A'S FAVES - AMERICAN MADE ROCKS

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I am a total water baby. Born and raised in California with my toes in the sand and my heart in the Pacific - I am really damn proud to have designed, built and launched AU & Co. here in the Golden State.

My designs are very much inspired by the ease of the West Coast and classic silhouettes. I love the idea of our pieces being simply styled with a messy braid, a strappy sandal and the perfect red lip. Just add a nice caramel tan, and girl, those Beach Boys will be singing all about you. We’re not interested in trends, we’re all about timeless design. Each style is built for effortless wear for years to come.

With California charm throughout our brand, making our threads here is incredibly important to us. AU & Co. is for badass babes who believe in timeless, sustainable style and one of the best ways we can offer that is by being an American made brand. So, what does that mean for you? A. If you shop with brands like us you’re a total badass, and B. Just like the farm to table concept, it’s important to know where your clothing comes from. Let’s have a quick chat on why shopping that little tag that says “Made in USA” is really rad. 

You’re loving your fellow humans  

Ever notice how clothing made in the USA is more expensive than other brands? Well, that’s because worker’s overseas can make as little as $10.00 per month. Shit, could you imagine working an entire month for a six pack of beer? It is super easy for companies to keep their pricing low when the worker’s making their garments are paid wrongfully low wages. 

According to The Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, a 2015 report shows Chinese workers producing toys for American brands were working 12-13 hour days and sleeping on plywood bunk beds in crowded, dirty and freezing dormitories. In 2006 they found child labor in a factory in Bangladesh making clothing for American brands and we can't forget the collapse of a garment factory in 2013 killing over 1,000 employees. Those are just a few reported examples, but the Consumer Product Safety Commission regulating these issues overseas are underfunded and understaffed.  

When shopping American made you may pay a bit more, but you’re investing in brands that make their garments in regulated factories. The quality of environment is not only higher, but wages, standards and level of work are top notch as well. We have high standards for our coffee, brunch and cocktails (because life's too short to drink bad booze) so why not expect more from the clothing we wear?

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You’re taking care of Momma Earth

Beyond minimal rights for many workers overseas, environmental and safety regulations are not set to protect employees, consumers or our sweet Mother Earth. Not only are dangerous chemicals going into the air and water, but directly onto clothing. According to the New York Times in 2007, China was responsible for about 60% of product recalls - many due to dangerous chemicals on product made in their factories. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want formaldehyde hanging out on my crop top. 

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Even garments just traveling from overseas cause boatloads of pollution - literally. Americans buy 22 billion new pieces of clothing each year and only 2% of it is made in the US. A single garment cargo ship coming from overseas can produce as much cancer and asthma-causing pollutants as 50 million cars in just one year. Holy ship. 

Overall, fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world - right behind oil. That is insane! By backing and investing in American manufacturing, you’re supporting development of renewable energy production, transportation and energy efficiency. According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), “This sector is going to play a key role in reducing greenhouse emissions and reliance on imported energy, but we must create new policies with more research and development in those areas.” 

That means the more we shop with American made brands, the more we invest in creating a cleaner fashion industry, keepin' mother earth happy. 

You’re creating LOTS of jobs

Let me just kick off this section by saying this - according to the EPI, it is estimated that every US manufacturing job supports an additional 1.4 jobs in other parts of the economy. Isn’t that just so badass?

Manufacturing employs workers at all skill and education levels and provides jobs with good wages for workers without college degrees. That, my friend, strengthens the middle class because it offers millions with economic opportunity. 

To put a cherry on top - that opportunity then trickles to high skilled jobs like technology development, engineering, design operations, transportation, testing and lab work according to the EPI. This domino effect is essential to American technology and innovation - you really can help tremendously by just shopping USA made. 

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This is all fabulous news! Little changes can make such a big difference, so ask questions, inspire others and expect more from the brands you shop with. 

No one and nothing is perfect, but we certainly promise to always have heart behind our brand. Our loyalty to you, your closet, mother earth and all her wild things is our foundation. With that, we hope to provide a collection that makes your look, feel and inspire so much good. 

So cheers to all the badass babes who want better! 

Love, Alex
 

The Sounds, the Rooms & the Cause

Photo cred -  @a.e._photo  & Musician -  @julayhanz ⠀

Photo cred - @a.e._photo & Musician - @julayhanz

The Introduction
Over the last ten years there has been a pun intended, deafening explosion in the live music scene from all possible angles. The internet, the festival economy, and the unabashed social media culture surrounding music has forever changed the live music scene. Never has there been more opportunity to step outside your door and see wonderful artists creating wonderful sounds. Be it a 30 person bar, or a 30 thousand capacity stadium, an experience is waiting just around the corner.

 Artists and organizers are constantly looking for ways to enhance the music experience through opportunity, art, creativity, and community and with that in mind the idea of Sofar Sounds was born in London in 2009. While opportunity was never more at a high for live music, founders Rafe Offer and Rocky Start began to get disheartened with certain aspects of the live music scene. Intimacy was getting lost, artists were losing the ability to get close to their fans, and inexplicable hierarchies were being formed. They had the idea to invite some musicians over to a friendly space to collaborate and play with a small audience. This idea caught fire and in the many years and thousands of concerts since, Sofar Sounds grew in a “global, grass-root network of artists, hosts, and guests, all with the goal of helping to bring the magic back to live music.”

Photo cred - Garrett Coakley & Musician -  @kyanmusic

Photo cred - Garrett Coakley & Musician - @kyanmusic

The Logistics
In 2017 Sofar (shorthand for Songs from a Room) has grown from the little flat in London to being live in over 357 cities and growing. This means that wherever you may be reading this it is very likely you can jump on Sofarsounds.com right now and track down your city to see what experiences are coming soon. When you sign up for alerts on your desired city you will see a range of upcoming dates for shows in your area. If the date is free on your calendar then you can reserve your spot and if the date is not free then clear your freaking schedule and reserve your spot. If you are selected then you will be informed the week of with an opportunity to add a +1 and a few days later the time and location will be revealed. It is as simple as that.

The Secret
One of the many things that make Sofar unique is that they hold tight the location of their events and don’t reveal the lineups until you arrive at the event. Aside from the fact that covert, secretive operations and surprise musical goodness is awesome there is more to the decision. Sofar believes that all artists should be treated in a respectful and equal way. Volume and interest in a music experience shouldn’t be based on reputation and hierarchies. All artists should have equal footing for spreading their art. Additionally the uniqueness of the venues calls for a bit of privacy at times. Which brings me to:

Photo cred -  @rootdownintheshadow  & Musician -  @dollysband

Photo cred - @rootdownintheshadow & Musician - @dollysband

The Rooms
Sofar not only aims to give artists an opportunity, but gives members of the community that same opportunity to open up their space. My Sofar experiences have resided in San Diego and in that time I have seen shows pop up in people’s backyards, local recording studios, coffee shops, surf shops, and everywhere in between. The location is one of the defining facets of the organization that caters to memorable live music experiences.

The Sounds
Trying to categorize what music you might stumble upon at a Sofar show is an exercise in futility because categorization is not something they are interested in. You will witness new artists trying to break free, groups at stop 70 on their tour with a show later that night, or Carly Rae Jepsen singing directly to me (I suppose that last one was a fever dream and may I never break it). The shows typically consist of three acts given equal time with careful thought catered towards a diverse group. The small capacity allows each group/artists to interact with the audience and help spread their work in a way not readily available at much bigger shows.

Side note from your dynamic and handsome author: I couldn’t really find a spot to creatively drop this in but did I mention that each show is BYOB? No? Then yes, each show is BYOB.

Photo cred -  @picaresquenola  & Musician -  @tankandthebangas

Photo cred - @picaresquenola & Musician - @tankandthebangas

The Cause
The timing of this write up is especially relevant because, in conjunction with Amnesty International, Sofar is participating in a global concert on September 20th called “Give a Home.” So I don’t mince any words “Give a Home” is:

"Thousands of artists in hundreds of homes… for the millions forced to flee theirs. A global act of welcome. Musicians, refugees and communities are coming together in homes all over the world to recognize the things that unite us: the shared love of music... and the need for a place to call home. Sofar Sounds and Amnesty International welcome you to join us at small, intimate gigs taking place on a huge global scale in support of 20M+ refugees worldwide. Because we all deserve a home, not just the memory of one."

The National, The Naked and Famous, Gregory Porter, Hot Chip, and Jesse Ware will be amongst a thousand other musicians simultaneously playing in people’s homes around the globe for a great cause. For all the information you can visit Give A Home and put your name in for a spot in your hometown.

The Final Words
Whether you are an avid concert goer or don’t know where to begin with live music, Sofar is an organization that you can get behind for unique experiences and sounds. So stop reading this and signup, grab a drink, a friend, and a seat in whatever the secret location offers up and experience some music together.

May all your favorite bands stay together,
Tmax