Introducing our 4th Quarter Resident: Stephen Kennedy

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Stephen is an industrial designer and urban planner that for the past couple of years has been working on transportation initiatives in the south Asian megacity of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

In light of recent tragedies in Dhaka’s garment industry, he’s started working on a shirting line with the goal of promoting Bangladeshi craftsmanship and fair labor standards. Stephen and his team have engaged a local boutique garment factory whose progressive approaches they hope to highlight through this brand, which they’ve dubbed New Market, after the largest marketplace in the city.

Over the next couple months, he plans to work with a variety of partners to refine the shirt designs, continue sourcing materials, develop a production strategy, and design the brand. The idea behind the shirt design is to fill a perceived gap in menswear in terms of creative use of vibrant and textured textiles.

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To give you a sense of what this is going to be like, he’s started a mood board (remember those things that came before Pinterest?), which will be on display over at the clubhouse. Take a look, and if any of you have additional inspiration or ideas to share, please feel free to add to the board!

Through this residency at Makeshift Society, Stephen hopes to share the design process and garner feedback from other creatives. He believes that revealing the complex and controversial processes of the garment industry is becoming increasingly important in our hyper-consumer world, and we must start making more informed decisions about what we purchase and the impact it has on people living on the other side of the world.

Follow along on Twitter: @NewMarketGoods & Instagram: @NewMarketGoods

Makeshift Brooklyn Week 005

Last week Rena and I took the calendar and ripped it into three parallel strips (metaphorically, at least, since it’s hard to rip pixels): Brooklyn buildout, website refresh, and Kickstarter. These each run on their own timeline and each is plenty enough to keep us busy, so now more than ever decision-making is about trade offs. What must be done now, and what can be displaced to later?

Our Kickstarter is coming along with just under $12k left to raise. We’ve been written up in the Wall Street Journal (paywall) and Design Observer and enjoy seeing every one of your tweets and Facebook posts. We still need your help spreading the word and bringing in contributions though — only 10 more days to make this happen!

In preparation for the cell division that will happen when BK opens we’re going to have to redo the website — the question is how much we will change. This topic was the subject of a long discussion with Rena this weekend. We were able to meet in person, which is always more productive, as she and I were both at Camp Mighty. Rena gave a talk and I was an Artist in Residence. Our long term goal for the website is to do a better job showing the life of Makeshift and less time telling you about it. This reminds me of my previous work at Helsinki Design Lab, where the stuff we did was very abstract and hard to put into words without using thousands of them. There we had to put a lot of effort into visualizing the work we did, but luckily the nature of what happens at Makeshift is immediately more visual. More to come on this.

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Left: I made a glowing ‘M’. Right: Rena’s talk included this important point, which inspired a flutter of instagrams and tweets

And then the build out. Week 005 was mostly focused on engineering. Calculating electrical loads, coordinating life safety equipment (read: sprinklers and fire alarms), and drawing all of the tiny details that need to be included in the construction drawings. Some of them, anyways. There’s always more to be done. Victoria was at Camp Mighty too, so we were able to talk about sofas and carpets and other details. Soon our focus will shift more to these aspects of the Brooklyn buildout.

On my flight back to NYC I caught up on some reading, including this bit of de Tocqueville:

Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; in this manner they found hospitals, prisons, and schools. If it is proposed to inculcate some truth or to foster some feeling by the encouragement of a great example, they form a society… If men [SIC] are to remain civilized or to become so, the art of associating together must grow and improve in the same ratio in which the equality of conditions is increased.

Week 005 felt like three weeks in one and I have a crick in my neck to prove it.

10 DAYS TO GO.

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35 days ago we launched our Kickstarter Campaign to fund Makeshift Society Brooklyn’s tool-lending library. With much excitement, (note: very, very agonizing excitement) we cannot believe we are counting down our final days. So here is what we need to make happen: In 10 days, we need to raise a little over 12k. We admit that is a large amount in a little bit of time, however, we are certain that with a big push and lots of social media buzz – we can achieve our end goal of 30k. But we cannot do it alone, so we need your help now more than ever.  Please remember that everything helps this campaign, including tweets, Facebook shares, and good ol’ fashion word-of-mouth advertising. And hey, donations are pretty cool too.

Here is a brief list of reasons why supporting Makeshift Society Brooklyn is a great idea:

  • Score the rewards that were created by a group of talented group of artists and designers especially for our backers.
  • You will be backing not just a tool-lending library, but also an entire new community of small business owners and creatives.
  • In light of the 3rd Ward closing their doors in NY, what better time to advocate the opening of a renewed space for co-working?
  • And to our potential Brooklyn members, you will LOVE this tool-lending library. Start thinking of the tools you will need and the projects you want to begin. Our ultimate goal is to help make those concepts come to life.
  • Not enough? Here are seven more reasons why New York needs Makeshift Society.

Remember, the last day to pledge to Makeshift Society Brooklyn is Thursday, October 31st, at 2:00pm EDT.  Until then, help us spread the word so that our goal is reached and the future Makeshift Society Brooklyn members have the tool-lending library they deserve.
And lastly, no amount of thank you’s could not express our deep appreciation and gratitude towards the incredible 255 people who have pledged donations so far, this would never be possible without you!

Makeshift Brooklyn week 004

Last week something special happened. I met Teemu, a friend from Helsinki who co-founded the graphic design firm Kokoro & Moi, and we walked over to the future home of Makeshift Society. This was the first time that I had shown it to someone that’s not somehow involved in the project or playing a role in our Kickstarter video. Teemu was silent for a second and then said, “cool.” It was just what I wanted to hear. What a way to start the week.

The chat with Teemu and a similar one with Feather & Mint were both intended to help us gauge the needs of the crowd here in NYC. What we’ve learned so far is that we probably need to make room for more whiteboards, or at least writing surfaces. We are going to do some tests with IdeaPaint and nice plywood to see if that will allow us to escape the monotony of large, shiny, white surfaces.

After kicking off the week with a spurt of meetings, we spent a couple days at Brooklyn Beta. On Thursday we hosted a party and panel discussion to give people out here a taste of what Makeshift events are like. Eighty-some people showed up to hear from Nikki Dekker of Lake and Stars lingerie, Tracie Lee of Lone Star Tacos, and Archie Lee Coates IV from PlayLab and Plus Pool talk about starting a creative business in Brooklyn. Virb and Photojojo sponsored the event and Design*Sponge for provided their offices as a venue, since ours is still a construction site. Here’s what that looked like:

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Here’s one of the posters that we hung to give people a peek at what Makeshift Brooklyn will entail.

Click to view very, very large

Click to view very, very large

Then we attended the main Brooklyn Beta event to start spreading the word about Makeshift. They had a bike concierge.

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The event was really well done, and featured contributions from a number of Friends Of Makeshift, including Kelli Anderson and Jessi Arrington’s WORKSHOP.

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Between sessions at Beta, Rena and I were taking advantage of being in the same place at the same time. Lots of emails were drafted, interview questions responded to, to-do lists made, and to top it off we had a couple phone calls with Anne The Lawyer. The interviews are especially important to us right now because we’re trying to funnel as much attention as possible to the Kickstarter.

Three things of note with regard to that. First, we posted an update (which partially overlaps with this post, but mostly does not). Second, we added two rewards that can be shipped anywhere in the world! Third, we’ve been working on making better images of the rewards that we are offering because they are awesome and the tiny thumbnails on the Kickstarter page do not do them justice. Each of the rewards features original artwork commissioned by us for this campaign. Hopefully new images like the one below do a better job of showing you how great the stuff is.

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(Click to view large)

In the middle of all of this, one of the more established coworking spaces in NYC closed its doors without warning. 3rd Ward had published significant plans and recently opened a location in Philadelphia, so it was surprising to see them shuttered so abruptly. I lost most of Friday night to reading the various reports and an unhealthy dose of Reddit comments. Of course we’re concerned about whether this will cast a shadow on coworking in NYC in general, but we’re undeterred. We may not be familiar with the inside story, but from what we’ve been able to glean they were expanding too quickly and with plans that were larger than they could sustain. We’re sorry to see 3rd Ward go.

By contrast, Makeshift Brooklyn is a modest expansion for us. We will take things slowly so that our growth is careful and meaningful. There are few things we can promise you, but that’s one of them. Goodnight Week 004, you were exhausting.

October pop up shop- Jessica Davies Metalworks

Have you been by to shop this months pop up? We’re featuring our very own MSS member Jessica Davies Metalworks.

Her work includes a beautiful array of earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces.

Shopping is welcome during clubhouse hours (Mon-Fri between 9-6) and you can check out her site here

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