Inspiration abounds in brands that look to the world around them to imbue their products with authenticity and exquisite detail. Whether it’s the actual place a brand was born or far-off destinations that conjure inimitable memories, beautiful locales have served as inspiration for brand founders for decades. This month, as we celebrate all things travel-related, we want to take a moment and share with our GLOSSY community the backstories of some of our favorite product lines, and how destinations and cultures from around the globe have shaped their identities.
John Masters Organics: Destination NYC
What began as a radically different salon concept in New York City has evolved into a robust line of sustainably-minded beauty products that utilize organic ingredients and botanical extracts. To understand how the brand came to be, it’s important to look at the founder’s journey from living near one of New York state’s most beautiful landmarks to revolutionizing the salon industry in the big city. Born in Niagara Falls, John Masters made a name for himself in the 1970s as a top stylist in fashion and editorial circles. He soon realized that the chemical levels in salons were extremely dangerous and set out to create the first “clean-air” salon, a toxic-free space that strictly banned the use of harmful chemicals. After opening the salon to much acclaim, Masters went on to continue studying the vast healing properties of natural ingredients, and eventually introduced his first organic hair care products in 1991. Since then, the line has evolved to include dozens of offerings for the entire body, all of which utilize good-for-you ingredients and embrace the spirit of sustainability. “Caring about yourself and caring about the earth don’t have to be mutually exclusive,” John has said. “We only get one body and we only get one planet. Why not treat them both with the utmost care?”
DHC – Japan
Known for its popular olive oil cleanser and the cult following that emerged because of it, DHC is an in-demand line of olive-oil infused products for face, hair, and body. But how did it all start? In the 1970s, a Japanese businessman named Yoshiaki Yoshida, who ran an education company, decided to travel to Europe to learn more about the world. He soon found himself in Spain, where he happened to meet an olive farmer whose family has produced high-quality oil for over 200 years! Uniting the principles of traditional Japanese herbology with the powerful antioxidant properties of olive oil, he introduced DHC with the goal of offering premium free radical-fighting skincare and advocating for education. Today, the worldly, in-demand line consists of dozens of skincare items that treat everything from dryness to large pores. Also central to the DHC philosophy is a Buddhist belief that embraces finding beauty in imperfection, rather than striving to be flawless. “We believe beauty is a process, not a goal,” according to the brand. “It’s the ability to love your skin and all its perfectly imperfect distinctions. Your idea of beauty is entirely your own. We’re just here to help you do you.”
Proenza Schouler – Arizona
Arizona and its sweeping terracotta landscapes inspired the fashion house’s debut fragrance. Back in 2015, Proenza designers, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, took a road trip and were mesmerized by Arizona’s vast desert vistas, colorful sand, and sunsets. Beyond the natural beauty, the designers were also struck by the feeling of disconnection from technology (as the desert is notoriously without wifi), and it was precisely that isolation which leads them to spend two years ideating their first fragrance. The resulting blend of cactus blossom, orris, jasmine, solar accord, orange blossom, and musk– housed in a pretty glass flacon that nods to the faceted angles of rock– leaves behind a dry, solar scent that was the designers’ interpretation of the scentless cactus flower. “It’s such a disconnection—this dry, spiky, hard thing and this beautiful white, feminine flower,” McCollough has said about the unique bloom. “That contrast was very interesting to us. They don’t actually smell like anything, those flowers. At least, it’s not an intense smell. So we thought, what would that flower smell like in an ideal world? It would be dry, not very fruity, very solar, minerally. We started inventing and designing what that would smell like.”
RITUALS – Amsterdam
At RITUALS’ core is a focus on wellness and peace of mind, which echoes the brand’s homeland as well as its many cultural inspirations. Founded in Amsterdam in 2000, Rituals is a vast collection of luxury home, facial and body products that interpret and modernize Eastern Authentic traditions, translating them into meaningful rituals. With more than 175 stores and four exclusive spas across the globe, the line is as diverse as it is richly inspired by heritage, and not just from Amsterdam. Inspired by storied Eastern practices and destinations, including the hammams of North Africa and Turkey, ancient Chinese philosophies, the annual celebration of flowering Japanese cherry blossoms, and the love-infusing ritual of Ayurveda, each RITUALS product, which is formulated with lingering botanical-based fragrances and a bevy of natural ingredients, is meant to transport you out of your everyday life and into something more beautiful. “Our passion is helping people to enjoy the little things in life, to rediscover the magic in the every day,” Rituals’ Founder Raymond Cloosterman has said. “So often, we live life on automatic pilot. We have to change those routines by reinventing these everyday products into something special. That’s the philosophy of the brand: changing routines into rituals.”
Mamonde – South Korea
It’s no secret that Korea is one of the world’s most ahead-of-its-time beauty capitals. Seoul-based beauty brand Mamonde harnesses this spirit of skincare obsession and pairs it with a deep respect for the earth. Created by a parent company, Amorepacific, more than two decades ago, Mamonde is based on the idea that “there’s more to flowers than their beauty.” According to the brand, it is “through a sincere care for the flowers, we extract their essence in the most gentle ways, collecting only naturally fallen buds, petals and seeds to preserve their life source and our shared ecosystem.” In Mamonde Gardens, which is also located in Seoul, the brand’s flower experts care for dozens of species including camellia, hibiscus, honeysuckle and rose. These flowers, along with other skin loving ingredients and futuristic research and development methods, can be found in a range (filled with Korean must-haves like sleeping packs, bubble masks, and beauty water) that does everything from purifying to deeply hydrating. “Mamonde leads the way in fair-trade practices through engaging programs designed to nurture and connect to our local communities,” according to the brand. “To raise awareness of the importance of bees as a life source for our flowers, Mamonde built the Honey Bee Garden in Seoul, where we recognize bees as vital to nature’s beauty on Bee Happy Day and every day around the world.” And honestly, what could be more beautiful?
By Belisa Silva