BLUE SPARROW COFFEE
For the launch of our 2022 “Sustainability” Report, we knew we wanted to do something to top last year's work. If you're a long time subscriber you'll remember that last year we ran a campaign around our customer facing trash, leading to our iconic waste audits and even more iconic blue rubber gloves. Since then, we have worked to ensure that the products we provide to our customers are either recyclable or compostable, with the goal of dropping customer facing trash down to zero in 2023.
The harsh reality is no matter what we provide, and no matter where it is intended to be properly disposed, we have trash in the recycling and recycling in the trash and even more problems far beyond that. This year composting rules in Denver changed, a switch that completely upended our progress. However, we wanted to tell a story of rags to riches because despite the (major) work we still have to do, we've really cleaned up in the last year.
In walks Alejandro Gaeta. Gaeta is a local Denver designer with a background in women's wear, haute couture, and avant garde fashion. Safe to say that prior to March of 2023, Gaeta had never worked with other people's trash. But we knew he could turn our disposed hot cups into a designer gown fit for the front of every magazine in Denver and beyond. He understood the assignment.
"100 Blue Sparrow Coffee hot cups, somewhere around 25 pastry bags, coffee grounds, matcha powder, and roughly 72 hours
of Gaeta's time"
In order to stay in line with the goal of the project we challenged Alejandro with using nothing other than reused, salvaged, or repurposed materials. This meant mining for recycled or thrown away to-go cups in our storefronts each day after the shop closed. As a result, the final garment is made with over 100 Blue Sparrow Coffee hot cups, somewhere around 25 pastry bags, coffee grounds, matcha powder, and roughly 72 hours of Gaeta's time. Fabric lining the inside of the dress is sourced from a local creative reuse store, as well as zippers, and any other structural materials. This garment was custom fit to our model (and Blue Sparrow Platte St barista) Akaisha Randle.
It was important for us to source everything from within our shops - that includes materials and talent. As a result, both our photographer and model came from our talented in-house staff.
Connor Nich is a photographer and full-time barista at Blue Sparrow Coffee Blake St. Based in Denver, Colorado, he creates thought-provoking images with comforting color pallets. With an emphasis in meaningful connection, his work communicates his understanding of the world around him, and provides light into the lens of an artist with epilepsy. Without Connor we could not have brought Gaeta's work to life in the haute couture, high fashion, non-coffee shop photography way that we did.
This collaboration pulls our work outside of traditional mediums for food and beverage, and into a space that is not frequented by the faint of heart - fashion. Simply put, it is not common for a coffee shop to try and make a gown. But "sustainability" is interdisciplinary, collaborative, and really should be fun. So we made our own rules and look how it turned out.
Contact Our Team
Designer: Alejandro Gaeta
Model/Barista: Akaisha Randle
Photographer/Barista: Connor Nich
Creative Direction: Phil Hua-Pham and Sara Van Hatten
Makeup Artist: Eric Quintana