The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 16 March 2017

Urbanism

Image: Victoria Cagol

The high life?

Do apartment blocks make us high on life? Only if you live on the ground floor.

The increasing number of residential high-rises in our cities is generating work for removal men and decorators – and psychologists too. These academics want to know some basic stuff, not least whether people are actually happy up there on the 32nd floor. This question, among many others, is dissected in psychologist Dr Paul Keedwell’s new book Headspace: The Psychology of City Living. Unfortunately the answers he comes back with are not encouraging: it seems we harbour deep fears of falling from a window and being trapped in a fire. And Keedwell points out that these fears are well founded: people who live in high-rises seem to be more prone to suicide, perhaps just for the banal reason that the temptation to leap is there. And the further up you live, the more miserable you tend to be. Why? Keedwell says that while more research is needed, it’s probably because social connections – even just bumping into people in the lobby – work better on the lower floors. Who knew that a bungalow could be the solution to a happy future.

Fashion

Image: Getty Images

Scaling new heights

From mountain top to high street, Canada Goose’s finances are flying.

This week Canada Goose, maker of extreme-weather parkas with fur-lined hoods, has become the first luxury fashion label in almost three years to launch an IPO. The Toronto-based brand, founded in 1957, has made it big in the US in the past few years by shifting its focus from hardcore outdoor adventurers to style-conscious urbanites with money to spend. Its jackets, branded with a navy-and-red Arctic Circle badge of authenticity, have piqued the interest of buyers increasingly interested in technical clothing and manufacturing provenance. There is also fertile ground for growth outside North America: the IPO is touted to raise as much as $240m (€226m), in part because of the brand’s still-untapped potential in markets including Italy, Germany and China. Expect to see the goose soaring even higher in the year to come.

Lifestyle

Image: Getty Images

Tidy app

A Japanese cleaning master’s latest offering is a neat solution for her millions of detox devotees.

Decluttering other people’s homes has become big business for Japan’s diminutive tidying guru Marie Kondo. Her books, including The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, have sold more than six million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 40 languages. The KonMari Method of tidying takes an unsentimental approach to detoxing drawers and cupboards, and involves ditching everything that doesn’t “spark joy”. It’s easy to sneer but once you’ve been Kondoed, it’s hard to look back. And now fans can download the KonMari app to pick up tips, share photos of before-and-after tidying triumphs and meet like-minded disciples. Practical questions are answered – mostly along the lines of “Where do you put all the stuff you throw away?” – and some more esoteric queries too, such as “How do I become a minimalist?” You might even earn a virtual badge for “tidying sentimental items”.

Business

Plugging a gap

Exhibitors at bathroom trade fair ISH are preaching luxury and sustainability. What comes out in the wash?

If you are on the marketing team of a company that makes the best loo in the world or perhaps a great bathware firm that makes the biggest rain showers you have ever seen, you face a dilemma. You can talk about all that water splashing about and annoy your customers who have an environmental bent or you can play down the flushing, dousing abilities and lose the interest of the luxury-minded. Yesterday we dropped in at the world’s largest fair for the industry in Frankfurt (they do love a trade fair) and found designers, makers and PR folk trying to please both sets. On the stand displaying Axor’s Shower Heaven 1200 they explained that the fulsome jet was bulked out with added air to conserve water. Over at Toto, prodigiously named Tornado Flush technology is saving the environment one flush at a time: water is jetted around the basin on a 360-degree vortex and less of it is needed for a clean sweep. The bottom line? These companies are all geared up to make you step out of the bathroom with a clean conscience.

From Monocle 24

Nailing it

The Entrepreneurs

Sharmadean Reid is the founder of London-based brand Wah Nails, which she started as a hip-hop magazine for girls while she was still at university. Reid has since built a business empire focused on nail art, with salons, products, pop-ups and a new virtual-reality experience that pushes the boundaries of technology in the beauty industry.

From Monocle Films

Making it in Jakarta

Indonesia’s bounteous resources make it the perfect place for entrepreneurs to set up camp. We meet four enterprising Jakarta residents, who tell us how they are taking advantage of the opportunities in this chaotic city.

0:00:00 0:01:00

Drag me