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Mar Vista-Based Creative Studio Nara Collective Perfects Conscious Coupling

Helmed by two brand-savvy content creators, the venture seeks purpose-driven partners

Words by KELSEY McKINNON

 

It was following a Vipassana retreat (a 10-day silent meditation) and countless backyard strategy sessions that Ashely Edes, who formerly headed experiential marketing at Toms, and Sabrina Y. Smith-Morgan, the former director of creative content at Interscope Records, hatched the idea for the “conscious” creative studio Nara Collective.

To date, the Mar Vista-based venture has partnered with purpose-driven companies such as Eaton Workshop, Toms, the Every Woman Biennial, MNLandscape and the just-launched Gaia Cosmica platform, plus continues to expand its feminist surrealist project, Ars Una/Art is One, which exhibits artwork focused on the unifying liberation of women and of nature.

 

“We found that deer were the first animal to surround the Buddha after he awoke enlightened and are thus considered protectors. We identify with that symbolism”

Sabrina Y. Smith-Morgan

 

The studio’s name originated from a trip the duo took to Japan. “We visited the town of Nara, the birthplace of Japanese poetry, where deer are sacred and roam freely in the city,” Smith-Morgan says. “During our research, we found that deer were the first animal to surround the Buddha after he awoke enlightened and are thus considered protectors. We identify with that symbolism: seeing ourselves as protectors of integrity for brands and artists.”

 

Feature image: A work by JORDAN TIBERIO and ROSANNA JONEZ featuring the portraits of NARA COLLECTIVE founders ASHLEY EDES and SABRINA Y. SMITH-MORGAN.

 

This story originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of C Magazine and has been updated as of Sept. 26, 2019.

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