September 2 2014

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For Earth Day, Rogan Gregory And Co. Would Like You To Try On A New State Of Mind


Earth Day turns 40 this month, and the eco-friendly guys at Loomstate are throwing the holiday a birthday party. Nature being in relatively short supply at the Good Units space at the Hudson Hotel, Loomstate founders Scott Hahn and Rogan Gregory (pictured) decided to bring the great outdoors inside, with a little help from jewelry designer Pamela Love and a 40-large drum circle rounded up by composer Hisham Bharoocha. “We were thinking about it as sort of like a modern rain dance,” Gregory explains of the drum circle. “A way to bring people together, and get them on the same beat. I think you can create something incredibly positive out of that energy.” A giant pyramid installation installation by Spoke Visuals and a psychedelic light show top off the indoor-hippie vibe, and Bharoocha encourages attendees to bring along their own instruments. (Kazoo, anyone?) Here, Gregory, Hahn, Love, and Bharoocha talk to about nurturing nature, fashion scene-style.

What inspired you to throw an Earth Day event?
Scott Hahn: Well, it’s the 40th anniversary. I’m not sure why that means anything, actually, other than 40 is a nice round number, but there’s good energy around the event this year, and Loomstate is a brand inspired by nature, so…

Rogan Gregory: I feel like most fashion labels, when they do a big event, it’s for fashion week. But our emphasis is fashion and sustainability, and it felt more appropriate to do something now. Something fun.

SH: We’re really trying to get away from the messages everyone’s already heard, away from advocacy per se, and find new ways to speak to people. There’s a lot than can come from, you know, sharing and energy and inspiration. It’s hard to ask people to change; it’s better to inspire them to change.

RG: And inspiration is something fashion is really good at.

What should people expect at the event?
RG: There are a lot of moving pieces, so we’ll see how everything comes together, but basically we’ve got this space with 20-foot ceilings, we’re installing a giant pyramid in the center, and the drum circle will be around the pyramid. And there’s a light show. Obviously, there will be drinks and normal party stuff, too, but we’re really trying to make this an immersive experience for people. If we could have gone and done something outside, like, far away from the city, that would have been great, but it wasn’t practical. So the thinking has been, let’s try to transport people in another way.

Hisham, you worked with the Boredoms on the Boadrum 77 and 88 drumming events. Is this a similar idea?
Hisham Bharoocha: To a degree. Forty drummers, 40 years of Earth Day; that’s obvious. But anyone who attended either of the Boadrum performances probably felt, you know, that sensation of being part of something larger yourself. A kind of instant community. That community feeling was our starting place. As Scott and Rogan put it, this was meant to feel like a modern ritual where people gather to celebrate the planet.

What’s the music like?
HB: The composition is about an hour long, and it’s in five movements. The four seasons—starting with spring, and then returning to spring. I wanted to conclude on a joyous note, the earth throwing off its decay and reviving itself. I’ve incorporated traditions of drumming music from all over the planet—Brazil, Africa, and modern, urban traditions, too. That’s the thing about drums; a rhythm, a beat, it’s primal. Like on a hot summer day, you’re driving around and you want to not think for a while, you pop Hot 97 on and bop your head to the beat of whatever the hit song is. I wanted that aspect included, too—and not just drumming, but electronic and voice elements as well. It didn’t seem relevant just to reference old forms, it had to be a mix. Old, new; here, there.

SH: Hisham’s approach to the music is actually very in keeping with what we try to do at Loomstate, which is to take these ideas about sustainability, and then refresh the vocabulary. Bring in a little cool.

Pamela, how did you get involved?
Pamela Love: That’s a good question. I’ve just been involved, from the start. I helped come up with the concept, I helped design the installation; it’s been a true collaboration.

RG: Pam and I have probably exchanged about a thousand text messages in the past two weeks alone.

PL: I picked up the fabric for the pyramid today, by the way.

RG: Oh, good.

I guess I ask, Pamela, because your brand isn’t one people immediately associate with the eco movement, the way they do Loomstate.
PL: It’s true. I mean, it’s funny, because these issues are very close to my heart, and they have been for a long time, but I have kept that thinking somewhat zoned off from my business. I have to say, one of the really gratifying things about working on this event has been that it’s inspired me to make my business more efficient. That doesn’t sound sexy, but honestly, some efficiencies are creatively invigorating—like finding ways to use the waste metal from our pieces to make new work. Or looking for new materials, like recycled aluminum.

RG: That’s totally the idea of this event. It’s like, I’m cool with people coming and having a few drinks and treating this like another night out. But hopefully, we’ve created something that will draw people in. Not because we’re forcing them to get involved, but because they want to, because it’s exciting. One night—see how it feels to try on a new state of mind.


Photo: Photo: Billy Farrell / Patrick McMullan