Friday, July 17, 2009


We don't wrestle with internal demons around here too much. Why are we here? What's it all about? We get to spend more time making than thinking. But if we ever did need reassurance it's easy to find in Brooklyn.

David Gensler, Aerosyn-Lex and Portia Wells put some time aside to show us what they've been up to. Here's where we should say that these folks navigate within the realms of creative strategists and denizens of new design. As such they have plenty of cool "clients" (including a couple denim brands), but our connection to this passionate posse is not professional. It's cultural. Besides they have enough clients and we don't use agencies.

Peek through their Brooklyn porthole and you're looking into an intense mix of activities, values and influences. We were particularly inspired by the crazy attention to fabric-development within their own SvSv collection where they employ pure musk ox qiviuk among other things . We were also floored by our first real-life exposure to their unbelievable collection of antique tailor's shears... it's reassuring to know we're getting help salvaging and caring for these priceless forbearers of our shared tradition.

True to the notion that we need to share this tradition even as we push it forward, they honored the ethic more deeply as we parted ways by entrusting us with the first pair of shears they ever acquired. Judging by the shape and the ornate scabbard they maybe more suitable for an obscure martial-art than for garment-making, but the workmanship is insane.

It's a really good day when you can bracket it with learning on both ends. Destroy a little convention at breakfast, worship a little tradition before lunch.

From chewing the fat with Gensler and crew in the morning, the afternoon offered a chance to meditate among a mind-boggling and spirit-moving range indigo drenched folk textiles from Japan as well as Korea and India. Keeper of both the relics and the knowledge, Stephen Sczcepanek, deepened our understanding and appreciation of these traditions well beyond our expectations, given the brief couple of hours we spent with him.

He shared new specimens like ultra-delicate Korean wrapping cloth, deeply patinaed Japanese pawnshop paper, wisteria yarns gathered from jungle vines to be spliced together by hand (not "spun") and woven into one of the rarest fabrics in the world. We're not kidding.

And, of course, there was a tonal kaleidoscope of indigo infused Boro specimens.