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UO Creative Grant: Samuel Michael Casebolt

It may have taken Samuel Casebolt only one day to pitch his idea for our UO Creative Grant, but he's been working on the concept for years. Here we speak with the artist about his background in film, his love of the great unknown, and the plot for his winning concept, Hell's Belles, up today on his Kickstarter!

Introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your background!
My name is Samuel Michael Casebolt and I live in Oakland, CA, working in downtown San Francisco as a display artist for Urban Outfitters. I have worked as a production designer for a couple of feature films by Ben Wolfinsohn, one of which, called High School Record, made it into the Sundance Film Festival in 2005. I've also produced and directed four other features, a music video for The Mae Shi, and the short Goodbye Sun, which I released in 2012.

Where did you go to school?
I went to the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia, CA. and got a Bachelors Degree in Fine Art. I worked in many mediums including painting, drawing, and sculpture, and was showing in galleries around L.A. almost once a month for a while. 

How did you get involved in filmmaking?
Although I was making so much art, I honestly felt a bit limited. Films just seemed more visceral and really had the power to move me. While it is true that art and film are meant to convey different types of things to a viewer, I never felt that way standing in a gallery and I really wanted to. I began making skateboard videos and abstract art videos with semi-plots on a camcorder and editing on betacam cassettes. Over time, my films began having more and more story driven premises, although I still feel like film is another extension of the art I've always done. In fact, I always make paintings to prepare for and capture the tone of my films.

So, tell us about the UO Creative Grant contest!
I have been working on the concept for the film Hell's Belles for five or six years and was finishing another film, Goodbye Sun, which is kind of a sequel to Hell's Belles. When UO announced that they were giving a grant to someone who needed funding for a project, I was all over it. I had the concept fairly fleshed out and the thought occurred to me to make a trailer for a crowd-sourcing campaign to raise money for the feature film. I'm not sure if it was intentional, but Urban Outfitters announced the contest on a Tuesday and required submissions by THAT Friday! My first thought was, "Forget it. That's not enough time." But I realized, "This is what everyone else will think, too, which might give me a better chance!"

With this in mind, I made a video proposal in one night, sent it in, and ended up winning! I received $1500 and three weeks paid time off, which paid for most of the wardrobe, props, travel, and food for actors. Everyone else donated their time and efforts for the project, which was amazing! I spent the three weeks off editing, organizing and shooting scenes for the trailer.  

What is Hell's Belles about?
Set in the 1970s, Hell's Belles is a mockumentary about the 4444 Cult, which consisted of four women that had left society to live in the desert and then disappeared. The women had attempted to control reality with their minds in a series of exercises or "spells" to manifest objects and life forms, travel through space and time, and possibly transcend the physical realm altogether. Evidence of their abilities, which they believed all humans are capable of, was found in the form of photographs, film reels and other various objects, locked in a trunk on the bottom of the ocean. In Hell's Belles, scientists and other experts analyze the footage and eyewitness accounts of terrifying encounters in the desert, leading the filmmaker to take an expedition to the desert to find the church.

What inspired you?
I was inspired by regular trips to Joshua Tree National Park with friends. It's easy to come up with crazy stories when you are surrounded by interesting people in that environment. It would be harder to come up with a boring idea there. I am totally fascinated with physics and science and how it could be used to explain the mysteries of existence, which is partially what this film is attempting to do. I have also been inspired by UFO and Bigfoot documentaries as a kid, most specifically in this case by a film called Overlords of the UFO ( I love their dead serious delivery of "facts" about UFOs that are just silly at times, but still intriguing to watch).

What are your…

Top five films of all time?
This is a really difficult question to answer because there are so many films that I put in the flawless category, which don't get sorted from best to worst. They are untouchable, but I think lovability is as important as the avant garde. There is something to be said for a film that can make you love a character, whether it's a Disney film or a Criterion Collection film.  The Shining, Rushmore, Pulp Fiction, American Graffiti, and Boogie Nights stand out to me as films that have a lot of both.

Top five actors?
Sorry I can't choose five: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jack Nicholson, Daniel Day-Lewis, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Samuel L. Jackson.

What do you want to do in your future? Do you plan on continuing with film? 
I have several films at various stages of production and will continue to find ways to make them happen one way or another because I just feel the need to. I have a haunted house story, a horror film, and a short about the origin of mermaids. I love the challenge of making my thoughts become reality. It's something I am really passionate about. 

When does Hell's Belles come out? Give us all the details!
I don't have a release date for Hell's Belles the feature. I will have to make a plan for shooting once I know what the budget will be. Possibly as far off as 2016.

What's the number one reason we should watch your film?
It will be pretty funny.

Make sure to check out Samuel's Kickstarter page to help make this film happen!

Interview: Abbey Watkins for Morning Warrior

Tobacco & Leather's Abbey Watkins is an London-based illustrator and print designer with a penchant for skulls, women and a bit of warping. When Los Angeles clothing company Morning Warrior asked Abbey to work on a few summer tank tops for them, she conjured up the energetic warrior spirit of the brand and brought her earth-inspired designs to a whole new world. Here we talk to the 25-year-old beauty to get a glimpse inside her life, workspace and a sneak peek at the look book for the collection.
Interview by Ally Mullen

Introduce yourself!
I'm Abbey Watkins of Tobacco & Leather. I'm 25, living in London and working as an illustrator and print designer.

Where did you go to school?
I went to Manchester Metroplitan Universirty and studied textile design for fashion. I chose Manchester because it's a vibrant city, but it's not too overwhelming. At the time I struggled a lot with my confidence so this played a big part in my decision. 

I always wanted to study fashion in London, but this was the best I could do with the tools and finances I had. It worked out well in the end as I ended up with the best tutor, Alex Russell, and I got a career out of it which I'm very grateful for. I'm from a very small town in the middle of nowhere so university was my way out and my first experience of a real city.

How did you get involved with Morning Warrior and when and how did this collaboration come together?
I was already aware of Morning Warrior when they got in touch about working together; it was obvious we shared some interests and creative visions so we got together and created these three designs.

Tell us about the influences behind your art! 
There are many, many influences but it's really hard to name them! I'm influenced by mythology and ancient gods, strange creatures—especially the mixture of animal and human. I'm interested in things like the occult and witchcraft, shamanism, and hallucingenic visions. I have this deep-rooted love for tribes and people that live closely to the earth, treating nature like a language that can be interpreted and returned. I guess all of that mixed with some '60s pychedelia and old metal album covers is somehwere near my vision. I've still got a lot of work to do to bring it all together though.

What was the driving inspiration behind your collaboration?
There was a loose brief for the collaboration, but with themes like "Mystical", "Animal" and "Bad Girl Biker", Morning Warrior and I were already pretty much on the same page, so it flowed nicely.

How would you describe your style of art to someone who hasn't seen it yet?
I still can't find an answer that satisfies, but the basis of my work is set in pencil realism, with subjects of naked women, skulls, animals, mythic elements and hints of surrealism.

What is your favorite medium to use when creating your illustrations?
Pencil. It's the only one that comforts. If there's color, it's done digitally.

Of the shirts you designed, which is your personal favorite?

I haven't seen them in the flesh yet! But my favorite is the grey Eagles Tank Top. That was my favorite one because I remember learning from it. You are always learning every time you draw but sometimes you can feel it, and I enjoyed that time.

What are your favorite things to draw?
Naked women, skulls, anything where I can play with its form and mold it into something else. That's my new favorite thing to do!

Are you going to wear your own designs?
I never wear my own designs. I hope nobody takes that personally! I just feel weird wearing something that I drew. Like it's somehow saying, "Look what I did!” And that makes me uncomfortable.

What was the… 
Last song or album you listened to: "Desert Ceremony" by Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats 
Last movie you watched: Iron Monkey
Last purchase you made: A black, leather, bondage thigh-harness from Etsy that clips onto your belt loops and wraps around your thigh.
Best part about doing this collaboration: That I got to draw and create and was given artistic freedom. Morning Warrior were an absolute pleasure to work for. It's not always that way with commissions.

Look Book Information: 
Photography by Emman Montalvan
Hair and Makeup by Brittany Sullivan
Model: Courtney Money at PhotoGenics L.A.
Styling by Julie Swinford & Renee Garcia
Clothing by Morning Warrior: Twitter | Instagram

The Fresh List: Joyce Kim

Joyce Kim photographed by Drew Bienemann

This month The Fresh List highlights a handful of people and places we're excited about in 2014. First up, one of the freshest new voices in photography, Joyce Kim. Los Angeles-based Kim is a guest poster on our Instagram throughout January, sharing a bounty of bright, beautiful behind-the-scenes images from our Get Fresh shoot. We chatted to Kim about what separates her from her peers, the personality behind her pictures, and her relationship with technology.  Interview by Ally Mullen

Photographs by Joyce Kim for Urban Outfitters

Name: Joyce Kim
Hometown: Scarsdale, NY
Location: Echo Park, L.A.
Occupation: Freelance Photographer
Zodiac sign: Capricorn
Instagram: @jokimbo

When did you first pick up a camera? 
I have a horrible memory, so it came from wanting to record good memories. [It was] around 15 years old, when I was super angsty and just wanted a way to connect with my friends and surroundings. My mom did an incredible job at documenting my entire childhood, so I think I got some of that from her without realizing it.

Did you study photography at school? 
I took a class in high school and that was the start of my photo education. I went to art school in Baltimore and started out in photography, but I switched my major very quickly because I figured I loved [photography] so much, I would keep doing it on my own. 

How would you describe your work? 
Meditative, quiet, minimal, and natural.

Photograph by Joyce Kim for Urban Outfitters

What type of camera do you use the most? Do you prefer film or digital?
A Canon 5D Mark III I bought less than a year ago—up until that point I had primarily shot on film. I’m used to a digital camera now and I shoot with it the most often, but if I had it my way I would always shoot with my Mamiya 7.

What is the biggest influence on your work?
I’m most inspired by travel and new places, and I’m most excited to shoot in a new environment. When I’m on the road I always want to bring my camera; I’m so obsessed with the world.

Personal works by Joyce Kim

What was your first big break?
It was definitely my first job for FADER Magazine this past July when I photographed Sir Michael Rocks. It was the first time I going to have a photo in print; having my photo in a magazine that’s on real magazine stands. It was really the ultimate.

Who has been your favorite person to photograph?
Ty Dolla $ign. He was so generous with his time and hung out with me for the entire day.

Ty Dolla $ign photographed by Joyce Kim

Where are your favorite places you've taken photos?  
Japan and Korea.

Favorite time of the day to shoot?
It’s hard to deny the golden hour. If I can get up that early, really early morning when the light's just coming out… nothing beats the sunrise or the afternoon sunset.

Who are some up-and-coming photographers we should be watching out for?
Daniel Shea, John Francis Peters, Milan Zrnic, Stephanie Gonot, Amy Elkins, Zoe Ghertner

What do you think separates you from your peers? 
I used the word meditative to describe my work because it very much describes my process; I take a lot of time to consider whether something’s a good image. I don’t even want to post a photo that I think is even touching on mediocre. I only want to show my very best all of the time. I really focus on a strong composition instead of letting a celebrity carry an image. I want to make sure all of the elements are harmonious. I think that consideration and that ability to take things a little bit slower and sit with it translates through my work.

Photographs by Joyce Kim for Urban Outfitters

How do you keep your work fresh and continue to evolve? 
Technology! The acquisition of this new digital camera has been a huge inspiration and motivation to keep shooting. I think embracing new technology and realizing how powerful it actually is, is what's getting me excited again. All of it is very scary but important for my growth as a photographer.

What do you hope your photos convey?
I think every photo I take is a direct reflection of myself and how I’m feeling or what I’m thinking. I think the fact that I try to find a lot of stillness in my work, the overarching feeling is maybe taking a moment and trying to find something genuine. I want to shoot as naturally as possible, beyond just using natural light. I want to capture people and not pose them. Catching something real and making it feel genuine. 

What's the best piece of photography advice you've ever gotten?
At the end of the day, just always make sure it’s an image that I like and I’m using my own voice. Take all the rest into consideration, and stick to an assignment but not lose sight of an image that you want to shoot.

Who would you want to take your own picture?
Robert Frank. He’s incredible. It’d be him, catching me on the street.

When do you feel most alive?
I like when I hike to the top of something tall. I really like to get up high—walk, climb—and when I can look really far into the distance over a landscape… I feel pretty awesome.

What are your top five obsessions at the moment?
Green juice, my beanie, Canada, RunKeeper and seaweed.

What's coming up next for you?
Right now I’m heading to San Francisco to shoot a feature story for a magazine. Beyond that I’m just really trying to take control of my freelance life and travel abroad at least twice this year. And I want to just keep taking pictures!

Photographs by Joyce Kim for Urban Outfitters

First Person: Karaoke

Karaoke isn't just standing in a room and singing a song
it's a performance, a live show, a party and, yes, it's even a form of art. Whether you're renting out a room at your local karaoke hotspot, singing in front of 35 strangers, or busting out your PlayStation at two in the morning for a round of SingStar, k
araoke is one of our top party pastimes. 

What's better than
 getting together with your friends to sing your favorite songs and failing miserably while trying to remember the choreography to "Single Ladies"? 
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

For those of you too shy to try, I promise you won't regret it. 
When it comes to karaoke, there are no regrets—only proof that you're way more fun than you thought you were. 

We asked some friends and karaoke aficionados for their favorite places to perform, their go-to songs and their ultimate karaoke moments. Trust us, you won't want to miss a thing. —Alex & Ally 

Who: Charli XCX / Musician / London
Karaoke Song: "Kiss" or "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Prince
Karaoke Spot: New York. It's always better there and people take it really seriously, which is always funny. I actually went 'round one of my fans house recently to have a karaoke party with them and all of their friends. It was kind of crazy... 
Charli XCX's new album SuperLove is out now. 

Who: Tyler Glenn / Singer in Neon Trees / Provo, Utah 
Karaoke Song: "White Wedding" by Billy Idol. Belting the "start again" part is a real treat. 
Karaoke Spot: I'm very picky, but mostly I like to do it at stuffy industry parties or creepy sports bars. 

Who: Olivia Bee / Photographer / Brooklyn
Karaoke SongSomething by Madonna! Or the "Ooh You Touched My Tralala" song.
Karaoke SpotA friend's basement.

Who: JC Coccoli / Comedian / Los Angeles
Karaoke SongSalt-N-Peppa's "Shoop"
Karaoke SpotKorea Town. (Or a rich person's house. Those are always pretty epic.)

Who: Katie McCurdy / Photographer / NYC 
Karaoke Song: Cheap Trick "I Want You to Want Me" 
Karaoke Spot: Sing Sing or 59 Canal, NYC. 
Recently at a karaoke bar in the Poconos, PA, I was reprimanded by a security guard because my "dance routine" was a "safety hazard." 

Who: Jeremy Burke / Founder of Loud Village / Los Angeles
Karaoke Song"When You Were Young" by The Killers and also "Time To Pretend" by MGMT when I'm with my buddy, Ryan.
Karaoke SpotYE RUSTIC INN! We go every Tuesday after my comedy show at Best Fish Taco (it's right down the street). That or some good ol' Korean Karaoke in KTown.

Who: Miles Garber / Musician & Model / L.A. & NYC
Karaoke Song: "With Arms Wide Open" by Creed
Karaoke Spot: Wherever my friends and I stumble upon.

Who: Bobby Whigham / Photographer / Philadelphia
Karaoke Song: Salt-N-Peppa and any '90s love ballad 
Karaoke SpotRed Lounge in South Philly. It's a semi-hidden gem that is just starting to get some exposure. The amount of space you have to perform and hold the audience in the palm of your hand here is epic.

Who: Jac Vanek / Boss Lady at JAC VANEK (Shop at UO) / Los Angeles
Karaoke Song: Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"
Karaoke SpotEither a shitty dive in Korea Town or for embarrassing novelty, Saddle Ranch.

Who: Joe Kusy / Guitarist and Vocalist for Far-Out Fangtooth / Philadelphia
Karaoke Song: "Give Me Just A Little More Time" by The Chairmen of the Board, although I really want to get wasted and do "That's Life" by Frank Sinatra.
Karaoke Spot: It's a tie between Ray's Happy Birthday Bar and the Adobe Cafe.

Get Gifted: Ally's Wish List

Get Gifted: Ally's Wish List!

With my birthday being the day before Christmas, I always get asked if I get screwed over when it comes to getting gifts. The answer depends: Are you going to buy me a gift if I say yes? Because if so… YES! I get totally ripped off! Look at poor lil' Ally, getting cheated every year. If you feel bad and want to buy me gifts to make up for it, below is my wish list for this year (I especially want the shoes). Ally

1. Wildfox Couture Lolita Sunglasses

The tint on these shades look just like twilight and would look perfect for a day at the beach, checking out babes. Also, the shape of the frames put out a youthful, fun look so you'll look approachable — even if you're surrounded by your girlfriends.  Sigh, is it summer yet?

2. UNIF Lore Velvet Hat
Velvet, floppy and red? It's like my heart but in the form of a hat! This totally reminds me of all the legendary groupies from the late '60s and '70s — their style, beauty and power over their rockstar prey that they'd snag (or shag) for all of America to see. GIRL POWER!

3. BAGGU Leather Drawstring Bag

Spring break forever… seriously! I am still SUCH a huge Spring Breakers fan that my BFF gave me her special hot pink unicorn mask. I would cry through it but WWBBV? (BBV is our affectionate term for Vanessa Hudgens.) She wouldn't drop a single tear unless it was for Alien.

4. Jeffrey Campbell Mulder Treaded Platform Boot
These give me a cool but tough military vibe like: Stand up straight, ya wimp.  They command power, respect and should be feared! I wouldn't want to get kicked in the butt by these babies.

5. Butterfly Specimen Poster
Before I knew what a tramp stamp was, I was obsessively in love with butterflies. As a kid, my mother had coasters with wooden rims and glass-encased butterflies within them. I played with them as much as my Barbie! (BTW did you know the Queen Alexandra [cough… full name… cough] is the largest butterfly in the world? They're supes valuable and I want one!)

Best Albums of 2013: Steve Gunn

Coming in at number ten on our list of the Best Albums of 2013 is Steve Gunn's album Time Off. Gunn is a critically acclaimed New York-based guitarist and songwriter whose work as both a solo artist and a member of his current band has gained him major recognition in the music sceneThat reputation helped him score a spot on tour with Kurt Vile as an "auxiliary Violator" in May of 2013, giving Steve the ultimate bragging rights of being the only artist in our top ten to have toured in two bands on our list! Impressive, right? Not to mention a LOT of work. So take a breather, get to know our number ten artist and get Gunn's tips on how to chill out on your own time off.
Interview by Ally Mullen

Hi Steve! Could you tell us about your upbringing?

I was born in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania. I had a really great group of friends there who have gone on to some considerable accomplishments. We're proud of our little borough. Joan Jett is from our town. My friend Anthony Campuzano, a talented and accomplished artist, made the work that appears on the back cover of my album. Anthony’s dad is now the mayor of Lansdowne.

After finishing high school I ventured into Philadelphia, went to Temple University, and worked at a video store. I moved to NYC a year after finishing college and have been here ever since. I've held various jobs in the fine art business over the years, and I now sneak guitars on airplanes and try not to eat fast food. 

Let's talk about your album cover for Time Off. Where are all of those photos from? Are they your own?
I took most of the photos on the cover. My friend and bandmate, Justin Tripp, also took a few of them. I went to Justin’s studio with a box of photos, trying to figure out what to do for the cover. I tried to pick photos that had some relevance to the themes of the songs. Most of the photos are from my travels over the years and from around NYC. We threw the photos on a table, arranged them quickly, and took a photo of the pile. There is one picture of a small boy holding a puppy—that's me. I still really like dogs, and most animals.

If forced to choose, what's your favorite song on the album?
It varies, but right now my favorite song to play is "Water Wheel." I've been trying to play the songs differently, and I completely changed this song and it's now more comfortable and not as boring for me to play. I've played these songs a ton over the past six months, so I've been taking different risks with them. This one has always been the most difficult song to play, so I guess it makes it less tedious.

What's your favorite record of 2013?
One stand out record for me this year was made by my friend Jimmy Seitang, under the moniker, Stygian Stride. I've seen Jimmy play in various rock bands over the years, and this record took me by pleasant surprise. His composed synthesizer pieces harken back to a time when this kind of music was constructed with more care and wasn't made with merely a laptop. He's got all the old equipment, and he artfully recorded a fine album that could hold up to any German synth LP made in the '70s. A great listen for a dinner party—your friends will think you are cool if you play this. It's not easy to make a record that sounds like this

What is your favorite memory from the past year?
Taking the subway to Ed Sullivan Theater and playing on Late Show With David Letterman with Kurt Vile was pretty great. Playing shows in Russia was also a highlight.

When you have some quality time for yourself, what do you like to do?
Catch up on rest, catch up on vegetables, exercise, and put on some different clothes.

Can you give us five tips on how to make the best of your time off?
1. [Hold off on] texting, checking posts, and e-mailing—they can usually wait! (At least a little.)
2. Hold a real book in your hands and read it.
3. Go to a library, get some interesting cookbooks, and have a dinner party with your friends.
4. Drink wine and listen to Fado (maybe at the dinner party?).
5. Take a mindless stroll.

Buy Time Off here on iTunes!

Behind-The-Scenes: Jesse Medlin

Meet Jesse Medlin, our NYC-based senior display coordinator who can cook up a mean beet sauce for the ladies and will give the best homemade gifts this holiday season—the sweetest being a hug! Interview by Ally Mullen

Introduce yourself...
I am known as Manbaby or Beetle around the halls of Urban Outfitters. I live in Brooklyn and help out the visual teams in our flagship store on 14th & 6th in Manhattan, and the Canadian flagship store in Toronto on Younge and Dundass. I also help with special projects and concept development for the visual team at home office. On top of that, I recently started buying vintage clothing for the Urban Renewal brand, which has been a really cool addition to all the other stuff I do.

How have you incorporated the holidays into your stores display?
We have some really talented people in our stores, so they do most of the heavy lifting around the holidays. I like to help the visual teams I work with keep it fun and interesting for the local shoppers. We strive to inspire people to have fun through our holiday displays, otherwise what's the point?

What gifts from UO are you hoping to receive this holiday season?
1. Timberland Mt. Washington Chelsea Boot

And where will you be celebrating Christmas? 
I'm headed back to Tennessee for the holidays. I get to spend quality time with the family eating like a pig, being lazy, and watching cartoons with my younger cousins. I also have a tradition of spending a couple days with old friends, drinking too much, and going to as many thrift stores around Nashville as possible.

Do you like to cook? If so, what's your signature dish?
I make a pasta sauce out of beets during the winter months that is usually a big hit with friends. It turns the noodles pink, which the ladies always dig. 

When it comes to gift-giving, do you prefer to buy them or create something handmade?
Dang, I guess it all just depends on the receiving party. To me it's more about being thoughtful and giving someone the right gift rather than making vs. buying something. Plus, I live in NYC which is crazy expensive and I'm not a baller by any means, so most friends get a beer, a shot, and a hug. 

Brag a bit and tell us about the best handmade gifts you've given...
The last thing I made for a gift was a custom shoe-denim-sweater cabinet for my wife. She was pretty stoked on that one. I made stash boxes for my friends once, and filled them with a bottle of hot sauce I made myself and a customized swiss army knife. My friend Justin is really into spray paint, so I made him a custom storage cabinet that was built and painted to look like a Krylon paint can. I used to make a lot of silkscreens, so I've printed custom pillows, shirts, and posters for friends in the past. Oh, and I have a button maker, so I've made buttons for people as well. Everyone loves a good button.

Where can we find you online?
Nowhere at the moment but I will rep #gleepglopbycars

Behind-the-Scenes: Cory Robinson

Urban Outfitters' Display Artist Mentor Cory Robinson found some time between setting-up our Miami store and making his own art to talk about what's on his holiday wish list, and what he'll gift you if you're lucky enough. 
Interview by Ally Mullen

Introduce yourself!

I am originally from Connecticut, but moved to Philly in 2003. This is where I was lucky enough to get involved with the Urban Outfitters display world and I haven't looked back. I now reside in sunny and relaxing Tampa, Florida. When I'm not working, I sell art work.  In the last few months, my wife and I have also been selling art and vintage clothes at local markets. 

What are the best and most challenging aspects of working on store display?
The best part is traveling to places that I may not usually choose to go, working with all the homies that I don't get to see all the time, creating new stuff, seeing new stuff, and skating new stuff. The hardest thing would be the work and short timeline to accomplish so much. People sometimes think that we are just on some type of vacation sippin' fancy drinks, but we're far from it. We go in early and work late. You have to be focused and ready for a lot to come your way. It's not easy to set a entire store to be visually stimulating in a week's time. It's also hard to remember that you are not on vacation with your friends, so you have to keep your after-work activities pretty mellow. 

Tell us about the Miami tote bags that you designed...
I submitted around 16 drawings—some maybe not so appropriate (cats doing beer bongs)—but awesome nonetheless. The team picked the one they liked sent it to the art department who added color. It was a collaboration really, and I am super stoked to be a part of it!

Let's talk holiday! What do the windows look like right now at your Urban Outfitters store in Tampa?
My holiday windows came out really pretty and cool. There are a lot of mirrors, gold and silver foiling, and lights. I actually got "proud of's" from the company. 

What's on your UO holiday wishlist?
1. Urban Renewal Vintage Jansport backpack
2. Converse Chuck Taylor High-Tops in cream or maybe Low-Top white
3. American Fleece Lounge Pants
4. Dickies Skinny Straight Work Pant
5. Grateful Dead Flowers Tee

When you're getting a gift for someone else, do you tend to buy something or create it yourself?
I try to be creative and make people gifts. Sometimes the time slips away from me and I go into panic mode and just buy something. But mostly I try to create something special. Recently, I've been making these cats cut out of old skateboards, which are fun gifts. If you have a kid, I might gift you one of the onesies or puzzles that I make. If you get really lucky, you might score one of the T-shirts that I designed for Skatepark of Tampa with 'Lil Ripper' on them. Beyond that, you might get a Chili's gift card or a funny watercolor I've made.

Be honest: What's the worst gift you've ever gotten?
I don't remember how I got it or who gave it to me, but I got a $50 gift card to a grocery store. At first, I was hyped, like, "free groceries!" But once I hit the Googler and saw that it was a hour away from my house in Philly, I was super bummed. I'll never drive there and if I did, my chicken nuggets would be defrosted by the time I got home. I still have it, by the way, if any wants a Genuardis gift card. I've kept it like some sort of gift card hoarder.

Where can we find you online?
My website If you wanna see art, pics of my cat or my homie standing in front of weird cars (#gleepglopbycars), then follow my instagram @mrcoryrobinson

Model Moment: Anais Pouliot

While in town for the 2013 Holiday Surprise Party shoot, angel-faced model Anaïs Pouliot chatted to us in-between takes about her career and what she gets up to on her days off. Ally

Name: Anaïs Pouliot
Current location: NYC
Hometown: Terrebonne, a suburb of Montreal in Quebec, Canada
Height: 5'10"
Agency: The Society
Astrological sign: Cancer
What you were doing before you started modeling? I was a high school student.
How did you get discovered? I went with my parents to an agency in Montreal. They immediately took me.
What was your first big break? Working for Prada, I believe.
When you're not working, what will we find you doing? Cooking, reading, pilates, yoga, hiking…
Favorite food? Any good homemade food.
What's the first thing you do when you wake up? Make tea or coffee.
What's your off-duty beauty routine? In the morning: Cleaning my face, applying a little bit of concealer under the eyes and some mascara. At night: Making sure all makeup is removed and applying a nice hydrating cream.
What's your number one beauty tip? Curling my eyelashes! It makes my eyes look more open and awake.
Do you have any special skills? I can run in high heels!
What's your life motto? Try and try until you succeed.

Now, strike a pose!

Follow the lovely Anaïs on Instagram and Twitter @Anais_Pouliot!

Obsessions: Jessica DeCarlo

Jessica DeCarlo first started selling her handmade jewelry at the age of 16, participating in local fairs in New Jersey. Since her youth, Jessica has built her craft both locally and internationally. She has gone from studying with goldsmiths in Florence, Italy, to working with talented designers in Philadelphia and Vermont, learning the ins and out of creating and making a business out of jewelry along the way. 

Today Jessica rests her head in Brooklyn, New York and works out of her studio in Dumbo, Brooklyn. She finds inspiration in mother nature and old objects, making her a big fan of everything antique and vintage. Jessica DeCarlo's collection is available online now and offers a variety of geometric jewelry — including crescent moon-shaped necklaces and a mix of crystals (both real and metallic) — that even Stevie Nicks would find herself charmed by.

Our obsession with Jessica is at a level ten, with her gems and metalwork making us wonder what is more important in the long run: An amazing new piece of jewelry or this month's rent?  Since we're fortunate enough to be carrying her latest collection, we decided to reach out to Jessica and find out what she is obsessed with. Below are her big top five (that we can't wait to check out!). —Ally

"S'more Bakery has the most amazing treats. They are handmade, handcrafted s'mores! My favorites are The S’morgasm and The Choco."

"Have you ever seen Antiques Roadshow? I'm obsessed. People's reactions when they find out what they thought was junk in their garage is worth $100k is nothing less than amazing."

"I use Acqua Di Rose from Santa Maria Novella every single day. It's an ancient recipe made in the Florentine Hills. I found it while I was studying in Florence over 10 years ago, it's magic and has been part of my life ever since!"

"Blithe and Bonny hand-crafted beeswax candles are the best; they are subtle and smell delicious. I burn them every day at home, in the studio, and in our shop. All natural, all handmade."

"All of the vintage and estate jewelry from my pals over at Estate Jewels by George and Raf. They are the most amazing duo, with the best taste and curation of special antique jewels."

Delorean - "Spirit" at UO AfterFest Presents Making Time

We wish Delorean was still going to be in town to play at Fun Fun Fun and our AfterFest this weekend.  In honor of the lovely Spaniards, here's a video of their live performance from AfterFest FYF of their song "Spirit." Be sure to check the guys out when they return to the states in the new year! —Ally

Interview: Joe Segal of Pretty Snake

You've seen them on Tumblr, you've seen them on Project Runway and now you can see them all over the Urban Outfitters website! Of course we're talking about the Pretty Snake Crazy Kitty Sweaters! Here we talk to Joe Segal, the designer and man who makes those magical cat prints come to life with fuzzy sweaters and 50,000 (yes I said 50,000) googly eyes a year.

Interview by Ally Mullen

Hi Joe! Introduce yourself with a quick bio!
My name is Joseph Aaron Segal, but you can call me Joe. I'm the creator of the fashion lines Pretty Snake and World of JAS. I grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts and eventually landed in Providence, Rhode Island where my career in textile and fashion design materialized. I work full time designing and making my fashion lines here in Providence as well as teach a computerized knitting design course at Rhode Island School of Design. 

When and how did your first "Crazy Kitty Sweater" happen?
The very first Crazy Kitty Sweater was born while I was working on my MFA in textile design at RISD. I was working on a textile collection inspired by a historical Indian tunic that was part of the RISD Museums Costume and Textiles Collection. I learned that the tunic I looking at was created to ward off the evil eye, and eventually I came to the black cat as a source of inspiration for my project. The Crazy Kitty graphic was originally a tiny painting I made inspired by an old collectible tin full of kitties and then I first knitted it as a wool dress in 2009. When I realized that knitting graphic sweaters affordably was super hard as an emerging designer, I decided to print the cats on pre-existing sweaters and that's when the phenomenon began!

Why cats? Do you have any of your own?
I love cats because they can be cute and loving while also being really weird and mysterious. Somehow, I actually don't have any cats, but my good friend — and only full-time employee — Hannah Abelow, brings her cat Pablo to visit sometimes! I like to think though, if I wasn't surrounded by kitty things all the time, I'd have some real ones.

Do you buy the decorative eyes in bulk at this point? Or are you well known at the craft store for picking them up?
I couldn't believe it, but I completely bought out my first source of cat eyes. Now I import about 50,000 cat eyes a year! 

How many goggly eyes have you ever use on one sweater?
Well, the average sweater has 16-24 eyes, but for one of my looks in my Northern Quilts collection I used about 300 eyes. The I've also made wedge shoes completely covered in kitty eyes!

Since you're known for such a unique item, how do you feel you will branch out in the future to create new, cat-free creations?
I actually have an all new cat-free collection out right now! I used cake icing to create a colorful photo realistic print collection that is available in all sorts of dresses, skirts and leggings. You can find the collection in my web stores (links below!). I'm super excited about my next collection coming out in December: it's inspired by curiosity cabinets.

Sorry we can't help ourselves: give us the dish on Project Runway!
Project Runway was just as crazy as it looks on TV! You have to think fast and be good at working with all sorts of personalities.
1. Your favorite judge: I wasn't expecting to think this, but I thought Heidi Klum was a great judge! She was always surprising me because she really appreciated the more artistic and conceptual approach to fashion design.
2. Most embarrassing moment: I feel like I'm always doing embarrassing things, we even call it "JAS-ing it up" while working at the studio, but somehow I managed to not have a stand-out embarrassing moment. I'm sure if I were to ever go on the show again I'd do some embarrassing things now that I'm comfortable with being on camera.
3. Something we might not know about the show? One of the coolest things about the show that you don't see is that a lot of us are still really close friends! Even a year later, I talk to a bunch of my fellow Season 11 cast mates regularly.

Where else can we find you on the Internet?
WORLD of JAS, Pretty Snake, and on Instagram @prettysnake!

Shop the Pretty Snake One-Of-A-Kind Crazy Kitty Sweaters

Wes Week: From Above - Richie Tenenbaum

If there's one thing Wes Anderson's movies are known for, it's their epic "shots from above." In each shot, a brilliant moment is captured with great detail and beauty.  It's one of the many tools in his directing that he uses to bring you closer to the characters, and by glimpses of their possessions and surroundings, you find out more and more about them. The shots—some simple, some silly, and some absolutely heartbreaking—are praised by fans and critics alike. 

While we may not be able to exactly recreate one of Wes' perfect cinematographic seconds, we can provide you with some products that, when put together, might make you feel for a slight second that you're one of the most beloved characters to ever come out of Mr. Anderson's brain: Richie Tenenbaum from The Royal Tenenbaums. —Ally

The perfect tent for the tennis playing, all-American boy inside him.

Vintage Classic Stripe Wool Blanket
A striped blanket to put inside your tent.

Magical Thinking Wild Thing Glow-In-The-Dark Tapestry
And a tapestry to decorate the inside.

Andrew Bannacker Black Bird Art Print
The closest thing to Richie's family photo would be a photo of his hawk. The closest thing we have to a hawk is this bird.

An old record player.

With the Stones playing in the background.

A unique collection of something to decorate your record player with.

For a traveler trying to escape his true love, and a map to always find his way back to her.

If you get a large, you can have enough room for two, no matter where you're camping out. Museum? No problem.

Allergy Shield Soft Pillow - Set Of 2
A pillow to rest a troubled head. Or two.

Crystal Growing: Giant Sequoia

After spotting this crystal growing plant pack on our website, we couldn't resist adding it to our bag and checking out! Here, Katie and I followed the directions, crossed our fingers, and hoped for the best. Follow these super simple steps with your own pack and get the crazy beautiful results that we got in under 24 hours. Introducing the Giant Sequoia! —Ally

We opened up the crystal growing pack and found all of the ingredients we needed! First, we pulled out a mini sequoia tree that was made of what we're assuming is cardboard, but the "branches" were full of color. The sequoia fits perfectly into a circular tray, which comes along with the directions and a package of CLEAR MAGIC LIQUID!

The directions are simple and informative... probably. We didn't read them, we just went with our instincts. That's what science is all about, right? We suggest following them just in case, but we can't force you to, so just be smart and don't tell Mr. White. (Aw, too soon? We miss you, B.B.)

Next we cut open the CLEAR MAGIC LIQUID and Katie poured it into the tray. Almost instantly, the tree began to soak it up.

Step whatever we're on: LET 'EM GROW! Let those crystals start to form and be patient. I began seeing tiny results after a few hours, but after it hit 5PM I left for the work day, excited at what I'd find the next morning...

TA-DA! Crystals! Beautiful, marshmellow-y crystals had grown all over my (mini) giant sequoia tree! Just look at them...

So cool, right? WARNING: Be careful when moving your tree after the crystals have grown, as they might fall off, causing you to pick them up, squish them in your fingers and get weird magic crystal fluff on your hands. If your skin DOES come in contact with the crystals, wash your skin immediately! Possible outcome if you don't: nothing, tingling feelings, or crystals growing all over your body turning you into a full-on crystal person (think the human tree man but prettier!).

Wes Week: BTS Photos from 'Royal Tenenbaums'

In honor of us selling The Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoller Seitz, we wanted to share these brilliant behind the scenes photos from (my personal favorite film) Royal Tenenbaums. The image of Luke Wilson with that hawk STILL gives me the butterflies. (Via Vulture) —Ally

Buy The Wes Anderson Collection

Interview: Danielle Greco of VFile's 'Out Hear'

VFiles' new show Out Hear has hosts Danielle Greco and Brooklyn Matt meeting up with the coolest musicians around to hang out and take part in their favorite hobbies for the day. I spoke with my homegirl Danielle (aka the most famous bitch to ever come out of Northeast Philadelphia) about her experiences on the show, her love for Playboy and what she looks for in a man. Watch out world, she's out here and ready to take over!
Interview by Ally Mullen

Yo girl! Describe yourself to our readers in rap form!
I'd describe myself as a, "Cutie with a booty, fuxin' with sugar daddies only cause they chewy."

You started from the bottom making store videos, now you're headed to the top with your own VFiles show. On a scale of 1 to 10 how Drake are you feeling right now?
I'm feeling like Drake in the "Started from the Bottom" music video when he is standing in a white MOVING convertible while fake snow is landing on his all white outfit. That's my Drake level right now.

Explain your new show, Out Hear, to us. What's it all about? Why should we watch it?
Out Hear is the music show that has nothing to do with music. It recalls and updates the raw '90s MTV formats and stars Matt and I, who are like your personal Carson Daily and Jenny McCarthy.  We get to know everyone's favorite artists through their hobbies. Out Hear will integrate the worlds of music and fashion, detailing the eccentric style and lives of today’s most popular musical acts.

Who are some of the artists we can expect to see in the upcoming weeks?
We have a great lineup this season with guests including Rat King, Blood Orange, A$AP Ferg and Ssion.

Who would be your dream Out Hear guest and why? 
I HAVE BEEN BEGGING AND PLEADING TO GET INSANE CLOWN POSSE ON THE SHOW. Before even announcing them, I'd probably burst into Justin Bieber mania-type tears. ICP in my mind holds such an importance culturally. They have created a whole world of their own. I'm a huge horrorcore fan and their stage theatrics are actually mind-blowing. I've gone into past jobs with two day old Faygo in my hair.

Did you ever get hit on while filming? Who was it/what line did they use? Did you find love on Out Hear
I'm not going to say anyone hit on me outright, but I will say while filming with A$AP Ferg there may have been an unspoken love connection. The episode quickly turned into mine and Ferg's first date. It was adorable.

What's the most #embarrassing thing that happened on set?
SO MUCH EMBARRASSING STUFF HAPPENS ON SET. During one episode when we were filming with Mykki Blanco where I helped him give fans henna tattoos, the henna needle fell into a gutter drain and our producer stuck gum (CHEWED BY ME) on the edge of a stick to retrieve it while there were kids waiting for henna just staring at us all. I also try to hook the camera guys up with my friends while we are filming. They are real cute! 

In case you missed it: Out Hear Episode 1 with Mykki Blanco and A-Trak!

Tell us about the other host of the show, Matt. What's his deal? How old is he? Is he a male model? Is he single?
Matt has become one of my favorite people. I'm from Northeast Philadelphia and although Matt reps Brooklyn HARD he reminds me of everyone I grew up with. Matt is a total model boy, don't ever get started on his signature hair style! Is Matt single? Well, not after I'm done with him..

Your accent is beautiful but some people don't appreciate it. Do you have any accent haters? What's your response to them? 
I have actually NEVER received backlash about my accent which blows my mind because it's painful. As I was watching the first episode I texted all my friends saying, "OMG, you are all friends with Snookie."

What kind of looks can we expect to see you in for this series? Do you get to dig through the VFiles closet for filming? And if so, what are your favorite VFiles items of clothing to wear? 
All my looks for the show are pieces you can find in the VFILES Shop. In this season I am wearing some of my favorite designers such as Ammerman Schlosberg, Astrid Anderson, & Eckhaus Latta.

Do you get your nails done before each episode? What color/design are they now? 
I have actual meltdowns when I find out I'm filming and I'm missing like, a pinky nail and I'm rocking some sketchy look. My nail artist has like three daughters and a hot bod and I love her. They are long black and pointy now with little red designs; my new vibe is "evil." 

What's the craziest thing that you've ever been asked to do? 
I have this OBSESSION with Playboy and recently I got offered to do a spread for the upcoming Kate Moss issue. Sorry though, guys. Not happening. Also, you can find me in a faux tuffle with Jungle Pussy in the Danny Brown "WitIt" video.

Favorite musician(s) of all time? 
My favorite musician of all time is Trina. She is thee baddest bitch, and surprisingly the SWEETEST one as well.

Coolest"slang" words to be saying right now? 
I don't usually use slang words, I cringe at the word "swag," LOL. I also cringe at guys taking mirror selfies, but that's a whole other story.

What are you being for Halloween?
I actually hate Halloween, but I always tell people that I am going to be something really insane, like an AVATAR. 

Do you believe in ghosts? Ever see one?
I always see ghosts out of the corner of my eye so I casually tell people like, "Oh you have a ghost. What color should I dye my hair?"

What's your ideal first date? 
Yes, I love this question so much. My ideal first date would honestly probably be a hockey game where I can eat, and get drunk and scream. I usually do that on my first dates anyways, but that usually doesn't go over well at the Olive Garden.

Last text you received? 
The last text I received is from a guy I "know" claiming Project Pat is his favorite rapper which I'll probably respond to with, "Adventures in Hollyhood was brilliant."

What's the background of your phone? 
The background on my phone is a Playboy bunny. Like I said before, I am OBSESSED with Playboy.

BE HONEST: What's more important to you at the moment? A guy's looks, personality, or social status?
A guy's social status is the most important thing. I have a strictly "NO JOE SCHMOS" dating policy. If you can't Google your man and you're a hot girl, you're really doing yourself a disservice. Ultimately I'm attracted to successful, hard-working guys. That's hotter to me than some stud living in his parents' guest bedroom. It helps if they shop at VFILES.

UO's Marissa Maximo on Girls I Know NYC

Urban Outfitters' very own Marissa Maximo was recently featured on our favorite bookmarked website, Girls I Know NYC! I don't know about you, but I think it's a pretty perfect pairing—Marissa is one of the coolest girls WE know in the office, so it only makes sense for her to be featured!

Hear Marissa's New York story here and get an outsiders perspective on our super inspirational Director of Brand Relations and Special Projects.

To learn more about Girls I Know, make sure to read our About A Girl(s) feature interview with the site's founder Jen Steele, and her partner in writing, Anna Gray!—Ally

Friday the 13th Tattoos

Ben Kopp

It's Friday the 13th so you know what that means... it's time to dig through your couch and old purses for some change to take to TD Bank, so you can scrounge up enough money to get a $13 tattoo of something FT13th-inspired!  

We know tattoos last like, a really long time or whatever, so to make it easier for you to choose on this super-duper-stitious day, our lovely team in the art department have provided us with awesome designs to share with you! 

It's simple: Just print one of these bad boys out, take it to your local parlor, and get it tattooed on you! We suggest your face as the best possible spot.

P.S. If you DO happen to get one done, please send us an email of it at! —Ally

This tattoo will remain timeless as your body withers away and dies.

And it's only 13 calories!

What a tough pussy.


I feel like I just lost 10 years of my life by just POSTING this last one.

Ben Sifel
2 cute 2 resist. Seriously, try to tell me with a straight face you don't want this right now.

NYFW: Backstage with Katie Gallagher

(Photos via Katie McCurdy)

Walking down the stairs to the basement lounge at The Raven (55 Gansevoort St.), I could just FEEL that I was in Katie Gallagher's presence. Or, at least, I felt like I was walking around in a place that lived in a far corner of her mind. The lights were dim, the walls were covered in soft velvet, and everywhere you turned you were blinded by a bright stage light or the gaze of an ethereal being (hint: model) lounging on black leather couches, picking away at bowls of candy corn. It was official: photographer Katie McCurdy and I had landed smack-dab in the middle of the backstage preparations for Katie Gallagher's New York Fashion Week presentation.

I met Katie the last week in August. She invited me over to her apartment in Chinatown for a photo shoot and interview with her for a UO At Home feature (coming this October and shot by Bobby Whigham!). I had come baring T-shirt samples—they were soft, dainty and delightfully covered in Halloween-themed drawings done by the host herself.  We were photographing the Katie Gallagher X UO Collection for the first time since their creation.

Fast-forward two weeks as we were happily photographing the collection on a group of models, hand-picked to display the T-shirts as a tribute to their unique looks. After shooting a few of our favorite girls, we walked upstairs to the presentation. As we waited behind thick curtains, we anxiously awaited to see what laid ahead of us. Although we watched as each model was individually scurried up the stairs after finishing hair and makeup, we were still blown away when the curtains opened.

As we took a step forward, the air was filled with the scent of fresh flowers. The room was light and pleasant, and you were immediately greeted by a row of models, lined up one by one, each in beautifully fitting ivory, pink and black fabric ranging from sheer bodysuits to full-length dresses; leather bra tops to lacy skirts. Katie Gallagher's SS14 Collection Bloom was certainly as beautiful as it's name would suggest. 

From my first meeting with Katie, I feel I had watched her bloom myself—from a quiet girl answering the door, smiling warmly while answering questions about her family, and eventually laughing into the night as we ate tacos and drank margaritas; to a woman, standing strong and proud in the back of the room, watching the camera bulbs flashing upon her hard work as the crowd packed the room in awe, once again, of what she had created. Our acquaintanceship, though brief and business-based, gave me a sense of what Katie Gallagher is really like, and the greatness she is capable of.

A special thanks to our hosts Katie Gallagher and Chesley with One PR for letting us get in the way of things and be a part of such a special day. —Ally

Want more? Shop the Katie Gallagher X UO Collection and keep a look out for our UO At Home feature with Katie during the month of October!

Father John Misty "I'm Writing A Novel"

You know how when you've been dating someone for a while and you get to the point where you can openly talk about other people that you think are hot? And then you play the, "What celebrity do you think is the hottest?" game, which leads into the "One Free Pass" talk? You know... that talk where you agree to give one another a get out of jail free card to hook up with someone famous, but you can only choose ONE person and no one else or it's considered cheating?

Well, for me, Father John Misty's Josh Tillman is that ONE person! I mean, my lord, if his face and music alone aren't enough for you to accept my nomination, then take a few minutes to watch the video for "I'm Writing A Novel," and I'm pretty sure that after a few shakes of his hips you'll fully understand why. —Ally