Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Exclusive: Interview with Lionstone Watches Founder Daniel Kampf

I always love the world of timepieces and exploring what is new. Watches are a great way to accessories any outfit, whether dressy or casual, and can make great heirlooms that stay in families for generations. While Baselworld just finished in Switzerland and showcased the true luxury world of horology, some of pieces are quite expensive.

I was recently introduced to Lionstone watches and immediately fell in love with the affordable luxury approach that founder Daniel Kampf is using to build his brand. Lionstone watches embody the idea of high-end, luxury without the high price tags that come with some brands. Kampf believes that everyone should be able to afford a beautiful, modern watch that is built to last.

The brand is launching a new superslim ceramic line which is made from high-tech ceramic resulting in a durable and stylish timepiece. The best part? This new ceramic line will start at only $149. I love the sleek design which gives the watch a contemporary feel that can be both dressed up or down. I asked founder Daniel Kampf a few questions about his brand, the new watch, and his vision for the future of the brand.

LTPG: How did you get interested in the fashion and specifically timepieces? 

DK: I have always loved fashion but I think my interest spiked when I left school and started to travel around Europe and Russia. The importance of fashion, in my opinion, is often underestimated. Dressing properly opens doors you didn't even know existed. I found that self-tied silk bow ties, for example, even work as a conversation starter. People are interested in you when you are dressed sophisticated. I got my hands on "The Preppy Handbook" a couple of years ago and never looked back.

For me, timepieces are an important part of fashion but there is more to it. I read somewhere that people check their wrist around 50 times a day on average. I certainly do. It is hard to describe but when you wear an alluring watch and you check the time, there is this short burst of pleasure and satisfaction that goes along with realizing what time it is. It's just a fleeting feeling, hard to grasp. But it's there. Some things go out of style but a beautiful timepiece never will. It will make you happy over and over again.

LTPG: What prompted you to start your own company and follow the path of an entrepreneur? 

DK: I come from an entrepreneurial family. When I grew up, everyone around me had their own business and I became accustomed to this way of life. I knew from an early age that this is the path for me. During my studies of Business Administration I briefly worked as a fashion consultant for Hackett London. I loved the interaction with the clients and enjoyed helping them look their best. I consulted a few grooms on their wedding outfits which are definitely memories worth having. But, life is short and you should do what makes you happiest. Everything else is a waste of time. Being an entrepreneur is, and always was, the only thing that makes sense to me.

LTPG: We all have seen prices rising over the years from major design houses and quality decrease. How are you committed to change this? 

DK: We change the issue of rising prices and quality decrease by not even starting with this habit. I always felt it is wrong to sacrifice build quality in order to turn a higher profit. Our timepieces are not expensive, and yet the quality is superior to almost everything else in our price segment. This commitment to excellent quality at a reasonable price is the very foundation of the Lionstone brand. We will keep prices steady and reasonable.

Furthermore, we really despise planned obsolescence. No one likes things that break after the warranty runs out. For us, it was never an option to go down that road. To underline this principle, we give our customers a 3-year limited international warranty on all of the watches that are purchased through our Indiegogo campaign. This warranty is going to be extended up to 10 years if we reach the right sales volume. When you grow up in Germany you really value quality and reliability. It was therefore natural for us to implement this into our brand.

LTPG: Why do you personally love the new ceramic watch?

DK: What I really love about our high-tech ceramic is how it feels on your wrist. You can't really compare the material to anything conventional. It is harder than stainless steel and yet it feels more cozy and warm when wrapped around your wrist. I like the sleekness as well. The case has a height of just 6 mm and this is what makes the Superslim Ceramic so contemporary and stylish. We took great care in taking the best photographs of our watch but we all feel that they still don't do it justice.

The best part about this watch is that our high-tech ceramic material doesn't allow for permanent stains. This is of particular importance when it comes to the women's Alpine White model. Even after several years of constant wear, the watch will look as shiny and bright as when you first opened the box it came in. The Superslim Ceramic is my first created timepiece and it will always feel special to me. I wanted to create a beautiful, reliable and reasonably prized watch and I feel that I succeeded with this model.

LTPG: Who is the ideal "Lionstone" customer?

DK: The ideal Lionstone customer is really everyone who wants a beautiful timepiece that is built to last. The details and materials that we have invested in our watches give them an eye-popping quality, yet the ceramic material is comfortable enough for casual, everyday wear. It's a great timepiece for anyone looking for a timeless, day-to-night watch.

Our watches are priced for someone who is not ready to spend half a month's salary on a watch, but enjoys owning something alluring but reliable that will keep him/her happy for years to come. This makes Lionstone a great choice as the first piece for a budding watch collector.

Because we are crowdfunding, our watches also appeal to fashion-forward people who are always ahead of the curve. We are a new brand with a mission to change the watch industry, and our Indiegogo campaign gives true trendsetters the first chance to own a cutting-edge accessory.

LTPG: How do you envision Lionstone expanding moving forward?

 DK: After the Indiegogo campaign we will work on increasing our customer base for our Superslim collection on an International level. At the same time we will start developing a new model with an automatic movement. We will test a range of different automatic movements for precision, reliability, shock absorption and destruction. An assessment center for automatic movements if you will. We are also looking into the possibility of creating our very own automatic movement. So whichever movement we will chose, the Lionstone brand's principles of quality, reliability and affordability will be perpetuated. As these things take a lot of time and dedication our automatic model will presumably be ready to hit the market in Summer 2016.

If you love the mission of Lionstone and want exclusive access to the new ceramic watch, you can support their IndieGoGo Campaign

Photos: Lionstone Watches

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Boost Immunity with Wellness Tea for Spring

The calendar indicates that it is spring, however, the weather outside has been telling a different story...especially in the northeast. For me, the coming of spring is also ushered in with the changing of the weather which tends to cause seasonal health concerns.

I have been incorporating essential oils into my daily routine for a few weeks now, finding a new way to use an existing oil or mixing in a new oil to my routine. With the impending change of seasons, I have been incorporating a wellness tea into my morning routine which utilizes the Thieves Essential Oil. This tea is a good way to boost and support a healthy immune system, and I also find it to be soothing for the throat.*

Thieves® essential oil is named for four thieves in France who covered themselves in cloves, rosemary, and other aromatics while robbing plague victims. This blend is used for its cleansing abilities to support the immune system and maintain good health.

Thieves Wellness Tea

1 Cup of Hot Water (I use a green tea blend to add my oils to)
2 drops Thieves Essential Oil
2 drops Lemon Essential Oil
Honey (I like to use raw, organic honey)

Boil your water, add tea bag, add essential oils, sweeten to taste, and enjoy!

The essential oils are highly concentrated so you get the benefits with only 2 drops! I recommend making your tea in your glass mugs as it is not recommended to use essential oils in plastics cups or containers.

If you are interested in essential oils, you can learn my why becoming a wholesale distributor makes sense 

*Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on this website.

Friday, March 20, 2015

J.McLaughlin Spring 2015 Collection

If you love classic styles with a modern, preppy appeal, then J.McLaughlin is most certainly already present in your wardrobe. The brand, started in 1977 by a pair of East Coast brothers, produces great sportswear with its unique and iconic use of color and print season after season. In J.McLaughlin's words, their brand is "rooted in the tradition of sport, work, and play with a signature element of surprise.

I really enjoyed browsing through the spring 2015 lookbook. All the great color and patter/print really have me in the mood for spring wardrobing...bring on the warmer weather! For spring 2015, the team shot the campaign in California and really captured the essence of the spirit of J.McLaughlin, namely sport, work, and play. 

The collection includes very signature, preppy pieces such as lace embroidered tunics and structured cigarette pants for her. For the guys, there is an array of versatile pieces such as gingham shirts, chinos, and on-trend, modern sweatpants for those more casual moments. Staying true to the whimsical side of the brand, each piece has an element of surprise, whether it be a grosgrain lining to spice up a tailored shirt or an unexpected thread to tie on a button. 

There is definitely a lot that caught my eye in this year's spring collection. One can never have to many spring colored oxfords! You can browse the full spring 2015 collection online. What are you most excited about for spring?

Images: J.McLaughlin Spring 2015 Lookbook

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lacoste for J.Crew

The iconic French brand, Lacoste, has teamed up with J.Crew for a collaboration on a new line of polos. Lacoste, started from inspiration on the tennis court, has become a staple in any preppy wardrobe. Whether you grew up wearing them on the tennis court or to school, the little alligator has become an unmistakable icon around the world. 

I think this is a great collaboration between two brands that are definitely staples in my daily wardrobe. For the partnership, J.Crew recreated the famous alligator logo to include "lacoste" in script and tonal alligators that match back to the colors of the polos.

Currently, the line is offered in three traditional colors: red, navy, and white. I opted to go with the navy as I truly believe you can never have too many navy polos...they simply go with everything and are a true classic. Overall, J.Crew has drawn on the long heritage of Lacoste to offer a lineup for men, women, and children that a truly iconic, classic pieces that can be worn for decades. 

Browse the Lacoste x J.Crew Collaboration online.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Very First Signs of Spring

After one of the most grueling winters I can recall, it seems like we are finally beginning to see some of the very first signs of spring. From longer days, chirping birds in the morning to warmer temperatures, I love the fresh start that spring brings.

I may be a little eager to break into my spring wardrobe and turn to lighter pieces, however, after this winter I think every one is! I know one thing is for certain- I am ditching the big winter parka. I put together a look that is perfect for the moderate temperature we have been having this week while still retaining some necessary elements for the slush on the ground.

The look is centered around the heavy canvas moto vest. I look the details on the vest and I think it brings a great, modern look to any outfit with which it might be paired. I layered the vest with a classic Burberry polo and wore moto jeans that tie back with the quilted details and zippers on the vest. Since there is still quite a bit of snow on the ground melting away, the slightly rugged work boots are a good medium for style and functionality for slushy streets.

I love fun accessories as a means to complete any look in a simple way, so for this particular outfit I added a few of my favorite bracelets and finished with a great fragrance. While this outfit is a departure from classic prep, it incorporates some great, modern elements to update a classic look.

Vest:  Ralph Lauren // Polo: Burberry // Denim: Ralph Lauren (similar) // Shoes: Ralph Lauren // Bracelets: Proenza Schouler & Miansai

Friday, March 6, 2015

Baselworld 2015 Salon Preview

If you are into timepieces like myself, Baselworld is probably on your radar. The event, huge in the watch world, is quickly approaching. This year's exhibit will be held March 19-26 in Basel, Switzerland to showcase the newest pieces and trends in Swiss timepieces for 2015. The location is picturesque and I love the modern architecture of the exhibition gallery.

I have been fortunate to get a sneak peek at some of the latest watches that will be debuting this year at Baselworld 2015. The amount of timepieces on display can be overwhelming, however, I have curated a selection of a few from the salon that have caught my eye.

Breitling Chronoliner

This new model from Breitling takes inspiration from a model dating back to the 1950s and 60s. The brand is known as the "official supplier to world aviation" during this era, and the new Chronoliner pays homage to the brand's aeronautical tradition. ts distinctive features include a broad scratch-resistant high-tech ceramic bezel with a star-shaped cut-out that facilitates handling as well as white ceramic numerals creating an optimal contrast. The second timezone is easily read off by means of a red-tipped hand together with a 24-hour graduated rotating bezel equipped with an ultra-accurate ratcheted system. The timepiece is done in a 48mm polished steel case with a mechanical automatic chronometer.

Burberry Britain Icon Limited Edition

I am loving this new limited edition (20 pieces) by Burberry. It has a modern, updated feel from some of the watches of the past and incorporates the heritage check in a subtle way. Additionally this model was designed by Burberry CEO Christopher Bailey. The timepiece is done in 45mm polished and brushed anthracite DLC-treated titanium case complete with black alligator strap. 

Chopard L.U.C Qualité Fleurier

Chopard presents a timepiece which has one of the most prestigious certifications in the world of horology, the Fleurier Quality. The brand is indeed the one that has had the most watches certified by the Fleurier Quality Foundation since the creation of the much-coveted label, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2014 Foundation. Done in 18K pink gold with a mechanical automatic movement, this watch will pair well with business attire to make a statement. 

Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde

Breguet’s latest creation, the Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097 pays tribute to the “souscription” and “tact” watches made by Abraham-Louis Breguet in the late 18th century. Like them, its mechanism reveals the bridges, wheels, escapement, barrel and various other parts that are normally placed beneath the plate. The small offset dial at 12 o’clock – another characteristic of the great master’s legendary “à tact” watches – on the new Tradition 7097 model is overlapped by a retrograde seconds segment promoting optimal readability. I love the combination of the delicacy of the roman numerals and sub-dial mixed the the modernity of the skeleton dial. Available in 18K white or pink gold. 

This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the hundreds of watches that will be debuted at Baselworld. I am enjoying the trends I am seeing, and I also love the homage to their heritage that a lot of brands are showing with their newest models. I look forward to the exhibit opening at the end of this month!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

For Men: Maison Kitsuné Spring Summer 2015 Collection

If you live anywhere above the Mason Dixon Line you probably understand that the thoughts of warmer weather, sun, and SPRING are a few things getting us by these days as we have had an exceptionally brutal winter in the northeast.

With the arrival of a new season comes the arrival of great new collections from some of my favorite brands. Maison Kitsuné has released their spring/summer '15 collection for men. I love the inspiration behind the collection with the idea of "effortlessly French" and what that means. The collection is characterized by bold prints, stripes, and pattern, but I will let this witty Skype "interview" explain the collection along with a curation of some of my favorite looks for the upcoming season.

It is night time in Paris. A French man talks with a New Yorker…

What is it about effortless French ?

I think the key to 'effortless French style' is that the French possess an innate ability to balance what is understated and easy. They highlight their best assets through well-made clothes that are thoughtfully chosen, and lend a personalized touch to each ensemble – however simple it may be.

Let's talk a little about the French man, specifically. How would you define his approach to fashion?

The idea of a French man is perhaps less elusive than a French woman when it comes to fashion, but that does not mean that their look is any less nuanced. French men appear to seek out a uniform that is comfortable and cool for every day. And then they stick to it, for a long time. It seems that the mark of a proper French man is when you see him two days in a row and can't tell if he changed his clothes or not.

Seems like the proper French man doesn't care at all! 

 I think that's the point, to act like he doesn't care even though everyone knows he cares too much. It's part of his charm – couching one's arrogance with a trace of vulnerability can be kind of cute. But there is a bit of intelligence to it all, as these looks can convey very subtle messages about one's interests or affiliations. Luckily the French man has a lot of options to choose from - more than he would elsewhere - to help him express himself.

What do you mean by this? In what ways can he express himself through fashion?

 The French man has more room to play with bolder fabrics like stripes, checks, and seersucker. When he deviates from his uniform he likes to take the idea of classic English or Italian tailoring and bring it into slightly awkward, yet endearing territory - with stylish results. For summer, this means injections of color or little flourishes like embroidery. He also seems to be unafraid of trying a fun print - even one full of tiny foxes, colorful palm trees or a cut paper print - and approaches these pieces as a fun, artistic challenge to mix-and-match for everyday.

Well then how does he balance these pieces in his wardrobe?

 Well there is something really great to the standby French color palette – navy, khaki, cream and a touch of red. When you get this bunch involved, fashion becomes kind of fool-proof - a concept that men of any nationality are a fan of. For him, there is a certain appeal in acquiring the perfect wool and mohair blazer, oxford shirt, teddy or windbreaker. In addition to curating his special, more outlandish pieces, a French man seems equally concerned with investing in well-tailored, quality basics. This lends an air of sophistication to the building blocks of his wardrobe. But I also think it's funny how French men are unabashed in their eagerness to embrace somewhat clichéd classics like striped shirts and nautical sweaters. For them, these pieces appear to carry a sense of national pride, which makes sense – since they were pioneered in France to begin with.

How do they make these French classics appear modern?

Well French men in general really enjoy asserting the fact that they're French. While their accents typically provide enough evidence of their nationality, some like to take it to the next level by spelling it out in their clothes. While a New Yorker would never be caught dead in one of those I <3 NY shirts, a French man finds no issue with wearing a hat emblazoned with 'Parisien' or even a T-shirt printed with landmarks like the Eiffel Tower. There's a certain level of irony in this, lending an elevated streetwear-type vibe that's super chic. I think that's as effortless as it gets.

Images: Maison Kitsuné
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