A few weeks ago a team of monocle editors gathered with their armour-plated convoy of Rimowas to set off for a mini apac tour to meet our subscribers at a series of events from Auckland all the way up to Hong Kong. Along the way the monocle caravan also turned into an on-the-spot survey of everything from urban planning to national ambition, public policy to retail. Research on the latter subject turned up some interesting stories but also delivered a unique snapshot of the health and vibrancy of economies along the route. Many of the people we met and the stories that we unearthed have made it into the pages of our inaugural spring Style Directory (which kicks off on page 87).
Aisha Speirs, for example, took a side trip to Jakarta to visit Brightspot (see page 126), a shopping fair that gathers together a new generation of Indonesian design talent keen to prove that there’s more to the nation’s fashion industry than cheap T-shirts or clothes with a funky ethnic vibe. Brands such as Sifr (you’ll want their shoes), pmp Denim and Bluesville are helping put Jakarta on the fashion buyer’s map with well-made products that are making their way into the best stores in the region. It’s no coincidence that these companies are flourishing just as the Indonesian economy zips ahead. It’s a similar story when you arrive in Bangkok where the Siam Center, the city’s oldest mall, has been rebuilt as a benchmark for the best retail innovation (and it’s packed). Or how about Landmark Men in Hong Kong, a project that surpasses anything you would see in, say, Europe? And then there’s the immaculate new Maison Kitsuné shop and café in Tokyo that shows a commitment to physical retail that some of the wearier retailers in the US should note. So, this issue you’ll find our usual line-up of strategic and economic stories in the A and B sections. But you’ll also find out a lot about the world today, from what makes the Swiss tick to how shopkeepers can revive a city, in our Style Directory. And, of course, we’ll tell you where to buy some nice things for your wardrobe this summer too.