The Note Passer
From The Note Passer
Connecting Love and Raw Materials at Makeshift by Elizabeth Stilwell
The fashion and design industries have a lot to learn from the successes of the slow food movement. "As sustainability and DIY emerge as THE design stories of the 21st century, the fashion and design communities are following the playbook written ahead of the millennium by 'foodies'." Makeshift follows that playbook with a series of events, talks, workshops, and gatherings that explore the ways in which the fashion, art, and design worlds are inextricably linked to the world of craft/DIY and how each of these worlds elevate the others.
The event was held at The Standard Hotel in the East Village and the weather and views were gorgeous!
The Makeshift conversations are conducted by Natalie Chanin, sustainable lifestyle designer and founder of Alabama Chanin. Natalie promotes a “slow design” lifestyle brand and sustainable business practices from the Alabama Chanin headquarters in Florence, Alabama. Such is her dedication to creativity and craftsmanship, we were given tote bags (organic cotton, of course) and craft supplies and encouraged to DIY during the discussion. The finished creations will be added to the Makeshift Image Quilt.
Ashley Christensen, a chef-restauranteur in Raleigh, NC and winner of a 2014 James Beard Award, was the guest speaker. As the conversation between Natalie and Ashley unfolded, the nexus of sustainable food and fashion practices emerged. Whether fashion or food, producers, raw materials, design, and consumers are connected and integral to the process. The integrity and story bestowed upon each are what's truly important.
Ashley understands her responsibilities as an employer, chef, and community leader. Being an employer first requires care, support, and trust which can then be shared with the community at large. Feeding patrons isn't just about feeding their hunger, but about sharing stories and traditions with them.
MY RESPONSIBILITY IS TO DEFINE VALUE AND REPRESENT GROWERS WITH INTEGRITY, AND TO HELP PEOPLE UNDERSTAND WHY THEY NEED TO PAY MORE FOR IT. —ASHLEY CHRISTENSEN
Just as the stories of the growers are shared through Ashley's dishes, so should the stories of workers in fashion be shared through our clothing. The question,"Who made your clothes?" is just as relevant as "Who made your food?" Every question foodies ask about the production and geography of food, ask about your fashion. Ask about the miners who produced the raw materials for your jewelry. Ask about the cotton growers, the textile workers, the sewers. They all had a hand in making the clothes you wear.
Ashley is taking the history and nostalgia associated with food and elevating it to a new level. Using those existing connections help people recognize and value what they are eating. This is an important lesson for fashion; find those existing values and draw on them to strengthen our connection to clothing. In response, the perceived value of craftsmanship, details, and quality will increase, just as they have in the food industry. Natalie's brand, Alabama Chanin, is a great example of the power of storytelling and personal connections to clothing.
The event was also a great excuse to hang out with a creative and compassionate bunch of people including Lauren, Juliette, Emma, and Alden. These ladies just keep challenging and engaging me in new and exciting ways. I am grateful to have been part of this event and to have met so many people who want to bring back community and simplicity for us all.
The evening ended with a spectacular sunset. And what's more simple and communal than that?
Past Fashion Future
From Past Fashion Future
At Standard Talks Slow Food and Fashion Align (Event) by Emma Grady
Ethical fashion and food have long been connected. Yet widespread responsible practices in fashion trail behind their kissing cousin, the slow food movement. Makeshift 2014 aims to change this.
Located atop The Standard, East Village, in a glass-walled penthouse suite, the talk, in it’s third consecutive year, brought together thought leaders, creators, and writers.
The engaging event involved the audience. All were invited to finger knit and decorate a canvas tote while listening to Chanin and Christensen discuss the intersection between food and design.
Raleigh, North Carolina-based chef and restaurateur is known for recreating classic comfort food with a local and seasonal twist. Christensen’s inspiration is at the root of her success.
"Our big role in sourcing is not just to buy these things and share them but to help people understand why we need to pay for them," says Christensen. She continues, below.
"In turn, they go and start to support these farmer’s markets and it’s the neatest thing in the world for us, for someone to come in and say, ‘Oh wow, Bill’s growing this. I bought it at that farmer’s market two weeks ago and this is our favorite variety of this tomato.’"
Quality is the new luxury. It speaks for itself and inspires changes in thought, and in turn, action.
MAKESHIFT began three years ago as a conversation about the intersection of the disciplines of design, craft, art, fashion, and DIY—and, on a bigger level, using this intersection as an agent of change in the world. Since then, we’ve explored making as individuals, and how making as a group can open conversations and build communities.
For MAKESHIFT 2014, we have once again partnered with Standard Talks in New York to host the conversation, and will cover a range of topics, including raw materials, craft, fashion, global communities, food, and the act of making. 2014 James Beard award-winning chef Ashley Christensen will also participate in the discussion, helping answer the question: What can design learn from food?
If you are in New York this month, stop by lf8 for A Makeshift Pop-up Shop featuring works from the newest book by photographer Mary Ellen Mark, the Alabama Chanin collection, one-of-a kind, indigo-dyed garments, and accessories alongside the lf8 collection. Friend Allison Moorer participated in a special performance piece in the shop this week and documented her experience.
Alabama Chanin and lf8’s Lisa Fox are also hosting an intimate sewing workshop and fund-raiser at The Lower East Side Girls Club Center for Community. We selected this location because it is a source of empowerment for the community’s girls and women. Gael Towey’s film “Portraits in Creativity: Alabama Chanin” will be screened, followed by a discussion with the filmmaker.
We are taking topics and conversations from this year and expanding them as we prepare for an even bigger MAKESHIFT 2015. We look forward to more collaboration and conversation.
Thanks to our friends, partners, and collaborators at The Standard East Village, The Lower Eastside Girls Club, Lisa Fox and lf8, Ashley Christensen, Gael Towey, Mary Ellen Mark, and Allison Moorer.