Green Indie Products of the Month: Upcycled Clothing, Watercolor Art, and Nature Prisms

This is the first in a new series of monthly posts featuring sustainable and independent brands from around the web. If you want to see your favorite indie seller on the Green Lens, get in touch via the contact page or @thegreenlens.

Upcycled Clothing and Luggage by BrightWall Studios







BrightWall owner Erik Taylor of Michigan revives vintage shirts, coats, vests, and suitcases with simple, hand-printed graphics. In his words,

I really enjoy giving new life to old things. It always bums me out when I go into these huge stores and see all this new stuff everywhere, I just always felt we had enough already.

For that thinking, he deserves more green cred than a lot of clothing companies that brand themselves as sustainable.




Prisms and Art Prints by The Wild Unknown

“Inspired by summers spent in the Catskill Mountains and on the shores of Lake Superior,” The Wild Unknown is a line of unique handcrafted pieces by Brooklyn-based artisans Kim Krans, Jonny Ollsin (Kim’s husband), and Gaynelle Oslund (Kim’s mom). Gaynelle’s one-of-a-kind prisms and Kim’s watercolor prints bring nature inside in a fascinating way.


350 Earth Aerial Art Show: A Planetary Vision of a Planetary Challenge

Over the past week, thousands of people in thirteen countries staged the world’s first art show visible from space. Coordinated by, the project included aerial installations from Los Angeles to Egypt to Icleland. Like October’s Global Work Party, this event highlighted our species’ vulnerability to climate change–and our ability to find solutions. DigitalGlobe, a Colorado-based aerial imaging company, photographed the formations with satellites 400 miles above the equator.

Red Polar Bear by Bjargey Ólafsdóttir, Langjökull Glacier, Iceland

The project ended November 27, just in time for the UN climate conference in Cancun.

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, who organized an art piece in Brighton, England, explained on his site,

The plan is to make images visible from the skies to remind those in Cancun that we’re running out of time. We can’t keep putting this off.

Thom Yorke's image of King Canute in Brighton, UK

While it’s exciting to see a climate-activism event on this scale, it is clear that no amount of artistry can take the place of a comprehensive international effort to reduce carbon emissions. However, widespread change does not often begin at the political apex, and it does not often survive without popular support.

From a HuffPost oped signed by Bill McKibben; hip-hop innovator DJ Spooky; urban artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada; and Santa Fe Art Institute director Diane Karp:

You might ask: so what? Don’t we really need new engines and turbines? And the answer is: of course. But we won’t get them, not in numbers sufficient to make a difference, until we’ve really woken up to the danger at hand.

Waking people up is one of the tasks at which artists excel. And in this case, the medium really is the message. By using, for the first time, the whole earth as a canvas, they’ll be reminding all of us the one root truth of the global warming era: we really do live on aplanet.  A planet, just like Mars or Saturn, where the gaseous composition of the atmosphere determines whether life is possible. And just one planet—not the separate nations and classes we think we inhabit, but a round piece of rock with one atmosphere where the carbon we pour skyward mixes invisibly to set the temperature….

We won’t solve this crisis with images. But maybe we can help build the pressure for politicians and businesspeople to act. There’s a movement building the world around, and it can’t appeal to the head alone.

Climate Elephant by Daniel Dancer, New Delhi, India

You can view more photos from the planetary art show on the Facebook and Flickr pages.