Archive for the ‘Live, Work, Create.’ Category

Tee Tuesday: + Pool x Brooklyn Industries

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

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Have you ever dreamed of swimming in the East River? The design firm Playlab and Family NY have, which is why they are currently working on building + POOL, a giant plus sign-shaped pool that filters the water from the river into clean water for everyone to swim in, uniting the boroughs. The project started four years ago when Dong Ping Wong of the architecture company Family approached Jeffrey Franklin and Archie Lee Coates IV and their design studio, Playlab with the idea of actually getting into the water, rather than looking at it as a boundary between Brooklyn and Manhattan or Manhattan and New Jersey. The aim is to change people’s relationship with the water by actually getting them into the water.

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Coates, who came from a graphic design background, and Franklin, an architect, chose the plus shape because of its iconic and inclusive nature. Practically, the pool will be comprised of four separate pools stuck together that can be sectioned off for either lounging, kids, a lap pool, sports, etc.… or they can be combined to form an Olympic-length pool.

In order to raise money for construction of the pool, Playlab and Family NY approached Kickstarter back in 2011. At that point, Kickstarter had not taken on a civic project, and so a $25,000 campaign was launched to fund the first round of filtration testing. In just six days, they had raised $41,000, and the first filtration test was a success. Two years later in 2013, a second Kickstarter was needed to build a floating lab, but that time around, the campaign was built around giving people a part of the pool they could own – tiles on the walls and floors of the pool that anyone could purchase engraved with a donor’s name on it, along with a gift tile, because as Franklin declared, “+ POOL is just as much the people’s project as it is ours. It’s their city, so it should be their pool.” In just 30 days, Playlab and Family NY had surpassed their Kickstarter goal, and managed to raise $271,000. Today, the fundraising continues in order to complete the filtration tests and to secure a site for the pool.

During the Kickstarter campaign, the project began attracting significant international interests. Franklin added, “We want this to be an open, transparent project. We want people to build off of this idea. This problem is worldwide. In the U.S., 22 of the 25 biggest cities with waterfronts can’t use them. 90% of the world’s most populated waterfront cities can’t use them. We’ve gotten calls from Brazil and Japan. They’re working on this in London. When we had the Kickstarter, we got a lot of support and calls from people worldwide telling us this was a big inspiration to them.”

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Jeffrey Franklin of Playlab atop their Floating Lab at Pier 40 in Manhattan in the BKI x Plus POOL graphic tee.

With the Floating Lab up and running, Brooklyn Industries is proud to support this innovative project. We’ve collaborated with + POOL to release the initiative’s official t-shirt, with 10% of proceeds from sales of the tee supporting the project. Additionally, we’ll be hosting a meet and greet at Brooklyn Industries Smith Street on Saturday, June 28th from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., where you can meet the architects and learn more about the project, as well as purchase a tile and have your name etched in a piece of Brooklyn forever.

Today only, take 20% off this tee with code: TEETUESDAY

Live, Work Create, Instagram

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

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We found Aaron Weiss’ great photographic work the way most people find photos these days – by scrolling up with your finger on our Instagram. Aaron met up with us in Dumbo, Brooklyn, and we tagged along to snap some Instagram photos, and ask him a few questions:

You talk about Instagram and mobile technology playing a big part in reigniting your passion for photography. Tell us more about how it effects why and how you shoot?

For me, Instagram is a three way street of inspiration, self-expression, and community. The app has a lot of different niches, but mine is the photography niche for sure. There’s a constant flow of creativity from the people I follow, from all over the world. I love seeing the everyday life of people in Hong Kong, San Francisco, France, the list goes on and on. It’s not just a window to the world, but also a different perspective to my own city. Seeing New York through all these different eyes everyday, the same streets and buildings in an unending variety… my drive to create something new everyday and share my experience has been given an outlet with this simple app, and it’s given me a new reason to climb fences, chase good light and meet new people. A weekend doesn’t pass without an InstaMeet happening in the city (InstaMeets are Meetup groups for Instagrammers). We explore new spaces, exchange ideas and techniques, and it’s a great way to meet the photographers that inspire you.

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The processing on your photos are quite nice. Can you share with our readers tips and tricks, and what photo processing apps you use?

Sure… first I would recommend shooting in HDR mode with the native camera app in your phone. In HDR mode the camera takes three photographs, all varying in the amount of light recorded, and meshes them together to form a more accurately exposed image. From there my favorite filter app is VSCO, which has a ton of great options (allowing you to forget all about those silly Instagram filters) and the app is really simple to use. For more fine-tuning I use Snapseed. Brightness, contrast, saturation, and more can be processed here. For a more advanced editing app I use Filterstorm, the Photoshop of apps (curves, levels, exposure…) it’s a little complicated at first so watch the in-app tutorials and you’ll be good. Image Blender works great for blending two images together, my brother @ari.weiss uses it to add dramatic skies to images that need it. And finally TouchRetouch is a great app for covering up unwanted things in your image, like distracting pedestrians or trash on the street.

You also shoot for Good Eggs in Brooklyn, a company that delivers farm to market food to your door. What is shooting and styling food like?

Shooting food is a healthy challenge for me, and always a lot of fun. I get to be in the studio and listen to podcasts and music and explore different ways of styling the food. Most of the work is styling really; once I get a good scene going the shot happens pretty fast and I can move on. Turning a pastry or napkin in a different direction can really change the flow of an image, so attention to detail is key. We use all natural light, and sometimes I get to eat the food after it’s been shot and I can honestly say that I am always blown away. Good Eggs is a lot like Brooklyn Industries, supporting local business and artists, supporting community.

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From Saturday, May 4th – Monday May 26th, Aaron will be taking over our Instagram to share his work. Follow along here.

Visit Aaron’s website here, and follow his Instagram here.

Where We Create, Where We Make

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

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From our bag factory in Brooklyn to cotton mills in Peru to old school screenprinters in Jersey, meet the designers, craftspeople and factories that help bring Brooklyn Industries’ ideas to life >

Brooklyn Industries began making vinyl messenger bags in 1998 out of our factory on North 11th St. and Wythe Ave. in Williamsburg. However, we faced the tough decision to close it in 2000 as we started opening up stores. We didn’t really have a choice as prices out of Asia at the time were considerably less, and our customers didn’t want simple bags for the price of a sophisticated bag they could buy for the same price. Thirteen years later, this has changed. First, foreign factory prices have skyrocketed, and secondly, awareness and desire for artisanal, local product has grown.

Now, Brooklyn Industries is once again planting manufacturing roots in Brooklyn. We began a resurgence of making products locally in 2011, with the reopening of our bag factory at our headquarters in Dumbo (later moving the factory to our warehouse near the Brooklyn Navy Yard). This process of moving as much of our manufacturing back to the New York area as possible continues.

But how do we make clothes and bags here when the costs are still significantly higher? We have been grappling with this issue for several years, doing tests with local factories and searching all over Brooklyn and Manhattan to find manufacturers to work with us. Along with bag production in Brooklyn, garment production in NYC, and t-shirt printing in Queens, I am proud to say that as of mid-2014, we are making 50% of our T-shirts within 150 miles of Brooklyn. We are knitting yarn in Clifton, NJ, dying the yarn in Shoemakersville, PA (no, there are no shoe factories there) and then sewing in small shops in Allentown, PA and Brooklyn. In addition to the local approach, we are using organic, recycled and bamboo yarns almost exclusively. It is a micro, small lot approach to making t-shirts, but we think it will work! -Lexy Funk, CEO

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Take the tour >

This Built America- Episode 5: Brooklyn Industries

Friday, April 25th, 2014

This Built America and AOL highlights Brooklyn Industries as the featured New York company in their 50 state series on companies that are helping to build the manufacturing industry in the United States.

View the entire episode on Brooklyn Industries here.

Live, Work, Creator Series: Storytelling With Multimedia Artist Andrew Ryan Shepherd

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014
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Left: Andrew Shepherd in the Paddington Raincoat and the Striped Yoke Shirt

Brooklyn-based artist Andrew Ryan Shepherd weaves narratives through the creative use of photography, video, graphic design, sound, and even with model airplanes…

Andrew was born in the south just outside Hattiesburg, MS, and spent his childhood in Texas. After a short stint in Arkansas for university, Andrew moved to New York City for music, which somehow threw him into graphic design, and subsequently, photography, and then filmmaking.

When Andrew moved back to Texas in early 2008, the question of New York was not one tied up in an “if” as much as a “when”. On a trip late in 2010, Andrew met who would become his wife, which thankfully and unexpectedly sped up the process. After moving (this time to Brooklyn), he quickly proposed, and they were married a year later, living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn ever since.

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BKI: The visual language in your photography and videography is very rich in textures and your compositions are unconventional. What was your background before getting behind the camera?

ARS: I’ve always been drawing and building things (model airplanes) and had sort of a meticulous brain, for better or worse. I started learning to play a few musical instruments in high school, and spent most of my time learning to read, write, and perform music. It literally swallowed me — I couldn’t think about anything else.

After years of playing in bands in high school and college, I started to learn to design t-shirts, album covers, and so on, and I grabbed a copy of Photoshop and started pulling images from stock sites and trying to set type over them. I don’t have a formal education in that stuff, and that really shows in the earlier work.

Fast forward a few years, I started to realize I could probably do this for a living, and I was working with much better photography and textures to form my compositions. I’ve always been inclined to the collage style of work over the illustrative (though there is a place for both) — the organic, the destroyed, the natural, and the use of light in the work.

I bought a cheap DSLR and started walking around Upper Manhattan and photographing everything I saw — Subway mural details, the bricks in the wall surrounding Central Park, the sun coming through my fire escape over 97th Street. I was really terrible, but it stands today that it’s actually difficult for me to say anything more about my work than that I’m more interested in being a student than a teacher. That said, I started setting type/copy over these images and started to discover I actually liked creating those original backgrounds more than I liked buying them from stock sites.

I started to take photography pretty seriously and took pictures everywhere I traveled. I started to meet other photographers who challenged me deeply, not only technically, but in my approach to and interaction with subjects.

A few years after freelancing as a graphic designer, I decided to take the plunge and start freelancing in a wholly new direction — as a photographer. I started shooting editorial stories, portraits, and worked with bands on stage — these were the people I connected with, as a musician myself. I found it was not only a great way to grow in my craft, but to also be living and working within the environments I was naturally drawn to.

I made friends with a bunch of people in the Texas music scene, and as I started to gain more access to their lives, I realized my insecurities and need to give others access to myself. Photography for me was an unfolding, not only on the technical side, but in that it made me grow as a person, and helped me to understand and relate to people.

I’ve always been a writer as well, and photography was always a way to explore stories. One of my interests in starting photography is that it seemed much more narrative than the type of work I was doing as a graphic designer. Creating portraits and documenting scenes seemed to say so much more about the world.

When the 5D Mark II camera came out, like many other photographers, I started shooting video. At the big turn of the responsive and media-rich internet in the late 2000’s, brands were looking for more video content. I was interested in video not necessarily for that reason, but because it felt like the full circle back to why I started taking photos — telling stories — and it was also the culmination of all my different interests to that point. It involved photography, graphic design, my love for music, my dedication to writing, to people, to building things from scratch. It felt like the most natural progression I could make, and it consolidated my skills and desires into one form — filmmaking. And there, the skills serve the video; not any one is the featured. I liked that it brought everything together; I liked the possibilities, and I liked that I knew really nothing about it.

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BKI: Aside from your commercial work, it seems like you like to dabble in lots of different formal projects and exercises – anywhere from Super 8 videos to time lapse studies. What inspires you to produce in this wide range?

ARS: I get bored pretty easily. I maintain a pretty steady stream of a few different kinds of work in photography and film, but I have sort of this deep discontent when I’m not trying something new, or learning, or being challenged. I find that my lowest times are the times when I’m not experimenting or trying to grow.

BKI: The Brooklyn landscape, along with other travel destinations seem to play a large character in your work. What do you look for in locations when you shoot?

ARS: I grew up in Texas and travel back frequently. My family is there, I have a lot of friends there, and it’s been a great landscape to learn, grow and get better. Plus, it’s beautiful. In Texas you have such a wide variety of scenes, that if you drive a couple hours in any direction you’ll find something inspiring. My dad taught me at a young age to appreciate nature and to love silence and solitude. I find that when I’m traveling I’m interested in documenting not only a place, but a moment in history, at least my own history; and I hope I always get to do that with friends and family. That’s sort of what I’m thinking most — Where are we? How thankful am I?

Another aspect in my personal projects is bridging the water between a hectic New York life and a more slow, peaceful one that I’ve experienced elsewhere. I love both for different reasons. Agoraphobia is the kind of anxiety that usually results from a fear of crowded places, or a fear of open spaces. Even without the fear — mentally, historically — I have and think I’ll always have my feet in both countries, and I like talking about both experiences equally.

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See Andrew’s recent photography for This Built America’s profile on Brooklyn Industries here. Follow Andrew as he takes over our Instagram this week @BrooklynIndustries. Or check out more of Andrew’s work here. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter@andrewshepherd

Creative Inspiration

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
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At the studio of Red Antler in Dumbo, Brooklyn

I get inspired at work by looking out our Dumbo office window every so often at the skyline view of Manhattan. It’s always the same, and never the same. - Judy, Marketing
My picks: Creekside TankTulip Maxi SkirtPebble Tote & Crossbody

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I get inspired by eating good sushi. I also get inspiration from the interesting people and things on the streets of New York. - Koh, Window Designer
My picks: Paddington RaincoatSlater Pocket Sweater

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Listening to electronic, sad, or country music usually inspires me, but if I get really stuck creatively, I take the Archimedes approach and try and step away for a long walk past rundown warehouses. - Teddy, Art Director
My picks: Lawrence Floral ShirtDillon Tweed Pant

Brooklyn Bloomin’

Thursday, March 20th, 2014
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Clockwise from top right: Tulip Printed Dress, Floral Daredevil Pant, Alma Sheer Utility Top

Winter, we’re seriously over you. And this time, it’s for real. Despite how hard you’re trying to hang on, we know spring is bloomin’.

One of our favorite parts of Spring’s arrival – the scent of flowers from trees and flower shops fill the streets. This year, fashion is getting in on the action, with floral prints being a mega presence on the runways during the SS14 collections, such as Christopher Kane, Nina Ricci, and Thakoon. We here at Brooklyn Industries found ourselves under the same spell – in particular by our borough in bloom with the yearly, epic-ness of the Cherry Blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanical gardens, riding bikes and brunch outside in the warm sun- what?!? Spring’s reawakening also inspires us to look back to our younger years in the ’90s. Remember all those floral rayon dresses we used to wear? Maybe you don’t, but we do and we miss them so we had to bring them back!

So get ready for warm days ahead- and celebrate the first day of Spring (TODAY!) in Brooklyn style! -Janeane, Women’s Designer

‘Juicy’… In Type

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

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Artist and typographer Jay Roeder who made the above shirt for us awhile back finished his58 week project of setting Biggie’s ‘Juicy’ to beautiful typography. And if you don’t know, now you know.

Check out his latest design for Brooklyn Industries: BK Hot Dog.

 

The 2014 Spring Collection: Dressing-Up Creative Workspaces

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

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We here at Brooklyn Industries’ Dumbo-based headquarters and design studio feel fortunate to be surrounded by so many creative people each and every day – from the moment we step off our bikes or come above ground from the F train, to grabbing a cup of coffee at Brooklyn Roasting Company to riding the slow elevator up to our floor. So we thought what better place to shoot the Spring Collection than in the middle of where all of these creative-minded people do some of their best work? Our Spring 2014 shoot, “Dressing Up Creative Workspaces” is a tribute to the creative energy and forward thinking that runs rampant in imaginative office spaces such as those you’ll find in Dumbo, Brooklyn. The campaign was photographed inside three offices in our building – (1) at our headquarters and design studio, (2) at the branding and design firm Red Antler, and (3) at the digital agency Space 150‘s NYC office. We hope that our newest collection will inspire you just as much as working in Dumbo continues to fuel our imagination.

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We finally had a chance to see what a photocopy of a donut looks like.

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In our Brooklyn design studio, you’ll see T-shirt ideas… LOTS of T-shirt ideas.

Taken on top of Space 150’s breakfast table (next to their impressive liquor collection).

Taken on top of Space 150’s breakfast table (next to their impressive liquor collection).

Shot inside Space 150’s meeting room while they were working on these amazing Valentine’s cards

Shot inside Space 150’s meeting room while they were working on these amazing Valentine’s cards

Julia modeling with Nuria, our bag designer (left) at her workspace.

Julia modeling with Nuria, our bag designer (left) at her workspace.

Meetings, conference calls, donuts, inflatable orcas…

Meetings, conference calls, donuts, inflatable orcas…

Inside Brooklyn Industries’ photo studio.

Inside Brooklyn Industries’ photo studio.

View the entire lookbook here.

The Chromapost – 2nd Edition Just Released

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

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When we released the first edition of the Chromapost bag collaboration between Brooklyn Industries and Artbridge, it quickly sold out, prompting a second (and final) release of these bags. Available online or in select stores, give the Chromapost bags as a gift… or keep it for yourself ; )

The Chromapost bags are messenger bags made out of billboard material from an art installation in Dumbo, Brooklyn by artist Aleksandar Maćašev and the non-profit arts organization Artbridge. We carefully cut up Maćašev’s visual color diary into 80 limited edition messenger bags, with each bag coming with a digital print of the unique colors of the bag signed by the artist.