Monday, October 27, 2008

High Tech Fashion

I love fashion. I love technology. So you can imagine my excitement and intrigue when I first saw (and of course had to immediately purchase) the October 2008 edition of Esquire Magazine.

Esquire used a technology called electronic ink or e-ink, which features flashing, alternating words and pictures on the front of the magazine cover. This technological triumph is completely mesmerizing. It says "The 21st century begins now. *three hours later on the west coast."

Inside the magazine are several great articles, including a spread about the 75 most influential people of the 21st century. I've included today an entry from their list - a power player I don't know much about, but already respect very highly.

Rory Stewart.

Diplomat, author, adventurer, charitable-foundation director, temporary governor of an Iraqi Provence, walking enthusiast, 35. Afghanistan, Great Britain.

Last summer in Kabul, I visited Rory Stewart at the abandoned 19th century British Embassy he renovated and now occupies for his start-up, the Turquoise Mountain Foundation. Slight-framed and slung back in a chair in the compound's courtyard, he was anything but relaxed. While sipping Afghan green tea, he arbitrated (in multiple tongues) petty feuds among staff members who come from diverse tribes, gave an interview to a British newspaper, charmed a baroness into donating thousands of dollars, and negotiated a meeting with Hamid Karzai. He may be the man to fix Afghanistan. Stewart, not Karzai.

What Stewart lacks in Churchill's girth he makes up for in intellect and grit. At 35, he has tutored princes William and Harry, graduated from Oxford, served in the British Army and Foreign Service (in Indonesia), walked 6,000 miles across Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nepal (about which he wrong The Places in Between), governed a Provence of Iraq (after which he published The Princes of the Marshes), and launched Turquoise Mountain, a community-action group that single-handedly restored artisan culture in a rundown Kabul neighborhood - for which he also sponsors public services like trash collection. Churchill fought imperial Britain's wars. Stewart is Britain's emerging conscience of the 21st century's main security problem: the postwar. The West has laser-guided weapons but few people who know Central Asia from painful wandering and hand-shaking, not from satellite images. Kipling said that the hand of friendship averts the whip of calamity. America talks of transformational diplomacy, putting officers on the ground in far-flung places; Stewart has long known diplomacy of the deed is the only kind that matters.

- Parag Khanna

How could you not want to meet this Rory Stewart? The logical side of me wonders just how exactly someone would go about walking 6,000 miles, let along across hostile, unknown territory. I wonder if this is the next level of adventure-travel we'll see offered by my favorites at Abercrombie & Kent!

Regardless, I love the October Esquire magazine, and hope you can find one still available in your local bookseller. For more information on how the cover was created, click here.

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