COMMON MAGAZINE EUROPE - FALL 2017

junglebirdmedia

This issue is all about the latest tech available right now, and a little bit everything else that makes COMMON. a great lifestyle mag. We have exclusive interviews from the tech world as well as in the fashion world. Ready to 'fall' into action? Dive in!

COMMON.

FALL 2017 $9.99

SUPERCHARGING TECH


1

//2017 FALL//COMMON


COMMON//FALL 2017//

IN THIS ISSUE

06

07

08

MINIMALISTIC SOUND

URBANEARS STAMMEN

THE GOLDEN LIQUID

GLENDRONACH KINGSMAN

EDITION 1991

FUTURE IS HEAR

HERE ONE

WIRELESS EARBUDS

2


2017 FALL//COMMON

IN THIS ISSUE

#COMMONCOVER: THE

AVEGANT VIDEO

HEADSET

10

TONS OF FUN WITH

BOOSTED BOARD

EXPENSIVE TOY BUT WORTH

EVERY PENNY

WARDROBE EMPORIUM

THIS SUMMER'S LATEST FOR

YOUR SARTORIAL ARSENAL

15

16

3


COMMON//FALL 2017//

IN THIS ISSUE

28

38

58

JAMES BOND, MEET YOUR

SARTORIAL MATCH

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN

CIRCLE X MR. PORTER

IN AND OUT OF BRUGES

PERFECT FOR A

STROLL IN THE FALL

SMART HOME,

SMARTER YOU

ESSENTIAL GADGETS

TO START A SMART HOME

4


2017 FALL//COMMON

EDITOR'S NOTE

Let me tell you a little story. I have always been obsessed with

flipping through the pages of magazines, first absorbed in their

images and stories, later assigning and editing my own. I really

believe that no matter whether a magazine is delivered to your

doorstep or to your computer, printed on glossy stock or on cheap

tabloid paper, appearing on your iPad or your cell-phone screen, it

is still and foremost the work of an editorial team for a discerning

audience, a beautiful and meaningful— we hope—package of

ideas, words and images that a group of experts prepares for its

readers. While technology efficiently delivers news stories to our

desktops, laptops and mobile devices, magazines are all about

context—how ideas and images are presented in relation to one

another and within a larger point of view. Magazines are about

trust and partnership: We, the editors, will always strive to keep

you engaged; you, the readers, are free to engage with us or to

reject us. But enough theory: Let me tell you about this Autumn

issue of COMMON. There is a story this month that I particularly

like because it combines a great read and great company. We did a

profile with the people at Buckle & Seam, a leather bagmaker

based in Berlin and their work with a girls' school in Pakistan. And

we've also tried and tested our "cover" this month, a very special

gadget made for the future of cinema, the Avegant Video Headset.

Have a read and if you're interested, don't hesitate to purchase it.

As you flip through the magazine, you'll notice the abundance of

tech and gadgets, and that's because it's a special gadget issue

where we bring all the latest in technology. Whether it's to

improve your home, health and even the way you travel,

everything you possibly need are in here.

So read on, and expect more in the upcoming issue!

Azhar. A

Editor-in-Chief

5


COMMON//FALL 2017//

MINIMALISTIC SOUND

URBANEARS STAMMEN

www.urbanears.com

By Azhar Ahmad

The Urbanears Stammen looks like a small subwoofer as it’s simply a black box, though you

can purchase other colors. Even wearing shades of bright orange, light pink and teal, the

Stammen isn’t particularly unattractive and remains unoffensive enough to fit into most

homes. The outside of the speaker is made of cloth, giving the speaker a warmth for those

who are sick of metal and plastic. You’ll find the only physical controls on top of the

Stammen. There are two knobs: One to adjust volume and to toggle between Solo and

Multi-room playback. The other is for toggling play/pause as well as switching inputs and

saved internet radio stations, which is handy to quickly access internet radio stations

quickly without fumbling for your phone. On the bottom of the speaker, you’ll find a full

sized USB port, 3.5mm aux jack and power port. Since these ports are located

inconveniently at the bottom of the speaker, you’ll have to verify all cables are hooked up

during the setup process as it’ll be a pain to access them later on. There’s also a bass port at

the bottom to help this small speaker kick out some serious sound.

6


2017 FALL//COMMON

THE GOLDEN LIQUID

GLENDRONACH KINGSMAN EDITION 1991

www.thewhiskyexchange.com

Kingsman: The Golden Circle officially premieres later this month. In honor of the film,

GlenDronach is releasing a new GlenDronach Kingsman Edition 1991 scotch whisky. Only

240 bottles of the whisky will be made available to the U.S. market, and they won’t be cheap:

each one is priced at roughly $900 each. The whisky was actually hand-selected by film

director Matthew Vaughn for the film. “A Kingsman is smooth, elegant and packs a punch, as

does The GlenDronach—so it felt like the perfect fit,” says Vaughn. “I selected the 1991 vintage

as it marks the birth year of ‘Eggsy,’ who is also known as Kingsman agent Galahad. It’s really

special to get a limited edition like this, and even more so as The GlenDronach is my favorite

single malt whisky. I hope Kingsman fans around the world enjoy it as much as I do.”

7


COMMON//FALL 2017//

FUTURE IS HEAR

HERE ONE

www.hereplus.me

By Azhar Ahmad

Hands down, Here One sounds the best out of all the truly wireless earbuds in the market

currently. Music is more clear and dynamic than on the Bragi Headphone, which was the

best-sounding pair of truly wireless earbuds until now. Here One also makes AirPods

sound pedestrian, but this is also thanks to the way the earbuds create a full seal in your

ear (there is a variety of rubber and foam tips included in the packaging, too). Doppler Labs

is quick to boast about how many software engineers it has on staff, in part because they’re

not all dedicated to the augmented reality side of things. These people know their music,

and it shows. Listening to music on Here One is like fanning out a deck of cards. You’ll

discover there’s more to songs you thought you knew well. It’s not an enormous difference,

like the kind you’d discover if you were listening to music through an amp or on a device

with a DAC, but it’s an appreciable one.

8


2017 FALL//COMMON

LOST WALLET NO MORE

CHIPOLO CARD

www.chipolo.net

By Azhar Ahmad

The Chipolo Card is just 2.15-mm thick and features a 95-decibel alarm, 12-month battery,

and 200-foot range. While thin at 2.15 mm, it's still about the thickness of three credit cards,

but it’s quite a bit shorter and narrower. That makes it suitable for most wallets, or any of those

hybrid wallet-cases for smartphones, tablets, and Kindles. Despite its diminutive size, it still

manages to include a speaker, which means that you can locate your errant wallet the easy

way: by sound. Touch a button in the iPhone or Apple Watch app, and the device will bleep at

you continuously until you hit the button again to stop it. The Chipolo also uses the latest

Bluetooth tracker tech, so the range is 200 feet, up from the 100 feet of previous-generation

trackers. Once you go beyond this range, you can still see its last-known location on a map,

which at least helps if you leave it at a friend’s place or anywhere else it can be accidentally left

behind without being immediately stolen.

9


COMMON//FALL 2017//

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

#COMMONCOVER: THE

AVEGANT VIDEO HEADSET

SUPERCHARGING THE TECH INDUSTRY WITH A LITTLE

SOMETHING FOR THE FUTURE

By Azhar Ahmad

The first iteration of the modern virtual

reality headset came out in 2013 and then a

year later, so did the Avegant Glyph. Now

called the Avegant Video Headset, it is by no

means a virtual reality headset, although it

does offer a similar immersive experience

using a different technology. The headset

uses a patented technology called virtual

retinal display, which is basically projecting a

display directly into your eyes.

How does it work exactly? The Avegant

Video Headset takes advantage of Retinal

Imaging Technology, to transmit vivid, lifelike

images directly to the eye. The image

begins with a low powered LED. After

passing through a patented set of optics, the

light is reflected off of a microscopic mirror

array. Two million mirrors that shape the

light into an image fit for the eye. The light is

focused through a second set of optics and

projected directly onto the retina mimicking

the way we perceive light in our everyday

environment.

It’s still a fresh idea, with kinks to work out

and a long road before it works as well as

most people expect. The headset is big and

heavy compared to other headsets, but then

again this is not a typical headset. When you

flip the headband to position it as closely to

your eyes as possible, you get a futuristic

“glasses” that looks like it came out of a sci-fi

movie.

And it’s pretty cool, too, with its switches

and dials and its popped-out eyepieces. The

lenses are of course adjustable, so you can

have the best experience. It sounds like it’s a

lot of work, but adjusting and setting the

video headset takes no more than five

10


11

//2017 FALL//COMMON


COMMON//FALL 2017//

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

minutes. After that, you’re all set to have

the best theatre experience without ever

leaving your couch.

At its best, even current VR technology

can transport you to an immersive virtual

space where you can explore, fight, and

create. With the video headset, it’s

basically the same thing minus the head

tracking feature and 360 experience, but

with crispier resolution.

Another good thing about the video

headset is that you can totally feel

disconnected from the real world but still

be aware of the surrounding. How? The

headband (or eyeband?) doesn’t cover your

whole view. You can still walk around, see

up and down, and do other stuff that you

can’t with a VR headset. Sure, sometimes

light creeps in, but it’s not that noticeable.

It’s the kind of thing you really have to

experience to understand.

When you put on a VR headset, you’re

immersed in a virtual world where you can

turn your head and look around, just like in

the real world. The bad thing is, it detached

you from reality. After all, its purpose is to

immerse you “virtually”. But with the video

headset, you get the best of both worlds.

The reason to get it? It works with

anything that has an HDMI output. No

installation or downloading needed, unlike

the VR. You get your own personal 50-inch

TV, amazing sound and still be able to

munch on snacks and sip your beer.

If that’s not enough, the images projected

are also true to size. Say you use the video

headset to play first-person games (did we

mention you can hook this up to any game

console?). You embody a body-less

character with only parts of your body

visible. On a normal screen, you can’t really

relate as there is a distance between you,

the controller, and the screen itself. With

the video headset, everything is exactly

where it should be and is distanced

perfectly and proportionately to your body.

Design-wise, the video headset looks and

feels more natural than a VR headset

because it doesn’t block your view. From the

front, it looks sleek and slim with a mattelike

coating on the head/eyeband. To us, The

Avegant Video Headset changed the way

we experience movies and games forever.

12


2017 FALL//COMMON

Key Highlights:

SCREENLESS DISPLAY

Advanced optics create complete images,

not pixels on a screen that your eyes have

to interpret. This is effortless viewing, and

it’s extraordinary.

LONG TERM COMFORT

Unlike traditional viewing formats, the

Avegant Video Headset does the work for

your eyes. Visual input is very natural, with

no lag time, so there’s never fatigue—just

sharp, brilliant images.

NO SIDE EFFECTS

The Avegant Video Headset avoids

eyestrain, headaches and the physical

discomforts often associated with other

head mounted displays and video headsets.

Images are focused for your eyes, so you

can just relax and enjoy the show.

13


COMMON//FALL 2017//

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

REVOLUTINISING THE WAY

YOU RIDE

WITH LUMOS HELMET SHINING THE WAY

www.lumoshelmet.co

The Lumos takes things up a notch and the

result is a flagship helmet with more

features than your average cycling helmet.

If we look at the design of the Lumos

Helmet, it’s clear that the Lumos is really

aiming at the urban crowd. It features a

sporty style that wouldn’t look out of place.

There are already loads of good quality,

lightweight, attractive and safe helmets to

choose from, but none are packed with

features such as in Lumos. The first, most

obvious feature is the LED lighting system.

There are lights in front and in the rear of

the helmet, and they’re perfectly

integrated with the helmet’s body with its

flushed design. Turned off, you won’t even

know that they lit up. One button on the

back of the helmet controls the modes:

Strobe, fast strobe, and continuous-shine

settings for front and back. There are 60

LED lights in front and back that shine up

to 80 lumens.

Because of the lighting system, the Lumos

weighs significantly more than the average

helmet. It weighs 15.5 ounces but it didn’t

bother us one bit as we’ve gotten used to it

after a couple of wears. In addition to the

lighting modes, the helmet comes with two

additional safety features. With a free app,

you can pair the helmet to your phone. This

controls the automatic brake light on the

back of the helmet. The helmet sense when

you’re decelerating and brightens the rear

LEDs.

In the case of the Lumos helmet, it also

comes with turn-signal buttons that you

can mount on the handlebar. But first, you

have to pair it with the helmet but it’s only

a 60 seconds set-up. Once the pairing is

complete, orange arrows on the back, and

the left or right half of the front lights blink

when you press either signal.

If you’re riding and worried if the helmet’s

battery is low, it will make a cool “bleep”

sound when the battery is low enough so

you get a warning. Overall, our experience

wearing the Lumos on the road has been

great and cars finally notice us. So put on

your Lumos and ride with confidence!

14


2017 FALL//COMMON

TONS OF FUN WITH

BOOSTED BOARD

EXPENSIVE TOY BUT WORTH EVERY PENNY

www.boostedboards.com

By Azhar Ahmad

We took a ride on Boosted Board on expert

(fastest speed, quickest acceleration, lowest

range) an we managed to get at least 4

miles, at most 10, depending on how much

we're cruising and how much we're flat out

on the throttle. Our average weight is 140

lbs so maybe that contributes to a little

more range. If you are riding in a big city,

there are so many opportunities to just

coast with no throttle to save battery, and

there is no way to possibly travel at 20 mph

constantly with traffic and lights in a big city

anyway.

Personally, we have never had a rock or

any other that inhibited the board's

performance or usability on all our rides

(granted we try to avoid gravel roads). The

only objects we've picked up are leaves

which have no effect but an annoying noise.

Takes about 30 seconds to remove a leaf.

When it comes to the Bluetooth

connection, we've had a few times when the

Bluetooth cut in and out while trying to

accelerate from a stop. It happened rapidly

like three times within the first 100 miles we

rode. After those three incidents, we have

not come across the problem again.

We've only run out of battery twice where

we had to pump like a regular board. Once

because we traveled like six miles on

constant expert mode, and the other on

purpose to recalibrate the battery. There is

added resistance, but not enough to not use

it as a regular longboard. If you want even

less resistance, you can easily put better

bearings on it if you find yourself running

out of battery at the end of your commutes.

Final Verdict: If you are pandering on

whether to buy the board, just buy it

(assuming you have the money).

15


COMMON//FALL 2017//

WARDROBE EMPORIUM

THIS SUMMER'S LATEST FOR YOUR SARTORIAL ARSENAL

16


2017 FALL//COMMON

Rains Unisex Coach Jacket, www.rains.com; The Voyager Set by Wool and Oak,

www.woolandoak.com; The Beatles Limited Edition 6-pairs set by Happy Socks,

www.happysocks.com; Dr. Martens 101 Brando, www.drmartens.com; Cable

Crewneck Sweater by Uniqlo, www.uniqlo.com

17


COMMON//FALL 2017//

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

PERFECTLY SEAMLESS

THESE FOLKS AT BUCKLE & SEAM CREATE THE PERFECT TRAVEL AND

BUSINESS BAGS WITH A LITTLE TWIST

By Azhar Ahmad

Tell us a little bit about yourselves. What

are your roles in the company?

We are three co-founders in our twenties

who, while working for Rocket Internet in

Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh

introduced and developed e-commerce

companies to those fastest growing mobile

markets. Jena, (Creative Director)

organised the first Shoppable Fashion

show in Pakistan and repositioned

Daraz.pk as the leading fashion portal in

the region. As the Creative Director of

Buckle & Seam, she works on the brand/

visual direction and positioning as well as

the communication towards the customer

on the website and other channels.

Georg & me (Marco) are the Managing

Directors of Buckle & Seam, Georg

managed and developed logistics and

operations of the former e-commerce

venture in a region without proper street

numbers and unorganised traffic, whereas

Marco lead all marketing & partnership

activities of the ventures& introduced the

legendary Black Friday Sales to the country.

Georg leads the product development and

sourcing of our products whereas I take

care of marketing, customer support and

any other related administrative or financerelated

tasks. People would describe us as

the perfect triangle with a character who

has the patience & creativity for branding, a

person who is detail oriented and analytical

and a character who can run & thinks

critical but positive all the time. While

working abroad, we all met incredible

people, travelled in enchanting landscapes

and most of all, we discovered Pakistan’s

rich craftsmanship and fashion heritage.

18


2017 FALL//COMMON

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

AAA

How did the company start?

Before I (Marco) left to work in Pakistan, I

was looking for a premium work bag, but

couldn’t find any which met my expectations.

Either the bags were priced above 1,000 EUR

or/, and they had massive branding on the

outside. Once living in Pakistan Georg & me

got to know the great craftsmanship in the

city and got ourselves a handmade business

bag. We were amazed by the quality thought

of getting more bags for our friends back

home. As all three of us were sharing the same

flat in Karachi Jena got involved into our little

project and helped us get our products right.

After we got ten products over to our friends

in London, Paris & Berlin, we got great

feedback and suggestions to improve the

product further. We were so amazed by the

craftsmanship, and after half a year of product

& leather development, we decided to quit

our full-time jobs to launch our own business.

Together with our friends & family we

develop our product portfolio and add laptop

sleeves and travel bags to it. After planning

for the next six months, we went back to

Pakistan and tried to identify our ideal

supplier and partner. Although we have lived

in the region and got to know many suppliers

while prototyping, it was challenging to find

the right partner who could grow with us

while maintaining superior working

conditions and quality standards. Finally, we

managed to found a partner who helped us

get in touch with an owner of a facility with

great artisans. We now managed to build our

Buckle & Seam division and facilities which

exactly met our idea of providing cutting-edge

work standards and disrupting current

practices.

Tell us more about the One Bag - One Child

mission.

"By shopping with Buckle & Seam, you help to

empower girls by giving them access to

literacy, hygiene and tolerance awareness.

How? Because we committed to giving part of

the revenue of each bag sold to a school that

promotes girls' education in Pakistan. " We

commit 3% of overall Sales (revenue) to Anum

School. Anum School (Anum means peace)

was founded just over 30 years ago thanks to

a brave woman who decided to install a

medical camp in a poor neighbourhood.

Thanks to her effort, the camp slowly turned

into a school. The students learn how to read,

count, and write. They get History lessons,

learn about Science, English but also about

basic hygiene, tolerance, and respect.

The community is thankful for the

opportunity to send their children to school

for a minimal contribution. Moreover, the high

quality of education has made a name for

itself so that the school can not nearly

accommodate all the demand it faces. That is

why we have decided to partner with Anum

School, to see it grow and spread. Towards

autumn this year we will be able to cover all

running costs of the school – the greatest

19


COMMON//FALL 2017//

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

achievement of this year.

Do you think that your intentions, and

your product, can impact the (creative)

process for the future?

From our point of view, it is inevitably

important for any business to be

transparent to his customers about its

product and as well about the entire

operational flow. In our marketing and

branding activities, we proudly

communicate where we source our leather

and craftsmanship from, Pakistan. We were

in the lucky position to live in the country in

which we produce now and are

extraordinarily happy that we can not only

support the great initiative, Anum School

but furthermore promote a country not

many people know the true beauty of.

What is the ethos behind the designs of

Buckle & Seam?

We believe this country’s talents should be

promoted proudly as well as the quality of

the raw material. Further, the ability to

work closely with family tanneries and

highly skilled manufacturers were a key

factor in our decision making. Our goal was

not just to produce our bags and leave

without looking back. Rather it is to

produce high-end quality bags at affordable

prices thanks to a shortened supply chain,

to be transparent about it and try to give

back by supporting a school that promotes

girl's education in Karachi. The idea of us is

that “Your journey starts here”, we offer

classic, elegant, functional designs that can

be customised with creative inside prints

and engraving your initials.

Tell us about the ethical nature of the

leather you work with and your work

processes.

Our leather is carefully selected from the

North of Pakistan. Working with cow

leather allows our products to be resilient

and soft at the same time. We use our

leather in its most natural form; entire

grain – meaning that all layers of the

leather have been kept and worked

together. Having an average thickness of

1,8 – 2 mm, it is twice as thick as the

leather used in conventional leather bags

and thus more robust.

Providing the highest standard of working

conditions for our teams in Pakistan is the

cornerstone of Buckle & Seam. By

committing to their wellbeing, we are

building trust and forming long-lasting

relationships. Regular visits to our facilities

in Pakistan every two to three months, with

constant communication in between,

ensures the continual improvement of our

bags and maintains our strong brand.

While the majority of the world’s leather

is tanned involving harmful chemicals such

as Chrome VI, Lead and other

environmentally damaging chemical

substances, we process our leather through

a Vegetable tanning technique. This

process takes longer time and requires a

specific know-how but is the most natural

20


2017 FALL//COMMON

way of tanning leather as it does not require harmful

chemicals. At Buckle & Seam, we only work with longestablished

family tanneries who use the finest raw materials

to create our beautiful products. The tanning process takes

approximately 4 – 5 weeks from start to finish and requires

experienced and skilful artisans to create.

Lastly, what does the future hold for Buckle & Seam?

We constantly try to broaden the product portfolio and will

diversify in wallets & other business bags relatively soon. We

would like to bring the feel and ethics of our products to every

European Country by the end of the year, and we are looking

forward to going back to Pakistan and help to improve literacy

thereby actually not only growing Anum School but rather

build more schools thanks to our initiative.

Visit www.buckleandseam.com

and follow their journey on Instagram @buckleandseam

21


COMMON//FALL 2017//

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

GET INSIDE THE BRILLIANT

MINDS OF MINIMALIST FASHION,

ASKET

SAY HELLO TO YOUR NEW FAVOURITE FASHION BRAND

By Azhar Ahmad

Tell us more about yourselves.

My name is August and my co founder is

Jakob. We are both Swedes. Jakob is born

and raised in Kalmar, the Southeast. I’m

from the South but grew up in the States,

Germany and Austria. We met the first day

of business school in Stockholm nearly 8

years ago, stuck together ever since. Both

of us have a background from startups

within e-commerce. I worked for a Swedish

payment startup in the and Jakob for a

European e-commerce giant. So neither of

us had any experience from fashion,

garment design or manufacturing before

starting ASKET. Probably that was also to

our advantage. It gave us a healthy dose of

naiveté and an outside perspective that

allowed us to see industry rules and

standard processes very differently – that

comes in handy when you’re trying to

create something fundamentally different.

Where did you find the inspiration to

follow this path?

Ever since I was a teenager I’ve wanted to

create something of my own, something

with a lasting impact. Turned out Jakob

shared that same dream. And, despite our

lack of professional experience from

fashion, we shared a profound interest in

timeless style and quality pieces.

Eventually, after years of frustration of

how hard it was to find great quality, wellfitting

essentials at a decent price, we

realized that a big part of the problem was

inherent to the rules of the fashion

industry – constantly changing trends,

expensive store locations, lavish events and

an incomprehensible web of middlemen,

agents and distributors who all want there

cut. No wonder a plain white tee from a

designer brand would cost a fortune

although the factory is paid almost nothing.

The more we thought about it, the more we

22


2017 FALL//COMMON

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

AAAA

realized that there was huge potential

coming from the outside and building a brand

that would be entirely online based – an

environment we were very much familiar

with. So we decided to take the matter into

our own hands, to really leverage the

opportunities of online by bypassing the

whole fashion circus, turn directly to our

customers and strive for perfection without

compromise.

Most of us are familiar with the normal sizes

such as XS, S, M, L, XL and more. So tell us

the reason behind ASKET’s expansive 15

size range.

When it comes to timeless wardrobe

essentials all that really matters is quality

and fit. As consumers, we were constantly

navigating a disappointing path of

compromises: designs that are outdated the

day they hit the shelves, overpaying for

“quality” or paying too little for garments that

would tear after one wash. Not to mention

the fit – we’d always have to settle for

something that would fit “almost” right –a bit

too long, too short, too loose or too tight.

Why? Because 5 standard sizes obviously

aren’t enough for 3.5bn men. Brands need to

squeeze as many people as possible into as

few sizes as possible to keep costs down. So

when we started ASKET the fit was crucial.

And with the internet as our platform and a

fundamentally different approach, we could

afford to do things differently. With naturally

timeless items, fewer styles and no stores, we

could invest in more and better sizes from

the start. So we decided to extend every

“standard” size, XS-XL, with 3 lengths,

offering a matrix of 15 sizes that are designed

to fit more people better. And it

works. Take our t-shirt for instance - 98% of

the people who try us find the perfect fit.

We noticed that you are quite transparent

when it comes to pricing and in the

production process. How important is it to

be transparent?

Transparency is crucial to us, for several

reasons. Ultimately our whole concept is

geared at facilitating sustainable

consumption. It may seem like a terrible

business idea but we want our customers to

buy less, buy better and take responsible care

of their garments. That’s the only way to

really slow down the current fashion cycle.

The only way we can achieve this is by telling

the full story of all the hard work that goes

into making their garments. We document all

our factories and show even the cost

breakdown of our products. By doing that we

hope that people will truly appreciate their

garments and handle them with care.

Hopefully it also encourages to start thinking

about these things, asking the right questions

and expecting the same transparency from

other brands. I think most people care about

sustainability, they are just not used to have

any facts available when making their

decisions, so we put all the cards on the table.

Another important aspect is trust. Since

we’re online only, you obviously can’t touch

or try our pieces before buying, you can’t

23


COMMON//FALL 2017//

convince yourself of our quality and dedication by going into

a store and talking to a sales rep. So transparency in all

aspects - communication, costs and manufacturing - is our

way to account for who we are, what we do and how we do

it, inviting our customers to see for themselves what they

are investing in and establish a personal and trusted

relationship with us, despite our lack of a physical presence.

Any plans of expansion for the brand?

We’re staying online-only but are continuing to gradually

expand our product range at the same pace. One piece at a

time, building and curating the only essential wardrobe

you’ll ever need. More specifically, this year we’re moving

into to pants which is a tremendously interesting and

challenging piece. But we’ve been working on them for

almost two years and are very confident. And as with our

sweatshirt, we’ll invite our customers to a pre-release of a

limited amount of garments and let them have the final say

before launching in full.

What about you guys personally? Any ambitions or wishes

you’d like to fulfill this year?

Personally, my girlfriend and I are hoping to move out of our

1-room apartment in downtown Stockholm and into

something bigger. Stockholm - as beautiful as it is - is

unfortunately terribly expensive, so it’s a pretty big leap.

We’ll see if we manage this year. But honestly, apart from

that – and yes it sounds like a cliché but it’s true – ASKET is

Jakob’s and my only project. Building something from

scratch requires enormous attention and dedication. Both of

us have set aside most other personal ambitions for the past

2,5 years and that won’t change anytime soon.

24


25

//2017 FALL//COMMON


COMMON//FALL 2017//

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

UP-CLOSE WITH THE FOUNDERS

OF CANO SHOES

MEET THE THE GUYS BEHIND THE COMFIEST SUMMER SHOES

By Azhar Ahmad

First tell us a little bit about yourselves and

your roles in the company.

We are Lukas and Philipp and together we

are CANO. We are both 25 years old,

business graduates and high school friends

for more than 15 years. We love to travel,

get to know new cultures and see how these

are expressed through fashion. Together we

have travelled across all 5 continents but

Mexico was the one country that

overshadowed all the other ones. The

vibrant and lively culture with its Aztec and

Mayan roots absolutely fascinated us. When

it comes to fashion, in few countries people

achieve to blend the traditional clothing

with modern fashion – in Mexico it is

omnipresent. Talking about our roles in the

company, Philipp has the lead in marketing

and supply chain activities, while Lukas

takes over decisions concerning finance and

sales. Nonetheless, we still make most

decision together as we belief that

teamwork always brings us to the best

results.

What made you decide to be in the

shoemaking business? And what is the

inspiration behind the name, CANO?

It all began during Christmas 2014. It was

right before his return to Europe, Philipp’s

girlfriend, the Mexican fashion stylist, Maria

Puga (Instagram: @chinapuga), gifted him a

traditional Mexican clothing item - the

original Huarache. Immediately being in

love with the shoe and its unique woven

leather upper, Philipp decided that he

wanted to bring this special footwear to

Europe. However, like most of all good

ideas, some time passed and a couple of

beers were needed until we founded CANO

back in Düsseldorf, in summer 2016.

Coming up with a good brand name is

always a difficult task, especially if you want

it to be connected to your story. So we

brainstormed for weeks, researching

Mexican literature, history and art. Finally,

we came to the conclusion that we wanted

our brand name to be as simple and

memorable as possible. Thus, we chose the

word “Mexicano” (engl. Mexican), cut off the

first two syllables and CANO it was.

Tell us about the design to manufacturing

process. Which phase is the most difficult?

We started with the design of a traditional

huarache model and looked for ways to

modernize its style for the European fashion

taste. Doing so, we adjusted its shape and its

26


2017 FALL//COMMON

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

AAAA

woven leather upper. Here, we increased

the level of detail and chose leather of

much higher quality. As a result, the first

five models became reality. Of course, we

did not do all of this by ourselves. In the

adaption process we involved shoe

designers and our Mexican artisans that we

selected in the first step. We chose the

ones with the strongest craftsmanship and

the flexibility and interest to move away

from the traditional styles. Finding our

manufacturers was actually the most

difficult part of our journey. While many

artisans work by themselves and would not

have been able to provide us with the

quantities needed, others were not able to

craft the shoes in the quality we desired.

Hence, it took us many months,

recommendations and samples until we

finally found the manufacturer we are

working with today.

Who would be the first one to try on the

shoes to see if you’ve got “the one”? Was

there an “ah-ha!” moment when you found

the perfect design/fit?

From early on we had a clear image of our

product in mind. However, the actual

creation was far more difficult than

expected. The adaption process of the

designs took several months and an

uncountable amount of hours and samples

to get to the result that we wanted for

CANO. So the “ah-ha” moment was after

receiving the 6th or 7th sample – it was

immediately after opening the shoebox and

seeing the shoe exactly how we had

pictured it in our minds. However, this was

only the first hurdle. Now, back in Germany

we had to wait and see if the shoes would

have the same design and quality as the

samples. The moment the shoes arrived, we

opened the boxes and saw the final result,

we were more than relieved and delirious

with joy that the shoes even surpassed our

expectations. Thus, thanks to the

Huarache’s huge potential, we are

confident that our first five models are only

the start of a bigger journey for CANO.

What is your plan of “attack” for the

company this year? Any plans of

expansion?

We started off with a relatively exclusive

production to test the response of the

European market. As the feedback was

consistently positive until now, we are

already planning for our upcoming

collection next to increasing the brand

awareness of CANO. Currently, we are

working with several brand ambassadors

and influencers to make CANO a

household name in the niche market we are

in.

Visit www.thecanoshoe.com

27


COMMON//FALL 2017//

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

JAMES BOND, MEET YOUR

SARTORIAL MATCH

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE X MR. PORTER

It’s not unusual for the spy genre to push the

boundaries of credibility. You don’t have to

sit through a James Bond movie until the

credits roll to realise that gritty realism is

hardly the order of the day. If there’s one

thing that’s certain to have us scoffing at

our screens in disbelief, though, it’s not the

sight of our favourite secret agent leaping

from a moving car, hanging out of a

helicopter, or disposing of incompetent

henchmen in a hollowed-out volcano. No,

it’s the fact that he’s doing it while wearing a

suit, shirt and tie – and yet not once does he

reach for a handkerchief to mop his brow.

And it's not just about the clothes; there

are also plenty of accessories on offer too,

from special edition Smythson diaries to a

Kingsman fragrance by The Perfumer’s

Story, pens by Conway Stewart and a superexclusive

TAG Heuer Connected Modular

45 Kingsman Special Edition watch (you'll

find it in the shop in its own custom,

computerised case).

28


2017 FALL//COMMON

Harry's Cashmere Overcoat; Eggsy's Grey Double-Breasted Wool And Mohair-Blend

Suit Jacket; Eggsy's Grey Wool And Mohair-Blend Suit Trousers; Turnbull & Asser

White Cotton Royal Oxford Shirt

Jack's Statesman Grey Alcantara-Trimmed Donegal Wool Blazer; Jean Shop Tequila's

Statesman Selvedge Denim Jeans; Turnbull & Asser Statesman Cotton Western Shirt

29


COMMON//FALL 2017//

Golden Bear Poppy's Appliquéd

Leather And Felted Virgin Wool-

Blend Jacket; Jean Shop Statesman

Selvedge Denim Jeans; Mister

Freedom Slub Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt

Todd Snyder + Champion Harry's

Fleece-Back Cotton-Blend Jersey

Sweatshirt; Todd Snyder + Champion

Harry's Tapered Fleece-Back Cotton-

Blend Jersey Sweatpants; Mister

Freedom Slub Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt

30


2017 FALL//COMMON

KINGSMAN X TAG HEUER

TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45mm Ceramic And Leather Smartwatch

Housed in a grade-5 titanium and ceramic case that is water-resistant up to five

bar, this Swiss-made Bluetooth and WiFi-compatible 'Connected Modular'

timepiece has an Android Wear 2.0 operating system powered by an Intel

processor and a 410mAh battery with over one-day power reserve. Choose from

a digital library of more than 30 pre-loaded styles for the AMOLED screen

display, opting for one of two Kingsman dials - apt when the insignia appears at

10h10 and the signature alarm buzzes. Presented in a special edition box, it

comes with two straps that can be swapped and changed without any tools - one

rubber-backed brown leather and the other orange alcantara, inspired by the

tangerine velvet smoking jacket worn in the film by Mr Taron Egerton.

31


COMMON//FALL 2017//

Rocky Mountain Featherbed Suede And Shearling-Trimmed Quilted

Faille Down Gilet; Jean Shop Tequila's Statesman Selvedge Denim

Jeans; Jean Shop Statesman Selvedge Denim Shirt; Jean Shop

Statesman 4cm Brown Leather Western Belt; Stetson Tequila's

Statesman Leather-Trimmed Felt Hat

Tequila's Statesman Leather-Trimmed Shearling Bomber Jacket; Jean

Shop Statesman Selvedge Denim Shirt; Jean Shop Statesman 4cm

Brown Leather Western Belt; Stetson Tequila's Statesman Leather-

Trimmed Felt Hat

32


2017 FALL//COMMON

Shop and view more collection

exclusively at at mrporter.com

33


COMMON//FALL 2017//

ASK A MAN WHO KNOWS

TOP TIPS FOR FALL GROOMING AND MUST-HAVES

By Azhar Ahmad

Sunscreen is year-round necessity

Promise Organic Sunscreen Lotion

If you know your skin is the type to freak

out with a chemical sunscreen—go for

Promise Organic Sunscreen Lotion,

suggests Dr. Zeichner. It’s formulated

with zinc oxide only, which is ideal for

people with sensitive skin, since it’s a

gentle ingredient that can actually

protect inflamed skin, he explains. Plus,

it’s blended with natural shea butter and

essential oils, so your skin will actually

feel soft and smooth instead of irritated.

Exfoliate, but do it gently

Scotch Porter Charcoal & Licorice

Exfoliating Face Scrub

Founded by Calvin Quallis, this hip

grooming line touts slick packaging and

innovative, yet eco-friendly formulas.

Fortified with a bevy of skin-healthy

botanicals like turmeric root, green tea,

and licorice root, the brand’s scrub also

stars charcoal, which is known to help

detox the skin by drawing out impurities

34


2017 FALL//COMMON

Invest in moisture

No Wrinkles Extreme Moisturiser by This Works

The lack of humidity in the air during the colder months can sap the moisture from

your skin. To remedy this, a good moisturizer is essential, but one that locks in

moisture is even better.

Don't forget your hands

Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer

Jack Black claims to be the hardest working hand cream in the

business; and offers a rich, intensive cream with special conditioners

to diminish tough calluses and heal unsightly cuticles. We love how

this nourishing formula absorbs quickly and leaves a velvet-smooth

finish with little residue and no stickiness. Premium ingredients like

Vitamin A and E, eucalyptus, and rice bran oil, make this a powerful

but gentle moisturizer men can use daily or as needed to transform

dry, chapped, or cracked hands. You can also use this Industrial

Strength Hand Healer on your feet, knees, and elbows.

35


COMMON//FALL 2017//

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

MEET MAX: THE GUY BEHIND THE

REVOLUTIONARY TRAVEL

LUGGAGE

NO ONE DOES SUITCASES BETTER THAN BUGABOO

By Azhar Ahmad

After the success of Bugaboo as a stroller

company, when and how did the

idea arise to design a new type of product?

For us, it has never just been about strollers;

it has always been about

helping people move freely. When we first

started the company, I spent a lot of time

travelling for

work. Everywhere I went, I saw travelers

struggling with their luggage —there was

obviously a huge opportunity to bring our

design philosophy into the world of travel

and shake things up a bit. So after a very

successful few years of selling strollers, we

decided to stretch the business by entering

a new market based on the same brand

values.

What is the most innovative feature of

Bugaboo Boxer?

For me there are two: the power of push

that turns the burden of carting around

luggage into a smooth, effortless

experience; and the modular system of

interlocking cases that means you can carry

all your bags on a single, easy-to-maneuver

chassis.

What projects do you have in mind for the

future? What other types of product would

36


2017 FALL//COMMON

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

AAAA

you like to reinvent?

We love designing products that make life

on the road easier. We’re constantly looking

around us, observing the world, and trying

to pinpoint places where life can be

improved – and become more fun. That’s

how we started: we saw how parents

struggled when they went out with their

families. They were pushing around strollers

that were not only impractical – but ugly!

We decided to change that. We happened to

start off with strollers, but Bugaboo has

always been a mobility brand at heart. So,

we’ve just launched a luggage system, and

next, we’re looking at making something

that will change the way people think about

commuting to work.

Sticking with the theme of mobility, what

are the objects that will be involved in the

most interesting design evolution of the

years to come?

Everyone’s excited about electric cars right

now, and I think we’ll see a lot more activity

in that area. But I’m Dutch, so I prefer bikes!

I grew up fixing and tinkering with bikes.

They’re incredible pieces of design — so

simple and useful, and really good from a

sustainability point of view. But the basic

design hasn’t really changed very much in

over a century. So I feel very excited about

personal mobility solutions based in the

world of bikes, mopeds, and scooters. We’ve

got a game-changing design in the works,

and I think we’ll see a lot more fun and

inspiring ideas coming in

this area.

Performance, functional innovation,

aesthetic quality, identity, thought content:

which of these values has the most

importance in your design vision?

We follow an iterative design process where

functional performance and aesthetic

quality cross-fertilize through integration.

One of our guiding design principles is; “no

beauty without performance”. Making

something just look great won’t cut it at

Bugaboo. All of our products are high

performance, which means they function far

above expectation – and are made to last for

years.

Visit www.bugaboo.com/luggage

37


COMMON//FALL 2017//

IN AND OUT OF

BRUGES

THIS LITTLE CITY IN BELGIUM IS PERFECT FOR

A STROLL IN THE FALL

By Andrea Manning

It wasn’t until I saw the 2008 Colin Farrell movie “In

Bruges”, a black comedy about two Irish hitmen in

hiding, that I became aware of this Belgian town. I

went from first hearing about it, to being absolutely in

love with it, in only 107 minutes. The film did a great

job of showcasing Bruges, so much so, that I couldn’t

stop dreaming about it for weeks (Bruges that is, not

the movie, even though it was very good). As the

characters go about their business, you get to see a lot

of Bruges: The wonderful architecture, Grote Markt

and the famous Belfry, old bridges and beautiful parks.

The locations are so much a part of the film, it’s like

Bruges itself is playing a leading character’s role.

Falling in love with a place you see in a movie can be

both a blessing and a curse. For one, it will probably

inspire you to seek out more information, maybe even

visit one day. On the other hand, it can set the bar very

high. If you do visit one day, there is always the

possibility that the place won’t match your

expectations. After all, Hollywood is very good at

making the ordinary extraordinary. So, was Bruges

everything I expected and hoped it would be? Before I

tell you, here’s a look at how we spent our day in

Bruges.

38


39

//2017 FALL//COMMON


COMMON//FALL 2017//

GROTE MARKT

The largest of Bruges’ two central squares, Grote Markt was everything I had envisioned and

dreamed about since 2008. I love buildings with character and colour, so the hugest smile

came on my face when I stepped out from under the Belfry into the market square.

Nineteenth century gabled buildings edge three sides of the square, the fourth side flanked

by the impressive Belfort. Horse drawn carriages wait in the square for tourist to whisk

around Bruges (and I do mean whisk- those horses trot people around so fast, I failed to see

how it would have been romantic). Still, their presence contributed to the overall charm of the

Markt.

CANAL CRUISE

I loved the canal cruise because we passed by a lot of very beautiful buildings, saw

some swans gracefully floating at Minnewater park and went under some very low

bridges (our captain told us to duck, but I don’t think they were low enough to start

taking off heads!). At the same time I hated the cruise because we breezed by

everything so fast! I was trying so hard to savour the moment, take it all in, burn the

experience into my memory. I just don’t feel like that happened. While we saw a

great deal and went down a few different canals, it was at such a fast pace. Too fast

to be romantic and too fast to remember with a fond vividness.

40


2017 FALL//COMMON

THE BELFRY

The belfry dates back to about 1240, when Bruges was quite prosperous

thanks to the Flemish cloth industry. A bit of an unlucky place, the tower has

fallen victim to fire three times, the last of which destroyed the wooden spire in

1741. It has never been replaced.

On the way to the top of the tower you can stop on different levels to see

displays of old bells, plus admire the big bell and see the carillon in action.

Today there are 47 bells making up the carillon which rings out in song every

quarter hour. While the carillon was interesting to watch, the best part of the

belfry was the panoramic views you get of Bruges

41


COMMON//FALL 2017//

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

42


2017 FALL//COMMON

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

AAA

INSIDE

SHANGHAI'S

FIRST SEVEN-

STAR HOTEL

Wanda Reign on the Bund, owned by

Chinese property billionaire Wang Jianlin,

took three years and half-a-billion dollars

to build.

A creation of glass and steel, the Wanda Reign

on the Bund, China’s first seven-star hotel,

adds sparkle to the well-known Shanghai

promenade. But it is the hotel interiors that

truly amaze. Think all-out Art Deco glamour

topped with oriental opulence — oceans of

marble floors and walls, rivers of inlaid jade,

waves of geometric prints and towering 10mhigh

bronze columns.

If the inflated hotel rating is to be taken

seriously, Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin’s

latest offering seeks to establish a level

beyond luxury. The property tycoon’s Wanda

Hotels & Resorts has opened more than 100

outfits in the past five years. Wanda Reign on

the Bund, the group’s ultra-luxe Shanghai

flagship, took three years, and half-a-billion

43


COMMON//FALL 2017//

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

dollars, to build.

Much of that went into commissioning

dozens of quirky sculptures, avant-garde

paintings and murals, displayed across the

indoor and outdoor spaces. Wang is known

as an art connoisseur and supporter of

Chinese contemporary culture. The

experience begins when you step into the

palatial lobby, dominated by the Splendid

Orient, an enormous impressionist painting

of Shanghai by contemporary artist Shi Qi.

The custom masterpiece showcases an

abstract expression of the vibrant and

modern metropolis, which has gone

through a great socio-economic

metamorphosis over the last two decades.

Many of the hotel rooms overlook the

city’s evolving skyline, plus tinier art pieces.

We stayed in a corner room with floor-toceiling

windows facing the Bund, Huangpu

River and the modern Pudong district —

with the kitschy Oriental Pearl Tower in

plain sight. An Ogawa massage chair, a rare

hotel amenity, is placed beside the window,

encouraging maximum use. Delicate silkembroidered

magnolia motifs over the bed,

plus amber-coloured rhinestones, 3D

mosaic tiling and a gold claw-foot tub in the

bathroom illustrate the room’s flamboyant

intent.

Cutting-edge technology is ubiquitous.

Peepholes are swapped with convenient

digital screens to show a live feed of whose

waiting at the door and iPad smart controls

replace the use of buttons and knobs for

curtains, lightings and temperature

settings.

Out of the hotel’s five dining marquees,

we opted for the fifth-level He Japanese

restaurant. Open only at night, we suggest

sitting at the sleek bar as Tokyo-native chef

Kikuchi Yoshiyuki will offer you his

specially concocted and very potent

shochu to pair with omakase-style dishes

and Edomae sushi.

Head to the rooftop bar Marc after

dinner and toast Shanghai’s high life with

an array of speciality cocktails. When it’s

finally time to leave, the hotel’s

chauffeured Rolls-Royce Phantom,

supposedly owned by Wang himself, is

available to see you to the airport in style.

44


2017 FALL//COMMON

Wanda Reign on the Bund is a member of

Preferred Hotels & Resorts, which represents the

world’s finest hotels and resorts with an

extensive global collection across more than 85

countries.

www.preferredhotels.com

45


COMMON//FALL 2017//

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

SHARP SHOOTER

THE X-E3 IS THE BEST CAMERA FROM FUJIFILM YET

www.fujifilm.com

It’s been a long time coming. The third

iteration of Fujifilms X-E line of X-series

camera. Built in a rangefinder “brick”

styling, but without the OVF of the X-Pro

line, the X-E3 is to its bigger brother X-

Pro2, what the X-T20 is to the X-T2.

As always, the wishlist for features in a

new fujifilm camera grow larger by the

minute in various online communities, but

Fujifilm kept true to concept, and improved

an already great camera in some key

areas.Fujifilm put effort into some new

technologies, mainly evolving the

touchscreen capabilities and using

bluetooth for an “always on” type of

connection to your phone. They also made

it smaller. Actually, a lot smaller! It seems as

if they really wanted this camera to be a

versatile mirrorless interchangeable lens

camera with as small a physical footprint as

possible, that would be instantly capable of

social media uploading and sharing. A real

2017 lifestyle camera.

Files are sharp, rich and vibrant straight

out of the camera. Image noise at high ISO

is kept to an absolute minimum, and the

grain is not that of coma-noise. It is more

like luminance noise. It looks fantastic in

black and white, as well as in colour images.

There isn’t necessarily less noise in the

Fujifilm X-Trans files – it’s just better

looking. Fujifilm apparently one-up’ed the

high speed autofocus modes in the X-E3.

They did some algorithm magic and

cramped an extra few milliseconds out of

the camera.

The X-E3 is also the first camera from

Fujifilm to feature a new bluetooth image

transferring standard. You can have a ultra

low power consuming connection feature

to your smartphone or tablet. Gone are the

tedious days of tranferring through wi-fi

after trying to connect in what seems like

forever. The new remote app lets you pair

your X-E3 directly to your camera, and

after that you can have it transfer all your

files automatically or you can choose which

files to transfer. The automatic transfer

46


2017 FALL//COMMON

starts when you enter play mode or

whenever you turn off your camera. You

will get a small icon on your screen that

shows the number of files that is set to be

transferred. When using the “transfer

order” function you get to choose which

files you want to tranfer. The “transfer

order” is found on page 2 of the playback

menu, but there is a shortcut you can use by

pressing “play” and then “A-FL” – It takes

you straight to the menu.

Since this is bluetooth, you can have an

always-on connection, and you will

experience close to zero power

consumption of the camera. The build and

feel of the camera is phenomenal. Metal

built, nice silver or black coating as well as a

very clean and streamlined layout of the

camera back. It looks even cleaner than the

X100F. It feels like a high quality product

despite of the compact size.

On the top plate you find a shutterspeed

dial (up to 1/4000s), the auto switch, the

shutter release (which is threaded), the

exposure compensation (+3 to -3 and a “C”

position where you can use the dials to dial

in +5/-5) and an Fn button. All in all a very

familiar layout to Fujifilm X series

“rangefinder” users.

The curves and lines on the camera have a

very organic and fluid feel to them. Not any

kind of hard edges anywhere.With the X-E3

you get top op the line portability,

connectivity and IQ within the Fujifilm X-

series system. This is indeed a perfect carry

around camera for those who do not want

a fixed lens camera like the X100F/X70. –

It’s getting rather tiresome to write, but

Fujifilm has yet again made an incredible

camera.

47


COMMON//FALL 2017//

THE BATTLE OF SMART HOME

SPEAKERS: GOOGLE, AMAZON,

AND APPLE

SPOIL YOURSELF WITH THE LATEST SMART SPEAKERS FOR YOUR HOME

By Azhar Ahmad

48


2017 FALL//COMMON

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

AAAA

GOOGLE GOES MINI

THIS TINY SPEAKER PACKS A PUNCH

By Azhar Ahmad

The Google Home Mini is a stylish-looking

speaker with surprisingly strong sound

quality for its size. The Google Assistant is a

capable Alexa competitor, especially thanks

to its ability to search out detailed answers

to a wide variety of questions.

Google kept things simple with the Mini's

design. It's an oblong orb of plastic and

fabric with no visible buttons save for a

slider to mute the microphone that's hidden

in the back. It comes in your choice of three

colors -- chalk (light gray), charcoal (dark

gray), or coral (pinkish orange).

To wake it up, you say "OK, Google" or

"Hey, Google," and then you give it a

question or command. You can ask it to play

music, turn your smart home gadgets on

and off, look up a fact for you, control

Netflix and YouTube on your Chromecastenabled

TV plus a whole host of other

tricks. It puts the power of the internet just

an utterance away, with the Google

Assistant as your concierge. The Google

Assistant is a good assistant. It's pleasant

and helpful, and generally good at finding

answers to whatever questions you can

think to throw at it. By default, the

49

Assistant's digital voice is female, but if

you'd rather converse with a "he," that's an

option now, too — just toggle the setting in

the Home mobile app's preferences section.

Regardless of which voice you choose, I still

wish Google would give its Assistant a

better name.

Despite the lack of physical buttons, the

Home Mini still has touch controls you can

use. You can tap the top to pause or resume

music playback, and you can tap and hold to

activate the Assistant. To adjust the volume,

you tap the sides of the device. I wasn't a

huge fan of those volume controls — they

aren't quite responsive enough when you

want to use them, and yet it's hard not to

activate them by mistake whenever you

pick the thing up. That said, you'll probably

prefer to turn things up and down using

voice commands.

Overall, it's a design that's capable of

blending in with your home's decor while

still looking good if you happen to fix your

gaze on it.


COMMON//FALL 2017//

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

AMAZON SHOWS ITS WILD SIDE

ITS LATEST SPEAKER NOW COMES WITH A SCREEN AND MORE

By Azhar Ahmad

The Echo Show does everything the original

Echo does, but many of those features are

much better when you add in a screen.

Given that the Show is only $50 more than

the standard Echo, it'll be a worthwhile

investment for anyone looking to add a

digital assistant to their home.

The Echo Show is an oddly angular and

blocky device. It's also strangely large,

almost bulbous at the base. It's definitely

not the sleek cylinder that we've come to

associate with the Echo. The matte-black

plastic (it's also available in white) picks up

fingerprints quite easily -- but this isn't a

device that you'll be moving around often,

so that shouldn't be much of a problem.

It turns out, that wide base houses the

Echo Show's two speakers, which perform

much better than I expected (more on that

later). They make up the bottom half of the

device, while the top is dominated by the 7-

inch, 1024 x 600 touchscreen. That's the

same resolution as Amazon's Kindle Fire 7

tablet, and while it's certainly nothing to

write home about, it fits the Echo Show's

purpose.

It's not something you'll be staring at for

hours on end; instead, you're more likely to

be giving it quick glances throughout the

day. On top is a 5-megapixel video camera,

which you'll use for video calls and,

potentially, third-party services down the

line. The top features three buttons: two

for volume control and one to mute the

Echo Show's eight-microphone array. The

mics are set in an oval around the buttons

up top, but there's no light ring like what

you'll find on the original Echo. Instead, the

bottom of the screen glows blue when you

talk to the Echo Show. That works fine -- it's

just not as elegant as the light ring.

Overall, the Echo Show hardware is solid

and functional, but not much more. It does a

good enough job of blending into the

background, which is really what you want

from a device like this.

50


2017 FALL//COMMON

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

AAAAA

APPLE BRINGS SIRI HOME

APPLE FANS, REJOICE! YOUR HOME NOW GETS SMARTER

When you first turn on the HomePod, it

wants to learn where it is in space. It will

send out a 360 beam of sound, seeing if

there are any surfaces nearby, and if it finds

it's on a shelf or a bookcase will use the wall

behind to reflect a different level of sound.

It's similar functionality to what's offered

by Sonos with its multi-room speakers,

although this system relies on you walking

around the speaker's room with a phone

that then uses its microphone to measure

the space.

The HomePod will also automatically

work out whether there's another speaker

nearby, and will connect to it and balance

the sound to make sure the two are working

well in tandem. Pairing your Apple device

involves simply holding it near the speaker

in much the same way as the AirPods. Apple

is yet to confirm whether you can use non-

Apple devices with the speaker.

But how do they sound compared to one

another? Well, the HomePod is easily the

best of the three in terms of overall

performance - but you'd expect that given

it's also the most expensive. HomePod has

been designed to be a 7-inch with a 4-inch

upward-facing woofer that Apple promises

will rock almost any room with distortionfree

audio. It helps that this thing has 7 beamforming

tweeters in its base.

Apple has Siri baked into it, which explains

why everyone was calling it the Apple Siri

Speaker ahead of today's launch event. That

means it will be able to answer inquiries like

the Home and Echo, and also access Apple

Music's 4 million song catalogue with a

simple voice command. Voice commands are

picked up with the speaker's six-microphone

array, which is one less than the number that

can be found in the Amazon Echo, but three

times the amount that the Google Home has.

Unfortunately Apple were silent on how

well the speaker would work with other

music services. Thanks to the inclusion of

AirPlay you should be able to play any music

you like from your iPhone, but it's not clear

whether you'll be able to use Siri to control

playback in the same way.

51


COMMON//FALL 2017//

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

THE UNIVERSAL VIRTUAL

REALITY HEADSET

CARL ZEISS VR ONE PLUS IS COMPATIBLE WITH ANY PHONE, AND THAT'S A

GOOD THING

www.zeiss.com

VR is taking off – whether it’s watching

ultra-immersive videos or utilising apps on

your phone, or embedding yourself into

whole new worlds with the help of a

monster PC – it will soon be normal.The

Zeiss VR One Plus is a VR phone headset

which means you put your phone in it and

watch special split-screen VR content

through two binoculars-style lenses.the VR

One Plus has a separate tray for the phone.

This tray is generally compatible with

phones from 4.7 to 5.5 inches. Usefully, the

tray has a notch in the middle to help you

line the phone's screen up so it's exactly in

the middle of the lenses.

Slotting it in is relatively simple but we

found the tray could cover corners of the

screen where some settings are usually

positioned. It’s not a huge annoyance but it

means sliding the phone out and maybe

moving it around to get at the controls

sometimes. We’ve yet to see a perfect

phone clasp system.The front panel is made

from a translucent black plastic. The Carl

Zeiss logo sits discretely in the bottom left-

hand corner, and the VR One name can be

found along the top. The main body of the

headset is made from a solid matte-white

plastic, with a long narrow slot sitting

behind the plastic plate.

There’s also a black trim within which

you’ll find some ventilation holes, covered

from below with a thin layer of foam mesh.

These ensure that the lenses stay mist and

fog-free, unlike other VR headsets at this

price range. There’s a triple layer of foam

around the headset, too, to protect your

eyes, and a double headstrap for keeping

the VR One firmly on your head while in

use. I found the VR One comfortable to

wear; the straps can be adjusted to ensure

the headset fits even the largest of heads.

As for the VR content available, variety

remains an issue. Despite Google

Cardboard having been around for nearly

two years now, there still isn’t a plentiful

supply of content available – especially

next to the Oculus-powered Samsung Gear

VR.

Carl Zeiss itself has a small selection of

52


2017 FALL//COMMON

apps made specifically for the VR One: VR

One Media, VR One AR, Carl Zeiss VR/

Exposition and the VR One Cinema. The VR

One Media app acts as a hub for all the VR

content that can be found within either

Google Play or the App Store that Carl

Zeiss deems is compatible with the VR One.

The VR One AR app takes advantage of

the small, colourful paper cube that comes

flatpacked with the VR One. It uses the

camera on your phone to let you see out of

the headset to the cube itself, and allows a

variety of items and creatures to emerge

from within. It’s a great experience and a

superb introduction to VR that doesn’t

require you to be totally cut off from

reality.

The Carl Zeiss VR/Exposition app on the

other hand is a lot more sedate. It takes you

on a tour of an art gallery that features two

artists, allowing you to get up close to the

artwork from the comfort of your sofa.

Finally, the VR One Cinema also allows you

to downscale video and other content to a

VR experience.

53


COMMON//FALL 2017//

THE WALL OF SOUND

A NEW AGE OF SOUND SYSTEM HAS ARRIVED WITH BANG & OLUFSEN

BEOSOUND SHAPE

www.bang-olufsen.com

The new wireless speaker system is wall-mounted and modular in design, the idea being

that you set up an array of the speakers and configure it to your own needs. The BeoSound

Shape forms a series of hexagonal tiles and behind each is a removable grille that features

either an amplifier, smart hub, speaker or acoustic dampers. These tiles easily clip together

to form different patterns, fabrics and colours and the end result is something more akin to

wall art than a hi-fi installation.

At the heart of the system is the BeoSound Core connectivity hub. This allows wireless

streaming from Apple Airplay, Chromecast, Spotify Connect and Bluetooth 4.1. The Core

hub also uses Bang & Olufsen proprietary BeoLink system meaning the Shape can form

part of a multi-room set-up alongside other Bang & Olufsen and Beoplay products.

54


2017 FALL//COMMON

GOING STEALTH

THE ALL-NEW RAZER BLADE STEALTH IS PERFECT FOR NON-GAMERS

www.razerzone.com

The Stealth looks like a mini-gaming laptop,

taking design cues from the thin and light

MSI gaming machines from years gone by.

Its aluminium shell has sharp edges and

curved corners, managing an impressive mix

of gamer-chic and work laptop style.

The biggest clue to its gaming background

is the green Razer logo that lights up when

the laptop is switched on. While the device

looks good out of the box, it will become

staggeringly greasy almost immediately. Not

only does every fingerprint leave a mark,

trying to rub it off with anything but a

proper cleaning cloth simply smudges

grease around the lid and palm rest.

The keyboard suffers the same fate, with

each key getting a wet-looking coating. It’s a

shame, because it’s a well-built piece of kit

that weighs just 1.29kg. The keyboard isn’t

the finest you’ll find on an Ultrabook, with a

fairly rattly and shallow action. The keys

themselves are of a decent size and are

backlit too, but they aren’t particularly

comfortable when typing for long periods.

The best feature is the RGB backlighting.

Unlike most other gaming laptops, the keys

are individually lit. This means each key can

display a different colour, allowing for some

fun effects including flashing the keys for

every press, and colourful wave patterns.

They’re not essential, but they’re fun

nonetheless. The touchpad is fine, but

nothing special. It doesn’t have the instant

precision of its high-end rivals and actually

feels sluggish upon first use. A quick tweak

of Windows touchpad settings saw me right,

but it still isn’t a great experience for a

laptop designed to be used on the move.

The base model Razer Blade Stealth comes

with a 2,560 x 1,440 IGZO touchscreen

that’s 12.5 inches. A 13.3-inch panel is more

usual on a laptop of this size. Aside from the

bezel issues mentioned above, the other

problem with a screen this size is that

everything looks absolutely tiny unless you

turn Windows 10’s display scaling options

up to maximum.

55


COMMON//FALL 2017//

TECH ATTACK

THE LATEST ACCESSORIES AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW

NOMAD USB HUB - 5 PORT

www.hellonomad.com

This sophisticated multi-port USB charging hub is capable of charging up

to five devices at once and designed to blend into your home’s decor.

Discreetly hidden under its matte rubber top, Hub’s backside houses five

high-powered standard USB ports and a cable routing passage for clean

cable management. Unfortunately, it's currently available in USA style

plugs only.

OLIVE LEATHER WALLET CASE

FOR IPHONE X BY MUJJO

www.mujjo.com

We're a sucker for products from

Mujjo, as you notice in previous

issues. We just love the understated

simplicity and elegance in all Mujjo's

products, this case included. Now

comes in a bold olive colour, the

leather wallet case is sleek and

stylish, while at the same offers

good protection for your expensive

iPhone X. They’ve fully wrapped the

cases with leather to reinforce their

durability and closely follow the

contours of the device, resulting in a

very streamlined silhouette. The

case interiors are lined with the

finest Japanese microfiber with a

satin-like finish, providing soft

padding for your iPhone X.

56


2017 FALL//COMMON

PAX III

www.paxvapor.com

These days everything is smart. Fridges,

lights and now e-cigarettes. Capable of

taking liquid or smoking mixture the

Pax uses Bluetooth to control the mode

for your preference of smoke

production and flavour, and will even

tell you when it needs charging or

cleaning. It's one of those devices that

perhaps is a hammer to crack a walnut,

but it's an absolutely beautiful device

and a much more discreet way of vaping

than most. If you're thinking of giving up

smoking, this could be the solution. Did

we get away with that? Good.

WACACO MINIPRESSO PORTABLE ESPRESSO MAKER

www.wacaco.com

Whether your next trip away involves backpacking, camping or slumming it in a hotel with no

coffee-making facilities, the Wacaco Minipresso espresso maker is small, light and portable

enough to ensure you never miss out on your morning coffee again. And it’s a good job.

Regularly slurping a cup of the black stuff is associated with endless benefits, such as a lower

incidence of Parkinson’s and certain types of cancers, and even reduced rates of DNA

damage. The Center for Cohort Studies at Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, recently noted

that drinking coffee could also reduce the risk of clogged arteries, which can lead to heart

attacks. A cup of coffee a day keeps the illness away.

57


COMMON//FALL 2017//

SMART HOME, SMARTER YOU

FOUR ESSENTIAL GADGETS TO START A SMART HOME

By Azhar Ahmad

POWERFUL WIFI

Netgear AC1750

One of the "hidden costs" of the smart home is having to get a good WiFi router. Without

one, your experience with any internet-connected device is going to be lackluster. That’s

frustrating when you’re trying to stream an episode of "Game of Thrones," but it’s actually

sad when you’re sitting in the dark thanks to non-functioning smart bulbs. No WiFi router

is going to be perfect, but people seem generally happy with this one from Netgear. It’s

most important feature is supporting the wireless AC standard, which is currently the

fastest type of WiFi available. Depending on the size of your place, it may be smart to invest

in a mesh WiFi system, but if you’re trying to stay under a strict budget, this is a good way

to go.

CONNECTED LIGHTS

Philips Hue

It includes two smart bulbs and a Hue

Bridge, which lets you connect up to 45

bulbs. White Ambiance bulbs won’t be

able to cycle through thousands of fun

colors, but they can be turned on and off

using your phone or voice. It doesn’t

hurt that they’re both functional —

especially if you only have overhead

lighting in your apartment and don’t

want to get up to flip the switch before

going to bed — and fun. Turning your

lights on and off with your voice might

sound silly at first, but you’ll be

surprised how quickly you get used to it.

58


2017 FALL//COMMON

SMART PLUGS

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Plug Mini 2-Pack

You can spend a small fortune replacing your appliances with new "smart" versions, but you

can save a lot of money by buying smart plugs. Smart plugs sit between the outlet and your

appliance and give you control over the flow of electricity. You can turn whatever is plugged

into the smart plug on and off, or put it on a timer so it can’t waste power — or become a fire

hazard. It requires some forethought, but these plugs can actually make your routine go a lot

more smoothly. For instance, you can use it on electric kettle so you can say, "Alexa, turn on

my electric kettle" and have boiled water for tea by the time you're done brushing your teeth

in the morning. Smart plugs may not be as elegant of a solution as buying a new appliance, but

they're a lot more cost effective. Plus, sometimes all you need is an answer to the question

"Wait, did I leave that thing on?"

LIVE COMFORTABLY

Nest Learning Thermostat

It offers all of the smarts of its

predecessors, including Auto Scheduling

and Auto-Away features, energy usage

reporting, remote management via a

mobile app, and a quick and easy

installation procedure, and it boasts a few

major improvements, including a larger

screen with a sharper resolution that you

can see across the room. It also supports

geofencing to ensure it doesn't go into

Away mode while you or a family member

are at home. Although it lacks remote

room sensors, it does works with a variety

of smart home devices and the IFTTT

Internet service, not to mention other

Nest products. All this earns it our Editors'

Choice for smart thermostats.

59


Published by Jungle Bird Media GERMANY junglebirdmedia.com

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines