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Brands We Love: Ardency Inn

Ardency Inn is creating cosmetics inspired by the different music scenes in New York City and the unique vibrancy that surrounds each one. 

James Vincent, Ardency Inn's creative director, talked with us about blue lipstick, his music muses, and "living for black eyeliner." 

We love that the line is based on different NYC music scenes. Right now the line is divided into Punker, Modster and Americana. Any plans to expand the themes?

I think Ardency Inn is always looking towards new ideas and introducing new concepts in makeup. The categories Modster, Punker, and Americana are very encompassing for me. I think every makeup wearer can relate to the bold color of modster sometimes or the baddest black of punker for depth and dimension or the easy, laid back look of Americana so I am not sure we would need to introduce a new category.


Can you talk more about how you see the connection between music and makeup?

For Ardency Inn Music and makeup are completely connected. The artisty, the passion the emotion and energy that music conveys is a great inspiration for makeup. I love the idea that musicians use makeup to express individuality and personality or emotion rather than cover and conceal and I think Ardency Inn embraces that idea as well. Makeup as a positive force to show the world who you are and "Here I am" and I think music does the same thing. I start every day with a soundtrack of the day to get me prepared for whatever comes my way. i think people do that with makeup too. 


Quick — recommend three Ardency Inn product to us (if we can only have three)

My must haves:

Modster Smooth Ride Supercharged Eyeliner in black. I live for black eyeliner and for men or women it makes a statement as soon as you walk into a room and stays put all day and night. 

Americana Custom Coverage Concentrate for the endless possibility it provides in coverage. Complete empowerment because you mix it into your own own favorite moisturizer for east sheer, light, medium or full coverage and then just add more to make it your concealer. 

Punker Unrivaled Volume & Curl Lash Wax. The lift and curl it gives to even the skimpiest lash is almost obnoxious. The only think you need to make maximum impact. 

What was it like doing Joan Jett's makeup for her Nirvana tribute? Do you ever get nervous doing celeb makeup?

Joan Jett is such an influence on my aesthetic and an inspiration to me as a person. Being part of the Nirvana tribute, Hall of Fame induction, and private after party might be the most brilliant experience of my life. It was monumental. I am such a huge fan and seeing Joan join Dave, Kris, and Pat onstage while I stood a few feet away was an experience beyond words. 

I do not really get nervous doing celebrity makeup. I am always excited but never really nervous. It is my job and honestly most celebrities care very little about makeup and the application as they have that experience everyday. I am more nervous when I do makeup for consumers as most of the time women want makeup for the most important days of their lives and it is very intimate. 

Are there any musicians you'd like to collab with in the future for the line?

I love Banks right now and Jill Scott is like a dream for me to work with. I think there are so many young musicians out there. I see shows as much as I can and I am always on the look out. 


Above: Dee Dee Penny from the Dum Dum Girls, the face of Ardency Inn's newest lookbook

What is your favorite makeup trend at the moment?

The reverse cat eye is so flattering for so many people and I love the lift it provides. Punker World's Baddest Eyeliner makes it super simple for even the most inexperienced makeup wearer. 

I also love mined metals on the lid. Ardency Inn new Modster Manuka Honey Enriched Pigments are perfect and long lasting and because they are the first eye shadow to use Manuca Honey to press the pigment into place they are soft and smooth and supercharged with color while providing their own priming effect.


What about your least favorite makeup trend?

Overdrawn eyebrows and instgram cut creases?! Makeup should be about the face. You never want someone to clock your makeup before they see your face. The current eyebrow and crease trend of dark, hard lines is less than exciting. 

A lot of the line focuses on experimental, bold color: how do I wear blue lipstick and not look like a fool?

I love blue lipstick as a bold statement. Pair it with a soft eye with a lot of mascara and a bright cheek for the perfect summer look. If you are afraid of the dark, stain it onto the lip for a look that is more wearable but still unexpected and eye catching. 

Shop Ardency Inn in UO Beauty

About A Dog: Marnie

Happy National Dog Day! In honor of this special occasion, we were lucky to be graced by the presence of Marnie The Dog here at UO home office. A 12-year-old Shih Tzu rescue, Marnie is just as delightful in real life as she is in pics and made all of us want to rush to a shelter to adopt our very own pooches.

Shirley, Marnie's owner, has spoken up about her adoption story before. Back in June, she wrote, "I adopted Marnie from a not so great shelter a year and a half ago. She had been there for four months, after a two week stay at a municipal pound in Connecticut. She was found on the streets, smelly and matted. The pound had named her Stinky. She was around 10 years old. When I went to meet her after seeing her photo on Petfinder, I was hesitant to take her because she looked terrible, as if she might not last much longer. I was told she was blind in one eye, too.


Photo via Marnie The Dog

But I adopted her anyway, and this stranger in my home whom I knew virtually nothing about turned out to be the sweetest angel I could ever dream of. She had Giardia and a mouth full of decaying teeth, and I could tell she was much happier and healthier once she got her much needed dental surgery. The cloudiness in her left eye has dissipated and she is definitely not blind in either eye as of now. I know every day with Marnie is a gift for the both of us so I try to make the most of it."

After all of that, Marnie is now a big-time Instagram celeb who loves her owner with all her heart, which is enough motivation for us to get out there and adopt an older dog (or two or three). Sure, Marnie is one-in-a-million, but we're looking forward to finding our very own doggie BFFs. As Shirley says: adopt, don't shop!



Check out Marnie The Dog and Susie's Senior Dogs on Facebook for more info about adopting senior pups!

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Behind the Scenes: Moving Day with Ali Michael and Marcel Castenmiller


We can't help but be charmed by Ali Michael and Marcel Castenmiller, modeling veterans and real-life couple who are way more than just blank slates for someone else's vision. Between Marcel's analog photography, Ali's catalogue of amazingly bizarre images and videos, and the hilarious, candid, and weird snippets of their lives they share on each of their huge social media followings, Ali and Marcel have created a new digital dialogue about themselves that makes us all want to hang out with them. And after spending the day with the pair on set of UO's new "Moving In" video, it's easy to see why. 

Behind the scenes, we talked with Ali and Marcel about digital self-awareness, how they met, and some things they will never take seriously. 
Photography by Bobby Whigham

Let's talk about the Internet: These are a bunch of obvious statements, but you both share a lot on Instagram and Twitter, and have big followings, but also share a very openly candid, transparent, and un-glamorized version of yourselves. Has this been a choice?

Ali: My relationship with the Internet and especially Instagram has been really interesting. I think typically as a model you are not seen as an individual. You are seen as a blank slate for someone else's vision. So even though you are visible in ads or magazines or whatever you are not portraying yourself so people don't get a sense of who you are.

And it's been cool because Instagram and social media has been a way for both of us to present a more accessible portrayal of ourselves as opposed to going through some third party. I don't like feeling like I can't be myself.

Do you ever think about people not responding to it?

Ali: I'm sure that some people aren't into it. That's fine though, because some people are into it and that's enough.

Marcel: I agree. I haven't changed the way I do it when I started and when no one was looking. At first I thought,'Do I want all these people to see my real life?' But then I realized, yeah of course I do. It's like when you think about actors and how you can relate them to certain roles because they are able to talk about them. Like when Bill Murray says, 'I'm playing this role and here's how it was like me and here's how it wasn't.' Whereas with modeling you want to be like, 'Hey actually I'm not that guy — I'm this guy' but that typically never happens. 

Ali: It's just nice to have control of your image. The Internet has provided a voice that we wouldn't otherwise have had.

And it comes down to you both having a self-awareness of the fact that people are forming opinions about the people they follow and especially ones they don't know.

Ali: Completely. And it's also cool because everything is so accessible. I know I've found people or things I wouldn't ever have found otherwise but you see them everyday. They are right in front of you.


Do any specific stories come to mind?

Marcel: Well, we met on Instagram. 


Ali: 
Ok, only kind of! I had an Instagram crush on him.


Whoa. This is modern romance.


Ali:
 Yes, well so I had a fake account, the name of which I cannot reveal. My friend and I had started this fake account so we could secretly follow people, or people where it would be creepy if they knew we were following them.


Marcel:
 I don’t understand that.


Ali:
 You should!


Marcel:
 I feel like everyone should know when you follow them.


Ali:
 What! I definitely don't. Anyway, I was just being a creepy stalker and following him and had a crush on him.


Marcel:
 And I asked my friend, who posted a picture of Ali, ‘Who's this girl, what's she all about?' 


Ali:
 This is such a dumb story.


Marcel
: No it's not! It was great because we didn't have any expectations.


Ali:
 So then there was this event at the Bowery and my friend invited me and I went because I heard his friend — and probably he — was going to be there. So of course I went.


Marcel:
 And I bought tickets because I thought she would be there.


YOU GUYS! This is real blog fodder right here. It’s great you’ve been able to work together so much.


Marcel:
 We didn't see that happening.


Ali:
 No, not at all! But it's been so cool. We've done some awesome stuff together and, with working together, it’s like: we want to hang out anyway.

Ali, you are from Texas and Marcel you are from Toronto. Now you are in New York. Do you think you will stay there?

Marcel: We talk about LA and we talk about Tokyo all the time. But maybe they are pipe dreams.

Ali: I lived in LA for a year and afterward was antsy to get back to New York. I have a love - hate relationship with New York, because I grew up in Texas riding horses every day in a field…I love that kind of environment so it feels exhausting to not have nature around. At the same time, the moment I leave I want to go back immediately. I don't know, sometimes I feel like I want to get out.

Here are some more quick-fire questions for you:

What do you take seriously?

Ali: Being responsible
Marcel: Airport Security

What will you never take seriously?

Ali: Karaoke 
Marcel: Gummy bears

Please share some items in a recent Notes App draft

Ali: One note of dreams I have starts out with:

"move

cross your arms

straight jacket

output moomvahton

massive

"Are you a human being?"

araki

nails outside glitter

tape cigarette"

Marcel: In my notes app: "I'm on a trip and Matt is singing a song for some of us on his road trip. He starts joking about the dead body downstairs. Somehow it appears in the room from where it was. He has to carry it back downstairs."

Offer three pieces of advice to your younger self. 

Ali: 
1. Not everyone is going to like you and that's fine.

2. Feeling uncomfortable is often a good thing that you'll appreciate later.

3. Mom is probably right.


Marcel: 
1. Manage your sweet tooth. 

2. Swim once a day. 

3. Get a cat.

Walk us through a typical day for you — what's your routine like at home? 

Ali: I typically don't stay out late because I like to work out in the morning- it makes me feel like it's out of the way early. After that my schedule is kind of up in the air. As a model you're always kind of on-call for castings so sometimes those come up. Other than that I don't have too many rituals and just go wherever I find something I want or need to do. 

Marcel: I usually will spend the night before at Ali's then bike home in the morning. I'll feed the cats and do some work on the computer. Otherwise, I will go out for a walk and take some photographs.

What is something you are good at?

Ali: Watching and listening
Marcel: I'd like to think I'm good at directions.

What is something you are bad at?

Ali: Being organized
Marcel: I get stage fright very easily so anything with a crowd makes me nervous.

Please recommend something...

To wear —

Ali: PVC 
Marcel: a long black coat


To read —

Ali: Anything you can hold in your hands 
Marcel: Ender's Game


To watch —

Ali: VICE on HBO, Bruce Jenner's ponytail on "Keeping Up with the Kardashians"  
Marcel: "Possession" by Andrzej Żuławski


To hear — 

Ali: The Spotify radio station for "Everything You Want" by Vertical Horizon
Marcel: Philip Glass


To drink — 

Ali: Matcha or black coffee 
Marcel: Sake masu


To eat — 

Ali: Yosenabe at Inaka in Los Angeles or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich 
Marcel: A tuna sandwich.

Ali, please tell us some things we don't know about Marcel. 

Ali: He is incredibly considerate and has a perspective unlike anyone else I've ever met and also has a pair of toe socks that he likes to wear sometimes and looks way better in my clothes than I do.

Marcel, please tell us something we do not know about Ali.

Marcel: Ali admires her own bruises.


Dreamers & Doers: Forage Haberdashery


Dreamers + Doers highlights emerging artists, entrepreneurs, and up-and-coming ones to watch. Whether it’s starting a new business, creating something beautiful, or just daring to do things differently, we stand behind those taking steps toward something new.

Forage Haberdashery is the combined project of Stephen Loidolt and Shauna Alterio, who produce handmade bow ties and handkerchiefs inspired by vintage menswear and deadstock materials. Both Loidolt and Alterio got their start at URBN, working in-store and then at the Philadelphia home office for UO and Anthropologie respectively for almost a decade before leaving to fully focus on their own projects. 

Today, their story with Urban Outfitters has come full circle: with this month's pop-up at Brooklyn's Space Ninety 8, Stephen and Shauna's careers have evolved from working on the store floor to now selling their work at Urban Outfitters. We talked with the duo about Charles and Ray Eames, establishing roles in a homegrown business, and how the modern man ought to style a bow tie. 


How did this all happen?

Shauna and I first collaborated on making handmade goods under the name “Somethings Hiding in Here.” We made things like wood rings, music boxes, and marquee signs. We opened an Etsy shop, made things, and people kept buying them. We both had full-time jobs with URBN that we loved and had no plans of starting a business. 

We had a pop-up shop in San Francisco a few years ago and thought it would be fun to make something new, so we rented a cabin in the woods, bought a sewing machine and fabric, created our own patterns, and made 150 bow ties by hand. A year later, we realized that Forage had become its own brand and it was time to either take it seriously or move on. Shauna left her day job to run the business full time and I followed a year later. Since then, we’ve grown the assortment by introducing a new item each season. 


Can you share some specific sources of inspiration? 

We both went to grad school at Cranbrook and I think the 'form follows function' legacy left there by Charles and Ray Eames has been a big influence in how we approach making things. We’re inspired by design that has stood the test of time and feels as classic and as relevant today as it was decades ago. The same goes for music: I love Leadbelly, Robert Johnson, and Memphis Minnie. 


Offer two pieces of advice to your 20-year-old self. 

1. Take more photos. 
2. All this art school debt will be worth it.  

How do you suggest the modern man ought to style a bow tie? 

Keep it casual, pair it with denim, and embrace an imperfectly-tied bow. Make it your own: experiment with the knot and let it show your personality.  


Walk us through a typical day-in-the-life. 

We wake up around 6:30am. Shauna and I make a plan for the day over coffee and hit the ground running. We bounce between hanging with our son Sawyer and working throughout the day. As soon as Sawyer goes to sleep in the evening, we both go back to the studio and keep working till around 2am. 

Some days might be focused on sourcing fabrics for future collections, photographing new product, designing the next season’s catalog, sewing patterns, or shipping out orders. Each day is a little bit different.  


Can you share more about how you've approached establishing different roles in the company? What have been challenges and what has come easier than you anticipated? 

We don’t think about it too much. We’ve been together 15 years and have naturally figured out how get things done as a joint effort. Shauna’s background is in printmaking and curating. She’s the creative force with more ideas than we could ever execute. She’s focused, organized, incredible at design, loves multiples, and knows how to get a lot of work out of me. 

My background is in sculpture. I have a broad knowledge of materials and building processes. I love figuring out how to make things, so when Shauna has an idea, I usually can make it exist. All of that history makes us work pretty well in tandem. Ideas bounce back and forth, informed and reformed by our individual creative processes. Somehow we’ve each learned how to hold our ground when it counts and give in when needed. Together we end up making things that neither of us would make on our own. It’s a true collaboration.  




Above: Forage's Space Ninety 8 pop-up

Tell us something we do not know about bow ties. 

We love that they have a utilitarian history: early tradesmen wore them because they were functional. When leaning over your job, neckties dangle and get in the way so a bow tie is a great alternative for the working man.  


Complete the thought: 
I like it when… things fall into place 
Success is… a job you like, good friends, a place to call home, and someone to share it all with 
My biggest fear is… our to-do list. 
I’d like to be… working on my '66 Chevy pick-up truck 
I’m secretly obsessed with… fly fishing 
I am looking for... a vintage wooden canoe 
I dislike… emails. 
My style icon is… Satoshi, our Japanese showroom rep. 
I dread… deadlines
I am good at… building things
I am bad at… bookkeeping 


See the past videos in our Dreamers + Doers series here: 

Music Monday: August 25, 2014

If you're always on the hunt for new music, head here every Monday for five freshly picked tunes to start your work week off right!

Dntel - If I Stay a Minute

Love this one. For those of you that don't know, there's a new Dntel record out September 23 on Leaving Records. Dntel is comprised of one of the founding members of Postal Service, Jimmy Tamborello, and if you haven't heard the Dntel song that spawned the Postal Service, check it out; it's groundbreaking. 

Breathe Panel - On My Way
"On My Way" is a track from Breathe Panel, off of the Beech Coma Volume 2 Compilation. The compilation does a great job of keeping it uniform with this "beechy" indie-rock sound. This particular cut is one of the several gems on the comp. 

Real Slow - Sad Kids
This one is just as the genre tags say: #Chill #Trap #Bass #Future.

Gold Panda - Clarke's Dream
Gold Panda with a new one here. Good hip-hop production vibe with the loops. This sound mixed with the hip-hop/house fusion is very rarely a let down. This one verifies that and will have your head nodding in no time. 

LV & Josh Idehen - Shake
LV, the veteran Hyperdub duo, team up with Josh Idehen, the frontman of excellent afro-electro Benin City. This release, not unlike their collaboration with Okmalumkoolkat, features their classic Hyperdub dark club sound. The xylophone sound is killer.


Featured Brand: Reebok x Garbstore

We're excited to debut a cool new shoe collaboration from Reebok and Garbstore this week that (literally) turns old-school Reeboks inside-out. The shoes in the collab take the idea of using the materials that are traditionally on the inside of classic sneakers and instead putting them front and center. We're well-versed in Reebok but wanted to dig up a bit more on Garbstore, the awesome British line they partnered with on this. 


Above: The Notting Hill home base of Garbstore


Garbstore is the brainchild of London-based designer Ian Paley, who worked for brands like Levi's, Burberry, and Paul Smith before branching out to develop his own line. Lucky for us, last fall the Brit brand moved stateside with an LA store where they stock their whole collection along with a couple US exclusives. 



Garbstore is rooted in history, taking cues from pieces produced in the 1940s and 1950s and reinterpreting them with a modern edge (or what Paley refers to as becoming "unfamiliar vintage") — garments that could have existed in the past but have been altered to become something else. The brand is also noted for its quality — looking to Japanese craftmanship and superior materials in the production of each collection. 


Above: LA meets UK in the SS14 Garbstore collection


This is the third year Reebok and Garbstore have worked together to produce shoes that riff on each of the brand's ideals: classics with a twist. This collection takes classic shapes of Reebok sneakers and alters them with unexpected details: exterior stitching, muted colorways, and heavy contrast. It's a fresh update for fall; we're into it. 



Above: watch more on the collab via Hypebeast, courtesy of Garbstore




Brands We Love: Lipstick Queen

Lipstick Queen makes some of our favorite lip colors — bold but totally wearable, the colors are rich (but not over-the-top) and the texture is just-right matte. Also, the packaging is amazing. The end. To learn more about the story behind the cult favorite brand, we talked with founder Poppy King (who started her first lipstick line when she was just 18!) about her own personal history with lipstick, what goes into developing the perfect shade, and how to squelch "can I pull off red lipstick?" fears. 
Instagram images courtesy of Lipstick Queen.


Hi Poppy! Tell us about when you first started wearing lipstick. 

I have a very specific memory of trying lipstick for the very first time. I was six years old and I remember the exhilaration of stealing up to my mother’s dressing table and reaching for one of her lipsticks, which she brought back from her regular trips to London. She wore these incredible rich oxblood reds from Biba and to me they were the very essence of glamour and sophistication. 


You started your first lipstick line when you were only 18. How did that come about?

Years [after I wore my mother's lipsticks], when I wanted to experience that glamour for myself, I simply couldn’t find lipsticks like the ones my mother had. No deep pigments, no rich, true reds. Everything was a bit weak, slimy, and just plain wrong! That’s why I set about launching my own lipstick brand, as much as anything else it was to satisfy my own craving for proper lipstick! 

I wanted matte lipticks in rich wines, chocolate browns…whereas all that was available to me was rather disappointing. Looking back now, it might seem like an audacious thing to have done, at such a young age. But at the time I didn’t think twice, I just approached it like a fun project. Little did I know it would turn into my entire career! 


Can you walk us through your own lipstick collection today? Which are favorites?

It’s impossible to say which is my absolute favorite – I love them all! But I am very proud of Hello Sailor, a lipstick I developed last year which on first glance might look a little strange, since it’s navy blue. But on the lips, it turns a gorgeous, flattering sheer pinky mauve that is so pretty and wearable. 



What's your signature lipstick for everyday? 

I am rather devoted to my Red Sinner


What about when you want to mix it up? 

In the summer, I like to go for a different tone or red. Something with a little more orange in it. And there’s Jungle Queen which I created this year – a juicy papaya shade that looks amazing when you team it with leopard print clothing and accessories. 


How do I get over a fear of thinking that red lipstick makes me look like a clown? 

Trust me, it doesn’t! Women often say they don’t have the confidence to wear red lipstick. But here’s the thing: you don’t need confidence to wear red lipstick because red lipstick gives you that confidence! 

If you’re not used to seeing yourself in lipstick, or you’re not sure it suits you, then ease yourself in gently by trying a sheer shade or just blotting a little color on with your finger. 


You've also written a book about the experience of developing your own brand and identifying good entrepreneurial ideas — what's the biggest piece of advice you'd like to offer to your 20-year-old self? 

The same thing I would say to anyone: Never be apologetic about turning your passion into your livelihood. If you work on something you really love, the passion and energy you put into it will always pay off in the end.


Shop Lipstick Queen in UO Beauty


Featured Brand: Champion x UO


For nearly 100 years, Champion has been leading the pack when it comes to comfortable, sportswear basics. The brand's influences run deep, and they even invented certain styles that are now ubiquitous in American sportswear; for example, hoodies and mesh uniforms were both born at Champion, which is a pretty incredible feat when considering what staples they've become in the American wardrobe.





Recently, the brand has been finding a following with the younger, more fashionable crowd by blending its classic basics with the more innovative designs of current streetwear labels. In the past year alone, Champion has seen collaborations with Stussy, Supreme and Herschel, just to name a few. Continuing to build its portfolio and reach, Champion's most recent collaboration with Urban Outfitters draws inspiration from archival Champion silhouettes and filters them through a modern lens (think "updated '80s"). The collection highlights classics from the late '70s and early '80s, as seen in the pictured vintage ads, and consists of fleece joggers, a Champion logo hoodie, and a transitional weight letterman jacket in a fabric mix of fleece and wool blend. The Champion x UO collection will be available in stores and online.



Shop Champion x UO

Studio Visit: Fig + Yarrow

This week's installment of Local Beauty takes us to Denver, Colorado, where we're visiting the natural apothecary of Fig + Yarrow, a small-batch beauty line made from organic ingredients. We spoke with the brand's owner, Brandy Monique, about creating color from natural sources, minimalist branding, and her daily beauty routine.  

Photography by Jon Glassberg


Before you were creating your line you worked as a color consultant — which natural ingredients produce some of the best colors? 

For my products, I combine readily-colored materials or draw color from certain plants and minerals to tint a liquid medium like oil, spirits, or water which then conveys not only the color, but also infuses the medium with other beneficial constituents. 

The purplish-red alkanet root, for instance, along with pinky-orange tinted rosehip seed oil tints our lip blush that rosy hue; the Yarrow Buttercream gets its “butter” yellow color from Sea Buckthorn oil which is also highly nutritive for skin. 

The oils — particularly the raw organic oils I use — contribute natural hues of pinks, greens, ambers, and oranges. The colors of the various clays for our six masks are the result of reactions between metal oxides, organic matter, and geological circumstances. 

In essence, color is medicine and I apply it as such. 



You create a wide range of products —what is your own daily beauty and skincare routine like? 

Very first is oil-pull while dry brushing. 
Product-wise, I start and end the day with Cleansing Nectar followed (usually in the evening only) by Facial Scrub to further facilitate the process of dead cell removal started by the Nectar. 
Next, I gently pat skin dry and spritz face, hair and body generously with Rose/Sandalwood/Neroli Complexion Water in the morning or Yarrow/Immortelle/Rockrose in the evening, then do a short facial massage with the Facial Serum
In the winter, I’ll do the Yarrow Buttercream on my face at night, but only if my face is unusually dry. 
My nightly ritual before nodding off must include the YB on hands and Foot Butter on feet. 

On weekends I often do the whole Facial Care Protocol which includes Herbal Steam and a Clay Mask. The Black Clay Mask is very good mixed with Cleansing Nectar as a spot treatment and usually clears an average blemish within a day or two. 
I do a little Facial Scrub after Black clay to help remove dark traces from pores. 
I’ve used only the Tooth Powder and Oral Hygiene Rinse for years now and, I’m proud to say, have zero cavities and healthy strong teeth to show for it (well, that plus good diet). 



We love your minimalist graphic design and branding. Can you share more about it?

As a kid I was intrigued by the straightforwardness of generic packaging — you know, “CORN,” “RICE,” “BEER” — just plain black font on white that stated exactly what you were being offered with no embellishments, hooks, or ploys. Colors and characters on packaging were not nearly as interesting to me. So I brought that forthright sensibility to my labeling and replaced traditional visual embellishments with creative verbal descriptions that inform more than entice. I also wanted the packaging to speak to a broader audience over a select few because I created my products for the benefit of all people. 


Why Denver? 

I’ve lived in Denver most of my life. It’s a place I’ve come back to many times over many years from many travels. 

It’s where the Rocky Mountains meet the High Plains. You can go east and wind your way through old pioneer towns and farming communities with a strong sense of the land’s former native stewards. West are those majestic Rocky Mountains, usually blue, but sometimes green or white — always present, but feeling a world apart; a place to escape to, higher ground for transcending the mundane. I like the sense between the two. The mountains feel protective, alluring, mysterious, and magical. The eastern plains feel vast, open, and expansive. 



Can you share some of your favorite things that are happening in the city? 

Denver culture has definitely matured and refined over the years. Some of my favorite places to dine and overindulge are À Côté, Potager, Twelve Restaurant, Forest Room Five, and The Source.

The MCA is pretty amazing for their exhibits, tag team lectures and rooftop libations served up by exceptionally attractive and talented people. Favorite neighborhoods are RiNo, Highlands, Baker, Tennyson, and Five Points. 




Featured Brand: ourCaste


Determined to make every design count, ourCaste is setting out to change the way everyone sees menswear. Creating a brand identity that perfectly blends the laid-back California lifestyle with the more rugged design aspects of a sportswear brand, ourCaste creates clothing that makes the wearer's "life easier," no matter how that may be. We spoke to Michael Quinones, one of the co-founders of the company, to learn a little bit more about their California lifestyle.





Tell us a little bit about yourselves and how ourCaste was formed.

ourCaste is a constantly developing idea to create a brand identity and menswear collection around the lifestyle we grew up with. The core group have all been close friends for just about a decade now. At its purest form, ourCaste is a brand built of the sub-cultures and lifestyles that we grew up with. Whether it be pushing down the sidewalks and asphalt, strapping the car with more boards than it can hold to go surf some crap waves, or hopping on the bike and smashing up PCH just to get our knees in the breeze, all these things are pinnacle in developing what we’d represent at ourCaste. As we’ve gotten older, there have been new passions introduced to our lives. An obsession for design and typography, the drive to push ourselves athletically any way we can, and the desire to go farther down the trail than those before us have become extensions of those pillars we grew up with. The lifestyle portrayed is our daily interaction with the world around us, and the product developed is the uniform used to be prepared for whatever it is that we are doing.

How would you describe the brand’s aesthetic?
We’ve always had a desire for clean and timeless silhouettes with wearable patterns and functional details in product. We follow “function over form” wherever we can, and we like meshing functional fabrications and details with more contemporary styling. The dichotomy of something that looks great and performs in harsh conditions is epic. Typography, notably the French and Swiss in the '60s, is the cornerstone for everything we do graphically. The spacial relations between letters and numbers are always interesting and helps to perfect the ability to see clean lines in everything else. We spend a lot of time prepping and developing our print assets to really represent the brand aesthetic correctly every day. Photographically, we lean on a slew of friends to provide great imagery. Guys like Brooks Sterling, Drew Martin, and Mark Underwood are constantly pushing themselves in whatever conditions present themselves to provide epic content.





What makes you guys different from other surf/skate brands out there?
I think we are at a time, both age and experience-wise, where we have a life lived in the late '80s and early '90s with the strong presence of surf and skate, but we were young enough through the 2000s to really have a refined take on product and aesthetics that the era brought. It’s the harmonious balance of these two that separates us mentally. Product and ability-wise, we’ve made the decision to design with a purpose. It’s easy to develop a bunch of wovens just for the sake of needing to sell them, but we try to develop those pieces to make whoever decides to buy them’s life easier. Whether it’s by using moisture-wicking Storm Cotton or adding armpit vents and eyelets, we try to keep a purpose to the product. I think that makes a big difference.

What are some fashion/culture trends happening in the surf world that you love?
I love that surf is going small again. What I mean is that there is a massive influx of young brands that are shaking the trees. For the past decade, it’s been the big guys that control the world. We will always have a massive respect for the giants that paved the way and created an industry for us, but it’s nice to see fresh blood, fresh product, and fresh ideas on the floor. I also really like that product is getting smarter. Like we’ve been developing for over a year, and we're starting to see a lot of new brands (and old brands) adapting to this idea that we’ve been doing of hybridizing the “tech / athletic” categories with surf / skate / contemporary. 

We see that your office HQ is right across from the ocean. Is everyone always running out to surf?
If there is swell or warm weather you can guarantee it! A large reason we choose the space is for its location (obviously). We weren’t going to be able to afford a really big or new space up the hill with the rest of the industry, so we said why not be the first one to open shop down the hill in Newport? It’s been great. We get a lot of friends stopping in and it’s just a ripping environment to be in day after day…plus, the surf is consistent!





What are you guys currently really into (movies/music/clothes/etc.)?
 Our office seems quite confused musically. We’ve been full bore on Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, El Michels Affair, and the older Horrors albums this week. Every now and then you’ll hear Maya Jane Cole or Odessa find its way in. Wu Tang is always in weekly rotation. ASAP, Trap Lord, Flatbush…lastly, our friends at Youth Machine have been pushing Cashmere Cat hard and it’s growing on us. Clothes-wise…a little looser everything. I think that just comes with wanting a little function out of life. A tech shell with some chinos or black denim is always a good look. Some of us in the office run all that with some Nike Frees, while others still prefer to wear our friend's boot brand, Broken Homme. Just all depends! We mix and match a lot. It’s a genre blurring environment, which we dig.  





What are some of your favorite spots to hit up in Newport?
Ooooooo, I’m gonna get crucified for bringing the underground above on this first one, but I couldn’t care less. The morning banger is AL CAP! Almost every morning someone in the office is at Al Cap for an Almond Power, bagel special, or Acai bowl and some coffee. Lunch is spread amongst a ton of spots. Trader Joe’s is a good call, so is Mother’s. There was a pretty bangin’ BBQ spot on 17th but it went out of business. Malarky’s has a good burger, too. Bear Flag is pricey, but always worth it. For nighttime stuff, I guess the Goose is back on the deck of fun stuff, and so is Mesa. Pitfire has a “speak-easy” if you can imagine that, but they actually make super good drinks there.

What’s next for ourCaste?
Head down and keep plowing. We got a ton of work to do…ain’t no time for slowing down anywhere in the near future.

Shop ourCaste

Brands We Love: Doll Face


After growing up around beauty products her entire life, the next logical step for Lisa Winarick was to co-found her own beauty line. Keeping only the most natural ingredients in mind, Lisa's brand Doll Face focuses on making beauty products that work well with all skin types, using as few synthetic ingredients as possible. We spoke to Lisa about her favorite products, the brand's secret cocktail of ingredients, and her own skincare routine.



Tell us a little bit about how Doll Face started. What's the story behind it?
Our family has been in the beauty business for three generations, and taking care of my skin was passed down from my grandmother and then reinforced by my mom and aunts who all have taken amazing care of their skin. I have so many memories of special beauty days spent around the kitchen table with my mom and sisters. My dad would come in and say, “Wow, look at my beautiful doll faces!”

There are so many clinical brands out there and I thought that taking care of your skin should be a positive, feel-good experience. I've always felt that skincare should be about beauty and glamour, not medicine and problems. Because of that, Doll Face was born! We want women to feel empowered and good about themselves starting from the moment they wash their face in the morning.



You emphasize thinking "outside of the obvious" in sourcing ingredients. Can you share some examples?
Each product contains its own “cocktail” of ingredients, a blend of both natural and scientific, that have been carefully chosen and blended to provide the best possible results. We created our own skin brightening and exfoliating fruit enzyme complex called FruitActiv that we've formulated into all of our cleansers. We discovered Buriti Fruit Oil on a trip to Brazil. It’s an amazing fruit extract that acts as a super anti-oxidant. In its native Amazon basin, it’s called the “Tree of Life” because of its healing properties. We feature it in Nourish, which is our everyday moisturizing lotion.

What three products are in the Doll Face "starter kit," i.e., three products you'd recommend to a new customer, and why?
That’s easy…our Invigorate gel cleanser, Nourish lotion and Soothe under-eye serum. It’s the perfect "little black dress” for your skin; you can’t go wrong. This combo works on all skin types, takes only minutes [to apply] and your skin will look and feel clean and fresh!



What is your own skincare routine like?
I do the 3-step “starter kit” myself, plus I alternate our Brilliance face polish with our gel cleanser 2-3 days a week for extra exfoliating power. I also use our masks once a week to make my skin feel super smooth and glowing! The Reveal peel is loaded with pumpkin and papaya enzymes to maximize its gentle, yet highly effective exfoliating power. It's yummy to put on.

What are your top three tips for skincare, either improvement or maintenance?
I’m a big believer in exfoliation…it really is the secret to keeping skin smooth and radiant. Also, every skin type benefits from a moisturizer; it’s what keeps skin soft and supple and helps fight lines and wrinkles. Lastly, once a week you deserve a little “break," so indulge in a great mask. Put it on and just relax and let the stress slip away…if only for a little while! Also, never go to sleep without taking off your makeup and cleansing your face. It’s absolutely the worst thing for your skin.

Shop Doll Face

UO x Lonely Planet: Instagram Contest Winner


Our UO x Lonely Planet Instagram contest ended a couple of days ago, and the winner of the big trip for two through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala was @aabbydowd! Her incredible winning picture, posted above, filled us with awe and terror (a lot of terror, if we're being honest), so we reached out to her to find out a little bit more about the story behind the photo. Read her story below, and thanks to everyone for their incredible submissions!

"My winning photo was taken last June just outside of Interlaken, Switzerland at Stockhorn - it's a 134 m (or 439.633 ft.) jump out of a cable car over a lake framed by the Alps. Switzerland is a lot like New Zealand in that there is a never-ending list of extreme sports for people to choose from if they are searching for one hell of an adrenaline overload: skydiving, bungee jumping, canyoning, paragliding, skiing, white water rafting, etc., etc., etc. The list goes on and on.

Now, I like to think that I'm a girl who feeds off adrenaline, but the idea of jumping out of a little box with nothing but a rope to keep me from plummeting almost 500 feet to my death was a pill I was having a bit of a hard time swallowing.

When we were on our way to Stockhorn that fateful afternoon, I was nervously rambling to one of the guys who would be assisting with my plunge out of the cable car, when I said, 'I'm really nervous. It might take me 20 minutes to work up the guts to actually jump.' His response? 'We do a five second countdown and if you don't jump, we push you out.'

Oh, okay. Cool.

Ultimately, the definitive quote to encompass this picture came from the woman who was helping all of us into our harnesses. She said, 'Just pick a point, look straight ahead, and jump. This is a mental game. Don't let your mind win.' The entire thing—from jumping out of the cable car, bouncing twice, and being reeled into a small rowboat—only lasted about eight seconds. When you look at the sequence of photos from that day, the rope just keeps going and going until I look like a tiny speck at the end of a piece of dental floss. If that's not some perspective, I'd love to know what is. I’m 23 years old, and out of all 23 years, those eight seconds were absolutely the most profound.

Needless to say, the day ended with more than one celebratory beer." Abby


More of our favorites from the contest:


Switzerland submitted by @joseewong


Photo of Hanauma Bay submitted by @robertjhill


Photo from Monastere Monserrat submitted by @kaidahranee


Photo of Copenhagen submitted by @leahmid


Photo submitted by @louiekovatch


Photo submitted by @reicolee


Photo submitted by @theaccidentaltourguide


Photo from Coki Beach submitted by @cierrageyer


Photo from Indonesia submitted by @nadyapink


Photo from Germany submitted by @kayliemarissa


Photo submitted by @kaitlinslone


Photo submitted by @haypeetason


Photo submitted by @mela_ann

Obsessions: Tomboy Style

Bottom line: easy, menswear-influenced style is always cool. Inspired by classic muses, we asked for expert advice from writer Lizzie Garrett Mettler, the founder of Tomboy Style whose eponymous blog and book chronicle women who blur gender lines by mixing rugged sensibility with understated elegance. 

We challenged Lizzie with a daunting task: to share her own top five tomboy style icons. As she explains, her picks pull from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, and all "relate to each other in some way [with] a style that is boyish, unfussy, and seamlessly balances masculinity with femininity. Most importantly, what I love about these tomboy icons is they never look like they’re in costume or trying to make a statement; they just always looks completely themselves." 


1. Tina Weymouth 

During her tenure as the bass player for The Talking Heads, Tina Weymouth was subtly androgynous. Her paired-down punk wardrobe of tight t-shirts tucked into high-waisted jeans, a New Wave hair cut, and that Fender Precision bass guitar over her shoulder just made her oozed cool.    

2. Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin embodies the French tomboy look, the je ne sais quoi that most tomboys’ style seems to envelop. Her hair was always tousled and her style always minimal, yet somehow with little adornment and effort, Birkin always looks the height of chic. The fact that one of the most coveted ‘it” bags (the Hermes Birkin bag) is named after her and she casually adorns hers with stickers and worry beads and wears them out until no longer usable, is another example of why she’s the ultimate tomboy.

 

3. Ali MacGraw 

Ali MacGraw has that girl next door look that makes her super relatable and so incredibly classic that her look will never be irrelevant. On screen she was known for playing tomboys like the sporty tennis racket-wielding Brenda Patimkin in Goodbye Columbus, the tough-as-nails Jennifer Cavallari in Love Story, and bank robbing Carol McCoy opposite of Steve McQueen in The Getaway; off screen her tomboy style and spirit are just as present.

4. Jean Seberg

What the late actress Jean Seberg did for the striped boatneck shirt and short hair may never be fully credited. Seberg was originally from Iowa, but embraced French style in a way that charmed everyone, even the hard-to-impress Parisians. Her gaze may have won the hearts of her lovers, but those outfits won over tomboys the world over.

 

5. Patti Smith

Patti Smith’s style is both authentic and incredibly purposeful. Everything she wears is always just so, from the bandana tied around her wrist to the pins on her lapel. She has noted that she even made early choices as a child about what cloth she preferred (flannel and not polyester). Even though Patti Smith looks like the type that couldn’t care less about fashion, she read French Vogue and would shop on Fifth Avenue. Once she bought a green silk coat from Henri Bendel and then immediately threw it in the washing machine to complete the look. She knows how to make things her own.


Book images originally published with permission and © Tomboy Style: Beyond the Boundaries of Fashion by Lizzie Garrett Mettler, 2012. Top image of Patti Smith performing at Cornell University, 1978. Licensed under Creative Commons.

 

Dreamers and Doers: All Roads Design

Dreamers + Doers highlights emerging artists, entrepreneurs, and up-and-coming ones to watch. Whether it’s starting a new business, creating something beautiful, or just daring to do things differently, we stand behind those taking steps toward something new. 

This week we are visiting the LA workshop and textile studio of All Roads Design owned by Janelle Pietrzak and Robert Dougherty, who combine their interdisciplinary skills to create one-of-a-kind weavings, large-scale installations, objects, and furniture. 

With Janelle's background in the fashion industry background and Robert's in carpentry, building, and welding, the couple has used their combined expertise to turn what was once a homegrown hobby into a full-time business. Read on for our conversation with Janelle about her process, background, and finding inspiration in her surroundings.


How did this all start? 

Janelle: For 10 years I worked in the fashion industry — in apparel and accessories design or in fabric sourcing. Essentially, I have been working with textiles for over 15 years: sewing, sourcing, or weaving by hand. I loved my job in the industry most when I was sourcing inspiring vintage textiles and developing them into modern wearable fabrics. I got to visit mills, and I learned how fabrics are constructed…this foundation made it an easy transition to weaving my own fabrics and tapestries. 


Can you share some specific sources of inspiration? 

Janelle: My biggest inspiration is the landscape around me. I live very north in LA in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains. The weather is hot and dry, and the mountains are covered in grasses that are dead and yellow. I love this golden color, especially when it contrasts with the deep green cyprus trees. 

I am inspired so much by friends around me that are creating beautiful things. I love going to my friend Joanna William’s textile studio Kneeland Co. for overwhelming color and texture inspiration. She has an incredible reference library of books, textiles, and objects anyone can go sift through for design inspiration. 




How would a good friend describe your aesthetic? 

Janelle: Heavily influenced by the 70s, with a focus on natural fibers. Bohemian Americana. 


Offer some advice to your 20-year-old self. 

Janelle: Keep doing all those weird, obsessive art projects; they will be good experience for later. 


Your brand's mantra is “All roads that you travel in life lead you to where you are now.” Can you share a story about a weird past job? 

Janelle: Yes! After I left New York, I got a terrible job at a uniform company in the suburbs of Philadelphia as a 'designer.' It was a huge culture shock after living and working in New York. They didn’t really need a designer, they just hired me to be a quality control manager in the warehouse. I kept trying to make the Catholic School uniform blazers shorter and cropped, like a cute little boy blazer. The office had that gross office carpet, and it smelled like old coffee stains. The owner had a huge office, like a cliche 1990s executive style and drove some kind of fancy sports car. He walked in every morning and asked one of us ‘girls to make coffee.’ I always refused! I got fired after three months. 


Walk us through a typical day-in-the-life for you now. 

Janelle: On work days I wake up around 7 or 8, have iced coffee, and then answer emails and work on quotes for new projects. My studio assistant comes in at 10, then we get to working. I make lunch and we take a break, then work more and usually afternoon the studio starts to get really hot in the afternoon sun and we sweat! We stop work at 5 so I can make it to swim practice by 6. After being hot and cramped over a loom all day, swimming is a great respite. After swim practice I come home and Robert and I have dinner. I am usually in bed around 10. 



Tell us something we do not know about making a weaving

Janelle: I usually weave my pieces upside down on the loom. Also, good posture helps a bit, but it does hurt your back! 


What are five other things you are interested in right now? 

1. Cold brew coffee! My studio assistant roasts coffee beans at home with her dad — Robert calls her our official coffee broker. 
2. Swim practice every day helps my anxiety. 
3. Blue…everything 
4. Weaving on my new Saori loom: I don’t get much time to use it..but is is really relaxing and fun to use. 
5. Camping and California trips with Robert. 


Complete the thought: 
I like it when…The weather is cool and it rains (rare here in LA)
I never want to be asked…to copy someone else’s work 
Success is…having your own hot tub! We hope to have one some day.
My biggest fear is…going back to work in an office 
I’d like to be…doing my work full-time for a long time!
I’m secretly obsessed with…none of my obsessions are a secret
The most fun I ever had…driving across the country when we moved to LA a couple years ago was both fun and boring! But a really great experience.
I am looking for…the perfect coffee table, and also some cool hanging Brutalist lamps for the living room 
I dislike…bees. I am so scared of them 
My style icon is…Japanese-denim-linen-indigo style 
I dread…crowded social situations 
I am good at…connecting with people 
I am bad at…math skills and small talk 
I recommend…making your own cold brew every night 
I couldn’t live without…caffeine: green tea or coffee


Click here to watch our first Dreamers + Doers video with woodworker Shaun Wallace


Lena Corwin x UO

Author, DIY extraordinaire, designer, illustrator, publisher, blogger...is there anything Lena Corwin can't do? Whether she's compiling step-by-step creative project lessons, publishing small-run art books, or illustrating maps of Europe, we're huge fans of everything Corwin does. In particular, we're drawn to how big a role collaboration plays in her process — and were thrilled to collaborate with her on Lena Corwin x UO, a new textile line she developed exclusively for Urban Outfitters. We talked with Lena about the collaboration, the wonderfully "consistent inconsistencies" of hand-printing, and finding inspiration in her new homestate. 


Tell us more about the block prints you created for these textiles.

I used rubber artist’s blocks and a carving tool (both can be easily found at art supply stores) to carve the designs. Then I rolled ink over the carved pieces and printed them onto paper. The patterns were recreated by hand again in India for printing the fabric yardage. 



Can you share more about what went into the second step — the traditional block printing that you developed in India?

All textiles in this collection use traditionally simple yet beautiful Indian cotton sourced from smaller local mills. 

These textiles have been printed with a block-printing technique that dates back over 400 years in this remote area of India. We carefully created hand-carved wooden blocks...which were then hand-printed on narrow, seven meter tables; the printing process, techniques and materials are what is traditionally used to print Indian saris. The look and feel of this hand-printing process is wonderful and consistently inconsistent, providing a warm human element. 



What inspired the colors or palette you used? 

I recently moved to California, and I was inspired to use a washed out and faded summer palette. 


What has been inspiring you lately in textile development? 

Weaving! I’ve been seeing a lot of really amazing weaving lately. One of my favorite weavers is Travis Meinolf. 



You attribute your love for crafts and handmade, usable art to your upbringing. Can you talk more about this? 

I grew up in a really artistic home – my mom is an artist and so are a lot of her friends. I did all kinds of projects from a young age, like painting, ceramics, and knitting.


What are five other things you have been interested in recently? 

1. Cardamom ice cream 
2. Donald Judd furniture 
3. Non-toxic nail polish 
5. Thai fried rice


Shop Lena Corwin x UO

Dreamers and Doers: Erika Linder

"I think I forgot to tell anyone I dyed my hair blonde" are the first words out of Erika Linder's mouth when we meet. Standing on a street corner outside Blue Bottle coffee in New York, the 24-year-old Swedish model's recent travel schedule has been, in a word: insane. She's on the heels of a shoot in Paris followed by a week in New York followed by 24 hours at home in Los Angeles and back to New York on a night's notice; somewhere in the middle were three days in the Cinderella suite at Disney World. (Long story.) After this: Toronto. Then Big Sur. We'll forgive her lapse in hair updates.


It's well-warranted demand — in an industry that seems cut and dry, Linder is rewriting the rulebook. Working as both a male and female model, images in her book range from personifying a young Leonardo DiCaprio to rolling around a Malibu beach in a bikini. She's striking in both a suit and a fully made-up face; it's an extreme versatility Linder carries with a cool, unflappable confidence and an eagerness for challenge. 
 
We spent the day with Erika on set of UO's newest lookbook, shot at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Westchester County. In between takes, she talked with us about Nick Carter, crying-on-cue, and how the biggest advantage you can have is simply knowing what you want. Interview by Leigh Patterson. Photography by Bobby Whigham. 

Tell us more about growing up in Sweden.

[Points to the giant field we're shooting in:] This is my vibe. I grew up probably two hours away from Stockholm, on what was basically a farm. It was our house and a farmer's house. It was everything you imagine: When we got food, we would get it for like two weeks to stock up...we had cows, horses, chickens, all that. 

Do you think about going back there? 

I've never been a big city fan. I have a vision for how I want things to be: my goal in life is actually to just get a cottage in the middle of nowhere in Sweden. People always ask, 'What do you want to do with your modeling career?' and I'm just like, 'I really just want that house.' Sweden is so beautiful, especially the countryside. So, for sure I plan to move back. I don't know when, but later. 

You were scouted as a teenager but didn't have any interest in modeling at the time, right? 

I got scouted when I was 14 outside a concert in Stockholm. I was such a tomboy. I mean, I still am, but back then, when you're 14? I imagined that being a model was more about being a princess. I played soccer and could never have envisioned myself in this industry. So after high school I went to university but I didn't know what I wanted to do. 

What did you study in school?

Funny enough, I studied law. Then I studied language — Japanese. But don't ask me to say anything in Japanese.

What! Law and Japanese? What were you thinking you'd do?

Yeah...I know. I don't know why I did that. I thought it was cool! Anyway!

Then I finished school and graduated and then was at that age where — like everyone else — I was like, 'I want to travel.' So I returned to the thought of modeling and realized maybe I should just try it. I didn't have any expectations. My first photoshoot was dressed up as Leonardo DiCaprio for Candy magazine [in 2011]. And then it just kind of took off. 

So your first job was modeling as a male — was that a hard thing for agencies to get behind?

The first year was pretty hard because people didn't know what to do with me. I get it. I mean, I'm a girl! So when they started pushing for me they were like, 'You have to be this, this, and that. You have to walk in heels.' I get that they pushed me for that. But at the same time I had my own vibe and was like, 'Well I think I want to shoot as a guy because that's how I started off.' I always had a vision that I didn't want to change myself. I still wanted to be me. 

But then I went to LA for the first time like two years ago and was really embraced — that's how I kind of became more of a 'character model' I guess. That's how it started off: LA pushed for me and that's why I am there now. 

It sounds like you've really been able to maintain a lot of freedom over what you do.

Yeah, for sure. I feel like people are wanting me for me. It's funny, I can go do the most girly shoot in Malibu, running around in a bikini, and then the next day I go shoot a suit story. I like to keep a balance between them because it's so much fun to be able to do both. And to see the pictures afterward because it doesn't look like me at all! 

It messes with you, though. I did this shoot where I was a girl and a boy in the same one. And when I saw the pictures I was like, 'Oh my god.' I'm used to seeing myself as both a guy and girl but both in one frame…I don't get it. It was weird. Then they used part of it as a commercial where I'm making out with…myself? I actually saw it for the first time when I was at a theatre waiting for a movie to start. It's playing and I hear this dude behind me say, 'You can totally tell that's a guy.' And I was like, '…Well, I guess I'm doing something right!' 

Do you think about using that versatility you've developed in your career to do other things? What are your other creative outlets?

I play guitar, drums, and piano, and I have been writing music since I was six years old. When I was a kid, I literally thought I was Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys. I still love Nick Carter.

Nick Carter! Such a rise and fall!

But Nick Carter in the 90s! He was the best! I am such a 90s kid—he's my man-crush Monday every day.

With his big middle hair part?

Oh my god, yes [moves her hair to be parted down the middle a la Nick Carter]. It's so funny, once I did this to my hair and said to my friend, 'Who am I?' and she said, 'Aaron Carter.' And I got so pissed off. 

That is incredible. 

It's terrible. Anyway, I grew up playing guitar. I'm scared of doing it professionally or whatever, because I don't think I'm ready for that. It's something I want to do. But right now I just do it as a meditation. I go home and play guitar. 

I also have a movie coming out that I will start shooting in November. Have you seen "Big Fish"? It's kind of like the weirdness level of that. I can't really tell the story, not because I'm not supposed to but because I don't really get it, honestly. But I'm excited about having that coming up. 

What's a typical day when you're not working?

I play guitar, I go to bookstores...this is so boring! I go to Skylight Books in LA, that's my favorite. Right now I'm really into biographies. It's nice because you don't have to be reading it 24/7 to stay in the story. I read mostly men's biographies, recently Marlon Brando and River Phoenix. I have actually read...a Nick Carter biography.

What? When was that even written?!

I don't know! I Googled it! 

Speaking of 90s babes, let's talk about the Leonardo DiCaprio thing. 

Oh man, yeah. Well, people ask me about it now—'You know you look like a young Leonardo DiCaprio?'— and I'm like, 'Yeah, yeah...I know! I've heard it before.' I mean, I love him. One of my favorites. I just think people have adapted Leonardo DiCaprio as my male persona or something. I do love getting into that role, though. 

How did you get into character for the Katy Perry video [Linder stars in Perry's "Unconditionally" video]?

Oh man, one of the weirdest things I've ever done. First off, I had to get really emotional for it, which I just could not do. So I went into the bathroom and Googled "Lion King Mufassa dying." And, like "My Dog Skip."And I put stuff under my eyes to where they were like, stinging and watering. Everyone knew I was full of shit. 

It's great you've been able to do a lot things other than just "model."

It's crazy because I don't do what models do. But I want to do it anyway, even if I'm not 'modeling.' I'm shooting as a real person, a figure. It's not just "a guy" or a "girl." I'm going with what is. Whatever comes at me I'm just going to try to do my best. 


Dreamers and Doers: Merge Records


Now celebrating its 25th year, Merge Records is the unlikely success story of two young musicians that went on to put out some of the most prolific indie rock of our time. Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance met, formed a band, dated, didn’t date, toured together, started a business together, and forged their own way in the music industry. Decades later, the two entrepreneurs talked to us about the early days of Merge, Superchunk, and just what it takes to make it all work.



Hi Mac and Laura! How did you two meet?

Laura Ballance: I am pretty sure we met at Pepper's Pizza (R.I.P.) in Chapel Hill, NC, in 1987 or somewhere around there. Mac was working there, and I started working there too.
Mac McCaughan: We probably met at a show in Chapel Hill or Raleigh in 198…6 or 7? We had a lot of mutual friends and were probably at a lot of the same shows. Then we ended up working at Pepper’s Pizza at the same time (in Chapel Hill).

How would you describe yourselves in just one word? How would you describe each other in just one word?

LB: I would describe myself as stubborn. I might describe Mac that way too. Perhaps I should use the word “determined” for the both of us.
MM: Me right now? Stressed. In general…active. Laura in one word…this is too hard! No one should have to be described in one word.

How old were you when you started the label? What kind of sacrifices did you make in order to keep a business running at such a young age?

LB:
I was 21 when we started the label. We worked hard to keep the business running. It took a lot of time and energy on top of touring with Superchunk, which we were doing a lot of at the time. We also kept other jobs for the first few years… I think Merge had been in business for about ten years before we were able to start paying ourselves.
MM: I was 21 turning 22 the summer we started Merge. Nothing felt like a sacrifice at that time because it was all for fun; it was what we wanted to do. We sold records and tapes but it didn’t feel like “now we are starting our business that will be our job for 25 years.” Laura sacrificed some space in her house where the boxes of records were.

Can you tell us about a funny/weird/memorable moment from the early days?

LB:
For a long time the “Merge office” was in my house. We had a lot of great times having 7-inch stuffing parties, where people would come over and we would drink beer, watch movies, and assemble 7-inches. One time I was also rushing to get some packages made to send out right before I needed to head to Kinko’s where I worked, and the tape gun fell off the shelf. Without thinking, I reached out to catch it, and the serrated blade fell right on my thumb and gashed it pretty bad. I probably should have gone to get stitches, but I did not have time before I went to work. I still have a scar that looks like a cartoon shark’s mouth on my thumb.
MM: Putting the records together was memorable, bands coming over and stuffing records into sleeves and sleeves into plastic bags. Very satisfying.

When Merge Records began, did you have any idea it would turn out to be so prolific? What were your initial goals?

LB:
When we started Merge, I had no idea it would last even a year. I really didn’t even think about it. It just seemed like a fun thing to do at the time. That said, some of our idols were Dischord and Sub Pop, and obviously they were in it for the long haul. Our goals at the time were to document the local music scene and also to put out our own records.
MM: Our initial goals were just to put out this music by ourselves and by our friends’ bands. It was to have a cool label like the cool labels we liked growing up: Dischord, 4AD, Factory, K, Sub Pop, Cherry Red, Rough Trade, Teen Beat.



Were there advantages/disadvantages to running a music label in North Carolina? Not exactly the hub of the music industry!

LB:
I feel like there were plenty of advantages to running Merge out of North Carolina. The rent was cheap, not too much competition in terms of getting attention, and we had and have a strong vibrant local music scene complete with lots of bands, great college radio, awesome clubs and promoters, and excellent record stores. People used to ask us all the time when we were going to move to New York City or Los Angeles. I think we would not have lasted five years if we had done that. But maybe we would have gotten to work with Pussy Galore…
MM: People would often ask when we were moving to NYC or LA, which seemed like a backwards idea to us; one reason we could exist was because we lived in North Carolina, paying NC rents and having plenty of space to practice with the band and stack boxes.

What were the advantages/disadvantages of being artists yourselves and running Merge from a musician’s perspective?

LB: The main disadvantage of being artists and running the label was trying to pay attention to the label while being a band that toured a lot. Now that is all easier because Superchunk does not tour as much, and I don’t tour at all anymore because of hearing damage from too much loudness. The advantages of running a record label as an artist are myriad! I feel like we are more in tune with our artists and what they might be going through as artists since we too are artists. We have gotten to experience all aspects of the record business from the side of the artist as well as the side of the record label. It’s good for perspective. As touring artists, we also got to see and meet a lot of bands while we were on the road and make connections that we would not have made otherwise. I don’t think Merge would have grown the way it did if we had not also been in the band.
MM: I think the obvious advantage is that you can see things from both sides; this is good for us, and it’s something the bands we want to work with can recognize as well. The downside is when you have to put on the “business” hat and negotiate with bands, or their managers—that’s my least favorite part of doing this.

You’ve taken a lot of chances on unknown bands—is supporting entrepreneurs and emerging artists important to you?

LB: Supporting developing bands is really important to us. It’s the best thing we can do as a record label. Working with known bands is great and all, but helping to lift a new or unknown band out of obscurity is most rewarding for all involved.
MM: Yeah, I think one of the most satisfying things about having a label is working with a band from before anyone knows about them, and watching as people discover their music and come to love them like we do. It’s also great to get to work with bands that we’ve been fans of for a long time—e.g., getting to put out records by The Buzzcocks or The Clean (David Kilgour’s new solo album is out in August!)—which we never could have imagined when we started. But yeah, working with emerging artists is an important part of having a vital label for us.

Arcade Fire was unknown when you signed them, and turned out to be one of your biggest success stories. What was it about them that struck a chord with you?

LB: Arcade Fire write amazing songs, and that first demo we got from them was just full of great songs that were full of this incredible exciting raw emotion. What we look for in every artist we put out is the ability to write great songs, and they certainly have that in spades. Plus, they are a great live band.
MM: Well, as any fan of Funeral will tell you, it’s an incredibly immediate album, both emotionally and musically. Musically it reminded me of some bands that were very formative for me—New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen—but then with these epic pop songs that were clearly coming from their own universe. Seeing them live was another level altogether.



If you could go back and do it all over again, what would you do differently, if anything?

LB: There are some small things, but across the board, in the big picture, I am happy with how we have run Merge.
MM: I’m sure mistakes have been made over the years, but in general it’s hard to imagine how things could have gone better. Of course there are albums or artists that we think have been overlooked and deserve more attention, but you can’t spend too much time regretting the things that didn’t go as planned. There’s too much work to do in the present.

What advice would you give to the young entrepreneurs out there today?

LB: Don’t expect anything to be handed to you on a platter. If you want to do something, you are going to have to go out there and work hard to make it happen. Social networking alone does not success make.
MM: Keep your day job! Seriously. We did, for quite awhile.

Shop Merge on vinyl

Friday Download: August 8, 2014

As summer keeps rollin' on, so does the internet. Another week means another pile of tunes, good reads, and movie trailers. See a handful of our favorites from this past week below!



Merchandise "Green Lady"
This song is so good. Merchandise kicked it up a notch with the synth in this one, and man, is it working. Makes me feel like I'm starring in my very own melodramatic '80s movie. (via Stereogum)



"Everything Happens So Much"
This piece over on Pitchfork (yes, the title is a Horse ebooks reference) by Lindsay Zoladz about music being available all over the place, forever, because of the internet, was an interesting read, as well as The Atlantic piece she linked within it which talks about internet streaming and why it's so bananas. I felt very internet overwhelmed after reading these, so read at caution if you don't want to feel guilty for sitting on Buzzfeed three hours a day, endlessly refreshing.



Banks "Beggin For Thread"
We chatted with Banks earlier this week (interview coming soon!), right before she was set to perform on Fallon for her first television debut. She did absolutely amazing and was also wearing a cape, so if you don't love Banks even more now, then yikes.



Cayetana "Scott Get The Van, I'm Moving"
We've been loving everything we've heard from Cayetana and this newest one is no exception. Very, very excited for their LP Nervous Like Me. (via AV Club)



Saved By The Bell: The Unauthorized Story
Oh my god, what are you even doing, Lifetime? (via Vulture)

Brands We Love: JAKIMAC


One of our favorite, underrated trends lately has been the leather harness. While the harness seemed a little daunting to rock at first, we came to realize that they're as easy to work into an outfit as throwing on a necklace. JAKIMAC's harnesses and accessories have been dominating the leather game since 2010, so we reached out to Jaki Capozzoli, the brand's founder, to find out the best way to wear a harness, as well as her design process.
Photography by Owl You Are and Brittany Sheets





Hi Jaki! How did you get started as a business? What were you doing before JAKIMAC?

Before JAKIMAC, I was a mural painter and also worked as a graphic design professional. Leather has always been a part of my life. My family owns an independent shoe store in the suburbs of Chicago, and I spent a lot of time as a kid messing around in the leather shoe repair shop. I began recycling their leather scraps, molding them into the very first designs.

What made you interested in harnesses?
I was interested in creating jewelry that can be worn in an alternative way, and also finding new ways to work with leather on a larger scale that wasn’t quite in the clothing realm. My first harness was a version of the JAKIMAC x UO Draped Harness, a simple but versatile design.







Okay, what if we love this trend but feel totally lost? How do you recommend wearing a harness in daily life?
Even the word “harness” itself can be scary. Though it’s been on the runways for years, it’s a totally new concept in daily fashion. I recommend starting out with a draped harness design, one that just rests on the shoulders with a design at the back. It’s something that you can throw on over a t-shirt and jeans that pulls an outfit together and adds a rebellious touch. I also find that wearing a harness makes me more aware of my posture and body language. Try it out, you may grow an inch or two!

What’s your favorite piece from your current collection?
I’m currently obsessed with the Single Chain Harness. I love it worn with a maxi-dress, it’s the perfect combination of feminine and edgy.





Can you tell us a little bit about your design process?
I work much like a sculptor, but with leather. Sometimes I sketch out a design, but most of the time I begin laying leather strips on a dress form, pinning, riveting, and building a design from scratch. Each design is uniquely handcrafted, so some harnesses that have an intricate woven design can take up to three to four hours.

Where do you draw your inspiration?
I look in a variety of places. Many times I think of my favorite couture designers including Iris Van Herpen and Ann Demeulemeester, and dream up a piece to pair with their work. I also look at the stage costumes of rock 'n roll legends like Prince and Mick Jagger, plus I drool over wardrobe design on fantasy shows like Game of Thrones. More often inspiration flows naturally, as I’m very much inspired by the material itself.





Where do you source your materials from?
The leather comes from tanneries all over the world, yet nearly every material I use is purchased within Los Angeles, which is a wonderful feeling. I’m able to support local businesses as I grow my own.

You also design jewelry. Which is more difficult to work with: leather or metal?
Metal is much more difficult! I prefer softer materials. When I work with metal, I cast, which means I sculpt the original piece out of soft wax, and then I’m able to make a mold to cast multiples of that piece. You’ll never find me soldering or hammering metals. Leather is my material of choice. There’s just something about the smell, the feel, the different textures… it’s hard not to love.







Who would you love to see wearing your pieces?
Anyone from pop and rock stars like Lorde, Taylor Momson and Sky Ferreira to my favorite fashion icons, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

What do you have planned for the future of JAKIMAC?
I see the brand becoming a full leather accessory brand. In addition to expanding the line of jewelry, harnesses, and belts, I’ll be debuting the first backpacks & handbags this Fall. It’s also a dream to break into footwear, since it’s such a huge part of my history starting the brand. I already have ideas for JAKIMAC leather combat-style boots!

Shop JAKIMAC

Featured Brand: Jansport


Sure, you remember Jansport for being the backpack to have senior year, but did you realize how cool Jansport is as a brand? Chances are, when you were rockin' your Jansport to math class, you didn't know Jansport had been making backpacks since back in the '60s, when Jansport's three founders, Murray Pletz, Janice Lewis and Skip Yowell, set out to create a "better pack that was truly innovative." Now, over forty years after starting their company, the brand is still going strong and making backpacks that are convenient for storing school books or hikin' the trails.




Vintage Jansport


Skip Yowell, one of the company's founders

Since we love the retro styles of Jansport so much, we now have exclusive old school bags in "new school" colors, all from Jansport's Heritage series. These older-style packs even have the retro logo tag, which ensures that you'll stand out from the sea of other Jansport-toting kids on campus. Plus, we totally love the nostalgia vibe we get from owning one of these. Makes us want to throw on a pair of bellbottoms, sling on our backpack, and head off to a music festival.





Shop Jansport