It's finally starting to feel like Spring is here—time to start thinking about sun, fun and of course T-shirts. One of our favs from last year, Star Electric Eighty Eight, just sent us pics of their latest collaboration. Called Pursuit of Happiness the designs were made by Harlem, New York based Jennifer Garcia and her ex-husband Anton Lopez. Drawing from both obvious and more obscure influences, the new line explores both "synthetic happiness and real bliss." Irony is often explicit, like in this one called I'm So Happy, which story book, candy land like scene made up of pills (click to zoom). Pursuit of Happiness will be available here in New York at Zakka and also online at SEEE.US. Jennifer talks about the process of making the line, which is pictured, after the jump. We wanted to create something really fun. Like 6 year old birthday party fun, or getting an award fun. Something really light hearted and cheesey. It was supossed to be about enjoyment no matter what. You got 2nd place in your gymnastics meet? Well, that aint too bad! But then the idea got a bit wider… As we worked, the shirts became about trying to achieve light heartnedness, but maybe not being able to fully. They became sort of sarcastic. Which is great, because that reflects our personalities pretty well. On "I'm So Happy I Could Die" it's this picture perfect scenario, but on closer inspection it's made up of all these different kinds of medications and pills. I was thinking about my mother when we made that one. She gets migraine headaches from stress and then takes pills for stress and more pills for migraines and they make her hands shake but she rather deal with shakey hands than deal with what's causing her stress. I guess a lot of people have that mentality… I do too sometimes. Anway, as far as doing what we set out to do, the subject of pursuing happiness is so large I think I could go on and on. Maybe there will be another collection. Or a book.Jennifer Garcia, Star Electric Eighty Eight
I heart stripes. A surprisingly large part of my wardrobe is striped. I especially love striped socks. Saturday night I was at a party and I was talking to this art boy, who had the best green and blue striped socks on. Admittedly, I am pretty bold, so I told him that I liked his socks. Imagine my pleasure and surprise when he told me that he had designed them himself. If I recall correctly (it was rather late…) he was frustrated at the lack of good socks in the world, so he started to make his own. His DJ name is J. Stroke, and the socks are called Stroke's Striped Socks. Sunday, I went on the internet and ordered three pairs. It was pretty hard to chose as all the socks are brightly colored and fun. I got a pair called "Tickle Me," in pinks, "Super Sunset," with oranges and reds, and "Manufacturer's Mishap" in more pinks. They came in the mail yesterday and I am already wearing the "mishaps." I think they could be my faves.
With an increase in "essential" kitchen gadgets fighting for limited storage space and the anything that can be silicone, will be silicone mantra of designers, consumers are benefitting from an overwhelming variety of new products. These handy measuring cups collapse down to a fraction of their height and can handle boiling liquids. Likewise, the colander and funnel, with their camera-inspired designs, are a huge improvement from their metal cousins at the outdoor store, and prove that sometimes you can (and should) reinvent the wheel. Set of four measuring cups, $19.95 from Solutions. Funnel and colander, designed by Boje Estermann and inhouse designers at Normann Copenhagen.
More than 10 billion pb+j sandwiches are eaten in the U.S. each yearâ€”most with tired, processed, additive-laced peanut butter and sickly sweet jam on processed additive-laced white bread. Now you can spice up your pantry (and that pb+j sandwich) with one of the concoctions from P.B.Loco, makers of peanut butter with a twistâ€”of curry (our favorite), cinammon and raisins, bananas, and dark chocolate among others. While kids may enjoy some of the flavors, they are geared a bit more to the adult palette. There are added ingredients (sugar, molasses, vegetable oils) but there aren't many, and all are natural and easily pronounced. P.B.Loco's peanut butters further solidify the trend of marrying spices and other fusion ingredients to established products (chocolates come to mind). Many of these would also be good as a quick sauce or ice cream topping. P.B.Loco has several cafÃ©s in the midwest and a recently opened New Jersey location. Available online or at a store/cafÃ© near you, for $5.95-$6.95. Also on CH, (still) the best conserves we know of.
Orikaso Products of Sheffield, England makes this practical (and affordable at Â£10) folding picnic set. It's made of thin, foldable plastic pieces that weigh virtually nothing. When it's time to get the dishes assembled, you unfold them and voila! a liquid-tight bowl, cup suitable for hot liquids, a small platter, even a cutting board. Perfect for a trip to the neighborhood park or 10 days backpacking in the woods.
Veuve Clicquot's new Tw'ice bucket twists 180Âº to either sit on top of a table or attach to the table top's side. This clever design is made from polycarbonate, aluminum and rubber and was designed in-house. Though created for its restaurant customers, you can buy one online for $100 at Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin or in the U.K. for Â£39 at Malmaison.
At the risk of getting flak for yet another skull-related item, these little stick-on mirrors are a ingenious example of a device that's as elegant as it is useful. Plus, there's the inherent irony of a skull- or heart-shaped reflection. (Other options like lightning bolts, four-leaf clovers, and stars, have all had their day as trends too, but aren't quite as subtly clever.) $12 from Mobile Beauty and $1 from every purchase goes to the Step Up Women's Network.
The latest from the Los-Angeles-based label I Heart Guts (covered over in Spear-land earlier this month) is "Don't Lose Your Lunch" (baby style pictured). Like the rest of the I Heart Guts line (the brainchild of a designer/former teacher with a penchant for Japanese pop art), this tee anthropomorphizes organs and pairs them with puns in both English and Japanese. The upshot is a collection of bizarre, giggle-inducing designs. Available in gray for adults, the stomach themed shirts (as well as all I Heart Guts tees) are printed exclusively on American Apparel, and start at $18.
Rothco has been hooking up military and civilian customers with their camouflage gear since the 1950s. We're fans of their classic sneakers, and find their camo flask appropriately discreet for outdoor sippin'. The camo socks are another favorite. A camo flask and a pair of hi-tops (men's size 8 only) will be given to the first CH reader who sends us the correct answer to this question: Andy Warhol painted many camouflage portraits, all of which were commissioned except for self-portraits and those of which person? Send your guesses to us here, and mention camo flask or camo sneakers in the subject. Update: Thanks to all of the CH readers who wrote in. The correct answer according to DPM, our trustworthy guide to all things camo, is Warhol's friend and fellow artist Joseph Beuys. Rothko products are available from these online retailers.
The ladies at sajedesign have designed this great pendant necklace that features a custom etching from your favorite photo. It's available in gold or silver and in round or rectangular styles. Prices start at $150. Available exclusively at Liz Lange. Download an order form here.
New York-based tee-shirt maker I-Manifest has a new line out for spring, including "create sound," with a neo-19th Century design, a collaboration with the Santa Cruz, CA electronica group Sound Tribe Sector 9. (Pictured.) Other designs include "wood type" that uses a font based on woodgrain and available in nine different colorways, as well as "day after," which features trees-and-castle vector art. All of the limited-run tees are printed on coveted softer-than-soft tees. Starting at $28 from I-Manifest.
To surrealists, wood grain symbolized sexuality, so there’s some logic to giving something from Nixon’s new Wood Collection for Valentine’s Day. “Inspired by mid-century furniture, post-modern architecture, and the good old-fashioned grains of mother nature,” the wood inlay design behind the coveted Rotolog watch has been expanded into an entire Wood Collection. The real walnut and bamboo inlays are now featured on the Chalet (the women's version of the Rotolog), and the popular Player and Ticket watches. A line of accessories features leather, laser-etched with wood grain patterns. Laser etching leather, a relatively new process, is something I first saw on a super-limited Nike release. Since the pattern or design is actually etched into the leather, it gives 3-D texture and won't rub off like a print might. Also on Cool Hunting: The Rotolog Watch. by Andrew Potash Update: Some items pictured won't be available until May. Check Nixon's site for details.
Take me to your leader. Monday night I heard the most esteemed and funny neurologist Oliver Sacks speak at Columbia (he is a super naturalist: into ferns, squids, cuttlefish and stereopsis). It was a fascinating lecture, but his Welcome Squid Overlords shirt transfixed me. It was so strange, I had to find its meaning. Was it from an episode of Star Wars that I had missed? I need to sport one at all times. With a little help from the internet, I found Mike Monteiro, the Creative Director of Mule Design and the creator of the overlord shirt. He is just trying to make squids a little more user-friendly. He said that he and his son Henry were watching a Discovery Channel program about what animals might look like in the future and it theorized that cephalopods are best poised to be the next dominant species on the planet. Wow! Move over Cockroaches! Then he read that the squid biomass had surpassed the human biomass on Earth. That means that there are more squids than people. We have to make them feel comfortable. The only way to do that is to stop eating calamari and by wearing â€œWelcome Squid Overlordsâ€ clothing. Get it for $20 from Mule Design.
These clever little chocolates are filled with a vodka infused ganache center. They've been out in the U.K. for about a year, but are pretty new stateside. The tube comes with 4 packs of "shots," each pack contains individually wrapped chocolates with a different flavor vodka center: neat, orange, vanilla and raspberry. Elizabeth Shaw, a well-known English confectioner, created the treats, which are also available in Tequila and Schnapps flavors. A can of Vodka Shots costs around $10. They are widely available in the U.K. Vodka Shots and Tequila and Schnapps Shots are available in the U.S. online. In New York City at Balducci's. Click here for additional retailers worldwide.
While wandering through Macworld (and after viewing a zillion iPod accessories later), I stumbled upon these little fellas, known as TETRAN, in the back corner of the exhibit hall. There's something vaguely satisfying about seeing that cute spikey thing all wrapped up in those white iPod headphone wires with the earbuds shoved in its mouth. Although the website claims that they're for storing your earbud headphones and as a by product of design, serve as a tool for stress relief, they're really just iPod consumerist criticism all wrapped up in yummy cute goodness. Perfect! They're about $13 each and come in Pink, Green, Yellow, and Orange. However, I did see a prototype for a glow in the dark one at the booth, so check their website for those in the future.
Wine-loving "cork dorks" need not worry about this cuff from Donna Piacenza of Chicago-based Studio 1a.m; made from recycled stoppers, they're no threat to the preferred method of plugging wine bottles. Using a single block of ground-up corks that have been formed using environmentally-friendly adhesives, Piacenza cuts the recylable, flexible, and water-repellant bracelet from the slab, which can be used to store the unconventional accessory. Or, with the cuff removed, the elegant C-shaped negative space makes a fetching display piece (pic after the jump). Available for $48 from Studio 1a.m. via Inhabitat