The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 25 January 2018

Environment

Image: Getty Images

Dressed to kill

Forget Paris, the fashion industry’s VIPs are in Davos to discuss sustainability.

There are a handful of fashion aficionados who are not in Paris for couture week but in Davos, attending the World Economic Forum. Their focus is on sustainability. Designer Stella McCartney has worked with environmental activist Dame Ellen MacArthur to create a set of initiatives that aim to minimise waste and last night there was even a sustainable fashion dinner. It is significant that key people in the fashion industry are being given a stage at Davos. As the world’s second-biggest-polluting industry, fashion has a lot to answer for when it comes to sustainability. Yet resolving this problem is tricky when the industry is premised on selling seasonal collections where clothes are only desirable for a finite period of time. And the push to alternative materials such as faux-fur and faux-leather may save animals but can be even more harmful for the environment. Fashion has an obligation to tackle sustainability but there’s a long road ahead.

Media

Image: Getty Images

Power of print

Despite Japanese readers increasingly turning to their phones, printed newspapers still exert a powerful pull.

With its two big daily newspapers – the Yomiuri Shimbun and Asahi Shimbun – Japan famously boasts the largest circulation of newspapers in the world. Now it seems Japanese readers are consuming news in a different way. The latest annual survey by the Japan Press Research Institute has revealed that for the first time more Japanese are reading their news online than in print. The percentage who look to mobile phones and laptops for their headlines has rocketed from 14.3 per cent in 2010 to 71.4 per cent. The subscription and delivery system that has kept newspaper circulations in Japan sky high – still more than nine million a day for the Yomiuri morning edition – is looking vulnerable. Readers of morning papers dropped to 68.5 per cent for the first time, falling from 90 per cent a decade ago. It’s not all bad news for the printed word though. Readers give print news 68.7 out of 100 for reliability, while online sources scored a less impressive 51.4.

Society

Image: Getty Images

Hippo no-no’s have to go

Pablo Escobar’s efforts to create an animal kingdom haven’t been a roaring success for Colombia – time for a jungle clearout.

Of all the legacies that Pablo Escobar could have imagined leaving, he probably didn’t bank on a hippopotamus. And yet 25 years after the infamous Colombian drug trafficker’s death, the animals that he had imported into the country (alongside giraffes, rhinos and other exotica for good measure) are continuing to cause a problem. Indeed, the hippo population of four that existed on his former Nápoles ranch has now grown to more than 50; the beasts are damaging the ecosystem of Doradal in the Antioquia department and threatening local diversity. Several have been caught over the years but, after one was filmed sauntering around the streets of Doradal last year, it seems authorities have had enough: the remaining animals are set to be relocated in zoos around the region.

Design

Image: Buro-OS, Iwan Baan

Home-grown heroes

Let’s hope China can build on its international arts partnerships by developing domestic projects too.

In the design world, international perceptions of the “Made In China” tag are shifting. Visitors to this week’s Maison et Objet in Paris were awed by Japanese design firm Nendo’s handsome (and very well made) new collaboration with Guangzhou homewares brand Zens. Chinese architecture is getting a revamp too. The Guardian Art Center has just been unveiled on the border of Beijing’s Forbidden City and the structure, designed by German Ole Scheeren, comes replete with a smart glass-brick façade and building-material choices that resonate with the district’s vernacular. With its intention to showcase Chinese art, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the institution’s output to see if it’s not just international collaborations this nation is excelling in, but nurturing its own creative talent too.

From Monocle 24

Working it

The Tech 10

This is a Tokyo-based workspace and events firm using technology to improve customer experience. Japanese architects Makoto Tanijiri and Ai Yoshida, the duo behind Suppose Design, rely on digital methods to keep on top of their busy schedule.

From Monocle Films

Monocle preview: February issue, 2018

Our latest issue focuses on media: the bestselling daily in Indonesia, the messaging app taking over Japan, Berlin's broadcasting house turned arts hub and much more. It's a global audit – and you can read all about it in Monocle.

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