CHIARA & CYNTHIA HARDY
It’s not unusual for J.J. Martin to find inspiration in her Beloved Bali. While staying at the Bambu Indah hotel on a recent voyage, she stumbled across a simple white tee emblazoned with the phrase “Matriarchy Now!”. Immediately activated, she set about uncovering the woman behind the words and logo. Enter Chiara Hardy, daughter of the hotel’s founders and the extraordinary teen founder who launched the Matriarchy Now! project while she was still in high school. Responding to unrest amongst her peers around the ever-persistent patriarchy, Chiara got creative rather than combative channeling the entrepreneurial spirit inherited from her mother Cynthia, to launch her brand with a message for female empowerment. Over many a Zoom from her Yale dorm room to our offices on the canals of Milan, we designed and developed our new Matriarchy Now! Sweatshirt, our serenade to sisterhood straight from Italy. The honor of collaborating on this project is matched only by our joy at being able to donate a portion of the project proceeds towards the UN Women’s Fund, supporting those affected by the ongoing war in Ukraine. Galvanized by Chiara’s vision, we bring you the Matriarchy series, a celebration of the multi-generational female-led families in our DoubleJ universe.
Spending a day with this dynamic mother-daughter duo in their beautiful NYC apartment, it’s clear that the Hardy women are accustomed to pushing the boat out. Cynthia, too, was a teenage entrepreneur, launching her own jewelry company before moving across the world to Bali and eventually co-creating The Green School with her husband, a radical new education model on a breathtaking, wall-less Bamboo campus. An intense commitment to sustainability has been passed from Cynthia to Chiara, who shares her mother’s extraordinary azure gaze and who has ensured that each of her products is made from 100% organic cotton in fair trade certified factories. Watching these mother-daughter duo, both entrepreneurs and advocates, amble arm-in-arm through Madison Square Park on a sunny New York Saturday, it is hard to imagine two more fitting females to help share this message.
Discover the magic of Chiara’s mission and purchase the original statement tee at http://www.matriarchynow.nyc/
Heading West, we meet (with much delight) the lovely Katie Brickman, captured here with her mother, Coco and her daughter, Louise. An abstract artist, a homemaker, and a budding writer respectively, each possesses a unique creative drive and outlook colored by the women in their world.
At the heart of our trio is the beautiful Katie, whose infectious positivity and zest for life overflows into every corner of her colorful home. A creative self-starter from her infancy, Katie approaches each of her projects with a simple rule, ”I have to lead with what brings me joy.” This heart-first foundation is clearly set by Coco, who, at 85, remains one of the chicest women we’ve ever encountered, and who still dances in her kitchen to Bobby Short with her 100-year-old boyfriend, Bill. “She’s kind of flirty, she works so hard for the people she loves” says Katie of her mother, “but she is a tough one too, a real straight shooter.”
For Coco, the shifts in the matriarchal paradigm are viewed through the loving lens of her own experience. “Is matriarchy different now? Probably. The responsibilities of the home are shared. But in home, the children, the meals, the schools were my responsibility, and I loved every minute of it!” Louise notes that though her grandmother is a nurturer by nature, “she encouraged us to be independent in life. When most kids just wanted to fit in, my mom and my grandmother nudged my brother and me to do things that would set us apart from the crowd. They gave us the confidence to fly.”
To those who conflate kindness with weakness, I would posit the Powell-Brickman clan as unequivocal evidence to the contrary. A fil rouge of fortitude weaves its way through each of their personal journeys, and their mutual adoration is palpable from the moment one walks through their door. When we approached them for this project, Katie’s response was immediate. “I love that La DoubleJ is a champion of women – exploding with female energy, strength, and spirit! I get a boost from knowing the company is bursting with enthusiastic, creative, kind, curious, professional – and FUN women!” Katie, Coco, and Louise, we feel honored to include you in our family of fun females. Thank you for welcoming us into your world.