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Editor’s Take: Empire State of Mind

As I write, 140 million individuals in the U.S. are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, including yours truly. But it doesn’t take data to sense that people feel safer, at least not in New York City where subways are filling up, lunch joints are packed with office workers and pandemic politeness has checked out—all signs that nature is restoring itself in the City That Never Sleeps.

It’s enough to warm the heart of any New Yorker because the city had indeed descended into a bleak state one year ago. New Yorkers don’t easily accept defeat, but even the most steadfast recognized that the city—as the U.S. pandemic epicenter with sirens wailing every few minutes and temporary morgues lining our streets—was far from its brashly dynamic self.

It takes a real New Yorker to admit that. We New Yorkers, after all, famously wear our New York-ness like a crown atop our inflated heads. The last time I was in Las Vegas for Project, a stranger at Starbucks said they could tell I was from New York. It was one of the best compliments I ever received, even after a colleague (and fellow blunt New Yorker) pointed out that it was a polite way of saying, “you look like an [insert expletive].”

While people tend to wax poetically about New York’s resilience, what they say is true: The city always bounces back—oftentimes new and improved. Optimism is in the air. The plywood that shrouded the city’s stores last summer is down. People are dressing for destinations other than their couch, and denim, once again, has returned to the urban landscape. The city serves as the backdrop to our summer fashion editorial “The Big Green Apple” in which we shine a spotlight on the new denim wardrobe that is more sustainable and stylish than ever before.

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I would argue that the denim industry is a lot like New York. Both are gritty, classic, cool and tough. Both are always reinventing themselves with unabashed swagger and confidence, and both know how to defy greatly exaggerated claims of its so-called demise. And like New York, it’s the will, passion and talent of the people working in the denim industry that help safeguard its staying power.

Rivet’s summer issue celebrates the progressive steps denim companies are taking to ensure that they are not only conducting business responsibly, but also having a positive, long-lasting impact on both the planet and the people enmeshed in their supply chains. From programs that help elevate the voices of underrepresented groups, to initiatives put in place to provide healthcare, education and financial assistance to those in need, the denim industry is leaning into the fabric’s democratic allure.

The hardships of the past year serve as a reminder that we’re all connected—be it by industry, zip code or experiences—and it’s this sense of community that leads me to believe that the best is yet to come.

Click here to download Rivet’s summer issue.