Olderbrother, Dancing Barefoot At First Light
There is something deeply reassuring about the concept of an older brother and the idea of growing up with a close and special friend who is wiser and more experienced, walking ahead of the path with gentle curiosity.
Luckily in life, we can find our older brothers in diverse manifestations, genders and ages, and not just in childhood. What counts is how they open our eyes to the wonders of the world, and how they are invested in our well-being and help us grow into the best versions of ourselves. And this is how Bobby Bonaparte and Max Kingery, a pair of Portland-raised designers, brought to life their own older brother in form of a clothing brand with a distinct personality. Olderbrother was born in September 2014 and their creation is like a young and playful visionary with an old soul searching for meaning whilst touching the earth lightly.
What we love the most about Olderbrother is their humour paired with a humble yet graceful sense of aesthetics and their wabi sabi inspired view of the world. “We interpret wabi sabi as a celebration of imperfection and appreciating ourselves as we are”, is the designers take on the Japanese philosophy and aesthetics that centres on the treasuring of three simple realities in life: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect, which can be seen as the material representation of Zen Buddhism.
The wisdom of natural simplicity and flawed beauty shines through all of Olderbrother’s designs and their ways of production. Inspired by the slow food movement, their aim is to create healthy “farm-to-body” garments using planet-friendly materials such as Tencel, hemp, Himalayan yak wool, “Cleaner Cotton” from California’s Sustainable Cotton Project, and Washi, a Japanese fabric made from rice paper. Every aspect of the production is considered: The buttons are made from real shells or nuts, the tags are biodegradable, and every garment is cut, sewn, and naturally dyed in their Los Angeles workshop with nontoxic plant-based colorants like indigo, turmeric, myrobalan, and madder root. The designers’ future dream is “to have our own biodynamic farm where we can grow all of our dyes.”
The result of so much consideration is a collection of clothes that are perfect in their simplicity, with a wink to work wear and an attention to distinct and playful details such as the collar of the Chore Coats and the slightly shorter length of tops and trousers. Olderbrother’s progressive attire bears witness to a new world. It brings true beauty to all genders and is so in harmony with nature it can be composted in your garden. What a great mentor to have walk ahead of the path.