Block Shop

Scarf ace

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For more than 350 years artisans in Bagru, India have been using natural dyes to produce incredible block-printed textiles, and now Block Shop – a company founded by US sisters Lily and Hopie Stockman – is bringing that rich history to a new clientele. Working directly with a cooperative of carvers, mixers, printers and seamstresses, Block Shop gives an online platform to a community with a generational tradition of artistry – ensuring their craft isn’t lost in today’s mass-produced, ethically-questionable textile industry. (Illustrating that commitment is the flower at the centre of the Block Shop logo – taken from a block that’s been in the Chhipa family of printers for over 100 years.)

Using natural, non-toxic dyes that incorporate dried onion skins, pomegranate and old horseshoes no less, these block-printed beauties are brought to life entirely by the surest of hands (those patterns align in a way that results from some serious experience and skill). Dried in the sun for three days in the village’s central drying field, the scarves then have a lovely bath of alum and flowers before meeting their new owners all freshly washed and pressed (and even the waste water’s recycled). The very best thing about these silk/cotton swathes of heaven? A portion of money from each sale is invested back into the Bagru community, and in January this year Block Shop sponsored Bagru’s first mobile health clinic. That’s feel-good fashion right there.



Travelling Sun

Shine bright

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Sometimes there’s nothing better than soaking up some rays. Unfortunately, the sun doesn’t grace all of us with her presence as much as we’d like her to. Like in northern parts of Scandinavia where they can go sunless for six months. SIX MONTHS. It was this lack of vitamin D that motivated artists Lisa Pacini and Christine Istad to create SUN – a large LED light sculpture that kind of flips the bird at Mother Nature.

Their replica alternates between beautiful orange, yellow and pink hues. Sigh. And to bring light to others, Pacini and Istad took their SUN on a road trip along the Norwegian coast from Oslo to Tromsø – 6915 km in fact – and the SUN now resides at the Henie-Onstad Art Centre to be enjoyed by many. The art piece does not provide vitamin D or create the same feeling of sunlight beating down on your skin but it does put a smile on your face and warms your heart, so we’d say it comes pretty darn close.

London Bike Kitchen


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The London Bike Kitchen (LBK) is exactly what its name suggests – a space housing everything you need to fix a meal bicycle. Born of frustration that there wasn’t a place for two-wheel lovers to learn how to care for a bike on their own, LBK is a wonderful initiative that combines education with local community. Rather than doing it for you, LBK is all about providing you with bike wizardry tools and showing you how to use ‘em.

With classes like the Introduction to Maintenance and Pedal Powered Lights, the team will teach you everything from building your own bike to prepping for long distances, a la Tour De France. All you need to do is sign up for membership, and on initiation you’ll receive a custom LBK leather jacket and bandana. Jokes. In all seriousness, we’re big fans of the DIY workshop model and hope to see more crop up in major metros real soon.

Mine Kafon

Saving lives

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When Massoud Hassani heard that landmines claim on average 42 lives in Afghanistan every month, he decided to do something about it. Envisioning something that could go ahead of humans and act as a low-cost landmine detonator, he designed and built Mine Kafon – the large, futuristic balls you see above. Made from biodegradable plastic and bamboo, it’s light enough to travel via wind – like tumbleweed – but obviously, with enough weight to detonate.

Mine Kafon is a crazy-low cost solution to clearing landmines, which Hassani is hoping to deploy in Afghanistan, the Western Sahara or Southern Lebanon. After building a successful prototype, Hassani turned to Kickstarter to fund Mine Kafon’s future and further research and development. Thankfully, the call for backing was a roaring success – we can’t wait to see what this clever, life-saving design does for our world.

Brooklyn Grange

On the grapevine

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With its epic rooftop garden initiative, Brooklyn Grange is running rings around most inner cities. Spread over 2.5 acres of what’s technically prime real estate, it’s producing over 50,000 lbs (so that’s like 22,000 kg) of organically-grown vegetables each year. Wait, it gets more impressive. The Grange also operate New York City’s largest apiary, boasting over 30 beehives. Uh-huh honey.

All of this deliciousness can be purchased at the Brooklyn Grange markets, or if you’re just too damn busy become a member and get the season’s best delivered straight to your door. You might’ve already been privy to its produce as they’ve partnered with restaurants and retailers throughout Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. New York, while we may be green with envy – we salute your community spirit and produce pushing.