Station to Station, a public art project made possible by Levi’s®, spans the month of September across the United States. Setting forth as an initiative to help push the boundaries of creativity and discovery through various pillars of culture including music, art, food and film. The project itself is manifested via a physical train that traverses from East out to West, ending on September 28 in Oakland, California. For ticketing information and info on how to get involved, head over to levi.com/makeourmark.
the Public Art
New York Recap
Jay Carroll of
The Levi’s Makers
Chad Hinson of
Vintage For Now
Eddie Huang & DJ
Pen & Paper:
Process with the Levi’s® Tailor Shop
HYPEBEAST Spaces: Levi’s® Station to Station Train
Kat Irlin & Sonya Yu
& Florian Kaps
& Len Peltier
Aaron De La Cruz
& Folk Fibers
Levi’s® sets off on one of its boldest efforts in support of an artist-driven project called Station to Station, a public art project made possible by Levi’s®. The massive effort spearheaded by artist Doug Aitken will make its way across the United States, manifesting itself through physical form courtesy of a touring train. Much of the United States’ early foundation was built on migration and discovery, thanks in large part to the railroads. However, a quick look around and it’s without a doubt that the modern day landscape for discovery is much different than what was experienced in formative years of the Western world. Levi’s® and Station to Station will explore this ongoing theme and act as a facilitator and activator of new-age collaboration and the progression of creativity that spans a sphere without limits or boundaries. Station to Station will integrate several different creative pillars ranging from food and film to art and music, spanning the famous and the up-and-coming for a truly inspiring juxtaposition of creative identities. Among the creatives set to join the dialog are Beck, the Savages, Raymond Pettibon, Twin Shadow, Ed Ruscha and many more. Each stop will see a creative collision of these elements as HYPEBEAST will present its own unique perspective on the story as it rides the train in its entirety, and also enticing readers to go out and #MakeOurMark for the future. On four stops along the way — Pittsburgh, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Santa Fe — HYPEBEAST will play host to an inquisitive series of Round Table discussions pairing creatives of different backgrounds as they tackle important issues pertaining to their work and influence.
The initial stop begins in New York City on Friday, September 6. From there on, the Station to Station train will visit several cities across the way — each with their own unique activities and creative showings — before ultimately concluding in Oakland, on September 28, 2013.
Tonight marked the launch of Levi’s® extensive Station to Station, a public art project made possible by Levi’s®, campaign, a cultural outreach in conjunction with highly acclaimed artist Doug Aitken. Falling under this season’s #MakeYourMark initiative, the event held at Riverfront Studios, Brooklyn invited guests from all over to partake in a night of cultural intrigue ranging from music and performance art to installations and live artisanal work on display. Some of the names in attendance included Suicide, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Jonah Bokaer & AIRLOCKS, and the Kansas City Marching Cobras on the musical end while creatives such as Kenneth Anger, Urs Fischer, Liz Glynn, Kathryn Andrews, Olaf Breuning and Thomas Demand all provided ample visual stimuli. The next stop on the Station to Station, a public art project made possible by Levi’s®, tour will be Pittsburgh, which in addition to the slated Station to Station, a public art project made possible by Levi’s®, event will include a special Round Table discussion involving Eddie Huang of Baohaus and DJ So Super Sam, who will share their thoughts and insights into their process and craft.
Levi’s fall campaign in collaboration with Doug Aitken‘s Station to Station, a public art project made possible by Levi’s®, kicked off on Friday with the inaugural launch in New York City. Station to Station, a public art project made possible by Levi’s®, has come to represent one of Levi’s seasonal messages, touching upon the notion of #MakeOurMark, as a call to action for creativity and to get people involved in making an impact on both the present and future. As a physical manifestation of the concept, a train left New York City towards Pittsburgh, the second stop on the tour and a suitable place to help provide a magnified level of creativity. As we settled into the Steel City, we sat down for a conversation with contrasting personalities Eddie Huang of Baohaus and DJ So Super Sam as they spoke about different elements of their identity and creative process, ultimately ending off by defining their future goals. As we prepare to board the train once again, our next stop on the map is Chicago and one of increasing importance in various cultural capacities. Stay tuned for updates along the tracks as well as the upcoming roundtable discussion between Eddie Huang and So Super Sam.
Makers Project Discusses the
Importance of Artisans
Levi’s® Station to Station, a public art project made possible by Levi’s®, has provided the opportunity for one of Levi’s® lesser known initiatives — the Makers Project — the chance to collaborate with some of America’s smallest independent artisans. On display through an entirely uncovered yurt (a traditional portable dwelling used by nomads), several different artisans have been traveling alongside the tour, each providing a direct and intimate look into their efforts and craft. While this season’s slogan has been #MakeOurMark — the desire to influence the present and future through discovery and collaboration — the ongoing Makers Project has provided a direct manifestation of this theme. We were able to catch up with Levi’s® Makers Project lead Jay Carroll who provided some context to Levi’s® interest in helping out smaller and independent brands.
Can you introduce yourself and your role at Levi’s®?
Hi my name is Jay Carroll, I do brand concept and the Makers concept for Levi’s® out of San Francisco.
What was the catalyst for starting the Levi’s® Makers Project?
We’ve been doing Makers for two years and we wanted new conversations and stories to tell for our new smaller scale stores. So to differentiate our stores we started working with artisans we met with on our inspiration trips to create unique handcrafted and really beautiful product to sell in our stores.
How important is it for a huge brand like Levi’s® to help with smaller brands?
I think it’s one of the most interesting things about the program is to have a big iconic American brand to work with the small unsung hero.
I think now the whole artisanal movement is really big, why do you think the landscape is relevant and appropriate now?
I think there are a couple things. People are getting back to living a simple life and valuing the handmade. Craft is a dying art form and this is the way that culture is going but we want to celebrate and inspire people.
Do you feel that for Levi’s®, there’s a level of understanding from masses that is different than what the brand also wants to push? For example people who view Levi’s® as a rugged and durable pair of denim, nothing more, nothing less versus a brand that embraces heritage and culture.
The Makers Project does appeal to the customer who is interested in that very coveted and quality product. But there are also those who love the story and concept of say a quilt made from reclaimed materials and those who might love the aesthetic and story behind authentic Navajo fabric.
There’s been a lot of sensitivity around “Navajo” in fashion, how does Levi’s® approach this?
We work as directly as possible. For example the Chimayo fabric is made directly with somebody from the tribe. We’re looking to amplify their work and keep the authenticity. If you look at fashion and say Moroccan textiles, it’s close to home. Rather than taking it and putting it directly on, there needs to be a relevant story.
Can the Makers Project extend beyond just fashion?
Yes for sure it’s in the essence of the brand. If you look at Levi’s® whether it’s street style or the hippies in the ‘60s, you can always find a way to reappropriate it.
There’s been a lot of desire for Levi’s® to bring their product and manufacturing back to the United States, what are your thoughts on that?
Levi’s® recently moved a factory from Turkey to San Francisco where we can oversee our own washes and processes and it serves as our Innovation Center. It’s a slow process but a step in the right direction. The Innovation Center, like the Makers Project, has showed Levi’s® intentions of incorporating a greater domestic story into the mix.
What do you want to achieve with the Makers Project and what does the future hold?
What I’m excited about is developing Makers in other countries. We’ve done Japan for a year. I try to find five artisans in Japan and I end up with forty, so it’s strong. I also want to develop it in France and England, and make it a global project with cross-country collaboration.
As a brand, it’s been an interesting four years. This Innovation Center is one of the most exciting things and rather than travel to Turkey to develop I can do it down the street.
As we live in an era of fast fashion and overt consumption, Alice Saunders of Forestbound bags has taken it upon herself to breathe life and story into reclaimed bags as part of her small one-man operation. Her original interest in World War II memorabilia and the rugged bags often provided to servicemen provided the starting point for delving into creating repurposed bags based off vintage bags.
The one of a kind bags spanning simple utilitarian offerings such as tote bags to more complex weekend bags has enjoyed a great deal of success thanks to a current movement that pertains to high-quality, hand-crafted artisanal goods. Upon speaking to Alice, her inherent interest and the support of Levi’s® via their Makers Project has enabled the artisan to parlay a keen interest into a full-fledged – albeit small one-man – operation that enables her to continue her love and commitment to textiles.
Her approach to making each unique bag often starts with her favorite part – sourcing the materials, which often includes trips to estate sales and flea markets. After a thorough washing and cleaning of the materials, she goes about deconstructing them to break down the major components into usable pieces. There’s often no definitive blueprint to follow, but rather a general premise to laying out the pieces and where they would be best suited. The finishing trims are often utilized from reclaimed materials, it is however new leather that is often required given the unpredictability of the material succumbing to decades of neglect. Each bag takes approximately an hour and upwards of six hours for more complex variations such as a weekend bag.
With Levi’s® philosophy of #MakeOurMark in full effect this season, the work of Alice and Forestbound bags has been a suitable example of the desire for the American company to empower those around them and to create their own mark on the world in the current and future times.
Repurposes Vintage for Now
The world we live in is undeniably technologically-driven. Our dependence on the digital world is often second nature as we effortlessly flick the screen of our touch-capable devices in the endless pursuit of knowledge, entertainment… or the highest score in Candy Crush. However, that’s not to say we’ve totally turned our backs on the analog world or the very real physical interaction that can only be provided in certain, yet increasingly rare, instances. Levi’s® is at a crossroads of tradition and modernity as we’ve been able to experience by closely partnering with them on the Station to Station campaign. On the one hand, you have a series of fashion icons that have stood the test of time for over a century, but furthermore the brand has set out to redefine what it means to go forth in pursuit of discovery.
As part of their fall campaign that centers heavily on the theme #MakeOurMark, Levi’s® took it upon themselves to really examine the relationship that exists between creativity and discovery, under both modern and classical terms. The idea of bridging the old school with the new school resulted in something known as the Makers Tools — implements that would combine physical elements of the past with the fast-moving and social culture before us in the present.
Working with San Francisco’s AKQA and Creative Technologist Stephen Hadinger, this original concept envisioned by the agency was brought to fruition with the help from Fake Love of New York and Creative Technologists Matthew Epler and Mark Kleback.
Four different creative implements combined an increasingly rare glimpse of early 20th century design with a distinct technological twist. They included:
1939 Graflex Speed Graphic Camera linked to Instagram
1953 Gibson ES-125 Guitar linked to Soundcloud
1901 Underwood No. 5 Typewriter linked to Twitter
1953 Bolex B-8 Video Camera linked to Instagram
Each piece of repurposed design was further linked with RFID-enabled leather bracelets, which upon activation allowed users to seamlessly login and share their creative output virtually instantaneously with their respective social media networks.
There’s something to be said for the undeniable physical connection that comes with creation. Unlike hitting the shutter button on your camera or typing away into your virtual keyboard, the underlying theme one experiences is consideration. You’re thinking just a bit longer before depressing the shutter of that 1939 Graflex Speed Graphic or typing to your followers on that 1901 Underwood No. 5 typewriter. It’s this considered experience — there’s no backspace on a typewriter that’s for sure – that changes how we approach creating and sharing today. A lot of new and never-before-used technology went into developing these Makers Tools, but it achieves a happy medium of connectivity as well as tactile engagement.
But as an incoming generation knows little about the tools necessary for creativity of their elders, there becomes an interesting dialog regarding how this will change the way we approach art and creativity and whether the fundamentals will change. Every subsequent generation will come to develop their own approach to communication and creativity and ensuring a dynamic atmosphere that’s often indicative of the times. While the outcome of consumption and media will surely, the intersection of old and new is a perfect alignment of Levi’s® hopes to push forward, while honoring and never forgetting the past.
Eddie Huang & DJ SoSuperSam
In September, Levi’s® and HYPEBEAST brought together two unique creatives from different fields to discuss identity, inspir ion and creative process as it relates to their own craft, as part of an extension of Station to Station – a public art project made possible by Levi’s®.
Eddie Huang and DJ SoSuperSam are the first pairing of our Levi’s® x HYPEBEAST Railside Conversations. Eddie Huang’s been riding a massive whirlwind of projects, including his book Fresh Off The Boat as well as starting the second season of his show on VICE. Eddie is joined by DJ SoSuperSam, the often outspoken and brash DJ, whose previous gigs include DJing for Childish Gambino and opening for Erykah Badu. Watch as they engage in a lively conversation with a lot of personal reflection and of course musically-inclined banter.
You can’t help but feel the passion that emanates from Tangleblue‘s Leslie Terzian Markoff the minute you ask about her craft and weaving. Tangleblue was one of the featured Levi’s® Makers at each Station to Station events with the Levi’s® Makers yurt. As a brand, Levi’s® has maintained a strong dialog with people like Leslie who have continued their beautiful crafts into the modern era. Personalities like Leslie have ensured we maintain a strong connection between fabric and process, providing an important relationship between the user and product.
We couldn’t help but notice Leslie take center stage at nearly every stop. Her wooden loom churning away was a consistent sight throughout, as she displayed her love of tactile things which over the years has enabled her to forge a long-time relationship with the art of weaving. During a meeting with Levi’s® Jay Carroll, she was given the opportunity to educate him and Levi’s® on the intricacy and beauty that is associated with the process of weaving. With each woven piece comes an undeniably unique character that embodies the intense relationship weavers often develop with their final product.
We spoke with Leslie about her process. The first step often entails determining what the actual application will entail and how to develop it — durability and finish often come to mind and are handled accordingly. As she begins to weave she embraces the imperfect nature of the craft. Rather than scrutinizing any variations in the woven textiles, it’s these characteristics that are deemed interesting for their unique disposition. From Leslie’s own positioning, it’s a very meditative act due to its repetition — ultimately, seeing the materials come to fruition is highly rewarding. In their efforts in promoting the Levi’s® Makers movement further and further, Leslie and Tangleblue serve as an example of the beauty that comes with the execution of handmade crafts – something that is more or less absent in the modern age of production.
As a partner to the recent public art project, Station to Station – made possible by Levi’s® – we had the good fortune of joining creative personas from all walks of life on a train across the United States. The moving art project was a haven for collaborations as the different cars on the train provided the tools and atmosphere to facilitate collaboration. We got a chance to meet with Taylor-Ruth, a talented youngster whose charismatic style is not only reflected in her illustrations, but also in her candid approach in her witty captions and storyboards. Hailing from Indiana, much of Taylor’s work can be found on her Tumblr Hanging Rock Comics — named after her first crush with celebrity blogger turned Tavi Gevinson — which focuses heavily on her own interactions and ’80s post-punk bands. In a departure from the standard Pen & Paper layout, we look at Taylor’s train cabin walls as canvas. The artwork on display sees a mixture of old and new work narrating her own journey, from peculiar run-ins with the school shrink, to self-deprecating pieces based on her everyday encounters. Taylor-Ruth’s impromptu drawings do little to filter out her thoughts, instead presenting a collection that’s simultaneously dark and comical but undeniably honest. Taylor-Ruth is set to kick-start a tenure with Rookie Magazine – be sure to keep an eye out for her illustrations, and in the meantime head over to her Tumblr for more captivating doodles.
Levi’s® Tailor Shop
Levi’s® has been in the business of making dependable and practical clothing for over 140 years. Many have viewed Levi’s® as a brand of function and practicality but beneath it all is a brand with a deeper creative agenda. The launch of their “Makers” program has set out to celebrate artisanal craft and domestic production, two elements of Levi’s® that the brand has held in high esteem. Levi’s® Makers program brings to the fore, glowing examples of the emerging craftsmen of all ages and disciplines, who have come to embrace the beauty of handmade goods.
Levi’s® Tailor Shop and Levi’s® Tailor Made Goods further support the brand’s affinity for craftsmanship and quality. With the likes of Jared and Laura of the Levi’s® Tailor Shop at the helm, the two utilize their own love of hand-crafted things and high-quality construction as their mantra for repurposing and breathing new life into vintage Levi’s® apparel.
Over the course of September, Station to Station, a public art project made possible by Levi’s® , opened its doors to allow visitors to see the whole process unfold. For Levi’s® Tailor Goods the process often begins with Jared who heads up the design of each respective collection. The Trucker, which has proved to be one of Levi’s® most durable and rugged pieces, is used as the canvas for many of the Tailor Shop pieces. From there, Laura oversees the production aspect of each piece — be it a jacket, vest or bag — to ensure the new designs are cleanly executed. The Tailor Shop celebrates the innate element of imperfection that comes with hand-made goods, as this imperfection lends itself to a quality that cannot be replicated or reproduced. These off-kilter items are often embellished with fabrics from Chimayo weavers or Japanese sakiori (vintage kimono materials that are shredded and rewoven), adding a yet another element of craftsmanship.
Levi’s® Station to Station Train
Over the course of September, we partnered with Levi’s® and embarked on the 10-stop Station to Station train as it made its way across the entire United States. The nomadic art experience conceptualized by Doug Aitken began in NYC and concluded in Oakland, California, a stone’s throw away from the iconic San Francisco brand’s headquarters. The Levi’s® #MakeOurMark campaign, the digital arm of the Station to Station project, looked to inspire and activate participants around the world to engage in global creative collaboration and make a creative impact in the world around them. The Station to Station tour and train provided a comprehensive multimedia platform for creative figures of disciplines spanning art, music, food, literature and film, who in turn were asked to participate in global cultural interventions and site-specific projects – providing a strong body of work to represent the overall initiative.
Brandon Shigeta – a contributing photographer – was on the train for the entire journey and grabbed more than his fair share of visuals. While any ordinary train may seem like a restrictive space, the refitted Station to Station train provided an interesting artistic playground hallmarked by the Levi’s® car full of vintage implements that were reengineered as digital tools for modern day use. The tools included a 1901 Underwood No. 5 Typewriter linked to Twitter, a 1939 Graflex Speed Graphic Camera and 1953 Bolex B-8 Video Camera linked to Instagram and a SoundCloud-enabled 1953 Gibson ES-125 Guitar. The Levi’s® car was joined by other creative cars dedicated to both live music recordings and multimedia editing.
Kat Irlin & Sonya Yu
Last month, Levi’s® and HYPEBEAST united two creatives of differing fields to talk about key themes such as identity, inspiration and creative process. In an animated back and forth conversation, they were able to discuss several key themes in their work and their creative process. Their discussion was captured while examining creativity as part of Station to Station, a public art project made possible by Levi’s®.
Photographers Kat Irlin of New York City and Sonya Yu of San Francisco have both attained considerable success through social media and Instagram. While both are relative newcomers to the world of photography, the democratic landscape of social media has allowed their talents to gain immense traction, not to mention several hundreds of thousand followers between both of them. For both, a corporate career may have been in their cards but the ease of sharing and visual creation at the hands of a simple and handy cellphone camera has provided a unique breadth of opportunity. In the second installment of Levi’s® x Hypebeast Railside Conversations, Kat and Sonya discussed their differing approaches to creating and how they envision their futures playing out at the hands of their relatively new found success, as well as their Instagram followers.
“Across Frontiers” Lookbook
Over the course of its existence, Levi’s® has been a cornerstone in progressive style and culture. Throughout time, several iconic pieces have emanated from the brand’s legendary range, many of which have earned an indisputably timeless status. The 501® jean, the Trucker Jacket, and the Western Shirt have all transitioned with the times by giving the subsequent generations of these Icons a fresh creative stamp that remains true to the Levi’s® pioneering spirit. In general, the brand can be described by its notion of style that moves “Across Frontiers” and offers a versatile approach to fashion. We partnered with Levi’s® on their journey across the U.S. that can be seen as a metaphor for the brand’s enduring legacy – a legacy that largely began with the great western migration. True to the classical undertones of Levi’s® heritage and its indigo-driven iterations, we progress towards a more casual appropriation of the brand’s Icons thanks to new colors and derivatives of the 501® jean, the Trucker Jacket, and the Western Shirt. Several pieces of the Levi’s® Commuter™ line showcase the brand’s understanding of classic sensibilities for modern day; all built on the legacies of the past with modern elements of technology and performance. In addition to the Icons, this line is another example of the brand’s balance of past and present.
Find the Levi’s® Icons reinterpreted for the changing season in the Fall/Winter 2013 collection – available now at select retailers globally and online at http://us.levi.com/.
Jeff Hamada & Florian Kaps
Continuing on with our Levi’s® x Hypebeast Railside Conversations is a pairing of two individuals with a penchant for creating context to classics of the past. Florian “Doc” Kaps is probably best known for his former company, THE IMPOSSIBLE PROJECT that breathed new life into analog photography and the cult classic Polaroid film. Kaps sat down with artist and founder of Booooooom.com, Jeff Hamada, which is one of the Internet’s most powerful art portals. For both parties, the desire to dream big must be properly harnessed and executed despite the various perceptions you may encounter on the outside. Their discussion hinges on the shared experiences of the two, who have both successfully launched large-scale projects.
William Yan & Len Peltier
The last episode of our Levi’s® x HYPEBEAST Railside Conversations is a pairing of two individuals with a penchant for creating context to classics of the past. Levi’s® Global Creative Director Len Peltier, a man entrenched in working modernity into a brand with great heritage joins forces with New York-based photographer William Yan who has quietly plied at his trade with an unrelenting and purposeful approach. Spanning different backgrounds and generations, both William and Len engage in a dialog that looks into our current society submerged into social media, what it entails, and their goals and aspirations along the way.
Aaron De La Cruz & Folk Fibers
In the fashion world, the idea of collaboration has been overused and recycled time and time again. But in our eyes, there still exist many exciting opportunities to collaborate and rethink how two parties should join forces. In our Levi’s® x HYPEBEAST Denim Canvas project, we asked two partnering talents – largely unknown to one another and without prior relationships – to come up with reappropriations on some of Levi’s® most iconic pieces such as the Trucker Jacket, the 501® jean and the Western Shirt. Each pair was given just one day without any prior planning to put together a unique concept and apply it as such on a Levi’s® icon.
Our first pairing featured Bay Area artist Aaron De La Cruz, who has developed a cult following for his line-based work, was partnered with quilter Maura Ambrose of Folk Fibers. Aaron’s expertise resides primarily in the art world, so a collaborating with Maura Ambrose’s artisanal approach to quilting undoubtedly represented two highly contrasting creative backgrounds. Together both worked diligently on a Western Shirt that served as the perfect canvas for some subtle Aaron De La Cruz sensibilities.
DSPTCH & Forestbound
In the fashion world, the idea of collaboration has been overused and recycled time and time again. But in our eyes, there still exist many exciting opportunities to collaborate and rethink how two parties should join forces. In our Levi’s® x HYPEBEAST Denim Canvas project, we asked two partnering talents – largely unknown to one another and without prior relationships – to come up with reappropriations on some of Levi’s® most iconic pieces such as the Trucker Jacket, the 501® jean, and the Western Shirt. Each pair was given just one day without any prior planning to put together a unique concept and apply it as such on a Levi’s® icon.
United by an interest in military-inspired design and product, Richard Liu of DSPTCH and Alice Saunders of Forestbound made for an interesting pairing. For Richard, his humble line that originally began with camera straps has grown significantly into a wide-range of accessories and bags. Utilizing various modern day military-spec materials, his direction serves as a foil to the style of vintage-inspired Forestbound. Alice of Forestbound’s s initial interest in old military bags eventually grew into a brand, driven to provide a modern use for tested and true military relics. Together both Richard and Alice sought out to create a new and functional addition to the ever classic Trucker Jacket which included a zip-in liner and camo hits on the collar. To cap it all off, a specially designed keychain and camera bag – strengths of both parties — to accompany the project and truly represent the idea of collaboration.
U.S. Alteration & Tangleblue
In the fashion world, the idea of collaboration has been overused and recycled time and time again. But in our eyes, there still exist many exciting opportunities to collaborate and rethink how two parties should join forces. In our Levi’s® x Hypebeast Denim Canvas project, we asked two partnering talents – largely unknown to one another and without prior relationships – to come up with reappropriations on some of Levi’s® most iconic pieces such as the Trucker Jacket, the 501® jean and the Western Shirt. Each pair was given just one day without any prior planning to put together a unique concept and apply it as such on a Levi’s® icon.
U.S. Alteration founder Miggy and his partner Candie Weitz found a keen interest in working with classic silhouettes through the creative lens of a domestic production story. Miggy himself has long been involved with the foundation of Los Angeles’ De La Barracuda, and as such is an integral part of the local fashion and cultural scene. U.S. Alteration’s pairing with Jay Palmer of Tangleblue brought together two visionaries setting out to provide a modern context to classic garb. San Francisco-based Tangleblue were a mainstay over the course of the month on the Levi’s® Station to Station tour and provided an intimate look at reusing old scraps to create something imperfectly beautiful for the present day. For our second Denim Canvas project, Miggy and Jay took hand-woven fabrics from Tangleblue and integrated them with the ever-iconic 501, with a unique style and approach that reflects facets of both talents.