Two brands that are all about the communal — zero-waste fashion label Livari and WeWork are teaming for a multipurpose party.
Aimed at using the art of fashion as a medium for activism, New York-based Livari is launching its Collaboration Collection Nov. 27 at WeWork’s Times Square location. About 150 guests will get an earful about different causes, catch MPowered’s solar-powered light installation, walk through a museum-style tutorial, sample indie products like Foughnuts Baked Donuts and shop for cause-related limited-edition products.
Livari was started by actress Alysia Reiner of “Orange Is the New Black” and “Equity,” Claudine DeSola, founder of the Caravan Stylist Studio, and Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs, creator of the Tabii Just label and an organizer of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, who now works full-time for the group. In between talking with Hilaria Baldwin for her podcast “Mom Brain” Monday and doing a B-roll for “Her Big Idea,” Reiner talked about how the event came together.
Through her environmentalist friend Erin Schrode, she connected with WeWork’s global head of social media partnerships Jacob Shwirtz, who is looking to do more community building among influencers and celebrities and more environmentalism. “What they’ve asked me to do is to have a desk there and to look at what strategic partnerships I can bring in,” Reiner said. “For example, Livari is one of them. We’re looking at doing events around my film ‘Egg’ that comes out in January. I’m on the advisory board of a theater company called Rattlesticks, so we’re looking at what we can do with them.
“What I find is interesting is how do we, in this super high-tech, social media world, create more ways to be an actual community, and to have space together, make space together, and be a live person together? As an artist and a filmmaker, that’s one of my biggest goals. The magic of art to me is when we go to the actual theater and have this community experience,” Reiner said. “It’s one of the really special things about going to a theater as opposed to watching something in your own home. One of WeWork’s goals is to create not only work spaces, but more community, so that’s where we come in. Livari is all about it. In our collaborations, how can we create both income, but also information about all of these amazing organizations.”
Shwirtz said via e-mail Monday that WeWork actively works with dozens of creators like Reiner. “We’re all about empowering creators to connect with each other and do what they love, so having high-profile partners helps us showcase that message,” he said. “My role at WeWork is to facilitate partnerships with amazing individuals, like Alysia. I regularly work with great authors, podcasters, athletes, digital influencers and others who use WeWork as their home for doing business, hosting events, producing content, etc.”
For the Nov. 27 event, Livari has partnered with Elvis & Kresse, a company known for reusing the remnants of raw materials for a limited-edition clutch. Fifty percent of the proceeds for the item will benefit Barefoot College to sponsor training for female solar engineers and the deployment if renewable energy infrastructure. Livari has also connected with Simply Straws for a set of straw carriers. Ten percent of sales of the sets will help Lonely Whale, an incubator trying to create market-based change for the ocean.
The third item WeWork partygoers will find is Oka-B’s Livari ballet flat, which is partially made from recycled materials and will benefit Still She Rises, the first public defender office in the U.S. dedicated to representing mothers in the criminal justice system. The ballet flats are imprinted with “I Walk in Her Shoes” in the left insole and “Still She Rises” in the right insole. To add another dimension, there will also be a few installations. For example, printed footsteps will be on the floor of the space with accompanying Still She Rises-related text with such facts that more than 85 percent of jailed women have experienced sexual violence.
The interconnectedness of the event is seen in different ways. The three founders are believers in women-led, zero-waste sustainable businesses. Oka-B is a brand that DeSola introduced to at least 30 actresses during this year’s Upfronts through Caravan Stylist Studio. After learning about Lonely Whale through Schrode and connecting with the ocean-minded group, Reiner was tipped off to Simply Straws. On the board of Still She Rises, Reiner looped in a collaboration with Oka-B. Barefoot College, an organization that Elvis & Kresse works with. Reps from the three nonprofits will be on hand to share more details about their respective causes. And two of Reiner’s castmates from “Orange Is the New Black,” Vicci Martinez and Emily Tarver, will be performing. In addition to Foughnuts, the WeWork-sponsored event will feature items from Whispering Angel rosé, Zevia and Goodie Girl Cookies.
The Livari event is planned with an experiential twist. (The founders are in talks with other brands about collaborations in the months ahead.) At the event we are working with a solar light company to talk through the importance of solar energy. Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs’ input included such efforts as finding the fabric rolls that were going to get tossed for the Simply Straw pouches. DeSola, who recently had a son Tatum Michael, said, “We’re already in talks with collaborators for next year. It’s similar to working on a fashion collection, working on months in advance to figure out what we want to do on the production.”