My Blue Life

A few years ago I was researching my family and discovered that my “Shafer” name was neither Jewish nor Polish but was changed at Ellis Island upon my great grandfather’s entry into the USA.  Doing more research, I found a website that that took American names and derived their Polish origin.  The site suggested that my family name was “Szafir”.  I shared this with an uncle who confirmed that our family name was indeed, Szafir.  I met a Polish women on an jet and asked her the meaning of the word Szafir and she replied “sapphire”.   Not only is blue my favorite color in the world but also the color of my work (indigo), the color of my car,  the color of my favorite shoes, the color of the stone on my watch and stone on my wedding ring but it is also MY NAME.  I think these indigo dyed orchids on display at the Orta booth at PV Denim are pretty awesome too..

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Neiman Marcus

Every once in a while a “big thing” happens in the history of a brand.  One of those big things just happened.  Agave’s women’s collection is now being sold by Neiman Marcus at their Dallas store.  For us this is huge because growing our women’s collection, now designed by my wife Lauren Shafer, is our #1 priority.  Congratulations to the entire team at Agave and our partner suppliers but special congrats and thanks to Lauren, Marc, Kerri, Andy, Alberto & the Caitac crew for always believing and never giving up!

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city of light-blue

For creatives it might be Mac World, for Sci-Fi nerds the Star Trek convention, but for denim geeks like me it’s a trade show dedicated entirely to jeans called Denim by Premiere Vision.  Held twice a year in Paris it is all about jeans.  Yarn, weaving, denim, dying, tailoring, cutting, sewing, washing and trimming… the uniform of the human race.  It’s not a huge show but it is amazing.  Vendors are all denim-heads and come from all over the planet.  Denim is our common language.  Today I worked with people from Spain, Italy, Turkey, Japan, Belgium, Greece, USA, France, England and other countries.  Many of these people have been my friend and/or trading partner for years but we have never met face to face.  Incredible!  The photo here is of a hand operated loom that was weaving denim all day.  A thing of beauty.  Very Zen.   One of the days highlights was being in the trenches with Adriano Goldschmied and having him acknowledge me and my work.  I am not talking about the company that purchased and uses his name but the man himself, the master.

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wild steelhead

I have always been a fisherman.  Catching fish is a Shafer family tradition. I switched from salt water to fly fishing in fresh water when I went to Northern Arizona University for college.   Catching a steel head on a spey rod using a classic streamer is an incredible challenge.  This fish taken on the Deschutes River in Oregon is a wild fish.  It was born in the river, lived there for one year, then moved to the Pacific Ocean.  It came back to the river to reproduce and will then go back out to sea. Catching this wild animal was an honor.  It was released unharmed. Our guide Matt McCrary was amazing.

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dia de los muertos

I have always loved the Mexican holiday “Dia de los Muertos“.  The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.  Last month when I was traveling in Stockholm is visited a super cool shop selling a blend of vintage and new clothing.  This display was being finalized as I walked in.  How cool is this…

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blue barrels

I grew up in Southern California in the 70′s.  I had to surf every day or I just didn’t feel “right”.   My range was Baja California to Point Conception with Jalama being my favorite for “lefts” and Rincon for “rights”.  Surfing is the one of the greatest expressions of the human soul.  Submerged in nature and creating the perfect balance with it.  My favorite color is blue… all shades but especially ocean blue and indigo blue.  Waves and denim share the same color palette.  The fact that I love them both is no coincidence.  They make me very happy.

Both my brothers Jon and Brad also surf.  Brad works with me at Agave and Jon lives in Santa Barbara.  He still surfs (lucky for him) but he is also the amazing photographer who took this picture.  If you click on “blue barrels” you will be taken to his site www.santabarbarasurfer.com where he is the photographer, publisher and editor.  Check it out.

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amon adonai santos de araújo tobin

Music inspires me.  The sound track of life is the music you listen to.  I love all music but none more than electronic.  Amon Tobin has been an inspiration since I discovered his music in Vancouver, BC some 10 years ago.  With his ISAM project he has changed the world.  Check this out by clicking his on his name above.

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paris cafe

Guys that love bikes usually gravitate to one type or another. Some love Harleys and cruisers, some love the vintage British variety, some love crotch rockets, some love the exotic Italians, some love the BMW’s. One style making a HUGE comeback is the Cafe Racer. Often a Triumph or a Honda but just as good as a BMW or a Moto Guzzi it always involves finding an old and beaten classic and putting a personal twist on it. This not only appeals to the guys that like classics and custom builders but also guys that are into REPURPOSING and using assorted old parts to make a ONE OF A KIND, PERSONALIZED CUSTOM MACHINES. I found this one in Paris. To most this will look like a heap. To me it is a wonder. What do you think?

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premiere vision

I am off to Europe to attend the Premiere Vision show in Paris and to shop stores in London, Paris, Stockholm and Amsterdam. This is my first time to PV since the economy collapsed in 2007. This show is the largest textile show in the world with all the finest mills in the world representing. Being a fabric geek means that it will be very inspirational and exciting. Hopefully I will find some wonderful things to include in our Agave Fall/Winter 2012 collection which is our 10 year anniversary. ~ Bon Voyage!

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agavewood

In the early days of Agave I attended the Surf Expo show in Orlando, Florida.  Directly across the hall from me was board shaper Gary Linden(shown above) of Linden Surfboards, Oceanside, Cal.  Gary wash selling standard foam and resin boards but he was also displaying his agave wood boards.  Each one hand made from hand cut dead agave plants that grow naturally on the California coast.  I instantly fell in love with the boards.  I had always been a huge fan of the surf icon Linden.  We became friends and he offered to make boards for Agave with our logo.  So far he has made about a dozen boards which hang in our retail partners accounts.  The boards are GORGEOUS and completely surf worthy.   He developed the concept for BIG WAVE surfing as these boards are stronger than foam.  To me they are the ultimate expression of Agave.  Thank you Gary.

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