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Ace Hotel NYC's Artists-in-Residence Sleep / Walk

Four rooms turned into studios for work to be debuted during Fashion Week

by David Graver in Culture on 27 August 2014

Ace Hotel, Fashion Week, Furniture Clothing, NYC, NYFW, LGBTQ, Queer Art

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For weeks before opening its doors in 2009, the Ace Hotel New York was filled with artists-in-residence and walls were being graced with the work they'd leave—all of which still stands today. Visionary founder Alex Calderwood hand-picked many of them himself. Even as its acclaim has grown and demand for rooms has kept occupancy very high over the last five years, the Ace continues to invite artists to work within. As an extension of this, rather than partnering with outside brands for this upcoming Fashion Week, they chose to focus attention on work made by occupants.

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Ace Hotel Cultural Engineer Ben Sisto invited four art collectives to reside in the hotel from 22-25 August, for a program named "Sleep / Walk" with a view in mind to produce work while tackling the topics of gender, presentation and identity. With the help of post-drag performance group Chez Deep—the first artists selected, who also functioned as advisors in the rest of the selection process—Sisto further extended invitations to artists and designers Mike and Claire, performance artists House of Ladosha and beauty and art collective FCKNLZ. Each unit began to design "modules," a word that Sisto uses to define "micro-performances, photo shoots, games, scavenger hunts and other in-room happenings" all within the loose confines of the fashion world.

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CH went to explore the rooms and met with FCKNLZ in a space that had already morphed under the artists' vision. The room was scattered with supplies and a giant mood board occupied one wall. The collective replaced all of the room's lightbulbs with their own—stating that a proper workspace requires the best lighting. And, while altering the lights, the collective (who claims to specialize in mistakes) also took to wrapping up the furniture with fabric. According to Grant Worth of FCKNLZ, "We sort of got all these supplies and this weird fabric, just something we picked up that was funny and strange and there was so much of it. We like to take control of the spaces we're in but originally it wasn't clear what we would do with the fabric. We immediately walked in the room and started covering everything." This reaction to the space turned into something more, an experience and a product that they refer to, jokingly, as "furniture clothing." It's beautiful and delicate and touches upon both fashion and identity. It was this responsive action that will ultimately beget their piece that will be on display 7 September.

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Worth continues, saying that the residency provided "the freedom to explore and play." He furthers notes, "There weren't really any restrictions or rules. There were suggestions, but it's always really exciting when there isn't any kind of rules about output and as an artist you are allowed to really explore." Sisto echoes this sentiment, "I feel, for artists of any discipline, one of the most important things is not to get stuck in your own work rut. There's value in working in a different part of the city, in a different environment—it mixes up the thought process. The Ace is clean, creative and hospitable. Not a lot of people think to come to Midtown. We are offering people a reason to work in and explore this part of the city, and it will effect what they create."

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On Sunday, 7 September (during Fashion Week), all creations made during the residencies, whether they are wearable or not, will be on display in the Ace Hotel's Liberty Hall. It's an event, open to the public, that reflects the true creative nature of the location and the team's desire to support the arts. And to a certain degree, it's the most honest fashion week event they can have: these works were made on location for a venue that has long-embraced the arts world.

Images by Cool Hunting

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House Industries for Richard Sachs Cyclocross

The graphic design house teams up with the American frame-building legend for a retrospective in partnership with Rapha

by Hans Aschim in Design on 27 August 2014

Bike Culture, Cycling, Cyclocross, Frame Builders, Graphic Design, Rapha, Industrial Design

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In American cycling, few figures rival the legacy of frame-builder, designer and longtime racer Richard Sachs. With roughly 42 years experience in making, designing and racing bikes—not to mention playing a pivotal role in popularizing cyclocross stateside—Sachs is a fixture in the cycling world and an impassioned one. To kick off the upcoming cyclocross season and celebrate the launch of the House Industries-Richard Sachs CX Team's newly minted rides, Rapha Cycle Club New York hosted a Sachs retrospective. In addition to taking over the art direction and graphics for the new bikes, the bike-crazy crew (and team sponsors) at House Industries searched through Sachs' storied career in racing and design to create an exhibition in honor of one of cycling's great characters.

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While he was part of the early era of road racing in the US, Sachs won't be found obsessing over the Tour de France or fixated on the weight in grams of his sunglasses. One of the godfathers of American cyclocross, the Chester, Connecticut-based maker shirked road racing for cyclocross, finding the peloton a bit stale. "I think road racing is stupid," Sachs says plainly without the faintest pause. "With road, you're competing against everybody. All the bikes look alike, there's no way to differentiate between anybody. All the clothing looks like it's a yard sale of logos and fonts." It's why he threw in the towel on road riding altogether in favor of cyclocross in 2002.

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With cross, it's just a different kind of race... You never know who's going to show up—and I don't mean the guy next to you, I mean you.

"It's much more fun," Sachs continues. "With cross, it's just a different kind of race. There are no team tactics, there's no drafting. Once the gun goes, it's you against yourself. The beauty of it is, you never know who's going to show up—and I don't mean the guy next to you, I mean you," says Sachs who holds a place on his nationally ranked team. With the different environment and feel of cyclocross compared with road racing, it was time for an image change. When Sachs sought a new look for his bikes and team, he turned to his friends at House Industries.

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"Richard called about 18 months ago and asked, 'What would you guys do if you just redid my whole program?' We re-styled the cross team. We tried to strip out all the crazy Nascar-type logos and really cleaned it up," says House Industries co-founder Rich Roat. With the soul of the sport in mind and an eye on Sachs' penchant for heritage frame-building, Roat and the House team looked into the past for inspiration. "There's such a big well of influence for this collection," Roat explains. "We're going back and looking at older and older bikes. Some of the older bikes were cleaner. We thought that we should clean this up and keep it a bit more classic but bring in different colors. The bike industry in general has gotten so busy, so this was a radical departure."

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Follow the House Industries-Richard Sachs team this season and keep an eye out for the specially designed House Industries line of bikes as they become available to consumers throughout the year.

Images by Hans Aschim

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Four Standout Makers at 2014 AfroPunk Festival

From fragrant body oils to punk twists on traditional attire, highlights from this year's market

by CH Contributor in Culture on 26 August 2014

AfroPunk, Brooklyn, Design, Festivals, Music Festivals, New York, Perfumes, Apparel

by Laura Feinstein

Since its humble beginnings in 2004 as a small, free concert at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s BAMcafé in Fort Greene, Brooklyn the AfroPunk Festival has blossomed into a full, two-day cultural juggernaut with thousands of attendees. Held at Commodore Barry Park, this year’s festivities included performances by Bad Brains, D'Angelo, Shabbazz Palaces, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Princess Nokia and many others. Enhancing this eclectic line-up was the AfroPunk Spin Thrift Market, a fully stocked outdoor bazaar featuring everything from handmade head-wraps to Ghanaian textiles to rare records and Misfits T-shirts. Below are four makers from the market that were standouts—and worth keeping an eye on.

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AMYANG Fashun

Run by the SABA Collective, a group of young creative designers who fuse modern urban fashion with African crafts, and spearheaded by the Kanu Sisters of West Africa, AMYANG Fashun (am-i-young) derives inspiration from incorporating traditional elements into everyday attire. Offering everything from custom clothing to reconstructed vintage, AMYANG offers a unique take on tradition—with nods to punk fashion tastefully integrated.

Fancy Muffin

Run (and modeled here) by brother-and-sister duo Fei and Edward, Fancy Muffin creates the kind of loud, colorful DIY streetwear that New York in the early '90s was once famous for. Though they sell a range of threads—from vintage treasures to their own tie-dyed and screen-printed goods—some of the most popular and eye-catching pieces are the re-purposed, studded and patched jean shorts.

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I Am That I Am

Designer, musician, aerobics instructor and self-proclaimed goddess, BAJANALLA is a woman of prodigious talent. Also a musician, she was selling her range of bold and colorful hand-dyed tops, dresses, sarongs and body-wraps at Afropunk this year—many of which can be worn more than one way and are perfect for embracing one's inner-deity.

Emily Jayne

Named for her Jamaican grandmother, Joan Morgan’s organic line of perfumes and products are meant to conjure the sense memories of youth and adventure. For Jamaica-born, New York City-raised Morgan, scents have always been significant—reminding her of trips home, "Lemongrass teas, Westmoreland’s mountains post-rainfall, a piece of driftwood at dusk and the sweetness of the Caribbean Sea are some of the many inspirations," she says. And, during a jam-packed weekend filled with loud music, the Emily Jayne booth—filled with delectably fragrant body butters, styling cremes and body oils—was like a little breezy island vacation.

While the market was certainly a highlight, there's no denying that Afropunk attendees are worth watching themselves. Check out the slideshow for photos of some of the most striking looks we came across this year.

Images by Jodi Sussman

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