on a creative morning in los angeles….
Erik Joule, the speaker for the L.A. Chapter of Creative Mornings, grew up in the South of France and came to the United States after winning a scholarship when he was fifteen. While here, he fell in love with people like Thomas Jefferson and places like Vermont. Yet, he said in his talk that it was the beauty of the Redwoods of California that definitively stole his residency and changed his life:
It seems not a wonder that decades later he’s combating the antithesis of pretty – ugly – by creating sustainable systems, at places like Alternative Apparel, the events host and Levi’s and as of recent Strava.
To a full crowd at Alternative Apparel’s space, Erik talked about his work at Levi’s, combating ugly with the Water<Less campaign, challenging the status quo of every single link in the supply chain, saving jeans and water in the process
“To implant change you have to look at the entire system. The definition of a system
Is a series of interconnected things that operate.”
Using the Water<Less campaign it was interesting to hear how he addressed cotton, the manufacturing of denim and the act of washing. Using organic cottons and lessening water usage with more efficient process using Ozone Denim processing machines were two big elements.
Ozone technology eventually led to almost 80 percent of production of Levi’s as waterless.
It was interesting to hear about his work with, Alternative Apparel, since we were hosted in its space. Starting with a system that was less than twenty percent sustainable, he helped evolved the brand to using organic cotton from Peru and improving their entire mechanisms. He mentioned,” I’m fascinated with the origin of things…all things. I don’t even know where coffee comes from…Ethiopia, I’m fascinated.”
For the well known Levi’s Commuter Series, the intention was to spark people to commute more, which was addressing a point in the system. Not a one off, but a series of ideas that create a system said Joule. “People care about if their jeans look great, if they do they’ll buy them.. the only thing that impacts a consumption is milk and eggs. Everything else has no material impact.”
Regarding ‘intelligent clothing’ and the idea of real sustainability he said,
“I think it’s awesome to be skeptical but I’d encourage you not to fall into cynicism it requires very little participation.” The suggestion was welcomed and issued in the light of a humble quote by Plato, “All that I know is that I know nothing.”
The talk was a nice way to remind oneself that ugly doesn’t have to remain ugly, it can be beautified with better, sustainable systems. This was great food for thought upon having drip and cold brew coffee by Stumptown paired with an edible spread created by Ali Jepsen of Little Branch Foods that was the antithesis of Ugly. I asked the newly pregnant mom – who currently drinks tea, earl grey with cream – about her wonderful spread and she shared.
a.j.: “I always do a vegan option with a dairy free milk. I always do granola, this has yogurt, raspberries, pomegranates. But, I change it every time. People know its me when they see my work. I always do a vegan option with a dairy free milk.
c:. What sparks your creativity?
a.j.: Food is my art, its the way I express myself. I try to do healthy food for Creative Mornings, its a good feel for this type of environment. I like food to be beautiful and I think its beautiful.”
For a view of her “beautiful” see some images below.