A few months ago I was staring at a blank page, trying to come up with a story, when I remembered a writing exercise I started in a workshop once: think of a place you’d go to to escape and write about it. So that’s what I did. And the result was the piece of work published just last week by Bricolage Magazine, ‘Everyone Wears Flip-Flops’. In my imagination (and story) I go back in time and space to my favorite place in the entire world.
I know it has been quiet around here lately… But I can assure you it’s nice to disconnect for a while; enjoy the company of family and friends and step away from the laptop for a few days. Part of this time was spent on the road, driving through vineyards and fields of wheat grass. And as I sit here looking through photos, I wonder if these are scenes people think of when they think of Spain? Most likely they aren’t. Most likely it’s images of white beaches, guitar-playing, and paella that come to mind. Who isn’t guilty of a little stereotyping every now and then.
As I write this post, I am not sitting in the usual spot at my desk, staring out the window through grey sleet. No; today I’m sitting on a porch, in the sun, with a canvas of pure blue sky stretched overhead. I’m writing from the house my family has lived in for 13 years. And while times may be tough, and futures uncertain, I still count myself pretty lucky to call Madrid home.
If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you’ll notice that I have a soft spot for ethical fashion. And while this is certainly a big reason to love the Ghanian-inspired, Australian-based brand Yevu, I loved the punchy prints before I even discovered that the brand also had an ethical back-bone. After a year living in Ghana, the designer Anna Robertson, left with a vision to create a print-focused label of clothing. Wandering through the West African marketplaces of wax-print fabrics, Anna “just kept picturing the things [her] friends in Sydney would want to wear.” With print-on-print suiting in trend this season, Yevu’s vibrant collection arrived just in time.
“The eternal traveler syndrome is this feeling you get of not being comfortable anywhere you go because you always want to be somewhere else. It’s the feeling that you will never be happy in just one place. It’s the anxiety that comes when thinking you’re missing out on something…”
This is how Lucia and Ruben, eternal travelers and writers of the blog Algo Que Recordar (Something to Remember), define The Eternal Traveler Syndrome. And while the words aren’t my own, they could have been. As I watched their short film of the same title, I found myself nodding at every thought or feeling they described. It struck a chord, and they so beautifully articulated (and filmed) an emotion I’ve had, but couldn’t quite put into words, for so long.
I have found my favorite photo-editing app. I know, I know, it’s been around for a while you say, but as a non-early adopter of technology, I only recently started using VSCO. It is so simple to use, and makes even the average-joe photos look stunning. Their film presets are all natural and beautiful, and will never turn your photos orange (yes, we’re looking at you Instagram). The best part? VSCO Grid is not a social network. It takes out all the unnecessary distractions like followers and likes to focus on the most important thing: creative photography.
I came across Ölend the way one usually finds beautiful things: by accident. And when I discover something this unique, I go to great lengths to find out all about it. Adriana Dumon and Fran Rios started making backpacks by hand for their friends. They loved doing this so much that they turned it into a business. Ölend is an example of the comeback of slow fashion – a return to small-batch production and the use of locally-sourced materials. The Barcelona natives’ love for the craft is what keeps their young entrepreneurial spirits alive, despite a dismal Spanish economy that does not readily support young business owners. Inspired by the alpinist’s packs of the 50s, each canvas backpack is made-to-order, and all colors and trims are picked by the customer. People are catching on and business is flourishing. Even in the midst of a full schedule of orders, Adriana still took the time to answer my questions.