ISHU scarf (Source: ISHU)
Earlier this year, I covered the ISHU scarves - that have been called everything from the 'Harry Potter scarf' to the 'modern-day invisibility cloak for social media'. This is the high-fashion anti-paparazzi scarf that uses Nano crystal technology to disrupt flash photography and give wearers the power to go invisible.
The label is still less than a year old - sold out in Harrods, went viral reaching over a billion views crashing its website, and were right on the money in understanding the pulse of celebrity culture.
Amongst the caravan of A-list celebrity endorsers, new to the ISHU stable are Jaden Smith, Chance the Rapper, Kehlani, Chris Martin, Dave Chappelle, and Amitabh Bachchan.
Jay Z Hip hop pop-up shop ISHU collaboration (Source: ISHU)
Jay Z and Roc Nation saw the same 'spirit of independence', as they put it, in what the ISHU and CEO Saif Siddiqui were doing. So like Alicia Keys sang in 'Empire State of Mind', the concrete jungle and October streets of New York became home to the dream team collaboration of the ISHU's first collaboration - with a line of pop-up shop merchandise to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Jay Z's debut Album, Reasonable Doubt. Saif also got the chance one day to close the New York Stock Exchange and witness a floor of traders wearing his ties.
Saif on CNBC New York, Amitabh Bachchan on NDTV India (Source: ISHU)
Last month also saw the expansion of their range with, the launch of phone cases and ISHU's first clothing collection, called #AnonymousSeason1 - all of which currently are available online and will feature in January's forthcoming Paris Fashion Week. Beyond their aspirations to be the must-have Christmas gift of 2016, early next year will see the launch of a children's collection - sending a clear signal of the company's desire to move their mission into similar markets as Zara and Uniqlo.
So this is more than just a uber-cool James Bond gadget, or fashion phenomenon. ISHU is part of the zeitgeist defining the mood and spirit of the global Selfie generation and our love-hate relationship with social media. Of course we want to be seen - but seen on our terms. And what we gain in social capital - where every road is a catwalk, every moment is precious, everyone has a personal brand or persona, and we are all celebrities, comes at a price. People, companies, and brands can see control moving out of their hands. The long-tail of indelible social media messages means that we all have to be smarter and exercise more diplomacy, so as not to lose face; but also bootstrap ourselves against the rising risks of cyber-crime and bullying.
Cameron Diaz wore her ISHU scarf on a flight to disrupt unwanted photos while she slept (Source: ISHU)
In an interview with the Times of India, Saif commented on how face recognition is big news, and how we manage our image and identities on Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram continues to raise concerns of privacy and security.
Beyond buttoning it and accepting the costs, or plugging out from the Matrix, we are all still searching for a middle ground and solution - and this is where the ISHU wants to make a difference in the tech space.
Plus, ISHU are showing that tech fashion is becoming genuinely fashionable - and not just some geeky Sci-Fi novelty thing. It's yet another marker that the power of Hip hop culture has gone mainstream in high fashion - away from just stalking catwalks and hawking haulers, chatting bling on tracks. Hip hop thinking has become the blueprint for the modern entrepreneur. A Hip hop state of mind, of co-creating and innovating - on record turntables, round the tables of boardrooms, and firmly in the stables of fashion houses walking the talk from London to New York is where it's at. And like Black Sheep rapped, "you can get with this or you can get with that, you can get with This, 'cos this is where it's at".
Saif and me interviewing, fighting jet lag, and unpacking The Matrix (Source: J.A.J. Wilson's iPhone)Suggest a correction