HUMANITY by Citizens of Humanity
If we’re honest, fashion and trends don’t really matter all that much when it comes down to real (world) problems - topics of serious concern. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we don’t care, or that we don’t like to dress beautifully. And that’s ok! Fashion is still part of our everyday life, part of culture and also a part of history …in certain ways. However “beautiful things“ are usually not our first priority. The big players in this business have to do more than to produce “attractive and nice things“ if they want to make a statement. They have to do something special to be heard. The American jeans brand CITIZENS OF HUMANITY is one of the companies transcending our desire for aesthetics, to really make a difference. They are already well known for their great denim portfolio, but as already mentioned, to really mean something they swapped lanes in midstream: Creating meaningful content. Content that gives the brand’s vision, inspiration and values life.
This is what these Californians have been doing – ever since 2012, when they launched their first coffee table book called HUMANITY. Ever since the brand came up with this creative published artwork, printed on wonderful paper twice a year. Filled with the stories of real human beings, captured with wonderful photographs - important enough to be dedicated a 123 page print issue.
The very best of of the current magazine, HUMANITY N°8, can now be seen in Berlin in form of a special exhibition taking place at Gallery 206. The show’s content is photography - artworks of Francesco Carrozzini, Rafael Pulido, Scott Lipps and Lee Jaffe featuring GAME CHANGERS like artist and activist Yoko Ono or Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis.
In celebration of this wonderful work and also because I became very curious about what the main goal of this brand’s book is, I took initiative and spoke to one of the human beings behind this project – read the inspiring answers that came from Jared Freedman…
THE BIRD’S TARGET & ANOTHER BRANDS PROFILE
Name | Jared Freedman
Profession | Creative Director of Branding and Marketing, Citizens of Humanity
Nationality | American
Current residence | Santa Monica, CA
Credo | “When you are in a crowd and you stand out from the crowd it's usually because you are being carried on the shoulders of others.” – Desmond Tutu
Favourite art | That’s a huge question; I don’t think I can single out just one artist or even one genre for that matter. At different times it’s been different, I think that’s what so amazing, your perspective is always changing so there’s always something new you’re drawn to. Interests | Brazilian Jiu jitsu, skiing, yoga but above everything spending as much time as possible with my two year old daughter, Golden. Always with | Sad to say, my phone.
The brand’s heritage is connected with the focus on fit, fabric and quality. What’s the focus of the magazine?
Jared: The magazine is really about people, it’s a platform to share insight into one another’s lives, we focus on who we are as people in hopes to just try and make the world a slightly smaller place. I think more often than not, we tend to focus on how different we all are instead of seeing all the similarities that bond us.
What is the main message you want to share by creating such a product?
We produce HUMANITY twice a year but honestly the content is timeless – we hope the stories are as relevant today as they will be in 5, 10, 20 years plus. Citizens of Humanity produces denim but we see ourselves as so much more than a brand. It’s a community and an inclusive one at that. So we hope people see what we value. We are not a brand that rides marketing trends, we are who we are and hope others want to be apart of it.
What is the main topic you’re focusing on in the 8° issue?
We really have been so fortunate to feature such an amazing group of people. We try to leave our readers with valuable insight with each feature; for example, Sesame street was so much about embracing each others differences, the credo of the show is just that - being a good friend, learning from one another, values and principles we learn as kids and hope to keep throughout our life. Anthony Kiedis was about learning from your mistakes and bettering yourself. The fact that Anthony was so honest allows us on the outside to see that no one person is exempt; we all have things we go through and must overcome but knowing you’re not alone in it.
This upcoming issue has a focus on “Game Changers” people who have and are redefining their chosen paths in life. From human rights to culinary arts, music to the athletic field, it’s the individuals that show us that anything is possible.
How do you select your content and style each season?
Once we define the direction, the ideas seem to form organically – we are a small group who works directly on the magazine so it’s an ongoing dialogue in addition to our great group of contributors who are such a big part of what we produce. But ideas come from everywhere – and everyone we feature is invited to contribute, which is great to have people we admire sharing the stories of those who inspire them ...
You are already busy with the last preparations for the next issue - is there anything you can already talk about?
Really excited about the next issue – it’s quite a diverse group of people who have really pushed the limits of possibility. From Ferran Adria to Quincy Jones, LACMA Museum director Michael Govan to David Bailey as well as Nobel prize winner Desmond Tutu. And more ...
In Berlin you’ve just present the current issue combined with an exhibition. Why did you choose this way of sharing your project - the artistic way?
The magazine to us is so much about spreading and sharing culture, last issue we did a concert with Sean Lennon in NYC to celebrate the issue after we featured him - so this is just the obvious progression to really present the photography in this last issue as the art it is. We worked with some amazing photographers, Francesco Carrozzini, Lee Jaffe, Bruce Weber, Massimo Vitali, Rafael Pulido, Scott Lipps, so it made sense to turn it into a show, the work sort of demanded that.
When taking a look at the fashion market, it’s obvious that a brand has to be more than just a „cool label“ to be successful. What’s the benefit of CoH and your personal secret to great success?
Like everything we do across the board, attention to detail is of the upmost importance. It’s something that Jerome (founder of CoH) implemented and has expected from all of us. We are not trying to “market” something, we are just trying to create a brand and a product that means something – and whether you buy our jeans or not, there is something here for you to take away.
Could you please describe the world of CoH in 3 words?
Integrity – Quality – Inspiring.
What does the word „HUMANITY“ mean to you?
Humanity means all of us – every single last one of us.
Books: need or prestige?
BOOKS - seeing something in print just feels lasting to me.
Online: 24/7 or to the point?
More TO THE POINT – but always happily surprised when I get lost onlin.
Trends: inspiring or just a part of business?
Everything repeats, right? – but I do really enjoy seeing how people end up re-interpreting?
Denim: Fashion’s classic or flittering artist?
CLASSIC – is there any other clothing that is as universal? And it only gets better with age.
THE EXHIBITION | FACTS:
Name | HUMANITY N°8
Location | Galerie 206, Departmentstore Quartier 2016 (Friedrichstrasse 71, 19117 Berlin)
Duration | until the 25th of June 2016
Opening hours | Monday to Friday 11am to 8pm // Saturday 10am to 6pm