The magic combo Pharrell + Adidas + Parley = Green Power
Adidas announced that it had signed a five-year “seven figure” contract to team up with an organization called Parley for the Oceans, which was created to publicize and tackle the problem of ocean plastic. Credit via Parley for the Oceans
The Information Age and open data has made the reality behind fast fashion and mass productions and encouraged mass consumption impossible to deny or ignore (especially after the Rana Plaza factory collapsed). We have reached a new level of awareness and of internet connected consciousness. Large companies now invest in green strategies and review their ethics as everything is now in the transparent culture of the web.
A few weeks ago, Sarah Maslin Nir wrote a poignant essay about the Price of Nails exposing the not so glamorous Nail industry in New York city with heartbreaking interviews describing the real situation workers are living under. This article went viral at the time when most of us were very much looking forward a nice Mani-Pedi before sandal season. This information brought light to the mass and awareness about the price of luxury. There is no such thing as cheap luxury. But we have been conditioned to bargain and pay the lowest price possible to get high quality products — this always goes with a bigger cost: human conditions or the environment.
This is why we exist. This very reason. There is a way (hardest road, I agree) to chose to manufacture goods that are both fair-trade and eco-friendly at the same time without compromising detail, design, quality or craftsmanship. The cost is higher but the bigger cost and overall risk on the Planet is way lower. Because things take time to be made and have an inevitable impact on the environment. This is our very mission. To grow our product offerings sustainably, with the least impact on our planet with always the most respect for our workers.
Want to learn and grow with a small, successful science/art/fashion brand?
We are looking for a creative, resourceful, down to Earth, crazy, fun, inspiring person to join our team for a paid internship from June 2015 until September 2015 (with a possibility to continue and grow with us after this period).
The Skills we are looking for are:
Knowledge in Photoshop, InDesign & Illustrator
Google Queen or King (Great research skills)
Can drive in NYC (optional but definitely a PLUS)
Science Geek at heart
Good writing skills
Great sense of humor
If you read this and feel you are the one for us, please reach out to Brigitte: [email protected] with a link to your Instagram account or Tumblr or Blog or Pinterest. Send us something that inspires you, moves you or makes you smile.
This is not a Manifesto. This is in honor of Earth Day + Fashion Revolution Day.
Once upon a time, the first humans were beginning to adapt and survive on Planet Earth. In a short amount of centuries, humans took over the Planet and began to manipulate their environment. Today, we realize that Earth's resources aren't infinite but finite. This is a picture of the last rhino alive.
And over here is an image of the last Eastern Cougar.
From the New York Times article declaring it was extinct;
Either way, the “Eastern” cougar as such is no longer with us. Any recent sightings in the cougar’s historic range, which stretched from eastern Ontario and Michigan eastward to Maine and southward to Georgia, Tennessee and Missouri, were actually sightings of its relatives, the Fish and Wildlife Service said.
“It’s extinct,” said Mark McCollough, a wildlife biologist with the agency’s offices in Maine, referring to the official determination by his agency.
“But it’s not?” he was asked.
“But it’s not,” he confirmed. “It may well return to part of its range.”
So we believe in change. We take a stand and believe that a) things can last, and we make it our mission to have everything part of Slow Factory have meaning, utility and come from natural fabrics and paper so that it can bio degrade not harming the planet. b) things can be made consciously and we can chose to change our behavior towards consumption and consume wisely by contributing to a network of good causes that will - at the end of the day - make a positive change in this world.
"People care more about trends now than they do about style. They get so wrapped up in what's happening that they forget how to dress, and they never learn who they are because they never learn how to take care of anything. So much of what my generation was taught regarding clothes was how to make them last. How to wash and care for them." – Fran Lebowitz
When I was a kid growing up in the eighties, I had no idea that my fluorescent sneakers were made by actual people. It seems obvious now: that hundreds, if not thousands, of people were involved in the research, design, development, sourcing, manufacturing, shipping, marketing, and sales of every piece of corporate consumer goods. But to me they were just a symbol of my inability to blend in to the post-industrial culture of my refugee home in Canada. They were part of the mass-produced cultural alienation of urban North America, and yet I still couldn't comprehend how or why, no matter how identical my sneakers were to those of the white kids without "funny accents", I still stood out. As I moved around the world growing up — first back to Lebanon at 13, then to Paris at 18, then to Montreal again in my twenties, and finally New York in my late twenties — I recognized two major themes in the ways that information technology has changed the way the world operates:
1. everything is open “Open” is a big word with a lot of implications, but I think it’s really important. The shifts that a drive for Openness brings are incredible. Access to information is Open. Communication around the globe is Open. Knowledge is Open like it has never been before. The “sharing economy” does actually exist. Governments and institutions are specifying open licenses to data and knowledge.
2. everything is a remix There is no copyright in fashion. You can trademark a logo (and people do!), but the garment industry is the only major industry where intellectual property is not a driving force or central concern. More than ever before, there is a strong recognition that “new” ideas are always built on previous ones. Designers and companies must stay ahead by innovating.
how is technology changing fashion?
There has been another major technological revolution that, when paired with these two ideas, has the potential to create a real cultural shift. It’s about moving manufacturing away from mass-production. We see it across all industries: music, film, electronics, manufacturing. As new technologies becomes cheaper and more accessible, the act of making becomes more open and democratic — we are seeing individual craft weave its way back into the fabric of everyday life.
Now, I wasn’t able to put all of this into words as I was growing up and watching these changes occur, but I did grow up with ideas of openness, possibility, and playfulness, which I see as the positive side of what technology can bring to fashion. We can have an idea and combine it with access to knowledge of how to make the idea a reality, access to methods of producing high-quality goods, access to ways of communicating that idea across oceans.
This is exactly how Slow Factory started. Shortly after NASA had joined Creative Commons, an organization I was very active in, I tweeted something like “Wouldn’t it be cool to print this [Hubble] image on silk?” I got such an encouraging response, that I decided to find a way to do it. There were two very clear, very different roads ahead. Make the scarves and mass-produce as cheaply as possible, and close my eyes to the human and environmental cost; or make something meaningful and use technology to play with the boundaries of commerce and individual craft.
This had to be based on open: using NASA's open-licensed images made sense; this had to be based onethics: fair trade and eco-friendly are not marketing afterthoughts or stunt labels; this had to be based on meaning: real care and real craft at all stages of design and production. As Slow Factory, a sort of culmination and synthesization of my observations and experience, has taught me, the biggest cultural and technological changes of this so-called Information Age have been around the value of knowledge, and the value of goods. Céline Semaan Vernon
Inspiring awe and wonder since the dawn of history, Comets are something to be celebrated. In discovering NASA’s image of the Comet and the launch of Rosetta, one of our favorite childhood books came to mind, Le Petit Prince, which is simultaneously being launched into the public domain this spring. In the book, an aviator, downed in the desert with limited odds of survival, meets the Prince who has traveled from his solitary home on a distant asteroid, tormented by the single rose with which he lives. Noted as a young person, not yet a man nor a boy, his central emotions of conflict—isolation, fear, and uncertainty—are alleviated only by intimate speech and love. The story, it turns out, is a fable of war that explores the deeper complexities, abstract ideas and emotions associated with the ‘strange defeat’ of France, with the experience of Vichy and the Occupation. With the launch of Rosetta (a ten year mission), NASA hopes to find a deeper meaning of space and earth by catching and exploring the Comet.
Rosetta holds great significance, being the first spacecraft to soft-land a robot on a comet, furthermore accompanying the comet as it enters our solar system. It will observe how the comet transforms from the sun’s heat, a process that has inspired people for centuries.
Though the origins of these two stories, and landmark events, are significantly different - both in time and space - their themes are significantly parallel. As true connectivity to our inner selves and earth becomes more and more rare, we continue to search for meaning. We often look outside of ourselves to feel more grounded, when we are all searching for the same things: connection, understanding, and love- just like the Prince. We ask: Is this a story of war with ourselves?
To celebrate these themes, we’ve combined NASA’s image of the comet with Le Petit Prince to create the ‘Prince on the Comet Rosetta’ sweater. Printed in Brooklyn, New York, on 100% cotton, each collage requires 8 screens to print. This, in and of itself, serves as a significant point of our creative process. The number 8 represents perfection and infinity, further bringing to life the underlying dualities and theme of seeking deeper meaning and connection within imperfect scenarios.
Our latest collection comes in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), in support of their vital conservation efforts including Oceans, Fresh Water and Forestry projects and featuring archival NASA imagery of the earth printed onto 100% fine silk twill. Rather than observing these projects from afar, we wanted to support them in a unique and stylish way, using fashion as a medium to inspire change, both behaviorally and ecologically. In order to have the greatest impact we can while supporting initiatives that drive us, we’re focusing on three major efforts that, though incredibly important, can be rather intimidating in their scale. While we all have some understanding of issues like degrading natural resources and global climate change, it can be tough to truly connect and figure out how to drive change in small but impactful ways. Why not with a utilitarian statement, wrapping yourself in sustainably sourced silk, printed with the places of the earth that contribute to our well being? We asked, we created.
Luckily we’re in good company, and the industry is making strides in support of conscious fashion without compromising style. As a result, more people demand to know where their things come from and people like us decide to give them good answers. Trends are meaningless and sustainability is meaningful, so we work hard to manufacture sustainably, understanding where our collections are made and how they affect the stunning, precious earth that they portrayed. The devil’s in the details, and we’ve broken them down to shed a little light on what inspires our work, and the realities that drive us to create a beautiful yet impactful product.
The Global Ocean Program: Oceans sustain life. They cover 71% of our planet’s surface, make up 95% of all the space available to life, produce 70% of our oxygen, absorb heat and re-distribute it around the world, and dominate the world's weather systems. From the freezing Polar Regions to the warm waters of the tropics they are home to incredible iconic marine species such as sharks, turtles, whales and more. Oceans are also critical for people, as a source of food, culture, and history. They support 1 billion people who rely on fish as an important part of their diet and more than 520 million livelihoods who rely on fishing and fishing related activities for income and food.
WWF’s oceans work focuses on healthy and resilient marine ecosystems that support abundant biodiversity, sustainable livelihoods, and thriving economies.
The Global Freshwater Program: This can sometimes seem abstract, but the reality is that nearly half the world’s population will be living under severe water scarcity by 2030 if no new policies are introduced. This makes sense considering just 3% of water on the planet is freshwater, and only 1% is readily available for human use. With just under 1 billion people still without access to clean and safe drinking water, there’s a lot we can do.
The Forest Conservation Program: The focus of WWF’s work for half a century, conserving forests is the single largest and relatively cheapest thing we can do to limit the impact of climate change—one of the greatest threats to humankind ever known. The Ecological Footprint, which tracks humanity’s competing demands on resources, currently exceeds, meaning our lifestyles are unsustainable. If we maintain current resource use, we will need the equivalent of two planets by 2030.
To interpret and highlight these programs, we’ve depicted NASA images curated by Slow Factory founder, Celine Semaan, of regions of the earth unique in their offerings of both endangered wildlife and natural land formations. Ten percent of the proceeds of your purchase will go towards World Wildlife Fund’s vital global conservation efforts that require major attention. There’s nothing more stylish than teaming together to make great change.
Written by Emilie Hawtin for Slow Factory™
*10% of the retail purchase price of this limited edition scarf will be donated to WWF’s global conservation efforts between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016. Slow Factory is proud to make a minimum contribution of $15,000 to WWF through this effort.
Slow Factory is a design boutique that creates limited edition silk scarves by merging high-resolution digital prints of scientific images from NASA with the highest quality, centuries-old traditional textile finishing in Como, Italy. Each collection weaves a strong partnership with an internationally-recognized NGO working in the Environmental or Human Rights sectors.
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