Design With Benefits
Looking at the simple, delicate prints that wash over Gabrielle Mandel’s first collection as Supra Endura (so named after a beloved make of Kodak printing paper), TV static and garbage aren’t necessarily the first themes that spring to mind. But that’s the idea.
“Most of the time when I hear other designers talk about what inspires them, it’s always something like ‘traveling to Morocco’ or the ‘modernist movement,’” Mandel says. “Not that there is anything wrong with being inspired by that, but with Supra Endura I really wanted to push the envelope and explore some interesting ideas through design. I really like juxtaposing odd concepts.”
Thus her prints that are drawn loosely from things like “a mash-up of a wilted flower and a landfill,” the sales for which benefit thematically related nonprofits like Ace, which provides formerly homeless men and women with job training and experience cleaning up city streets. As for the static-inspired print, a portion of the profits go to tech2educate, which helps get much-needed learning tools into public schools. On the docket for the fall collection? A mesmerizing oil-spill print inspired by pollution in the Gowanus. It’s welcomely different from yet another well-meaning wristband or slogan T-shirt.
“I have always been inspired by how social art blurs boundaries between something that is beautiful and something that is beneficial,” Mandel says. And in between a day job as a designer for the likes of Rebecca Minkoff and J. Crew, Mandel has worked out of her Bed-Stuy apartment to craft Supra Endura’s first official collection, a Spring/Summer 2014 line that will start off with a small run at local stores including Modavanti and Su’juk. With plans well underway for the next season’s line as well as a separate line of necklaces and a place in a local design community that Mandel calls “incredibly nurturing and collaborative,” we have a feeling that list is about to get much, much longer.