NMG X MSS

Residency project comes to life as New Market Goods

Member and former MSS resident Stephen Kennedy has been busy building a brand called New Market Goods. He’s partnered with Deshal, a small community of artisans in Dhaka to produce a line of popover shirts, with the goal of better understanding and highlighting positive production practices in Bangladesh. If you’ve been by the clubhouse over the past month, you may have seen the shirts on display in the popup nook, but if you missed them, be sure to check out their Kickstarter.

 

A bit more backstory on New Market Goods, from Stephen:

The design we’ve developed is an all-cotton popover shirt. It takes cues from the punjabis frequently found on the streets of Dhaka, such as the band collar and a placket that extends only to mid-chest.

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We’ve hybridized the style with more traditional button-down features: a slightly more fitted silhouette that hits at the waist and side gussets. The design itself is fairly minimal, and is really meant to highlight the textiles, which are produced in one of the last remaining hand-loom communities called Pabna, in western Bangladesh.

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Our production partner, Deshal is a popular Bangladeshi clothing line that started nine years ago as the passion project of three friends and artists – Kanak, his wife Ishrat and their friend Shobuj. We were stunned by the incredible, hand-loomed textiles that they use, and how the design of their garments (punjabi, tunics, saris) reflects the need for comfort and coolness in such a tropical climate. As a friend wrote about them, “Deshal gives a new meaning to the word factory – bright paints, colours, folk music, quiet smiles and Ishrat, Kanak, and Shobuj can be seen on the factory floor almost every day.” Their line has been super successful and they have several retail outlets throughout Dhaka.

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While visiting their factory, we’d share clothing we liked and work together to design custom pieces with their textiles. After a few visits, everyone seemed game to start something new that could be sold in the US. We agreed to start small: produce a small run of a single design in a couple of different textiles. By learning from the ground up with Deshal, we’ll be able to focus on developing a quality product while gaining full exposure to the garment production process.

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While we’re big supporters of the movement to bring manufacturing back to the US, the reality is that the majority of our garments and products will always be made in places like Bangladesh and China. Horrendous incidents like the factory collapse in Savar last year, shake us up and open our eyes to the terrible conditions in which our clothing is made. But within a few months, the focus subsides and companies continue to turn a blind eye.

We think it’s extremely important to work more closely in these contexts to develop practices that are beneficial for all parties involved. Making improvements is complex and requires a change in perspective from consumers, brands, industry leaders, local government, factory managers, and the garment workers themselves, but the last thing a place like Bangladesh needs is to have the garment industry leave. It’s become an integral part of improving economic conditions, and brands that aren’t willing to take responsibility for fair labor standards will likely continue the cycle of exploitation elsewhere.

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For everyone involved, NMG is currently a passion project; we all have full-time jobs and find ourselves burning the midnight oil to get this thing started. Our Kickstarter, now live through July 20th, is our first step toward seeing NMG and Deshal grow together! We could certainly use your help getting the word out.

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Stephen Kennedy

Stephen earned his Bachelors in Industrial Design at Georgia Tech and a Masters in Urban Planning at MIT. For the past several years, he has been working as a hybrid planner / designer on transportation mapping initiatives in Bangladesh, signage initiatives in New Orleans, waterfront greenway planning in the Bronx, participatory planning in Indonesia, stormwater management strategies in West Philadelphia, and New Town redevelopment in Kiryat Gat, Israel.

 

Andrew Linderman, The Storyteller

We’re so excited to find out Andrew Linderman’s storytelling secrets on Tuesday, July 8th when he will be teaching a class at Makeshift Society Brooklyn. Tickets available here. In anticipation of that, we caught up with Andrew to peek inside his story-filled head.

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Makeshift: Is there a specific memory you could share of when you realized you had natural storytelling ability?

Andrew: The memory that pops out is the first time I had to tell a story in front of an audience.  It was the third week of Margo Leitman’s storytelling class at the Upright Citizens Brigade in Chelsea.  At that point, my only real performance experience, apart from a Dr. Seuss play in middle school, was a stand up set I had done at a bar that had gone pretty badly.  Badly, as in, I got no laughs until the very end, when I thanked the audience for being both polite and respectful.  That got a few chuckles.

So, standing in front of the class, I was starting to have a melt down when I remembered getting fired from my first job out of college after my boss discovered that I had been applying for other jobs on company time.  I told the story in the hope that everyone would find it hilarious.  One person laughed.

As I was dragging my feet towards the door at the end of class, one of my classmates pulled me aside and said: “That was really good.  It was honest and personal and very relatable.” I didn’t know what to say, so I thanked him and went home.  The message didn’t really register until I had to tell the same story again in front of the class a few weeks later.  I got a bit flustered in the middle of the story, but powered through it.  I still didn’t get a lot of laughs, but I took my time and got a lot of positive feedback at the end.

Makeshift: What are some surefire ways to lose the attention of your audience?

Andrew: There are two big ones.  The first way to lose an audience is when you don’t deliver what you promise.  Put it this way: if you go to a rock concert and the band comes up on stage and announces that they’re going to do a post-Modern version of Hamlet, you’ll be pissed. Even if you like post-Modernism and Hamlet. It’s important to meet people’s expectations before you can exceed them.

The second big way to lose an audience is to talk over them.  An audience is there to listen to you, so take your time with your story.  I’ve seen too many people race through their stories or pitches, only for the audience to end up confused or frustrated. Be patient with yourself and your audience will be patient with you.

Makeshift: How do you think Brooklyn and the people of Brooklyn have helped to shape how you tell a story?

Andrew: Brooklyn is a place that is both self-consciously hip and innovative while remaining un-self-consciously rooted in tradition.  This set of contradictions suits me well.  My mom is from Midwood and I used to visit my grandmother in Brooklyn long before it was “cool”, so I always felt the pull of Brooklyn traditions like folding my pizza and swearing at cabs (not all cabs, just some).  People in Brooklyn tend to be honest, so if they don’t like something they’ll let you know right away.  It’s a good way to develop a healthy respect for your audience, which is something that’s helped me in all facets of life.

As an instructor and entrepreneur, Brooklyn has been very good to me.  I got my start teaching at the Brooklyn Brainery and would not be where I am without their help.  They continue to give me the time and space to experiment, which is really wonderful.  Brooklyn people also value and reward hard work, which is great for someone looking to grow a small business.  The openness of the business climate has helped me sustain my oddball enterprise.  My approach is a bit unconventional, but I’ve found that people here are really receptive to quirky things.  I mean, we invented the Cragel after all.

Overall, Brooklyn is an amazing place to live and work.  Apart from the weather, the high rent, the constant noise, the dirty subways, and the rats.  And the double wide strollers.  But you’ve heard all that before.  To me, it feels like home.

To learn more about Andrew, be sure to snag tickets to his class in July!

RMIT comes to Makeshift

This week we’ve had a group of six students from RMIT in Melbourne working with us and it’s great to have all these new faces around. The students of RMIT University are big on coworking, and we’re pumped that they came all the way from Australia and choose us to be their hosts.

We were able to catch up with a few of the students in the School of Media and Communication program this afternoon, so say hello to Tanya Wasylewski, Helen Cheung, and Numan Naveed (from left to right). We asked what they like most about working at Makeshfit Society and they responded: light, more light, and the productive, calm atmosphere.

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They’ve been exploring NYC for just over a week and have already found some favorite Williamsburg spots (besides us, of course). Helen, a graphic design student, loves meandering down Bedford Ave, Tanya, an educational technology student, just discovered one of our favorite neighborhood spots, Saltie, and Numan, also a graphic design student, spent this past weekend checking out a bookbinding fair and hopping around Brooklyn rooftops. To aid their explorations we slipped them each a copy of the Makeshift Society neighborhood map, and you can check it out too right here on Jauntful.

Meet n’ Greet: Livia Cetti

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http://www.thegreenvase.com/

Livia is an absolutely incredible paper flower artist located right here in NY. We caught up with her to find out a little more about her world before her Paper Peony Class on June 26th 7-9 PM. We’re so excited to have her teach us Makeshifters some of her secrets.

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Makeshift: Where do you feel the most compelled to create?

Livia Cetti: I feel most creative in my garden, or in   the wild surrounded by nature. Or in the city shopping and looking at the street or in windows. And strangely, when I’m under pressure to create. And when it’s raining.

Makeshift: What do you do when you’re not busy magically turning paper into flowers?

Livia Cetti: I like to cook, and garden, and collect/rearrange furniture.

Makeshift: Who are some of your favorite artists, crafters, creative people?

Livia Cetti: Just off the top of my head, Confetti Systems, Francis Bacon, Janine Janet, Cody Hoyt, Madderlake, Henry Darger, Lilith Rocket, and John Derian.   I’m also inspired by vintage textiles, ethnic textiles, vintage ribbon,  natural pigments, Japanese pastries  (really most things Japanese!) millinery flowers, Bauhaus ceramics, shells, miniatures, multiples, Bloom magazine and World of Interiors.

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Find out more about Livia and her technique at her workshop next week! We’ll also have her new book available for purchase, The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers.

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SF Q1 Residency Recap

from Holley Murchison, our SF Q1 Resident:

I remember excitedly doodling the first iteration of the idea for Breaking Bread on my apartment wall back in NYC a little over a year ago. And now, thanks to Makeshift Society’s residency program, it’s all coming to life. Thanks again so much to Rena for believing in the idea and to Christina and Ashley for being so supportive along the way!

Breaking Bread will be a recorded series of dinner conversations with power players, makers and doers across a range of industries. Released monthly, each installment will host a new guest and in the spirit of community and collaboration, we’ll be inviting a few like-minds to the table to join us. Through a combination of video recap and podcast, we’ll be sharing the magic from these intimate events with the public.

As a society, when we discuss success, sometimes we only get to see the shiny parts. The glory. The finish line. But in doing that, we forget how important the journey is and the trials and tribulations along the way become almost like a secret. In turn, we get this false message suggesting that it’s all supposed to be easy and the part where you struggle/don’t have all the answers is a bad thing (or something to be ashamed of). So beyond conversation, BreakingBread is a celebration of the journey. And through that celebration we’re hoping to inspire not just collaboration, but action.

I spoke at length with Kamaly, my partner on the project, about what we wanted to accomplish during my residency. We carved out a few realistic deliverables and thanks to the MSS community (aka, you guys!), we were able to make some great progress.

 

Where are we now?

We officially have our roadmap for a January 2015 launch along with a production team and advisors to see the vision through. And we were incredibly fortunate to get the lead designers from The Bold Italic on board to build out the full brand identity. Over the summer and fall, we’ll be focused on designing and building out the Breaking Bread set, developing partnerships with intimate venue spaces between the SF Bay Area and NYC, securing our first guests, and recording the first three installments.

We’re really excited about how things will unfold over the coming months leading up to the launch. If you’re interested in staying in the loop as things progress and being added to the mailing, feel free to shoot me an email anytime: holley@holleywithane.com.

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