How Growing a Backbone Brought Us to Fashion Week

I have been curating my clients based on who is aligned with the Magdalena Concepts mission: exploit nowhere. Compromise nowhere. Always try as hard as you can. Always keep people at the center. Who is left is a whole troupe of incredible business owners. Powerhouse women and industrious men who value what Magdalena Concepts brings to the table.

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I Wore Magdalena Concepts for A Week and This Is What Happened...

After the boredom of four years of preppy boarding school dress code, I decided I wanted a change in wardrobe and lifestyle before leaving for college. As a girl whose style is definitely not considered preppy or posh, I decided the best way to venture out into the world of fashion was to get a fashion-related internship…. So I looked to Magdalena who is an alum of my school.

We decided that she would dress me for a week! One of the major things I wanted to explore about Magdalena Concepts was seeing how versatile it could be and how t-shirts could apply to any occasion.

I would describe my style as street style with an appreciation for vintage. Often you can catch me wearing a pair of distressed jeans and my trusty dirty Sk8-hi vans or a vintage style slip dress that I found at a thrift store.

Day One: James Baldwin Muscle Tee

To start off my week, I wore the James Baldwin “Love Is A Growing Up” white muscle tank paired with some excessively ripped jeans and platform black sandals. The perfect outfit for travelling to and around New York from the New Jersey suburbs.

On my way into the city I received many compliments on my outfit, especially my shoes, which I borrowed from a friend. (Perks of going to boarding school and sharing almost everything.)

I was super excited to wear this shirt because the platforminess of the shoes compliment the blocky letters on the tank. The font on this tank is attention grabbing; I often found people staring at my shirt in attempts to unpack the message.

What was even better than the font, was the breathability and flow of the fabric. I wore it to my internship in Brooklyn, and it survived four BO-filled train trips arriving to hang out with a friend in Soho still feeling fresh.

Day Two: Frida’s Magical Eyebrow

I wore the navy blue Frida’s Magical Eyebrow dress to hang around campus, and because I do not own any gold colored shoes to match the print, I decided a light brown sort of tanish pair of Oxford shoes would give this dress a super cool touch and kinda hipster feel. A teacher commented that she wanted to buy the dress. Pretty sure compliments from the faculty means I'm winning.

Though I stand at a whopping 5’4, t-shirt dresses tend to fit me weird; they're either too short or look like I stole my dad’s XL shirt to sleep in. This one fit me so well that I didn't even have to wear legging or tights under it. (But wearing tights or stockings with a pair of boots and a camel trench coat would be a poppin outfit for the fall.)

The t-shirt dress was super comfy and moveable, the quality was amazing. I lounged all day, and it felt as nice as a pair of sweats, it just also looked like I gave a damn, unlike sweats. Personally, I think the coolest feature of this shirt is the different ways that it can be interpreted: initially, I along with many other people, saw a bird. However, once you realize they’re actually eyebrows—Frida Kahlo’s eyebrows no less—it really amplifies sense of individuality and power you feel when styling it.

Day Three: Solidarity Brooklyn

I wore the Solidarity Brooklyn red and white striped tee with high waisted shorts and very dirty white vans. (I just think dirty vans show personality.)

I own an abnormal amount of striped shirts, but that didn't stop me from adding this one to my collection. The thought was super exciting because I’m absolutely obsessed with stripes and red always looks really good on me! This shirt is really my style.

Brooklyn tshirt solidarity

Stripes, in general, are awesome because it’s such a simple print and won’t look tacky if you decide to mix prints. This is a great everyday shirt, goes perfectly with any shade of denim, and   the word “Brooklyn” in blue provides such a nice pop of color.

Sadly, shortly after this my bestie stole the shirt, and said she'd only give it back when I come visit her at college. T-shirt larceny?

Day Four: Frederick Douglass Fortitude Tee

Another internship day in Brooklyn. I wore the Frederick Douglass Fortitude Tee with black jeans, black Doc Martens, and my essential hoop earrings—not to mention a denim jacket I found in my mom's closet from the early 90’s.

This was the perfect outfit for such a gloomy day, and I was super stoked to wear this shirt.

The scoop neck was such a nice touch, and who doesn’t want Frederick on their shirt?  Freddie D as Magdalena calls him is a boss.

Frederick Douglass tshirt

Not gonna lie, my outfit was pretty dope. Hoop earrings always complete a look. and because I was missing my state track meet which was also my last ever track meet, I decided to hurdle some chairs and get some wavy pictures. Coach would be proud. Except he really wasn't. But what can I say? Internship is more fun.

 

Day Five: Harriet Tubman Courage Tee

I wore the Harriet Tubman Courage Tee with a high waisted black pencil skirt and another pair of dirty sk8-hi Vans. (And my hoop earrings, of course.) Because this shirt is a deep grey, it looks really classy and chic when dressed up. This whole outfit was really comfortable and I managed to look edgy yet presentable.

I decided to wear my black sk8-hi Vans to remain a little casual and incorporate my everyday style. I wore this shirt on Alumni Day at school and I happened to be on the POC (people of color) panel talking about diversity at the school, so what better way to show my black girl magic than to wear Auntie Harriet on my tee?

The teacher hosting the panel complimented the shirt and I seriously could not think of anything more perfect to wear for the occasion. 

In Conclusion

Initially I was a little worried because I’m a teenager, and I didn’t know if Magdalena’s pieces would suit my experimental sense of style. Having someone older pick out clothes for me was a little frightening, but after integrating them with what I already had in my wardrobe, I realized that Magdalena Concepts is pretty dope. I've worn every single piece multiple times after this experiment week, and even had one robbed from me. That's how covet-worthy they are. 

While I’ve never in my life even thought about ethical fashion - I'm someone who tends to run to whatever sale H&M is having - wearing Magdalena Concepts allowed me to feel proud of what I was wearing.

There's nothing better than knowing no one was harmed in the making of your tee.

 

About the author:

Sarah Benedith Intern Anarchy

My name is Sarah Benedith, I also go by Sabe (rhymes with babe). I’m a young AfroLatina princess, engulfed in this big curly crown on my head. I am an incoming college freshman at Temple University in Philadelphia and Magdalena Concepts newest and coolest intern. My plan is to be pre-med, and one day set up a gynecological clinic in an indigenous community. Feel free to follow me on Instagram and Twitter @Bbysabe.

 

Where do birds come from? Angerami enlightens us

 

This season, with our Brazil Collection, we brought to life a long-planned collaboration with Brazilian artist Evandro Angerami. The following is an interview with him. (View the birds being discussed here and here.)

Angerami uses travel as an immersive process in the nature, revealed through art in many different media. Traveling is a passion, which allows connection with his perception of time, space, spiritual awareness and human presence on earth.

The artist has a Master in Fine Arts, from NYSS, New York. His work is held in private collections in The Netherlands, Romania, Denmark, United States, Brazil and Russia. He has exhibited in private galleries, and public spaces, such as UN headquarters, in New York, Pinacoteca Benedito Calixto, Museum of Art of the Sao Paulo Parliament, and University of Mackenzie, in Brazil.

Why birds?

Nature was always present in my work. Birds belong to Nature. I also paint landscapes, fishes and other animal species, but for this collection we chose the Bird.

Where do your birds fly to and from?

I believe in external and internal landscapes. External landscapes are those that we can see, internal landscapes are those that live inside us. My birds fly from inside out, and from the outside in. 

If your birds could sing a message, which song would they sing to spread this word?

Landscapes are experiences of time, and time is infinite.

Is this your first Fashion x Art collaboration?

No. Some brands had already used my murals in São Paulo (Brazil) for their ad campaigns, but this the first time that someone uses my work as a starting point for an entire collection. I'm glad that it happened and I hope that these birds can handle much responsibility, and maybe even loan their wings to the people that wear them.  

Where do you think these two universes (fashion & arts) meet each other?

Art is a human activity, and as long as there are people, art will exist. Art and fashion meet in that which is most precious to them: the human being.

How did you and Magdalena decide to collaborate?

We've been discussing about this collaboration for the last two years, when she invited me to collaborate with Magdalena Concepts. We have mutual respect and admiration for each other's work, and that makes all the difference. These two years of conversations were essential to mature the way we would collaborate. I hope you like the results.

The Ethical Gift Guide: how not to be a shitty gifter this season

After six years of working with store owners and independent designers, we're pretty much experts on the cool things being built and made outside massive chain stores. We decided to pull together 23 things that are funky, fabulous, and downright delightful for gifting. Each of these gifts comes from an independent artist or brand with a brick-and-mortar presence who engages in ethical and sustainable business and manufacturing practices. Give guilt-free knowing you're supporting slow fashion, safe working conditions, small and family-owned businesses. Shop small from your desktop, shop local from your phone. Supporting small business this season was never so easy.

Hold On To Your Wallets (Gifts Under $20)
If you are on a budget, we suggest opting for a clever gift, and putting some effort into packaging (ideas on that here). When it's the thought that counts, make the experience of opening the gift special, and you will win points even if the gift itself costs as much as "One Free Hug". Not feeling clever? We got you! See below.

1. Burger Pin - Friend Mart, $13

A little sass and an inside joke goes a long way.

2. Nope Mug - Grumpy Bert, $18

Beverage lover/morning fighter? This is for them.

3. Ginger Grapefruit Soap - Bar Soap Brooklyn, $12

Show them how to treat theyselves right.

4. Olive Oyl Action Figure - Gift Man Gifts, $10

Nostalgia always makes for excellent gifting. You're never too old for vintage cartoon paraphernalia.

5.  F*k Da System Sticker - I Am Nattee, $5

Just 'cause they're rebellious doesn't mean they don't like the holidays.

6. Honeysuckle Jasmine Candle - Devour Candles, $20

Leave Febreze to minors; grown ups do aroma therapy right.

Budget Shmudget! (Gifts Over $100)
If cost is no object, and you're looking for a luxury gift someone special wouldn't have thought of for themselves, we've got you covered. These items push the creative envelope for the fashionable, forward-thinking people on your list. The person who has everything doesn't have this.

7. Granny Palma Bag - Brother Vellies, $685

If she's too cool for life, she might be cool enough for Brother Vellies.

8. Void Watch - Goose Barnacle, $490

Watches are classic, this one is also fiercely cool.

9. Santa Fe Backpack - Jordyn Jacobs, $200

Epic coolness for your local gypsy.

10. Italian Leather Dog Leash - Leisure Life, $195

This is the missing detail for the dog-obsessed.

11. Graffiti Bikini - Anna NYC, $138

Nothing says "I think you're sexy" like something skimpy.

12. Granite Sweatshirt - Alexis Mera, $108

Badass + cozy is always a winning combo.

13. Uncharted Territory Terrarium - Twig Terrariums, $180

Give them a wonderland they can hold in their hand.

Not-So-Basic Basics
Tried and true items for your dad, your pending nephew, your wife, your brother, your bestie, and everyone in between. We've gathered high quality sure-to-please items that won't break the bank. These gifts have just the right amount of cool and will win you points for thoughtfulness.

14. Hand Knit Alpaca Mittens - Study NY, $69

Not just mittens; The Best mittens.

15. Haute Step Socks - Able Made, $24

They'll never admit it, but what they really want are killer statement socks.

16. Omega Ring - Bhoomki, $45

It's trendy and understated and symbolic; hand, meet perfection.

17. Steel Card Holder - Curated Basics, $40

For every entrepreneur, musician, or artist investing themselves in taking apart the status quo.

18. Lauren Wimmer Post Earrings - Trunk Brooklyn, $85

Punk rock in miniature that they can wear to even a very serious job.

19. PF Flyers - The Brooklyn Circus, $60

Up their sneaker game with some educated authenticity.

20. Crayon Bandolier - Jordandene, $25

The kid whose vegan parents dress her only in neutrals still deserves a cool gift.

21. Growth Chart - My Brooklyn Baby, $46

Parents are by nature sentimental creatures. Satisfy the crave for memorabilia.

22. Chocolate Bar Assortment - The Chocolate Room, $40

At a complete loss? Give chocolate. Really, really good chocolate.

23. Orchard Gift Box - Terhune Orchards, $25

Sometimes, nothing but a gift basket will do. This one is homemade on a family farm in NJ, for the hostest with the mostest or your buttoned up boss.

Happy gifting!

-Magdalena Santos

Owner, Magdalena Concepts

Change is good

Welcome to our new site!

Each business owner has their stories of mistakes they made, things they wish they could have known beforehand, but there is no teacher like experience, and that's why entrepreneurs love what they do: it takes guts, humility, and strength to get back up, analyze mistakes, and try again. Anyone who doesn't love it gets weeded out pretty early on.

I won't go into my own lengthy list of could haves, should haves, would haves here, but after nearly two years of focusing on the brand new human I'm responsible for (VP!) and letting the business take a back seat, my brand has changed. I've changed. And in the best way possible: my goal has always been to bring my business closer to my art (backstory: I'm trained in mixed media fine art, not fashion, technically), and I finally feel like that is happening. So I've been running with those changes, and the result is what you see here: a new line. Some classics and favorites included, but printed on all new tees that flatter both men and women. We've left the unisex behind, and we've included a collaboration with Brazilian 3D textile artist Gabriela Serigatto, again blending fashion and art.

What is this art I keep on about, you ask? Screen printing is a technique that's been used in art for centuries. From long before Andy Warhol's tomato soup and Marilyn, it was used as early as 960 AD in China. Technically I'd call the process a fusion between photography and stenciling, and it's possibly what I love most about my job: getting my hands dirty, ink under my nails, pulling up the screen and seeing the quality of each individual print, working quickly to beat the drying ink, minute decisions and results. It's a craft. So I don't outsource production. I make, and I stand by the finished product. Making something with care makes a difference to me, and wearing something handmade with care makes a difference in our economy. I hope it makes a difference to you, too.

So a few things have changed, evolved even. But our core is the same: we're going to keep standing by our focus on things made with care and fairness throughout the production chain; keep making shirts easy to wear and easy to love. We hope you'll wear them to pieces.