Monthly Archives: March 2011
Ever heard of a knitta?…
…Knitta Please is a group of artists who started in Houston, TX with the mission of making street art a little more “warm and fuzzy.” In 2005 they began with 11 members, and they now stand with just one, the founder Magda Sayeg. The first thing she ever tagged was the door handle to her own boutique, which you can see below. From then on she has continued to cover the landscape in “knit graffiti,” bringing a little color to the mostly gray cities we see on a daily basis. Many boring functional things like parking meters, buses, signs, and telephone poles all come to life once they have skillfully knitted covers.
Knitta Please has gone as far as Venice, Argentina and Bali to tag and share their touchable street art. Anyone who knows how to knit knows that a knitta’s work is not easy. Have you ever tried to knit around a scooter, school bus, tree or lamp post? Here are a couple of examples that we think makes life in the city more exciting. You have to admit, these really brighten up the view.
In May of 2009, Madga Sayeg/Knitta Please, teamed up with the Department of Transportation in Brooklyn and their urban art program to do the 69 Meters project. They covered three blocks worth of parking meters on Montague Street in Brooklyn, totalling 69 meters! The project received meter “cozies” from over 50 volunteers, and half of the submissions came from outside of Brooklyn- from San Francisco, Chile and Paris.
After 6 years of hard work Knitta Please has a number of dedicated followers who may also call themselves “knitta’s.” Although there are many known spin-offs of Knitta Please, we don’t really blame them. The craft of knitting is many centuries old and takes great skill and creativity and frankly seeing it everyday in the street just makes life a little better. What a wonderfully colorful medium of self expression. We can’t wait to see more from Knitta Please and those inspired by her.
I was lucky enough to score a “golden ticket” to this years SXSW in Austin, TX. For those of you who don’t know the history of SXSW, here is a little background on when it all began.
The first South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival (SXSW) was held in 1987 in Austin, Texas. Austin’s eclectic music scene goes back to early in the city’s history (from Mexican, German and colonial origins) and encompasses a wide variety of music including country, folk, jazz, blues and rock. Central Austin boasts more original music nightclubs in a concentrated area than any other city in the world, making Austin the perfect place for the biggest party of music lovers in the world. In 1994, SXSW added a film and interactive component to accommodate growth in these industries. The goal for SXSW is to create an event that will bring together and attract creative people and companies from a wide area to meet and share ideas… oh and to have tons of fun!
It was overwhelming to say the least but once I got my footing the excitement started immediately. I heard some amazing speakers, one of them being my husband Robert Brunner who talked about “Designing Ideas Not Objects.” I’m biased of course, but he gave an inspiring talk about the emotion behind design and why we care so much about it. Another inspiring talk came from Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes. He told the very passionate story of how TOMS shoes came to be after vacationing in a developing country and seeing many young children go without shoes. He talked about how philanthropic work is not only good for you and your community but how it can also give your company a competitive edge. I also heard the from the legendary humanitarian and musician Bob Geldof, whose tireless work aiding those most in need around the world continues to inspire us today. He talked about music today and the message or lack of message behind it and wonders why today’s musicians aren’t spreading the word about the issues that anger and frustrate so many of us. Good question.
But hey, it wasn’t all serious talks. There was plenty of other exciting things to keep you going and going all day, and all night long for that matter. The music highlights for me were definitely the Foo Fighters, T.V. on the Radio, DeVorchka and the incredible Emmylou Harris. There were so many other great bands playing that honestly I lost track, but they were everywhere and if they didn’t have a venue to play, then by gone it, they would just play in the street. There were also so many really great films. “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” which is in 3D and is a must see for archaeologists and art geeks alike, about the discovery of breathtaking cave drawings that are 32,000 years old and the emotion and vibrancy behind them. Being Elmo was also a really sweet documentary about Kevin Clash, the voice behind Elmo and an incredible look about how a childhood fascination with puppets lead him to his dream of working with “the puppet master” himself, Jim Henson .
I could go on and on about the great and plentiful food trucks there, not to mention the best sushi I’ve ever had…in Austin! Their was also great shopping, great people watching and yes, some of the best BBQ I’ve ever tasted. SXSW was a enormous good time and if I was asked to go again I’d say…giddy up!
Take a look at this video from CNN about the considerable numbers that descend on Austin during this extraordinary event that is SXSW.
Last Friday March 11, 2011 the Tohoku earthquake shook Japan and changed the lives of many people forever. Words can’t describe the impact the earthquake has had on the country, from Tsunami to Nuclear explosion. In light of the tragedies in the country we thought it appropriate to take some time to reflect on the remarkable influence Japan and Japanese culture has on the rest of the world and more specifically, the industry we know well- the fashion industry.
From the artistic and innovative designs of greats like Yohji Yamamamoto, Issey Miyake and Rei Kawakubo to the intuitive style of the people you see everyday in the streets in Tokyo, Japan sets the design bar high and influences fashion world wide. Japan Fashion Week in Tokyo was scheduled to begin next week showcasing designers such as Guts Dynamite Cabarets, beautiful people, Somarta, Junya Tashiro and Kamishima Chinami. Here is a peak at what they showed for Spring Summer 2011. This industry is a huge part of our lives and we anticipate it will be greatly influenced by the tragedy in Japan.
The apparel industry’s response to the earthquake in Japan has been remarkable. Japan’s largest retailer, UNIQLO has donated over 16 million pounds to relief efforts in addition to donating coats, jeans and thermal under wear. Many local retailers are even donating a portion of all their sales. So, you are probably thinking, what can I do to help- and there are so many ways, but here are a few really easy ways to contribute to relief efforts in Japan. Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross for Japan Earthquake Relief fund. To donate to Save the Children, text JAPAN to 20222 and $10 will be automatically added to you monthly wireless phone bill. For more information, click here.
Our hearts go out to the people of Japan who have been affected by this horrible tragedy. You are in our thoughts every day and we wish you the strength and resources to recovery quickly and safely. Life is such a precious gift.
We can only wait and see how the fashion world will continue to respond and reflect on this global event. With all the artistic and innovative talent Japan offers we are sure to see their creative spirit unleashed and helped to heal through art and fashion
Donating money to a cause you feel strongly about is a great way to make a difference, but volunteering your time to support a cause gives you first hand experience on just how meaningful your impact can be. This past weekend I spent just a few hours of my day at the San Francisco Food Bank and it gave me a glimpse of how important supporting a cause can be. With just a little time and a little effort you can make a big difference.
In San Francisco, 197,000 people struggle each day to feed themselves and their families. It’s a staggering number and one that unfortunately has grown over the past few years and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Being able to feed yourself and your family is such a basic need and it’s hard to imagine that so many people go without food. The SF Food Bank reaches out to people in such a dignified and respectful way by simply offering a hand in a time of need.
The face of hunger is one that may surprise some people because it has changed recently due in part to government benefit cutoffs, cost of living increases, and the recession locally and nationally. There are also many other reasons people might seek help from the SF Food Bank- maybe it’s the end of the month and they’ve run out of money, or they need to pay a heating bill that might have been higher than expected, or someone may have just gotten out of the hospital and is in need of help getting back on their feet. The list is endless.
It’s a crazy busy world and it’s so easy to get caught up in our lives and forget how very lucky we are to be able to feed ourselves and family without a second thought. It should also bring peace of mind knowing that if you did need a little help every now and then, there are so many good people at the SF Food bank ready to lend support. I really enjoyed my time volunteering. Just the few hours I was there I felt humbled by the enormous good SF Food Bank does in our community and beyond.
Give time, give money or simply text: EAT to 50555 to give $10 to the SF Food Bank.
“Being good is commendable, but only when it is combined with doing good is it useful.” ~Author Unknown
It may be overcast and rainy today but have you noticed the days are getting longer, the flowers are blooming and the bees are buzzing? Living in California we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by natural beauty all year round, but when is the last time you really stopped and looked around to appreciate it? When you’re out and about today take a moment to absorb the signs of spring.
Warmer weather also means farmers market fever! Spring time at the Ferry Building farmers market brings an abundance of local delectables that will make your head spin and your stomach growl. Time to get up a little early on Saturday and head to the market to grab some coffee, have a pipping hot breakfast and support your local growers. Bonus: There are plenty of free samples to be had!
Whether you’re enjoying lunch at your favorite sunny sidewalk cafe, walking your four legged furry friend, or taking a leisurely ride on your bike, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses and enjoy the first signs of spring. It’s one of the best times of the year in SF so soak it in!