Last month the #loveisproject took over London with Chrissie for The Supply Change and Zane for UBUNTU Made. You've seen the photos, now hear the story in their own words. Check back later this week for Zane's take!
“Life, what is it but a dream? One of the deep secrets of life is that all that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.” – Lewis Carroll
UBUNTU Made and The Supply Change are launching the #loveisproject London takeover with American Eagle. This idea sprouted while I was in NYC stopping by the AEO offices to speak with Roger Markfield, the vice-chairman, and Michael Leedy, EVP of Marketing, about the campaign and the LOVE bracelets. I mentioned our planned Paris: City of LOVE takeover with local photographers, videographers, illustrators and students to coincide with Paris Fashion Week. Upon hearing that, they suggested we go to London, following Paris, to execute the same concept in partnership with their three new AEO stores.
With a week of planning, reaching out to friends, and friends-of-friends in both locations, we flew off to Paris & London to spread the Greatest LOVE Story Ever Told. Massive props to the AE London team for rallying and turning this campaign around faster than you can say "God Save the Queen!"
From profiling executives at Whole Foods to Virgin Corporate, and connecting with actor/singer, Emmanuel Jal, performing in Camden to sharing tea with Lord Michael Hastings at the House of Lords, we had an action packed week covering London and its inhabitants. Our excitement while sharing the #loveisproject with locals and influencers, sowing the seeds of the movement.
Scanning the list of iconic London LOVE locations the AEO PR team compiled for us, we geared up for the Amazing “LOVE” Race through town. After interviewing our London cabbie en route to Albert Bridge, we photographed singles, couples, families, friends, tourists and locals at the Blue Door in Notting Hill, Abbey Road Studios, Shakespeare’s Globe and beyond. finding my way to the Banksy mural at the Princess of Wales pub in Primrose Hill. Then it is off to Shoreditch to photograph LOVE-inspired graffiti along with the residents of the East End on Brick Lane. From the South African girls at Royal College of Music candidly agreeing music gives them the freedom to say what they can’t with words to the man fighting youth imprisonment and crime rates with his exceptional relationship-building skills in Maida Val, it was inspiring and touching to hear all the answers.
Our hands-down highlight of our trip is the moment Zane and I make our way through the Straford Mall… AEO’s front store visuals greet us with, “Hey London! What does LOVE mean to you?” It was then that we realized this was real and happening thanks to the hard work of the amazing Austin and Kenya teams, along with supporters around the world. It was an honor to meet the AEO Straford & White City teams, comprised of different nationalities, like a capsule United Nations, truly reflective of what London is. It was a privilege to hear their meaning of LOVE, while sharing the story and impact of the LOVE bracelet sales.
The LOVE bracelets beaded by the Maasai in the African bush were now on full display at AEO London. I wish we had some of the Maasai mums here to see it for themselves. It’s astounding to see how big the #loveisproject has grown in a short timespan around the globe…from a personal instagram photo project eight months ago. It’s equally extraordinary to witness the impact of the #loveisproject on lives and communities in Kenya, creating over 400 jobs with just one order.
Alas, our week in London is now complete. Endless thanks to AEO for having us out in London and showing massive support for the #loveisproject. In prior years, I’ve traveled to London personally and professionally. However, this opportunity to discover what LOVE means in the Ol’ Blighty has allowed me to learn more about the people and places here. The resounding answers across the board from residents and tourists alike are in: London is a brimming mix of diversity, culture and creativity. What a compelling and unique place where people are willing to share if you only ask them.
LOVE is the universal truth.
We’re grateful for the spontaneous moments, inspiring friends and strangers that have colored our chapter here, opening us up to surprises, new friendships and partnerships. We’re thrilled to launch the beginning of the Greatest LOVE Story Ever Told in Great Britain while aligning ourselves with brands such as AEO that share our values. We look forward to continuing our impact abroad and at home, evoking a sense of connection wherever we go. Please join us in empowering communities in Kenya, while spreading LOVE from all corners of the earth.
Believe in all the possibilities beyond the Looking Glass. The world is your Wonderland.
"If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling that you'll find LOVE actually is all around." The Prime Minister, “LOVE Actually.”