MAEKAN Holiday Gift Guide

Text & Images by Charis Poon

Text & Images by Charis Poon

Christmas isn’t just about presents—to different people it is a tradition, a nostalgic time of year, a chance to take a break, or a time to gather with family. However, giving the right gift to a friend or family member can be the most satisfying feeling. MAEKAN Member David Kyle Choe specifically asked us if it’d be possible to pull together a recommended shopping guide based off of the ventures of other MAEKAN members. This is a great idea because not only are you getting your shopping done by buying unique non-department store gifts, but you’re supporting creative people within the MAEKAN community. Our gift guide for this holiday season is made up entirely from the endeavors of MAEKAN members and span publications, fashion, art, subscriptions, and more. Read on.

By Way Of (Sarah Kim)

Sarah Kim started By Way Of Us with Evan Gubernick as a platform and publication. Most recently, By Way Of has been doing the hard and necessary work of organizing events that teach better business and raise voter awareness. Support indie press that has expanded beyond print by purchasing Issue 002 of By Way Of Brooklyn.


Lapel Pin and Sticker Ting (Tabban Soleimani)
Tabban Soleimani paints, draws, illustrates, makes gifs, builds installations, and does a whole lot else besides. Get someone a melancholy sock lapel pin as a reminder of the natural ebb and flow of things and people or get the totally free Sticker Ting sticker set for iMessage for the lover of everyday Toronto slang.

Mundial Magazine (Dan Sandison)
Mundial Magazine is the United Kingdom’s (dare I say the world’s) best football lifestyle and culture publication. Order Issue 16 with Gareth Southgate or Kylian Mbappé on the cover, or fork out for an annual subscription to get the next four issues, or perhaps consider this Sporting Club de Mundial Jersey made in collaboration with Kitlocker. Choices abound!

Subscription to Booooooooom (Jeff Hamada)
Get the aspiring artist, illustrator, photographer, designer in your life a Booooooom Membership. Firstly, memberships are eco-friendly as they require no wrapping, are non-physical gifts, and can continue in perpetuity. Secondly, this is really a gift that will keep giving. A membership to Booooooom allows individuals to submit their work to the platform for the possibility of being featured on the site, apply for creative commissions, join a private Slack community, and get other perks.

LANE EIGHT (James and Josh Shorrock)
The Shorrock brothers have dedicated themselves to creating a high-performance athletic shoe that is unique from the big familiar brands and works great in the gym or on the street or in the club (if that’s your style—if not, then why not?). The Trainer AD 1 comes in six unisex colorways that include a very sleek black on black, but the Dusty Tan is a low-key favorite.

Patterns and Portraits (Justine Wong)
Justine Wong, a freelance illustrator based in Toronto and Tokyo, created a collection of one hundred paintings as part of the 21 Days in Japan: An Illustrative Study of Japanese Cuisine project. Some of these original paintings are available for purchase. Whet your appetite with a Hokkaido yogurt, tonkatsu curry, or a Japanese konbini bento set.

Yeti Out (Arthur Bray)
Yeti Out is a music collective and brand producing music, parties, and apparel. Formerly known as a go-to host for reliably good nights out, Yeti Out now has a range of tees that are tongue-in-cheek and have surprisingly yet to attract any cease-and-desists.

Bricks and Wood (Kacey Lynch)
Kacey Lynch’s Bricks and Wood Heavy Knit Beanies were featured in this Tyler, the Creator editorial by GQ earlier this year, and those beanies, besides being early to the trend of small above-the-ear hats, are cozy choices as gifts. Our personal recommendation is the Made In America tee because you can support two MAEKAN members with one purchase, as the illustration was designed by Kevin Wong of OpenDaily.

MXPC (Leanne Macaspac)
Your favorite sneakers rendered in detail as stickers will add oopmh to any digital device or notebook covers, or function just as well as miniature pieces of art. If you are of a mind to acquire some affordable art, Leanne also makes prints.

LANDR (Rory Seydel and Johnny F. Kim)
Yes, this is a very niche gift, but if you have a musically minded friend (or if you’re the musically minded one and want to put something on your wishlist), then LANDR’s services might be the perfect kind of practical and unique gift. LANDR is a music mastering service available around the clock that delivers immediately, so get a track mastered on Christmas Eve and have it ready to wow on Christmas Day.

Cecilia Doan recently opened a studio and shop that uses creative exploration to investigate heritage. Available now is a postcard set of 6 original designs by Tyler Deauvea related to his memories and experience of food in Houston, Texas, plus an extremely limited edition hand-embroidered tee (8 shirts only) by CC that personifies the female rebel spirit.

R.A.R.E. Art (Kevin Trinh)
Sign your friend up for a membership with R.A.R.E. (Rare Art Registry Exchange) and get their digital art gallery started with a couple of limited edition pieces. The concept of R.A.R.E. is to establish a marketplace of digital works that allows artists to more easily monetize their art and give art appreciators a way to acquire work from around the world and build up curated collections of greater value than bookmarked Instagram posts.

Cards, posters, zines, shirts (Jeremy Leung)
Jeremy Leung’s black and white Amoeba Type silkscreened letter cards could be artistic symbols for whatever words are the most meaningful to you when gifted to someone. The New Bodies 10-Card Set by Jeremy would also work perfectly for a non-traditional spin on holiday greeting cards.

Curated Kyoto (Sara Aiko)
If your giftee is based in Kyoto or you have plans for travelling to Kyoto in the next year with someone you’d like to get a thoughtful, tailored gift for, then booking a Curated Kyoto tour with Sara Aiko shows extra consideration. Sara’s tours are personal and authentic, fusing her expertise and the wide variety of sights in Kyoto with individual tastes.

ANTIDŌT by sōlscience (Daichi Nakagawa and Kent Chen)
ANTIDŌT is a deodorizer and fragrance for footwear that works well for fighting the funk of pre-owned sneakers and worn-in beaters—or if you simply want to attain that fresher-than-usual feeling. With a wide range of scents, sizes, and falling within a respectable price range, Daichi and Kent have got sneakerhead stocking stuffers covered.

Bodega LTD. presents A Stylist’s Guide to Minneapolis + St Paul (Josef Harris)
Bodega LTD., a multidisciplinary creative studio, made its home in the Twin Cities and then produced this publication they describe as “capricious, biased, filtered, flawed, and very personal” to pay homage to their surroundings. The best geographical guides come from people who know specifically what it is they like about a place and are unapologetic about it.

OCIN (Courtney Chew)
OCIN, recently brought to life by Courtney Chew, is a swimwear brand and label that looks to take care of the earth and oceans. OCIN pieces are made out of 100% recycled polyesters from plastic bottles saved from landfill and recycled nylon. Besides being a good look for the earth, it’s a good look on beach bodies (read: all bodies).

As you go out to buy gifts off of this guide or others, stay mindful of where your dollar goes. Each of us has the power to show real support to the things we care about by swinging the weight of our wallets behind small makers, creative communities, and independent endeavors. Happy holiday shopping!

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