At Empire Street Style, we are proud to be a leading New York City-based, organic/Eco-friendly and fair trade clothing company. One of our goals is to help inspire everyone to live a healthier lifestyle, with articles by guest writers sharing their tips on how to practice healthy eating habits and maximize physical fitness. Furthermore, we sponsor and host healthy lifestyle events throughout the tri-state area. This year we teamed up with Fashion Stock, one of New York City’s top video and photography production companies. Co-organizing one of our most ambitious events yet, we held "Minnewaska 2018" on July 6-8 at the Sam Pryor Shawangunk Gateway Campground in beautiful Gardiner, New York. About thirty of New York’s most talented fashion models and photographers signed up for two days of camping, bike riding, swimming, hiking, photos, and fun.
A few of us drove up on Friday night to pitch tents and prepare the campground for our group. The following morning: Saturday at 8 a.m., the rest of our crew arrived for introductions over an early breakfast. Our tables were filled with all kinds of energizing and healthy dishes such as fruits, whole grain bread and of course, coffee. CEO of Fashion Stock Anton Oparinadvised we eat heartily, because we’d be riding our bikes for several hours into the park and taking pictures all afternoon before heading back for dinner.
We carpooled to Minnewaska State Park, just five short miles from our camp and biking distance to our meetup point. Some of us brought our own bicycles, but those of us who didn’t were able to rent from the nearby bike shop. We started our ride while the morning was still young and made our way up the steep, tree-lined bike trail. We could not have asked for better weather: the views of the cliff sides were just breathtaking as we made our way to the hilltop. Although the day was hot and sunny, it was not humid and we had a fresh breeze cooling us off the entire way. The trail was challenging, and we stopped every so often to rest and also admire the views. We pushed through to the top of the last hill at about 1:30 p.m., quite thirsty butenergized from our ride.
We rested, stretched and enjoyed some ice-cold water until everyone in our crew made it to the trail’s end. Then, our photo shoot started once the Empire Street Style-designed t-shirts were brought out. We quickly changed into the fresh tees, which everyone loved. Our photographers encouraged us to get a little silly and we happily obliged for the camera. We took group photos and video, and Anton even used a drone camera take amazing aerial shots of our crew from above.
Riding bikes to Lake Awosting, some of us went for a quick swim while others chose stay at the shore and chat. By then it was half past seven and the sun was about to set, so we decided to make our way back before it got dark. I must say, the way back felt much easier since it was downhill, and we made it back to camp in less than one hour. Despite being ravenously hungry by this time, everyone was in good spirits for our ride back.
Back at camp, we freshened up and go straight to making dinner: grilling BBQ ribs, hot dogs, hamburgers, and pairing them with salads, fruits, chips, avocado, juice and some wine. Three of our crew turned out to be amazing musicians and serenaded us with soft rock music. Roma was on the mic, singing and playing his own accompaniment on guitar, with Dennis on violin and Sasha on keyboards. Everyone sang along and danced to songs like “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder and “Hotel California” by the Eagles, of course recording ourselves on our phones. We were having such a good time despite being tired from our long bike rides that we didn’t start getting heading for our tents until about 1 a.m.
The following morning, we carpooled to Minnewaska State Park again. Anton had a surprise for us: he led us through the forest to a secret location at the far side of the park. We were astounded to come upon the most beautiful waterfall I had ever seen. Also, we came by an abandoned building and industrial equipment that had left behind long ago. The two locales were amazing, and the models and photographers could not wait to start shooting and posing. In my duffel bag I had a surprise of my own: my limited edition camo collection for the fall 2018 season. As a fashion designer, I could not have dreamed for a better location to shoot than this. The models were really excited about to start working those styles and the Fashion Stock production team was absolute professionals. The scene looked like a movie set: thirty models and photographers all over the forest, waterfall and even in the trees in order to get the best shots. It was hard work but we had a fantastic time too.
At the end of our shoot—around 3:00 p.m.—we took a short lunch break. Anton got his drone camera in the air again for more video and group shots until sunset. Tired after our long day of surprises, once we had the shots we needed we decided to go back to the campground, where packed up and prepared for our drive back to New York City, our cameras and minds full of wonderful memories of good times with our colleagues and friends.
According the Harvard medical health report, positive emotions have been linked with better health, longer life, and greater well-being in numerous studies. This wonderful camping trip was a success and had a tremendously positive effect on all of us: mentally and physically.
At Empire Street Style, part of our main vision is to see people happy and healthy. For that reason, we partner with companies and influencers that can help us achieve these goals. We provide our customers with a line of stylish and Eco-friendly active-wear. Our sustainable fabrics are made with organic materials and finished with environmentally friendly dyes.
We’d like to thank Anton Oparin, CEO of Fashion Stock for his collaboration on Minnewaska 2018. Big thanks also to the American Alpine Club for providing us this excellent campground, especially Sam Pryor, the Shawangunk Gateway Campground manager; Paul Curran and his staff, who were of immense help as well. Lastly, thanks to all our fashion models, influencers, fitness trainers, yoga instructors and photographers who made this trip a success. We are very grateful for you all, and will see you next year for Minnewaska 2019.
GUERBY JOSEPH, CEO