The last time I went to NYC, I had the amazing opportunity to stay at the Holstee house. For those of you who are not familiar, Holstee is a brand of environmentally conscious clothing and accessories made of recycled materials. While the products look amazing (and they really do!), it is their manifesto that has made them famous; the Holstee manifesto is the perfect embodiment of how a brand's personality and point of view can add value to their business. What began as a simple mission statement about what they wanted to accomplish and how they viewed the world became an internationally-acclaimed approach to life for hundreds of thousands. They began selling their statement in print, and have expanded their business ever since.
Through a mutual friend, my good friend Michelle Ferng and I stayed with the founders of Holstee in their apartment in the Village and had an amazing time. The house was filled with a constant flow of new friends, open-minded individuals that the Holstee guys seemed to have known for years while still keeping an exciting freshness to the relationship. Doors were always open, with people moving through their home with smiles, a bottle of wine, and an interesting point of view to share. We all bopped around and did our thing throughout the weekend, but Sunday morning they hosted a family-style brunch to put all other brunches to shame. Fresh bagels appeared, coffee was made, and each new person who entered the house brought something to contribute. In the end, the result was a group of eight motivated, like-minded twenty-somethings discussing world issues, learning about one another, and passing the day as only Sundays can be passed in that slow, luxurious and meandering appreciation for being young and having endless opportunity.
When we arrived in NYC around midnight on Friday, we followed instructions to make our way to a local deli, where we had to put $1 in the tip jar and utter a secret phrase to get the key to the Holstee house. We did so (much to the amusement of the gentleman at the counter), and then made our way to the house. We were greeted by Holstee founder Dave, who offered us drinks before we went out for the evening. We spent more and more time at the house getting to know the guys, culminating in the aforementioned brunch. Amazing!
The light in the clean, modern apartment was beautiful; all of these shots by Michelle and I were taken only with natural light. After we finished eating, people continued their discussions and she and I slowly milled around, shooting the scene and drinking coffee. Some of the shots are grainy; that is on purpose. We wanted to capture the soft natural light without spoiling it with flashes.
So what does all of this have to do with style? As you can see from the photos, everyone was dressed in their Sunday relaxed attire. The clothing facilitated everyone's comfort, and nothing more. What struck me as truly stylish about our brunching experience at the Holstee house was twofold. Aesthetically, the space was beautiful. Simple furnishings, many handmade, leave a cleanness that makes talking and clearing the mind for stimulating conversation easy. The food we had, as I'm sure you can see, was divine. Bagels were fluffy, spreads diverse in selection and fresh, and vegetables made everyone feel full but not lethargic. The ever-important orange juice and coffee was present, making waking up very easy. But on top of all of that aesthetic style, the personalities of the people present were glowing. Their approaches to life were refreshing and made our time there unforgettable. A beautiful personality and outlook on life is worth more than anything you wear. This was an example of a stylish life.
I would like to thank the Dave and Mike for hosting us, introducing us to their awesome friends, and making us feel truly at home. My experience at the Holstee house reaffirmed my faith in my generation; there are brilliant, passionate, amazing people out there who want nothing more than to love another another and leave the world a better place. Thank you!