role of the designer far too much. Instead of giving the designer a chance to choose material and decide how it will be put together, they are reduced to being a simple ‘sketch artist.’ Personally, I love the idea of technology and fashion fusing, but I absolutely agree that it could have some seriously negative effects on the designer’s profession. What do you think? Will this innovation lead way to more creativity?  

Works Cited

Hiscott, R. (2014, April). The future of fashion is code, not couture, says designer. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2014/04/04/francis-bitonti-3d-printing/

Social Media and the Bystander Effect

Imagine you’re witnessing something newsworthy like a fight or a burning building. What would be your first instinct? To help, to call the authorities, or to pull out your camera phone to record the event? For many, the answer is to record it on their phone, but why? According to some social psychologists this is a new incarnation of what psychologists call the bystander effect.

The phenomenon was originally studied after the murder of a New York City woman, Kitty Genovese. Thirty people witnessed the violent murder but no one reported it or attempted to help the woman. Psychologists attribute this to the idea that people will not help out if others are present, the bystander effect. In other words, everyone assumes that someone else will, or already has, helped out. In today’s culture, this effect has given rise to the behavior of filming or otherwise documenting an event instead of stepping in. This action is connected to the bystander effect, but on a different level: people believe that documenting an event, like the Stanley Cup riots, and sending it to the authorities is helping out. This may be a step toward being less passive, but still doesn’t prevent the event from happening.

Similarly, the bystander effect may be well at work on sites like Facebook. For example, I’ve seen many friends share their friends’ Kickstarters to urge people to donate money too their projects. However these people don’t usually donate, and instead, they simply share the Kickstarter. According to one article, this is because people believe strongly in their own social capital, that sharing a link is the equivalent of a monetary donation. The article uses the example of Veteran’s Day, and how people on Facebook were suggesting helping veterans. While most everyone would agree to help them, several factors contribute to the bystander effect and prevent anyone from doing so effectively. First, it’s often ambiguous how one can even help, like, people may simply not know how or where to help. Second, social media groups are not tight knit, so if an old acquaintance from high school asks their network to help out with something, people aren’t likely to help if they don’t feel a strong bond with the person. Third, the classic idea of diffused responsibility plays in. If an acquaintance walks up to someone and asks for money for an emergency, one would be likely to help, but online in a network of hundreds, everyone assumes someone else will.

Overall, I don’t believe that social media completely encourages the bystander effect. Take for example the Arab Spring, in which revolution (and action) was fueled and maintained by social media. However, I do agree that it’s dangerous to film a crime instead of helping or assuming that sharing a link is as valuable as donating or attending. 

References

Social media, mobile phones changing ‘bystander effect’. (2014, March 14). Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/social-media-mobile-phones-changing-bystander-effect-1.2572372

Social media and the bystander effect. (2013, September 16). Retrieved from http://www.briansolis.com/2013/11/social-media-and-the-bystander-effect/

Gillette Gets Creative to Get Men to Shave

Let’s face it: beards are in. What once only men like hipsters, lumberjacks, and wise men donned, is now a mainstream trend. Beards can be seen everywhere, personally, when I notice more and more bearded men around me I just attributed it to college lifestyle. But apparently, this is a nationwide trend to the point that sales of razors have plummeted.

According to the New York Post, several things have contributed to the beard trend and the lack of razor sales. First off, is the Movember movement (or as I know it, No Shave November), which raises awareness for prostate cancer. This month long movement caused a huge financial drop in Procter and Gamble’s fourth quarter. Similarly, movements like Decembeard further encourage men to don beards. However, the economy on the whole has contributed, causing more men to buy cheaper brands and simply stop needing to shave due to unemployment. Ads for middle-class retailers like Target and JCPenney only fueled the flame of the trend by including bearded men.

So what’s a company with a large razor division to do? Procter and Gamble, the company that owns Gillette, decided to get creative and encourage men to shave other parts of their body. They released the video posted below and continue to promote it. The video features Kate Upton, a prominent model who posed for Sports Illustrated and more, saying that she would not date a guy who did not shave down there. The video, unfortunately for Procter and Gamble, currently only has about 250,000 views, which would not be consider “viral” by any means. They also made a second, longer, video with two other models, which has fewer views.

In theory, I think that this is a great idea: if people aren’t using your product, then convince them to use it in a different way. I’ll be interested to see how Procter and Gamble continue to increase razor sales in the future. What do you think?

 

References

Covert, J. (2014, January 25). Beard craze hits procter & gamble razor sales. Retrieved

from http://nypost.com/2014/01/25/beard-craze-hits-procter-gamble-razor-sales/

Wade, L. (2014, February 20). Gillette, stymied by beards, heads south. Retrieved from

http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2014/02/20/gillette-stymied-by-beards-heads-south/

(2013). Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz6rvXLpxvo

The Future of Books

An old friend of mine posted an interesting article on Facebook the other day. The article boasts a new app that will supposedly allow readers to finish entire novels in less than an hour and a half. Now, my friend who posted this is probably the biggest bookworm I know, so I wasn’t too surprised to see her post a story like this. But she did raise an interesting point, that while an app like this might encourage a “get it over with” mentality instead of a reading for pleasure one. It is an interesting thought, as college students, we often find ourselves bombarded with readings for class and a busy schedules to fit them in. That’s why so many of us turn to Sparknotes or other summaries. An app that allows us to read quickly may be a good compromise. This debate reminds me of something an old professor said about how you may think reading the summary is nowhere near the joy of reading Hamlet. So is this better? Is technology driven speed-reading the play the same as reading Hamlet?

The whole issue seems like a far less dramatic Fahrenheit 451 to me. I remember reading the novel in high school (in paper form) and having an in class discussion on the merits of e-books and physical paper books. There is something so satisfying about the physical act of opening and closing a book, as opposed to pressing a button or making a sweeping motion with a finger. However, I can see the advantages of eBooks in terms of price and convenience. All of this made me wonder whether eBooks could ever replace traditional books entirely but according to the Wall Street Journal, it isn’t likely. Ebook sales have slowed down significantly while hard cover sales have remained strong. The WSJ also suggests that, much like, audiobooks, e-books will be used to complement books, rather than replace them. According to Pew research, 90% of e-book readers also read physical books (Carr, 2014).

Overall, these statistics are comforting for the fate of traditional books. But I do wonder how physical books will fare over the next hundred years, even if they maintain relevance in our own lifetimes. Personally, I would be likely to use a speed-reading app like the one my friend shared on Facebook for readings for class, but to stick to paper while reading for pleasure. Do you use an e-reader or tablet for books, and do you think that they are likely to replace traditional books?

References

Carr, N. (2013, January 5). Don’t burn your books—print is here to stay. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887323874204578219563353697002

La Du, C. (2014, March 4). This insane new app will allow you to read novels in under 90 minutes. Retrieved from http://elitedaily.com/news/technology/this-insane-new-app-will-allow-you-to-read-novels-in-under-90-minutes/

Arby’s Got Its Hat Back

            They say Helen of Troy had the face that launched a thousand ships. I think it is safe to say that we now have the modern equivalent: the hat that launched a thousand tweets. If you have not seen it already, the picture shown above is of Pharrell at the Grammys, sporting his now infamous hat. I remember my Twitter feed blowing up with comments on Pharrell’s hat during the Grammy’s. Amidst all of these tweets and jokes about park rangers and hiding things underneath it, Arby’s tweet stood out.

 

(“Twitter,” 2014)

            As you can see, the Arby’s joke was retweeted over 80,000 times and favorite almost 50,000 times. This clearly got Arby’s a lot of exposure for free during on of the biggest media events of the year, the Grammys. One might expect Arby’s to stop there, and appreciate the free publicity that drawing a connection to Pharrell’s hat gave them. However, Arby’s joined in the auction for his hat on ebay and bought it for a pricey $44,100. The proceeds all went to Pharrell’s charity, From One Hand to Another, which benefits children in need. After his hat sold, Pharrell tweeted a thank you, to which Arby’s twitter responded that they were glad to support the charity and to “get their hat back.” Apparently these moves were more than successful for the fast food chain. The stunt gained them 40,000 interactions on social media along with an estimated 160 million impressions. In addition, they gained about 6,000 new followers on Twitter.

Arby’s original tweet was by no means a big group effort. According to AdWeek, it was just one guy in a room. That guy was Josh Martin, Arby’s representative. Martin says that the tweet only took him a few seconds to make, aside from checking that he spelled Pharrell’s twitter handle correctly. He says that he was also the first to suggest that the fast food chain buy the hat to commemorate the social media moment.

Arby’s has been in contact with Pharrell’s people in terms of delivering the hat, however, they have not been clear as to what exactly they will do with it. Perhaps they’ll display it at their headquarters or have the CEO pose wearing it? It also remains to be seen whether Arby’s will have an increase in sales, or if their success will only be social media based. All in all, the hat seems to have a win for everyone: Arby’s, Pharrel, and those that From One Hand to Another is seeking to help.

References

Heine, C. (2014, March 3). Arb’ys buys pharrell williams’ hat for $44,100
. Retrieved

from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/arbys-bu williams-hat-44100-156070

Heine, C. (2014, March 7). Arb’ys dishes on awesome pharrell williams tweet. Retrieved

from http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/arbys-dishes-awesome-pharrell-williams-tweets-156149

E Online. (Photographer). [Print Photo]. Retrieved from

http://www.eonline.com/eol_images/Entire_Site/2014026/rs_634x1024-140126165159-634.Pharrell-Williams-Grammy-Awards-Hat.jl.012614.jpg

Twitter. (2014, January 26). Retrieved from

Everything is Amazing and Nobody is Happy

(“Everything’s amazing nobod’ys happy,”)

 

The other day, a friend of mine shared an article from NPR on Facebook that really struck a chord with me. The article basically pointed out just how impressive all the technology around us is. And yet, we do not even notice. In fact the only time we seem to notice it is when something goes wrong, like if our phone takes more than a second to load. As the author (and Louis CK) say, it is literally being sent to space, and yet we complain. This article, and the video that accompanied it, was a real wakeup to me. I sit and type or browse the web or edit photos or whatever on my laptop but I never reflect on it. Seriously, here is a three pound piece of metal and glass that let’s me chat with someone across the country in the blink of an eye. That is absolutely amazing. If someone showed up with a MacBook Pro in the dark ages, they might have even labeled it witchcraft.

I definitely do not agree with Louis CK calling us the “crappiest generation” but he is absolutely right that we are spoiled. I certainly do not think of the decades of technological research and meteorology that went into allowing me to check the weather on my phone in seconds. In fact, I do not even think about the hours that are spend everyday to ensure that I can stay up to date with the weather, or whatever peaks my curiosity. It is quite upsetting to hear older generations gripe about how we are all spoiled narcissists. But, in my subjective opinion, the same thing could have happened to any generation. Technology’s great advances in the beginning of our lifetimes have programmed us, as Rushkoff might say, to act like we do. We do not just use technology; it uses us and it’s great convenience and speed has taught us to expect instant gratification. In my opinion, the effects of this have not just affected our generation. I see my father, who is in his fifties, get anxious if his email takes a moment too long to load. And I see my mother, for all of her patience, lose her head if she doesn’t have cell phone reception to make a call. Maybe it’s just human nature to get so accustomed to technology that we don’t notice it.

I suppose my point is that we need to appreciate technology more. Maybe if we do, we can avoid our generation’s theoretical fate of self-absorption and narcissism.