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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

UO Live: White Lung

If there’s one name to know in punk music today, it's that of Mish Way, frontwoman of White Lung. White Lung originally got their start in Vancouver, and just released their third record, Deep Fantasy, on Domino Records. We recently had a chat with Mish, discussing the resurgence of punk music, her style icons, and everything that contributed to the recording of their new record. Make sure you’re sitting down for this one - it’s a heck of a good read.
Interview by Maddie Sensibile



Hey Mish! How have you been lately?

Fuckin' great. We just played this festival called Fuji Rock, which is held out in the mountains in Mount Fuji. Huge festival, it was great. I was only there for like 36 hours, so we went out, they took us into the festival, we played, we did some press, we went back to Tokyo, we partied with our friends, and then we went home. It was crazy. Japanese crowds are amazing. Everyone who worked at that festival was so polite and respectful and on point. Every piece of gear was perfect, everything you wanted was perfect; it was just very, very lovely. I'm all about the professionalism and they just blew me away.

You recently released Deep Fantasy on Domino Records. Tell me a little bit about the recording process for the record and where you drew inspiration from.

Well, we recorded the record in Vancouver with Jessie Gander, he's our guy. We started writing this record, and recorded half of it in December before I moved down to LA for a bit. Half of the record was written in isolation, which was really beneficial for us. We never heard any of the songs live until Heather and I went up and tracked it. Our guitar player Kenny played both bass and guitar on the record because we kicked out our old bass player. He did both, because he's a genius. The record was done a lot in the studio because we were playing more with tone and trying to piece together a rock record with a missing member. But it actually worked in our benefit because everyone was only bringing their best material forward. When we did work as a group, we couldn't just jam things out live, it had to be a little more calculated, a lot more thought out, and it worked for us. And the inspiration for the record, I just didn't want as much sugar on this record as the last one. I'm not sure if I achieved that, but I personally really wanted to write really strong, accessible vocal melodies that were aggressive and strong but still really catchy.

Deep Fantasy is full of slick and fast punk tunes that sound like they are totally timeless. How do you feel about punk music coming back and being more popular again? What was your goal when creating this record?

To me, punk music never went anywhere because that's the scene that I grew up in. Maybe it's having a resurgence in a more mainstream fashion now, but for us, those are my peers and that's who I toured with. We always put ourselves out into the atmosphere, and that's the great thing about punk - you can do things on your own and you don't need anyone else. That's the whole point of it, you know? I think it's great that loud music is coming back in a more popular way. I think people need it. Our world right now, we're doing everything in subtweets, you know? Punk music brings out true excitement and anger and expression. Even when you're watching a punk show, that energy is exhilarating and exciting and I think in a world where we're all so concerned with feeling and doing things on the sly, it's so complicated, and such a mindfuck, to have a form of straightforward, direct, and confident true expression. That directness is maybe what's so appealing. It makes me happy. The more the merrier. We've never been one of those bands that's been like, Keep us secret. There's nothing wrong with that. A lot of people in the punk scene don't feel that way.



White Lung's shows are extremely energetic and clearly elicit a physical response. For you personally, what do you feel is the key to putting on a meaningful live show and connecting with the people in the audience?

As we play venues or bigger stages, like festivals where there's this complete disconnect, I really had to learn how to convey what I'm doing in a bigger way. Put a little more musical theatre into it, you know what I mean? I've never been one that looks people straight in the eye while we're performing. I like to touch people and get involved there, but I don't necessarily look at people. I like to lose myself and forget what I'm doing. That's what makes a good performance for me. I'm aware that there's people watching me, but if I'm hyper-aware, and I see someone's eyes or something, it takes me away from what I'm doing. In the past I would always have my hair in my face. For me to put on a really good show I need to be completely lost in what I'm doing. It's this completely unaware trance that's happening, and that's when I perform the best. That's when I act the craziest, and that's when I don't care. People like to see you lose control and like to see power. That's how I feel when I'm on stage. I feel really powerful, I feel really excited, I feel really nuts. That's just what the music my bandmates are playing evokes for me, and I think we build from each other. Everyone has their role, but I like my front people to be front people. If you're paying money, I want to put on a show for you. It's exhausting but it's the best thing in the world.

Who have you been listening to on your own lately, while on tour or just in general?

I actually just deleted everything that was on my iPhone and I'm getting all this new stuff. I'm listening to a lot of, and this is probably because of my boyfriend, David Allan Coe's first record called Penitentiary Blues. Pink Mountaintop's new record I'm really into. I'm also listening to this compilation of all these Turkish garage bands from the '70s that I listened to years ago rediscovered again. Also a lot of weird old soul stuff, like Helane Smith and Joanne Garrett; all these old Miami soul artists I'm really enjoying right now. As for new bands' records, Mormon Crosses are coming on tour with us in September, and there's this band Love from the UK that I'm really into. I'm so eclectic with my tastes, I'm always searching for new old music. That's what I was doing yesterday for hours, just scouring old blogspots. People still have all this great shit up they uploaded from super old albums; it's so good.

I know White Lung was originally based out of Vancouver, but I've noticed you've been spending a lot of time in LA lately! How has this city played a part in your music and writing?

Well, now we're even further spread; our guitarist just moved to Montreal. When I was in Vancouver writing that first half of the record, I was very unhappy and I knew I was making this big change and was gonna try and move. I'm back and forth between the two still. I just really needed a step away from what I was doing in Vancouver. I was extremely unhappy and coming here gave me kind of a breath of fresh air. The second half of the record is a lot more positive than the first, and of course all of the songs are mixed up, but LA just put me in a better headspace. Everyone's gotta escape from the place they grew up in. I grew up in Vancouver, and I've been fortunate enough to travel so much that it was okay for a home base for a while, but it finally got to that point where I was sitting here bored out of my mind. I was done. I didn't have any work anymore and I was being paid in all U.S. dollars so what was the point? I really am a lot happier here, I just needed a change of scene. You can't not be happy in LA. It's a city where if you're already established, it's a really good place to come, I love it. I'm a West Coast person.



Now let's take a minute to talk about style. You do a lot of writing on the subject and how it relates to music. Some say there wouldn't be one without the other. How do you feel about the two and how they constantly work together or can they be separate?

They can be separate things, for sure but I feel like at least for me, the way that I use style in my performing helps me get into my character. Being on stage, you're exposing one very specific extension of yourself. Style and fashion is a great way to embody that and amp that up and really give yourself that extra boost to feel good. People are staring at you on stage, so you want to look and feel good to bring out even more confidence and put on a better performance. I used to have a really big issue with fashion, because I never had any money and I had to be creative with it. I would just feel so frustrated with it. When you follow the rules you feel frustrated but then you realize no one who's got great style follows rules. And, as I got older and got more comfortable with myself, I embraced fashion in a different way. I love it now. Being a female, too, gave me this total leg up with style. It can be frustrating when we're all having those days where you wake up and you hate everything in your closet and you hate your body, whatever, but those are the best days because you've gotta figure out a way to get around that. That's like a weird female thing, but it's an interesting part of it. Style is really important to me and has become more and more important as I've gotten older and I think it has a lot to do with confidence. All the people that I know who I think have the best style, they're just wearing whatever the hell they want, and it looks good because they feel so confident. I think the person with the best style in rock and roll, hands down forever, and will be Jennifer Herrema. She dresses insane. It's because she's made this self and this character and no one can pull off what she does. She looks incredible.

Who would you call your #1 musical style icon?

Probably Jennifer Herrema. And Judy Cole of Dead Moon. She picks one outfit that she wears for an entire tour. It's so cool, she'll just wear that every night and it's like her uniform. It's so badass. I've always loved Courtney Love and '90s style. The whole babydoll Kinderwhore thing, that was great. I think Jennifer Herrema is probably the most inspiring to me because she found this really great stride of hitting the mark between sexy and kind of butch. She's got this real fear in her style, I don't know. Little funny things, you know. If you can pull butch and sexy together, those are my two favorite things I'm always drawn to.

***

Join us for the filming of our UO Live video series with White Lung on 8/21 in LA at Space 15 Twenty! Want in? Pick up your wristband at Space 15 Twenty anytime. Doors open at 7pm. Get there early for music, dancing, and free beer!

About A Girl: Maddie Sensibile


For the past two years, our music blogger Maddie Sensibile has been our go-to gal out on the West Coast. With an eye for casually cool fashion and a knack for blending high-end and low-end pieces, Maddie's been a never-ending source of inspiration for us all. Since she's always on top of the latest music releases (she's like the Energizer Bunny when it comes to attending shows), we gave her her own column, "I'm With The Band," to give her the chance to chat to and photograph all the most talked about musicians. For this About A Girl, since we've been so inspired by Maddie for so long, it only made sense to feature her and let the whole world know a little bit more about our favorite girl.
Photography by Emmanuel Olunkwa. Styling by Rachel Ritter.



Hi Maddie! Can you talk to us a little bit about yourself and your background?


Hey! Yes. I’m 20 years old and grew up in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, CA. I’m currently in my final year of college, studying Photojournalism and Anthropology. I’m a bonafide music lover and spend most of my time thinking about that!

Tell us a little bit about what you do for Urban Outfitters. How did you get involved with the Urban Outfitters blog?

I’ve been a freelance writer for the UO blog for about two years now. During the Rookie Road Trip in 2012, I met some incredible people that got me involved with the blog team, and it has been an incredible partnership ever since! I’m currently writing mostly music-related things for the UO blog and have my own column, “I’m With the Band.”



What other things are you working on in your spare time?

Right now in my spare time I am mostly working on my post-college plans which will probably include graduate school, and I also am hoping to start some sort of new lifestyle website or magazine in the next year or so. I really want to evolve my fashion blog, Obsessee into something new.

How do you spend a day off? Can you walk us through a daily routine?

Usually, when I’m not in school or busy doing something else, I like to go around LA to art museums or find new places to eat with my best friend Maggie. She always finds the best places! I’m a total foodie. I also have been really into comedy lately and enjoy going to the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Franklin Village. The Cinefamily is also great, over on Fairfax. I just saw The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night there. The theatre itself is an old silent movie theatre, but now it draws interesting crowds for the quirky movies they show. As far as a daily routine goes when I’m not going out, I usually wake up, play with my dogs for a good while, and spend a lot of time on the web blogging or watching Kyle Mooney’s YouTube videos, then I’ll usually go to dinner with a friend or something later in the day. I’m guilty of enjoying being a couch potato from time to time.



You live in California. How has that shaped your tastes?


In the last two or three years I’ve become really close with people who like going to gigs and being surrounded by music. This has really helped me immerse myself in the scene here. There’s always something to do and see, whether it be in Silverlake at Lolipop Records or in Orange County with Burger Records. I think the huge wave of DIY record labels, like Burger and Lolipop, has helped people realize they can play music and be serious about it. These DIY record labels are run by extremely genuine people, which I think allows these young people new ways to produce music and put themselves out there. I think living in Los Angeles has given me a sense of freedom because there are so many creative people here. Someone is always up to something new, which is very exciting. There is a sense of purpose here, which has definitely driven me to be cultured and curious when it comes to music, fashion, art, etc.

Were there any bands your parents turned you onto that made you fall in love with music at an early age?

Funnily enough, I learned about music and everything I currently love through my own research. My parents always talk about Fleetwood Mac, though. I’d say they’re my parents’ favorite band, and one of mine too. My dad actually saw The Rolling Stones with me last year, and he’s been talking to me a lot more about rock and roll since then. We both really love Led Zeppelin, as well.



Who are some of your current/new favorites?

Lately I’ve been listening to a ton of Fleetwood Mac, specifically their Rumours record, and Stevie Nicks’ The Wild Heart. I’m also into the Talking Heads, Television, Led Zeppelin, and The Gun Club. Other, “newer” favorites for me are Arcade Fire. I’ve been listening to their new record Reflektor ever since it was released in October. That record was such a new direction for them and it is so great to dance to. I've also been listening to The White Stripes a lot, since I’m sad I never got to see them live! Seeing Jack White live, though, has filled the void. I can’t complain. The “newest” band I’ve been heavily listening to is SKATERS from New York City. I actually spoke to them last October for UO when they opened for Palma Violets in LA, and I just love their attitude and everything about them. My other go-to bands of the moment are The Babies, Twin Peaks, Mac Demarco, Real Estate, Drowners, Blood Orange, and Angel Olsen.

Your blog Obsessee focuses more on fashion than music. When did you first find yourself becoming interested in fashion?

I really became interested in fashion my freshman year of high school and then it really expanded from there. Initially I paid attention to the runways, and then it grew into a love of couture and all things ornate. I used to be into being really trendy and always wearing the newest thing, but now my love of fashion is more so a love of fashion as art. I don’t post on my fashion blog as much as I used to, but I still love to share my inspirations on the main blog, and I post more often on my Tumblr, which is more of a stream-of-consciousness for me.



How would you describe your personal style? Where do you draw your own fashion inspiration from?

My personal style mostly draws from musical icons and street style photos. British people specifically inspire me; they are so carefree with how they dress and have such a “whatever” attitude when it comes to their style. They’ll look so put together, but really they just threw on some cool leather piece that they’ve had in their closet for years. There is a book by author Sam Knee called A Scene In Between that has really become a style bible for me. The book is essentially a book made up of photos from the mid ‘80s to early ‘90s of the British music scene of the time. Knee shared photos of everyone from Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, Orange Juice, and The Smiths, who all felt inspired by the ‘60s, but the look they created was grungier and all their own. A Scene In Between really explains how I see my style. It is always evolving, and always pulls from different eras, and you want to look like one person from, say, the ‘60s, but you’ll never nail it, so you just add your own touch. Music will always inspire my style because there is also a certain look that goes with a type of music. Bands like The Beatles and Nirvana really solidify that thought, in my opinion. I really love Bobby Gillespie’s style and Mick Jagger’s, from the earlier days of The Rolling Stones. My style is minimal, androgynous, and includes lots of stripes.

You’re also a talented photographer. When did you first become interested in photography? What cameras do you like to work with?

I started learning about photography in middle school when a few other friends of mine became interested in it. I took a liking to fashion photography early on, then moved onto art photography. I mostly like to work with film cameras, usually just little cameras I can take with me anywhere. I specifically like this one Canon AF35M camera I bought for $20 a few years ago. It has never let me down! It was Canon’s first point and shoot camera, which is super cool to me. When shooting film, it is really fun to play with older cameras, and toy cameras, as well. I do shoot digital more often when it comes to my work at school, and I admit, I may be a convert! But right now, shooting film and working in a darkroom is my “happy place”!



Are there artists, photographers, etc that you admire?

My favorite artists and photographers are Andy Warhol, Stephen Shore, Alia Penner, John Altoon, and Nan Goldin. I met Stephen Shore a few months ago and I was so starstruck. I think his work is my favorite because it incorporates aspects of both art and photojournalism and is very open-ended. Shore’s work really focuses on the open-road which I really love. His early color photography is so vibrant and always excites me when I see it.

Do you have any advice for other young girls who are looking to become journalists/photographers?

My best advice for girls who want to be successful in the future is to always let people know that you are willing to work and put out the best work that you can. That will always be noticed and that is what has helped me the most in the last few years. Making yourself and your career goals known will always help you achieve your goals.

What are your plans for the future? How would you like to be remembered?

I’m hoping after college and graduate school I can work as a journalist who focuses on mostly music and art. Right now I’m also very interested in museum studies and becoming a museum curator. I’d love to work somewhere like the EMP Museum in Seattle working specifically on music history exhibits. I’m hoping I can use my studies in anthropology to help me with that. I’d like to be remembered as someone genuine and as a creative professional!

Shop Maddie's vinyl picks

Space Ninety 8: Gather Journal

Gather Journal is a food magazine that's about way more than food. The beautifully art-directed and smartly-executed biannual journal uses food and the idea of coming together around a meal to center recipes and stories around a theme. Inspired by their latest issue, "Caravan," which takes cues from deserts near and far, we partnered with the journal to create a special pop-up store inside Space Ninety 8 this month. The pop up, in Brooklyn through August 25, includes Gather's curated selection of desert-inspired items; it's a wanderlust-inducing assortment packed with handmade dreamcatchers, found crystals, and perfectly gauzy tunics.


To learn more about the ladies behind Gather, we talked with founders Michele Outland and Fiorella Valdesolo about avocado haikus, mood boards, and what they're eating, drinking, and listening to this summer (and listen to the exclusive playlist they created for us here!)
The theme of your latest issue is the desert-inspired "Caravan" — can you tell us more specifically about what was influencing you while putting it together? 

F: We had both taken recent trips to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree and have a deep love for the desert environment. Also Michele grew up in the West and Southwest so she spent a lot of time in classic desert environments like New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Arizona. The desert feels like the ultimate retreat and its beauty is just breathtaking. Now that we've produced the Caravan issue and incorporated inspiration from a number of other desert destinations, we have a lot of future dream trips in mind; right now, Moab, White Sands, Marfa, and the Sahara are topping our personal wanderlust lists.


What are you each eating and drinking this summer?  

F: My boyfriend and I have the good fortune of having an outdoor space so we garden and I'm eating a lot of bitter, leafy greens and heirloom tomatoes that we've produced from there. And I always love classic summer pleasures like hot dogs (preferably with mustard and McClure's relish), watermelon (naked), and ice cream (the new Ample Hills creamery just opened around the corner from my apartment). And my drink of choice this summer thus far has been the new Del's Naragansett Beer shandys or my usual tequila or mezcal on the rocks with a lime. 

M: Cherries in all forms, corn in all forms, the grilled pizza with fennel, feta, and coppa from the current Caravan issue is in heavy rotation, palomas, and been enjoying all the light and summery dishes at NYC restaurant Navy.  


Can you share a bit about the process behind starting your own journal? What have been some challenges? What has been easier than you expected it to be? 

The idea for a print project had been percolating since both of us left Nylon a few years back to go freelance. We had considered a more style and culture-focused magazine but kept finding ourselves being drawn to food; frankly, it was what we talked about more than anything else. Honestly the biggest challenge is taking the leap from talking about an idea to actually following through and making it a reality. That's huge; if you're able to do that, it's half the battle. What's been easier than expected has been coming up with ideas for the issues. We are usually so jazzed about the topic that our cups runneth over with ideas. 


Can you walk me through the process of the creation of an issue? 
 
Besides us, we also have a pair of incredible contributing recipe editors (Maggie Ruggiero and Molly Shuster) and a prop stylist (Theo Vamvounakis) who we work with regularly. 

The first thing we do when approaching a new issue is sit down together (always with wine and food, naturally) and start brainstorming words or themes (each issue has a specific word or theme that drives the content) that pique our interest. Once we settle on a word, we start coming up with massive lists of food ideas inspired by it. Then, after much back and forth, it eventually gets whittled down and then Maggie and Molly start working on recipe development. 

In the meantime we start thinking about building the creative content of the issue: Fiorella thinks about the words, reaching out to her stable of regular writers, and Michele envisions which photographers she is going to call on to bring each recipe chapter to life. Then we get into photo shoots and production mode which is always incredibly hectic but also incredibly fun and gratifying.  


Gather pulls influence from a lot of places outside of just the food world. Can you share some of the specific things on your inspiration boards right now? 

We are constantly looking to music and movies and art for inspiration. Just so you get an idea of the wide cross-section of places we pluck from we attached the mood board that we showed at a recent Apartment Therapy talk here:  


What are some of your favorite recipes from any issue of Gather? 

It's hard to pick favorites—really, we love them all—but some of the recipes we continue to make over and over again in our own kitchens are: gazpacho water, and steak, caponata and burrata from Float; gravlax, mushrooms on toast, minestrone, and fallen Aperol chocolate cake from Traces; fried chicken, eton mess, slashed black and blueberry pie from Rough Cut, shakshuka, chocolate espresso cardamom mousse, and drunken upside-down cake from Cocoon; cactus and purple potato frittata, green gazpacho, and ombre crepe cake from Caravan. 



Can you share a bit about the Space Ninety 8 pop-up?  

In every issue of Gather we have a small Marketplace featuring products that tie into the issue's theme that we sell online. Space Ninety 8 offered us the opportunity to bring our Marketplace concept to life and blow it up by adding even more stuff to it! We approached designers and brands that we were fans of and that fit with the Caravan issue's desert vibes. There are two products we custom-created for this issue, a denim tote bag with a design by tattoo artist Minka Sicklinger and an original desert-inspired dream catcher by Spoke Woven. 

And here is the complete list of participating brands and designers: Colin Adrian, Dove Drury-Hornbuckle, Amelie Mancini, Upstate, Horses, JM Dry Goods, Ermie, Loup Charmant, Adina Mills, Unearthen, Nova, Earth tu Face, Lulu Organics, R+Co, Wild Unknown, Raven Crest Botanicals. 

Fiorella, you create a special haiku to go with each issue. Will you write one for us, please? 

Here's a haiku about what is, in my estimation, one of nature's most perfect creations. 

An Avocado Haiku 
Croc skin, flesh of jade 
Like butter, in fruit's clothing 
Creamy contentment



Click here to see images from Gather Journal's Space Ninety 8 opening party. 


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

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

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

For The Record: Zach Braff


Remember how much the Garden State soundtrack meant to you back in high school? Us, too. That's why when we found out Zach Braff would be coming to our NYC store (1333 Broadway) on August 8th to sign vinyl soundtracks for both Garden State and his new film Wish I Was Here, we jumped at the chance to interview him ahead of the event. Read on to find out about what it was like for Zach to work with Donald Faison again, and how it feels to curate a Grammy-winning soundtrack.



You’re currently working in New York on Bullets Over Broadway. Can you tell us about how you became interested in musical theatre? Have you always had an important relationship with music?

I inherited my love of musical theatre from my dad. When I was growing up in New Jersey, my trial attorney father loved performing in community theater productions. The first one I remember watching him in was “Hello, Dolly!” and it inspired me. I was never into sports as a kid, so that helped me find my niche in the performing arts. Aside from theater, music has always been a big part of my life. It’s how I celebrate and cope with life's moments. And my only metric is whether or not I like how a song or artist makes me feel.

The Garden State Soundtrack won a Grammy and helped launch the careers of some of the musicians involved. What does it take to put together something so prolific? What were you looking for when you set out to make it?
It wasn’t intentional, and the timing was fortunate. I won a Grammy for making my favorite “mix tape” of all time. At that point, most indie music was slowly discovered through word-of-mouth, and Garden State introduced some lesser-known but amazing artists to a wide audience very quickly. The songs on the soundtrack are ordered chronologically by when they appear in the movie. I think the soundtrack works partly because it's a group of songs that people love and partly because it's a chance to relive the movie according to how you remembered it and how it made you feel.

Can you tell us about the soundtrack for your new movie, Wish I Was Here? What was the process like of creating it, and what are some of the most important points?
I knew I wanted to assemble a lineup of originals, covers, and rarities, along with a few classics. I also knew I wanted to stay true to my indie music preferences, which is the type of music I love and which, I think, best compliments my style of filmmaking. For the originals, I started out with my dream asks: James Mercer (The Shins), Coldplay, and Bon Iver. When they all said yes and their reactions to seeing the movie were so strong that an unbelievable new song emerged from of each of them, I was humbled and amazed. Then the rest of the album came together with a “may the best song win” approach. Each song had to give both my editor, Myron Kerstein, and me chills when we added it to a scene. I think Allie Moss’ cover of Imogen Heap is tender and beautiful, and Bon Iver's “Holocene” and Paul Simon’s “The Obvious Child” are both timeless classics.

What was it like working with your brother on the movie?
It was a bonding experience that brought us closer than ever. It provided us with a lot of opportunities to discuss our family and our personal beliefs. And it was great to witness his writing process and learn from his strengths as an artist and storyteller.

You’ve said you like writing strong female characters. Can you talk to us about some of the characters you wrote for Wish I Was Here and the casting choices?
In script form, my brother and I envisioned the characters of my wife and daughter to be dynamic, strong, and intelligent yet entirely different women. When we wrote them, I dreamed of getting Kate Hudson and Joey King to play those respective roles, but I never imaged I’d end up with both of them. They brought their best work to these archetype females, and it elevated our movie family’s entire dynamic. It was so hard to edit the film down to its theatrical running time because every time they appeared onscreen their performances were so genuine and such a pleasure to watch.



We’re excited to see you reunite with Donald Faison–is it fun to work together again?
Of course! We jump at any chance we get to work together. And even though we love riffing and improvising during a scene just to make the other laugh, it’s even more fun to see our Scrubs fans go crazy any time we collaborate. Our fans are definitely the best part.

Can you talk to us about some of the advantages or disadvantages of being an actor yourself when directing? If you had to choose to do only one for the rest of your life, would you act or write/direct?
It can be difficult and all-consuming to be an actor-director, but it’s also one of most rewarding feelings I’ve ever experienced. To be able to make art and tell a story the way I want all the way from the script to a final, edited movie is such a privilege. It's difficult to pick which I prefer but it’d probably be writing/directing.

What if you could not be in the entertainment industry at all?
I love to fly and have my pilot’s license. And I love dogs. So I’d probably be a K9 aviation specialist.

***

For The Record Upcoming Schedule

8/4 Spoon: UO NYC (628 Broadway) 2pm-3pm
8/8 Zach Braff: UO NYC (1333 Broadway) 5pm-6pm
8/12 Jenny Lewis: UO Salt Lake City (12 South 400 West St.)
9/10 Banks: UO Brooklyn (98 N. 6th St.) 6pm-7pm

Come out and get vinyl signed by your favorite artists!

About A Band: Jenny Lewis


Jenny Lewis is no stranger to collaboration. She began her musical career with Rilo Kiley and has worked with more musicians than we can count, including The Postal Service, Bright Eyes, The Watson Twins, Johnathan Rice, and most recently, Ryan Adams and Beck for her newest album, The Voyager, out now. Celebrating the release of The Voyager and gearing up for a few For The Record vinyl signings, she chatted with us about her many collaborations, her fashion sense, and growing up in the desert. Photography by Autumn de Wilde



Hi Jenny! Thanks so much for chatting with us. How are ya?
Doing well, thank you!

We’ve been big fans for years and years!
Well, thank you!

So, how excited are you about The Voyager finally coming out?
I’m pretty excited considering it took quite a while to complete. I feel like I can relax a little bit now that it’s done.

You worked with Ryan Adams on the album. What was that like?
It was wild! I reached out to him directly, via Twitter. I think I DM-ed him! I was on tour with The Postal Service and we were wrapping it up after Lollapalooza last year. And so I reached out to him because I had a new song that I wanted to record. And he said, “Yeah, come on down to Pax-Am, come check it out, and we’ll record your song.” And by the end of the day, we recorded two songs, and then he asked if I wanted to come make my whole record at Pax.

That’s amazing!
Yeah, it was exactly what I needed to get over the hump of this record. I didn’t want to be the captain of the ship anymore. I was happy to be the skipper.

That was the 10 year reunion tour with The Postal Service, right?
It was. It was really exciting, so fun! It’s like a rock and roll dream come true, where you disappear for a decade and come back and play two sold out shows at Barclays Center. That shit never happens!

Are there any songs that will always feel extra special to you?
My songs are like my kids in a way, so it is hard to choose. But I think I’m drawn to a song over time when it can exist in different ways. If you can strip a song back and play it on an acoustic guitar in a room with your friends, then it’s something that sticks around for a little while. Some songs are tricky and I can’t play them outside of Rilo Kiley, they just don’t make sense. I feel like "Silver Lining" is a song that’s really flexible in that way.

I feel like I’ve witnessed something very rare in your musical history. I’ve seen The Frug live.
Oh my gosh! Oh wow, that is a really rare thing. Did I do the dance?

You did! It was incredible!
[laughs] How embarrassing! It’s funny, because I didn’t even realize when we were writing that song that I was referencing Troop Beverly Hills. It didn’t occur to me, and then someone was like, “Yeah, don’t you remember? You did The Frug in Troop Beverly Hills with Shelley Long?” And I was like, “Ohhh, that’s where I got that from!”

If they did a remake of Troop Beverly Hills, would you do it?
Would I play like the older, wiser one?

Yeah, like they get the old gang back together.
You know, I would seriously consider it.



In addition to your acting history and musical prowess, you’ve also become quite a fashion icon. Is that something you identify with?
Oh, well that’s so nice to say! I certainly have never set out to be an example or a trend, I just wear what feels appropriate at the time. But I have noticed over the years when I look out into the crowd, that the fashions are always just a little bit behind what I’m doing. You know, when I was touring Acid Tongue, for example, the kids were dressed like I was for Under The Blacklight, like hot pants and glitter and gold lamè! And by the time Acid Tongue was finished and we were doing Jenny and Johnny, I had moved on to like a ‘50s greaser kind of thing, and the kids were dressed like I was on the cover of Acid Tongue, in bellbottoms and a hat, out there flashing peace signs!

Will you ever put out another one under Jenny and Johnny?
I’d like to! We shall see. Johnathan [Rice] and I continue to write together for my records, his records, and we wrote a bunch of songs for an Anne Hathaway movie. We’re always collaborating on stuff, and I’m sure that when we write something that feels really ‘us’ it will inspire another J & J record.

That’s the second movie you’ve worked on a score for, that’s very cool.
Yeah, that is the second one. The first one I did by myself, and then exactly a year later we were asked for Song One and I was so relieved to have Johnathan and Nate Walcott from Bright Eyes. It’s a big responsibility, it’s a lot of hard work and homework. There are a lot of revisions when you’re working on a film because it’s so collaborative.

How does that differ than making songs for your own album?
Well, you’re not writing for yourself, which is a really fun exercise. You’re writing for a character, and in the case of Song One, we were writing for a male singer/songwriter. To flip the gender roles like that was really exciting for me. Although I think we created a very sensitive man [laughs]. The sweetest, most thoughtful guy ever.

You seem to really collaborate a lot on your solo work.
Yes, I need a lot of help [laughs]! I come from a band, so I’m used to sharing the responsibility and I’m used to collaborating with people. I love it. When I first got into music, I knew nothing about music. I just knew how to write words and put them to simple chord progression. I learned everything being in a band. Standing alone and being a solitary solo artist isn’t as comfortable for me, so I try to be as inclusive as possible.

You were actually born in Las Vegas, but do you identify with that at all?
I’m pretty much a Valley girl, I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. But I do go back to Vegas on occasion. I mean, none of my family stayed in Vegas. But when I do go back, I feel a certain kinship with Las Vegas. I feel very comfortable in a desert mini mall out in the middle of nowhere. For whatever reason, that’s like when I’m in my element.



Vegas is a kind of weird place.
Kind of weird?! It’s the weirdest place on Earth! It’s so strange. You can stay indoors for three days in the AC and never see the real Vegas, but the way I grew up when I was a kid–we lived in an apartment complex and my parents worked in the casinos–our life was very separate from that.

Back to fashion a little bit, tell us about your amazing rainbow airbrushed suit!
Oh, man! Well, for every record since Rabbit Fur Coat, I’ve collaborated with Autumn De Wilde and her amazing team in Los Angeles. So we always get together and pow-wow about what the look is gonna be of the record I’m about to put out. So for The Voyager, we wanted something slightly cosmic. I was referencing Gram Parsons and those famed nudie suits he wore. They’re beautiful! It’s kind of a nod to country western music, but I also wanted it to be more modern and reflect when I grew up, which was in the ’90s in Los Angeles. So it has kind of a graffiti element to it.

Are you wearing it on tour?
Yes, I’m going to wear it as much as I can! But I’m playing a lot of summer festivals so I may have to rethink the three-piece polyester suit. You know, if you wear a suit like that, it does like half of the work for you. You’re like, “here I am! I’m in this rainbow suit!” and everyone’s like “Hey! Who cares about the music!”

I’ve heard you also love wearing tracksuits!
[laughs] It makes me happy, it keeps me very comfortable when I travel. I used to wear oversized tracksuits when I was a kid and so lately I’ve opted for a kids medium, that’s the size that fits me! I’m a total shrimp. They’re a little high-water, which I like. I’m dying to do a collaboration with adidas where we cop my rainbow airbrushed suit and make that design on a tracksuit. It would look really cool.

I would totally buy that!
Exactly!

***

For The Record Upcoming Schedule

8/4 Spoon: UO NYC (628 Broadway) 2pm-3pm
8/8 Zach Braff: UO NYC (1333 Broadway) 5pm-6pm
8/12 Jenny Lewis: UO Salt Lake City (12 South 400 West St.) 4pm-5pm
9/10 Banks: UO Brooklyn (98 N. 6th St.) 6pm-7pm

Come out and get vinyl signed by your favorite artists!

Shop The Voyager

About A Girl: Ivania Carpio

We have long been enamored with Love Aesthetics' Ivania Carpio, the Dutch blogger whose signature whited-out color palette and minimalist sensibility have made her an internationally-recognized and respected voice in fashion blogging. Amid her smart observations and posts on style, home DIY, and beauty, it seems there is nothing Ivania can't put her own uniquely clean, simple, and clever spin on; her cooly minimalist aesthetic is a palette cleanser amid the noise of fashion.

We teamed up with Ivania for a three-part blog collaboration that touches on different areas of her expertise:
a minimalist nail art project; a copper and leather home DIY; and below, an exclusive interview that explores more about her thoughts on style, living with less, and finding inspiration in the everyday.



On paring down and personal style:

It seems that your style is less about wearing one color and more about taking the time to discover possibilities that can come from restrictions: texture, detail, and clothing taking on the personality of the wearer. Can you talk to us about the freedoms that come from this type of limitation?
Exactly, it is very liberating. I can almost pick an outfit in the morning with my eyes closed, in a monochromatic wardrobe everything works well together. One of the things I appreciate most about fashion and clothes is the craftsmanship and the way things are made. On a garment without a print or color all attention goes to these details; the fit and tailoring, the kind of seams, the texture of the fabric. Non-colors are always relevant, always fresh. You can get tired of a purple shirt after wearing it three times; a white shirt, however, never gets old. It is so neutral that it adapts to the occasion and the mood. It becomes more about the wearer.

Do you feel like having an outlet like Love Aesthetics — and especially maintaining it for so long — has helped shape your style and outlook?
Perhaps it has. When you blog you are really documenting and writing about daily things like "why am I wearing this outfit" which you would otherwise not think about so much.

You've mentioned how you consider the simple white t-shirt to be the most classic clothing piece. What are some other pieces you consider timeless?
The white tee is the only true timeless piece I can think of. If you take jeans for example, you could still tell from the fit (highwaisted, low waisted, flared legs, skinny legs) or wash from which era they are. Other clothing items have much more details and room for variations. But from a plain white T-shirt you could really not tell if it is from the 1950s or 2014. It has proved it never looks dated.



Can you share any embarrassing fashion phases from your past?
I love to go thrifting, shop at vintage markets and secondhand boutiques, spending my free Saturday nights on Ebay. I have a lot of love for the late eighties and early nineties. I would go to college in head to toe 1980s vintage and deliberately wear all the "wrong" things from that decade; including hair and make up. Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead is one of my favorites movies, so "'80s career woman" like Christina Applegate in that movie was often a theme. Every morning felt like getting ready for a dress-up party.

On sources of inspiration:
We are intrigued by an old blog post of yours where you describe a recent "mood board," which consists of marbled paper, three mints, clear clothes hangers, and a small glass container. What objects, shapes, or details have been interesting to you lately?
Broken objects, fragments of mirrors and glass. But I’m also still obsessed about disposables, which I’ve been collecting for years. Clear soda cans from a Chinese supermarket, old CDs, strange plastic disposable forks, "patatbakjes"; white plastic boxes in which they serve fries here in The Netherlands.

Who are some of your favorite artists and photographers?
I admire Dieter Rams and Yohji Yamamoto for their philosophy and approach to designing. But then I also have to mention my boyfriend Romeo Pokomasse; it’s been fantastic to see his photography skills develop and grow from up close.

Will you share some recent sources of inspiration or interest?
What are you reading: recently re-subscribed to the newspaper
Watching: don’t own a TV
Thinking About: traveling
Listening To: Akkord and Gazelle Twin
Cooking: vegan spring rolls

On your life and routine:
Can you share a bit about your background—where you are from and what your upbringing was like?
My mom was a diplomat, so until I was 10 we lived in different parts of Latin America. She was also a hippie, so we weren’t allowed any Nintendos or anything with an army/camouflage print. We were brought up in a very free and open-minded way. When we moved back to The Netherlands in 1998 it was like finally coming home, there was a lot more freedom here. It also meant I didn’t have to wear a uniform to school anymore, so at that time I started to pick my own clothes for the first time in my life too. The only kind of "getting dressed" I knew from before was on non-school days; which involved a mix of my own clothes, my mom’s vintage and kids costumes. So when starting school in The Netherlands, I wore just that and because there were no uniform requirements anymore I also started cutting and painting my own hair. Mom didn’t interfere, sometimes it looked ridiculous, sometimes it looked fantastic.



Can you walk us through a day-in-the life? What is your daily routine?
I try to get up before everyone else does to squeeze in a run. Then I wake up my kid and bike her to school. After that my workday begins. I love the workspace that I share with my boyfriend Romeo; it’s light, empty and has a concrete floor with lots of (white) paint splatters. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to work together, it’s like a family business. Lois likes to come and hang out with us too. It can be a day behind the computer, the sewing machine, at the hardware store, behind the camera, in front of the camera, at meetings or attending events or just behind a big piece of paper with a pencil. Besides collaborations I’m currently working on building a label from Love Aesthetics, which is very scary but exciting. It’s hard to describe to people what I do, because it varies so much; besides Love Aesthetics -which is my main gig- I also work on art direction, design, and consulting assignments and am also a weekly contributor to Dutch Vogue online. But I like being busy.

What would you wear, right now if you were going:
For a walk around your neighborhood… White tee + white shorts + some kind of outerwear tied around my waist
For an early evening cocktail at a new spot... Long black dress with slits on the side and open back + nike air max trainers
For an afternoon of mind-numbing errands... silky white turtleneck tank top + vintage Adidas running shorts + nike air max + white leather backpack
For a lunch with an old friend… slipdress + floorlength coat + trainers
For a trip to the museum... Asymmetric white leather top that I made + culottes + pool slides

Shop our Greyscale Lookbook for more of Ivania's aesthetic

About A Band: Strand of Oaks


During the recent XPoNential Festival in Camden, NJ, which took place right across the river from Philadelphia, we spoke to Strand of Oaks frontman (and incredible hugger) Timothy Showalter about the band's upcoming tour, hometown pride and making an album his parents can be proud of. Interview by Katie Gregory



Hi Tim! Thanks for talking to us. Are you guys excited about your headlining tour?
Yes! We're gone until November. We have a couple Philly shows at Boot and Saddle in September, and then we go to Europe directly after. Like three days after the Philly shows, we're gone. And then we added two more weeks in Europe, so that's exciting.

Are you guys still headlining in Europe too?
Yeah, we actually have a lot of groundwork laid in Europe, so we've been headlining there for like a year or two now. We headlined Europe before we headlined the US. We wanted to wait. I was lucky enough to open up for killer bands in the states, like every band was so good. We got to open for them, see how it worked, and just took our time until it was the right moment to do it.

We were talking earlier about how you'd opened for Tallest Man on Earth.
Yeah, Kristian [Matsson, of Tallest Man] and I, we were only supposed to play four shows together and then it turned out to be two years of tour [laughs]. It was supposed to be four shows and then it turned into, like, five different tours together, all over the world. He's one of my best friends. I love that guy.

He seems like a great inspiration.
He's like my brother. We call each other warriors. He's my man, I love that guy. Man, I wish we lived closer.

Your newest album is a little different from your older ones. How has the reception been from the fans?
Surprisingly great. It helped being paired with Dead Oceans, because it's such an awesome label. They believed in it as much as I did and... well, they also believed enough in what I did to let me do whatever the fuck I wanted. Like, I made a record that was very different from my previous records, but they were totally open and just told me to do it. And that's the best thing you can get from a label, just to have someone 100% behind it. Plus, it paid off. I think listeners react to a record when they know the person loves the music that they're making, when they know that it's genuine. I think this is my first record that I genuinely loved making.

The videos that you've put out so far for this album have been amazing, very thoughtful. Did you put a lot of time into fleshing out their concepts?
I actually thought a lot more about the directors than the videos. Rick Alverson [directed "Goshen '97"], he's my hero. He did The Comedy with Tim & Eric and James Murphy. That movie is just bonkers. But yeah, I wanted to work with him forever. And then Zia Anger who did the other video ["Shut In"], she's worked with Angel Olsen and she's just fabulous. We lucked out. It's just a matter of choosing the best team of people to work with. I'm not inherently talented so it's a matter of choosing people who make me look more talented. I pick people who are better than me to be surrounded by [laughs]. You saw the band! They're so much better at music than me, that's why I work with them.



How long were you all recording the latest album?
I started writing and recording last September. I finished the record around Christmastime. It was a pretty quick process.

We love that it got great reception from so many publications and music blogs.
Yeah, which I just feel like... I think it's a good time to be making records. I'm proud of music. I'm proud of my contemporaries. I think right now some of the best records being put out in years are happening, as we speak. It's a really good year to be putting out a record, like there's a really good crop of things [laughs].

Do you have anything you're looking forward to?
Man. Well, those two Boot and Saddle shows. They're super intimate. We wanted to play smaller venues for the first round. They're going to be intense. Wild.

That venue is pretty perfect.
It's one of my favorites. We decided to play there because I've been there a few times and I was like, “Holy shit, this place is incredible.” I'm really excited to get back into it. We're playing some awesome gigs, cool rooms. Like The Independent in San Francisco is awesome. I'm actually playing my hometown in Goshen [Indiana]. I'm super nervous about that. It's gonna be people like family members. I'd rather play to thousands of people than to two family members [laughs]. You can't really be cool around people who used to change your diapers when you were a baby. It's hard to pull that off.

That's exciting, though! When's that one?
August. So it's coming up soon. Old girlfriends and old friends.



But now you have this cool new record so you can be like...
[Deep voice] Look what I've done! Look at me! Exactly! My goal is... well, I don't know how to use the internet, but I need to get on the Goshen Wikipedia page under notable people. I don't know how that happens, but I need to find a way to get on there.

Anyone can edit it! You should totally add it in.
I know [laughs]! That's my goal. We've been kind of everywhere with this record, but my local newspaper wrote about it and that was what did it for my parents. They were like, “You were in the NEWSPAPER.” And I was like, “I know, I was also in...” And they're like, “No, but YOU were in the NEWSPAPER.” [Laughs] I made it! There it is!

Do you feel more like Goshen is your home or Philly?
Philly. I mean, I moved in 2000, so like at this point, that's almost 15 years. Playing something like this [WXPN festival] is hometown. When you grow up, you can't consider where you're from your home. I lived in Goshen for my upbringing but I was never an adult there. I moved out when I was 18, so it's pretty much over [laughs]. I go there because my family is there but this is where I live. I love it here. Especially right now. I don't think there's a prettier city in the fuckin' world looking at this [gestures to skyline]. This is amazing.

It's great looking over from Camden.
Who woulda thought! The Camden view is the view to have.

[At this point a woman comes up and asks Tim if he is Dawes. When he explains who he is, she gets her picture taken with him before leaving.]

Nice. You're Dawes!
Usually I get like, “Are you in Skeleton Witch? Are you in a doom metal band?” Somebody asked me about Skeleton Witch like four times once, so I finally looked at their press photos and I was like holy shit, I look like I'm in Skeleton Witch [laughs]. Valiant Thor! If I didn't have my shirt on right now, I'd definitely be in Valiant Thor [laughs]. Doom metal.

Years ago, you played this small art gallery, Eckhaus, in Kutztown, PA, and now you're starting to get recognized and playing big shows.
I love [Lehigh Valley]. There were so many good shows there. It took a long time to do big things. It definitely didn't come fast. People still ask me if we're a new band and I tell them yeah, we played our first show in 2004, we're pretty new [laughs].



Do you feel like you're where you want to be now or...
No, I want to sell out stadiums. If you're from Indiana, you don't do something without doing it all the way. Basically, parents aren't instantly satisfied with you if you're a little successful. Like if you got an A- they'd be like, “You didn't get an A?” So, for me right now, it's not even for my own ego or anything, I just need to prove to my family that I'm making it. They don't understand under-the-radar stuff, so I need to get much bigger for them to understand what I'm doing. [Pauses] This is like a therapy session! But no, I love what we're doing now. I think it's exceeding my expectations, for sure. It's awesome.

Are you guys already working on the next record?
We'll be touring until, like, fall of 2015, so we're not too worried about it. I can make a record in two weeks. I can't do anything else in life except make music [laughs]. The best is when you tour for a long time and then you stop touring. You play the guitar on the road, but you're playing it for a purpose. You don't get a lot of time to just write on the road, for me at least, so it's so awesome to finally get done with touring. Like, then it's record time and your mind just opens up. I already have another record written, but I don't think I'll put it out. I like it, though. It's fun. I was writing R&B songs a lot, singing up in the falsetto range. Thinking, “I wonder if people would ever want to have sex to my music.”

You should definitely try that.
I was listening to that one Drake song that everybody likes, "Hold On We're Going Home," and I was like, “I wonder if I could write a song like this.” [Laughs] I think that song is so good. But no, I'm into playing the guitar. The next album will probably be even louder, more rock. I want to make records that sound good in stadiums. I'm kind of a scatterbrain, but I think it works out.

Strand of Oaks Tour Dates

Happenings: UO x Jansport Event Recap

To celebrate the launch of our collection of exclusive Jansport backpacks available only at UO, we teamed up with Jansport to throw a little party in NYC last week with performances from Phosphorescent and Strand of Oaks. In the midst of all the craziness, we grabbed some pictures of everyone jammin' and a quick interview with Matthew Houck of Phosphorescent. Check it out below! Photos by Jonathon Bernstein // Interview by Jessica Louise Dye







Hi Matthew! Tell us a little bit about how you got started as a musician.
I wanted to pick up a guitar probably just like every other kid - by listening to Nevermind by Nirvana. That’s definitely what made me wanna try and learn some tunes.

How would you describe your sound?
Oh, yeah. I would generally have to try to dodge that question, about describing sound. Hopefully it does that job by itself!

What would you most like for people to take away from your music?
I would want people to take away... just some sense of something beautiful I think is what we’re aiming for, some sense of beauty.

A show is a success when we all make it out alive.







I know you just became a father, congratulations!
Thanks! She’s just a little baby still.

What do you hope her first record will be?
Well, it better be a Phosphorescent record.

The best part about touring is the shows, and playing music all over.

The worst thing about touring is the transit. The transitioning between places can be the thing that really weighs you down.

What does the future hold for you?
Yeah, I don’t know. I am going to be getting back into the studio after getting off the road and seeing what comes from that. We’ve been on the road for about a year and a half, so it will be good to get back into the studio and see what we can make of it.

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Featured Brand: Focused Space


Focused Space, a San Diego-based accessories brand, focuses on providing good-lookin' yet functional backpacks and other goodies to help organize your chaotic, electronics-filled life. We spoke to founder Bryan Grismer to find out a little bit more about how the brand got started and what his favorite and most-used Focused Space products are.



What makes your brand different from other accessory companies?

Focused Space is an exploration into the fine products of efficiency. We create a fashionable look with functional compartments to store your laptop, iPad, iPhone and electronic accessories.

What are your goals with each bag you design/make?
The goal with each design is to elevate the travel experience and how we transport and organize our technology.

Which bag of yours is the most popular?
Each style serves a different purpose depending on the length of commute. The Curriculum and The FS Commander are very popular. The brand's heritage was developed around the Silo collection, which was made of a reinterpreted woven upholstery elk fabric and fashioned to resemble a livestock feed bag. The Silo reveals unexpected constructions that stand as a salutation to America’s pastoral traditions. The Silo backpack is also the favorite backpack style of Brandon Flowers, frontman of The Killers!

Which bag is your personal favorite? What kinds of things do you find yourself putting in there daily?
The Framework convertible backpack is a personal favorite of mine. I wanted to incorporate the timeless aesthetics and convenience of a fan-opening frame combined with a multipurpose shape that solved fast pace street travel. The straps can be tucked away to carry like a tote or attached to carry like a backpack. The bag has several organizational compartments to house everything needed in a daily commute.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the sound stage you guys have set up in your home office? How did that come about?
Although our brand emphasis is focused on travel efficiency, our family grew up playing music and rehearsing in our surf/skate shop in Southern California. We wanted to create a sound stage for bands to come in and express themselves.

What kind of bands have performed there? Do you record the performances?
Up and coming indie rock, underground hip-hop and EDM type performers.

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Studio Visit: Outlaw Soaps

For this installment of Local Beauty, we're headed to the Bay Area for a study in soap-making with Outlaw Soaps, the Oakland-based line whose products are inspired by the attitude of some famous rule-breakers. Who says you can't be both rebellious and clean, right? We talked with co-owner Danielle Vincent about tiki bars, irreverence, and how a random stop at a Paso Robles farm stand inspired a business.

Photography by Keko Jackson.




What's the Outlaw Soaps elevator pitch?

We make exciting soaps for adventurous people. Everything we do is filled with love and laughter and the same irreverence that we feel toward life overall. We want the people who use our soaps...[have] a daily reminder of whatever it is they're passionate about, whether that's a big ol' bonfire on a camping trip or a quiet desert at sunrise. 


What’s the backstory? 

It seems kind of random, but I guess everything does from a certain angle. Russ (my husband and business partner) and I were on our honeymoon outside of Paso Robles on the 46. We stopped at a farm store and I ended up picking up some soaps, not really thinking much of it. Over the weeks that followed, I got really attached to them because they reminded me of that wonderful trip, and I thought, 'Hey, what if I could make soaps that reminded me of everything I wanted to be reminded of!' So we started studying how to make soaps. A week after we launched officially, we got a huge order for shaving kits and I quit my job. We moved to Oakland shortly after that. Many of the pictures on the vision wall are from that farmhouse store. It's really where I see us going in the next five years. 


What is "ridiculous soap"? 

We don't take ourselves too seriously and we have a lot of very funny friends. If someone comes up with a soap funny enough for me to spit coffee into my keyboard, we sometimes give it a shot. That's how Unicorn Poop came up: my friend Gretchen's daughter had the idea and I happened to have a lot of baked goods scents around (like blueberry muffin and birthday cake), so we decided to try it. And of course, it became everyone's favorite soap right away.


Why Oakland? 

Oakland was a very convenient place for us to settle. We live and work in a very, um, "safety-challenged" area in Oakland. We chose this place for very practical reasons: the rent is cheap and no one minds if we wander around looking like the cast of Breaking Bad (we wear a lot of safety gear when we're working). 

In addition to being practical, though, Oakland has really grown on us personally. There are lots of amazing places, and it's wonderful to see places like Jack London Square and downtown being revitalized. There's a lot happening in Oakland now. 



Can you share some favorite things that are happening in the area? 

I have always loved Jack London Square. Heinolds's First and Last Chance Saloon is one of the most magical places on the planet, let alone in Oakland. It's a very eccentric place, but it also feels like they kind of expected you to come in and make yourself at home. Very comforting. 

Recently, I went to an exhibition at Redux Studios and Gallery in Alameda, and it was wonderful. Alameda is just overall idyllic, but their growing art scene is significant. I feel like they're building a very unique and independent culture over there. And speaking of Alameda, Forbidden Island Tiki Bar is THE HANDS DOWN MOST AMAZING TIKI BAR EVER. Yes, it's all-caps amazing. I have quite a lot of glassware from there (they have cocktails that come with their own cup to take home). It's just wonderful. 

The place I always go when I happen to find myself in the city (that's what we Oakland people call SF) is the American Grilled Cheese restaurant. I am a huge fan of cheese and the New American has the best grilled cheese sandwiches ANYWHERE. 


Who are some of your favorite outlaws—historic or just general rule-breakers? 

Of course, I'm partial to fellow soap salesman, Soapy Smith. He had a slick swindle where he'd slip some money into the soap wrappers and then just sell off the soaps seemingly at random. People would go crazy buying the soaps hoping to get what sometimes was as much as $100 (and in 1870s money, that's a lot). Of course, Soapy didn't ever sell the winning soaps to the general public, he just sold it to his friends and got the money back at the end of the gig. 

My favorite outlaws are the ones who have a touch of humanity in their outlaw dealings... one outlaw, Tom Bell, was a surgeon and had a habit of bandaging up any victims hurt in his hold-ups. I mean, sure, he stole all their money, but that's no reason to be cruel about it. 
 

Quick: recommend one product to us (If we can only have one). 

Sage Copper Canyon soap. It will absolutely change your viewpoint for the rest of the day. 


What are you working on next? 

We just launched a lotion-to-go. It's called The Stick-Up and it's kind of like a big glue stick, but instead of glue, it's lotion. It can get through airport security, it lasts a long time, it's amazingly nourishing and soothing, and it smells incredible.


Shop Outlaw Soaps in UO Beauty!