Photos by. Tamara Becker, Empire Creative Images
My name is Tamara Becker, Owner of Empire Images and Founder of Project Nightlight. Project Nightlight is a Calgary non-profit focused on bringing people together in community and empowering children and families to discuss mental health openly. I recently had the privilege of capturing the fantastic work that Local Laundry is doing with D.I.T.R.O on their recent collaboration. Below is the interview I conducted with Sam from D.I.T.R.O.
Did you have a pre-existing relationship with Local Laundry or was this something new?
I met Connor, co-owner of Local Laundry, a few times during different not-for-profit settings and also around various community events in the city. He came by to support the NVRLND open house in May, and we got to talking. That's where it all started.
So the collaboration was just organic then?
Oh yes! It started like this; Connor was standing in my studio.
Connor: "Hey, do you want to collaborate?"
Me: "Yes! Yes, I do."
It was very organic. As far as I know, they have never collaborated with an artist on any of their designs before, and this will be the first time. I think that they saw the inspiration that exists within NVRLND, the uniqueness of it all, and felt that community.
Was there a lot of back and forth to decide on the artistic approach and subject matter?
This collaboration was such an organic and meant-to-be process. I had this idea floating around in my head of community and doing a piece centred around that. But there was no real opportunity to bring it forward. Not one that felt right anyway. When this opportunity emerged, it just screamed community to me. We share the same ideals; bringing people together, being able to give back while also do something we love. So, I shared it with Connor, and he was on board immediately. It just fit. A match made in design.
What inspired the word Community as the theme?
In a lot of other cities I've spent time in, larger ones, people seem to find their group, and they stick within it. Since moving to Calgary four years ago, I found that the spirit of the small business and artistic scene largely centers around encouraging each other to grow and supporting one another to branch out. There is always someone there, no matter what your core group is or was, to lend a helping hand. Local Laundry shows that spirit with everything they do, and now with this collaboration, we're both branching out and stepping into something new. Together. In the form of a crew neck sweater.
Calgary is still growing and trying to figure out the core of its social fabric. You and I both come from a small town. That’s what we know. I think we’re all looking for a place that we belong and feels like home. nvrlnd is that place. They are my people. And having Local Laundry, one of Calgary’s beloved apparel brands be interested in working with me is a huge milestone. Everyone supports each other like you would in a small town. Working together, for me, is just another step towards building an even stronger community.
What image is in the background of the Community sweatshirt?
Local Laundry sweaters are all made in Canada, and I love that. I love that they are embodying community. The background of the word community is a vintage Calgary map from the 1980s. I love vintage maps I love seeing the roots and being able to represent this city from a time of building, a time of growth. It highlights for me how far we've come and how much is possible.
Having this community sweater walking around Calgary, a tangible symbol of community and collaboration; what does that mean to you?
The one thing I hope is that this collaboration inspires and motivates people of our city to branch out and step outside of their communities.
Bringing our art and entrepreneurial communities together has made me feel we have become a force for good. I strive to change the minds of others and show that our communities are an essential piece of our city's social fabric. We’re creating a tangible culture of community over competition, that surpasses the idea of it just being a hashtag. We take action.