Adam Purple, is often coined as the godfather of the urban gardening movement, and is well known in New York for his “Garden of Eden”on the Lower East side of Manhattan. His project began in the 70′s when two buildings behind his apartment were bulldozed by the city. Looking out his window, he noticed children often playing in the filth, and leftover debris. It soon occurred to him that he could rebuild the space into a sustainable, communal garden. Within a year he transformed the abandoned lot into a green garden that soon stretched to 15,000 square feet. “By the end of the second year, he had transformed both of the lots into flowers,trees, and food crops.” It soon became a communal project within the city. More people came to help him who called themselves the “Purple Guard”. They soon had a fully sustainable garden, where they grew nuts, fruits & vegetables.
” The garden of Eden was a work of art, a place to grow and share food, and a place to learn. Though that place is gone, Adam’s ideas are not. We can still learn from the Garden of Eden. We can look down at our own two hands, as Adam Purple did, and start using them to change the world.” Amy Brost
In 1986 the garden was demolished. To learn more about the history of Adam & the Garden of Eden watch the short film “Adam Purple and the Garden of Eden.” Here:
One of our sales reps just returned from a trip to London and was a little disappointed at what she felt was a lack of new trends in the marketplace.
We had an interesting discussion about minimalism and how this trend of clean lines and no logos is starting to take shape.
This is of course music to our ears at MATT & NAT as the clean aesthetic with a focus on utility has always been at the basis of our craft. From Japanese and Scandinavian design influences to a focus on utility with details that pop and perform, it’s a design language that we’ve been speaking for almost 20 years….
There’s a great article in the April issue of Elle Canada that discusses how minimalism also applies to a simpler lifestyle: working fewer hours, making the right choices, evolving past the simple ‘less is more’. Karim Rashid and Ennio Capasa go on to say that it’s not simply the cold minimalism of the 90’s coming back but a warmer minimalism or sensualism as coined by Rashid.
“What minimalism is really about is a reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess stuff-the possessions and ideas and relationships and activities-that don’t bring value to your life” Colin Wright, exilelife.com
BRING VALUE TO YOUR LIFE- everything you do, are involved with, all your relationships, when you make ‘value added’ a priority, your time starts to become that much more valuable…as it should be
Is minimalism the new consumerism ?http://www.upgradereality.com/minimalist-lifestyle/
This week we had the pleasure to chat with twenty-seven year-old Montreal native Robyn Chalmers, the gal behind fashionista514. Having started her blog in an effort to infuse her life with a touch of creativity (during times of heavy-paperwork employment), it’s management and associations quickly allowed her to develop her passion into a full-time career. We asked her a few questions on inspiration and creativity, here is what she had to say!
Robyn is a girl like any other trying to find balance, grow compassion laced with love, and discipline herself into something spectacular.
When did you start your blog fashionista 514 ?
It’s been over four years now, so 2009.
What is your favorite creative outlet?
I love posting on my blog and drawing inspiration from the web (everything is accessible). Sitting down and drawing, broiling enormous gourmet organic meals, and snapping pictures with old school film also does it for me.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Iron-willed individuals. I get a real rush when I hear someone defend themselves intelligently. I’ve realized as I’ve gotten older that following social “rules” very rarely get you anywhere you actually want to be.
What does living beautifully mean to you?
Living beautifully means taking care of yourself and the ones you love. It means assuming responsibility and sacrificing impulsive “fixes” in pursuit of the bigger picture. Nurturing family and real friends is sacred, and I’m a strong believer in safeguarding loyalty and innocence. A clear conscious, moral maturity, and keeping things clean also define leading a beautiful lifestyle.
We really enjoy pieces that can be worn by both genders. When we introduced our travel bag, the Raylan, in our men’s 2012 collection, it seemed like women could not get enough of it. The appeal might have been the same as a worn-in pair of jeans or that perfect shirt you want to steal from you-know-who, it just struck a cord. The following season, we were looking to add another piece to the collection that had the same vibe and functionality, but smaller in shape so that people would be able to carry it everyday (because you know, we want you to carry them all the time). We pictured an adventurous person wearing it, someone that carries a lot of life with them, literally and figuratively. The bag is just the right size for you to pack half of your belongings inside and take them with you everywhere. We named it Jack after Kerouac, not only because he’s originally from our beloved province of Quebec, but also because the spirit in his writings will never cease to inspire us.
“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road.
Sustainable Concordia (SC), founded in 2002 by Geneva Guerin and Melissa Garcia Lamarca is an organization that assesses and enhances sustainability practices at Concordia University. This not-for-profit organization now has a core operation group of 4-5 people, 3-5 project coordinators, 10 people comprising a board of directors, and an estimated 50 volunteers per year. In the year of its founding, SC conducted an assessment of sustainability at Concordia, which identified areas that could use improvement. Since then, they have organized various projects such as: reducing waste through an on-site composting program, setting up a secure bike parking facility at the downtown campus, supporting urban agriculture programs, and helping make departmental offices more sustainable. SC also spreads general awareness about sustainability issues through workshops and public outreach.
How can people be more eco-conscious, in general?
“Taking the ecofootprint test at www.myfootprint.org and trying to get your score lower,” said SC member Faisal Shennib. “Your individual actions are just one part of the equation. Possibly more important is how you contribute to collective actions -holding the government accountable for environmental protection, participating in city consultations and asking them for sustainable changes, and organizing your office/workplace or home to be more sustainable.”
Last year, SC held their first “What’s Your Eco-Footprint?” challenge. They set up laptops in the atrium of the downtown library and helped walk people through an online program that calculated how many planets would be needed if everyone on the planet lived like them. Then they asked people to commit to one or a few changes they could make to reduce their impact most effectively.
Receipts found in trash – Waste Audit
This past March, SC had their annual Waste Audit, where they sorted through samples of trash from around the university to get a breakdown of how much of what they are sending to landfills. See more photos here
The SC has also been collaborating with the CSU and Tapthirst to encourage the university to remove bottled water from vending machines. Upgrading the water fountains to have bottle fillers was another recent project.
“SC’s work is special for a few reasons. It is a point of constructive communication and collaboration on sustainability between the university’s administration and the community. It is a place where innovative projects can be started and eventually grow into larger, university-supported projects, like the compost and greenhouse projects,” said Faisal. “SC provides a lot of resources to upstarting projects -office space, computers, workshops, and probably most importantly, a knowledge of how to turn a project from an idea into a real project at the university. It’s an important asset to the community because of the subject-matter -sustainability is inherently important work, even if we are only playing a small role in a global movement.”
Want to be involved? Here’s how you can :
People can get involved by presenting themselves at SC’s offices located at 2090 Mackay, 2nd and 3rd floors. One may also register to hear about volunteering opportunities here: http://sustainable.concordia.ca/get-involved/
Other than volunteering, one may work in an internship position: http://sustainable.concordia.ca/get-involved/internships/
There are also job opportunities, which may be accessed here: http://sustainable.concordia.ca/get-involved/coordinator-positions/
SC also has a board of directors where students, staff, faculty, ex-coordinators, etc can volunteer to guide the organization in the right direction. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Access SC’s official website here: http://sustainable.concordia.ca
Contact SC at (514) 848-2424 ext. 5829 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SC is having their annual general meeting Tuesday, April 30th from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at their offices. You’ll have the chance to meet members, learn about SC’s projects, and eat some healthy sustainable food. More details will be announced on their facebook page.
When it comes to Las Vegas, there are two men in my life: Steve and Ronald. Steve, as in Steve Wynn, is a big-deal iconic Las Vegas casino owner. Apparently he adopted a vegan diet in 2010 and now all of his restaurants (of which there are many) have a special vegan menu in addition to their main menu. I don’t know much about Mr. Wynn, I just know I would jump in front of a train for him. How could I not? Look at this!:
This beautiful creation is the vegan eggs benedict from Wynn’s restaurant Tableau. It was amazing. And the marble potatoes weren’t bad either. Additionally, the setting is lovely. I felt really fancy, which is the main reason I like going to Vegas anyway. I highly recommend Tableau, especially for brunch, but my favorite Wynn restaurant on my last trip was Sinatra. It’s Italian fine dining and, like always, there’s an impressive vegan menu:
Don’t be jealous! OK, you can be jealous.
But like I said, Wynn isn’t my only Vegas beau. There’s a handsom devil named Ronald who has always had my heart. OK, I’ve never met him. I don’t even know if there is a “Ronald,” the man, I just know Ronald’s donuts are the best vegan donuts in the country. Maybe the world!
I don’t know why more than half of the donuts at Ronald’s are vegan, I heard a rumor it was for religious reasons? But really, I do not care–as long as they keep making them! These are classic, old-school donuts; They aren’t caky like so many donuts these days. And they have giant donut twists! And bear claws! And apple fritter things! It’s basically heaven. No trip to Vegas is complete without getting a ton of donuts from Ronald’s. You will probably have to take a cab if you don’t have a car, but it’s worth it.
If you happen to find yourself in the area, you have to patronize the Wynn and Ronald establishments, or you will never be a complete person. It’s sad but true. But why wouldn’t you hit these spots? These two wonderful men are doing all they can to keep vegans plump and happy in the grownup amusement park that is Las Vegas!
May 1st marks the 7th annual sunflower guerrilla gardening day. What does this entail? Taking over parts of cities by planting seeds to brighten up city roads. This practice also has implications for land rights and land reform; it promotes re-consideration of land ownership in order to reclaim land from perceived neglect or misuse and assign a new purpose to it.
The guerrilla garden organization was formed in October 2004 and is now a growing community “ in the war against neglect and scarcity of public space as a place to grow things, be they beautiful, tasty (or both!)” – Guerrillagardeningorg
On May 1st they are inviting cities around the world to take part in the sunflower guerrilla gardening day by creating local events with specific times & places for it to take place.
GuerrillaGardening.org HQ has a lot of free sunflower seeds available for guerrilla gardening on 1 May. If you want some please send a stamped addressed envelope / box / shipping container to Richard Reynolds, 76 Perronet House, Princess Street, London, SE1 6JS and I’ll post you some.
I was on the line with aeroplan this week booking a trip and was asked for my birthdate. Sukh (my surprised agent at the other end) let me know that she not only had the same birthday, but the same year ! Chances of that ? I’ve always felt that everything is connected and there are no such things as coincidences (I’ve yet to find the connection with Sukh but this journey isn’t over yet.
The call this week got me thinking about numerology, the study of the special relationship between numbers and coinciding events.
I also rediscovered 21, the beautiful and massive coffee table book put out by Ennio Capasa for the 21st anniversary of COSTUME NATIONAL. To quote Capasa:
“ I am celebrating the 21st anniversary because this was a magical age for me in my youth looking back and because I was born on the 12th, my brother on the 21st, my father on the 12th, my mother on the 3rd (2 +1), my headquarters is in Via Fusetti 12, my first shop in Milan in Via Sant’Andrea 12, my factory in Thiene in Via Dell’Agricoltura 21- numbers have always played me!”
I’m not going to talk about all the t.v shows out there right now relating numbers to events and crimes (although they sound really neat ). I will instead ask you to pop your name into the site below and decide for yourself, coincidence or…….
I was mentioning last week the influence of menswear on our designs, and the interesting gender plays going on in the fashion world right now. Sometimes though, we just come across a specific person and find them inspiring, because their way of being just makes us smile.
Ali may not be the kind of pretty young thing we’re accustomed to seeing on fashion blogs but he is one dapper looking 83-year-old. Australian-born and Berlin-based photographer Zoe Spawton first noticed him as he would walk by her coffee shop every morning at precisely 9h05, always impeccably put together, and never wearing the same outfit.
After a few weeks of greeting each other every morning, she asked him if she could take his picture (or gestured to her camera, she says, as he speaks little English). Spawton was so fascinated by his sartorial sense of style that she’s started a blog dedicated to “What Ali Wore”.
Ali, who has lived in Germany for 44 years, used to be a doctor before he became a tailor. He has 18 kids, works a full 6-days-week and still makes a lot of his clothes by hand.
photos via What Ali Wore/Zoe Spawton
Living beautifully is our mantra at MATT & NAT. For us, it means not only to live beautifully within ourselves, but to give back to our community as much as we can. We’ve been taking stronger initiatives to get out of our office and help our community by implementing a social committee. Given the month of April, and earth day approaching, I’ve decided to highlight a few initiatives that we’ve been implementing in our office as of late.
- We recently had our first meeting after our pot luck last Friday and we decided to collectively be part of 4 charitable initiatives per year, and allow each employee to take up to 8 hours/month of paid time off to volunteer in a charity of choice!
-In addition, sustainability is a fundamental element of the MATT & NAT philosophy, and consequently we encourage minimizing the ecological impact of what we do. Recently, a new policy was implemented to encourage the use of public transport by reimbursing the cost using public transit.
-We continue to research new materials and ways to make our products more sustainable. This season, we experimented with the use of recycled bicycle tires and we are currently looking into new, fully biodegradable materials to use in later seasons.
-On Earth day, we plan to work with natural sunlight by turning off all lights in our office.
- We’ve been collecting our Nespresso tablets and up cycling them through terracyle. An initiative to collect waste and provide a second life for used Nespresso capsules through the Nespresso Capsule Brigade. “Every time you enjoy Nespresso, save the capsule and recycle it with TerraCycle. TerraCycle will collect all consumer Nespresso capsules and then recycle them into two streams. The metal capsules will be melted down and turned into new aluminum products. Residual coffee will be separated and sent to an industrial composting facility.”
To take part in terracycle’s initiative at reducing waste, visit their website here: http://www.terracycle.ca/en-CA/brigades/nespresso-capsule-brigade.html
The 2002 futuristic thriller ‘Minority Report’ is not looking so distant any more….
Sales at the retail level have been relatively flat for many fashion brands since the start of the recession yet e.commerce sales for some have increased as much as 30 % year over year.
Social media has presented a whole new opportunity for connecting with customers as never before. We recently celebrated reaching 25,000 facebook followers at MATT & NAT and we are seeing ROI on digital/web initiatives that make traditional advertising such as radio and print look negligible.
Check out this great profile on Angela Ahrendts, the CEO of BURBERRY, inspiration for all of us that are trying to keep up with this ever evolving world. Hoping to plant some digital seeds in your psyche over the weekend, have a great one !
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!