FashionFashion 101

GO AHEAD, JOAQUIN ORTIZ, MAKE MY DAY!

“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” –Mahatma Gandhi

For Joaquin Ortiz, this revelation was all too clear when he was given not a second, but a third chance at life.

“I think I was too young to grasp the gravity of that situation—too immature to know what it really meant,” Joaquin said of his first evasion of death—that is, when he flipped his car off of a sixty-foot cliff back in 2001. But when he found himself crushed between a boat and a SUV six years later, he was at full attention. “The doctor told me I would probably never walk again,” Joaquin says of his condition following the accident. “My sacrum was fractured—which is supposed to be the hardest bone to break, aside from your skull. Then I thought of myself in a wheel chair and I said ‘No. I won’t accept that.’”

And he didn’t.  Six months after the doctor’s declaration of paralysis, he walked back into the hospital with just the assistance of a walking cane. And now, commitment to physical therapy, acupuncture and consistent chiropractic visits has enabled him to heal almost perfectly.

“But then I realized it wasn’t enough to just survive,” said Joaquin. “I started to think, what can I do?”

From that soul-searching question came Provider, a clothing company that acts as a reminder that we ALL have something positive to contribute to society. The idea, while simple in concept, is massive in impact: What can I provide for someone else?

“Its not about doing something huge—its about doing something period. I wanted to create an entire line that says, ‘I’m conscious of making the world a better place.’ Its about making someone’s day.”

But if you’re thinking that Provider is just a LIVESTRONG bracelet on the wrist of a hipster, think again. These colorful T-shirts and accessories proclaim their purpose out loud, and they’re drumming up acts of kindness from Coral Gables to Senegal. They rang from burn-out T’s stating “I Provide” to “Eye of Ra” and “Trinity Prayer” scripts.

“Provider is a lifestyle brand,” stressed Ortiz. “Its purpose is to inspire a mindset where people embrace the idea of doing something positive in some way.”

From that thought came ConsciousActsOfKindness.org, a non-profit that sponsors events that spotlight kind acts—whether it is rounding up shopping carts to help out a Winn Dixie employee or paying the toll for the person behind you on the Biscayne Bay Bridge, no act is to small.

“Really, there are two ways we can provide for someone else,” said Joaquin. “One way is tangible; we are happy to give a portion of the Provider proceeds to various charities.”

But what is perhaps the most important aspect of giving back, according to Joaquin and those involved with Conscious Acts of Kindness, is the intangible—the provision of a smile, a helping hand, a laugh to improve the quality of someone’s day.

“Just paying someone a compliment can turn someone’s day around! That’s what we are about. Of course, we get more exposure for our YouTube videos from Africa than we do about telling a joke and brightening someone’s day, but the point is that everything counts.”

Since February 2011 that is exactly what Provider and Conscious Acts of Kindness has been doing—improving the world one act at a time, hoping for a “pay it forward” kind of effect.

“I want this lifestyle brand to be global,” said Ortiz, who let us in on the secret that Provider will be launching scarves, pants and polos this coming year.  He couldn’t tell us what he’s planning for the globalization and the future Provider stores, but we here at Miami Shoot know it’s going to be big.

By Reagan Lightsey

Photo by Luis Munoz

 

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