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The Borobudur, is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist Temple in Indonesia, and is one of the great wonders of the world. We chose this monument to shoot for our first Ad Campaign in 2014. This temple directly reflects the brands ethos and inspiration. As you look upon the breathtaking Javanese Buddhist architecture, one can see the connections between our design inspiration and this ancient architecture. Ancient temples such as this one are gifts to us and point the way to an integrated world culture.

 

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The monument is both a shrine to the Buddha and a place for pilgrimage. The journey for pilgrims begins at the base of the monument and follows a path around the monument and ascends to the top through three levels symbolic of Buddhist cosmology. Everyone ascends through the world of desire, the world of forms and the world of formlessness. the Borobudur stupa is also a replica of the universe. It symbolizes the micro-cosmos, which is divided into three levels, in which man’s world of desire is influenced by negative impulses; the middle level, the world in which man has control of his negative impulses and uses his positive impulses; the highest level, in which the world of man is no longer bounded by physical and worldly ancient desire. To this day, temples such as this one are still used for meditation and for people to experience other realms of awareness.

Imagine living during this ancient time, away from the distractions of contemporary materialism, you’d experience a connectedness to the earth, energy, and the cosmos. I personally feel that these temples were created to send a message to us that illustrate an evolution of consciousness.

We strive to tell a story of a singularity of consciousness and have created this platform to help us deepen that connection.

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The pine cone (fractal form) symbol is one of the most mysterious emblems found in ancient art and architecture. It wasn’t just used by one culture but many around the world. It cant be denied that this symbol has meaningful significance.  It can be found in the ruins of the Indonesians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Christians to name a few. It has been said to symbolize the “pineal gland” or “Third Eye.”  This gland is said to lie at the geometric center of the brain. The French philosopher Descartes famously referred to the pineal gland as the Seat of the Soul. The Third Eye seems strange, even downright alien to us in the West, even today, despite our living in the “information age.”  It has been said to be the gateway to other dimensions of consciousness

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These ancient architects create fractal pineal gland like structures that can perhaps be pointing the way to further self discovery. The pineal gland is the axis point to higher dimensions of consciousness.

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Floral patterns, Hawaiian t-shirts, laced sandals and an abundance of crystal jewelry drape from young people’s necks, their faces are painted bright and henna patterns are drawn on their hands.

City College student Monica Davis, 20, posts an Instagram picture taken of her wearing leggings designed by art student Marty Leyhe, the weekend of April 10, at Live Oak Campground in the mountains of Santa Barbara County. 'Humans are walking pieces of art,' says Davis. 'Why fit in when you can stand out?' Photo Courtesy of Monica Davis.

Moments are free from parental control and responsibilities for a weekend, it’s a land of leisure and drug-induced dancing. This is the world of a music festival.

Spring is festival season, and outfits for many are a crucial part of the experience.

Festival fashion is no new concept, headbands of foraged sunflowers fill girls hair and long, paisley-printed pants hang off their legs.

Clothing companies, such as Free Peoplehave an entire line dedicated to this, called “Festival Muse,” with the statement “follow the music in these perfectly effortless picks.”

Embroidered ponchos, graphic tees and vintage mini dresses fill the desert grounds.

City College student and music festivalgoer, Moorea Kern enjoys dressing up for different festivals for a variety of reasons.

“For EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) orhigher consciousness festivals, it’s more about bright colors and things that sparkle, often time it’s because drugs are involved,” said Kern. “They also make people happy.”

In a recent Cosmopolitan article, they declared the “27 Music Festival Must-Haves,” including magic carpets, straw hats, environmentally-friendly water bottles and neutral-toned sandals.

Lucidity, a transformational festival in the mountains of Santa Barbara, recently took place with the theme of an artistic community in mind.

A statement on the festivals says that they believe in all expressive aspects. “When we become lucid in our dreams, we realize ourselves as infinite potential, we let go of fear, and we are free to create that which we want to see in the world. Bring those visions, those possibilities, and that delicious conscious energy with you to Lucidity and wake up in the dream.”

Martin Leyhe, art student and clothing designer, is a fanatic for music festivals where his love of designing can mingle with his passion for music.

“I love the hippie-fresh kind of style that goes along with a festival,” said Leyhe. “You just don’t get judged, that’s really the best part about it.”

Dream states and art seem to go hand-in-hand with vintage and hippie clothing. Whether going to websites like Free People or making imaginative homemade clothing, young people from all over the world seem to be participating.

While Coachella, EDC and Lucidity are more recently developed concerts, the theme of dressing up has always been around.

On a dairy farm in New York, a wave of conscious-raising music swept young people, the “Three Days of Peace and Music” event captured the lives of young people in 1969.

Old photos show people dressed in American flag printed denim, fur vests and floppy sun hats.

It seems the overall passion for music festivals is more than just for the music but the energy of the festivalgoers can be expressed through their clothing and accessories.

“You can be as free as you want to be,” said Kern.

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Sir New York is the brainchild of designer Auston Björkman, the first openly transgender designer to emerge on the high-end fashion scene. A crossover brand, Björkman’s designs have been seen across the spectrum, from big names in hip hop and rap to prominent drag queens emerging from “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Read the interview below to learn more.

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The Huffington Post: What types of clothing does Sir New York tend to produce?
Auston Björkman: I was recently looking back at some planning I had done in the beginning and saw that I didn’t even know exactly what to call it — I was using the term Technical Tailored Sportswear. Complex Magazine aptly named us as the start of “athletic street goth,” which I love, but I would say both have something true, in capturing some of the essence of what is in the brand.

What is your focus for Sir New York? Do you specifically intend for your designs to be for the queer and trans community?
No, I never wanted Sir New York to be for any specific type of person. If anything my thinking was way too broad. I wanted all genders — everyone wears menswear. I wanted to appeal to the boy next door who likes clothes, to the club kids who are all about turning a look, to the fashion kids who pay attention to design. Whenever you study fashion they really try to make you hone in on “your customer.” But my vision is exactly what happened, with people wearing my designs like A$AP Ferg, Wiz Kalifa and Detox from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” — who has worn it in and out of drag.

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You’re hailed as the first trans male designer to emerge in the high-end fashion scene. What have the reception and your experiences been like?
My experiences in the fashion world have been interesting. It is a very intense and tightly orchestrated industry with billions of dollars dedicated to making you want to look a certain way. It’s very hard for the majority of fashion designers ever to even get to this level and I am far from where I ultimately want to be… I’m still very much an “outsider.” I think most people don’t automatically assume I am trans. Most people only get as far as thinking I’m this odd little gay fashion designer.

The fashion industry has historically been open to all kinds of gender expression and misfits, so I don’t think I stand out in any kind of loud way — partly because that is my nature. I would rather let my work speak for me. I tend to talk about my work and not me, the person. So the positive reception I have gotten from both street wear and high-end fashion has been very much in response to the clothing, the brand and the aesthetic.

I think I have a unique perspective on the gender spectrum. I don’t believe in absolutes, nothing belongs solely to masculine or feminine. I like finding subtle balances.

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Where have your designs appeared?
Usher came into our pop up shop with Liberty Fairs Concept Space in Los Angeles, copped a grip of the Seahole Future Surf gear and the next day it was on “The Voice.” French Montana has also worn it in videos and interviews and I saw my first stranger on the street rocking it, which is strangely a whole different amazing feeling of accomplishment than when someone high-profile is wearing it. Seeing it in print is also really exciting: Vogue Italia, Flaunt, GQ. I don’t know, I guess we’re getting around a little bit.

Do you have any showcases on the horizon?
Sir New York previewed our AW15 collection and hosted a mini pop-up shop last weekend at dapperQ’s “(un)Heeled: A Fashion Show for the Uncoventionally Masculine” at the Brooklyn Museum. “(un)Heeled” celebrated the style of masculine presenting women, gender nonconformists and trans* identified individuals, offering an alternative narrative to the museum’s current “Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe” exhibition.

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Historically the fashion world has been extremely queer friendly — what role do you think the fashion world has played within mainstream acceptance of LGBT identity?
Fashion has accustomed people to gender bending. We are more open to human expression rather than binaries. People are starting to let go of being uncomfortable about other people being different. Gender is often best expressed in presentation, how you wear your clothes and the swag you have when you feel good about your look. Fashion communicates identity with options.

Want to see more from Björkman and Sir New York? Head here to check out the Sir New York website.