Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tap water bottle heralds ‘Quench Couture’ trend (buying water is so 2010)

(I just had to include this. It's the most outrageous PR I've seen for a while. But then, maybe I just don't get out much?)

quench couture (eco-) n. 1. paradigm reimagining tap water as a symbol of social status. 2. Trend towards treating tap water as an integral fashion or home accessory exhibiting style acumen and social responsibility (e.g. ‘My bag’s by Alexander Wang and the bottle’s 321 Water’; ‘The chairs are Kartell and the water’s 321’)

AN innovative designer water bottle is transforming tap water into summer’s style statement du jour, channelling fashion and eco imperatives in the local dawn of the ‘quench couture’ trend witnessed at New York and Paris Fashion Weeks.

Launching in time to accessorise for December’s social calendar, Australian made and designed 321 Water is as stunning as it is functional. With translucent Aegean blue accenting BPA-free casing as clear as a mountain stream, the 500ml bottle is perfect for throwing in your Longchamp tote for a day adrift off St Tropez (or Palm Beach) – or toting to on shore soirees.

“We set out to prove that you can be enviably stylish, healthy and socially responsible at the same time – you don't need to choose,” says Melbourne-based 321 Water founder Gretha Oost, of the feat of fashion-conscious form and function.

To keep the Bollinger blur at bay, simply place your 321 Water bottle under the tap, and plunge, for clear, pure, refreshing filtered water.

It was only a matter of time before eco impera tives rendered trendy bottled waters passé and the ‘premiumisation’ of water filtered into the reusable segment. Australians alone pour some 80,000 tonnes of bottled water plastic into landfill each year.
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At New York and Paris Fashion Weeks, the style set toted tap water in Vivienne Westwood-designed reusable water bottles, filled at tap stations dotted around the shows. Parisian civilians are also quaffing eau de ordinaire, queuing to drink from a fountain the city installed in September to position tap water as stylish (naturally theirs is carbonated). Venice is also challenging the world’s biggest bottled water consumers with chic reusable bottles given to households.

321 Water transcends aesthetic persuasion to truly make tap water healthy and delicious. It is also among the first Australian reusable drink bottles to eschew harmful chemical BPA. Cue health cred.

The concept has struck a chord, with the equivalent of over 8,000 advance orders taken ahead of launch. The trend will only gain momentum as discerning consumers demand that their eco and wellbeing efforts reflect not only their attitudes, but their sense of style, according to Oost, who notes that ‘green’ is not a primary motivator for purchase.

By sampling nature's nectar from the 500ml vessel, sippers reduce carbon emissions, save water (321 Water represents the ratio of water required to make one litre of bottled water – three to one), and whittle their grocery bills. A modest water habit of four bottles a week costs around $600 a year – more than enough for that Hermes beach towel. Australians spend a whopping $500 million on bottled water annually.

But what about those with a serious aversion to the taste of tap water?

“I will challenge anyone to try tap water in this bottle, and then tell me honestly that they prefer store-bought bottled water to water the y bottle themselves,” Oost says.

Beyond its obvious appeal as hand-candy, the handbag-sized bottle offers handy BYO quality control at your favourite cafe or park, and will challenge your MacBook in the desk top style stakes.

The replacement 100-use filters also double as décor, with a schedule of local art and design talent commissioned to dress the eco-friendly boxes. The first design is by Flatland OK’s Tim Fleming.

Fittingly, 321 Water launches Day 1 of summer (December 1).

Available at www.321water.com, Top3byDesign, and selected homewares retailers. RRP: Bottle $39; Pack of 3 replacement filters $18.
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