meet thecreativespiritsIN OUR NEW OCTOBER COLLECTION
From rising talents in art and design, to leaders in theater and sustainability, we’re endlessly inspired by their passion for creativity and community. Meet these seven unique women, and see how they wear the new October collection.
Sade LythcottCEO, The National Black Theatre Since 2008, Sade has carried on her mother’s legacy at the helm of the Harlem institution and performance space for Black artists. Her next act: an exciting renovation and expansion, right where it all started more than 50 years ago. Get involved @natblacktheatre.
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Sade in the Alfie blazer in Italian cotton-wool blend and high-rise Peggy tapered jean
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Sade in the double-breasted blazer in Italian corduroy and the limited-edition silk trench dress
“I feel inspired by the unending nuance and beauty of Black lives and Black people.”
Where do you go in NYC to be energized and inspired?
SL: There’s a garden in Harlem on 106th Street that has so much magic. My mother used to take me and my brother there as kids, so I like to take my son Thelonious.
How do you find the confidence to build a business with passion and purpose in NYC?
SL: You can’t manufacture courage. I think it comes from a space deep within. I trust that my ancestors are guiding me, and that’s where my confidence comes from.
You’re working on an impressive theater renovation to support even more artists. What excites and inspires you to do this?
SL: I’m excited to create boundless opportunities for playwrights and directors, and to invite Harlem and the rest of NYC into our home to experience it all.
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Anja in the ribbed cashmere relaxed crewneck and silk charmeuse slip dress
Anja TysonSUSTAINABILITY CONSULTANTOn a large scale, she helps global fashion brands lessen their impact, and guides them toward a better future. Closer to home in NYC, Anja fundraises for @onelovecommunityfridge to help provide local communities with free farm-fresh food. Subscribe to her newsletter, Present Tense, for more perspectives.
“My personal style probably expresses me better now than ever before. I don’t tend to buy trends—instead, I’ll invest in classic items that I’ll wear for years.”
What actions can we take to live more sustainably each day?
AT: You can quit single-use anything, but honestly, the most impactful thing you can do as an individual is to organize your community, and be vocal with your elected representatives that we are long overdue for a change.
How can we better support our local natural food sources?
AT: Support your local community garden, sign up for a CSA [community-supported agriculture], invest in local and regional family farms, but also make sure that you’re making that same level of access possible for the 33 percent of the population that is living in food deserts. Healthful, nutritious food should not be a privilege.
Last film, book or exhibit that you really connected with?
AT: I loved Grief and Grievance at New Museum this spring, and Alice Neel at the Met this summer. The brief but interminable period when museums were closed last year really reminded me of how urgent and integral art is to the human spirit.
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Anja in the ribbed cashmere jumpsuit
Megumi Shauna AraiTEXTILE ARTISTThe Japanese-Jewish artist hand-stitches vintage fabrics, naturally dyed silks and more scraps together to make the boro-inspired textile work we first fell in love with on display at Beverly’s, the NYC housewares shop. Follow her @oneflewup to see more of her modern takes on the traditional practice.
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Megumi in the blazer jacket in Italian boiled wool and the ’90s classic straight carpenter jean
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Megumi in the relaxed cashmere turtleneck
“Creativity thrives for me in quiet places with little distraction. Being completely immersed in what I’m making, and having a dedicated rhythm.”
What is a boro piece? Tell us about your art style.
MSA: Boro means “tatters” in Japanese. Traditionally, boro—as in the piecework style specific to Japan—was made out of necessity. Cherishing small bits of fabric and piecing them together to keep warm. Compositionally speaking, my textile work resembles boro, but material-wise, it’s not at all tied to the tradition.
What’s the last film, book or exhibit you saw that you really connected with?
MSA: Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Suzuki Shunryu.
How do you think the next generation of textile artists will affect creative culture?
MSA: As barriers are broken, I think more focus will be placed on including and celebrating artists with diverse backgrounds, and we’ll see incredible cross-pollination. Textile art, craft and folk art will not only have a seat at the table, but be a magnetic force.
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Jordy, left, in the slouchy boyfriend overall, and Nora in the slim-fit western chambray shirt and high-rise Peggy tapered jean
Jordy Murray & Nora O’Neil FOUNDERS, FRIENDS OF FORMA shared love of 20th-century design inspired the pair to start sourcing vintage furniture to style, resell and rent, first through their popular Instagram page @friendsof_form, and now also from their new Brooklyn showroom.
“I feel inspired by New York City, by nature, by good design, obviously by my business partner…”—nora
What were the first pieces of furniture you fell in love with?
NO: My first love will always be Italian postmodernism. It’s what hooked me because it’s so unexpected, whimsical and sexy.
Best find ever and where?
JM: Lord knows we love a sculptural rattan chair! The Rose Bowl in LA is amazing, if you’re willing to get up before the sun.
Where do you feel the most creative, and doing what?
NO: In my own space, whether it’s my apartment or my studio. I love working and building with my hands. Feeling textiles and deciding how to execute a project is my favorite part of creating.
How do you think the next generation of furniture designers will affect creative culture?
JM: I like to think that culture influences design as much as design influences culture. At the moment, I’m seeing much more joy and experimentation with an emphasis on responsible production and personalization.
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Jordy in the cashmere relaxed V-neck and D-ring flannel pant, and Nora in the Alfie blazer in Italian knit wool and cashmere cropped tank
Laila GoharFOOD ARTISTFrom pop-up restaurants on NYC sidewalks to her famous dinner parties at home, the Cairo-born chef always finds a way—through food, art and community—to create an immersive experience, beyond just a delicious meal. Follow her @lailacooks.
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Laila in the featherweight cashmere bandana and wide-leg pleated pant in pinstripe Italian wool
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Laila in the crewneck sweater & short with recycled cashmere
“I’m excited about the borders artists are continuing to blur, whether it’s in their personal expression, or the mediums they work within.”
Where do you feel the most creative, and doing what?
LG: When I have a bit of distance from my everyday work. I gain some perspective and end up stimulated in a way that’s different than when I’m in the middle of everything.
How does your community of friends inspire you?
LG: On so many levels. It’s been amazing to see people adapt, reinvent themselves, create new projects, collaborate with one another and just continue to be creative in challenging times.
What do you wear to cook, make, create…?
LG: I wear the same things to cook as I do for everything else, so all my clothes are stained… Ha!
OK, we have to ask… What’s your favorite food?
LG: Anything made with attention and care.
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Aminatou in the Sommerset blazer & pull-on straight-leg pant, both in glen plaid English wool
Aminatou SowWRITER & PODCAST HOSTFrom cohosting her podcast, Call Your Girlfriend, to coauthoring her book, Big Friendship (both with her long-distance BFF, Ann Friedman), Aminatou is a new kind of relationship expert, and always part of the conversation. So of course we wanted her thoughts (and words) on what the last year has meant for her, creatively speaking...
“I am getting dressed, I am dancing, I am loving my friends hard…I am trying new things.”
AS: Can you believe it’s fall 2021 and we are still living like…this? It doesn’t feel normal yet, but we are finding our way through the darkness. Science, common sense, kindness and some luck are helping us come out of our shells and cobble a semblance of normal. But it doesn’t feel entirely normal just yet...
In the early days of our new pandemic reality, we all watched our worlds become smaller. For those of us with the privilege to stay home, working from home morphed from a novelty to the mundane. Travel for business or pleasure, once routine, became nonexistent. Doing the crossword at the neighborhood bar, visiting family, spontaneous outings with friends, stopping by a store to try on sweats just because, dancing with strangers—the list of things we couldn’t do was endless. Some days, I felt paralyzed by that loss. I was afraid I would never feel the former pleasures of my previous life. I was also afraid that this new way of life would negatively affect my creativity. The sameness and lack of novelty was dulling the part of my brain that puts ideas together in new, useful combinations to solve problems. Creativity is often enhanced when we’re exposed to new situations. New situations felt forbidden.
I have to confess, though, that living in sweats and caftans in those early days actually did bring me a lot of solace. I learned to embrace comfort, soft fabrics and coziness. At one point, I sold or gave away most of the clothes in my closet because I couldn’t imagine a life where I would ever wear them again. It felt liberating and I have no regrets about it. But eventually, the vaccine brought pangs of hope, and I wanted to be in the world again. I wanted to get dressed! There is a very palpable difference between getting dressed and getting dressed. Getting dressed is serious business, and those of us in that business don’t do it for the satisfaction of others. It is borne out of a deep sense of personal satisfaction. The breath of fresh air I didn’t know I needed.
My first attempts were clumsy, and I really felt a sense of dread. The first problem? I needed new clothes. The next problem? I had forgotten how to dress. How does one cobble an outfit together? What message did I want to send to the world? What message was I telling myself? What part of myself was I trying to express? It seems silly, but I struggled with all these questions. Slowly but surely, I figured it out. The simple pleasure of putting an outfit together with purpose is not a pleasure I would be robbed of. I wanted to wear things that fit right. That made me feel hopeful, powerful and open to new possibilities.
Who knows how long until life goes back to normal. Maybe “normal” doesn’t really exist and we have to adjust to the current reality. All I know is, I am bringing the pleasures of the old life with me wherever I go. I am getting dressed, I am dancing, I am loving my friends hard and telling them how much they mean to me. I am trying new things and reminding myself that all isn’t lost. We can and always do find new ways to be.
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Aminatou in the cable-knit sweater-dress
More stories to explore…
What to wear next: the Fall 2021 LookbookShop the collection
Fall 2021 inspo with our head of designMeet Olympia
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