Devin James Gilmartin is the co-founder and creative director of Querencia Studio. An alumnus of the Island School, Gilmartin wore Recover constantly through his semester long experience at the school in the Fall of 2014. Shortly after his Island School experience, he reached out to the Recover team, proposing a collaboration to celebrate the progress made at COP 21 in Paris in November of 2015. The collaboration, entitled "2020 Vision", was followed by Gilmartin collaborating with the artist Laolu for a merchandise shirt for #LAOLUxMILK, a pop up shop and live art installation by Milk Studios. This past summer, Gilmartin co-founded Querencia Studio with Tegan Maxey, daughter of The Island School founder, Chris Maxey. Their first collection of clothing was a collaboration with Recover.
How did you come across Recover Brands?
As an Island School student, you're constantly pushed to consider every aspect of your daily life and what it means for your surroundings. When I was introduced to Recover as a student, being that it was our official school uniform which we would wear almost everywhere, it was hard to ignore the potential for using clothing to clean the planet. While kayaking around Eleuthera, seeing many beaches littered with plastic and garbage, it occurred to me that clothing, a form of universal communication that essentially every one on earth utilizes in one way or another, might have the potential to contribute to solving this problem.
What are your major passions?
I'm consumed and fascinated by fashion and it's relationship to the modern world, but I'm perplexed by its current state. I believe that the industry is not functioning at its full potential. I'm constantly looking for things that could lead to that changing and I'm intrigued by people who look at the industry in the same way. Besides that, I enjoy running, cycling and SCUBA diving. Those are the times where I gain ground creatively. Having the opportunity to think in a space where physical limits are being pushed often correlates to having good ideas.
You're the co-founder of Querencia Studio, tell us a little more about that...
Tegan Maxey and I founded Querencia Studio this summer. The name takes inspiration from two different contexts, but both go back to the same driving theme, that being a "safe haven". At The Island School, students have the opportunity to be isolated from the rest of the community for hours at a time. The word for this was Querencia. This time is set aside for reflection and considering ones current state. The idea is to be removed only to come back even stronger. Time alone is essential when you're constantly being pushed both physically mentally. It became something I was constantly looking forward to, a time I truly cherished. Now, that idea of having space is something I consider every day. Leaving ones comfort zone is essential for growth.
The more "pop culture" context of Querencia comes from Ernest Hemingway's novel Death in the Afternoon, in which he uses the word to describe the place in which a bull goes during a bull fight to regain its poise and strength. There, Hemingway says, the bull is "inestimably more dangerous and almost impossible to kill."
All of this goes back to the current state of fashion and the world. We are in a very vulnerable time. Everything from politics to the environment is hanging in the balance of decisions from a few select people. History shows that fashion and politics are very closely tied and the two show up in the business of one another quite frequently. We are in desperate need of changes in the structure of the world. Querencia Studio is essentially the outlet we will use to address the various issues that can be solved by bringing people together, inspiring collaboration and creating beautiful product that has meaning.
How do you combine your love for design with sustainable practices and what does that look like?
There will come a time when good design and sustainability are no longer identified separately. There is a growing understanding that good design means sustainable design and vice versa. Without one, you can't have the other. That's the mindset when we approach projects at Querencia Studio. We're hoping to inspire that to be a philosophy of any person or company trying to bring new ideas into the world.
Why is sustainability important to you?
I'm concerned for the future of humanity and I'm worried people are underestimating the potential consequences of how we are treating the earth as well as how close these consequences are to affecting us, our generation. I've heard the people who know the most about issues like global warming speak very solemnly about the urgency. The clock is ticking and the question we need to ask ourselves is will we be bystanders and allow for the people in power to dictate the future based on their personal interests and desires or will we stand up to them, start movements that combat the greed and selfish motives of these people and make change happen immediately. At the end of the day, the people who don't believe in global warming don't believe in facts and if they are ignorant to facts, they shouldn't have a say on the future of humanity, plain and simple. It comes down to what you want your kids to see and if you want their kids to see anything at all. It's time to wake up. The next five years will decide whether we turn this around or go past the tipping point.
Which alternative energy projects are you most excited about?
The most exciting alternative energy projects are the small ones happening in households around the world that are making the transition to renewable energy and encouraging their neighbors to do the same. It's a movement that's gaining ground and that's exactly what needs to happen.
Tell us about your collaborations with Recover?
The collaborations with Recover are all rooted in continuing to spread the message of mindfulness and sustainability to different places and different people, globally. I think clothing is naturally something people want to have be something that represents what they believe in and what they stand for. Having it look and feel great brings the concept full circle. It's a win-win situation and the process of making a Recover product is something people appreciate and take time to understand because, ultimately, it's innovation and collaboration that will be the key to pushing sustainable agendas forward and consumers recognize and connect with that. We're looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Recover on new product while also looking into innovative new ways to create sustainably.
You can follow Devin's work @devinjamesgilmartin & @querenicastudio