I’ve been observing something wonderful over last few weeks.. my brain has been offering solutions to things even while I’m doing something else, not actively considering them.
All the years of finding answers to myriad large and small questions seem to have formed automatic pathways to solutions – and these pop up spontaneously, in their own time. It’s like you ask yourself a question, put a goal in the calendar, or set to preparing something you need to do – and your mind offers solutions, better ways, without having to actually ponder and search and analyze. You just know at some point, it simply comes.
It’s like a superpower you earn with years of practice. A bit of ease, some flow with challenges and process.
I have a good mind to nominate my colleague and friend, Andrea Giusti of Project Selva. Her work with sustainable design has such a promising road ahead – her Up-Cycled Denim Kimono Jacketsare really very cool!
I learned of the awards through Paulo Mance, founder, who believes passionately in the transition to sustainably produced fashion.
CALL FOR ENTRIES
The Sustainable Fashion Awards is open to designers and brands from every country, being either emerging talents or professionals, who are leading the way to a sustainable future, and have at least one completed project on this matter. The enrolled project can range from one garment to a full collection, and must fit into at least one of these socially-conscious and environmentally-friendly actions described below.
Handmade pieces, Local manufacturing, Develop fair trade, Smart design, Zero fabric waste, Animal welfare, Use of recycled, upcycled or organic materials, Consider the full lifecycle of a product.
If you strongly believe that your brand is making fashionable products as well as carrying a responsible attitude when it comes to the environment and the people in it, please subscribe! Don’t miss your chance of winning $3.000 dollars and still donating the same amount to a NGO partner of this movement.
It makes me truly happy to be able to inspire and facilitate someone on the road to becoming an independent entrepreneur, a solopreneur. It’s a different sort of satisfaction to getting beautiful bits of styling into people’s hands and making them feel special – this is something deeper, the ability to help someone do their own thing, realize a dream… yes.
A friend who’s also been a life long entrepreneur called my service “small business therapy” – rings true.
The series of workshops that I’ve been honing is about getting real. It’s about defining what needs to be done to operate an independent business of one or a few ; best practices for sales and marketing, financial spreadsheets, calendaring, resources for support, etc., all taking into account one’s size and capacity. There are 4 structured curriculums that address the common areas all entrepreneurs face. I’ve arranged the workshops to be one on one sessions – with a direct focus on the particular situation, business, and founder – you.
It’s what I would have wanted to have for my business – the mentor, direct call, focused pow wow, problem solver – paying attention to my needs and questions specifically.
Next phase will likely be small groups in person, and webinars to follow, along with digital downloads – it’s clear to me that some may be drawn to doing the work on their own and only wish to have a guideline.
My expertise is best suited to mission driven fashion, decor, and wellness start up’s and small businesses. But it’s also intended for graduating students, people going through career changes, and businesses focussed on sustainable design overall.
I’m very excited to get the word out, and get to work.
Independent entrepreneurs and small businesses contribute to a healthier collective future, helping to curb mass production and consumption by placing more focus on authenticity and mindful process.
I believe people who are allowed, encouraged and trained to do their own thing create a more contented world – and self-realized, fulfilled humans are a powerful thing.
I recently had an aha moment around my own personal mission. Having often longed for mentorship as an independent entrepreneur, I’m inspired to offer the very same support I have always desired myself. To that end, I’ve created a consulting and mentoring practice consisting of a series of practical workshops. They’re written from the point of view of my own active experience, and certainly founded in the spirit of self-starting.
I am an independent creative, making my own story daily. I’m compelled to live this way, always have been. I’ve conjured every bit of work I’ve ever had – from 20+ years as a freelance fashion and wardrobe stylist right out of college in NYC, to founding my own artisanal luxury lifestyle brand in 2009, Nomadic Thread Society, to creating Nomadic Consulting with a view to paying my experience forward.
Manifesting every opportunity, contact, mentor, client, order, and gig “from scratch,” I turned my passion for self-expression into work, evolving it steadily along the way. The personal satisfaction that comes from doing my own thing is food for my soul.
ABOUT THE WORKSHOPS
One-on-one and group workshops function as a sort of “business therapy.”The very practical curriculums are designed for creative entrepreneurs at different stages of their endeavors: for those who are exploring what to do, those who are starting up, those who are digging in, and those who are ramping up. Custom consulting packages are also available for entrepreneurs seeking help with particular issues or structured support from a fellow founder.
The take aways are answers – a clearer business concept and identity, documents and tools to manage smooth operations, strategies to address challenges arising in your mission, an action plan for your business, pertinent resources and referrals, and a supportive, sounding-board relationship to return to.
My intention is to serve as a catalyst – to empower by example, to candidly share what I’ve learned from my mistakes, and to activate deliberate processes necessary for success.
Doing your own thing doesn’t have to mean going it alone.
In May of 2012, I landed in Bogota to snoop around their textile scene. I had just made my first trip to Peru to visit their premier trade show in Lima, Peru Moda and Home, and to explore the country a bit. While planning this maiden voyage to South America I thought, might try to make a more thorough expedition.. I contacted a few friends to see if anyone knew anyone, and the gods of hospitality extended their hand to me once again. A friend of the family in Bogota invited me to stay, so I booked an extra leg to my trip, and off I went. Lucky.
In Bogota I was advised to take taxi’s carefully, not to be out in the evening on my own, not to have that much cash on me, etc. I was super intrigued by the museums and gardens and parks, but not very confident about exploring freely. That approach wasn’t going to work all the time. At one point, the generosity and care taken by my host produced an invitation to lunch at the home of a distinguished professor and textile expert, Ricardo Carrizosa. For this trip I had to take a few buses and a publico, or van, to get to a mall where we had our rendezvous, that was absolutely nowhere on the outskirts of town. Then we drove into the hills to his beautiful home and art studio to have a charming lunch among his flowers and a brilliant chat surrounded by his cache of folkloric wonders and books. I was schooled in Colombian artesanias – in addition to hearing all about Ricardo’s travels and intrigues! I admired the mantas antiguas Ricardo had thrown on the sofas – these handwoven beauties were from Peru and I had just picked up a few of the same myself while in the Sacred Valley. Ricardo had found a veritable treasure trove of these heirlooms in Puno, in a little shop on a street just off the main Plaza, with mantas stacked to the ceiling! That sounded like Valhalla to me having just been introduced to these collectibles and already obsessed. He insisted that I get myself there at some point. Never having been to Puno, I wasn’t quite sure I would ever locate it. But there was another clue.. The man to see at the shop was an avid collector of Peruvian handwork of all kinds, maybe a bit of a hoarder even as I was to learn. He went by the name of Cactus, quite a flamboyant character in the town and well loved by all. Ricardo was confident that I would find him if I ever made the trip. I thought, hmmm, sounds farfetched, but…..
This is me, a year later in Puno, looking for Cactus, with a nasty bout of altitude sickness that kept me awake for nights.. I’m smiling, but it’s only because I have chewed up coca leaves stuck to my temples. I was instructed by the giggling ladies in the market place to do so because they could tell I had a migraine that was out of control painful. It didn’t work, but it was a fun distraction.
I was recently invited to work with a promising NGO based in Jodhpur, India – Saheli Women. Since their director, Madhu, and I met in the fall, I’ve been tinkering with product concepts to produce with these ladies. Mirror and embroidery work are their strengths and I am very drawn to both. Why not create an eye pillow or eye mask with embroidered silk? I’m obsessed with the patterns in tile work, at once so fine and imperfect, and have many photos saved from travels around the world. These are a starting point for a simplified embroidery motif. And as far as mirror work goes, wall hangings are dancing in my head ! More soon……
In their own words:
Saheli Women is a nonprofit clothing manufacturer and ethical fashion social enterprise in rural Rajasthan, India. Located in the village of Bhikamkor, Saheli Women employs 20 rural women, providing them with fair wages, health insurance coverage and a safe work environment free from gender, religious and caste discrimination.
Saheli is a subsidiary of IPHD, Institute For Philanthropy and Humanitarian Development (IPHD), a women’s empowerment and rural community development nonprofit based in Jodhpur, India. It manages the Saheli Women production facility for clothing, accessories and homeware out of its community center in Bhikamkor. Additionally, IPHD sponsors the educations of all daughters of Saheli Women members, runs the only female health clinic in the village and delivers workshops on a range of topics including human rights, feminism, menstrual hygiene and health and financial literacy.
All hand made, with loads of inspiration and in the spirit of high craftsmanship. The man who is working with me in NY on development of new designs, sampling, small batch production, etc., made them back in Georgia – ex-Soviet Union – before coming over with his family a few years ago. He studied fashion illustration at art school, and picked up all sorts of other skills as well. I’m talking with him about how to reproduce them! Black ones with grey copper details. Ivory ones with jute and copper and olive, close to the originals. I’m thinking to look for a sole that can stand up to the city. They will be precious, with 40 hours of work at least to each pair. Taking orders !! Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with interest if you are swooning, too…..
Nomadic Thread Society is proud to present a series of textiles of our own design. We’ve recently become obsessed with mixing natural with metal fibers. The result is this intriguing, diaphanous weave. The Metallic Kimono emerges as the perfect “it” piece. It’s one size, multi-seasonal, and weighs nothing. Tuck it away in your handbag before work, and slip it on before an evening out. This signature piece works with infinite outfits ushering you easily from day to night.
Many months after our beautiful shoot in southern Spain, we are happy to share this little slice of magic. Many thanks to our friends, The Acid, for their super vibey music. And heartfelt thanks to videographer, Lillian Simonsson, for her elegant camera work and generous hospitality and friendship during our Spanish mission.
There is so much to say, and yet I am fairly speechless. A wonder for the spirit and senses, yet utterly confounding.. No use trying to figure it out. India is a land of infinite beauty and complexity. I shall always return. I have a deep and lasting gratitude for the tremendous hospitality extended to me by colleagues and friends throughout my trips, and beyond. I felt I was held by their generosity as if in the palm of their hands. Never have I meant NAMASTE more than here.
Jacquard is our newest fascination. Our Spring ’15 collection will feature this eloquent hand craft. India is a great master of this delicate, intricate skill. We are experimenting at the moment with original jacquard designs, derived from our favorite ancient tiles… photographs of which have been collected over a lifetime. While we are in India, we will be working with artists to see if these new motifs can be achieved with jacquard.
Visual inspiration strikes in the form of subtle vapors- colorful, ethereal, moody, expressive. We’re a bit obsessed and wanted to share. The artist is Filippo Minelli. Looked into his work, Silence/Shapes, and found that these colored vapors derive from his observation of smoke bombs at protests. Interesting how a smoke bomb can be used to scatter and scare and yet these artful interpretations inspire serenity. Matters of perspective and context, make us think…
Truly a land of gypsies and nomads, at once lost in time and full of history…
Welcome to Andalucia, where the Sierra Nevada rises from the vastness and the locals keep things real. Farms and mountains dominate, along with great Moorish forts and tiny remote villages. There is a powerful charm found in ancient olive groves, where trees are thousands of years old.
Nomadic was invited to shoot our Spring 2015 collection on a dear friend’s land. Said friend was also our talented photographer. The model was a neighbor, beautiful young Davina. Everyone participated, from Ramon, the gardener, who erected our tipi, to Sofia, Davina’s mother, who lovingly prepared our meals.
As always, an authentic, homegrown effort with loads of vision and love.
Here’s a little tribute to a community-making, business-incubating trade event, hosted by Designers and Agents twice yearly in New York and Los Angeles. Many and gracious thanks for the opportunity. We could feel the supportive energy of the founders and their team, and surely benefitted from their two thoughtfully produced boutique shows.
Extracurricular highlights included: Mashti Malone’s ice cream shop in LA. A visit with Oscar, the super cutie pup, who immediately claimed a one-of-a-kind Pisac Manta. The wild container gardening display at a Bergamot Arts Center Sunday afternoon dance party.
Just back from another inspiring Peruvian buying trip. No altitude sickness this time, leaving me with plenty of energy to check out the beautiful colors, monumental scenery, and artful tribal elements…
The first thing we were told when we arrived at our shoot location and four-day-home this past October was; “Check your shoes for scorpions. Oh yeah, and check under the sheets, too!” The next thing that happened was grilling under the stars and a delicious bottle of red. We spent that first evening in Yucca Valley chatting with our host, Tracey Fischer, in her mid-century modern, high desert house. (www.highdeserthouse.com) We spent the next three days up at dawn and down at midnight, working every hour in the sublime desert landscape. Our usual two-person crew had grown to three. Michael Stratton joined us as photographer. Yikes! Joshua Tree National Park was closed due to the government shutdown… Miraculously, the neighbors have acres of precisely the same desert terrain, filled with our prickly J-tree friends, and elegant, massive boulders. We had sunburns and giggles, cracked lips and gallons of water, but no scorpion ambushes in the end. Here are some behind the scenes shots…
That’s what the locals call Guatemala. This past September, I attended a trade show in Antigua – a jewel of a colonial town, all cobblestones polished with age, giant wooden doors, lush hidden courtyards, and very antique churches looking poetic in total ruins. Antigua has a live volcano for a neighbor: Pacaya regularly puffs small bursts of ash into the air, a phenomenon which in rainy season is best observed in the morning, when there are a few hours of visible sky.. completely enchanting.
The show was held at a beautiful hotel, a refurbished monastery with magical historic grounds and luxuriant spaces. Artisans and small producers from all over central America were present. I met with 5 different opportunities to collaborate in Guatemala and Nicaragua, and I have already begun with elegant, hand carved, wooden bead necklaces, hand woven rugs and belts featuring a smart contemporary sensibility, and hand woven blankets from brightly colored, artful typical textiles..
I will go back.
And I will certainly make time to return to lake Atitlan, where I enjoyed my traveler’s day off! I hung out at a secluded lakeside boutique hotel all morning, chilling and occasionally hurling myself into “the bellybutton of the world,” as the native Mayans sometimes refer to the lake. A truly peaceful, majestic landscape and rich piece of culture to dip into.