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.

photo5

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.

nmg_loom

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.

photo4

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.

nmg_ks_-3

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.

photo3

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.

photo2

 

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.

 

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.

unnamed

Be a Makeshifter in Residence this Summer

Do you know about our quarterly residency program? We started the Makeshift Society residency because we want to make space for things that are experimental, unfunded, risky but *loved*. Sometimes the ideas that are the hardest to explain are the most interesting and worthy, so they can go without support. The residency gives us the flexibility to throw our support behind great experiments and projects that provide benefits to the creative community, or to society at large. See some of our alumni below.

residencyalum

Read some posts from our blog about the work of previous residents, or apply here. The deadline for our second quarter residency (which begins June 1) is this Monday at noon PST.

Residency Recap

From David Anderson, our Quarter 1 Part time resident:

When I found the Makeshift Society website and its residency program, I was considering many options for where to incubate my next tech startup through its earliest days. With the profusion of technology-focused coworking spaces in the Bay Area lately, it seemed like one of these bastions of fast-moving entrepreneurial drive and energy would be the obvious choice.

But Makeshift offered a different path. Here, creative energy is driven by far more than the technological curiosity or simple desire to get to a million users ASAP which pervades the Bay Area tech community’s mindset. In Makeshift, I saw an opportunity to let a more mindful, nurturing energy infuse the formative months of Trust Labs‘ existence. After all, the creatives that a space like Makeshift serves are exactly the pioneers who are focusing on creating deeper value above and beyond the dollar economy, which also happens to be our primary focus at Trust Labs, via our experiments with community-based digital currencies.

And what a few months it’s been. I started the year working part-time out of Makeshift, with little more than lots of research and a plan to build a prototype web app for early users, likely in the Bay Area. Within weeks, a coder friend had agreed to do the hard technology work for our prototype, and we had been offered the first $5k necessary to fund building it — by The Mill, a partnership between the Work In Progress coworking space in downtown Las Vegas and Vegas Tech Fund. Although I’d long-considered launching mCred, our first experiment around redefining social capital, in Las Vegas (“if it’ll work there, it’ll work anywhere”), the Bay Area always seemed like the default choice. However, the Mill’s validation was enough to commit to soft-launching in Vegas first.

In recent weeks, we’ve taken our earliest version of an app with virtually no features beyond the ability to send and request time-based currency among members, and just a few friends local to Vegas using it, and continually improved both features and interface based on the experiences of our earliest users. So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Currently, we’re up over 40 members locally, and are focused on solidifying our ability to both grow more quickly in an individual community like Vegas, and launch new instances, starting with the Bay Area. Although lately I’ve been distracted by the pressing need to raise more than five thousand dollars to fund Trust Labs’ continuing operations (wink), preparations are nevertheless underway to bring mCred to new cities! As we activate new local currencies based on trust, we build a basis for the reinvention of our economy’s broken notion of personal credit (more info here).

It will be a long road, but an important mission; my deepest appreciation to Rena, Christina, Ashley and everyone at Makeshift Society for your help in making this journey possible.

 

Meet our 1st quarter residents

it’s a new year, a new quarter even, and we are pleased to introduce our new residents!

our part time resident is David Anderson

headshot-mss

“Hi, I’m David.

I can be loud, but mostly I live a quietly reflective existence. I share more (resources, thoughts) than I probably should. I love digging to the heart of any issue, eschewing binary characterizations, & inserting myself into difficult situations of any kind. Ultimate frisbee is both my primary social fun & exercise. My nickname on (& off) the field is Pug, so feel free to call me that.

For work, I do tech entrepreneurship, as applied to positive change, first in the blogging world, and now in the crowdfunding world. I started & kinda sold, re-acquired, re-sold GreenOptions (2006-2009), started & sold Important Media (2010-2013), am an alumnus of Virgance (2008-09) & early operations at One Block Off The Grid (2009-10). In 2012, I fundraised on Kickstarter for a short, interview-based documentary about the hot springs my family has tried to protect, and shipped it. I helped make multiple prototypes for a crowdfunding platform focused on socially-valuable, long-term projects, called openfire, with its first successful public test runs at SXSW2013. Starting at StartupWeekend Vegas #6, I helped turn that code into a crowdfunding platform for touring musicians, which ended up as TourAlong. Although I consulted for a while on crowdfunding campaigns and related initiatives, I’m currently entirely focused on inspiring people to think of money differently, via my new startup, Trust Labs.

cheers!”

 

our full time resident is Holley Murchison

Holley M. Bio Photo

Holley Murchison is a social entrepreneur and rhetoric coach using education, food and music as conduits for change. Since 2011, she’s managed operations as founding partner of The Hall Pass Tour; a nationwide concert and events company designed to get underserved youth excited about leveraging higher learning to pursue their dreams.

A native of NYC, her work is centered around creating innovative, sustainable solutions to advance education, help the world communicate better and take (big and small) leaps toward championing and executing their ideas.

 

Thank you David & Holley! We look forward to seeing the process and collaborations that result from your residency!