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Behind the Scenes: White Sands

Our newest Shape Shifter photoshoot took us to New Mexico's incredible White Sands, the largest white gypsum desert in the world. 275 square miles of crisp bright dunes set against a pristine blue sky: it's a must-see. (And a favorite photoshoot destination for its surreal, perfect light!)

Behind the scenes with the lovely Joanna Halpin, we tromped around the mountains, asked about that whole radioactivity thing and even made a new (animal) friend. 
Photographs by Devyn Galindo.

Meet our new camel friend. The production team explains, "The park ranger sent us a text and said 'We have a camel.' At first we thought it was a typo, then we looked at the white dune across from us and there was the camel in all of his glory."

His owner, George, was nice enough to let us hang out with them for part of the afternoon (read more about the White Sands camel here). 

New friend #2: the park ranger.

Who's leading who? 

Three notes on the White Sands:

1. Sabertooth Tiger footprints have been found there! 

2. The White Sands are considered an active dunefield, moving from west to east as much as 30 feet every year (the wind also leaves amazing patterns in the sand). 

3. It's also the location of the Trinity Site, where the government detonated the world's first atomic bomb on July 16, 1945. We are told it is now only "mildly radioactive."

Near and Far: Victory Press x UO


Victory Press is designer Jessica Humphrey and artist Jonathan Cammisa, collaborating to create a collection of men’s clothing inspired by post modern art, prints and silhouettes of ‘80s skate and surf culture, and the functionality, integrity and ideology of ‘90s outdoors wear.

En route to launch a Victory Press pop-up event at our Los Angeles-based concept store Space 15 Twenty, Jess and Jonathan drove across the country, visiting American factories and getting up close and personal with the country’s great outdoors. Here, the design duo lets us in on every adventure of their nationwide trek.







How did you two come together and launch Victory Press?
Jess: Jonathan grew up in South Philadelphia skating. He was heavy into grafitti and hip hop, and he spent his summers at the Jersey Shore. I grew up in Virginia Beach surrounded by surfing and skateboarding, and as a teenager photographed every punk and hardcore band that came through my town. We met about five years ago in Vinegar Hill, a small neighborhood in Brooklyn. We both were obsessed with 1980s and ‘90s vintage clothing and we had the same taste in art and music, so we became best friends. We decided to start a clothing line out of a shared realization that outdoors wear just wasn't cool. We wanted to make outdoors wear that like-minded people want to wear.

Tell us about the Victory Press pop-up that brought you across the country!
Our friend Kyle came to our studio one day and proposed we set up shop at Space 15 Twenty for the summer of 2014. As a new brand, we were stoked on the opportunity to build out a space with our creative vision and spread our ideas to the West Coast. So, we though it was only appropriate to see the country on our way here so we can tell our story to you.







What was your favorite city or pit-stop along the way?
Mystic Hot Springs, Utah was by far the most interesting destination. We spent a few hours soaking in old claw foot tubs filed in with mineral rich hot springs with epic views of the Utah Mountains. Mystic Mike, who hosts the property, has an extensive collection of posters and stickers he's illustrated for touring bands, including the Grateful Dead. He also has a YouTube channel where he hosts live music and does an awesome job recording. There is also a collection of buses previously owned by Deadheads, for which you can rent and sleep over, if you want. It was truly a mystical moment. And then there was Yellowstone National Park—there are no words for how beautiful it is there.

Any travel mishaps?
Not really. We had good vibes on our side!

What was your day-to-day life like on the road?
We woke up. I'd heat us up some Grady's Coffee we cold brewed the night before. I might have some time to make breakfast while the boys break down the camp. If not, it was Early Bird Granola and yogurt and then we were on the road. Some days were long drives—almost 14 hours. We literally drove until it was time to sleep. Our meals that day would be "Jon's Back Seat Turkey Sandwiches" and the good old gas station special. The other days we'd drive for six hours or so and set up camp. We'd cook chili or hamburgers, relax, shoot our BB gun, then go to sleep extra early, wake up, maybe do a hike and then hit the road again. We were lucky enough to spend a good stint in Yellowstone and Utah where we could meander a little more and soak up the environment. We drove through 15 states in seven days, so there wasn't a whole lot of time to stay idle.







What were some of the best and worst meals you had while traveling?
The best meal was the chili we cooked over campfire the first night in Yellowstone. We brought our cast iron dutch oven and made a slow cooked chili and cornbread. We set up camp with the Grand Teton mountains as our backdrop, with no other human in site. It was magical. We actually ruled on the food tip. Even the sixth time we had turkey sandwiches, they were delicious!

What are your top five travel essentials?
Our trusty Birkenstocks, Oberto Beef Jerky, Snowpeak Titanium Stove, our dog, Jasper, and Santa Maria Novella Potpourri (for the stinky truck).

What advice would you give to someone about to embark on a cross-country trip?
Give yourself a good month because there is too much awesomeness to see.





The Victory Press x Ours Gallery summer pop-up shop at Space 15 Twenty (1520 N. Cahunega Blvd) is open now and runs through July 27, 2014.


UPDATE: Now you can watch the video Victory Press made with the help of Nathan Caswell about their cross country trip!

About a Girl: Keating Sherwin

"You can call me Keating," says Lindsay Keating Sherwin

"Dropping the first name actually came from signing my full name on art pieces," she explains. "It just took up too much space."  

Off with the excess; it's a do-what-works attitude that the young Brooklyn painter abides by, both in her unconventional, self-taught art background and general outlook about what it means to build a creative career in New York. Photography by Andrew Musson
 


We meet on the summer solstice in her sunny Bushwick studio, and Sherwin has a sore neck from a couple bad nights of sleep made worse by the fact that she can't quite find anywhere quiet to escape. Between her studio's location on a busy Brooklyn industrial thoroughfare and her new apartment smack in the middle of Chinatown, it's no wonder that Keating is wanting to install her next art show—an in-the-works series of abstract portraits—inside NoLIta's quiet, lush Elizabeth Street garden gallery space. "I love it there," she says, "But actually, my ideal place would be more like The Secret Garden, you know, with ivy walls and no distractions." 
 
Sherwin has a direct, serious presence and an artist's intuition that results in big, textural and color-driven pieces that are at the same time powerful and delicate. It's a mesmerizing balance founded on instinct. "I don't work this or that way," she says. "I just go!" 

In our studio visit, we talked with Keating about following her nose, finding a place in the "art world," and trying to make her own way amid all the noise.



Tell us about the current series you're working on, a set of portraits all done with live models. 
Well, I'm still trying to figure out how long it takes to make one! I'm seven portraits into this series now, but the sittings have all been kind of spaced out, which is not so good for positioning. I spend a lot of time backtracking. I feel like at this point I should say: It's five sittings for a portrait, but I could work on one for two years! At some point you've got to stop. 

I like the process a lot. When you're painting from your mind you have to make every decision; with this, I feel like I can just get lost in it.  


What else are you working on? 
The other big project is a commission for a film, a portrait that's supposed to be a love homage painted by this character's ex. He painted it when they are in love and now they're separated and it's the big piece he paints in this show. So it had to be kind of this epic thing. I think Alec Baldwin is going to be playing the painter, which is amazing and really hilarious.  

That is amazing! Who is the painting of? 
I painted that from a photograph—this is creepy—that image is a combination of a photograph of me when I was 21 in Savannah….and a selfie of Molly Shannon's face. [Laughs] I don't know! 


Where did you grow up?  
I'm originally from the Northeast but grew up in South Florida on the water. I'm used to constant humidity. When I came here, the first winter I was just pissed off. Then summer came and it's so amazing that you forget winter could ever exist.  

Do you think being in New York matters for work? 
Personally, I'm affected by where I am. I don't think I need the intensity of New York to get work done—in fact, I might be better off from being somewhere else. But I feel like I'm at a place where I'm so close to having a firm hold on my career, and I am not going to walk away from that. I can be very focused here.  

So no summer escapes in the works? 
My only plan is to be here, working and being hot in this studio! I've been on lockdown over here. You know, it's summer but I feel like I am just now coming out of my winter hole. I was recently talking about how I think September is the perfect time to leave. The summer months are overrated! You go to Montauk in September and you have the whole place to yourself. 


You didn't study art in school, and actually came into painting in a roundabout way. Can you talk about your background? 
As a child, I remember having a thought that I would grow up and be an artist in New York. Actually, maybe I made that up in retrospect. But either way, I didn't have a concept of what it meant. So I moved here in 2007, but it took me awhile to step away from just being caught up in the city. I worked in fashion showrooms, and then I worked for a branding company and then I was working in nightlife and met so many interesting people and artists. I think that made me re-remember, like, 'Oh yeah. That's why I'm here.' At the time I was doing makeup on photo shoots, and—this sounds weird—but I just picked up paints and started painting. I didn't have a clue what I was doing.  

Kind of the opposite way of getting into it than most people. 
Right, totally in reverse. I said it, and then I had to become it. But I had no fear to hold me back. I took a drawing class in college and loved it and worked hard in it, and I've always made charcoal drawings. It wasn't something that I was even aware of was 'art.' But sometimes, as far as art is concerned, when you have too much knowledge about a field it can steer you away. 




So what was a turning point then in transitioning from deciding to make art to getting solo shows?
Oil paint. Once I started using it I got a show! Well, first I had a couple solid years of painting and painting and making crap. I didn't feel like I was in control, so I incubated for awhile. I had been working in acrylics and I randomly went out and bought three tubes of oil paint. A friend told me I should enter this art competition so I did, and I ended up winning, and that got me a show.  


Are there people who you look to for advice or guidance with your work? 
I share a workspace with another [hyperrealistic] painter, and from sharing a studio space I have learned a lot about technique. In the past, I just used my own made-up technique! It's been great to observe what he does and take what I want from it. I find it very hard to find people who you trust their opinion of your work, but then there are times when you're alone and frustrated and you're like, 'How did this thing ever get to this place?' I have  a friend back here [in another studio in the same building]… another artist, and it's so valuable to have someone you can express things like that to. You don't want their advice, you just want their mutual understanding that you know they get it, and now you can move on.   


How do you approach that balance then, between relying on your intuition and knowing you have to participate to some extent in order to have a career? 
It's tricky: It's great to be a little bit oblivious, but you don't want to be a moron. Some days people will see what I'm doing and call it out and say whatever painter it looks like, which is so annoying! I don't work that way or think about that at all. I have freedom but it's both an asset and an inhibitor. But, you know, I try to remember that this is a long-term operation; I have some time to discover things. 


Behind The Scenes: Adri Law


Behind the scenes of our latest lookbook, Midnight Hour, we got up close and personal with Los Angeles-based photographer Adri Law.
Photography by Bobby Whigham



Hi Adri, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Adri: My name is Adri Law, I'm 24, born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I earned my BFA from Art Center College of Design and have been taking photos since I was about 16.

How did you first become interested in photography and get started in the industry?
I started taking my camera to a lot of punk and hardcore shows when I was about 16 and it kind of just grew from there. I would shoot bands, live shows, then started shooting my friends out and about then eventually it progressed into shooting models, editorials, and look books. It was a long process to get to where I am now.

Are there any photographers that you look up to?
A few photographers that I have drawn quitw a bit of inspiration from are: Edward Colver, Glen Friedman, Paul Jasmin, and Danny Lyon.

What else inspires you?
Though I get bits of inspiration from numerous things, I am, and always have been, inspired by the original hardcore and punk scenes, musically and photographically. Photos from the first Black Flag and Minor Threat shows have always struck a chord with me and photos of bands like The Clash and The Smiths provide endless styling inspiration when I shoot men.





If you couldn’t be photographing, what else would you be doing?
If I wasn't taking photos I would love to be doing some time of photo art direction.

How do you spend a day off? What are some of your go-to spots around town?
Many of my days "off " are spent editing photos. But if I have an actual free day I like to hang out with my best friend Eva and my pup Baxter, or ride motorcycles with my friend Dug. There are a handful of amazing spots I'm bound to be around my neighborhood...Echo Park Lake, the Echo Park or Silverlake Farmers Markets, Sage–the best vegan restaurant in my neighborhood, or somewhere in Little Tokyo having Sushi.

Where is the best place to get a cocktail in LA? What about New York?
I love Bloody Marys and Little Doms in Loz Feliz has the best ones. As far as New York goes, I'm not all that sure..though I did have a great Dirty Martini at Lovely Day last night.

What do you like to listen to while editing photos?
It really depends on my mood that day, and sometimes the weather. My solid go-to is always The Smiths or Morrissey. But sometimes I just sit in silence like a weirdo, haha!

Can you tell us about your personal style and how it has evolved over time?
I know what I like, so my style has been pretty consistent over the years. My taste levels have evolved, but I've always been attracted to dark colors, unique boots, and quality items, so my wardrobe has been building itself for quite some time.

Can you tell us about your shoot with Urban Outfitters?
I was actually approached about the shoot on my birthday, which was pretty exciting. The shoot took place in New York and we had three great models and amazing locations. The team was great and the shoot went smoothly, every photographers dream. I'm excited for everyone to see the photos!

Happy birthday! What are you looking forward to this year?
What do you hope to accomplish? Thank you! I'm looking forward to a year of firsts. I want to travel, meet new people, and create amazing opportunities for myself. I'm really making an effort to step out of my comfort zone and do things I didn't think were possible. 24–just GOING FOR IT.




Space Ninety 8: Welcome to the Gorbals


Ilan Hall, winner of Top Chef season 2, star of Knife Fight, and owner of the wildly popular downtown LA restaurant The Gorbals is a long-time friend of Urban Outfitters. Who better, then, to open up a restaurant (and open-air rooftop bar) at our new Brooklyn concept store Space Ninety 8? In Hall’s hands, food is fun, fresh, often irreverent (bacon wrapped matzo balls, anyone?), and always yummy. We caught up with the Long Island native, who has returned home to the East Coast to open The Gorbals’ new Williamsburg outpost, to talk trending ingredients, supermarket sushi, and what we can expect to see on his new menu.





Hi Ilan! Tell us about the concept for The Gorbals at Space Ninety 8.
I like to make food that’s a little bit cheeky, that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but at the end of the day is delicious. We started out the concept for our restaurant in LA with it being based in traditional Jewish food, with elements of pork sprinkled in! I try to keep that attitude in my food. Not that every dish has to have, like, shrimp and hummus—I don’t want to do it for the sake of doing it—but I like food to be fun. Some of it will be a little bit weird and maybe a bit challenging for people, but for the most part I want it to be tasty and really satisfying and for people to maybe eat things they haven’t eaten before. As a chef you want to open people’s eyes to new ingredients or things that are new to them.

So, you’re going beyond the Kale we see on many a Williamsburg menu?
I’m sick of kale for the sake of kale! I think there are so many great vegetables available, I don’t know why kale has had such a boom in popularity. It’s a good green… I just think that the idea of food trends is kind of ridiculous. We’re not going to have a kale salad on our menu, because everyone has a kale salad on their menu. I think that, being a chef, you need to utilize everything that you can. There are no rules. There’s so many types of greens you can use—different types of watercress, chickweed… I sort of want to stay away from bigger trends because it’s easy to get sucked into them. But maybe that’s a bad business decision! Who knows?





What can we expect to see on the menu?
I’m maybe about a third of the way through working on the menu. I’m trying to use things that are really seasonal and maybe a little bit more obscure. Not obscure but, like, less common fish. Most people don’t put bluefish on their menu—bluefish is one of my favorite fish. I’d rather use a skate cheek than a skate wing. I’d rather use a monkfish liver or a monkfish tail. There are so many great parts of an animal, and you don’t have to always use the basic filet. There’s this farm really close to where I grew up on Long Island in Glen Cove that, in the spring and summer, has amazing produce. We’re opening at the best possible time for New York [produce]. There’s peas, ramps, spring garlic, fava beans, soft shell crab, Bouchout mussels from Maine.

How did you approach the design of the space?
Within Space 98 I really wanted to keep the aesthetic of the restaurant soulfully connected to my restaurant in Los Angeles. It’s a bit more rough and rustic in LA, we have this giant 18ft communal table. Here, the focal point is our grill, once that’s fired up it will be the hearth, and heart, of the restaurant. I wanted to go a little bit more polished in terms of the furniture here. A friend made the tables, they’re a bit midcentury-ish. We got the legs from a metal-smith in southern California and and our plates are all organic and rough. I wanted to adapt to the space and have some plants and for it to be more put-together. When we opened up the restaurant in Los Angeles, we opened it with no money, all of our chairs we got at a secondhand place. I’m a father now—it’s time to grow up a little bit! At Space Ninety 8 we had the opportunity to do something that was really beautiful that wouldn’t take away from the old building. I think we did a pretty good job!





How did you come to open The Gorbals inside Space Ninety 8?
I’ve had a relationship with Urban Outfitters for a few years. I’ve done some charity events and some cooking things and hosted a lot of parties for them at my restaurant in LA. I was talking to someone about possibly doing some consulting work on a café here that Urban was thinking of opening and then I said, “That would be a great place for a restaurant!” And now, a year and a half later, we’re in the restaurant. It’s been a dream of mine to come back to New York and Williamsburg is the epicenter of new restaurants right now; it’s where people are doing exciting things, lots of late-night things. It’s similar to the push in New York around 2004 when all these new places were opening up in the East Village and Gramercy Park area—Momofuku and Casa Mono—and it all keeps moving East. We’ve been open in Los Angeles for almost five years, so it was time to come home.

Have you been shopping in the store yet?
I think my wife bought me some jeans! The space is beautiful, they really did a great job. It’s quite lovely. I love the renewal shop downstairs on the first floor, that’s my favorite. You just opened a bar on the roof deck, too.





What’s your poison?
I like to order very simple things at the bar. I like Irish whisky, I like single malt scotch. Lagavulin is my everyday scotch—I don’t like subtle scotch, I like something really smoky, really peaty. I drink gin; I’ll have a gin and tonic. If I’m ordering a cocktail I’ll usually have something that’s gin and a bit bitter.

How does the New York dining scene differ from LA?
New York people are very adamant about what they want, they have very high expectations of service and quality—you can’t really get anything by New Yorkers! New York is one of the most critical food scenes. Everyone works in their first six months towards that New York Times review. I’m not nervous, I just want to offer the best possible product that I can. I want it to be fun; I want people to have a good time when they’re here! Because when I’m cooking, even if it’s stressful or very busy, I still try and have fun, and I want my employees to have fun. That’s why we have an open kitchen—I want our cooks to be part of the party. I want everything to come together in an enjoyable way.





Where do you like to eat in New York?
I love going to Chinatown, I love going to Flushing. In Chinatown I love Great NY Noodletown—they have this balance of simplicity and super-powerful flavors. I have friends with some great restaurants. Casa Mono where I used to work is still probably, pound for pound, my favorite restaurant in New York. It’s tiny and the quality of food they put out is amazing. My friend Dale Talde opened two places in Park Slope—Talde is a really amazing restaurant. It just hits you in the heart, it’s really tasty and sort of Asian with no direct focus. My friend Damon Weiss is the chef at Lafaytte and he’s doing amazing French food on a very large scale. Edi and the Wolf in the East Village is amazing; [it has] Austrain roots—I like food from all over. Every time I have a meal, I’m inspired. I love places in the [Williamsburg] neighborhood: St. Anselm, Café Mogador. I love eating wherever I can, all the time.

What’s your food guilty pleasure?
Supermarket sushi! It’s gross! But there’s something about it. Like, a step below Wholefoods sushi, but not bodega sushi. I don’t know why. It’s gross in theory, and it’s gross in actuality too [laughs]. Because I’ve eaten sushi at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo at 6am and I’ve had some of the best and… that’s just not acceptable!

Studio Visit: Level Naturals, BYRD, and Poppy And Someday

For this installment of Local Beauty, we're heading to sunny Southern California to visit three favorite apothecary lines from the golden coast. Below, three behind-the-scenes glimpses inside the studios of Level Naturals, BYRD, and Poppy and Someday



Level Naturals is a natural soap line founded in 2009 by Jonathan Dubuque and Sabrina Robertson from their organic farm in Hawaii. Now housed in the old PBR brewery in downtown Los Angeles, we talked with Jonathan and Sabrina about loving Los Angeles, drawing inspiration from Thai spice markets, and fueling a business on "elbow grease and coffee." Photos by Chantal Anderson


Why L.A.? What was it that drew you to the city and why have you stayed? 
Jonathan: Why? Because Los Angeles is awesome. Yeah the traffic sucks, and there are no seasons, and every waiter is an actor trying desperately to get a walk-on role on some NBC show and we have the whole boulevard of broken dreams, etc. But, even with all of that going against us, L.A. has an incredible art scene that’s becoming more and more supportive of younger artists, we have the Dodgers and the Kings, you can ride your bike anywhere, and the city is pretty much a giant canvas. Dream it, print it, wheat paste it—you have a city-wide gallery show of your very own. Also, even with all the downside perspective of how many people move here with high hopes of becoming the next big thing and never making it, it’s still a city that has hope and is full of people dreaming. There is something pretty amazing about being in a place with so many people doing everything they can to get what they want. For all of these reasons, I stay here. 

Above: Level's Coffee Almond Salt Soak, made from coffee, four varieties kinds of salt, coffee extract, coffee butter, and almond essential oil.

Can you catch me up to speed on the history of Level Naturals?  
Jonathan: After a ton of wine in a hammock in Hawaii, waiting out what everyone was saying was going to be the storm of the century, we decided soap was how we would make our mark. A couple months later, I left my farm and moved to L.A. to start working with my bestie Sabrina in her garage and started studying plant chemistry. We had a blast doing it; it's a lot like being pastry chef and getting to play alchemy. Within a year we had our first store and six months after that we got to open a manufacturing plant in DTLA at the old Pabst Blue Ribbon brewery. What started out with just the two of us then quickly grew to the 12 people we have on staff now. 

Above: The process of making a Level Naturals bath bomb. The brand scoops 10,000 a week! 

How do you describe the brand?
Sabrina: Delicious. No, really: We want everything to be a sensual experience where you can have luxury without compromising your values, the environment, or your health. Everything we make is made with food-grade products because we discovered that you absorb more of what you put on your skin that what you put in your mouth. So we made everything food-safe (though the only really tasty thing is our body polish… mmmm sugar). 

What’s your production process like? 
Jonathan: Elbow grease and coffee. How it's evolved is definitely more hands, more elbow grease, and a ton more coffee. We still make everything by hand. We used to buy essential oils by the ounce and we would get these orders of 16 ounces of essential oils. We would just stare at these “GIANT” bottles and have no clue how we could ever possibly use that much. Now we are ordering 100 pounds of each essential oil and 55 gallon drums of all of our plant oils. We definitely still have our 'WTF' moments when we receive four pallets of ingredients and can’t believe how we are ever gonna get through all of that material. A week later we are laughing when we are doubling our order. 

Above: stacks of soap ready for packaging. 

It seems like you're well-traveled! Tell us more about travel as an inspiration source. 
Jonathan: Travel has definitely been a huge part of it. We spent a ton of time in Costa Rica just taking deep breaths and smelling all these different rich aromas. Or the spice markets in Thailand and the farmers' markets in Germany selling fresh herbs. In Costa Rica the first thing you do is find a Ylang Ylang tree and pick some blossoms and throw them on your dashboard. The sun cooks them there and fills your car with the greatest scent.  

What three products are in your Level Naturals starter kit? 
The starter kit would definitely be the Shower Bombs, Active Charcoal Soap, and the Room and Body Mist—the essential set for any day!


Above: production scenes at Level Naturals HQ

Give us your quick-hits city guide: what are some of your favorite local spots?  
Jonathan: The L.A. food scene is blowing up right now, always some new incredible place opening up. Amazing sushi like Sugarfish. Some of my favorite spots are The Gorbals in DTLA, Bacaro LA, and Bestia. [Editor's Note: check out The Gorbals' new NYC outpost at UO's Brooklyn concept store Space Ninety 8

Sabrina: The complex we work in, The Brewery, is the the world's largest artist-in-residence community, [including] over 300 lofts and lots of creative and interesting people. We have our own bar and restaurant and now a climbing gym. I live on campus and love it. The whole downtown area is really becoming a great place to be. I've been here off and on since 2000 and have watched it develop into a really fun and vital neighborhood.






How did a professional surfer become the founder of a haircare company? Ask Quiksilver surfer Chase Wilson, the 23-year-old owner of BYRD, a line offering top-of-the line pomades and styling products with a surfer's lifestyle in mind. Chase talked to us about his style icons, "looking slick," and his five-year plan to abolish bad hair days. Photos provided by BYRD. 



Hi Chase! So how did this all begin? 
Being from Newport, the hub of surf culture, I grew up surfing as an amateur and then professionally. You could presume that a surfer starting a men’s hair care line with nothing to do in the cosmetics industry is obscure, [but] having your own look and style and paying attention to your appearance were traits bred in me. I look up to style icon Steve McQueen a lot; even surf legends Robert August and Mike Hynson of The Endless Summer era. There was a greater appreciation for grooming back then that I feel is coming around full circle. Guys are starting to give a shit about how they look and making a first impression. 

In the early stages of high school my friend introduced me to my first "fade" and I was hooked ever since. I feel like things just fell into place after that. There was never a styling pomade I loved that catered to my everyday surfing lifestyle being in and out of the ocean—I wanted a great all-around pomade that I could throw in, go surf, and come out with the same salty slick. I started making home batches of pomade with melted-down beeswax and essential oils in crock pot. After all those failed, I researched a team of chemists to work with on the first BYRD pomade samples. After some months of testing, the idea realized and BYRD Products was born.  

Are you still surfing professionally? How do you find balance there between these two responsibilities? 
Yes, I'm still surfing professionally with Quicksilver. I travel around the world doing the World Qualifying Series (WQS), which is a series of professional surf competitions. Between my surfing career and business, I keep myself busy. It’s a pretty rad thing when work doesn’t really feel like work. 


Tell us something we do not know about surfing.  
All it takes is one session and you're hooked for life. 

Tell us something we do not know about haircare.  
We've commissioned "scientific studies" that showed looking slick = getting babes. 


Tell us more about the BYRD headquarters. 
Our space, The Byrd's Nest is in Culver City. I don't know how to articulate it other than being our office, home, barbershop and event venue all in one creative space. It's one of those things you just have to see for yourself. Within the property's existing building, we installed recycled shipping containers that make up the living quarters and Byrd's Barber Shop.  


Can you share some of your favorite things that are happening in L.A. right now? 
One of my favorite happenings going on in the L.A. social scene is this bar, The Bungalow. It's right on Ocean in Santa Monica and it has the setting of a '60s beach house party. If you haven't already, I would suggest checking it out.  

What's next? 
Right now the focus is launching our new collection of styling pomades that we've done an exclusive run of with Urban Outfitters. These will be released within the next month and we're really excited about how the final product has manifested. Talking long term, you can bet to see the brand conquering hair care then expanding into other markets and categories while always tying back to our roots. It's all a huge learning curve for me so I'm just doing my best to steer it in the right direction. Say in five years, I want people to know me as the kid who abolished bad hair days! 






Poppy And Someday is a natural apothecary line started by Kari Jansen, an Ayurvedic practitioner and herbalist with a background in nutrition. The brand combines, as she explains, "a passion for plants with a love of gardening, wildcrafting, and herbal medicine." We spoke with Kari about the process of creating products by hand, natural stress remedies, and what L.A. musicians she's into right now.  Photos by Magda Wosinska 


Hi Kari! How would you describe Poppy and Someday? 
Poppy and Someday was inspired by plants and their remarkable ability to heal and teach. This product line features an evolving collection of organic body care products, each of which is comprised of a unique blend of constitutional ingredients. The product design process is rooted in the study of Ayurveda and Western Herbalism and focuses on native plant ingredients. 

Tell me about the ingredients you use. 
The ingredients that are used in all of my products are organic and plant-based with no fillers or synthetic additives. Any ingredient not homegrown is sourced from a highly reputable farm in Eugene, Oregon called Mountain Rose Herbs


Tell us something we do not know about Ayurveda as it relates to apothecary products.  
With an extensive study of Ayurvedic medicine, I can rely on my dosha knowledge to help bring balance to everyone who tries my products—the doshas are Vata (air and ether), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (earth and water). 

You can bring balance within yourself by healing with the opposite qualities or attributes. For example: If you are dry and ungrounded, the salves would be beneficial to your everyday routine. Dry is a characteristic of Vata and the salve represents the earth element of Kapha. So, if you are feeling anxiety or insomnia then try a self massage with salve and oils on your body to help calm your mind and soothe your nerves.   


Why LA?  
On my first visit, I was drawn and captivated by the overall magic of Laurel Canyon. This canyon is well-renowned as a bohemian neighborhood noted for its music and artisan history and culture. Laurel Canyon provides me with creative inspiration within its breathtaking canyons and serene surroundings.  


Can you share some of your favorite things that are happening in L.A. right now?
Some of my favorite Los Angeles pastimes are hiking in Topanga Canyon, where I can enjoy amazing ocean views. On my way to the hike I love to stop at Heyoka Hideout, where some amazing women who hand make beautiful leather bags manage one of my favorite vintage shops. The Filth Mart in West Hollywood is also a regular stopover of mine. 

For dining, Pace serves up delicious pizza and outstanding wine in the heart of Laurel Canyon. However, nothing beats a great margarita at El Condor in Silverlake then on to the Troubadour on Santa Monica Blvd for some live music. I love to see Allah-Las, Tift Merritt, Jonathan Wilson, and Dawes there. 


SHOP POPPY & SOMEDAY ON UO BEAUTY

Shop Local Beauty in Los Angeles

For more UO Studio Visits posts:
Portland, OR  /  Brooklyn, NY

About a Place: A UO Guide to Tulum


With its crystal clear water, pristine white sand beaches, and travel culture heavy on hammock lounging and streetside fish taco eating, truly: Life is sweet in Tulum. To kick off a summer of exploring, here's our guide to and souvenirs from a quick escape to the Riviera Maya. 

POSTCARDS FROM CENOTE AZUL:







Historically believed to be sacred portals to the underworld, cenotes are pools formed by the collapsing of limestone caves. There are literally thousands along the Yucatan—our choice was Cenote Azul, a quiet freshwater lagoon with a cliff for jumping into the water. 

Opting for analog memories, we snapped pictures with a Instax Mini 8, Fujifilm's portable instant camera.

A DAY-IN-THE-LIFE:


Tulum beverage-of-choice: Mojitos made from freshly-crushed sugarcane juice, lime, and extra mint, served to you from a converted VW Beetle at the Batey Mojito and Guarapo Bar.


For a quick taco, we recommend Mateo's, complete with a row of empty hammocks on their giant deck.



Acapulco chairs on the beach, designed from traditional Mayan hammock-weaving techniques.



Laid-back beach vibes.



How the locals do coconut water: Find a young coconut, whip out a machete (!), cut off the top, scrape the sides, and stick a straw into the top.  



Bikes at the compound, with baskets handy for trekking around town.

OUR PICKS:

For afternoon adventures: 
Snorkeling on the reef in front of the Maya Ruins
The ruins at Coba—rent a bicycle and get lost in the jungle
Exploring nature at the Sian Ka'an biosphere
The perfumery at Coqui Coqui

For a fancy night out: Hartwood

For a quick post-beach taco: Mateo's

For lodging: Zazil-Kin, Papaya Playa, Ahau, S&S Hip Hotel 

For nightlife: Gitano Bar, Ziggy Beach, Adelita, El Curandero 


We documented our trip through a travel scrapbook—read more here on our DIY tutorial.

Behind the Scenes: Works Engineering

Works Engineering is a motorcycle garage, art studio, and living space that sits on a quiet street in Williamsburg. On any given day, you can most likely find the garage doors open, bikers passing through, motorcycles being worked on out front, and a couple of dudes hanging around outside of the shop.









The interior is filled with parts and pieces, bikes of all kinds, colors, and sizes, and a loft apartment at the rear, complete with a pool table and other man-cave essentials. The motorcycle enthusiast’s haven provided the perfect backdrop for our Shore Ride lookbook shoot, featuring a few friends and bikers from all over the city.








 See more in our Shore Ride lookbook

Behind The Scenes: Blood Orange Video

The next in our UO Music Video Series, Gia Coppola teams up with Dev Hynes to direct Blood Orange's "You're Not Good Enough." The video follows the release of Palo Alto, also directed by Coppola and featuring a dreamy soundtrack full of tracks by the musician. Here, we follow Dev, Gia, and the rest of the crew behind the scenes for a closer look at the making of "You're Not Good Enough."
Photography by Sam Monkarsh











The UO Music Video Series is our innovative approach to new music, pairing emerging artists with talented directors to make artful music videos. Since 2010, we've produced over a dozen music videos in collaboration with our favorite artists, labels, and directors, who retain full creative control over their projects.

Over the past few years, we've supported a wonderfully curated selection of artists and musicians, including Washed Out, Tame Impala, The Walkmen, Black Lips, The War on Drugs, Beach Fossils, Frankie Rose, Liars, and many more. The ongoing music video sponsorship program continues with Blood Orange's "You're Not Good Enough," the eighteenth in the UO Music Video Series.

To celebrate the new music video release, stop by our new Herald Square store on Thursday, June 12 from 2-3pm, where director Gia Coppola and Blood Orange's Dev Hynes will join us for a For The Record appearance and vinyl signing.











Shop Palo Alto Soundtrack

Beauty is Boring: Made in Korea

From snail extract to adorable packaging, the beauty products we’re coveting the most right now all happen to hail from Korea. We sent makeup artist and photographer Robin Black of Beauty is Boring a bunch of products from TONYMOLY, The Face Shop, Holika Holika and Peripera to play with and report back. 



Read on for her insider tips and tricks and her how-to for a tangerine dream beauty look using our favorite Korean brands.

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!

First Look: Space Ninety 8

Space Ninety 8, the Williamsburg, Brooklyn concept store from Urban Outfitters, opens its doors on Friday with an adidias pop-up shop in collaboration with the painter Jason Woodside, a Market Space featuring a curated selection of goods from Local Made artisans and designers, one-of-a-kind Urban Renewal vintage and a dedicated shoe shop (among many other things). We took a sneak peek at the space before the grand opening, where a team of young merchandisers from across the country was busy custom-building fixtures, hanging lights, handwriting signs and decorating the multi-story space with crystals, ceramics and plants.


Danielle, Store Merchandiser


Hi Danielle! Where are you from? I'm from the Roosevelt Fields store in Garden City, New York. 

What's been the best part about setting-up Space Ninety 8? Working with some of the most talented people in the company from all around the country and collaborating and pulling inspiration from each other. And working with the product—there's a lot of special one-of-a-kind pieces here. 

Do you have your eye on anything you want to buy? A Himo Art macrame wall hanging and the beautiful marbled ceramics by Bailey Doesn't Bark


Chris, Display Artist


Hi Chris! Where are you from? I work at the Studio City store in Los Angeles. 

What do you love about Space Ninety 8? I really like the space itself—it's unique. I feel like we translated the concept well. It has a really different feel [to other stores]. 

Anything you have your eye on that you want to buy when the store opens? The vintage metal shirts. 


Hard at work setting-up the rooftop bar, Top Deck

The view from the top

Erin, Store Merchandiser


Hi Erin! What store are you from? East Village, NYC.

What's your favorite thing about Space Ninety 8? The Urban Renewal shop.

Have you seen anything you want to buy while setting-up? A pair of Modern Vice boots. 


Ricky, Market Space Team Lead at Space Ninety 8


Hi Ricky! Where are you from? I'm a Brooklyn local.

What's the best thing about Space Ninety 8? The exposure for local artists. I'm an artist myself, so it's really nice to see.

Do you have your eye on anything to buy when the store opens? All the Salt Surf stuff!


Trevor, Store Merchandiser


Hi Trevor! Where are you from? The DTLA store.

What's the best thing about Space Ninety 8? It's an exciting concept—it's a lifestyle center! It's a cool place to hang out. I love the localization with the Market Space and the artist collaborations. I feel like you could spend hours here and not just shop. 

Anything you've got your eye on to purchase? There's some really special vintage mens pieces and the jewelry by young local designers. 


Urban Renewal Vintage

Nabil from Salt Surf setting up shop

Skateboards by Salt Surf, part of Local Made at the Market Space


On The Road: Future Islands


Standing on a grassy knoll in the sunshine, surrounded by trees, day drinkers and taco trucks watching Future Islands play at the Pitchfork day party, was my highlight of SXSW. Fresh off their legendary Letterman performance, the band were in high spirits, burning through a 20-minute set that mixed old favorites like "Walking Through That Door," with a few tracks off their new album Singles. We gave the band a Fujifilm Instax Camera and film to chart their Austin tour and asked them to turn over their pictures for an intimate look at life on the road. Natalie


Sam's chillin'//Mike's chillin'


Gerrit, William and Dan//Sam post-show


Setlist for 4AD showcase, plus all our hands//Gerrit and Sam


Sam & Hannah//SXSW wristbands


Bill lent us his bass amp for SXSW//Our manager Ben


Signing posters//William and Dan's foot


Mike!//Dan!


Gerrit!//Dan!


Post-show//Sam & Corey from Birmingham


Mike & Sam backstage


Graceland


Elvis' plane, the "Lisa Marie"

UO Beauty: On-the-Road Hair

With her beaten-up cowgirl boots, artfully thrown-on tie-dye wrap skirt and perfectly disheveled hair, Diane Birch is the epitome of the smoldering singer-songwriter. She oozes equal parts elegance and earthiness; style and soul, and somehow manages to make ‘I’ve been touring for days and have barely slept, never mind washed my hair’ scenarios look seriously attractive. How, we wonder? And so, we grilled her about her on-the-road beauty tricks, musical influences and her new album Speak a Little LouderAnd, with the help of hair stylist Sera Sloane, we show you how to create her I’m-with-the-band textured hair in our exclusive UO Beauty Video
Photography by Mike Persico


Hi Diane! How long have you been a touring musician?
I guess I’ve been making music seriously for about six years…scary! [laughs]. And I’ve been touring on and off for the last five years.

What was your first touring experience like and how did you become comfortable with life on the road?
When my first record came out, I sort of got thrown into the whole thing. I hadn’t really toured with a whole band before and suddenly I was doing things like opening for Stevie Wonder and playing festivals. It was really exciting. I was a little freaked out at first because I wasn’t really prepared for it, but I think with anything you do, when you’re repetitive about it, you get into a flow and you learn your craft. So just doing it and practicing at it has made me a lot more comfortable. I love feeding off the crowd and the energy of the people.



Do you like being on tour?
I like being on the road a lot. It gets a little draining after a while and the novelty kind of wears off. I find myself dreaming about wanting to do laundry or get a coffee on my corner and wake up late, but it’s really fun, there’s a high energy to it. It’s fun to always be in new city and meeting new people and you never know what’s going to happen. I think to have a break in-between is definitely the best scenario.

What are some essentials for the road?
I definitely like to make it feel as homey as possible. I’m really into smells—I love incense, I love perfume. Every time I’m in a hotel room I’ll burn some incense or some sage and I’ll put my oils around. Sometimes I do yoga if there’s room in the hotel or else I just resort to eating multiple bags of chips during the day and scrap the whole health thing for a while! But I try to keep myself feeling good, because although it sounds really glamorous to go out to crazy parties every single night, it’s not really realistic when you’re working hard everyday—you also need to be healthy. I definitely like to take care of myself. Pampering as much as possible and finding people in different cities to give me a massage! 



How do you take care of your hair when you’re travelling?
Being on the road, you definitely have to be prepared to not be able to change in your hotel room or find even a bathroom with good lighting, so you have to be ready in the morning to have everything you need. I wear a lot of hats! If I feel like I hate my hair that day, I just throw a hat on. I use a lot of dry shampoo because sometimes you don’t have time to wash your hair, and that tends to be the perfect cure for grease or flatness. I use a lot of coconut oil—I use it all over my body and if my hair starts getting dry I put it on the ends, so that’s an all-purpose balm that I use. I do blow-dry my bangs pretty much every day, as much as I can find a hair dryer! If the rest of my hair is totally whack, but my bangs are still fine, I feel like I have some control. That’s the general routine.

Tell us about your new record…
I was excited to finally release my new album in October. And it’s great. I’d been working on it for such a long time and there had been a large gap of time between the release of my first record, so it was this big letting go of all of this energy and emotion tied to it. It was really fun to finally get out of the studio and get on the road and start seeing a different side of the music that I created. 



How would you describe your sound?
I don’t really know how to describe my sound; I’ve lost the plot even trying to understand what I do or make! I sort of embrace this emotional side of myself and I’m liberated by being able to express myself in all facets of emotion with my music. I have a definite pop sensibility—it doesn’t evoke the most modern pop but I’m inspired by classic pop: ’70s, ’80s, ’90s…. Even ’80s adult contemporary…I want to be like Phil Collins, basically. I love Tears for Fears, Peter Gabriel, and I’m inspired by a lot of female artists on this record: Kate Bush, Annie Lennox, Tina Turner. Women who were really okay with being vulnerable and that, in a way, was being powerful.

What’s up next for you?
I’m going to be doing a lot of touring in the coming months. I’m going to Asia, Europe, England…so that will be a lot of fun. I’m working on some side projects and doing other things, musically, that I guess people wouldn’t associate me to do, so it’s great for me, because my whole goal as an artist is to not be pigeonholed in one area. I have a lot of friends in music and I’m really excited to do different side projects and put out EPs and things like that. A lot of that stuff is to come soon.


Get The Look!

Better Together: Katie and John

Meet John and Katie, who defy the old adage that couples shouldn't work together. John is a men's stylist at Urban Outfitters, while his other half is a freelance photographer from New York, who shoots people and fashion with a beautifully authentic eye. Here they share their story as creative and romantic partners. Read the full feature here.

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

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