AEO x Make It Right

Reuse, repair, recycle, upcycle – every day brings a new list of ways to reduce your carbon footprint and conserve resources. Most of us are happy to toss our plastic bottles and cereal boxes into a nearby bin – but Americans still produce three pounds of unrecycled garbage per person every day.

Part of the problem is that we don’t often see the end results of our efforts. Would we be more enthusiastic about recycling if we knew our trash was being used to produce something beautiful, useful or innovative? Maybe.

Make It Right is a non-profit organization building sustainable homes for people in need around the United States. Founded by Brad Pitt, Make It Right began by building homes for Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans. Today Make It Right works across the country – from apartments for disabled veterans in New Jersey to single-family homes for Native American families in Montana.

Brad Pitt And Global Green USA Visit New Orleans

Founder of Make It Right, Brad Pitt

And some of the products people recycle every day around the country end up in Make It Right homes. The countertops in the kitchens and bathrooms are made of 75% recycled content – things like glass bottles and broken porcelain dishes. Carpet is made of recycled carpet – and is recycled into new carpet when its reached the end of its use in a home. In some homes, Make It Right uses drywall made of recycled paper.

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A countertop made of recycled material

Together these products make well-designed, green homes for people in need of a safe place to live. When you choose to toss a bottle or a magazine into the recycling bin, your trash could end up helping build a home for a young person transitioning out of foster care, senior citizen, single mom, firefighter or veteran.

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 Families enjoying quality time together in their new home

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New homes made possible by Make It Right 

For Earth Day 2015, AEO is helping customers turn their old jeans into new homes. Used denim jeans can be turned into safe, sustainable insulation for homes. Better insulation increases energy-efficiency, leading to lower power bills for people in need.

More than 22.3 billion pounds of unwanted clothing, shoes and other textiles end up in U.S. landfills annually – 22.3 billion pounds! Wouldn’t you rather your favorite old jeans end up keeping someone’s home warm at night than ending up in a smelly pile of trash? Those jeans served you well – they deserve better!

It takes about 2.5 pairs of jeans to make a square foot of denim insulation. So grab your old jeans – and a friend – and bring them to your local American Eagle Outfitters store to start their new life. Even better, AEO will give you 20% off a new pair of jeans when you donate your old ones. Win-win, right?

This Earth Day your recycling effort really does make a difference to hundreds of families around the country.

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Meet the Cast: AEO Bunnies

Our latest models to hit American Eagle Outfitters are bouncing with energy and sweet as can be (probably because of all the carrot cake they’re eating). Check out their profiles below and learn more about how you can adopt them from the Western PA Humane Society.

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Meet Praline

Name: Praline
Age: 1 Year
Sex: Spayed Female
Breed: Rinelaunder
Special Note: I am bonded to, and must go home with Marshmallow.
Enjoys: I love eating hay with my best buddy Marshmallow. We hop to the beat of our own drum. I also love being pet by my favorite people and the company of other rabbits, especially Marshmallow.
Prefers not to: Be ignored- I mean, who does!
Family Match: Adults, calm and gentle children over 7 years old, and please no dogs.

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Meet Marshmallow!

Name: Marshmallow
Age: 1 year
Sex: Spayed Female
Breed: Rex
Special Note: I am bonded to, and must go home with Praline.
Enjoys: My BBFL (best bunny for life) is Praline. Everybunny says we’re friendly and sweet. I also like to nibble on hay, being pet and the company of other rabbits, especially Praline.
Prefers not to: Be ignored- I mean, who does!
Family Match: Adults, calm and gentle children over 7 years old, and please no dogs.

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Meet Bun Bun!

Name: Bun Bun (or you can call me Bunny)
Age: 6
Sex: Neutered Male
Breed: Gap Lop Eared
Special Note: Doesn’t like dogs
Enjoys: Eating Timothy hay, chewing on things and long “hops” on the beach.
Prefers not to: I can be a bit shy from time to time and I need some time to warm up to people. With time, TLC and a patient owner I should adjust quite well! I’m still young so I have lots of time to bond with family.
Family Match: Adults and respectful children only please.

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Meet Jake!

Name: Jake
Age: 5 months old
Sex: Male
Breed: Florida White
Special Note: I am available for adoption but may need to be neutered before I can go home.
Enjoys: Eating Timothy hay and chewing on things. I love hip hop music.
Prefers not to: I can be a bit shy from time to time and I need some time to warm up to people. With time, TLC and a patient owner I should adjust quite well! I’m still young so I have lots of time to bond with family.
Family Match: Adults and respectful children only please.

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Meet Bezai!

Name: Bezai (I’ve been called Rabby.)
Age: 1 Year
Sex: Neutered Male
Breed: English Spot
Enjoys: I enjoy being friendly, nibbling on hay, being pet by my favorite people and hoppin’ with other rabbits. I also like to dance… especially to the bunny hop!
Prefers not to: Be ignored- It makes me hoppin’ mad.
Family Match: Adults, and calm and gentile children over 7 years old.

Info for all the bunnies above:
Housing:
Indoors only! There are predators outdoors and its not safe for me. A cage and a bunny proofed area to explore are acceptable.
Bunny Bathroom: Litter box (one for inside the cage and one for the exercise area). AVOID cedar pine shavings- they are hazardous to my health.
Diet: Unlimited fresh water, timothy hay (alfalfa hay until 6 months), dark leafy greens and one quarter cut of pellets per 5lb body weight.
Handling: Rabbits are ground loving creates so not all rabbits tolerate being held.
Healthcare: Rabbits should have an annual checkup and may require teeth trims. A veterinarian specializing in exotic pet care is needed.
Adoption Fee: $50 for either a single rabbit or bonded pair.

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Behind the scenes: the making of the LOVE bracelet

It’s just before 7pm as the three of us watch the larger-than-life burnt orange African sun set on the edge of the Ngong Hills. Each of us covered head to toe in the deep red dirt of the Great Rift Valley, smiling from ear to ear and drinking down an ice cold Tusker beer. It’s been one of those days when you’ve worked so hard that your brain hurts and your body aches yet your face is shining because of the deep satisfaction from the day.

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Just over a decade ago I purchased a one-way ticket to Kenya. I had no idea when I got on that plane just how much the people of Kenya would change my life and what that change would create for many others. I knew very little about Africa then and about the world of international development. I was just a kid from Texas recently graduated from the University of Kansas with a heart on fire wanting to know more about my purpose in life, who I was, and where I fit in the world.

I am so grateful that I did jump on that plane, despite the well intentioned wisdom of so many who kept telling me to go to medical school first and then go help the people in Africa. I am thankful that I was too ignorant or stubborn or whatever it was to get on that plane. As a result I quickly realized it wasn’t about my helping the people of Africa, or about the people of Africa helping me, but about us learning how to love and appreciate one another. During that year of living in Kenya my understanding of the world broke wide open and for the first time I realized how intertwined our lives are to one another, even those we may never meet. My heart was shattered in such a beautiful way that I expanded and began to see how much I had to learn from my new friends and family in Kenya. For the first time I began to know the abundance of LOVE.

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And that brings us to the present moment, drinking a few Tusker beers, watching the sun set after a long day in the Kenyan wilderness overseeing the creation of our new product, the LOVE bracelet. Jeremiah, Jim and I had just spent the day visiting the 10 Maasai community groups totaling more than 400 women who had recently been employed as artisans through our collaboration with American Eagle Outfitters (AEO). It was one of those work days that you couldn’t possibly dream up even if you tried. Three friends meeting with more than 400 Maasai artisans, talking with them about life, about what it means to them to hand-stitch LOVE each day with their friends as they sit under acacia trees near their homes.

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The LOVE bracelet was designed by my friend, Chrissie Lam, during a collaborative trip to Kenya with our fashion brand, LIFE Line. We had been in partnership for a few years and wanted to partner on a product that would continue to empower the people of Kenya through job creation. One of the key elements I have learned over the past decade is that much harm has been done in Africa under the intentions of doing good. The reason for this is that much of the Western worlds efforts to “help” Africa actually perpetuates a culture of dependency where African communities literally wait on Western aid to “help” them rather than give them opportunities to live empowered lives. I have found that the best way to do this is by creating jobs where people are able to take control of their own lives by becoming business men and women providing for their families just like any of us here in the West want for our own families.

I couldn’t be more excited about our latest partnership with American Eagle Outfitters and the launch of the LOVE bracelet. Over the last 3 months during the production of the LOVE bracelet AEO has empowered LIFE Line to create more than 400 jobs for Maasai women in the Great Rift Valley. Not only have we created jobs, but the Maasai women have made these beautiful bracelets through their ancient tradition of beading under acacia trees near their homes. These products were not made in a factory. They were literally hand-stitched under acacia trees by women community groups gathered in love to stitch LOVE for you!

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Together, we have empowered these women to earn a living, care for their children, and provide for their households. It puts a smile on their faces as they wake up, walk with their community of women to live into purpose-filled work of a quality product. Their efforts also connect us here in America to a powerful story of LOVE that we then get to share via the hashtag, #loveisproject.

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As the three of us sat there watching the sun go down we all smiled knowing that such a product handcrafted in the African wilderness would soon be front in center in the 1,000 American Eagle Outfitters stores across America. What an incredible feeling and what an amazing collaboration between The Supply ChangeLIFE Line and American Eagle Outfitters to believe in something greater than ourselves and to live that belief out loud across the world through LOVE. I hope you enjoy the LOVE bracelet and ask that you please share the love via the hashtag #loveisproject. Thanks to everyone for doing your part to open this door, including our personal TRIBE and the original #loveisproject backers, for believing in us and for seeing the opportunities created when we leverage the influence of fashion to empower lives though job creation.

Big LOVE,

Zane

More about LIFE Line: lifelinefashion.org and @lifelinefashion on Instagram

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LIVE YOUR LOVE. Be a part of the Greatest Love Story Ever Told.

I worked in Concept Design for American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) just shy of a decade. It was an incredible job, allowing me to travel the world, searching for the coolest trends. In 2008, AEO supported my efforts during a 3 month sabbatical volunteering in Rwanda. That trip inspired me to follow my passion to merge design and international development. In June of 2012, I left AEO to start The Supply Change, an initiative that connects artisan groups with brands and creates products for collaborations. Everything has come full circle with AEO’s partnership of the Love bracelet I designed for Lifeline Fashion in Kenya. I couldn’t be happier.

Love is proportional to your will. It is an axiom.” The #loveisproject is a true testament to that and the exponential power of love. The dream is now a reality.

In April of 2013, I visited LIFE Line’s Maasai mums in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley to design new products. Finding myself inspired by the vibrant colors and patterns of the tribe, we developed an idea to design a simple and bold message bracelet in their traditional beading.

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Just over a year later, with the LOVE bracelet in hand on a flight to Russia, I struck up a conversation with two perfect strangers, girls from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. On a whim, I asked them about love. Upon landing at the Moscow airport, inspired by their answers, I snapped and uploaded a photo of them wearing the LOVE Bracelet to Instagram. The #loveisproject had begun. Coincidentally, one of the girls, Shahlo (pictured below), wore American Eagle denim.

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Four months and 31 countries later, 330 people representing 75 nationalities have worn the first LOVE bracelet. Using social media to link their love stories together, what started as a personal passion project began to blossom into a global movement of love.

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On my quest across the world searching for the meaning of love, tumultuous world events have unfolded simultaneously, juxtaposing  two passionate energies, love and hate. The profiles of people from the #loveisproject give voice to positivity rather than to the minority extremists dominating headlines.

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To see more of Chrissie’s inspirational images of her journey around the world check out her instagram page @thesupplychange

I’m so thankful for American Eagle Outfitters’ support and partnership in launching the #loveisproject this Valentine’s Day.  AEO is the largest employer of Maasai in Kenya through this collaboration, creating hundred of jobs and in turn supporting thousands in the community through economic empowerment.

I’m grateful for my friend, Zane Wilemon, Founder of LIFE Line, and the LIFE Line team who ran a stellar Indiegogo campaign raising more than $33,000 with bracelets purchased in 30 countries. Love is a shared purpose – achieving things together that you never thought were possible. This is just the beginning. Let’s celebrate Love every single day. Please join us in creating the Greatest Love Story Ever Told. May the stories of love inspire you as they have inspired us. Dream on.​

To learn more about The Supply Change click here.

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The Evolution of Denim in America

Denim is one of those uniquely American garments that has continuously been able to reinvent itself to suit the changing cultural and stylistic landscape. Starting as a simple workman’s garment, jeans have retained basically the same structure since the addition of riveted seams in 1873, a testament to their design. Building off that fundamental construction, jeans have evolved into a variety of styles their creator could have scarcely imagined.

Having started as a hearty dungaree – think overalls – the denim we see on the shelves today is as varied as it is unrecognizable when compared to those first pairs. So let’s take a look at a few styles that have ebbed, flowed and ultimately caught the attention of the fashion set over the decades.

History of Denim

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Western Jeans
Long thought of as a purely ‘Wild West’ fashion style unfit for the rest of the country, blue jeans were ultimately carried across the nation thanks to an unlikely champion: Hollywood.

In the 1930s, the genre of the ‘Western’ film became hugely popular, and with it so did the leading man’s uniform of choice: blue jeans. Made from medium-weight denim and decorated with elaborate stitching, this was a working man’s pant with an extra bit of flourish. Actors like John Wayne typified the kind of hyper-masculinity the style quickly became associated with.

Today, Western-style denim has become as popular as the musical genre, with Western jeans being more suited to the runway than the ranch. Though complex stitching still characterizes the style, the denim is much lighter than actual working ranch denim and typically incorporates a stretch element into the fabric.

Bell-Bottoms
Though bell-bottoms may be synonymous with the hippie/counterculture movements of the 1960s, they actually emerged as a style in the 19th century when the US Navy adopted them as part of its uniform.

It wasn’t until the 1960s, though, that the bell-bottom style was rendered using denim, and it took off as a stylistic symbol for a freewheeling culture. Both men and women donned styles with legs that flared outwards, reaching circumferences of up to 18 inches. Patches, pins and beading all became the trendy way to set your personal pair apart from the rest.

Skinny Jeans
Most of us might think the skinny jean is a modern style, taken to comical extremes by young skaters and punks starting in the early 2000’s. The truth is that skinny jeans go back over half a century, first coming into vogue in the 1950s with ‘Greaser’ culture.

Though not a new thing in fashion by any means, skinny jeans really started to make a resurgence in the early 2000’s when young male members of punk subcultures began buying girls jeans. It’s hard to imagine that at the time a skinny jean marketed to men was nearly impossible to find.

Today the extremes of the skinny jean trend have largely dissipated, with cooler and more relaxed fits prevailing.

What Goes Around Comes Around
Ultimately, trends in denim will always be cyclical, with certain styles appearing like new concepts, only to have been brought back from decades before.

Source URLs
http://skinnyjeansme.wordpress.com/skinny-jeans-history/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell-bottoms
http://selvedgeyard.com/2009/10/17/history-of-denim-through-the-ages-western-wear-goes-hollywood/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17101768
http://nakedandfamousdenim.com/2012/01/31/scratch-n-sniff-raspberry-scented-denim/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JNCO
http://www.evo.com/how-jeans-fit-a-guide.aspx
http://nymag.com/shopping/features/47205/

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No scare don’t care… our top 10 Halloween traditions

Happy Halloween! In our opinion, today is the most fun day of the year (and obviously the scariest). We’ve rounded up 10 of the top Halloween traditions for you… so we hope you’re ready to get spooked.

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Read Christine by Stephen King
There’s a ton of Halloween-ready lore out there, and Stephen King is its master. While Christine might be considered tame by some (or, okay, most), this tale of a car that comes to life and kills everyone in its wake is still pretty terrifying. (And now we have absolutely no desire to ever name our cars again.)

Eat Halloween Themed Treats
Type “Halloween food” into Pinterest and you’ll have your pick of scary goodness to choose from. We had a tough time deciding on our favorite treat, but we ended up going with Boo Sushi… because how on earth are you going to be able to come up with something more creative than sushi rolls topped with body parts?

Download The Zombie Me App
Especially suited to those who love The Walking Dead, but come on… anyone can have a little (too much) fun turning their normal, everyday pictures into scary zombified creatures. It’s pretty much the best reason to take a selfie today.

Watch Scary Horror Movies
Whether you hide under a blanket on the couch or brave the theater, there is absolutely no better time to watch a scary movie than on Halloween night. There are a few new releases to choose from this year, but we’re going with Annabelle… because there’s really nothing more frightening than a doll connected to the supernatural. (And while this movie has been banned in parts of France, we’re not too scared to watch it. We think.)

Watch Campy Horror Movies
If you’re in the mood to laugh more than scream this Halloween, you HAVE to watch Hocus Pocus. The cult classic stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy as three witches who come back from the dead to terrorize a small, sleepy town. While you probably won’t be too scared by this movie, it’s still definitely a must see.

Do The “Thriller” Dance
Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is at the top of every Halloween music playlist, and for good reason. The music video is one of the best of all time, in large part to the infamous dance sequence. Get ready to bust a move.

Carve A Pumpkin
What would Halloween be without pumpkin carving? It’s the best way to show off your artistic skills (or, okay, how all you can do is cut triangles for eyes). Be sure to scoop out the seeds and roast them, too (we recommend doing so with a bit of garlic olive oil and a pinch of sea salt).

Go On A Hayride
Bundle up, drink some cider and grab your friends for a hayride on a crisp fall night. Bonus points if it’s through a haunted graveyard.

Wear A Costume
This one might be obvious, but we’re including it anyway… because Halloween just isn’t Halloween without a costume. Think beyond the typical cat, witch or ghost this year by dressing up like your favorite celebrities.

Visit A Haunted House
This is hands down one of our favorite annual traditions. Getting spooked is, yes, scary… but isn’t that the point? Just be sure you’re ready to scream.

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