Menswear has always had a big influence on our designs; we always find a lot of inspiration in the utility and though lines that are traditionally thought of as masculine and nothing pleases us like seeing a women carry the Soren or Raylan bags from our men’s collection. Lately though, I was watching the video of David Bowie’s latest single “the stars are out tonight” and it got me thinking about how FUN the recent displays of androgyny have been in fashion/music. Case in point: Bowie’s video below. A word of warning, it is wild and bizarre, but it also features a fascinating gender reversal: models Andrej Pejic and Saskia de Brauw play a celebrity couple where Pejic is the girl, while de Brauw is the boy. A lot of weirdness ensues.
Case in point #2: Casey Legler is an artist that works in New York. A former Olympic swimmer, she’s also a women working as a male model. Speaking about her modeling career, Casey’s focus is on self-expression and freedom: “I understand signifiers. We’re social creatures and we have a physical language of communicating with each other,” she says. “But it would be a really beautiful thing if we could all just wear what we wanted, without it meaning something.” Watch her interview below, we dare you not to be charmed.
You can ask anyone in the office, I’m a tad coffee obsessed. It all began when I didn’t understand coffee culture at all, so my curiosity put me to search to understand it. I talked with baristas, friends, and avid coffee drinkers about the art and different cultural implications that coffee plays in our lives. Sure it’s just a bean in a cup, though everyone has a story about it, and can relate to it somehow. Recently in our office, Inder bought an Nespresso machine which has been making our coffee area a communal spot in the morning. (Thank you!)
One of my favorite travel memories was from a trip to Hawaii, waking up from camping atop a volcanic mountain, and started our day searching for coffee. The desolate roads weren’t looking too hopeful, until we stumbled across a small coffee sign. We drove up to realize that it was a coffee plant but looked closed. As our car turned around, we nearly hit a dog who came running out of nowhere, so I got out, and was heckled down by a lovely lady in a house coat yelling “ how do you like your coffee”. I approached her, and she welcomed us into her home. We later found out that her husband and her grow their own beans and open up their home to travellers like ourselves into her home as a little coffee shop. Myself being coffee obsessed I ended up speaking with her for a good hour as she taught me on the different beans, and gave me a lengthy background life story on how she ended up in Hawaii. I’ve got to say, it was one of the best cups I’ve had!
The dialogue, one evening, was started by a young Canadian, wearing a Lungi and a thin kurta. He said he was twenty-three, but looked barely out of his teens. He wore around his neck an elegant little silver cross on a dainty chain. He said he had come across the book I Am That in a bookshop in Bombay a couple of days ago, a cursory glance at a few pages impelled in him a desire to meet Maharaj personally. He had already gone through the book reading almost continuously, through the afternoon, evening and night, and had finished both the volumes only a few hours ago.
Maharaj: You are so young. I wonder since what age you have been interested in the spiritual quest.
Visitor: Sir, ever since I remember I have been deeply interested in Love and God. And I strongly felt that they are not different. When I sit in meditation, I often…….
M: Wait a moment. What exactly do you mean by meditation?
V: I don’t really know. All I do is to sit cross-legged, close my eyes, and remain absolutely quiet. I find my body relaxing, almost melting away, and my mind, or being or whatever merging into space, and the thought-process getting gradually suspended.
M: That’s good. Please proceed.
V: Quite often, during meditation, an overwhelming feeling of ecstatic love arises in my heart together with an effusion of well-being. I do not know what it is. It is during one such spell that I felt inspired to visit India — and here I am.
M: How long will you be in Bombay?
V: I really don’t know. I rarely make any plans. I have sufficient money to live frugally for about fifteen days, and I have my return ticket.
M: Now tell me, what is it exactly that you want to know. Do you have any specific questions?
V: I was a very confused man when I landed in Bombay. I felt I was almost going out of my mind. I really don’t know what took me to the bookshop because I don’t do much reading. The moment I picked up the first volume of I Am That, I experienced the same overpowering feeling that I get during my meditation. As I went on reading the book a weight seemed to lift off from within me, and, as I am sitting here before you, I feel as if I am talking to myself. And what I am saying to myself seems like blasphemy. I was convinced that love is God. But now I think that love is surely a concept and if love is a concept God also must be a concept.
M: So, what is wrong in it?
V: (Laughing) Now, if you put it like that I have no feeling of guilt in transforming God into a concept.
M: Actually, you said love is God. What do you mean by the word ‘love’. Do you mean ‘love’ as the opposite of ‘hate’? Or, do you mean something else, although, of course, no word can be adequate to describe ‘God’.
V: No. No. By the word ‘love’ I certainly do not mean the opposite of ‘hate’. What I mean is that love is abstaining from discrimination as ‘me’ and the ‘other’.
M: In other words, unity of being?
V: Yes, indeed. What then is ‘God’ to whom l am expected to pray?
M: Let us talk about prayer later. Now then, what exactly is this ‘God’ you are talking about? Is he not the very consciousness—the sense of ‘being’ that one has—because of which you are able to ask questions? I am’ itself is God. What is it that you love most? Is it not this ‘I am’, the conscious presence which you want to preserve at any cost? The seeking itself is God. In seeking you discover that ‘you’ are apart from this body-mind complex. If you were not conscious, would the world exist for you? Would there be any idea of a God? And, the consciousness in you and the consciousness in me — are they different? Are they not separate only as concepts, seeking unity unconceived, and is that not love?
V: Now, I understand what is meant by ‘God is nearer to me than I am to myself’.
M: Also remember, there can be no proof of Reality other than being it. Indeed you are it, and have always been. Consciousness leaves with the end of the body (and is therefore time-bound) and with it leaves the duality which is the basis of consciousness and manifestation.
V: What then is prayer, and what is its purpose?
M: Prayer, as it is generally understood, is nothing but begging for something. Actually, prayer means communion-uniting-Yoga.
V: Everything is so clear now, as if a great deal of rubbish has been suddenly thrown out of my system, blown out of existence.
M: Do you mean that you now seem to see everything clearly?
V: No. No! Not ‘seems’. It is clear, so clear that I am now amazed that it was not clear at any time. Various statements that I had read in the Bible, which seemed important but vague before, are now crystal clear— statements like: Before Abraham was I am; I and my father are one; I am that I am.
M: Good. Now that you know what it is all about, what Sadhana will you do to obtain liberation from your ‘bondage’?
V: Ah! Maharaj. Now you are surely making fun of me. Or, are you testing me? Surely, now I know and have realized that I am that —I am, which I have always been and which I shall always be. What is left to be done? Or, undone? And who is to do it? And for what purpose?
M: Excellent! Just be.
V: I shall, indeed.
Then, the young Canadian prostrated before Maharaj, his eyes brimming with tears of gratitude and joy. Maharaj asked him if he would be coming again, and the lad said: “Honestly, I don’t know.” When he left, Maharaj sat for a while with his eyes closed, the gentlest of smiles on his lips. He then said very softly: “A rare one”; I could barely catch the words. I never saw the young Canadian again, and I have often wondered about him.
These pages are from Pointers from Nisargadatta Maharaj (chapter 13). Wishing you much love this long weekend, have a great one!
I recently came across this text from Kevin Lyons, a designer and illustrator that has worked with the likes of Nike, Converse, and Coca-Cola,among others… Not only does he relate this piece to one of our favorite bands – the Velvet Underground—but in a way, this reflects how we approach our design process. The Velvet Underground was formed in a 60’s, a decade that broke many fashion traditions, mirroring social movements during the period. I don’t know if it’s the social change that happened during that time, the development of a counterculture, or the will to break conventions, but there is something deeply inspiring that we keep coming back to in term of music, art, architecture and design. I especially cannot get enough of the 60’s photography section in LIFE’s website. I’m particularly in love with this one lately:
But to go back to the quote, we’ve been designing since 1995, with ample time to have our fair share of changes of hearts, and it was at times a winding road to figure out just how to be. As creative people, it can be hard to let go things, but it’s very liberating. We’ve come to a place where we focus about the process, concentrating our attention on the purpose and simplicity of what we do; the rest comes on its own.
During the World Master Card Fall Fashion Week in Toronto, I had the pleasure of attending the Heart Truth Fashion Show, an event sponsored by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. All charities fight for the greater good and for global awareness, but what the Heart Truth did was different, they didn’t tell you that eating well and exercising equaled a healthy heart they showed you.
I don’t want to go on about how amazing the foundation is or why you should donate, because you can make the decision for yourself at thehearttruth.ca. What I am going to say, was when I saw 91-year-old Gladys Wenger walk down the runway in full spirits and high energy, I was inspired. I instantly wanted to be Wenger, maybe not her age (just yet), but eventually, I’d like to be. Ask any of my friends and they’d tell you; my diet is not picture perfect. Looking back at what I ate this week and thinking about how harmful it’ll all be to my body in the long run is embarrassing. It’s embarrassing because I know better. Wenger doesn’t just know better, she lives better.
Information is power, but only if you put it to use. I’ve heard the positive side effects of eating well and having an active lifestyle but like smokers will tell you, “these days, everything is bad for you,” and that’s not true. Small changes in your diet and lifestyle can provide long-term benefits. Just ask Wenger, or any of the other seniors and heart and stroke survivors who walked the runway that night.
So whenever I think I don’t have time to eat well, I’m going to make the time. I’m going to think about the 91 year old who still has the energy to play street hockey – because that my friend, is real motivation!
Over the weekend, we had the pleasure of chatting with an old friend Josh Cobos, a talented musician from Big Drag, a psychedelic rock band from San Francisco. I’ve seen them play a few times, always a good time full of energy, stage presence and good vibes all around. I wanted to dig a little deeper and find out how it all began, here’s his story.
How long have you been playing music?
I’ve been playing music since I was 10 so that’s 15 years now.
When did big drag begin?
Big drag began when I saw the movie Bikini Beach & found out Heidi could play drums
What inspires you to create?
Other art inspires me to create, seeing bands live makes me wanna go home and shred and learn how to play every good song out there. I also read the paper tons too, there’s always something weird or grotesque or obscene going on in there.
What influences your music most?
Musically we all sit around and listen to tapes or pick songs out at the jukebox and pass CDs or records back and forth so we’re all constantly getting exposed or reacquainted with something different. Then we’ll just go play songs that we hear in our heads, stuff that keeps us busy on walks or drives to work. If you open your eyes, life is constantly happening and you can interpret every action a million different ways.
What does living beautifully mean to you?
Living beautifully is making sure that your conscious decisions reflect who you are, breathe in the same honesty you breathe out.
My prof in university for strategic management was an ex-firefighter who was a brilliant leader/mentor.
In one of his lectures Mr. O’connell told us about one of his key interview questions in business: ‘Tell me about a mistake you made in your career, what you learned from it and how you would handle the situation differently moving forward.’ He went on to say how it usually took potential candidates off guard and more then less would answer that they didn’t make any major mistakes that they regretted. This would be the end of the interview.
So here I am 23 years later asking potential candidates this week (we’re looking to fill a position in customer service): ‘what has been an experience in your career that you would have handled differently’. You would be surprised how many candidates are speechless ! It’s not the end of the interview for us….however we do want to get to know our potential peeps a little better, what are we looking for ? Depth, humility.
I’ve had a ton of ‘learning experiences’ here at M&N. Over a period of time between 2009 and 2011, we made changes in terms of design and distribution. Sadly, we alienated some customers in the process that had given us their support since our humble beginnings back in 1995.
In 2012 we came back to our original founding ethos: designing timeless pieces with innovative materials in the inspired color of the moment, with accessibility being key. My learning experience ? NEVER take the customer for granted, EVER. They are as much a part of MATT & NAT as our creations and our team so any decision we take has to involve them. I would have never have had the type of appreciation and relationship with our customers that I have today had we not gone through this tumultuous period.
SO get out there, get busy and own the moment! You are going to make mistakes, learn from them and have no regrets! Be humble enough to admit your ‘learning experience’ and courageous enough to take responsibility. I’ve learned more over the last 2 years then I have since 1995. A change in perspective on ‘learning experiences’ has been a major life changing experience for myself in terms of personal growth…
Happy Friday Everyone and a BIG welcome to our contributing bloggers Christine and Megan !
“I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes.”
― Edna St. Vincent Millay
You really have to learn to love snow if you live in Montreal. Except for some strange episodes of global warming (remember that crazy winter day last year when the temp reached 25 degrees?), there is just no escaping it. Generally, our view when it comes to fighting the inescapable is to stop fighting, just go with it, and enjoy the journey. We actually just got our last (maybe?) big storm of the season this week, but the sun is shining today and the air is crisp, making everything brighter.
But back to Spring: it’s a fantastic season that is so short in our city that it almost doesn’t exist. The energy is incredible, palpable in the air. You sense the moods changing, the people smiling more. It happens in every city, but it’s on a whole different scale here. After a few months longing to go out without a winter jacket, to see some green grass, to imagine spending time out on a terrace, that sense of longing and knowing that something different is coming creates real desire. Needless to say, it’s a great source of inspiration ingrained within us; we think about spring and all we imagine are bursts of color and fun shapes. It’s especially true this year, with shades of green, yellow, orange and ocean, our color palette for spring 2013 is all about POP.
Il faut vraiment apprendre à aimer la neige, si vous habitez à Montréal. Sauf pour quelques épisodes étranges du réchauffement climatique (rappelez-vous ce jour d’hiver fou l’an dernier lorsque la température atteint 25 degrés?), il n’y a tout simplement pas moyen d’y échapper. En général, notre point de vue quand il s’agit de lutter contre l’inéluctable est de simplement arrêter la lutte et juste suivre le courant en appréciant les choses au jour le jour. En fait, nous venons juste d’avoir notre dernière (peut-être?) grosse tempête de la saison cette semaine, mais le soleil brille aujourd’hui et l’air est vif, ce qui rend tout plus lumineux.
Mais revenons au Printemps: c’est une saison fantastique qui est si courte dans notre ville qu’elle n’existe presque pas. L’énergie est incroyable, palpable dans l’air. Vous sentez les humeurs changeantes, les gens qui sourient plus. Ça arrive dans chaque ville, mais c’est vraiment sur une toute autre échelle ici. Après quelques mois à avoir envie de sortir sans une veste d’hiver, d’imaginer passer du temps sur une terrasse, l’anticipation de l’arrivée prochaine du printemps crée un désir réel. Inutile de dire que c’est une source d’inspiration bien ancrée en nous, quand nous pensons au printemps, nous imaginons tout de suite des éclats de couleurs. C’est particulièrement vrai cette année, avec des nuances de vert, de jaune, d’orange et d’océan, notre palette de couleurs pour le printemps 2013 est POP.
“It is my belief that it is far better to begin, than to wait for a perfect result which never seems to come.”- Quentin
I recently moved back from San Francisco, where I had the pleasure of working alongside Quentin Navia, a beautiful woman whose spirit could fill an entire room of charisma and positivity. Her youthful attitude inspired me to self reflect and find inner happiness, but also to never let life become mundane. She toured the country playing music with a folk band, that opened for Peter Gabriel in the 70’s and somehow along the path she found herself opening “Pena Pachamama” a restaurant with the BEST raw vegan food I’ve had located in the heart of San Francisco’s North Beach, at one of the historic Speakeasy’s. She would always tell me the success was never forced, nor was opening a “business” but rather it formed naturally , and turned into a great success. She continues to play music every night at the restaurant along with her husband and son. She’s living proof that regardless of age, if you do what you love, you’ll feel and look forever young. She recently wrote a book titled “The Art of Raw living” where she offers many delicious raw- vegan recipes as well as an insider tip at how her restaurant came to be. Here’s a little preview of the book.
“Each search, each story is notable and remarkable, because each individual is unique, one of a kind. Each has taken this journey in the material realm and experienced its joys, adventures, struggles, sufferings and successes. And even if we lack writing skills, our stories can inspire and encourage our compañeros along the way.
We all draw from the experiences of each other. We all offer true lessons from our own experiences. We read others stories to be inspired by them but ultimately the journey is our own. There are no complete recipes or guidelines for the trip, no one has taken exactly the same path. But one thing is for certain, that if it is true, we are all bound to find the same thing.
As with a raw lifestyle, I believe I’m in it for life. It is the adventure, with the fun, innocence and creative enthusiasm of a child, (in the end we are all bound to find the same thing-if its real- and raw living organic vegan foods are the closest we can get.”
Montreal’s bustling St. Laurent street, also known as the Main, is home to a seemingly endless choice of diners, bars, venues, shops, and cafes. But, if you’re looking for a meal that is local, organic, free of animal products as well as delicious, make a beeline for Montreal’s first vegan restaurant: Aux Vivres. It is located at 4631, between Mount Royal and Villeneuve.
The restaurant prides itself on its ability to offer meals that are as healthy as they are tasty. Only the freshest ingredients are used and priority is given to local and seasonal produce. Aux-Vivres’ dishes are celebrated for their unexpected flavour combinations.
The menu boasts an enticing array of starters, bowls, sandwiches, soul food, ‘burgers’, and dessert. Salads come with a choice of house dressing, ginger dressing or wafu dressing. For beverages, Aux Vivres offers a selection of smoothies, which are naturally sweetened with agave syrup or dates. Other options include: fresh juices, drinks, and coffees. Sauces and sides may be ordered for a modest sum.
My go-to choice is the Chana, which is composed of chickpeas, potatoes, curry, chutney, and coriander. Its hardy ingredients will sit warmly, but not heavily, in one’s stomach. With that said, this wrap is especially satisfying to eat during Montreal’s chillier days.
Warm up with Aux Vivres’ vegan take on hot chocolate, another great choice for winter. This beverage is made with soy milk, which froths very easily. The result is smooth, sweet, and oh-so-satisfying.
Finally, I’d highly recommend Aux-Vivres’ Uncheesecake. A local favorite, this dessert is made with Tofutti, soy, a graham crust, and a berry mix topping. The result is much lighter and softer than regular cheesecake, it almost melts right in your mouth. A must-have!
Marie-Pierre Michaud opened Aux Vivres in 1997. In 2001, Michael Makhan became a co-owner and a few years later, went on to have full ownership of the restaurant. Michael’s brother Liam was hired in 2005. Now, with both brothers in central management roles, the restaurant has blossomed into a true partnership.
Always, but most especially since its major expansion in 2005, Aux Vivres has experienced a growing clientele base, catering to a steady stream of newcomers and regulars. Visit today!
Aux Vivres may be contacted at: 514-842-3479.
Visit their official website at: http://www.auxvivres.com/en/
Living beautifully, the mantra printed on all our products can mean a lot of things to different people. For us, the gist of it is about approaching things with an open mind, taking the time to appreciate life, living in harmony with our environment. Sustainability is a fundamental part of that philosophy, which drives us to use eco-friendly and durable materials and high-quality workmanship for a product built to last.
This idea led us to start using recycled linings in 2007. The recycled polyester used for our linings is made of recycled PET, which is widely used in plastic bottles and other food packaging all over the world. How does this process work? Essentially, discarded plastic bottles are collected through waste collection agencies. Recycling companies will then treat the bottles by shredding the material into small fragments used to produce yarn. The result? 8 plastic bottles make 1 yard of fabric, that’s about 120 000 bottles recycled per year inside our bags. Not only does this process use raw materials that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill, but using recycled polyester rather than virgin polyester also cuts energy consumption by 50%, water consumption by 20% and air pollution by 60%. Clever stuff!
Les bouteilles en plastique à l’intérieur de nos sac .
Vivre en beauté, le mantra imprimé sur tous nos produits peut signifier bien des choses pour différentes personnes. Pour nous, essentiellement, ca veut dire approcher les choses avec un esprit ouvert, en prenant le temps d’apprécier la vie, et de vivre en harmonie avec notre environnement. Être conscients de notre impact écologique est un élément fondamental de cette philosophie, qui nous pousse à chercher des matériaux respectueux de l’environnement et de haute qualité pour un produit conçu pour durer.
Cette idée nous a incité à utiliser des doublures recyclées depuis 2007. Le polyester de nos doublures est fait en PET recyclé, un matériel largement utilisé dans les bouteilles en plastique et autres emballages alimentaires partout dans le monde. Comment fonctionne ce processus? Essentiellement, les bouteilles en plastique jetées sont recueillies par le biais d’agences de collecte des déchets. Les entreprises de recyclage traitent ensuite les bouteilles pour les réduire en petits fragments utilisés pour produire du fil. Le résultat? 8 bouteilles en plastique donnent 1 mètre de tissu, ce qui revient à environ 120,000 bouteilles recyclées par an dans nos sacs. Non seulement ce processus utilise des bouteilles qui, autrement auraient abouti dans un site d’enfouissement, mais en utilisant du polyester recyclé plutôt que du polyester vierge on réduit également la consommation d’énergie de 50%, la consommation d’eau de 20% et la pollution de l’air de 60%. Ingénieux!
I took this photo in death valley, on a trip driving from San Francisco to Nevada. This was my favorite stop along the way.
I’ve been a long time fan of Matt & Nat , and now that I work here with a team of individuals who are open minded inspires me every day. With our mantra being living beautifully, how could I not want to wake up every morning to go to work? Positivity is what we pride ourselves at the office, no bad vibes, or negativity allowed! It makes the work environment all the better. : ) I was talking with Dina earlier this week and she sparked my inspiration as we were chatting on what living beautifully means to both of us.
For myself, I could describe living beautifully as my favorite symbol: a paper plane.
Stay light, bright & explore the unknown. It reminds me to never take life too seriously but enjoy every moment. I love to travel, explore & meet people. If I could, I would sit at the window stoop of a different café with a book & coffee and be inspired by the people walking by every day. Difference is what triggers my curiosity.
Here are a few shots of some places, and people I’ve met along the way who have taught me to stay positive, be yourself and continue to live beautifully.
I guess I’m a hopeless romantic but how cute are they?! I met them whilst traveling in Hawaii, hoping one day to be just as cute as they were : )
Along the beach in Hawaii, I sat to have a chat and make lei necklaces with this lovely inspiring woman Ailana.
What does living beautifully mean to you?
Happy Monday everyone : )
Gold beets, smoked tofu, avocado, capers, cucumber dill sauce, and pumpernickel.
When I found out Horizons, a lovely vegan restaurant in my hometown of Philadelphia, was closing down, I was distraught. But my tears were quickly dried when I heard the owners would be opening a new vegan restaurant in Philly! Enter: Vedge. This upscale vegan restaurant opened in late 2011 and has since taken the world by storm. I’m pretty sure I love Vedge even more than I liked Horizons. It’s a bit more refined and it’s just more of an experience. It’s definitely pricey, but the food is amazing. The portions are small–you are supposed to order many dishes. This can add up as you’d imagine but it’s also my favorite way to dine. I love to try small bits of as many dishes as possible. Yes, I’ve been known to frequent a veggie Indian buffet now and then. But Vedge is no buffet, that’s for sure. It kind of feels like you’re at an old-school gentleman’s club (not that kind!), as it’s divided into rooms and covered in dark wooden fixtures. Actually, the time I went there for dinner, I was sitting next to two (talkative) old-school gentleman, only one of which was vegan.
That’s the other great thing about Vedge: it’s popular with non-vegans too. It’s practically mainstream. They recently launch a line of sauces with Williams-Sonoma, which is obviously big-time for a niche restaurant. And then more recently, Vedge made it to GQ’s list of “the 12 Most Outstanding Restaurants of 2013.” . If you read the review, this was clearly a hard sell. According to Vedge’s twitter, “the first words out of Alan Richman’s mouth on the phone w/ me “I fucking hate vegan restaurants, how do you do what you do?” What a sweetie-pie!
This July, Vedge is coming out with their own cookbook entitled, Vedge: 100 Plates Large and Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking. And look, I procured a little preview for you!
It’s complete with the recipe for Vedge’s shaved Brussels sprouts with whole-grain mustard sauce. Brussels sprouts are maybe my favorite thing ever. I’m pretty sure I could survive just on Brussels sprouts and coffee. If I can’t, I’ll miss you guys, but know I died happy.
Yes, it’s March already! According to our design calendar, we should be working on developing new prototypes for the next collection. So how do we go about developing these beautiful pieces?
The first secret that we’ll reveal is that we develop our sketches by hand. It may seem antiquated in an age where computers can do almost anything, but somehow there is a personal, emotional connection with the work, a certain joy derived from the interaction of the hand and the mind. So we prefer to draw by hand on translucent paper and let the imagination run free, leaving intonations and traces of intentions that the patternmaker will then have to translate.
Once the sketches are ready, we scan them and finish specifying all the measurements by computer. Based on these files, the sample maker will develop a prototype in about two weeks. If we’re really lucky the process will stop there, with a perfect sample, but usually it takes a couple of corrections on each prototype to get the result that we want.
Comment développer un prototype – Est –ce que nous sommes déjà en Mars?
Et oui, nous sommes bien déjà Mars! Selon notre calendrier de conception, nous devrions être en train de travailler sur le développement de nouveaux prototypes pour la prochaine collection. C’est le temps de vraiment se plonger dans la conception des nouveaux styles!
Le premier secret, c’est que nous développons nos croquis à la main. Ça peut sembler archaïque à une époque où les ordinateurs peuvent faire presque n’importe quoi, mais quelque part ça créée un lien personnel et émotionnel avec le style; une certaine joie provient de l’interaction entre la main et l’esprit. Donc, nous préférons dessiner sur papier translucide et laisser courir notre imagination sur la page, laissant différentes intonations et traces de nos intentions que la modéliste aura alors à traduire.
Une fois que les croquis sont prêts, nous les numérisons et terminons de spécifier toutes les mesures par ordinateur. Sur la base de ces fichiers, la modéliste va développer un prototype en environ deux semaines. Si nous sommes chanceux, le processus s’arrête là, avec un échantillon parfait, mais habituellement il faut quelques corrections sur chaque prototype pour obtenir le résultat que nous voulons.
Do you ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes of a photoshoot here at MATT & NAT? I’ve got to tell you, it’s one of my favorite parts of the job. Working with our photographer April, whose open mind and critical eye allows us to get the shot we want every time by not letting an “it could pass” fly by the radar. A whole lot of retakes happen too! We will retake a single shot up to 10 times. We may be perfectionists but we enjoy it. A little manipulating & challenging goes a long way to get the right angle and lighting. Here’s a breakdown of a few key items at our last photoshoot.
1. Dina and I took a trip to Rona to see our favorite florist (we’ve become regulars now) to get plants for our shoot. We always wonder what the employees at Rona think of us quirky gals who walk in seasonally and wipe their store out with the rarest / bizarre looking plants. One of my favorites that we bought this time was our little banana plant! Here is our shopping cart!
2. Music, music music! We need to have some nice beats blaring to get our creative juices going, especially at 9 a.m!
3. A blow-dryer. Why you ask? It’s our little secret to get all the kinks and wrinkles out of our bags like a charm! Who would have thought?!
4. We have our occasional saw for when we need a few extra branches on set, we are lucky to be located in an office with trees all around it : )
5. Tea, coffee & snacks. Our favorite tea is Bengal spice at the moment, sooooo good!
This week was the last of ‘major’ trade shows of the season. I tend to go a little picture trigger happy in the city as it there is always something new and interesting going on, here’s the recap :
It’s always nice to run into peeps sporting old school M&N ! This was at COTERIE at Pier 94, pieces from 2007-08
The view from The Eventi Hotel on 6th in midtown. The Kimpton group of hotels are just great, friendly service, complimentary coffee and wine and the most comfortable beds anywhere.
Sri Om Singh was in the city with his sweetheart to celebrate his birthday, that turban color is badass !
Hung out with a young homeless couple who’s medical bills forced them onto the streets. We pass by the homeless everyday, please take a couple of minutes to hear their story, you’ll be surprised at the thin line between our two worlds. A bit of cash or a couple of cups of coffee can go a long way…
I will be out of the office for the next two weeks, looking forward to rapping again springtime, have a great one !
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment “– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Do you ever think about what it is that makes a style work? It is it the handle? The proportions? The size, the fabric, or the color? Is it a secret ingredient like a person’s love for the food they’re preparing?
Over the years, we’ve gotten pretty good at sitting down, looking at our sketches, deciding what bag will work with the line, putting aside the designs that are beautiful but don’t fit with our vision for MATT & NAT. Feedback is a crucial part of the process for a creative person, meant to help gain perspective, question and understand better what it is you’re trying to accomplish.
Last week, I was browsing through Lifehacker (I’m officially obsessed, more on that in another post… it has nothing to do with computer hacking) and I came across this video about receiving and giving criticism from Scott Berkun. Scott is an author that writes about ideas and how they work, and I’ve just recently picked up his book Mindfire: Big ideas for curious minds. I thought that I would share his invaluable advice for designers (or any creatives really) and the people giving them feedback. I want to say that I wish I had seen this video years ago, but as my friend always tells me: timing is everything, and I may not have been ready to hear this advice back in the day.
How to give and receive criticism:
Partie 3: la revue des croquis.
Avez-vous déjà pensé à ce qui fait qu’un sac a du style? Est-ce la poignée? Les proportions? La taille, le tissu ou la couleur? Il y a t’il un ingrédient secret comme quand une personne cuisine avec amour?
Au fil des ans, nous nous sommes habitués aux meetings pour évaluer nos croquis, et il nous est devenu plus facile de savoir si un style est en ligne avec notre direction, et évident de mettre de côté les idées qui sont belles, mais ne cadrent pas avec notre vision de MATT & NAT. Le feedback est un élément crucial du processus pour une personne créative, destiné à aider à mettre les choses en perspective, à questionner et à mieux comprendre ce que vous essayez d’accomplir.
La semaine dernière, je surfais sur le site Lifehacker (je suis officiellement obsédée, plus de détails dans un autre post … ça n’a rien à voir avec le piratage informatique) et je suis tombée sur cette vidéo de Scott Berkun sur le feedback. Scott est un auteur qui écrit à propos des idées en général et comment elles fonctionnent. Je viens récemment de commencer à lire son livre intitulé Mindfire: De grandes idées pour les esprits curieux. Je voulais vraiment partager ces précieux conseils pour les designers (et tout les gens dans un domaine créatif en fait) et les gens en charge de leur donner du feedback. J’allais dire que j’aurais aimé avoir vu cette vidéo à mes débuts, mais comme mon ami me dit toujours: le timing est important pour ce genre de chose, et je n’aurais peut être pas été prête à entendre ces conseils à l’époque.
Voici comment donner et recevoir des critiques:
Montreal. A city whose culture radiates regardless of what season we’re in. Spending a winter in Montreal can get freezing cold (we just had a week of -30! & survived it luckily!) Though keeping active and participating in the numerous activities around the city makes the winters pass by in the blink of an eye. This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of one of my favorite nights in Montreal “Nuit Blanche”. An inspiring night with 5 different districts around the city filled with visual arts, music, film, theater, dance, literature and more. The city comes alive right in the heart of winter. Over 185 activities & an underground art passage, take a stroll, and hop into the many places offering free events!
You can download a map depending on what district you will be in, and join myself and many Montrealers for 24 hours of art, exhibitions & music! Here are a few events that I’m looking forward to:
ABC : MTL—A Self-Portrait of Montreal / CCA : Vernissage of the final phase of our latest project, ABC : MTL—A Self-Portrait of Montréal. For one night only, especially for the Nuit blanche, drop in on performances by Montréal artists, and catch the live bands, karaoke, and family activities. www.cca.qc.ca/nuitblanche
Sara Graham StreetFinder is a collection of photographs that questions the “literal” meaning of road maps.
Raymond Aubin Tissu urbain Daily life on a sidewalk of Times Square photographed through a public webcam.
You can make your own schedule here!
I just got back from PROJECT, a trade show that we participate in twice a year and was pleasantly surprised to see that amongst all the craziness going on in sin city, there is a mandate to be more sustainable…
I try to stay at the the Wynn whenever I can, not because their gardens and lobby are absolutely stunning or because they have the largest Ferrari and Rolex showcase in North America but because every one of their exquisite restaurants offers a separate vegetarian menu. At Tableau I had what seemed like a gourmet vegan egg mcmuffin for breakfast yesterday, I have to say that I was very impressed. Was also the best damn freshly squeezed O.J. I’ve had in a long time, no, not all fresh O.J.’s are the same, some places are whimsical enough to blend in clementines, tangerines…
The Mandalay Bay encourages you not to worry about recycling your trash at their property because they physically go through everything to separate recyclables. This all gets topped off by plans to light up the strip with solar power over coming years.
For a city that has always had a reputation for being over the top, seems like some of the hotels can be examples for other properties around the world. I’m happy to report that I no longer have to feel so sinful when heading out there twice a year
Part 2 of our weekly post about the design process: get your sketch on!
The design process of new styles begins where we left off last week, having picked our colors and materials for the season (because it’s always good to know what palette you get to play with). We used to travel for a few days every season, getting inspired by walking endlessly, soaking in the architecture, the people, the art exhibits. These days though, we like to reduce the noise from the outside world—and our carbon footprint at the same time—really focusing on our vision for the aesthetic of the brand (linear! powerful! functional!) and imagining what bags we would want to carry. Sometimes that means isolating ourselves for a few hours to sketch and get all the initial ideas out on paper, not thinking too much about construction yet, but just playing with the lines and proportions until we’re feeling it. We listen to lots of music in the process, the Velvet Underground, Beach House, and Pink Floyd are regulars on the playlist.
Next week if you want I’ll tell you how we once followed a Japanese dude around the Vancouver airport, mesmerized because he was carrying a satchel (a manbag?) in the perfect shade of green with just the right zipper detail.
Partie 2 de notre blog hebdomadaire sur le processus de conception: sortez vos croquis !
Le processus de conception de nouveaux styles commence là où nous nous étions arrêtés la semaine dernière, après avoir choisi nos couleurs et nos matériaux pour la collection (en effet, c’est toujours mieux savoir avec quoi on va travailler). Nous avions l’habitude de voyager quelques jours chaque saison, de marcher pendant des heures à travers une ville, s’imprégnant de l’architecture, des gens, de la culture. Ces jours-ci, on sent moins la nécessité de voyager. On préfère vraiment se concentrer sur l‘expression de notre vision artistique pour MATT & NAT, que l’on voit comme une ligne fonctionnelle avec des formes intéressantes, différentes mais toujours pratiques. Cela nous permet de réduire notre empreinte carbone en même temps! En termes pratiques, On s’isole pendant quelques heures pour esquisser et sortir toutes les idées initiales sur papier, sans se soucier trop des détails techniques de construction pour pouvoir être plus libres d’inventer de nouvelles formes. On trouve que la musique aide beaucoup la créativité, et entre le Velvet Underground, Beach House, et Pink Floyd, il y a toujours quelque chose qui joue sur notre iPod au bureau.
La semaine prochaine, si vous voulez, on vous raconte comment une fois on a suivi un gars japonais à travers tout l’aéroport de Vancouver, fascinés parce que son sac avait une nuance de vert parfaite.
Each week, on our Facebook page we have a weekly giveaway! We recently decided it would be fun to add something personal to the giveaway. From now on, once a month, we will have our “favorites of the month” to go along with the bag : ) This week, being the month of February and love being in the air, our pick was my favorite book Essays in love by Alain de Botton.
It’s rare that I pick up a book and get glued to it until the last page. Often I’ll start a few books, but never finish them. De Botton’s Essays in love was everything I could ask for when recently dealing with a breakup & wanting to read a love story. Unlike most happy classic romance novels, this book takes you through each stage of being in love: the good, the ugly, the breakups, heartbreak and the healing process. He shares intimate moments when you can laugh with him & cry at the same time following his passionate, romantic, heart wrenching relationship with Chloe, a woman he met on a flight from London to Paris and rapidly fell in love with. Since I’ve read it, I’ve loaned it to all my friends, each whom connected with it at different levels. It’s a good read for everyone who’s been in a relationship and simultaneously confused by them. His way of analyzing emotions that we’ve all felt but perhaps never understood so well made what I was going through make more sense, and aided the healing process. It’s a book I can re-read a hundred times & want to pass around to everyone. He has a way of writing positive outlooks when confronted with the many low parts of being confused and in love. It’s uplifting & encouraging. For this reason, I hope the Winner of our valentine’s day giveaway whom we will be choosing today, enjoys it just as much as I did : )
So it’s officially 6 weeks since the start of 2013… how are you feeling ? The top New Year’s resolutions tend to involve health and spending more time with friends and loved ones. I made a resolution to not make any resolutions which seems to be working out ok !
I did come across this short story this week that reminded me of the following: we are not in control of our future however we are in complete control of our choices in the present moment. Our choices and behavior are affected by our perspective, hope this fable reminds you of some simple truths as it did for myself and helps shape your desired reality….
Just outside a small village, on a hot day, an old man is
sitting by the roadside. Soon, a traveler from another village
stops to rest.
“Old man,” says the traveler, “What are the people like in
The old man asks the traveler, “What are the people like in
“They are mean-spirited, vindictive, and selfish.”
“Ah…” sighs the old man. “I am sorry to say the people in
this village are also mean-spirited, vindictive, and selfish.”
A while later, another traveler stops to rest and he, too,
asks the old man what the people are like in this village.
The old man responds as before, “What are the people
like in your village?”
The traveler smiles warmly and says, “They are the most
caring people I have ever known. They are warm, open,
and will go out of their way to help you if you are ever
The old man smiles back and says, “The people in this
village are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.
They are warm, outgoing, and kind.”
The irony of the story is that, not only were both travelers
going to the same village, both were also coming from
the same village. Each traveler found the old man’s description
to be true because each traveler saw the world
from his own perspective.
The way each traveler thought directly affected his
impressions of the people he attracted and those with
whom he interacted. His perspective shaped his reality.
Ever wanted to know how we go about designing our collections every season? Where we get the inspiration, how we choose our colors, or how we develop the samples? We’ve decided to launch a weekly Wednesday post that will give you more insight into our design process and into what goes on behind the scenes in our office.
These days, we’re already working on our Spring 14 collection. That’s right, we work the collections pretty much a full year in advance! The first step in our process is to decide what materials and colors will go in the line next year. We won’t lie, it’s one of the most fun aspects of the job, getting to research trends and be inspired by colors and the world around us. We look at a little bit of everything from trend reports and magazines to furniture and interior design. We also travel occasionally to visit cities like NY or London; traveling is always good for the soul and we like getting a sense of what’s out there. But in truth, picking colors for the season is based in a large part on instinct, and we are our own toughest clients sometimes. We pin color swatches on a cork board, we’ll take one down, put a new one up and keep adjusting until we’re satisfied that the palette is balanced, rich, and feels new to us.
Vous avez toujours voulu savoir comment nous concevons nos collections chaque saison? D’où vient notre inspiration, comment choisissons-nous les couleurs, ou la façon dont nous développons les échantillons? Nous avons décidé de lancer un post hebdomadaire chaque mercredi qui vous donnera une meilleure idée de notre processus de conception et de ce qui se passe dans les coulisses de notre bureau.
Ces jours-ci, nous travaillons déjà sur notre collection de printemps 14. Effectivement, nous travaillons les collections à peu près un an à l’avance! La première étape de notre processus est de décider quels matériaux et couleurs iront dans la ligne de l’année prochaine. C’est l’un des aspects les plus fun de la job, rechercher les tendances et se laisser inspirer par les couleurs et le monde qui nous entoure. Nous recherchons les tendances un peu partout : magazines, internet, et même la déco intérieure. Nous voyageons aussi occasionnellement pour visiter des villes comme New York ou Londres, voyager est bon pour s’ouvrir l’esprit et nous aimons avoir une idée de ce qui passe ailleurs. Mais en vérité, l’instinct joue une grande partie dans notre choix de couleurs, et nous sommes notre propre client le plus exigeant parfois. Nous plaçons les échantillons de couleur sur un mur en liège, puis nous enlevons une couleur, en rajoutons une autre, et ainsi de suite jusqu’à ce que nous soyons totalement satisfaits que la palette est équilibrée, riche et originale.
One of our webinars this week was brought to us by the lovely folks over at STYLESIGHT regarding fall 2014 trends. Beyond the multitude of movements and happenings that will be shaping up the next 18 months, 1 in particular caught my eye on a totally different level, quietude and introverts. Apparently the 20th century was the century of extroverts, lots of noise, bigger is better. The 21st century seems to be lead by a group that is a little quieter, one may even say a little modest.
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society–from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer.
As a brand and community we like to consider ourselves under the radar, it’s where we feel the most comfortable. It’s also not by coincidence that some of the brands we appreciate are somewhat understated, acne, m0851, margiela…
I’m not sure if I’ll be picking up Susan Cain’s book: The Power of the Introvert but I am curious to see if fashion for fall ’13 will have an understated, quiet confident feel to it.