one of the awesome things we have at the free people is yoga! if you don’t do yoga…i highly recommend you try. it’s an amazing workout, and you feel incredible afterwards – body and mind. paige chapman, our in house yoga instructor, shared her experiences with me, including an amazing retreat in mozambique, africa. read on to learn more about paige and the style of yoga she teaches. she also teaches at yoga child on 9th & south in philly.
when did you start doing yoga?
“i started doing yoga in college when i was about 19. i was in the dance company at school and thought it would be a good way to compliment my dance training as well as keep me in shape during the summer.”
why did you decide to be a yoga instructor?
“i fell in love with yoga immediately. since i started, it has brought me so much joy, peace, and an overall feeling of well being. after graduating college, i moved to NY where there was a very well respected teacher training that i could do on the weekends while working full time. it took me eight grueling months – eight intensive three day weekends a month with yoga classes and assignments in between. i joke that i never was more stressed out than during my yoga training, but it was by far one of the best decisions that i ever made. i didn’t actually start teaching full time until i moved back to philadelphia about three years ago.” your classes are a blend of hatha and vinyasa…can you explain what that means?
“hatha is probably the most recognized style of yoga in america and is what was typically practiced as yoga started becoming popular here in the 60s. i like to think of it as a very classic form of yoga before we got into all kinds of crazy styles, the use of heat, etc. although still challenging, it’s not overwhelming to beginning students and i like the fact that its slower pace allows for concentrating on form and body alignment – rather than just rushing through the poses which can often lead to injuries. vinyasa is more of a flow style, linking the asanas (poses) together with breath and quicker transitions. It gets the heart rate up and therefore brings more of a workout factor to the mat. i like teaching a combination of both so that you feel like you really got the body moving, but there is still the quality of being mindful about your practice. when all is said and done, yoga was created to ready the mind for meditation. i want my students to feel as rejuvenated, relaxed, and as peaceful as possible when they walk out of class.”
i read that you recently taught a retreat in mozambique, africa…what was that like?
“the retreat in mozambique was absolutely incredible. a friend of mine whom i got certified to teach with in new york, married a south african, and set up a yoga studio in johannesburg (http://www.yogawarrior.co.za/). she invited me to teach the retreat with her at a magnificent eco resort on a completely undeveloped coastline in mozambique (http://www.pontamamoli.com/index.html). you sleep in wooden bungalows with monkeys jumping on your roof, swim with wild dolphins in the ocean, go whale watching, horse back ride, watch elephants in the distant reserve, and eat local organic food. the combination of the natural serenity of that location along with teaching yoga was quite an extraordinary experience.” what is your favorite place you’ve travelled to as a yoga instructor?
“africa was hands down the most fantastic and exotic place that I’ve traveled as a yoga teacher. it’s going to be hard to top, but i’m going to try!” what inspires you on a daily basis?
“that’s such a good question for us all to answer. i would say being in nature (even if you’re in the city – it could be watching the leaves change), kindness from friends and better yet – strangers, and doing what i love to do.” why do you think more people should incorporate yoga into their exercise routine?
“bottom line, it just makes you feel so good! our daily routines can be intensely stressful and sometimes we don’t even know how much tension we walk around with. over time, it takes a toll. whether you’re a beginner student that’s really tight and stiff or an advanced student that can do all kinds of fancy poses, yoga brings the same benefits: it calms the mind, makes us conscious of our breath, eases tension, brings awareness to the way we hold the body when we’re out in the world, and perhaps allows us to become more mindful – opening our hearts to what’s happening in our lives just a little bit more.”
thank you, paige! i don’t know about you all, but i want to go on the africa retreat…it sounds unreal…
i love the one-of-a-kind patched bf jeans we just got in, but i love ‘em even more now that i know the story behind them. read on for merrie’s story about the inspiration behind these unique, one-of-a-kind jeans.
“we recently met a young woman from kutch, a desert area in the state of gujarat in india. she had a huge collection of tribal embroideries, which we bought to piece with delicate embroidered net from a market in Delhi and patch onto vintage denim.
we have always loved making clothes out of vintage pieces, cutting them up and adding bits of trims from another era, some tribal embroidery or some old denim. we had already created a small workshop in india where we make most of our store fixtures…embroidered hangers, cane stools, dressing room curtains, beaded chandeliers…etc. adding a few sewing machines to that set-up seemed the next step.
now we are able to find assorted fabrics in the markets, collect trims we love, and put them in the newest silhouettes for the stores within a month or so of the initial inspiration. the assorted fabrics keep that one-of-a-kind feel, while making several of the same silhouette allows us to keep the prices reasonable.
we’ll send a photo of our happy workshop soon. on any given day, there might be: men sitting under the mango trees, hand weaving cane stools for the showroom in new york…tailors sewing prototypes for our next fp one season…wood carvers making doors for our newest fp store…pinwheel makers sitting in the grass making hundreds of paper pinwheels for our next display…anshu the gardener’s son studying his abc’s…it is quite a group effort!”
thanks merrie! can’t wait to see some photos!
these days more and more artists are coming up with new media and materials to create art that is unique and unexpected, so it was only a matter of time before artists started working with mud. but jesse graves, an artist based in milwaukee wisconsin, has taken it a step further by using mud to create stencil artwork that puts environmentally conscious messages in public spaces…so in his own way, he’s using earth in order to protect the earth…which is a very cool concept, i think.
msr = mud stencils rule.
according to jesse, “i use mud or earth because it is a fundamental life-giving substance, logical for my messages. mud stencils are an evolving medium, intended for art and social justice, not corporate advertisement. i see preserving and improving the environment we live in as all encompassing. the world is composed of interconnected systems or cycles. everything is connected, and every choice we make matters.”
here’s a look at some of jesse’s stencils and the meanings behind them.
“to me, industrial farming means agriculture on a massive scale that typically includes the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, genetically modified foods, erosion, and soil degradation. industrial farming is happening worldwide, it is reducing crop variety, eradicating traditional farming methods, and harming the health of animals (including humans). this mud stencil is a call to action. beat back industrial farming by supporting small sustainable farms and gardens.”
“my original idea for this piece was to relate it to growing your own food. i enjoy gardening, and i want to share the joy i find in the sustainability of growing my own food. i considered writing “garden” with the plant letters, but eventually decided on “grow”. i wanted this piece’s meaning to be more ambiguous and personal to the viewer, instead of a bold statement like some of my other pieces.”
“wild food is plants and animals that are not farmed, grown, or raised for human consumption. wild food is nutritious, and finding it makes you more aware of your environment. wild food is all around us, even in urban environments, most just overlook it and disregard it as weeds and nuisances.”
“to deal with the infections cows are fed antibiotics which end up in the milk and meat produced by industrially raised cattle. this is just one of the many problems with industrial farming. corporations do not care about the health and well-being of the animals they imprison or and people that eat those animals.”
“why do people drink bottled water when perfectly potable, perfectly healthy tap water is readily available? in places without clean drinking water, bottled water makes sense; everywhere else, it does not. it takes oil to make the plastic and packaging for bottled water, and even more oil to transport them. more oil is used to recycle the plastic, unless the used bottles are filling up landfills instead.”
“free can mean a lot of things. hopefully this stencil means something to you. to me this piece is about how great it is to ride a bike. for myself commuting via bicycle means i am free from oil and free from the confinements of an auto. sadly while biking in a city i am not free from rude motorists, and the exhaust autos spew.”
i like this last one…obviously, the notion of freedom is something that we feel strongly about here at free people :)
to learn more about jesse and his mud stencils, visit his website: mudstencils.com
earlier this week we introduced you to dana of the blog summer teeth, who we asked to do a guest post for our blog. she came back to us with a beautiful batch of photos that she feels are free people inspired and infused. there are quite a few of them so we’ve decided to break them into groups, but keep in mind that they were carefully selected with a narrative in mind, so that the sequence of images tells a story. what’s the story? whatever you interpret it to be :)
so without further ado, here is part one of dana’s guest post!
you might remember back in our august catalog, we featured animals from the philadelphia animal welfare society (P.A.W.S.) in several of the photos. well, one of our facebook fans, rachel, saw this and told us about a really amazing project that she was working on as her bfa thesis.
read on to hear more about rachel’s project and see some of her beautiful photos of the absolutely adorable animals…and tell me it doesn’t make you want to go adopt one!
what inspired you to do start the 4 to 5 million project?
from an early age i grew up aware that there was a serious problem pertaining to the overpopulation of pets in the US. this project stemmed from a passionate desire to communicate my concerns and love for these animals and while doing so, use photography to help inform the public about this heartbreaking and serious problem.
what does 4 to 5 million mean?
every year approximately four to five million companion animals are euthanized. that amounts to 64% of all shelter animals around the country. the fact of the matter is, there are just too many pets and not enough homes.
rosie & sparky
how successful has the project been so far?
the project was extremely successful. it gained a lot of press for the shelters as well as for the specific dogs i featured in my photographs. the majority of which i have since been informed have found happy and loving homes. it also has provided people with new knowledge on this issue and with a variety of simple things that they can do to help.
who are your heroes?
the heroes who have had the greatest influence on who i am today are my parents. my father, a veterinarian and my mother, an artist, have too obviously, played a part on what i see through my lens.
do you have a pet?
i have many pets, always have, always will, all of which were rescues! my house currently is home to two rescue chihuahua mixes and a terrier mix named mickey, as well as two cats, a tuxedo named tux and a calico, feather.
what is your first memory of free people?
i first heard of free people when a model who participated in my project, saw your post about philly P.A.W.S. your plan to photograph the shelter animals with models was so similar to what i was doing that she passed on the video post to me. i admire that there are other people out there who are trying to do their part in helping spread the word about this problem. thank you free people!
Check out rachel’s website and blog to find out more about the project and see which animals have found happy homes thanks to rachel’s work!
thanks so much for sharing, rachel :)
some of you might be familiar with the awesome blog that is summer teeth…it is full of inspirational and fashionable images that always amaze me. we love it so much we decided to ask the awesome person behind the blog, dana, to do a guest post for our blog. but first, we wanted to know about her likes, dislikes, and more…read below to learn more about dana and stay tuned for her blog post later this week!
what is your first memory of free people?
age 15 or so. falling in love with, having to have, couldn’t leave behind so many of the free people tank tops and sweaters that i had a pile of about 20 in my arms. i was at the neighborhood loehmann’s (a discount mecca for the fashion-frenzied) and was dropping bits of clothing as i walked around the store.
what is the inspiration behind your blog?
my blog, as its been said before by many bloggers, started as a place to productively and effectively organize the thousands of images i had been accumulating in a few ‘inspiration’ folders on my computer. i comb the internet like a mad woman, and will save up to 20 photos to that folder a day. i had to find something that would make all the procrastinating from school work worthwhile! that, and for the last two years or so, i’ve been really trying to pick up photography. the best thing i’ve discovered for expanding your own aesthetic is by being exposed to the aesthetic of others. the blog was a way for me to compile this, and create a sort of inspiration board day by day.
what is your current state of mind?
expectant. i’m heading to a dirty projectors concert here in baltimore later tonight!
who are your heroes?
people who have the courage to go their own way, explore, be their own person, discover or at least hope to discover what makes them tick, and pursue it.
if you could choose what to come back to life as, what would you be?
this is a hard question! maybe a beautiful perennial flower. then, i could hide underground in the warm dirt during cold, wet months, regroup, and leap to life again every spring season. though the dying every winter thing might be tricky…
what or who is your greatest love?
john cusack, say anything.
name one thing necessary to your happiness.
things to look forward to (whether it’s a concert, going shopping, meeting up with friends, cooking some fancy and over-my-head recipe… etc.)
what do you hate the most?
cheese on pizza. and musicians who look horridly bored when performing in front of a crowd.
what would the name of your band be and what genre? what instruments do you play in this band?
summer teeth. oops! that’s the name of my blog… oops! that’s the name of a wilco album! actually, i really don’t know what i’d call it, but i think i’d design the sets and try and have a hand in the wardrobe of the band. i’m not so musically-endowed. But i do like to be surrounded by music.
what color are you?
iridescent. depends on which angle and in what light you look!
what is your motto?
don’t feel guilty for being a dreamer in a harsh world.
what is the one article of clothing you can’t live without?
this is much too hard. can i give three articles of clothing for this fall season instead? i’d say: well-fitting, worn-in jeans, my perforated oxford flats, and chunky knits (socks… sweaters… scarves).
We’re intrigued by fashion everyday – it stimulates, inspires, and influences everything we do. We’re always looking for the freshest trends and the newest movements in street style and boho fashion, and we constantly fuel our ideas with the best from fashion culture.