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Q&A WITH CHRIS WROBLESKI

07.Aug.2019

A couple of months on from Semi-Permanent and we’re still blown away by the sheer magnitude of the epic Levi’s® installation. Marketing team member, Eliza Harley, sat down with the mastermind behind the project, Chris Wrobleksi, to get the inside scoop on his creative process and more…

 

Chris, tell us a little about yourself…

I’m a multi-media and installation artist, based in Los Angeles.

 

Describe your artistic style…

I would describe my artistic style as organic and fluid.

 

What was the inspiration behind your Levi’s® piece at Semi Permanent?

The Semi Permanent installation was largely inspired by a piece I did for Levi’s® & Fred Segal in Los Angeles, back in 2015. For Semi Permanent, we took the elements and techniques used for that piece but then added movement & fluidity inspired by the ocean.

 

Tell us about the creative process…

This piece was made from about 320 meters of cotton twill, 180 meters of cotton muslin, indigo, and a biodegradable bubble wrap. All of the cotton was hand-dyed using natural indigo to the intended final colours, eliminating the need to wash to lighter saturation.

 

The theme of Semi Permanent was ‘truth” – what does this mean to you?

Truth is such an amazing commodity… we use it to build trust and use trust to build relationships – both with ourselves and others. Finding or searching for your own truth is an invaluable exercise – spending days and hours knitting and dying this piece definitely allocated a great amount of time for meditative thought.

 

What were your highlights from Semi Permanent?

My highlight was putting my piece up – since the piece is so big, I can’t display it in full effect in my studio, so I love seeing all of those hours of work come together. It was also a fun day with the Levi’s® ANZ team.

There were so many amazing speakers, and I feel I took something away from just about all of the ones I saw, but the one that stood out the most to me was James Callahan of Future Deluxe.

 

As you know, sustainability is a huge focus for us here at Levi’s®. What are the things you do in your day-to-day life to play your part?

Living in Los Angeles, similar to Melbourne or Sydney, sustainability and the environment are always a priority, and I try to focus on it in every way I can. Just to list a few that come to mind: recycling (obviously), I compost my food scraps, try to eat as locally and organically as possible – and I don’t really eat red meat, energy efficient lightbulbs, I use all organic skin care and bio-degradable cleaning products in my home that are safe for the environment, always avoid unnecessary plastic, water-efficient shower head, as well as drought tolerant landscaping around the house.

 

Where do you normally look for inspiration?

I don’t feel like I actively look for inspiration, but I most commonly find it in nature and museums.  I love being outdoors, in/on/by the ocean, more recently I’ve really enjoyed the solitude of the California Mojave Desert – Joshua Tree.  I also love admiring great art.

 

You call LA home – anything that’s a must see or do for the creative hearted when visiting the city of angels?

Most people don’t know we have incredible museums.  The Getty Centre and Getty Villa are a couple of my favourites, but LACMA, MOCA, and the Broad are also great.

 

Tell us about your creative space – organised chaos or freakishly neat?

Definitely organised chaos. Both my home and studio explode when I’m working on a big project. Once the project is done, I have to get everything back re-organised right away, or I’ll go crazy.

 

Check out some of the other incredible work Chris has done for Levi’s® globally in the gallery above or over on his website.

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Semi Permanent 2019

06.Jun.2019

The week before last, the Levi’s® ANZ team were lucky enough to have a special visitor from our HQ in San Francisco; our VP Sustainability, Michael Kobori. As a trailblazer of sustainability in the apparel industry globally and the mastermind behind Levi’s® journey, his visit was a long time coming and very much anticipated by the whole team.

Michael was unsurprisingly snapped up to speak at a series of events, but the highlight of the week for me was, without a doubt, Semi Permanent.

For those not familiar with Semi Permanent, it’s a 3-day event that brings together internationally renowned designers, artists & creative superstars from across the globe. This being my first experience, I was blown away with the talent and was super pumped to have the opportunity to attend, albeit just for day 1. Carriageworks was the perfect location for an event like this and from the moment the doors opened, the space was absolutely buzzing. A really nice touch was the fact it was completely plastic free – even the takeaway coffees were served with a fully biodegradable lid. Pretty neat, huh?

This year’s event was centred around the theme of truth; “how to wield it, how to overcome those who seek to blur it, and if it’s even a necessary ingredient on the path to success”.

There was no warming up – straight off the blocks was a line up of Tom Armstrong (VP, New York Times), Michael Leon (Global Creative Director, Sonos) and our very own Michael Kobori. Each spoke to their personal experience with evolving business and the undeniable reality that truth is an essential ingredient for growth. For Tom, it was the truth that their business was under serious threat in a growing digital world, and without evolving and innovating, the New York Times would have become obsolete. Michael spoke about the importance of innovation and talking to Gen Z consumers. He singled out 15 year old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg as a means of demonstrating what emerging consumers care about most. If you haven’t already seen it, Greta’s speech at the UN Climate Change Conference is a must watch – it’ll seriously blow your socks off, and if you’re a softy like me, have you in tears too.

Next up, Q&A time! Michael gave incredible insight into Levi’s® journey and the important roles that both investors and the government play in achieving a world where businesses not only make a neutral impact on the planet, but in fact, make a positive one. Safe to say we’re incredibly lucky to have a guy like this leading our sustainability mission.

Other stand outs during the day were Michael Gough (VP Design, Uber), Beth O’Brien (BBDO, Colenso) and the hilarious Royce Akers (Creative Director, VICE).

Michael Kobori closed out the day with a moving talk for RARE by Google about what it was like to be an Asian man in a white dominant corporate world. It was very evident that the audience, comprised of people from minority groups experiencing similar struggles, were so grateful for the lessons he shared, and he was equally happy to be able to share them in the hope that he could help.

If you follow us on socials, you would have seen us posting about the Levi’s® activation. It was, in our opinion (we might be biased!), the centrepiece of Carriageworks. Over 100 cubic metres of hand dyed and woven indigo goodness, created by the insanely talented LA artist, Chris Wrobleski, hung in all its glory in the foyer and showcased the work that we are doing from a sustainability perspective. Learn more about Levi’s® sustainability journey here and stay tuned for our interview with Chris, which will be up on the blog soon!

With an unbelievable roster of voices, I honestly would have loved to have seen every single one of them across the 3 days, but I was especially sad to miss CJ Hendry, Mark Woollen, Dr Sandra Eades and Michel Gondry – each superstars in their own right.

I’m going to round out this blog post by sharing a nugget of advice that really stuck with me. We live in a world where it’s so easy to compare ourselves to others – we’re overly critical of ourselves and this can be really damning, both on a professional and personal level. The advice? Use your differences to your advantage. Don’t strive to be exactly like the people you look up to – figure out what you’re good at and focus on that – use your individuality to set yourself apart and you will achieve great things.

Kudos to the team at Semi Permanent – it really was a killer event. Bring on next year…

 

Eliza Harley

Marketing, Levi’s® ANZ

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AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS WIN $30K LEVI’S® MUSIC PRIZE

04.Mar.2019

Last month a panel of international judges awarded the latest round of the $30,000 Levi’s Music Prize to Melbourne’s explosive punk rock four-piece, Amyl and the Sniffers.

Now in its third year, the coveted prize provides $25,000 cash plus an additional $5,000 in travel from Stage & Screen to financially assist Australian and New Zealand acts – who have previously showcased at BIGSOUND – achieve their export goals.

Showcasing at BIGSOUND 2017, Amyl and The Sniffers’ hit the ground running during their breakout year with international appearances at The Great Escape (UK) and a North American tour supporting Australian label mates, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. Following multiple sold out shows in the UK and Europe in 2018, the band signed to Rough Trade Records for the rest of the world – the first Australian band to ink an album deal with Rough Trade since The Go-Betweens.

“It’s great to win the Levi’s® Music Prize. The cash is gonna come in really handy this year, it’s gonna get us on the road for SXSW and our upcoming tours and we’re super grateful. It’s sick that we were a part of BIGSOUND a couple years ago and we’ve come a long way since then, some dude who is on BBC radio saw us play there and we ended up on his show in London last year. It’s great that Levi’s® give this opportunity to bands and even sicker that one of the bands is us hehe. We’re excited to get back over to the States and play heaps of gigs before we put out our album in May. Filthy!!!!” – Amyl and the Sniffers

The decision was made by a panel of international music industry buyers including representatives from Domino Publishing, ATC Live and Eat Your Own Ears.

Previous winners include Stella Donnelly, Alex Lahey, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Hatchie & Emerson Snowe. The prize provides funding towards recording, touring equipment, video production and promotion supporting artists that have built significant initial career momentum via their BIGSOUND experience, but who need a financial leg-up to keep moving forward on the international stage.

Australian and New Zealand acts who have performed at BIGSOUND within the last five years (2014-2018) are eligible to apply by heading to www.bigsound.org.au/levis

Applications are now open for Round 3, 2018/19 and will close March 10, 2019.

Showcase applications for BIGSOUND 2019 will open in April 2019 via the BIGSOUND website www.bigsound.org.au

Check out this latest clip of our most recent two winners – Amyl and The Sniffers and Emerson Snowe below:

 

 

 

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BIGSOUND: 2018 Levi’s® Showcase

29.Oct.2018

As a music fan in Australia, I’ve always been aware of how lucky we are to have such a dynamic and rich music scene.

My younger years were spent bouncing from gig to gig, and cycling through a handful of annual festivals and events. I’ll admit – many of these festivals were made even more attractive given their Byron Bay location. Sunshine and music? Not a bad combination, and one that BIGSOUND have also totally nailed – with their own distinct, Brisbane flair.

BIGSOUND is an annual event that gives everyone from musicians, industry members, brands, media and music lovers the opportunity to connect with the future of Australian music (…the Brissy sun in September is just an added bonus).

I first attended BIGSOUND in 2017, my first year working for Levi’s® and the year we launched the Levi’s® Music Prize in partnership with Sounds Australia and QMusic. Needless to say, I’d been looking forward to BIGSOUND ’18 for some time, and it did not disappoint.

This year, the 2018 Levi’s® Showcase was a certain highlight – featuring a diverse mix of up-and-coming talent from around Australia: Sunscreen, Bugs, Kwame and G Flip.

Sunscreen took to the stage first with their chilled out, crisp sound proving the perfect introduction to the night. Their hit ‘Voices’ was a crowd-pleaser, and their fondness for playing live was evident throughout the entire set.

Next up, Bugs were on. Described by Triple J unearthed as ‘trio of boyish Brisbane blokes making infectiously happy noise’, Bugs delivered exactly that – infectiously happy noise to an equally happy crowd (you’ll know what I mean after watching the video above….). Dramatic stage jumps, passionate embraces and double denim – a standard set, right?

Our friend Kwame was next to take the stage. We worked with Kwame and his team on a special event earlier this year, and I was totally blown away. His performance at our 2018 Showcase was another level up again – engaging and dynamic with an endearingly modest and grateful undertone. This guy is exciting, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for him.

The final artist on the bill was the charming and affable G Flip. A Melbourne singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist – G Flip made her BIGSOUND debut this year after attending last year as a fan with her Paul-Kelly-lookalike-Dad in tow (see video here, worth a watch). Seeing G Flip perform her breakout single ‘About You’ live was a pretty perfect end to the evening. Admittedly, I found myself regularly distracted by her capacity to sing while playing the drums with such intensity. How do you keep your voice balanced while banging at a drum kit? Seriously!?

I’ve got to say, It’s pretty special seeing young groups totally owning a stage as all of the artists at BIGSOUND did. Beyond the four artists featured at the 2018 Levi’s® Showcase, there were plenty more highlights over the four day festival. Personal standouts were Kaiit, Adrian Eagle, No Mono and Pink Matter.

BIGSOUND is a warm, dynamic and community-driven event that is getting better and better each year. There really is nothing like it.

Bring on 2019.

Bridget Hanson
Marketing, Levi’s® ANZ

 

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