Posts

Rushing

Last month I had a wake-up call. I was rushing from a fitting to a casting, trying to make it onto a bus to New Jersey that only ran a few times a day. I was speed-walking down the street, whipping around people with an unattractive scowl on my face. I didn’t like that I was doing this and almost stopped to just reschedule. But as time got closer I only sped up. And then I tripped. On an escalator in Port Authority in New York City, arguably the worst place in the world to slice open the bottom of your foot and bleed all over. A janitor yelled at me for getting blood on the floor. Oh New York.

12 stitches and a rescheduled casting later, the rushing hadn’t mattered. What did matter was that I couldn’t walk on my foot for a good two weeks. It was a very painful reminder of something that I already knew – that rushing, in any sense of the word, is no damn good.

We all know that rushing is inherently detrimental. Rushing is what causes things to be overlooked, problems and fuck-ups to occur, creative sparks to be missed. But, our culture also highly values productivity. Potentially even more than it values happiness. The more you can get done, the farther ahead you are, the more money you have, the more stability you have. Creativity and productivity often seem to lay on opposite poles. How do you walk the line?

I think the answer is compassionately. You do what you can with what you have and know that it’s enough for today. You understand that truly wonderful things truly take time. You stop comparing yourself to others and instead put your head down and do good work. You are kind to yourself above all else. You realize that those sparks in life that we all chase after come from purposefully slowing down, not speeding up.

“Once you stop rushing through life, you will be amazed how much more life you have time for.”

“I regret less the road not taken than my all-fired hurry along the road I took.”

“Remember the great adversity of art or anything else is a hurried life.”

“Good and quickly seldom meet.”

“Don’t run, don’t rush. Just flow.”

SRRING WARDROBE

Spring hit New York this week. And the warmth is inspiring small shifts in my daily routine. Running outside instead of at the gym. Iced coffee over hot. Lunch on the stoop. A few wardrobe updates.

If you’re like me, a new season can throw you a little off sartorially. Layers come off, but I find myself not wanting to wear the same winter clothing combinations anymore. And my style has evolved slightly from last years warmer weather style. I want newness.

For the past year, I’ve focused on buying less and more purposefully. For the first time ever, I’ve actually planned out exactly what I want to buy each season. I allow myself a maximum of 3 purchases each season (Spring: March/April/May, Summer: June/July/August, Fall: September/October/November, Winter: December/January/February). This may sound obsessive, but it’s actually quite freeing. Instead of going about life, buying things that you come across on impulse and building a mismatched wardrobe; looking at your wardrobe systematically allows you to build a really awesome, small and curated closet over time. Instead of feeling slightly disappointed with your full closet, you feel inspired to slowly create a collection of garments that make you feel proud and like yourself. It’s a bit like slowly building an art collection that’s uniquely yours.

This process has radically changed my approach to dressing, and I’m hoping that it may offer some inspiration. Here are some tips:

1. Create a visual board of the vibe that you feel drawn to each season. Here’s mine for this spring: https://www.pinterest.com/eenvoudny/spring-is-coming/.

2. Write down the exact pieces that you want. This prevents you from buying something that isn’t quite right. Here are mine:

  • A blush / light pink cotton turtleneck or long-sleeved shirt
  • A black or navy cotton calf-length muscle tee dress
  • Black leather sandals / shoes with a 1” block heel

3. Buy with the intention to keep (and mend) these items for many years. This means focusing on your personal style over trends and buying items that are made well and with quality materials.

4. Plan how you’ll integrate new pieces with what you already have. For me, I’ll mix the above with Levi’s, black turtlenecks, Eenvoud tops, white wide-leg cropped trousers and a denim jacket.

5. For each garment that I add to my closet, I donate or sell something I already have. This keeps my wardrobe small and filled with only what I truly want and need.

6. Basics like underwear and socks don’t count towards the seasonal purchases, but anything else does, even if it’s ‘basic’.

Keeping life purposefully simpler can feel very inspiring, freeing and allows for more mental space to enjoy the little things in life, like lunch on the stoop.

If you’re interested in learning more about a curated wardrobe approach, RODEO, Desmitten and INTO MIND are great places to explore more.

Happy Spring!

MIKAELA BRADBURY

We first met Mikaela Bradbury briefly at a coffee shop in the West Village nearly two years ago, and she has since very happily and serendipitously popped back into our world.

About Mikaela:

Mikaela is a South African-born New Yorker and the designer and founder of a fashion line called ARJUNA.AG. Mikaela first discovered the power of silver when her mother, an 11 year cancer survivor, used silver to treat radiation burns while going through treatment. Arjuna incorporates silver-plated fabric into it’s minimalistic and versatile designs, offering garments that are designed to be worn over, under and between your everyday wardrobe. Arjuna is holistic protection for the modern day warrior.

Mikaela’s newest collection combines sustainably farmed organic bamboo with silver for a soft, yet strong aesthetic that really resonates with us. Check it out here.

Hey Mikaela. What does the name ARJUNA.AG mean?

Arjuna means white, bright or silver in Sanksrit. It is also the name of the main warrior prince in the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Hindu text that teaches about karma yoga or “sacred action.” AG is the chemical symbol for silver.

The notion of ‘sacred action’ is very important to the mission of the company… More broadly, it is about how to live a spiritual life through action. But specifically, it speaks about the paradox of acting with an inner intention and purpose, yet remaining detached from the outward manifestation and results. This tension resonated with me as someone who is deeply influenced by Buddhist and Eastern philosophy, which teaches detachment and selflessness — and yet still feels the need to engage the world, make a positive difference, succeed as an entrepreneur, etc.

Do you have an ideal customer or muse? Who is he or she?

Style-wise, one of my muses is Tilda Swinton (I’ve always been a fan of a turtleneck…). I find that she embodies a kind of otherness and interiority that is very attractive and also key to the brand. She has also been involved in a number of environmental initiatives that I care about.

In general, my ideal customer is someone is who making a positive change in the world. Someone who is highly engaged — with their hands, and feet, and voices and bodies — in fighting the battles that need to be fought right now — environmental, social, or economic — but recognizes the importance of self-care and retreat in staying strong and grounded. So, entrepreneurs, activists, explorers, filmmakers… I feel very honored that a lot of my founding customers are these people and that my clothing supports them in their work.

Tell us a little about your creative process. How do you come up with a new design or collection?

I did not study design formally so I lack a traditional framework or structure for designing things. For example, I only just discovered the concept of making mood boards, and I never do any kind of trend research. Leading up to the design process, I tend to get repeated signals from conversations or experiences around me that something needs to get made: a topic will keep coming up, or my eye will keep returning to a certain material or object or cut — and eventually it just culminates into a clear vision of what needs to get created. Once this sets in, the actual creative process requires that I step back from my day-to-day computer work surrounding other parts of the company and go into a kind of unconscious creative zone where my hands take over.

What does sustainable fashion mean to you?

For me, sustainable fashion means valuing things. It means valuing the labor, energy and resources that goes into what we buy. From that true sense of value, I think a lot of sustainable practices follow naturally… you buy less, you buy things that harm the planet and people less, and you use what you have for longer and with greater care.

Your brand is all about inner peace, beauty and strength. How do you stay balanced whilst working as a designer in New York City?

My mornings are really really precious to me. Having a hour or so in the morning that is completely quiet, offline and undisrupted is very important. I usually will meditate or take a bath, then do some personal writing with recordings of teachers that are important to me in the background. I’ve been listening to this one series of dharma talks by this zen master on repeat since January… it really helps sets the tone for the day. When I stop doing this and just jump right into my emails or day, it catches up with me and I start to feel like I am losing the inspiration and integrity behind what I am doing.

If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Well, right now, I practically live in a black turtleneck, with either black leggings or these vintage Pleats Please trousers, and Arjuna underwear and hand guards. Its kind of cliche, but its what I feel the most comfortable in and what works for my lifestyle. If I lived outside of New York though, like in the country, I would probably want to live in a super soft, worn out pink tee shirt dress…

Finish this sentence. Simplicity is:

Space.