Libertine inventor Johnson Hartig (for inventor’s the only true word to describe him) has created a world of his own, a mythical, magical world where Lord Byron references live side by side with pirate hats and Uncle Sam stovepipes. The California-based designer of menswear and womenswear — itself a distinguished feat — has been around the fashion block a time or two, having launched his eponymous line in 2000 and Libertine in 2010, but he’s marched around that block to the beat of a drummer that he alone can hear. He’s like some mad pied piper, except his emperor is most definitely wearing clothes. Wild, madcap clothes pulled from the Wonderland dress-up box, or so it seems at first glance, but if you look past Hartig’s inventive styling, you’ll find wearable statement pieces that, when mixed with your more subdued clothes, will mark you as a forward thinker who’s ready and angling to take over the world. And any world being taken over by the dames and lads who don Hartig’s clothes and the Hartigean spirit is a world I’m ready to live in.
Tata Harper lives on a 1200 acre farm near Middlebury, Vermont, with her husband Henry, their three kids and a menagerie of rescue dogs, cats, sheep and goats. They grow most of their own food and they also grow some of the ingredients for Tata’s eponymous, natural, Tata Harper skincare line, which is also manufactured on the farm.
Growing up, Tata was passionate about math and science. She loved experimenting and figuring out how things work. Little surprise, then, that she became an Industrial Engineer. Tata’s career path changed in 2004, when her stepfather was diagnosed with cancer and advised to avoid conventional products because of the toxic chemicals they contain. Tata, whose grandmother introduced her to homemade skincare as a child, did what she does. She started experimenting. For five years, she worked with a team of chemists, biologists, agriculturalists and aromatherapists from around the worlds. The result? A line of luscious, texturally rich, wonderfully (and naturally) scented products that deliver results.
Mark Bittman, the influential food writer and New York Times columnist wrote a visionary piece of journalism in yesterday’s New York Times. The article, My Dream Food Label, was an act of imagination from a mind firing on all cylinders, but it was more than that. It was an act of visionary leadership of the kind we most need at this particular moment in human history, when the question of whether we will sustain life on the planet (and whether we will do so in ways that uphold human dignity and the dignity of all life — which at this point is the only true option) must be grappled with in tangible, hands-on ways.
Stella McCartney may have been the obvious choice to design Team Great Britain and Paralympics Great Britain’s uniforms (or “kit”) for the 2012 London Olympics. After all, her Adidas by Stella McCartney line has more than proved her athletic-wear bona fides, but her ascendancy to the luxury-brand fashion throne was anything but “written in the stone”. McCartney’s come a long way from her childhood on the organic farm, where she was raised by a hippie-era rock star dad and photographer mum (dad is Paul McCartney, mum is the late photographer, musician and animal rights activist Linda McCartney) — and also no distance at all. The values that have driven her brand from the start — a decision to abstain from the use of leather and fur (at a time and in an industry where this could have sunk the ship before it sailed), a commitment to making clothing in an ever more sustainable way — were there at the start.
Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal transforms our experience of reality through the sheer act of telling the truth. That she does so in a book about food, about the process of making it and foraging for it, makes it all the more remarkable a feat. Adler’s subject matter is modest — she writes about sustenance and the work of our own hands and the value of oft-discarded things — but with her beautiful, lyrical prose, and her felt sense of the things that matter, she elevates the food-writing form, giving us the gift of gratitude, that we have enough in a world where so many others do not.