Look up at the sky on even the clearest, most perfect summer night here in New York City and you might realize that something is missing. Sure, the moon hovers brightly above the skyline, but the stars are getting harder and harder to find. Just check out this Yahoo Answers thread from a girl growing up in Queens: The stars are gone and it's all your fault.
Maybe it's not entirely your fault, but the folks at Slow Factory want you to take a minute and take note of the light pollution taking place in some of the world's largest cities. With their latest series, "From Above," the silk scarf company aims to draw attention to the light pollution caused by manmade luminescence, the electric twinkle from dusk until dawn outshining the distant cosmological beacons of yore. The scarves feature satellite images of the U.S.A., New York, Paris and London at night, printed on silk to show the illuminated urban sprawl in all its glory.
Founded by Celine Semaan Vernon, Slow Factory is a company based in Brooklyn that prints satellite images taken by NASA onto silk scarves. After her family left their home in Beirut, Lebanon, Vernon was always on the move and found the stars to be a source of guidance and comfort. "Another reason why I began Slow Factory is because as I have grown up, I can see fewer and fewer stars in the sky," shares Vernon. "Considering that we traveled a lot and that I never really felt grounded or connected to a home, I felt the need to look at telescope and satellite images of the stars."
Slow Factory's Terra Modis Dress features one of Greenland's most prominent icebergs, which is melting at a rate of 13% per year. The photo was taken by the Nasa Terra Satellite Terra Satellite (MODIS instrument).
A huge proponent of Creative Commons, Vernon was previously the Creative Commons Community Lead in Montreal and now sits on the board of Creative Commons Canada, helping enable the the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. These days, sifting through NASA's archives and curating her own collections of images is one of Vernon's main addictions (the other is exploring GoogleEarth, grabbing screenshots of her favorite topographical compositions). NASA's images are licensed under CC-BY, a creative commons license that allows people to share, remix and build upon their work, as well as use it for commercial use. Vernon hopes that by creating scarves and other garments with these images, she can raise awareness around topics like global climate change, isolation and depression.
Each scarf in the collection also comes with a print from American artist and activist James Victore.
Through the "From Above" collection, Slow Factory hopes to engage and help people feel more connected by reminding them of the really big picture. Oh, and to turn off the lights.