#TBT: The First One Tribe Apparel Photo Shoot
April 20, 2014, in a little mountain town in northern Thailand, Pai, four friends shared a vision. After living together for some time, social barriers seemed to cease and open minds catalyzed a movement that would later be known as One Tribe Apparel.
The core 4 were as diverse as they were talented, hailing from Russia to Finland to the U.S. First, Vladimir, the Russian wayfarer photographer who had a camping/travel pack that contained enough camera equipment to shoot a Nat Geo documentary. Then there was Luna, the sweet, Finnish musical beauty who has a natural model instinct and demeanor. Finally, there was my brother and I, whom provided the environment, and alcohol, to motivate and catalyze an abstract idea into action.
The first day that the idea to sell harem pants was mentioned, our hostel so happened to have a professional photographer, a professional model, and about 10 other willing and helpful friends ready to tackle any obstacle standing in our way. What started as a “what-if” quickly turned into an action plan. My brother closed off one of the main rooms for the day and we begin taking the steps to turn it into a makeshift photo studio. I jumped on my scooter, and went down to the Thai version of Home Depot and grabbed a bucket of white paint, and some large white pieces of paper and tape. Upon arrival, friends and even new volunteers were in the process of carrying mattresses, tables, desks, TV’s, and other random stuff out of the room and into the yard. After ten minutes of slapping white paint on the walls and taping white pieces of paper on the floor, I was pleased to say that we created a “professional-looking” studio.
Panda with his ladies
I know this may be a universal “duh” to everyone, but the notion of coming up with an idea, sharing it with people you love, and then watching everyone take the steps to help create the vision, is nothing short of amazing. I realized that to really be passionate about something, you must take action. As Vladimir took the final steps to set up his array of camera equipment and lights, my brother strolled into the hostel with a burlap sack full of Thai harem pants. At about 3:00 PM we were ready to begin our shoot and everyone was having a blast. My brother, looking at me with excitement, says, “I think we’re going to write today off as a business expense”, and subsequently provides an open bar to all participants in the photo shoot. Our hostel, which at the time had room for about 32 people, drew a crowd of about 20 or more people outside of the studio, laughing and watching as One Tribe was born. Guests who just arrived that day had no idea what the owners and their crazy friends were up to until they stopped by and peaked in and saw a professional photo studio, open bar, and the first One Tribe party in full swing.
It was about a year ago that this all happened and reflecting on that day has brought me more smiles than I anticipated. We laughed, photographed each other doing funny stuff, brought the words bottle service to a whole new level, and danced; the day turned into night and the photo shoot continued. The pieces of white paper on the floor turned dirt black and after a while, our “professional” photo studio turned into a dance club. It was way past midnight when I remember people in other dorms giving us the “go to bed” look and our day started subsiding. Thousands of pictures were taken, literally, I am not exaggerating; and we actually did use a lot of the pictures of Luna and still do. That day, will always hold a special and dear place in my heart. I not only want to thank Vladimir and Luna for their countless hours they put into photographing and modeling but to the whole O.G One Tribe crew at Common Grounds.
Whenever I go back to Pai, Thailand, any time I pass by that room we had that original photo shoot in, I just laugh at how crazy and amazing that day was; and how everyone staying in that room has no idea what happened in there.
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