Link List #163: A year in review for Friends of Friends

In the midst of revamping the FF platform, welcoming new members onto the team (some of whom are several time zones), and the ever-changing Covid-19 situation in Berlin, your friends at the editorial team were unable to take a group photo in time for the end of the year. In an effort to connect with each other and our community, we compiled a list of resources, books, podcasts, social causes, and FF stories that resonated with us in 2021—and that we’ll be taking with us into the new year.

2021 was about getting inspired and taking care of ourselves.

    • Rich Roll is an ultra-endurance athlete and former entertainment attorney turned full-time wellness & plant-based nutrition advocate. At 40-years-old and after a “staircase epiphany” that left him realizing how fragile life is, he changed his entire diet and lifestyle (Rich Roll). Rich’s podcasts feature conversations with similarly inspiring individuals, including ultrarunning icon Courtney Dauwalter, environmental activist Paul Hawken, and master spiritual teacher Guru Singh.

Many creatives have shared about their daily rituals, practices, or projects that seek to create healthier, more balanced lives—for themselves or for their communities. While inspiration and mindfulness will look differently for all of us, one common theme stands out: If we want to change the world, we need to start with ourselves.

  • Michelin-starred chef Dalad Kambhu’s daily beauty ritual involves preparing herbal teas and infusions for herself every morning, which has helped improve her health.
  • Lissome founder Dörte de Jesus believes that by slowing down and taking care of ourselves, we are doing our part to transform the world at large.
  • The Berlin-based mental health podcast titled Therapy of Dance, In Conversation, continues to remind us about how to accept our many internal contradictions and so-called imperfections.

2021 was also the year where we thought a lot about our relationship to clothes and how we can better manage our environmental footprint through our wardrobe decisions.

    • Disruptive Berlin is an online shop that opens twice a month with a changing selection of hand-picked fashion pieces, which are high-quality and designed by well-known names. Their purpose is to create awareness against the waste produced by fast fashion. Before purchasing something, the website asks the buyer a series of questions to help one figure out if they are making an impulsive purchase or not. The shop is password-protected, and one must sign-up for the mailing list to get access.
    • Fashion Act Now is a recently established campaign group working to dismantle the globalized fashion industry. Offering workshops and online panels, FAC is a great place to familiarize oneself with fashion activism, learn about notions of commoning and de-growth, and explore alternative fashion systems. To hear from the founders and get a better picture of the movement, we also recommend listening to the the latest episode of Clare Press’s podcast ‘Wardrobe Crisis’: Is it Time to DeFashion?

The concern over the global fashion industry’s unsustainable practices and human rights abuses continues to come up as an important topic. We’ve met with many creatives over the last few years who have shared what they are doing to disrupt and re-imagine the industry.

  • Amber Jae Slooten challenges the destructive and unsustainable practices of the fashion industry by exclusively designing clothes for the digital sphere.
  • Swiss brand QWSTION are always challenging themselves to learn more sustainable practices, methods, and materials to integrate into their products.
  • For the past few years, Stuttgart’s The Sooner Now has been working on making conscious fashion a bigger concern for the mainstream public.

Last but not least, 2021 was the year that we continued to fight hard for arts and culture.

    • Ireland is renowned for its great plays of yore and many talented scholars, writers, actors, and dramaturge. There are currently many dedicated, boundary-breaking, and hugely talented young artists around the country. But the theater industry in Ireland has long been shunted to the side in favor of other interests and careers deemed more ‘acceptable’ by the government and the public. This article from the Irish Times takes a deep dive into the difficulties faced by the performing artists during this pandemic.
    • Among the first industries to shut down and the last to reopen throughout the pandemic, nightlife has been deemed ‘inessential’ in cities globally. The Global Nighttime Recovery Plan, written by DJs, urban planners, nighttime advocates, ravers, and academics alike, is a 7-chapter series addressing a different problem related to nighttime recovery. Through this inspiring and community-led effort, VibeLab has helped push the topic of nightlife into the mainstream, appealing to the interests and language of decision-makers, politicians, and economists. Anyone with an interest into subcultures and urban life will enjoy this goldmine of nighttime research.

While the Covid-19 situation for arts and culture has varied in the last two years across cities and industries, the importance of advocacy to protect creative communities, professions, and spaces is omnipresent. Revisit these powerful stories about the impact of creatives imagining different futures for their cities.

  • Punk-provacateur-turned-theater-director Schorsch Kamerun adapts the radical principles of Bauhaus to the stage, imagining a new, multidisciplinary counterculture.
  • Macedonian DJ and artist Aleksandar Grozdanovski, who goes by the DJ name Herzel, reminds us that the influence between music and its city isn’t one directional—but both are in a constant, sometimes harmonious and sometimes conflicting, dialogue.
  • Berlin-based DJ Ellen Allien continues to be a transformative force in the techno subculture capital of the world.

If you are hungry for more, remember to revisit the full features of the creatives, collectives, and brands mentioned above: Dalad Kambhu; Döerte de Jesus; Therapy of Dance, In Conversation; Amber Jae Slooten; QWSTION; The Sooner Now; Schorsch Kamerun; Aleksandar Grozdanovski; and Ellen Allien.

Make sure to also check out previous Link Lists, as well as our team-built Mixtape, featuring contributions from the FF and MoreSleep teams of songs that we couldn’t get enough of in 2021.

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