Ragnar Axelsson

Ragnar Axelsson, 59, is an Icelandic photographer who is well-known for chronicling the lives of subsistence hunters, fishermen, and farmers in the Arctic, the North Atlantic, Northern Scandinavia, and Siberia. Rax, as he is affectionately called, started photographing (professionally) at the age of 16 and joined Morgunblaðið, the leading Icelandic newspaper, two years later. He still contributes to the paper. His books, Faces of the North and The Last Days of the Arctic, tell a poignant story about climate change and its impact on our planet.

Introduction

Climate change is one of the most hotly debated topics of our time, and often these debates devolve into arguments and lose all meaning. But when you can see the changes in our world, it shakes you deeply. That is how I felt when I first discovered the work of Ragnar “Rax” Axelsson. A longtime Leica photographer, he was featured in a documentary where he talked about Leica M Monochrome. I bought his books and was mesmerized by the photographs and their poignancy. Inspired by Rax, I decided to visit Iceland with my Leica M Monochrome and a single 50-millimeter lens and use them as my primary tools to make landscapes of one of my favorite countries. While in Iceland, over a coffee, I asked Startup Iceland founder Bala Kamallakharan if he knew Rax. He didn’t, but he knew someone who did. And before I knew it, Rax and I were chattering away about photography, life, and climate change. This is a highly edited version of our conversation.

Continue Reading

Mark Cho

Mark Cho is the co-founder and owner of The Armoury, a chain of upscale menswear stores with locations in New York and Hong Kong. Mark is also the owner of Drake’s, a menswear brand that specializes in heritage clothing from the United Kingdom.

Introduction

Mark Cho is the co-founder and owner of The Armoury, a chain of upscale menswear stores with locations in New York and Hong Kong. Mark is also the owner of Drake’s, a menswear brand that specializes in heritage clothing from the United Kingdom. Cho, who flies all around the world trying to find quality menswear brands for his highly-curated stores, is one of my favorite people to talk to about everything from art to food and obviously fashion. As part of my new Pi.co shorts — where I ask voracious readers about their reading and information consumption habits — I decided to ask Mark to weigh in.

Continue Reading

Abe Burmeister

Abe Burmeister used to be an information designer where he made interfaces for real-time stock networks. Now he is the fashion designer & co-founder of Outlier. He was born in Manhattan but has since defected to Brooklyn.

Introduction

Abe Burmeister is the co-founder and co-creator of cult favorite clothing brand, Outlier. To call their products technical clothing is really under-appreciating what the Brooklyn, New York-based company does. Every time I see their products, I see the future of clothing in a world limited by resources due to our changing climate. I see a path to a future wardrobe, where clothes are not just known for their style, but for their ease of use, longevity, and ingenuity. He has been at it for nearly a decade, and now you can see larger brands jumping on the bandwagon.

According to their website, “Outlier was born in the Spring of 2008 when a barista named Jenni Bryant realized two of her regular customers needed to meet. Abe had been experimenting with making a better pair of pants for his bike commute while Tyler Clemens had been doing the same thing with shirts.” The rest is history.

My first encounter with Outlier was through Foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai, who sent me one of Outlier’s backpacks as a birthday gift. He had been wearing their clothes and was a huge fan of the company. I started googling the brand, ended up watching a few videos of Abe tell his story, and often thought that he would be a great interview. To be honest, none of Outlier’s clothes fit me — something I grouse about with Naveen. But that hasn’t stopped me from admiring what they do as a company. The company’s philosophy is what really got me: “We think the traditional fashion system is flawed and that it is possible to create higher quality garments at better prices by rethinking traditional cycles of development, production, and distribution.”

Coincidently, Abe was at Naveen’s wedding and it was a perfect opportunity to twist his arm to do an interview with me. I wanted to know more about him, Outlier, what he thought of the boom in venture-backed clothing startups — and most importantly, the future of technical materials and fashion.

This is an edited version of our conversation. I will soon release an unedited version as a podcast as well, so you can hear him tell the story.

Continue Reading

Louis Rossetto

Louis Rossetto is the co-founder and original editor of Wired. He was also the first investor and the former CEO of TCHO chocolate company. Rossetto and his partner Jane Metcalfe were publishing pioneers, and in the 1990s, were the creative sparks behind the Wired magazine. In 2015, Rossetto and Metcalfe were honored with a Webby Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2017, Rossetto is publishing Change is Good, an original novel about "the creation myth of the Digital Generation."

Introduction

Louis Rossetto, co-founder of Wired magazine, recently announced the publication of his first novel, Change is Good, a collaborative art project with designer and typographer Erik Spiekermann.

Last week, I met Louis and we walked down a memory lane, talking about our publishing lives, disappointments and emotional challenges of breaking up with something you create. We pondered about the state of the media, the emergence of President Trump and why we need to be optimistic about the future.

Here is an edited version of my conversation with someone I admire deeply.

Continue Reading