11.05.19

Siya Kolisi x Freedom of Movement shoe collab gives traditional South African ‘veldskoene’ a brand new look

BY Farah Khalfe 2 MINUTE READ

The traditional South African “vellie” shoe has been reinvigorated with a brand new look—and sense of purpose. Captain of the Springboks and Stormers rugby teams Siya Kolisi has collaborated with proudly South African lifestyle brand Freedom of Movement for a unique interpretation of our country’s much-loved veldskoene.

Handcrafted in Cape Town and manufactured with the highest-quality local raw materials—premium nubuck leather and soft, breathable calf skin—each pair that is sold will contribute to the development of Mbekweni Youth Centre in the Western Cape. The centre equips the next generation with a range of vital life skills through programmes such as academic advancement, sport, career guidance and economic development. The initiative provides youth in the surrounding communities with a safe space to nurture their talents and uplift themselves through physical activity.

Growing up in a township in Port Elizabeth, Kolisi holds youth upliftment and societal development at the heart of his passions and was therefore eager to get involved in the cause. “I want to do everything I can to explore and hone their talents because I’ve been there, I’ve played these fields, I’ve walked these streets,” he says.

And while the shoe contributes to society, its design includes elements that hold greater, meaningful significance to South African heritage. The custom shade of green “represents the fertile land… it represents the Boks (led by Siya) and it represents the field we’re going to build,” says Roal Bozaart, co-founder of Freedom of Movement. 

Each shoe features tonal top stitching, a durable sole and includes two sets of laces in green and beige. Kolisi’s signature is embossed within the interior of the shoe and symbolises the intimate sense of involvement and care he has channeled into this project. 

Available from freedomofmovement.co.za.


10.28.19

Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S5e

BY Farah Khalfe 2 MINUTE READ

When the Samsung Galaxy S5e Tablet first landed on my desk for review, my initial impression was that it lived up to (the first part) of its tag line – it is indeed lighter than a cup of coffee – but if it was ‘equally as refreshing’ was something I needed to investigate. I spent the weekend using the device, fiddling with all its settings and features, to get a comprehensive idea of what that tab has to offer, and be able to provide an accurate and well-informed review of for you all.

Firstly, let’s talk about the design. At, just 5.5mm in thickness and weighing only 400 grams, the S5e has the thinnest and lightest metal unibody of any Galaxy Tab. Of course, this makes it sleek, portable and able to easily fit into almost any sized handbag or carry-on.

The tablet boasts a 10.5-inch touchscreen display – a happy medium between not being too bulky but still enabling users to watch video content and work on documents comfortably. With a resolution of 1600×2560 and AMOLED display (meaning the blacks are completely black and the whites are completely white), the colours are vibrant and intense. The device’s 16×10 cm ratio also allows for more content to fit on the screen during video playback. Additionally, the tablet allows you to connect from USB type C to HTMI, allowing movies and videos to projected onto a big screen.

However, being a tablet, this clarity does not translate to its camera. There’s a 13 mp front camera along with an 8mp selfie cam, meaning the device is not able to capture the most Instagram-worthy pics – at best you might be able to get some decent images if the lighting is good – but it works well for video calls, which is what tablets are most commonly used for.

Another stand-out feature is the sound. The tablet has four stereo speakers tuned by AKG Acoustics which is a world-class sound engineering and manufacturing company. The audio playback is loud, crisp and clear. However, due to the tablet’s slim design, it does not feature a headphone jack (to combat this, an adapter is provided in the box, allowing you to plug in your wired headphones).

I’m not into gaming but this is another drawcard of the S5e. With a 670 chipset and 4 GB of RAM, the tablet supports video games such as Fortnite and the fast-paced Team Deathmatch. Although Fortnite will have to be played at 30 fps and not 60, the game is still fully playable and runs smoothly as long you have a good WiFi connection.

Overall, the user experience of the Galaxy s5e tablet is smooth and efficient. The tablet’s touch responsiveness is fast and spot on, and with the device’s Samsung DeX feature, the tablet’s interface transforms into a desktop experience whenever a mouse or keybard plugs in. This is a feature I found particularly useful as I am constantly typing up documents and browsing the web.

The verdict? Samsung’s Galaxy s5e is indeed equally as refreshing as a much-needed cup of coffee. For it’s a size and price point, the tablet packs incredible value for money. Suitable for both and play – it strikes a balance between a multimedia beast and essential productivity tool. Its three essential feature – great video and audio, bright and colourful display, and its impressively lightweight design put it a cut above other tablets it its class category.

 

 

10.09.19

4 apps to kick your productivity into high gear

BY Farah Khalfe 2 MINUTE READ

Headspace: Guided Meditation
It’s impossible to be productive without adequate rest and relaxation. Headspace provides a range of professionally produced guided meditations and calming techniques for every situation. After a free basic course, you gain access to the full Headspace meditation library, including on-the-go exercises, meditations for sleep, anxiety, relationship woes, SOS scenarios and much more. Add friends to make your sessions interactive and fun while staying motivated with the app’s helpful tips and tricks to get the most out of every meditation. 

MealBoard
This all-in-one app streamlines the process of your daily meal prep and grocery shopping tasks. MealBoard’s smart-shopping functionality allows you to generate a shopping list based on the meal plan you’ve created and keep track of how much you’re spending while you shop. In addition, it automatically aggregates the items on your list and organises them by aisle so you can dash in and out of the store as quickly as possible. When it comes to your meal plans, this nifty app allows you to create reusable meal templates, mark meals as leftovers, set up recipe notifications ahead of time and much more. You can even keep tabs on your pantry inventory – what’s in and out of stock, the expiration date of each item and search for recipes with ingredients that will expire soon.

Sortd
Being constantly inundated with emails can leave you feeling overwhelmed as you trudge through a mountain of meetings to confirm, deals to approve and admin to tackle – taking up valuable working hours in the process. Sortd app for iOS and Android brings all your emails, tasks and priorities together into one consolidated workspace, right inside your Gmail. This task and email manager transforms your inbox with clean and customisable lists, a drag-and-drop function as well as email tracking, so you can keep an eye on important conversations. By merging your emails onto your Action Plan, you can manage all your tasks cohesively and tick things off a seemingly never-ending to-do list in the most efficient and productive way.

Strides
They say it takes 40 days to create a new habit, but sometimes we need a little help along the way. The Strides habit tracker and goal-setting app helps you reach your full potential and stay motivated when implementing a SMART goal or new habit into your daily routine – or removing a negative one from your life completely. Get organised with step-by-step goal-setting templates, a colour-coded system that ensures you stay on track and history charts that display your streaks, success rates and more. With powerful daily and weekly affirmations, unlimited reminders and a personal note-taking function to give your logs more context, Strides is the ultimate tool to help you on your path to success.


09.04.19

Apps to help you live a greener lifestyle

BY Farah Khalfe 3 MINUTE READ

GoGreen: Carbon Tracker
It’s all good and well trying to ‘guesstimate’ your carbon footprint, but without knowing where it stems from, you won’t know how to reduce it. Enter GoGreen: Carbon Tracker. This nifty app accurately monitors your carbon footprint by analysing data from your household utility bills. The app is able to track your monthly consumption of electricity, water and natural gas, measure your driving emissions and identify trends in your usage patterns. It also compares your consumption to those around you and awards and deducts ‘energy points’ depending on your carbon dioxide emissions – providing incentive for users to be more environmentally friendly in their daily activities and lifestyle decisions.

SunStream Pro Solar Panel and Power Bank combo
Not only is this solar-charged power bank convenient for staying connected in remote locations, but it’s good for the environment too. The device charges to one full amp by being left in the sun and is suitable for high-demand tech such as tablets, smartphones and GPS devices. Portable, waterproof and shatter-proof, the SunStream Pro Solar Panel and Power Bank combo ensures you will have a fully charged phone in less than two hours. With its lightweight design and built-in LED torch, it’s easy to carry around.

GoodGuide
Ethical shopping just got a whole lot easier with the GoodGuide app. By scanning a product’s barcode, the app reveals scientific data and research regarding the item’s ‘green’ credentials and provides a rating from 0-10. The higher the rating, the better the product from a health perspective. You can find out the nutritional value of your favourite food products or the potential health hazards and chemical ingredients in the personal-care and household items you swear by. GoodGuide will provide greener alternatives for your daily purchases and, if you want to get clued up before heading to the store, you can search for and browse a range of brands and companies to help you make informed consumer purchasing decisions.

DropDrop
South Africa’s water scarcity woes are still ongoing and can only be reduced through the co-operation and commitment of all citizens to be mindful of their water consumption. During the height of the crisis, students of the University of Cape Town developed DropDrop, an app that helps users track their daily water usage, predict monthly bills, and learn new methods for conserving water. DropDrop reads your municipality’s external water meter and provides information that will aid you in optimising your water usage.

Kill A Watt 
Keep tabs on how much electricity your appliances are using with the Kill A Watt digital watt meter. Simply plug the device into a wall socket and plug any appliance (up to 2 000W) into the watt meter to gage the current voltage, accumulated electricity (total kW hours) and current electricity consumption (watts being used) of the appliance you want to assess. Advanced functions on the meter can also calculate the electricity cost of using an appliance while the device’s display mode indicates various factors such as time/price or time/voltage and minimum and the maximum power consumed.


08.30.19

This innovative brand of sneaker-care products is melding street culture with environmental sustainability

BY Farah Khalfe 4 MINUTE READ

Sneaker LAB is permeating global sneaker culture not only through their innovative products, but with an ethos of youth upliftment and sustainable community development. 

Founder Jo Farah shared some insight on the societal impact of entrepreneurship and the integral role it plays in solving the world’s most pertinent economic issues. It’s safe to say that Jo is one of the most respected sneaker heads and businessmen in the game, mainly because of his vision of coupling style with sustainability. An ode to this, Sneaker LAB has created a premium shoe care product range that has exchanged harsh chemicals for pro-bacterial biotechnology — benefiting the environment in the long run. Fast Company SA sat down for an exclusive interview with Jo about his vision and business growth. 

What sparked your interest for sneakers and streetwear culture? 
Since I can remember, I’ve always had an interest in clothing and fashion. Throughout my childhood, I was exposed to art and music which developed my understanding and appreciation of aesthetics. Old school hip-hop, the Beasty Boys, NWA and A Tribe Called Quest heavily influenced me as a creative. 

How did you develop the concept of Sneaker LAB and what was your motivation for turning this vision into a reality? 
In 2008, I went into business with two friends who owned a streetwear store in Cape Town. We established a guerrilla marketing agency, working predominantly with well-known sneaker brands and retailers. I noticed there was a gap in the market for a high-end sneaker care brand and I had made numerous contacts through working in the industry. I took my time in developing the brand, product and aesthetics of it before market testing. The initial test-run in stores was so successful that the product sold out in two days. We now have stores in Johannesburg and downtown Los Angeles. 

Innovation lies at the heart of Sneaker LAB’s products and services. How do you believe  YOUR sneaker care products embody this? 
Innovation is extremely important — it is our greatest differentiator from competitor brands. When I started Sneaker LAB, I wanted it to be sustainable and environmentally friendly, but with better results than anything currently available on the market. I spent a great deal of time researching biodegradable cleaning solutions. This resulted in our unique sneaker care and protection formulas which utilise bacteria and enzymes to hyper-escalate nature’s organic cleaning process. The biotechnology functions at a molecular level and continues to work long after application. The products are water-based and the packaging is suitable for recycling. 

How important is innovation when it comes to the success of any business?
Innovation is essential. If you’re not abreast of what’s going on in the world, how will you stay ahead of the competition? If a company is not thinking differently, it will become stale and the consumer will lose interest. Innovation is not just limited to your product, it needs to be practised throughout your business — from the way you approach marketing to the way you speak to consumers.

In six years, you’ve built a brand with a Global presence. What were your key business components for achieving this?
I believe in planning properly and surrounding yourself with people who are exceptional at what they do. As an entrepreneur, you can’t be the best in every facet of the business. It’s crucial to have key people that will ensure business growth. I also believe in rewarding my team for their hard work and ensuring they enjoy their jobs. If your whole team is enthused and energised towards a common goal, you’ll have an accelerated rate of achieving it. Giving back is also a key component. Helping others to succeed plays a role in your own success. We work with aspiring artists and underprivileged youth. People want to belong to something more than just a brand, that’s why we constantly strive to be socially-conscious.

How important is community upliftment and youth development for Sneaker LAB? 
It’s imperative for us. As soon as the business was financially viable, we started donating a portion of all sales to gold Youth Development Agency — a South African organisation committed to developing young African leaders. We’ve been supporting the organisation for three and a half years. They work closely with youngsters in the poorest communities in Southern Africa, with the end goal of helping them obtain a university education. The young leaders are trained to have an influence in their communities through peer education, despite obstacles such as poverty, apathy, inadequate education, unemployment, orphanhood, gender inequality and HIV. One of the their graduates is currently employed at Sneaker LAB.

What’s on the horizon for you?
I’ve always envisioned taking the brand to a global level. Things have accelerated rapidly since 2013 and we’re currently represented in 60 countries. Our plans are to open more retail spaces where our brand offers an immersive experience. We have recently expanded beyond shoes into products for hat and denim care. Our aim is to be the number one shoe care brand in the world. 


08.26.19

Future spa treatments may include virtual island getaways at the click of a button

BY Farah Khalfe 2 MINUTE READ

A getaway to an exotic location is an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. However, booking a vacation every time a stressful moments presents itself would break the bank. One of the many upsides of living in the digital age is the fact that innovation is the norm. That’s where The Wend Virtual Relaxation experience comes in – a concept that marries spa days and travel with the click of a button. 

THE CONCEPT
Founded by mom-of-three Melloney Rijnvis, this invention enhances a spa visit with realistic audio and immersive visuals. The idea came about because of Melloney’s own ineffective spa ex-perience. “During a visit to a spa for a much-needed relaxation treatment, I found myself staring at floor tiles,”  she explains. “Due to the lack of visual stimulation, my mind was soon racing with my ‘to-do’ list, stresses and every-thing negative I could think about.” An impulsive chat with her husband and 10 short months later, The Wend became a reality. “With a one-of-a-kind app boasting new technology, a professional 180/360° video pro-duction studio, a comfortable office and strong team, I couldn’t be prouder of how far we have come in such a short time.”

HOW IT WORKS
The Wend functions through a virtual reality headset, like the Oculus Rift, which interacts with a tablet. Operated by a therapist, guests can choose from a selection of virtual relaxation videos to complement their treatment, then simply put the headphones on to enjoy the experience. The spa offers a range of videos available to their clients yet the library is ever-growing. 

VIRTUAL GETAWAY 
Guests are transported to destinations including Cape Town, London and Mallorca — going as far as to the North-ern Lights and even swimming with dolphins. Users can personalise their sessions with specific relaxation settings such as waterfalls and beaches. According to Melloney, The Wend is not designed to compete with trad-itional spa experiences but rather to enhance it. “There is no substitute for human touch and interaction is crucial to the success of the spa industry. Knowing this, we have developed The Wend experience accordingly.”

EMBRACING THE DIGITAL AGE 
The Wend was designed to com-plement the fast-paced, tech-heavy lifestyles of Millennials and Gen-eration Z. “Life is far more stressful for the Millennials and GenZ than it ever was for the previous generation,” she reflects. “They are not fearful of tech-nology. Instead, they embrace it and see technology as a necessity. They are attracted to the latest trends and quick fixes, which makes the possi-bility of a quick escape during their lunch break a truly ingenious creation.”

BENEFITS
The tangible benefits of deep virtual relaxation sessions? Better sleeping patterns, increased mental health, improved concentration levels and effective de-stressing techniques. It also helps people navigate through tough life situations. 

WAY FORWARD
Based on intensive research, the team at The Wend identified South Africans as being a “spa-loving nation”. The technology has already had a success-ful trial period at Camelot Spa, and the Armani Spa and Sorbet Group are prospective clients too. The Wend is also looking to have a presence at smaller, independently-owned spas. On the next steps, Melloney says: “We would love to introduce The Wend to places where it can have a healing effect. We have identified oncology and rehabilitation centres as our next target market.”


08.01.19

Improving your mental health in the workplace with Work Mind Matters

BY Farah Khalfe 2 MINUTE READ

Metal health advocate organisation, Work Mind Matters, have announced the launch of their inaugural Work Mind Matters Conference taking place in September this year, ahead of Mental Health Awareness Month in October. Mental wellness in the workplace is fundamental to the success of any business, and the Work Mind Matters Conference aims to start conversations around this concept, providing business leaders with a platform for engagement and collaborative problem solving that suits the unique needs of their organisation.

“The concept for this conference was born out of the realisation of the impact that mental ill health is having on both employers and employees in the South African workplace, along with the lack of open dialogue which currently surrounds this crucial topic,” says Work Mind Matters founder and occupational therapist, Alison Hallett. “Our vision is to see people thrive in the workplace, grow a platform of support within organisations around mental health and develop solutions that will transform workplace culture and enhance mental wellness at all levels of organisations within the South African and African context. At the same time, we strive to break the stigma surrounding mental illness” said Hallett, who is also the South African ambassador of the MAD World Summit held in London each year.

Event Director, Bronwyn Redding-Jones added “We have had a wonderful response to the conference, partly because this is starting to become such a key topic and in part, I believe, due to the host of dynamic and influential business leaders and specialists we have lined up as speakers including our key note speaker Geoff McDonald, a London based mental health campaigner who is very active in breaking the stigma associated with mental health in the corporate world”. She adds: “in South Africa we are about 2 to 3 years behind what they are doing in the UK surrounding the stigma of mental health, so we’re delighted to be hosting Geoff McDonald from [email protected] UK.”

This one-day business conference will take place at The Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town on 6 September 2019. With a capacity of 250 delegates, the attendees will include CEOs, COOs, HR Directors and the like from across South Africa and Africa

To purchase tickets and learn more about the Work Mind Matters conference, visit the website at workmindmatters.com

07.23.19

Lightweight and Portable Entertainment with Samsung’s New Galaxy Tab S5e

BY Farah Khalfe 2 MINUTE READ

It’s lighter than a cup of coffee and equally refreshing — Samsung’s newly launched Galaxy Tab S5e is built for connectivity and entertainment. The tablet packs smart features that deliver all the essentials of a regular tablet and much more. With its big, immersive screen and impressive sound, this innovative device offers an amazing entertainment experience. Its slim, lightweight design offers unmatched comfort, while its intelligent features let you discover a world of convenience in your daily life.


Refined Design 

With its gorgeous, refreshed design, the Tab S5e embodies practicality and style. It has an incredibly thin 5.5mm sleek metal body and weighs only 400g. It’s also ultra-portable, durable and designed to integrate seamlessly into your everyday lifestyle. Available in a range of fresh and modern monochromatic colours including Silver, Black, and Gold, you can choose a style that reflects your look.


Optimised Entertainment 

The Galaxy Tab S5e’s superior sAMOLED display and minimised bezel allows you to have an immersive viewing experience without any distractions. With its four auto-rotating stereo speakers, you can enjoy rich, wide sound, no matter how you hold it. On top of that, Dolby Atmos’s 3D surround sound and AKG’s cutting-edge technology are combined to provide you with a clear and vivid, true-to-life audio experience. So, whatever you’re watching will look and sound better than you’d ever expect.


Longer Lasting Performance 

With the Galaxy Tab S5e’s ample 7,040 mAh battery, you can watch up to 14.5 hours of video and enjoy the content you love as much as you want. Additionally, the Call & Message Continuity feature lets your Galaxy Tab S5e stay connected with your phone just by using the same Samsung account, so you don’t have to miss any incoming calls or messages on your phone while watching content on the device.

The Galaxy Tab S5e comes complete with a versatile and smart keyboard cover, valued at R1999. For South Africans looking for their next tablet, this is undeniably one made to be enjoyed, in every way.


Images supplied

07.19.19

G-Star Raw Launches Sustainably Dyed Collection from Upcycled Plant Waste

BY Farah Khalfe 1 MINUTE READ

In an on-going collaboration with EarthColors by Archroma, G-Star is continuing to push the boundaries of innovation and sustainability in the fashion world. The denim apparel brand has launched a new collection of garments dyed with upcycled saw palmetto leaf leftovers and beetroot waste.


In 2017, G-Star was the world’s first denim brand to collaborate with Archroma and create a collection of circular plant-based dyed jeans. EarthColors® by Archroma, are dyes derived from upcycled plant waste that are traceable from earth to product. This season, the denim brand’s new EarthColors® by Archroma range will include jeans, denim jackets, shirts, t-shirts and sweats for both men and women. The range is available in three colors: one colorway originating from upcycled beetroot food waste and two originating from saw palmetto leaf leftovers from the herbal industry.


Founded in 1989, sustainable denim innovation is rooted in G-Star’s nature. Not only do they focus on cutting-edge aesthetics but also on the wider impact they have. They combine optimized design with eco-friendly fibers, such as organic cotton, recycled cotton and TENCEL™ with EarthColors® by Archroma dyestuff and sustainable washing techniques. By partnering with Archroma, they are championing their goal for a circular approach to how denim is made and used – in a transparent way, and developing sustainable solutions for the future of fashion.

 

The Dyed by Nature collection is available in-stores from July 2019.

 

  

 

 

 

 

06.14.19

Going wireless with Bang & Olufsen’s new Beoplay earphones

BY Farah Khalfe 1 MINUTE READ

Danish electronics company Bang & Olufsen have released their new Beoplay E8.20 wireless earphones, merging cutting-edge design with exceptional sound quality.  

Now available for purchase in South Africa, the earphones have been specially upgraded with features specifically requested by the Bang and Olufsen community.

These include a wireless charging case that holds up to three full charges and provides 16 hours of playing time, and the option of purchasing separate left and right earphones. When it comes to sound, the external Bang and Olufsen app for iOS and Android allows users to tune the sound themselves – ensuring a complete hands-free experience.

The premium leather charging case is equipped with an LED light on the front to indicate the state of the charge, while three lights on the back of the case shows the number of full charges left in the case.

Beoplay E8 2.0 comes complete with the case, five ear tips and UBS-C charging cable. The earphones are launching in the colours black, indigo blue, natural and pink, with a recommended retail price of R5 799. Products are now available at the four Bang & Olufsen stores (Mall of Africa, Melrose Arch, Sandton City, Silo Cape Town) and will soon be available online at takealot.com and makro.co.za.

The Bang & Olufsen Wireless Charging Pad (sold separately) will be available in black. Separate Beoplay E8 2.0 left and right earphones retail for R2 099 each and the wireless charging pad will retail for R2099.