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The Blog

The daily, and somewhat random, musings of the FOLK editorial team. From the journeys, to the vlogs, to the behind-the-scenes-into-the-office moments of the team that brings FOLK to life. 

Maker Made Valentines Favorites

Ben Ashby

I'll be the first to admit that I do not like Valentine's Day...but I realize many of y'all love it. So this list if for you. All of the items are American made and all but the notebook are handmade. Each of these ladies are the most delightful artisans and I do hope you will support them all year long. 

Life in a Chicago Winter

Ben Ashby

Sometimes you need something bright, colorful, and cheery. Today is one of those days. I went into my archives and found photos I shot at the Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory in Chicago. I shot these in February of 2015. 

Did You Know...

The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in North America

It was founded in 1868.

It is one of the only FREE zoos in the world.

The zoo is home to over 1000 animals in 200 different species.

The zoo started with a pair of swans. A gift from the Central Park Zoo.

The Final Day of January

Ben Ashby

Yesterday's weather was unusually nice for January around here...so my friend Keegan and I went out with some tees by The Direction (shopthedirection.com) to shoot around. Here are a few photos from our day in Lexington. 

All shirts by The Direction (www.shopthedirection.com)

Wolfe Co.

Ben Ashby

Heath sat down with Wolfe Co. after photographing some pieces of theirs in the mountains of Colorado. We were curious to learn about their business, the products, and their reasons for being makers. 

How did you get started creating apparel?

Wolfe Co. began more out of frustration and national pride than a desire to create apparel.  As a proud Canadian, I have been consistently disappointed by the willingness for companies to outsource and produce abroad; there is so much talent and potential in our own country that I think should be valued and put to good use!  Just out of curiosity, I began to research the manufacturing process within Canada and thought to myself, “You know what? You could actually pull this off.” And Wolfe Co. just sort of happened from there.  

Who taught you how to create apparel/design fashion merchandise, or were you self-taught?

I am almost entirely self-taught.  My mother owns a clothing store, which helped me massively in terms of merchandising and the logistics of owning a store.  But the actual designing of apparel is entirely new to me.  Luckily, I have come across lots of experts in the industry who took me under their wing and showed me the ropes.

 

Did you know you would start your own brand, if not what spurred it?

No, not at all.  I have always known that I wanted to start my own business – I’m definitely an entrepreneur – but fashion never really crossed my mind as a valid option.  There are so many designers starting out and so many competitors who have a really good business going, so the prospects of being a successful clothing brand weren’t particularly appealing to me.  That said, Wolfe Co. has found a gap in the market where there is relatively little competition: entirely Canadian-made clothing that supports Canadian workers and artisans.  Unlike large fashion brands, Wolfe Co. refuses to sacrifice quality and it’s ‘proudly Canadian’ roots to make a profit.  There are so many clothing brands out there already, and I never imagined that this would be the direction my journey would take.  But the brand is about far more than just the clothing; Wolfe Co.   We do not mass produce; we rely heavily on small family businesses across Canada who are invested in the idea of a truly Canadian brand.  We do not sell for a profit; we sell Wolfe Co. to spread an idea and to spread the love for our country.  It is an ideal, a lifestyle, and an homage to Canada.


How do you get ideas for new products & photo shoots?

Inspiration comes from anything that is iconically Canadian.  Wolfe Co. strives to cater to both urban and rural aesthetics; our clothing is suitable for a weekend in Algonquin Park or a night out in Toronto.  Keeping that in mind, a look-book might include winter shots skating on the famous Rideau Canal, a night around the campfire, or stills of a college road-trip from coast to coast.

What are your inspirations?

Natural beauty is at the heart of the Wolfe Co. mission.  What I mean by that is that our brand is not looking to cater to high fashion trends.  Wolfe Co. encourages the kind of lifestyle that is raw and pure.  The world around us is full of amazing things to discover and many of the colours in the Wolfe Co. palette have been inspired by the richest of colours found in nature.  
It’s that get-up-and-go mentality, the free spiritedness of taking life’s potential into your own hands, that inspires us.  It’s a way of living that’s not unique to Canada alone, but a way of living that the ruggedness of Canada inherently promotes. 

How do your hobbies influence what you make?

Animal welfare and the environment have consistently appeared throughout my life as areas of importance that I feel obligated to support in whatever way I can.  The world has become a place of convenience and self-promotion…I think it’s so important to stop, look around, and give back to the world that we live in.  It’s not always just about us.

That said, a large part of Wolfe Co. is about giving back.  Our campaign called Northern Strong - #NorthernStrong – is a series of t-shirts, hoodies, and other Wolfe Co. products from which 10% of each purchase is donated to the humane society in my local community.  

In addition, 100% of the profits from Wolfe Co.’s WILD Iron-on Patch is donated to the Woodland Wildlife Sanctuary in Ontario, Canada.  

What has been your biggest challenge?  

One of the biggest challenges for me has been to articulate to consumers what Wolfe Co. is all about.  It’s not simply a piece of clothing that looks pretty, or trendy, or “cool”; Wolfe Co. apparel and goods are sold with the intention of starting a movement for national pride.  Our country is overflowing with talented craftsmen and dedicated workers who should be recognized.  Every sale makes a statement in support of these craftsmen.  We need to support our own people by becoming economically and environmentally conscious producers and consumers.  

Look up at the stars tonight and let yourself be overwhelmed by the vastness of the universe.  You are a small cog within an enormous system, but like all systems, every piece plays a crucial role.  Wolfe Co. encourages you to realize this part you play in the world, socially, economically, physically, and emotionally.

What's been your best advice you've been given?

Best advice I’ve received so far: you need to be open to criticism – you won’t get everything right on the first try.  But, do not alter the vision you have for your brand just to make an extra buck or two.  

A Quick Trip to Iceland

Ben Ashby

Iceland has become one of the hottest tourist spots on earth. Recently I hoped over for a couple days to explore the southern coast. To properly see the southern coast of Iceland you should plan to rent a car, spend a week, and take things incredibly slow. Below are a few of my favorite spots from the trip. We started in Reykjavik and ended our trip in Vik. This is a rather short trek, but still deserves a few days.

 

The oldest pool in Iceland.

The oldest pool in Iceland.

My Favorite Things | January 2017

Ben Ashby

Another month and another year are here. This week will also bring a new president and a new direction for America. I cannot say I am happy about this...actually lets be honest. I am devastated...but in this new era in American history I truly believe we must focus on community, family, and the little things in life. For this month's list of favorite things I would like to focus on products that bring me and my friends joy and happiness. If there is anything this world needs in 2017...it is happiness. 

1) This pullover by Ball and Buck is magic. I have an obsession for anything that is made of waxed canvas....and this may be the tipping point for me needing therapy. I have worn it daily for two months. 2) I miss California, and the clouds and rain and cold of Kentucky really get to me in the winter months. This candle collection by Ethics Supply Co reminds me of everything I love about nature, the warmth, and the summer months....plus the burn time is forever. 3) Okay, so this watch is a luxury....not only is it by Filson and Shinola it is Smokey Bear themed. If you are a nature lover that really wants to treat them self....go for this limited edition watch. 4) I would like to think I am cool...some may argue that I am...but I will argue that I am...but this book gives me hope for at least being able to dress cool. 5) Sooooo I have owned this shirt for two years. It has been worn and washed weekly for two years. This shirt literally still looks brand new. 6) Good pottery is hard to find. This world is filled with way too many potters with really really bad aesthetics. Thro is not one of those....every piece is delicious. 7) Sometimes...when the world is rough and dark...and the politics are depressing the hell out of you...you just need to sit and keep your hands busy and create something really cool. 25 Beautiful Things is here to help. Grab one of her paint sets and paint books. You'll fill the winter with fresh designs and bright colors. 8) LSTN makes the best headphones I've found. Mine have wood insets and come either wireless or wired. 9) So I don't own this sweater...but I love Buck Mason...and I love this sweater...so we all need one. 

Click on the images to hop over to their sites for more info and how to buy. 

Bumbling Around

Christophe Chaisson

AN ESSAY BY CHRISTOPHE CHAISSON

Honeybees are perhaps the most beneficial and enchanting insects that grace the planet with their sweetness. One of the most beautiful, thought provoking characteristics of these tiny, efficient workers is their sense of purpose and belonging. The Hive is a vital aspect of not only their survival but a key component to the very essence of their being. 

In this regard, I am filled with envy matched with pity for the bees. As a twenty year old, who has lived a life not aligning to the manual society gave me, a sense of belonging is an earnest desire of my heart. Sense is actually too weak of a word to use to describe the deep ache inside of me that cries out to belong. I want to live in a state of belonging with a hive of my people toiling day and night towards a united goal. Not a specific goal, but one of love, hope, and acceptance. Unlike the bees, who seamlessly harmonize and know their specific purpose, me and so many others have had to wrestle and search for our purpose, place and identity. 

Yet, that wrestle is where my pity for the bees resides. Never in their lives do they have to question what they are doing or who they are. There is no choice, simply instinct. In the midst of the struggle is where I have discovered unimaginable beauty and community through the questions and pain. Not once was I the only lone vagabond embarked on a journey of discovery, I met others along the way. Not one story or person was identical, still compassion, connection, and empathy abounded binding us together. My identity is unique solely to me; my purpose is not clear-cut ingrained on the forefront of my mind, instead Life has presented me with an option to chose what gives me purpose. I can chose money, status, sports, followers, materialism, anything either positive or negative as the fuel that runs my life. What I have found fills me with purpose is The Hive that I went out and discovered. They also discovered me and chose me. Community that chooses to know me, embrace me, and challenge me are the ones who I call my Hive. At the end of day we are all just bumbling around together trying to make the world a sweeter, more fragrant place. 

A Warmer, Wilder December

Ben Ashby

As the cold air invaded Alabama, and as the college students fled our small Alabama town, Ethan and I found ourselves longing for a warmer, wilder December. Our destination was unquestionable – the cactus-dotted Mojave Desert bristling with Joshua trees. We filled my car to bursting and headed west, chasing the setting sun. 

After a few nights on the road and a couple more wrong turns, we arrived at a star-lit cabin in the desert. Surrounded by red mountains and vast plateaus, we made a home in the San Bernardino Valley, basking in all it had to offer. 

One could spend forever climbing the rocks and exploring the infinite shacks speckling the desert, but Ethan and I found solace in our bungalow. The first morning left us breathless. The waking sun doused the cabin floor with light. It spread like the rising tide until the whole room was painted yellow. Rubbing our eyes, we wandered out the door and felt the fire for ourselves. We couldn’t say a word. I think we were both scared of losing the moment or forgetting how incredible – how almost frightening – it felt to shrink beneath that endless sky.

PHOTOGRAPHY: ETHAN GULLEY | ESSAY: CLAIRE WALTER

 
 
 
 

Creating narratives through photography and design, Ethan Gulley is a natural storyteller. Claire Walter, a writer and fellow creative from The South intertwines her words with Ethan's visuals to tell a joint narrative. 

ethangulley.com