3 mins

Farmers from New York’s Hudson Valley in Paris for fashion week?
This July, we were invited to Dover Street Market’s showroom to view the Sky High Farm Spring/Summer 2022 collection on the Place Vendome to find out more.

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Sky High Farm A person wearing a patterned short sleeve shirt and shorts with white socks standing in front of a few white cows grazing in a grassy field

Image: courtesy of Dover Street Market Paris – Look book Spring/Summer 2022 Sky High Farm collection

Sky High Farm

Back in 2010, artist Dan Colen had an idea.
Dan wanted to fight food injustice in New York by bringing good food – organic produce and pasture-raised livestock – to underserved communities.
He founded the Sky High Farm to practice sustainable, regenerative agriculture.
His 40-acre farm in upstate New York began directly donating and delivering 100% of its produce to food banks and pantries in New York State and New York City.

The farm grew. It developed food access projects and partnerships to produce and deliver over 70 tons of good food to local organizations.

But Dan wanted to do more.
“I started learning about these communities that had zero access to any fresh food, and it stirred something in me,” he told Hypebeast Diaries.

So in 2019, the farm became a 501 (c)(3) public charity organization. The goal was to double the farm’s production.
To support their efforts, they launched the “Farming for Food Justice” campaign on GoFundMe.

Sky High Farm Two people wearing jumpers, shorts, socks and basketball sneakers standing in a greenhouse as they care for and water plants set out in trays on tables

Image: courtesy of Dover Street Market Paris – Look book Spring/Summer 2022 Sky High Farm collection

Fashion for food justice

In 2020, to expand the impact of the Farm, it partnered with Dover Street Market.
The Farm and the renowned retailer came together to take a public stand against systemic food inequity.
Their collaboration met at the intersection of streetwear, art and fashion, creating a collection sold at the retailer’s New York and Los Angeles locations.

The partnership donated all the profits back to the farm to support the local food economy and promote the message that “access to fresh and nutritious food is a basic human right.”

“… it’s also important to take action, to do something.”

We caught up with Sky High Farm during  Paris Fashion Week.
The farm was in town to launch its new Spring/Summer 2022 Workwear collection at the Dover Street Market Paris (DSMP).
The new collection is an ambitious follow-up to the successful 2020 Streetwear collection, which raised $130,000 for the farm’s activities.
Under Dan’s creative direction, the Workwear collection is designed as an entry point into the farm’s work in sustainable agriculture, food justice, and community engagement.

As it competes for attention in the fashion showrooms of Paris, Sky High Farm’s ethos is at the heart of what they do. They are a social enterprise with a unique manufacturing model.
The stores that purchase their collection must commit to a guaranteed donation back to the farm.
And these partners are encouraged to only buy what they can sell.
Lastly, the collection’s original creations feature upcycled “deadstock” (Editor’s Note: new, unworn clothing that is not expected to sell). It emphasizes products and fabrications that are sustainable with designs and contributions by Marc Armitano Domingo, Max Louis Creative, and Joana Avillez.

Sky High Farm Two images, each of two people, standing in a field against a rural farm setting

Image: courtesy of Dover Street Market Paris – Look book Spring/Summer 2022 Sky High Farm collection

A new form of philanthropy

Sky High Farm is an exciting social enterprise that is reinventing philanthropy.
Its collaborative model mobilizes a diverse network of fashion brands, artists, and designers to generate financial resources and sustain their work locally.

In his 2020 interview with Hypebeast Diaries, Dan confided, “So many times I’ve seen something that I’ve wanted to address. I’ve seen something that inspired me to take an action. But I didn’t take it because I felt that I didn’t know enough about it. Or that I didn’t have the experience that was necessary to tackle the problem. It’s important to get an education and connect with people who know what they are doing. But it’s also important to take action, to do something.”

For more info

Visit Farming for Food Justice on GoFundMe for more on the ways in which Sky High Farm is fighting food inequity.

Likewise follow Sky High Farm on Instagram and Facebook.
Furthermore, Dover Street Market is on Instagram Twitter Facebook.