An Evening at the GRAMMAR Pop-up
Discussions Over Rosé and Vegan Plates
By Julia Le
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend GRAMMAR’s launch party and pop-up event in East Village.
It was on the corner of Rivington and Bowery, and I was there rather early. The space was cozy and intimate—especially on that rainy evening. When I arrived, I was warmly greeted by an older woman (who I later learned was the founder’s mother), followed by Althea herself (the wonder woman and designer behind it all), and a single clothing rack of all-white, perfectly-pressed shirts (the collection).
The collection itself was simple, elegant and beautifully designed. The shirts were immediate classics—each with just a touch of the unexpected detail, giving them a bit of personality: The Verb, The Preposition, The Antecedent, etc. Clever and practical. Suffice to say, I fell in love.
Each piece was punctuated with elements of effortless style and crisp tailoring. The shirts are functional, comfortable and easy—versatile in their ability to be worn for business or brunch, or any occasion really. The collection was essentially a minimalist’s dream—or mine at the very least.
A yellow curtain draped across the room as a backdrop to the scene. It was a hand-dyed turmeric cloth made of the same 100% organic cotton as the shirts, and brightened the space with its vibrant hue. In fact, almost every element of the event was pulled together by members of the founder’s family and friends—from the planning and set up, to the clothing rack, curtain and gift bags. It was a collective effort.
While this wasn’t the very first event I’ve attended in NYC that was centered on sustainability, it was one that embodied a lot of the qualities a lot of us find attractive about it: a sense of community.
The attendees included many sustainability-based and eco-conscious entrepreneurs in the industry who came to support the event in one way or another. The room was filled with incredible women who were interested in sharing stories, and finding solutions to different problems through creative means. They recognized that a beautiful design is only the introduction to a story worth listening to. Message, intention and impact told the rest.
We spoke passionately of current issues and developments we were keeping an eye on—in design, politics, and otherwise—and what solutions were being explored to reduce excess waste in consumption. We spoke about what we were working on, and how we even found ourselves here in the first place.
We spoke about the fact that sustainability not only involves newer generations of brands that care about the ethical and socio-environmental consequences of what they produce, but also how these changes are effective in benefitting the interests of both consumers and even more established businesses.
After all, sustainability is not just about the natural environment. It also about the socio-economic impact on communities and individuals. It recognizes global systemic issues in supply chains—the fact that we, as humans (especially here in the US, and increasingly elsewhere) live in a world of personal convenience and disposability. It’s a world of unnecessary excess, and often times, inefficiencies. In the end, sustainability is a theme that requires increasing awareness and fundamentally, a shift in culture.
For many of us interested in sustainability and what it means to be ethically conscious in our buying decisions, there’s always a story behind the clothes we wear, the products we buy, and the things we use in our everyday lives. There’s a story that begins with the most basic questions: How was every part of this constructed? Where did it all come from? Who made my clothes? How did it get here?
After all, everything we buy, use and leave behind have an effect on the world we live in; in many ways, we can see the negative impacts of these contributions quite immediately, but more often than not, these impacts are not so plainly in sight. The consequences are grim, and yet so many people are completely unaware.
At a time when consumers are taking sustainability into their own hands, and pushing for changes within the context of communities and businesses, we can see the change. Things are happening, and it’s an exciting place to be in.
Thanks again, GRAMMAR, for hosting such a wonderful event, and being part of the conversation.
Photographs Courtesy of GRAMMAR and Lorraine Ciccarelli