Monday 13 February 2023 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Monday. 13/2/2023

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images

Opinion / Andrew Tuck

Off on the wrong foot

Adidas reportedly faces an operating loss in the region of €700m this year. The cause? The termination of a once-lucrative deal with rapper Kanye West (pictured), aka Ye, to produce his Yeezy line of trainers. That decision followed a series of anti-Semitic statements by West: at the close of 2022 he espoused conspiracy theories about Jews on Fox News and, in an interview with the InfoWars website, said that people should “stop dissing Nazis” and exalted one Adolf Hitler. In short, he was not what the execs at Adidas had been hoping for (oh, for the days when a badly behaved tennis player was the worst of their woes). Game over for Yeezy? Not quite.

There is nothing as hard to fathom as the modern consumer, especially millennials and members of Gen Z. Every week I get press releases from retail analysts and futurologists telling me how these wise young heads will only tap and pay if brands meet their ethical and sustainability concerns. But that’s not how they all think.

Walk around any big city for a day and count the supposedly purposeful shoppers who are happily parading around in footwear by a fan of Hitler. You’ll stand behind someone in the queue for coffee who orders an oat flat white (please, let’s not make a cow’s udders sore) but who is in a pair of Yeezy Boosts. Morals, for many, seem to vanish when their funky footwear is at stake. There’s also no shortage of e-commerce sites that are still happy to sell the shoes.

Adidas’s new chief executive, Bjørn Gulden, has talked about the need to put the company back together again. At least he’s got the message that working with Kanye West was not a good idea. Unfortunately, many hip consumers out there refuse to ditch their suspect shoes and pick up some ethics instead.

Andrew Tuck is Monocle’s editor in chief.

Image: Reuters


Striking back

Civil society groups and workers across Israel are staging a general strike today to protest against the right-wing Netanyahu government’s plan to overhaul the country’s judicial system. Sceptics argue that the proposed changes will weaken the Supreme Court, increase the role of religion in public life and pave the way for gender segregation and greater discrimination against LGBT people. The strike has the approval of dozens of organisations and Yair Lapid, the leader of the opposition – but Arnon Bar-David, head of Israel’s main trade union organisation, has stopped short of calling on his members to join. In a letter to members, however, he warned, “The [political] rift arising from the Knesset is dismantling our life’s work and the country… is on the verge of fracturing.” Israel’s government should rethink its plans, especially in a region where democracy is in short supply.

To hear more about the strike and the latest from Israel, tune in to The Globalist on Monocle 24.

Image: Shutterstock


New perspectives

The world has seen the devastating images of the Turkey-Syria earthquakes and their aftermath, as the death toll continues to rise. The prevalence of drone footage has been notable: the ability to rise above the rubble has been crucial and the imagery provided by these unmanned vehicles has added valuable context.

So, is the status of the news photographer under threat? “Drones are good near the front line or right in the middle of an earthquake to show the scale of the destruction,” Ukrainian photographer Lesha Berezovskiy tells The Monocle Minute. “But they will never replace us on the ground. They aren’t personal enough. They don’t capture details and I certainly wouldn’t use one for portraits of any kind.” Drones have been a powerful tool since the earthquakes hit but news photographers still have an invaluable role to play on the ground.

Image: Getty Images


Not a nice drop

Wine from some of France’s most celebrated regions will be turned into industrial alcohol for pharmaceuticals and cosmetics instead of being swirled around a glass. The reason? A large surplus. A similar initiative was put in place three years ago after the pandemic-related closure of bars and restaurants.

Now growers in regions such as Bordeaux say that overproduction and a decline in domestic drinking are the causes. Red wine is suffering the most. Sales in French supermarkets fell by 15 per cent last year, though demand for white and rosé was more resistant. France’s agriculture ministry has said that as much as €160m of national and EU aid will be spent on distilling the surplus stocks. France’s wine-makers will need more assistance to prop up the celebrated industry in the long term. Do your bit by raising a glass (or two) of claret.

Image: Alamy


Blurred lines

The National Museum of Modern Art (pictured) in Kyoto is holding a major retrospective exhibition of work by Tadaoto Kainosho, the cross-disciplinary nihonga (Japanese-style painting) artist, costume designer and film-industry insider. Featuring scrapbooks, sketches, paintings, posters and film costumes, Crossing Boundaries in Nihonga, Theater and Film puts the spotlight on Kainosho’s career, which has largely been overlooked by the art world due to its multidisciplinary nature.

Active during the Taisho and early Showa periods of the 20th century, Kainosho was known for his sensual and, at times, unflinchingly honest depictions of people and everyday life. In the early 1940s, he shifted his attention to the film industry to help research traditional manners and customs, resulting in an Academy Award nomination for his work in costume design for the 1953 period drama Ugetsu. This exhibition aims to present a full picture of the artist’s career and will travel to the Tokyo Station Gallery in July.

Monocle 24 / Monocle On Design

East London Cloth and Brioni

We visit a textile studio in east London and head to Milan to meet Brioni’s design director. Plus: the incoming president of the American Institute of Architects discusses her plans.

Monocle Films / France

Escape to la campagne: Côte d’Azur

Nestled in the hills above Nice, Casa Sallusti is a permaculture farm and hotel that was created to show how you can still enjoy the good things in life while taking care of the planet. We visit its founder, Isabella Sallusti, and meet the young folk who are working at the farm, having decided to swap the city for slow-paced living.


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