Hypothetical scenario: Dude you’re on a first date with picks you up at your door; you walk over to a nearby restaurant and sit down at the table, and then you see his watch. It’s a metallic number, chunky and thick, with visible gears and ostentatious detailing on its face. Now, hold on: Let’s imagine this guy–he’s six feet tall, dressed well enough (button-down, well-fit denim, inoffensive shoes) and has obviously made a good enough impression to win a date with you. But he seems to be quite fond of his timepiece, stretching on occasion to make sure his watch is visible beyond his cuff and holding his hands together in a manner that puts his wrist on display.
“Was that your dad’s watch or something?” you inquire.
“No,” he guffaws, “I bought this. It’s a Hublot.”
“What’s that?” you ask.
“Oh, it’s a luxury brand. Haven’t you heard that Watch the Throne song, “Otis”?”
“No,” you confess.
What he doesn’t know is that you detest showy displays of income, wholesale buy-ins to maleness and co-opting pop star fashion for your own.
That wouldn’t happen with an Analog Watch Co. watch for a number of reasons. While watches made of wood aren’t completely unheard of (you can find them at Kembrel, on sale, while the Chestnut Street pop-up’s still open), Lorenzo Buffa is a Philadelphia designer and founder of AWC who’s launched and already crushed a Kickstarter goal to fund the production of soft, flexible wooden watches that are gender neutral and make a statement that’s not “I have money and taste.” In fact, a wooden watch might suggest the wearer’s a little more on the crunchy, urban hippie, eco-conscious and nature-loving tip.
On Oct. 11, Buffa launched a $10k-goaled Kickstarter push, and, at the time of this writing (10/21 @ noon), he and AWC have 333 backers with over $31,000 pledged and 20 days left in the campaign. Not bad at all. And, to his credit, Buffa’s a queer kid who’s propelled himself him into now-thriving watch designer status and a Kickstarter success story.
“If it wasn’t for navigating the challenges of being a marginalized individual, I don’t think I would be who or where I am today,” he told PW. “Those hard times only give me strength and compulsion to push myself more.” And push himself he did. For months he designed, prototyped, contacted and initiated relationships with manufacturers, studied other campaigns and prepared a marketing effort for his brand. “We spent months working on a strategy for launching on Kickstarter,” he says. “I gauged how well the project would fit in, and fortunately, it’s exceeded expectations.”
Looks like Buffa’s poised to be swimming in wristwear—taking orders, plus creating, marketing and shipping them—and he’s not mad. The U Arts Industrial Design alum’s background is pretty varied, but he sees a lot of potential in watches, much more so than just a way to tell time. “Watches today are much more about expressing one’s identity. They are symbols of status, ideals, class, etc.,” Buffa asserts. When questioned on whether or not he was ready to be the watch man, he seemed resolved: “I’m going to settle in and work on watches for now. This is just the beginning.”
The Carpenter Collection uses soft wood, leather and minimalistic design elements (no numbers, lines or figures – it’s Analog, get it?) to achieve a pretty sophisticated blend of aesthetic elements for 2013. Because he wanted to appeal to a wide audience—and, in all likelihood because he’s a talented queer—these watches are slim, chicly simplified and refined in their design. And there’s still time to get in on the Kickstarter project. There are only 10 left of the 200 spots to opt in at $85, but 97 of 100 spots are left to get yours for $95.
Kickstarter’s obviously no joke. There’s lots of build-up towards a campaign and lots of worry over how it’ll unfold if and when your campaign’s funded; Buffa gets the green light on Nov. 10th. Is he ready for the deluge? “Absolutely,” he says. “This has been over a year in the making. Months have been spent building relationships with all the parties involved [and] in bringing a product to production.” There’s magic in that Kickstarter, too, helping all kinds of creatives achieve things never believed possible.
Buffa put it perfectly: “There is an amazing tool at our disposal: the Internet and computer. You can do anything. Anything. It’s created a new era for makers, designers, and how small businesses grow in ways it never could have 20 years ago.”
Triple C Designs iSolar Backup Battery in Bamboo, $34.95 / Scarlett Alley (241 Race St.)
Rocky Statue Tee (Black/Gold), $22 / Aphillyated.com
Camp Arrow Signs, $48 / Three Potato Four (376 Shurs Ln., Bldg. A)
Old Time Shave Set, $30 / Duross & Langel (117 S. 13th St.)
Robo Tea Infuser, $10 / SWAG Boutique (935 N. Second St.)
1canoe2 Letterpress Presidential Drinking Glasses (set of 4), $48 / Occasionette (1825 E. Passyunk Ave.)
Veteran’s Stadium Tee, $20 / Cheesesteak Tees (506 South St.)
Map Hip Flask, $26.99 / Hello World (257 S. 20th St.)
Circuit Board Photo Frame, $24 / Ten Thousand Villages (1122 Walnut St. & 8331 Germantown Ave.)
Philthadelphia has just gotten a little less filthy and a whole lot greener.
Now officially open along the Avenue of the Arts, the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society’s third annual Pop Up Garden extends from the terraces of UArts’ Dorrance Hamilton Hall to the university-owned lot just across the street (313 S. Broad St.), transforming the space into part lush garden, part mobile beer garden.
That’s right, consider the garden the newest and nicest happy hour spot in town. Sitting on a large custom-built bench under a canopy amid twinkling lights, guests can enjoy local craft beers, sangria and root beer, which will be on tap every evening now through mid-October and served alongside a selection of grab-and-go locally sourced fare. In addition to fresh fruit, salads and veggies with hummus, the menu will feature several all-natural hot sandwiches, including slow-roasted pork belly with mustard slaw and vegan chorizo sloppy Joes.
Meanwhile, the elevated lawn area at the entrance of the lot features a bountiful garden of annuals and perennials in pink and purple tones, intricate “cardinal climber” vines and exotic tropical plants, all accented with a smokehouse structure from the 2013 Flower Show. Stop by during select afternoon hours, and you also might just be able to catch a live performance by UArts undergrad and graduate students or a special art installation.
This is a helpful little breakdown so you can plan your day of hydration and skin protection. Oh, and here’s our little reimagined Roots Picnic that found its way into the paper this week (and online). And big ups to Adam Mazur for the charming illustration he provided. Here’s how my mind works:
With everyone kickin’ back this past weekend, celebrating Memorial Day the best way we know how—by grillin’ and drinkin’ on porches and in Fairmount Park—we couldn’t help wondering what the scene would be like if a few of the slew pegged to turn in sets at the Roots Picnic this weekend were actually the Roots’ guests at a picnic at the Plat. What kind of party would that be? Would it involve cheesesteaks? Answer: Fun, and hopefully not.
- Grimes would bring the metal armor and neon pink hair extensions she used in the outstanding 10 million-viewed video for “Genesis” for shits and giggles. As a Canuck, she’d be a well-behaved guest who was sure to clean up after herself and bring a side dish in some Tupperware. Cole slaw, maybe?
- How To Dress Well’s a toughie, being that Tom Krell’s a pretty low-key and quiet personality. He might bring a small keyboard for R&B jamming’s sake and would obviously be dressed well, perhaps in a modern summer-weight suit.
- Gary Clark Jr. is a Texan, and Texans know how to barbecue. So we’re thinking he’d bring ribs, rub, some sauce and some blues to man the grill. No question he’d bring a guitar to the table to quietly wail out some American sadness.
- Solange would be the belle of the ball, in all likelihood, the tall drink of water a vision before the Schuylkill in a sensible but stylish vintage dress, bearing small bottles of bubbly with straws and a handful of pansies.
- Macklemore and Ryan Lewis would undoubtedly be in thrift store duds, and maybe Mack’d don a spring fur, but one thing’s for sure: His hair game would be tight, fully styled with product and perhaps packing backup in case it got windy.
- Finally, the real party boy would be Trinidad James. He’d bring the kush, we’re pretty sure, or a bong or a blunt or papers or spliff. He’d hopefully sport plenty of gold to shine in the summer sun—ideally, in the form of gold-studded slippers as part of a tricked-out goody bag. And he’d win “Most Likely to Bring Purple Drink.” Hands down.
Sat, June 1. Noon. Sold out. Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, Columbus Blvd. and Spring Garden St. ticketmaster.com
Whether you have a child, you’re expecting one, or you know someone who is, this is one event you’re going to want on your radar because times is tough—and kids are expensive.
This Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m, Baby Goods (& kids) eXchange (BGX) will be bringing its massive stockpile of gently used children’s clothes and gear to the Circle Thrift at the corner of Broad and Washington (1125 S. Broad St.) for a free swap open to all parents and caregivers.
Besides clothing for tots of all sizes, some of the many items up for grabs include baby carriers, tubs, strollers, high chairs, books, toys and perhaps best of all, maternity apparel. Snacks and bags will also be provided.
Although you don’t have to drop off any children’s stuff in order to come and pick up some new ones, if you do happen to have some stashed away, you should definitely consider donating it. Circle of Hope accepts donations every day during normal business hours at both its South Philly and Kensington (2233 Frankford Ave.) thrift store locations.
And if you can’t make it out this Saturday, be sure to follow BGX on Facebook, as they host monthly exchanges at various spots around the Philly area and in South Jersey.
For anyone attending Art Star’s tenth annual craft extravaganza this weekend, it’s a good idea to have some sort of plan of attack mapped out before entering the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing. With 100+ vendors competing for your time and attention, knowing which ones you definitely want to target might make the afternoon a little less overwhelming. So here’s five to consider adding to your must-see list.
Note: I’ve purposely chosen to exclude the local artisans who I’ve now written about numerous times on this here blog. For instance, Joey Five Cents, Penelope Rakov, exit343 designs, Yardsale Press, Phea Jean, BirdQueen Designs, Concrete Polish Jewels, Made with Awesome, Jay McCarroll, etc.
USB Typewriter (#51)
OK, so this is one of the most awesome inventions I’ve seen in a long time. Rather than simply collecting dust as useless piece of décor, now you can finally transform a broken, vintage typewriter into a functional keyboard for your Mac or PC using their easy conversion kit (which only cost about $79!). The USB Typewriter also makes for a perfect keyboard dock for your iPad or tablet.
Whether it’s an accent table, cabinet or candleholder, any one of this Kensington-based company’s handmade rustic, modern furnishings would make for a beautiful addition to your home. They are also all made using reclaimed wood and metals.
Meera Lee Patel (#65)
One of only a few newcomers chosen to take part in this year’s bazaar, the New Jersey artist will be showcasing and selling a wide array of items, from original paintings and illustrated paper goods to hand-sewn tea towels and pillows.
Overall Baby (#37)
What could be more adorable than infants and toddlers in overalls? Infants and toddlers in custom-made overalls with fun textiles and prints. The picture pretty much speaks for itself.
Comfort is paramount when it comes to this New York-based designer’s eccentric line of hand-sewn apparel and accessories. Hopefully, she’ll be bringing along a few of her super cute winter accessories, despite them now being out of season.
Eiffel Tower Tea Set, $50 / Omoi Zakka Shop (1608 Pine St.)
Rebecca Minkoff ‘Craig’ Camera Bag, $195 / South Moon Under (1731 Chestnut St.)
Hidden Secrets Book Box, $24 / Ten Thousand Villages (1122 Walnut St.)
Kembrel Jewelry, Allie Necklace (Pink/White), $24 / Kembrel (1822 Chestnut St.)
Farmhaus “Firewood” Candle Holder, $32 / Art Star (623 N. Second St.)
Floral Blazer by Rehab, $68 / Aoki Boutique (115 S. 22nd St.)
Imported Italian and Scottish Soaps, $12-$24 / Stadler-Kahn (1724 Sansom St.)
Trois Petits Lockets, $89.95 / Scarlett Alley (241 Race St.)
Hand Embroidered ‘Relax’ Pillow, $90 / Mushmina (1540 South St.)
Large Gift Set, $65 / Duross & Langel (117 S. 13th St.)