UMASAN Spring Summer 2015

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UMASAN‘s presented their SS15 Collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Berlin, offering up an “Urban Homage To The Freedom of The Nomadic, Bohemian Spirit”.


An abandoned ice-rink with a live performance of Dante Alighieri’s work was the dramatic setting for the 4th successive season of the Award Winning high fashion, vegan brand UMASAN for their SS15 show, where the blending of genders was not so much a political statement as an embracing of a unisex future.
The collection is an ode to the wandering traveller, a nomadic bohemian spirit intrinsic to the UMASAN DNA. However this journey was a spiritual one, a journey of self, almost dream like rather than a physical experience. Possibly a reference to Henry Miller, “one’s destination is never a place, but a way of seeing things.”
The menswear collection is heavily influenced by luxe urban sportswear, with soft tailoring in the label’s staple fabrics of Tencel, SeaCell and cotton which offer free-flowing silhouettes that were styled with removable hood accessories and practical carryalls. A momentary slip, saw UMASAN’s strict palette of black and white confronted with a well-traveled, asymmetrical cut anorak in a rusted brown. The classic white shirt was injected with the quirky UMASAN touch, with off-centered buttons, while hooded sweat-shirts revealed edgy zip detailing at the back and t-shirts had lived-in slashed pockets.
UMASAN, is the conceptual, vegan fashion brainchild of twin sisters, Anja and Sandra Umann, that has been on a roller coater of recognition since it’s launch in 2010. Widely known for their muted and austere, yet versatile and highly sophisticated ready-to-wear pieces they draw inspiration from the self and health style generation, yoga, art and literature. Sandra, a photographer, and Anja, ex designer for Yohji Yamamoto, combine their creative interests for a line that specialises in innovative materials, such as SeaCell and Tencel, together with interesting shapes to offer a fashion forward monochromatic aesthetic. There’s always something admirable when a label takes a forthright defiance and indifference to current fashion trends and this attitude and agenda is embodied in each of the predominantly masculine silhouettes boasting pristine German tailoring. It’s fun, unique and “the best black gear out there.”



Hit Back: Dispatch from the Farm, or Once You Stop You Start to Rot

By Adam Gnade

adam gnade hay bales

Tonight at dusk a big, grey owl swooped down and grabbed one of my favorite chickens–a young Barred Rock I call “Dodo Conway”–and five of Dodo’s sisters raced over and tackled the owl and drummed the hell out of it then chased it off, screeching. Ten minutes later I saw one of those same chickens strutting through the field clutching a snake she’d just killed. This is a rescue farm, a “sanctuary,” but that doesn’t mean the animals play by our rules. They hustle. All day.

The news has been bad from all fronts. There’s no turning away from that, and it’s taken its toll on me. No amount of Mexican beer or social isolation or denial will blot it out. You stay away from the newspapers. You ignore the Internet. Still, planes are shot out of the sky and bombs fall on houses. People are dying everywhere–real people, nice people, people you might’ve been friends with had you been born elsewhere.

It’s getting to me–to say the very least. One of the many burdens of human consciousness and memory is that an idea, a sentence overheard, a bit of news seen on someone’s Facebook feed can latch onto you and burn you up from inside. There are certain things you will never unhear. I remember that from Sandy Hook; some things stick with you forever and sometimes they’re the things you’d rather forget.

Quiet night on the farm with everyone on the road except me. Today two of the local farmers pitched in and hayed our field without even waiting for a thanks. Twenty-five hundred pounds of good brome hay; two and a half round bales, five feet tall by five feet wide, a few months of food for the sheep and goats (and my new place to sit and write). Tonight I’m going to go to town and get some Dos Equis and limes then come back and listen to Castanets’ new song “Out for the West” on repeat and try to write as many letters as I can until I pass out. It’s a way to stop thinking of awful things but it’s also a way to find some easiness of mind and fellowship and joy. These past eight months have been radio silence from me. I’m getting worse and worse at returning correspondence but tonight I’m vowing to keep in touch. People call out to you and you call back to them–if you’re worth a damn. Lately I’ve not been worth much, but I’m trying.

Does it matter? Does anything matter? Sometimes life feels like endless buckets of shit dumped off a cliff onto your head in slow motion while cheesy, porny saxophone music plays. Futile. Empty. Silly. Action without payoff. Ambition without the promise of acknowledgement.

There are no answers but you keep trying. You keep dreaming. You keep writing letters even when you’re a year behind and you keep fighting winged things that want to carry you off into the sky and you keep pushing forward with your dreams held tight. You pay attention but you also give yourself time to breathe.

column art go fight win

My motto right now is an old cheerleader chant Jessie Duke turned into a button for Pioneers Press: Go, fight, win. I wear the button too; right here on my lucky baseball cap.

I know what the inverse of action is and I don’t want anything to do with that. And I know this: Once you stop you start to rot. And by “stop” I don’t mean “relax.” By all means relax every single chance you get. The ability to relax and look inward in the midst of struggle is part of what makes us who we are. But you have to keep believing in your path and in a future where your life will be better than it is now. Belief counts for a lot. So does planning big and shoving yourself into the nasty thick of life. That’s what you need to do: believe, push, pay attention, know when to step back and heal, and don’t mess around with dreamlessness. Go, fight, win.



Founded 1776

Founded 1776 is a mail-order box subscription featuring a curated array of Made-In-America goods.  All products are vegan & animal friendly, and their inaugural box, “Sweet Freedom”, features a patriot’s drink insulator made in North Carolina, a magnetic, one-handed bottle-opener, Runyon Canyon’s organic, hand-screened coyote bandana made in North Carolina – all in recycled packaging materials. A quarterly subscription is $132.

Pharrell x G-Star Raw Team up with Sea Shepherd


Pharrell Williams, music industry giant and serial-collaborator is also owner of Bionic Yarn, and has partnered with G-Star Raw and Sea Shepherd’s Project Vortex to create a fashion line that is made from the recycled plastic waste accumulating in the oceans. An estimated 10 tons of recycled marine debris were used in created the collection. The collection will be available through G-Star this September.Pharrellraw4

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Muay Thai Fighter: Cornell Ward


Cornell Ward is a Muay Thai fighter, a sci-fi devotee and co-host of the Walking Alone Podcast along with MMA fighter Diego Lopez I was recently interviewed on their podcast, which you can listen to here :

I had the opportunity to also interview Cornell, and our conversation is below:

Joshua Katcher: How did you get started fighting?
Cornell Ward: When I was a kid I loved the scenes in the movie Bloodsport with Muay Thai fighter Paulo Tocha. Back then I didn’t even know what Muay Thai was, it was just something about the movements (which were very much Hollywood Muay Thai) that piqued my interest. It wasn’t until years later that I actually found a Muay Thai school and began really learning about the sport.

JK: Did your upbringing inform both your interest in martial arts and veganism?
Not really…well growing up watching Star Trek helped a little, haha. I was never really super into eating meat, and when I realized that Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry as well as a lot of the characters he created were vegetarian, I looked more into it. When I got a little older and got deep into the hardcore scene, which had a strong vegan community, I wanted to learn even more. The more I learned, the more I realized that veganism was the natural progression for me. As far as martial arts, my love of Street Fighter video games and kung fu movies was the main catalyst for stepping into my first Muay Thai gym. So pretty much being a fat kid who watched sci-fi, played video games, and listened to loud music in his room turned me into the lean mean fighting machine that I am today ;)

“…being a fat kid who watched sci-fi, played video games, and listened to loud music in his room turned me into the lean mean fighting machine that I am today.”

JK: What are the typical obstacles you face as both a vegan and a man of color in the world of athletics?
Fortunately not many, save for the occasional “how do you get protein?” comment. Also, I’m very lucky to have a gym like Five Points here in New York which provides a great environment for athletes of all backgrounds. Everyone is there to train, learn, get healthy, get strong, etc. I’ve never been anywhere as free of judgment as that place. Its definitely my safe place.

JK: Why did you decide to start Walking Alone Podcast, and give a cross-section of your listeners.
I wanted to do a podcast for a long time, but just wasn’t sure what it was going to focus on. I met Diego, who also wanted to start a podcast so he said, lets do one together. We did it and it was fun so we just kept doing it. Our listeners are anywhere from martial arts practitioners and fans to scifi/comic nerds. We like to keep discussion open and touch on all kinds of random topics and that usually means there is a little something for everyone.

JK: What music are you listening to, book are you reading, and food are you currently obsessed with?
I listen to a few tracks off of the record Gala by Lush pretty much every day. They will always be my all time favorite. At the moment I’m super stoked on Tweens, Boards of Canada, Bad Brains, Faith No More, Go Deep, Outer Limits Recordings, Troubled Sleep, old Metallica….shoot, I could go on forever. I’m currently reading The Sigularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil and Dune(for the 100th time). Sushi…I haven’t been able to get enough of it for the past few weeks and anything from Blossom Du Jour.

JK: Do you have any upcoming fights or events? If so, what does your training regimen look like?
I don’t have any fights scheduled at the moment. I still train about 5 days a week, though. I love it so much, that its hard to stay away for too long.

JK: Lastly, how can people find out more about you?
You can follow me on twitter and Instagram: @cornellward