The global denim business is a $100 billion dollar industry and is a staple in our wardrobe. We had the chance to talk with Andrew Olah and his daughter Emily Olah, who are luminaries in their industry. Together with their team, they run a series of businesses that further the denim industy from Olah, Kingpins (which we attended earlier this summer) and Denim Days. We sat down to find out about the upcoming Denim Days taking place this fall.
ATHLEISURE MAG: We enjoyed checking out Kingpins and are looking forward to Denim Days in NYC this fall. We look forward to being media partners this year. Tell us about your backgrounds and how it led to where you are now.
ANDREW OLAH: Well we’re really excited to talk with you about Denim Days! Let me share a little about me first. I’m second generation in the textile sales business so early on I kind of changed it and switched to denim. We’re from Canada and we used to do every kind of fabric.
I grew up in jeans and in the 60’s, jeans weren’t so accessible and they didn’t have any connotation of any kind of social position. In my culture they did, but not in the rest of the world. I couldn’t wear my jeans - some schools wouldn’t allow you to wear them etc. So it’s all I wore and when I got to represent companies that made denim or corduroy I loved it because I knew that I could wear it – how could you not wear what you were selling? Even in the denim industry back in '97 when I was thinking of moving to NYC, I had to think about it because I would have had to wear a suit.
Eventually, we moved the business to fabrics in denim. I worked for the first denim mill ever outside of the United States which was a really lucky job. It was an Italian company – the Italians impacted the denim industry really really early on being the first ones to use denim in non-traditional shapes. In the American history of denim if you look at vintage pictures, it’s all workwear related and very traditional styles.
The Italians were the first ones to say, let’s make a sexy top, a sexy dress etc. I don’t know if you have ever heard of a company called Fiorucci that’s what they did – fashion tops and fashion bottoms in weird shapes. No one had ever heard of that or thought of it in America really. Obviously there were no fabrics in the United States to do that and when people were sourcing they realized it was cheaper for them to make that shirt outside of the US and to do it in Asia so this started to happen there and this started the denim industry in Asia. The Italians impacted the industry because they enlarged what was seen as a jeans industry by the shapes and the sizes and by women's wear.
The second job that I got was to work with a Japanese company. Again, the Japanese have a huge impact on the jean industry globally – I’m talking about global business and not just American. So the Japanese recreated vintage. Their emulation of vintage was better than the original vintage. It’s like someone copying a Mustang from ’65 and making it 10 times better than the original one and yet looking the same – that’s kind of what they did. They’re obsessed with the components and application so their obsessions make them uncompetitive. They have their own cache. So the company moved to NY in ’98 and we wanted to meet customers and we already had 20-30 customers but we wanted 70 so we started Kingpins as a tradeshow because we wanted to meet more customers and have them come in, hand out their business cards and say hello. When we first stated in the beginning, we used to do personal introductions to everybody because the shows were small.
Kingpins started in 2004 and we never even charged anyone for it, it was just a party and we did it for 2 or 3 years, until 2007 when the recession hit, and we switched the business model to being for profit and now Kingpins is the largest tradeshow in the industry for supply chain – not to boast and quite accidently. It was never our aspiration but it just happened. Our Amsterdam show is really really huge.
AM: And why Amsterdam?
AO: We picked Amsterdam because the community in Amsterdam loves jeans. The late mayor of Amsterdam was a believer in jeans and he felt it was the business for his city. They did a study and they found that Amsterdam had more jean brands per capita than any other city in the world. Which is easy when you have a population of 700,000 – a little more difficult if you’re a city like Tokyo, Istanbul, Sao Paulo* or LA even. That was their mantra and the fact is the fact that that is their business in Amsterdam. They have a lot of brands there and they made it their business to celebrate that to go with what was working for them and to try to get brands in this vertical to move there because they have an industry. They have the culture there and the population loves it there!
Do you ever notice that when we’re there people wear more denim there then here?
EMILY OLAH: Oh yeah 100%.
AO: It’s kind of weird because we’re jeans people and you go there and everyone is wearing jeans. Even in hotels the people working in the hotels and the restaurants - even the uniforms are jeans or denim! It's kind of weird whe you first see it. When we first went there, we stayed in this brand new boutique hotel and ever since people wore jeans and even their aprons were denim!
But anyway, we decided to do it in Amsterdam and there was also the issue of the House of Denim – have you heard of that?
AO: Over the course of my career, of 40+ years I was frustrated that there wasn't a school for those in the denim trade. We all got jobs and we had to just learn o the job, but there ws no place to learn outside of that.
I have produced a class on jeans for 14 years at FIT which is known as the Capstone Course and they're preparing for their 5th year anniversary. Recently it was announced that there would be a New Jean School in Milan - so this is the start of a big difference in our industry as we grow up!
Now the House of Denim in Amsterdam started the first jeans school in 2012. They're also planning on putting a laundry in the city so that people can wash their jeans.
So in doing our supply chain tradeshow Kingpins there, they said that they wated to do a festival known as Denim Days which led us to doing it there.
What we didn't realize was how many people all over Europe and Turkey and other countries liked Amsterdam and loved shopping there. They loved going there and being their for inspiration. It was an amazing decision.
AM: So Emily, before we delve into Denim Days, how did you get into the denim industry?
EO: I went to college for biology. I was not a good student so I went and had various jobs. One day I got a phone call from my father and his friend – they were in a taxi. He said I needed to go to Portugal and learn the business with our family friend. I had to get my life together, learn Portuguese in 6 weeks if I was serious. I said yes. I packed up my life, learned Portuguese in 6 weeks (I went to language school 4-5 days a week) and moved there about 6-8 weeks after.
I worked in a garment factory and worked in our friend’s shirt factory. I worked in every department learning each component of it together through it’s complete process. I had to make a garment where the pattern was made by me, sewn by me, finished by me and it had to be approved before I could work from the office.
AO: They wouldn’t let her out of the factory until it was approved.
EO: I was failed like 20 times. I sewed my finger, it was like your sleeve is a centimeter shorter then the other sleeve, try again So I eventually passed my production sewing job and I started
working in the office.
AO: Who were your customers?
EO: My customers were Paper Denim, Burton Snowboards, AG and Marc Jacobs. So I had the American market and the factory that I worked for was a boutique factory so we did small runs. We did all kinds of products and not just shirts – it was shoes, bags, sweaters etc. In Portugal, all of the factories around us did small run production so I would just have to drive in a 50km radius to go to factories that did any kind of production. And then when I was ready to leave from Portugal I had been working with Rogan for awhile and got an internship with them here in NY.
AO: At that time, he was one of the most renowned designers in the industry.
EO: He was growing his business really quickly and there was this small staff of like 6 people when I went there as an intern. They had me running to midtown to check on their garment factory and whether their production was going ok and in 2 weeks they were like, “we have this new brand and we want you to run it.” I was like, “really ok”. They said, “it’s a really big opportunity, we’re going to do jeans and t-shirts. Production is already set you just have to deliver the goods.”
AO: And that was Loomstate.
AM: Oooo we love Loomstate wow!
EO: I did all of the product development and the production. Jared who works here now, also worked there and developed the sales. That’s how I got started in the business.
AM: Wow everyone loved their jeans and the shirts were great! So how did you make your way here?
EO: So I worked for several brands in the premium area on the production side. I eventually moved to LA because a lot of them were there and I wanted to come to NY. I had an opportunity to work for the factory that I stated with and that brought me back to NY and I worked out of the Olah office. That’s sort of the beginning.
AO: A few key things happened that led to her being at the Olah umbrella. We never hired her.
EO: Yeah his business partner hired me.
AO: True, what happened was she was working with AG and Rock and Republic and then she moved back to NY to work with the Portuguese guy that she started with and we paid her salary because they weren’t going to pay her enough so we said there are things to do around the office and she had her own world and it had nothing to do with me so I thought that that was cool. Then he and I had some issues and the relationship got funky and one day when the relationship ended, she had no job, but was in our office. So we tried to see what she could do to justify her being her.
My partner kept telling me that she was really smart and I was glad to hear that, but I didn’t think about it.
EO: And now 11 years later, here I am haha.
AM: So what do you do here?
EO: So our business is segmented into 3 areas and I straddle all 3 in an operational way, but I spend most of my time in the events world like Kingpins and Denim Days.
AM: So how will Denim Days this year be different then Denim Days last year?
AO: One thing that we will do which is different is that we are changing the speaking. We had people speak last time. The day before we did Legends. But this year we will have something everyday on Sat and Sun all day long so the speaker element will be amazing.
EO: Right like speakers and workshops that will be engaging to the consumers that come in and it won’t be on a separate day. Quite honestly, our Legends last year were a bit more B2B. The access to the attendees will be a lot greater this year.
AO: If you come in and feel what’s going on, it will all be in one big room. It’s going to be much better this year!
EO: I think 2019 will be a big evolution because we are going to move Denim Days to be the same week as Kingpins so it allows us to have denim events for 6 days in a row as opposed to being segregated.
AO: Then it will be a proper festival because it will be 6 days in a row with B2B and B2C.
EO: It will be a lot more dynamic that way and will engage a lot more people.
AM: What made you want to introduce Nashville to Denim Days?
AO: They asked us. But they have started the Nashville Fashion Alliance* and the NFA people are nice and their arguments for the fashion industry to move there to me is compelling. They remind me a lot of Amsterdam.
EO: Yeah their local government is very similar to Amsterdam.
AO: Yes you have access to the mayor, the Senate, Senators, the governor – there is a whole level of community. When you have academia, politics and commerce mix, it’s like the perfect moment. It’s like nirvana – it doesn’t happen here, but when it happens, everyone is on the same page. All the people are not competitors you’re doing the same thing and it becomes a community. Amsterdam has nailed it – accidently – but they are in this status and if they don’t screw it up, it’s brilliant. Nashville sees it and is trying to create it and I believe that they will. Then they have the music industry and so when they came to us, we said yes. They said they would help us with the media. Little cities in many ways are the future. So it’s interesting for us.
AM: So what trends are you seeing in denim that we should keep an eye out for fall of this year and more specifically for Spring 19?
EO: It’s about fiber and performance.
AO: The biggest thing – everyone wants something special. In the old days, if you wanted something special it was about having the Jordache name on it and that was something special.
EO: And that was enough.
AO: I remember I had a friend telling one of the Hilfigers at the time that they should just sell their label at the checkout counter because you have all the same jeans. So Polo could be $5 for the label and Tommy could be $6 and this one is $10 and Levi’s could be $3 and you just stick it on because it’s all the same stuff. That’s the history of the jeans business.
Exceptional jeans products right now – I think that everyone makes exceptional jeans products so then the issue is what is the company like. Everlane has done really really well with jeans and they’re not a jeans brand – but they have done well. It’s about the company and what’s
inside it and most of all how it fits and performance. Performance is everything and that means that you have to step out and find new ways of doing things.
EO: I completely agree. People know more about the product and want to know more about it. They have to have a reason for its existence and it just can’t be another piece that’s lined up
on the shelf. Something in it that’s different than something else and that’s outstanding.
AO: Like, when you go to Selfridge’s. The jeans shop is huge and there isn’t one sign but the brand name – what is that? That is like having this table with bananas and then saying, which one do you want? This one is $105, this one is $98, this one is made in LA – I mean really? They’re bananas!
AM: Just so our readers are clear, in addition to having your tradeshow within the supply chain - Kingpins as well as a festival denim show - Denim Days; you also work with brands that want to become denim brands?
AO: Yes, we have 3 actual business models. In addition to the shows, we develop fabric and then we sell the fabric. That division would help small brands that we believe in. Scott Morrison he was doing Paper Denim – we helped him with that. We’re happy to help those that are looking to get into the business - to a point. You can give someone food, but you can’t help them chew it!
PHOTOS COURTESY | Olah Inc.
For the second year in a row, Athleisure Mag is honored to have been the media sponsors of Cochon555 when it arrived in NYC earlier this month! This fun competition pairs 5 chefs x 5 heritage pig farmers x 5 wineries/cocktails to create a series of dishes for attendees to enjoy.
In addition to NYC, there are a number of other cities to participate and when the chef is crowned, they represent their city in the ultimate showdown!
We chatted with one of the participating chefs, Chef Fabian Gallardo of La Esquina. We wanted to know why he participated this year, the importance of Cochon555 and of course to get the scoop on his eateries.
ATHLEISURE MAG: What are some of your favorite things about this competitive event?
CHEF FABIAN GALLARDO: I like that it helps farmers promote their amazing product.
AM: Do you regularly compete in food competitions?
AM: For Cochon555, how did you decide what to prepare and what strategy goes into making these selections for New Pork City?
CFG: I utilize as much as I could to use all of the pork. I like to bring the pork's natural flavors.
AM: How important are competitive events such as Cochon555 and accompanying charities such as Piggy Bank for the culinary community and heritage breed pigs?
CFG: It's really important because as chefs, we can be ambassadors and promoters of heritage breed pigs. Great quality translates on a great final product.
AM: Do you have any personal messages about sourcing foods and products responsibly?
CFG: If you source the food from the farmer or breeder, they will help you out by giving you tips on what is becoming on season or what is on point at their farms.
AM: What inspired you to become a chef?
CFG: I like to learn about different cultures through their food.
AM: We've seen La Esquina's numerous locations as we're always looking for great places to get a taco! Are there any off-menu secrets our readers would love to know about?
CFG: We keep some specials at the brasserie, but the one that you should get off the menu is the Cochinita Pibil.
AM: What was the inspiration behind creating La Esquina and should we keep our eye open for additional locations?
CFG: The inspiration behind La Esquina was Urban Mexican Street Food. Whilst Mexico is very often associated with beautiful beaches, stunning views of paradise and tropical vibes, there is
that other side of Mexico, the grungy rock and roll Mexico City. No sombreros or gabanes here! Just pure leather and electric guitar, but with a Mexican twist. La Esquina has opened up two
new locations in just under a year and a half and there's no stopping us. Stay tuned!
But I think that Chicago is one of the greatest cities in the world. We have world class museums, the lakefront is spectacular and we live across the street from one of the greatest beaches that you could ask for – 6 months a year and then food! We own a handful of restaurants there.
AM: What is the difference between the Flagship and the Taquerias?
CFG: Our flagship location is actually made up of several different restaurants. Our famous storefront is a Mexico City style taqueria, we have a sit down Cafe and the secret ;-) underground brasserie. The Taquerias around the city are outposts of our famous storefront. Midtown, Upper East Side and Brooklyn have a lot of the same delicious food; tacos, quesadillas, tortas and basic sides, but they have a more causal atmosphere, and they also have drink specials! The Cafe is the comfortable in between which contains a couple of more additions to the menu. The Brasserie is strictly fine dining, with a rustic and cozy feel. While it contains some of the items on the taqueria menu, there are slight alterations adding an extra touch to our most well known recipes. You are just going to have to try them all!
AM: What are some of your favorite things to eat and drink personally?
CFG: Tacos obviously! I love French food, Italian food, Thai food and Alta California Cuisine.
AM: Do you listen to music when cooking and hosting? What are some of your favorites on your playlist?
CFG: Yes! When I am prepping food, I enjoy listening to Sigur Ros and Bob Marley. While I entertain it's Rock & Roll, 60's, 70's and 80's.
AM: Who are some of the chefs and restaurant that have inspired you?
CFG: Chef Walter Manzke, he is my mentor. He gave me the opportunity to run one of his restaurants and I learned a lot from him. He will always push you to be better every day. Restaurants that inspired me are Republique, Carlos Salgado's Taco Maria (any Taco Lover
should go there), Rays Garcia's Broken Spanish and Jesse Gomez and Jose Acevedo's Mercado, Jeremy's Fox Rustic Canyon. There are some more, but I will list two pages haha.
AM: How do you give of your time? Do you have charities/philanthropies that you participate in?
CFG: We like to give back to the community and we try to do one or two charity events per month. On Feb 10th, we will be at Our Town's Art of Food at Sotheby's.
We're always on the hunt for the next best item to add to our vanity and Laura Geller when it comes to highlighters, is always in our rotation. Recently, we just saw the launch for Alannized and we wanted to know more about the product and where this collaboration came from. Martine Williamson, President & GM, Laura Geller New York shares, "It started when we noticed that Alannized was featuring our Gilded Honey Illuminator often on his social media channels. He really grabbed our attention with the looks he created, particularly his mesmerizing highlighter application - which meshed seamlessly with Laura's background. Sharing a love for highlighting is where this kit came to life. The relationship took off from there and we've been collaborating on projects both small and large ever since."
For those who may not be familiar with Alan from Alannized, he always shares the importance of beauty is a one size fits all across his social media. His followers know that not only does he love his highlight and lipgloss, so the collaboration that was created with the brand was one that was natural. "I was super involved in my collaboration with Laura Geller New York. From product selection to packaging! It's been an amazing experience to see such an amazing brand believe in my vision and to trust me with carrying out such an amazing collaboration. I wouldn't trade this experience for the world!" This beauty influencer has been dedicated to showcasing how beauty has become a part of his everyday life and believes that being Alannized means, "being able to express myself creatively through makeup, and being able to do what makes ME happy."
Check out the Jan Issue of Athleisure Mag
With the holiday season upon us, we wanted to share one of our favorite luxury jewelry designers with our readers. Our Style Director has included pieces in shoots in this publication and we sat down and talked with Miami based, Buddha Mama which is created by Nancy and is also designed by her daughter Dakota. The brand is the perfect mixture of fine jewelry, dramatic pieces and wellness. We found out about how they are inspired to create luxe pieces, what they do during Art Basel that took place earlier this month and how they give back.
ATHLEISURE MAG: We've been fans of the brand for years, but tell us how Buddha Mama was created and what are the inspirations behind the pieces?
BUDDHA MAMA: My mother Nancy started stringing Mala’s for her local Buddhist center to help raise funds and it sort of took off from there. To this day we still donate a portion of monthly proceeds. The inspiration comes from everywhere, travel definitely has a strong influence on our collections. Different architecture and symbols appreciated in other cultures, these are things that inspire us to keep creating and share what we love.
AM: Who is the Buddha Mama girl or boy?
BM: We never really know how to answer that question. It seems like it can be just about anyone, whether you are drawn to the beauty of a mandala pendant because you know of the
meaning or you just appreciate the piece. I wouldn't say we have one specific client, there's certainly a range of people we've come across.
AM: How do you decide what pieces are a part of each of the collections that are in the line?
BM: Depends on the collection. Some pieces are placed in certain collections due to gemstone colors, others are specifically created - such as our Lantern pieces for the lantern collection. Our auspicious collection is by far our largest, with everything from mandalas to flowers, skulls and cross pendants.
AM: What charity/philanthropy are you involved in?
AM: During Art Basel, do you do anything in conjunction with this event?
BM: Usually Nan and I are pretty busy creating new collections for the COUTURE Show in Vegas but we always attend at least a few Basel events. Miami is always a blast in December and we try to enjoy as much of it as we can!
AM: How important is Art Basel to the Miami scene?
BM: It’s incredible. One of the main areas for Basel is called Wynwood and it’s literally unrecognizable from just a few years ago. I feel that Art Basel is important because Miami has always had an art and graffiti scene- maybe not like New York but it was always present. To
now watch it expand and get its recognition, it’s great.
AM: With the holidays coming up, what can we look forward to in terms of great gifting options from the brand?
BM: We have a daintier collection that is great for gifting! Also of course our special one of a kind pieces are always a hit.
AM: Where are your favorite places to eat, grab a cocktail and to do yoga/meditation in Miami to keep on our radar?
We end our year the way we began it - with NERVO, but this time, in addition to our interview, we hung out with them right before their Lavo NYC show to shoot the International EDM DJ duo. Liv and Mim have been traveling, DJing around the world, releasing new music and continuing to connect with their fans.
We brought them to Grammy winner and music icon, Desmond Child's home (we have an exclusive interview with Desmond following this interview), which was the perfect location for this shoot. We talked with them about what they're up to, who they've been working with, where they'd like to perform, their upcoming show for NYE at the W in Miami and what festivals you'll see them in during 2018.
ATHLEISURE MAG: We kicked off the year with an interview with you ladies and it's only fitting that we close it with you as well as you're gracing our Dec cover - what has been a snapshot of this year from what you were up to personally, musically, - whatever you wish to share.
NERVO: We have had a year of absolute madness. Lots of great things going on that we just need to pinch ourselves sometimes. We also are just doing our best to keep our heads above water and enjoy the little moments you know… We think all touring artists or just busy people, in general, are the same. There’s a lot of pressure mixed with a lot of adrenaline filled moments. It can be a lot sometimes!
AM: You ladies are multiple threats as you're DJ's, producers, songwriters, composers, models, brand ambassadors, etc., so it was only fitting to have you shoot in Desmond Child's home
- can you share some of your projects that you did this year or next year?
N: Tell us about it - Desmond Child is a total legend. What an honour to be shooting in his home! Love how we decked his house out.
So… We released a bunch of music this year, including a few collabs - one with New York based band Sofi Tukker and some others with more dance artists like DVBBS and Danny Avila, Oh, and then there’s the collab we wrote with Cheif Keef which was pretty special! We have been touring mainly Europe for the summer, but we also have our residency at Omnia in Las Vegas, which gets us over to The USA about 16 times a year.
We have a bunch of new songs in the works which we are focusing in on now. Quarters 4 and 1 are always for making new music and that means touring a bit less.
AM: What's the process like when you're creating your music and how is it different when you're creating something for another artist?
N: We’re more relaxed when we make music for others or even for a collaboration. Something about it being less pressure. When it’s your own record suddenly you feel like people are going
to hate on you if they don’t like it. It’s a part time job blocking out that noise!
AM: How do you go about finding inspiration for upcoming projects?
N: We are constantly inspired. To be honest we don’t have enough time to not be inspired. We have so many unfinished ideas that we just need an extra 2 days a week to finish. We must be
ADHD or something.
AM: What is a NERVO Christmas like - do you make it home to Australia for the holiday, do you guys cook and what gifts are you looking for this year?
N: It’s pretty low key and is the same every year. We have a huge lunch in our family home in Melbourne, then we all go to our Aunty Mary and Uncle Max’s home for more food, and then we
eventually pass out around 10pm with belly’s so full that we couldn’t dream of eating dinner! Leftovers are eaten for the next 4 days or so. We are Italian/Australian so there’s always SO
AM: This NYE, where are you playing and what about 2018 makes you excited to ring it in?
N: We are playing Miamiiiiiii! At the W Hotel. We can’t wait!! Miami is just the best for New Year's Eve. We think we might hang around a few days and have some beach time and Cuban food.
AM: What's on your playlist at the moment that gets you up and moving?
AM: Where are some festivals/cities that you'll be hitting this year that we can expect to see you performing at?
N: We are playing Tomorrowland in Belgium again. Always a yearly highlight! We are also playing Creamfields in South America. And of course, everyone can catch us at Ushuaia in Ibiza and Omnia/Hakkassan in The USA for our residencies.
AM: What is a gig that you would like to do ie. Super Bowl Half Time show, that you have yet to be asked to do but want to check off your bucket list?
N: Probably Coachella. It’s such a great festival and one of the only ones we have never been asked to play at. We don't think they like us. ha! Maybe we're too bubbly or mainstream or
something... We dunno. But we have been to the festival and it's such a great vibe. Always perfect weather.
AM: You're rocking a lot of fun styles throughout our Dec cover shoot, but what is your personal style when you head out to play a set for NYE versus when you're hanging out?
N: We like to dress things up when we play a gig. We love body suits, lycra, face jewels, creepers, teased up hair, more is more. When we are hanging out we’re a lot more chilled and casual - for example we are loving the Fenty clothes that we wore in the shoot for our travel/studio days!
AM: You guys travel a lot, what are your 3 musts that you take with you no matter what city you're rocking in to feel like you're at home?
N: Iijin snake skin silver and gold shoes (for Liv), Hairspray (for Mim), and our laptops (for both of us).
AM: The Winter Olympics are coming up and we're fans of curling, what teams/sports are you cheering for?
N: Ooohh we’ll have to check it out!! We do love to ski so that’s something we would like to watch. Does Australia even have a team? If Australia is competing then we would have to go for
them but if they don’t then we would go for Italy because that is where our parents were born :).
NERVO YORK CREDITS
COVER + PG 14 | FENTY X PUMA Blocked Track Jacket + Blocked Taped Track Pant | OUTDOOR VOICES Sport Bra | FENTY X PUMA AnkleStrap Sneaker | FENTY X PUMA Monday Cap | FRAME Le Original Patch Jacket |
FENTY X PUMA Hooded Zip Front Leotard | FENTY X PUMA Printed Bra | RUBEN GALARRETA Legging Harness |
PG 16 | BLACK MILK Fatale Dress | LAGOS JEWELRY Black Beaded Caviar Bracelet | ARTISTS' OWN Wrapped Bracelet, Charm Bracelet, Watch + Hat |
PG 19 | MCM Shearling Bag | ARTISTS' OWN Bra, Shorts + Scarf |
PG 20 | SPLENDID Racerback Turtleneck Sport Bra | ELIZABETH ACKERMAN Palazzo Palm Pants | DIANA ROSH FUR Olive + Blue Fur Coat | LOVE KNITZ Hat |
PG 21 | DIANA ROSH FUR Multicolor Coat | HAT ATTACK Arm Warmers | MIRA RAE Velvet Leggings | MCM Shearling Hat |
PG 22 | ROMPLY Blush Wrap Romper | HAT ATTACK Hat | LAGOS JEWELRY Ring | ARTISTS' OWN Bra |
PG 25 | ROMPLY Navy/Gold Tapestry Romper | NINA JEWELRY Swarovski Bangle | MCM Polke Backpack in Starry Eyed Bunny | ARTISTS' OWN Marcher Jacket |
Athleisure Mag readers know that a number of our shoots take place in luxury apartments that have yet to be released to the public or are being sold. We tend to maintain the privacy of the homeowners; however, this shoot was perfectly aligned as it took place at Grammy-winning and Emmy-nominated songwriter/producer Desmond Child's home!
He is one of the most accomplished hit-makers, having written and produced more than eighty Billboard Top 40 hits spanning five decades including "Livin' On A Prayer”, “You Give Love A Bad Name”, “I Was Made For Lovin' You”, “Dude Looks Like A Lady”, “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” and “Waking Up In Vegas.” From Aerosmith to Zedd, his genre-defying collaborations also include Bon Jovi, KISS, Motley Crew, Joan Jett, Cher, Michael Bolton, Cyndi Lauper, Ricky Martin, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, Meat Loaf, Selena Gomez, Katy Perry, Sia, Mickey Mouse and Kermit the Frog, selling over 500 million records worldwide as well as downloads, YouTube views and streaming plays already in the billions. His upcoming autobiography LIVIN' ON A PRAYER: BIG SONGS BIG LIFE with David Ritz is scheduled for release the Fall 2018. Desmond Child was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008 and serves on its Board of Directors as well as the Board of ASCAP. In 2012 he co-founded the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame and serves as its Chairman/CEO. He is also Chairman of The Fountains of Musica Foundation, who’s mission is to complete Alan LeQuire's aquatic bronze masterpiece MUSICA located at the entrance to Nashville’s Music Row.
ATHLEISURE MAG: It was an honor to shoot in your beautiful home and NERVO was very excited to see that they were in your apartment. Please share with our readers about how you got into the music business and whom you have worked with.
DESMOND CHILD: My beautiful mother, the late Cuban poet and Bolero composer Elena Casals, was always writing her romantic and soulful songs at her old upright piano on the dairy farm in Hawthorn, Florida, where I was born in 1953. At that time, I didn’t know that most people don’t write songs as a natural expression of the ups and downs of ordinary life. I would sit on my mother's lap at the piano and bang out long unrepeatable classical sounding improvisations. As soon as I could sit upright, she would make me play for her bohemian friends sitting around on the floor smoking and drinking during the Mad Men era when that was actually still good for you.
Not being able to afford a gift, I wrote my first official pop song titled “Birthday Blues” at the age of 15 in 1968 as a birthday tribute to a beautiful girl I was trying to impress named Laura
Stern. After that, I never looked back and kept writing songs all the way into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, where I was inducted into in 2008. That only took 40 years. ;)
ATHLEISURE MAG: Your home is awesome and there were so many elements that were amazing, but we all enjoyed your piano - when did you decide that you would have these notable talents sign your piano, and are there signatures that you have yet to get, but still
want to have in there?
DC: It was a random day, and I was walking down 57th Street, and when I got to the Steinway showroom, I looked through the window and saw this gorgeous Steinway D lit up like it was on a stage. I went in, sat down at it, and it seemed to just play itself. I ended up buying it on the spot, but I had to put it in storage for 2 years while my apartment was being renovated. When the time finally came to move-in the piano, I had to hire a crane to lift it up on its side in a massive wooden crate and slip it through the living room window.
It was an incredible feat that tied up Fifth Avenue traffic and pissed-off a lot of people.
As soon as I started doing writing sessions with top stars or important visitors, I would ask them to write their names in the piano along with the date. It started to get crowded in there and some names are completely unrecognizable, so I guess I will have to create a map of the stars to keep track of them all.
These are the names I would love to have in the piano: Joni Mitchell, Sir Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Jennifer Hudson, Sade, Imogen Heap, Paul Stanley & Gene Simmons, Beyonce & Jay Z, Steven Tyler, and Joe Perry.
AM: Are there projects that you are working on that you can share with us?
DC: I am just putting the finishing touches on my auto-biography - LIVIN' ON A PRAYER: BIG SONGS BIG LIFE with David Ritz. I hope to release in the fall of 2018.
AM: What is currently on your playlist?
DC: I only play two records ever… AMOROSO by Jaoa Gilberto, produced by my dear late friend Tommy LiPuma, and Sade’s epic LOVE DELUX. Over the past 5 years I’ve added Concha Buika’s
rare but exquisite albums. Any other music I hear is by accident.
AM: With New Years Eve just around the corner, what's the perfect playlist that we should be creating to celebrate the end of 2017 and the start of 2018?
DC: Any of Amy Grants 5 Christmas albums. Amy is my husband Curtis’ favorite artist of all time…. It just ain’t Christmas without Amy Grant.
We enjoyed finding out more about Desmond Child and his home which is currently on the market. We sat down with Louise Phillips Forbes of Halstead properties to find out more about 1215 Fifth Avenue #8CD as well as the neighborhood it resides in.
ATHLEISURE MAG: There are so many great aspects to this apartment, from its layout to the INCREDIBLE views of Central Park - what can you tell us about this property?
LOUISE PHILIPS FORBES: What’s not to envy in this exceptional home?! It’s a full-floor combination apartment with panoramic views of Central Park that are breathtaking year-round, and an abundance of custom designer details like art-deco moldings and Venetian plaster walls. The grand and expansive formal living room is an entertainer’s dream with four large picture windows (manufactured by Hope's) facing west, high-beamed ceilings and a statuesque
wood-burning fireplace. Plus, the spectacular views carry through to the formal dining room. A peaceful retreat, the master suite also showcases the Central Park views and features superbly crafted built-ins and an oversized walk-in closet that resembles a luxury boutique. You can escape to the spa in the elegant Vitrolite tile and Terrazzo master bathroom with a deep soaking tub, double sink vanity, walk-in steam shower, and heated floors. But it's the park views that will transport you to another world. A culinary delight, the eat-in chef's kitchen is the heart of the home with an open design that includes a substantial casual dining/living and media area. Kitchen highlights are the sophisticated Terrazzo countertops, abundance of pantry storage cabinets, and high-end appliances. A coveted laundry room holds the side-by-side and full-size Miele washer and Asko dryer with a sink and storage. To top it off, there is a new state-of-the-art Lutron lighting system and Crestron integrated surround audio system with built-in
speakers all through the apartment. Two oversized bedrooms and a second full bathroom complete the home with through-wall AC's in every room and great closets throughout. It’s pretty close to perfect!
AM: What amenities are offered in this building for residents?
LFP: A pre-war treasure, the Brisbane House at 1215 Fifth Avenue was developed and built in 1928 by distinguished journalist and columnist for Hearst newspapers, Arthur Brisbane, and designed by the renowned architectural firm Schultze & Weaver. The beautiful 16-story limestone-and-caramel-brick building boasts an elegant lobby and full-service amenities, including 24-hour doorman, live-in superintendent, private courtyard, fitness area, central
laundry room, personal storage, bike storage, and pet-friendly attitude.
AM: Tell us about the neighborhood that is directly around this building and what neighborhood is this considered?
LFP: A premier residence nestled near Carnegie Hill, this elegant gem is conveniently located across from Central Park and along Museum Mile with easy access to world-class exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum, and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, among others. Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue
beckon with high-end boutique shopping and fine art galleries, plus there is an abundance of distinguished restaurants, charming cafes, gourmet grocers, supermarkets, Equinox Fitness
Club, the 92nd Street Y, and many popular retail destinations.
AM: For those that are interested in purchasing this unit, how can they find out more information?
LFP: It would be very easy to call this stunning apartment home given the grandeur of the rooms, designer details throughout, and abundance of Central Park views! To schedule an appointment, simply contact me directly and I will be happy to give you a private tour and discuss the purchasing details. You can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 212-381-3329.
AM: Where can readers find out about additional properties that you represent?
LFP: Visit my website and click on the tab for “My Listings”. You can view pictures, 3D floor plans, and videos along with detailed descriptions of each property I’m working with from
downtown to uptown. The available homes range from a three-bedroom loft apartment in Tribeca to a 6-story grand townhouse on the Upper East Side.
We Chatted with Chef Chris Szyjka as he had recently joined to participate in legendary cooking classic, Cochon555.
When we entered Cochon555, New Porc City 2017, we were instantly swept away into fierce competition for whole pig cooking. Brooklyn, New York marked the first stop for this multi-city battle, where the ultimate champions will be crowned in the Grand Cochon in Chicago later this year.
Cochon555 is an intense event for top chefs to celebrate heritage pigs one bite at a time. Created in 2008 as a response for a lack of educating of heritage breed pigs, this ‘nose-to-tail’ competition is dedicated to supporting family farmers and educate chefs and diners about the agricultural importance of utilizing Old-World livestock. Mom and Pop, farm-to-table, BBQ and Michelin Star restaurants are all worked with and share one core value: they source products responsibly.
The Sunday afternoon event was an epic culinary experience featuring heritage breed pork dishes of all kinds with chef-crafted tastings, along with 40+ types of boutique wines, craft cocktails and artisanal brews. On its eighth year, the Cochon555 US Tour is aligned with modern day good food movement – notable chefs, barrier breaking women and men, artist-like butchers, spirited bartenders and brazen pastry talent. Together the ticketed educational event showcases are enjoyed and shared, building a space for safer, honest food. A portion of all sales benefit The Piggy Bank Charity, helps family farmers with a foundation to gift heritage breed pigs in exchange for business plans. It supports existing farmers requiring genetics to diversify bloodlines or rebuild herds as a result of disease or natural disaster.
The inaugural NYC event, New Porc City featured five chef entrants: Chris Szyjka, Chefs Club By Food & Wine (Heritage Foods USA Old Spot pig); Nicole Gajadhar, Saxon & Parole (with Spring House Farm Large Black pig); Ryan Bartlow, Quality Eats (with Dogpatch Farm Mulefoot pig); Greg Baxtrom, Olmsted (with Autumn's Harvest Farms Berkshire pig); Aaron Hoskins, Birds & Bubbles (with The Piggery Mulesoft pig). Indeed, Chef Chris rendered valiant efforts. Chef Nicole from Saxon and Parole took the NYC prize and moved closer to victory. Each made narratives and tasty preparations that enticed and captured our senses.
In our upcoming feature, see Chef Chris preparing the final touches to his menu. Chef Nicole Gajadhar’s full menu and winning feast (with piggy banks, festive carnival tents, flying cotton candy pigs bearing her name and all). Also we have a glimpse of Chef Ryan Bartlow with ‘Quality Cochon’ coat, bringing out a full deli-style creation in all of its glory. We have a moment from the Punch Kings challenge, where Bryan Schneider, from Quality Eats dropped inherently award-winning cocktails, served in shiny gold trophies and find Kool Keith enjoying judging festivities. We see the Somm Smackdown and winner Nicole Hakli from ACME taking the win and DJ Lord from Public Enemy scratching some beats on the 1's and 2's. Our set ends with a dramatic frame of a whole heritage pig being artfully butchered and auctioned for charitable causes by Erika Nakamura and Jocelyn Guest from White Gold Butchers, and a nod toward Williamsburg’s Weylin Hall glorious ceiling, constantly delighting us all evening.
Michael Strahan is a true New York icon. We had the pleasure to chat with him about his new athleisure line, MSX by Michael Strahan; where we can see him next; and how he remains on top. We also caught up with Stuart Billingham, JCPenney Creative Director for Men's Private Label for more on the collection.
ATHLEISURE MAG: - Stylish active lifestyle sounds like a great ethos for you, you’re always looking good on-the-go – what’s an average day like for you?
MICHAEL STRAHAN: There really isn’t an “average day” for me. Every day is so different, especially during different seasons. For example, during football season, I’m traveling from New York to Los Angeles for NFL on FOX. On days that I’m on Good Morning America, I wake up around 5:30am. My afternoons are always different. Sometimes I’m taking meetings with my management and production company, SMAC Entertainment and other times I’m doing activities that I enjoy, like playing golf! I’ve been spending a lot time working on my athleisure line MSX and my clothing line Collection by Michael Strahan.
AM: When did you first decide to jump into a companion line for Collection by Michael Strahan?
MS: I had a lot of fun creating Collection by Michael Strahan with JCPenney and I realized that in addition to great tailored pieces, men also need comfortable, stylish clothes that can be worn anytime. MSX by Michael Strahan is inspired by my active lifestyle and provides men trendy, functional pieces that can be worn everywhere. I call it my EveryWEAR for everywhere. And best of all, it's all priced for a great value. I'm really excited to be part of what's happening in the overall athleisure movement and I'm excited for the future of MSX.
AM: Why do you think athleisure wear has become such a movement?
MS: The way people are living these days has changed. People are on the go much more than ever before. Wearing a comfortable, yet stylish tee and pants is not for lounging, it's for living! To be able to go throughout your day and not feel over or underdressed in any situation is crucial and that's where athleisure comes in.
AM: “Everywear for everywhere,” that’s catchy, what assortment does MSX currently offer?
MS: The line offers a wide range of clothes for every part of life. The chino pants are one of my personal favorites because they can easily go from the office to the golf course. Also the Henley three button shirts, the v necks and an assortment of short options.
AM: What is it about MSX by Michael Strahan that makes it optimal for workouts and tackling tasks of the day after the studio/gym?
MS: The breathable fabrics are made to keep you cool and comfortable all day, when they are paired with the no-chafe stitching you’ll stay comfortable the entire day.
AM: Style, comfort and performance are key for activewear, what advanced technology and comfort features does MSX by Michael Strahan have?
MS: Every piece in the line has hidden details. We have the no-chafe seam details to keep you comfortable while you are moving or the UV protection so you will be protected all day long. My favorite details are the secret pockets. For example, I’m a golfer so I wanted the chino pants to looks stylish, yet be functional. We kept the left back pocket open so you can easily slip in your golf glove between swings and included a zipper on the right back pocket to keep valuables like wallet and phone.
AM: What are some of your must-haves that you keep in your secret pockets?
MS: I keep all the essentials in my pockets - money clip, keys, and sometimes my phone…when it’s not missing! haha
AM: Run us through some of your favorite routines when you’re in the gym. Have you carried over a lot from those grueling football practices? Do you take any studio classes to round out your training?
MS: I usually work out for an hour 5/6 days a week. I don't do the same workout I did as a football player. Now I do exercises that are more conducive to mobility and flexibility. I still lift weights, but the exercises and amount that I lift are definitely different.
AM: What are some of the jams or artists that are your go-to’s for your workout playlist? Anything new you just started listening to?
MS: I listen to Bill Wither’s “Lovely Day” every morning before work. It’s the best way to start the day! I’m a creature of habit. I like to work out to Hip-Hop. Whatever's hot I listen to.
AM: How do you stay on top of daily nutrition, what are some of you favorite meal combinations and snacks that keep you lean and mean? What is that one irresistible treat item that you just crave and enjoy?
MS: I eat a lot of fish, chicken and turkey and fresh vegetables without the butter and other things that add sneaking calories into my diet. I have protein smoothies and hard boiled eggs along with nuts as well. I have a weakness for chocolate in any form so I do crave chocolate chip cookies and ice cream, but I only indulge occasionally.
AM: You are an inspiration for work ethic across the board, what does “being 100% present” mean to you?
MS: It means waking up happy and putting your best foot forward each and every day. A good friend of mine always says “dress shoes.” It makes me laugh, but I like the meaning behind it because it’s about “putting your best foot forward…and if you’re going to do that, you should literally be putting your best foot forward". I have to remember to put away the phone and stay in the moment. That's a hard test for everyone in this age of technology, but it really helps you to stay present if you can do it.
AM: Your best-selling book, “Wake Up Happy: The Dream Big, Win Big Guide to Transforming Your Life” shares a lot of personal stories and advice for personal ambitions and going from good to great. What is a tip or two to be on top of one’s game and keep on track in active lifestyle?
MS: I draw upon the power of positive thinking often. Developing a routine always helps to keep you on track. And most of all, just remember to encourage yourself and give yourself a break if you need it. Don't be so hard on yourself if you're not perfect because none of us are.
AM: Hello Stuart, thanks for joining us. Tell our readers a bit about your background and how you came to be Creative Director, Men’s Private Label at JCPenney.
STUART BILLINGHAM: I have been in the industry for 15 years, both in the European & US markets, working on a variety of product ranging from surf/skate, outdoor, heritage and fast fashion. JCPenney was an amazing opportunity for me to work with a highly talented team and immerse myself in a number of different lifestyles through the amazing private labels exclusive to us here, including Arizona, Xersion and of course MSX by Michael Strahan.
AM: What are some of the lines that you have been able to create with personalities?
SB: MSX by Michael Strahan was the first line I have had the opportunity to collaborate with a major personality like Michael, so this idea of working with someone who had a strong idea that they wanted to bring to life was super exciting.
AM: How did the collaboration with you and Michael Strahan come about and what is the process that goes into creating a line such as this?
SB: JCPenney and Michael have been working together on our suiting line, COLLECTION by MICHAEL STRAHAN so it felt natural to find something to balance that – with MSX we wanted comfort and performance attributes, but we didn't want to make it feel like a performance line. We want guys to wear it everyday, to integrate each piece into their lifestyle.
AM: How was it to work with Michael?
SB: Michael was heavily involved in the design process and showed so much foresight when it came to the product. He has great vision and is obsessed about the details like I am, so we had fun geeking out over new ideas.
AM: What are some of the inspirations behind the line?
SB: This is Michael Strahan’s second apparel line with JCPenney and we pulled inspiration from his personal style and his active lifestyle as a father and one of America’s most recognizable athletes and media personalities.
AM: We hear Michael says “everyone should get one of each,” where is a good place to begin to jumpstart their wardrobe with some core essentials?
SB: The true core of the collection comes in our performance jersey styles. Anyone can build on our tees offered in crew neck, V-neck or sleeveless muscle, all with our no-chafe seam details and quick drying technology, so you will be comfortable all day. We also have great layer-ups in fleece and 4-way stretch fabrications that offer great outfitting capabilities.
AM: What are additional styles that will be in future collections?
SB: Together with Michael, we are continuing to evolve the line with new product, and have some very exciting things coming for the MSX collection for Fall 16. Stay tuned.
Photo (P.41) courtesy of Jerry Coli. Photo (P.142/143) courtesy of Frank Jansky/ZUMA Wire. Photo (144/145) courtesy of Lev Radin.
Read more from the July Issue
Uplift is a (women-only) fitness studio and female society that offers signature group fitness classes, specialized personal training, and a unique social community. Their philosophy is pretty simple, but powerful: in everything they do, they are devoted to the power of "US". They create an environment where strong women empower, inspire, and connect with each other, through fitness and in all areas of life.
Leanne Shear is the co-founder of Uplift. Before conceiving the idea for Uplift, Leanne was a professional writer and the author of 'The Perfect Manhattan and Cocktail Therapy: The Perfect Prescription for Life’s Many Crises,' and her writing has also been featured in The Nation, The New York Times, New York, Glamour, Maxim, and Men’s Health, among others. Leanne graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania and received a Master’s degree in Women’s Studies and Cultural Politics from New York University.
Uplift offers five signature classes: Endurance, Power, Strength, Sculpt, and Uplift Express, which is a sampling of the other four formats. They offer personal training tailored specifically toward a range of female demographics. The studio also hosts a number of events including retreats, day trips, career panels, love/dating events and nutrition workshops to name a few.
Uplift was on the top of the studio fitness game for amenities from the very beginning. In its full-scale NYC studio, they offer a range of beauty products, complimentary filtered water, coffee, tea, and post-workout refeuling snacks, and often work with strategic partners to provide juices, nutrition bars and other goodies. The LA studio is providing similar offerings.
The studio will launch a new line of apparel in early July centered in "US"/aka the Uplift Studios moniker ("FocUS on the Good"). They will reintroduce their hugely popular muscle tee with the phrasing "Strong Women Uplift Each Other".
In addition to the NYC location, they also recently opened a second studio on the left coast in the heart of West Hollywood.
UPLIFT STUDIOS FACTS
8254 Melrose Ave LA, CA
24 West 23rd St 2nd Fl NY, NY
They offer personal training tailored specifically toward a range of female demographics.