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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!

Brands We Love: CMRTYZ


Seattle-based duo CM Ruiz and Ty Ziskis, aka CMRTYZ, are an artistic team that creates original artwork for "anything from T-shirts to album covers." UO design teamed up with the duo to print their lo-fi creations on one-of-a-kind destroyed tees, and subsequently created some of our favorite tops of the summer. We caught up with the duo via email while they were on opposite sides of the globe to find out a little bit more about their design process and inspirations. (And they also had some incredibly inspiring words of wisdom for all aspiring artists out there! We're feeling like we can take on the world now.)



How did you guys get started as a company?

TYZ:
[Carlos] and I met through a mutual friend who was curating a NW poster art exhibition. I had just been laid off from my job and volunteered to help with the project. My contribution was the idea to create a group of products incorporating the work from the artist and the music from the bands that were featured on the posters in the the show. The whole thing ended up being kind of a bust, but through being a part of the show I met Carlos and we clicked immediately. I was blown away with his work. We decided to continue the concept of building products using his work as our graphic identity. We never visualized ourselves being a clothing brand really; we're just two guys that like to be productive. We like to daydream and then get a kick out of figuring out round about ways to make those dreams happen.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

CMR:
I'm inspired by things that have similar energy or humor as I do. I like comic books, '60s mod design, The Simpsons, and my other creative friends' work. I look at a lot of Reddit and Tumblr when I can't really think of anything, because an artist's block can be reduced just by laughing at some dumb thing and feeling relief.

What is your design process like?

CMR:
I go to a copy shop and just start making stuff. I'll come with some books in my bag I know I can pull from, things like pretty girls or interesting body movements, and start creating things around these people. Landscapes, text, shapes, bugs, brick walls, floating creepies, stuff that I like to draw and I think can balance a composition. Around 3/4 way in I will start to pull back the insanity and start to think of it mathematically. I'll listen to whatever music I think best fits the tone, mood, and voice of whatever particular project I'm working on.



Any advice for other young artists/entrepreneurs out there?

CMR:
I think if you're naturally talented you really have to hone it and try your hardest to make as much work and get as much practice as you can. If you're not going to go to school, then you have to learn from whatever scene you're in about what works and what doesn't. You can't be resigned to give up because it didn't happen in a year or two; it may take ten years but at the end of it you'll be "there" which is the mountain peak you wanted to get to all along. You have a story and you need to just go for it 100%, not halfheartedly.

TYZ: Don't listen to the people who tell you you can't because of "this or that." Think outside the box, then think outside that box, too. Think backwards and upside down. There is always a way as long as you believe there is. Be persistent even if it feels like you're being annoying. Always be productive, be prolific, don't stop working. If you are doing EVERYTHING (and I mean EVERYTHING) in your power to make "it" happen, the universe will more than likely take care of the rest.

What are your favorite spots to hang out/eat/etc. in Seattle?

CMR:
Lots of places! Ba Bar, Tacos Chukis, Ezells Fried Chicken, Ballard Pizza Co. For drinking there's The Streamline, The 5 Point, Rendezvous, Hazelwood. For shopping there's Totokaelo, Glasswing, Comics Dungeon, Zanadu Comics, Red Light Vintage, Pike Place Market. Literally any park is nice, or see a movie at any of the art house theatres (Harvard Exit, Guild 45, Central Cinemas). Just pick up a Stranger and see what's happening. A lot of the time they're not far off.

TYZ: BPC (Ballard pizza co.), Pho Cyclo, Pike Street Fish Fry, GGNZLA karaoke, T-docks for a good swimming spot, STARBUCKS for coffee (:p), Fremont Vintage Mall/Market, my backyard and Magnusson beach dog park.

What are you currently listening to?

CMR:
Detective Agency, White Fang, Juan Wauters, So Pitted, The Trashies, Times New Viking, Vaguess, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, Outkast, M.I.A., Chiddy Bang, Ice-T.

TYZ:
Detective Agency, So Pitted, Johnny Thunders, Pet Shop Boys, Stickers, The Memories, Yves/Son/Ace, King Krule, Damaged Bug, and everything on Castleface Records.

Shop CMRTYZ

For The Record: Temples

Temples looks and sounds like they're straight out of the '60s, and even after seeing them live in person, we're not 100% convinced they're not time-traveling from the past to grace us with their musical prowess. How else could we explain their impeccable vintage style? Since we've been groovin' (first and last '60s pun we'll put in here) to their debut album Sun Structures since it was released earlier this year, we're happy to announce that the band will be joining us in Chicago, July 31, to sign records at one of our downtown locations (20 S. State Street). Ahead of the signing, we chatted to the band via email to find out a little bit more about them.



Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and how you formed?

We are Temples from Kettering in the middle of England. We recorded some songs as an experiment a few summers ago and put them on YouTube. We were asked to play some shows, so we thought we'd figure out how to play the songs live, and we haven't really stopped since.

What were you doing before Temples really took off?
Some of us were at University, or working, but we all were living in different cities at the time. We all just happened to be back home in Kettering at the time Temples was coming to form, so for that coincidence, we're very thankful.

What cities in the US have been your favorites to tour through?
Austin, Texas is always an experience. We loved the time we had on the West coast, too. So many of our favourite musicians are from there. We found tranquility in Santa Cruz.

We'll be seeing you at our vinyl signing in Chicago. Any particular things you like to do while there?
Thrift stores, getting our native foods card stamped and listening to some blues.



We saw you perform on a rooftop in Austin for SXSW. Have you performed in any other interesting locations?
We played in a swimming pool in Geneva, Switzerland. They'd emptied all the water out of one of the pools, built a stage and these huge lights; everyone was in swimwear and barefoot. The reverb was wonderful.

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve done at a festival?
Stayed up all night to watch my favourite band play at 11am the next day, and fell asleep an hour before they were about to play. Sorry, Dark Bells.

What are some of the instruments you like to use to get your sound?
Anything we can find. The idea is to make the instrument you're playing sound like something completely different.

Do you guys have any hair tips and tricks? Yours is all pretty fantastic.
It's important to let things dry naturally.

Who have you all been listening to lately?
Nick Nicely.



What have you been watching lately?
Dario Argento films.

What do you all like to do when you’re not playing music?
Go find the nearest record shop and sightseeing 'til we can see no more.

What does the future look like for Temples?
Bright and progressive.

Shop Temples on vinyl



For The Record Upcoming Schedule

7/31 Temples: UO Chicago (20 S. State St.)
7/31 Jenny Lewis: UO Indianapolis (8702 Keystone Crossing)
8/4 Spoon: UO NYC (628 Broadway)
8/8 Zach Braff: UO NYC (1333 Broadway)
8/12 Jenny Lewis: UO Salt Lake City (12 South 400 West St.)
9/12 Banks: UO Brooklyn (98 N. 6th St.)

Come out and get vinyl signed by your favorite artists!

Near and Far: Victory Press x UO


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

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







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

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







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

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

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







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

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

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





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


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

Happenings: On The Boat


This weekend, we'll be up in beautiful Newport, RI, hanging out on a decked-out boat with The Wild Honey Pie and some of our favorite musicians. Recording special sets on the boat all weekend long, the artists will also be making appearances on the ground at Newport Folk Fest. To get everyone pumped up for the big event, we interviewed a few of the artists involved to learn a little bit more about each of them. See you at the fest!

TALL TALL TREES




Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Well, my name is Mike Savino. I grew up in Long Island, NY, but I’ve made my home in Harlem, NY, for the past 11 years. I’ve been a musician all my life, from my humble beginnings as a heavy metal bass player in my youth, to a jazzer, to my current life as a banjo slinging troubadour.

How would you describe your sound?
Psychedelic banjo?

How do you feel about other people’s descriptions of your sound?
People throw around the terms “maverick” or “banjo wizard” which I don’t mind at all.

How long have you been playing the banjo? Do you remember the first song you tried to play?
I’ve been playing the banjo for almost 20 years (yikes), though at first it was a hobby as I was more serious about becoming a jazz bassist. On the side I was studying Earl Scruggs and Pete Seeger, learning to play those old-time songs like “Cripple Creek” and “Foggy Mountain Breakdown."

A show is a success when everyone leaves feeling elated and mystified.

The best part about touring is seeing old friends and making new ones.

Favorite memory from 2014?

The year is half over and I feel like I’ve already done so much. I just returned from a tour of Japan for the second time. That was pretty amazing.

Have you attended Newport Folk Fest as a concertgoer? If so, any favorite memories?
I haven’t. This will be my first time!

Any NPFF moments/sets through the years that particularly stand out to you?
I’m guessing that this year will stand out. :)

Who are you looking forward to seeing at the festival?
So much! I’m excited to reunite with my friends Lucius and Valerie June who will also be playing. I’m a huge fan of Trampled by Turtles whom I’ve never gotten to see. Robert Hunter has always been a hero of mine. I’m excited to see Jack White, Jeff Tweedy, Conor Oberst, Deer Tick... there’s so many. I’m going to be very busy.

What do you like to do when you’re not playing music?
Unfortunately, when I’m not playing music, I’m sending emails. Haha. One day I’m going to get me a little cabin in the woods and just sit there listening to the birds, drawing in my sketchbook, and drinking coffee.

Who are you currently listening to?
At the moment I’m listening to Sean Lennon’s new band GOASTT, Floating Action, and the tracks from my upcoming EP - getting them ready for release. I’ve heard those, WAY too many times.


THAO AND THE GET DOWN STAY DOWN



Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started as a musician.
I'm Thao. I grew up in Virginia and taught myself to play guitar and other stringed instruments and the first song I ever wrote was for a book project on Lord of the Flies in eighth grade. Still some of my best work.

How would you describe your sound?
Old country and blues and R&B influenced loose and energetic rock and roll music with melancholic lyrics.

How has your upbringing shaped your music?
I think growing up in an immigrant household as a first-generation American kid raised by a very hardworking single mom infused me with a social consciousness and empathy and I hope that is evident in my music.

What would you most like for people to take away from your music?
Empathy and energy.

Who inspires you musically? (Singers/songwriters/etc.)
Dolly Parton, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Lucinda Williams, Bill Callahan, Outkast, Elvis Perkins, Songs Ohia, John Prine, older street musicians, our bassist Adam Thompson, my dear friend Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards, writers Joan Didion, Grace Paley, Dennis Johnson, and all the fantastic people with whom I've had the pleasure of collaborating.

You’ve collaborated with a lot of amazing artists. Who would you like to collab with in the future?
I would love to collaborate with brass musicians in New Orleans and genius musician kids and comedic actors.

A show is a success when you feel like you and the crowd were in it together and either side gave just as much as the other.

The best part about touring is seeing old friends you'd otherwise never get to see, eating amazing food you'd otherwise never get to eat.

Who are you currently listening to?
The Byrds, En Vogue, Mavis Staples.

What does the future hold for you?
Writing our next record and then recording it and then releasing it and then touring it. Immediate future holds eating kale I bought at the farmer's market.


DEATH VESSEL



Hi Joel! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in a small coastal town in Maine. Before Death Vessel, I formed the band String Builder with my brother, Alec. I first started making music in Rhode Island in 1997.

How would you describe your sound?
A friend once described Death Vessel's sound as "melancholy candyland."

A show is a success when when all is a wow.

The best part about touring is is feeling welcome in a new and distant place. Additionally, I've always liked the routine that a well-planned itinerary provides.

What do you love about RI?
The official state rock of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is the Cumberlandite. It's exclusive to RI. And it's magnetic.

Where are your favorite places to hang out in RI?
I spend most of my time on the west side of Providence. Parker Woodlands is great for shady hikes. I recently had the opportunity to visit Clingstone. It's a lone house built on a tiny rocky island in Narragansett Bay near Jamestown. It's quite a sight.

Have you attended Newport Folk Fest as a concertgoer? If so, any favorite memories?
Yes, last year. Michael Hurley's performances in the Harbor Tent (with Black Prairie as his backing band) and in the Family Tent were festival highlights.

Any NPFF moments/sets through the years that particularly stand out to you?
I'm easily enthralled by the video clip of Blue Ridge Mountain Dancers with Pete Seeger (1964?) that's circulating online.

Who are you currently listening to?
I've been on a Francois Rabbath kick lately.

Shop Joel's vinyl picks

On The Boat Performers
Tall Tall Trees
Death Vessel
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
Shakey Graves
Lucius

RSVP for the On The Boat experience here! Spaces are extremely limited. Winners will be randomly chosen starting July 24. For more info, click here.

UO Video Series: Spoon


Playtime for one group of beings can be angst-riddled Armageddon for another. If that sounds way too close to some kind of intense Bruce Willis film, just think about the difference in perspective between ants and humans at a picnic, and you’ll get the gist of music video director Hiro Murai’s not-that-serious thought process when creating the video for “Do You” by Spoon, off their forthcoming They Want My Soul on Loma Vista.







We’re hanging out beneath a windswept tent in the abandoned parking lot of a shop long out of business that, in its heyday, was amazingly named “Travel Around the World with Bertrand Smith’s Acres of Books.” (Yes, that was the whole name of one single business.) A pyro crew’s on deck, prepping a trashed-out Mercedes and some rubber tires with industry secret sauce to sustain some serious flames. The art department is littering all kinds of detritus on the grounds, right in front of the police. Hey, it wouldn’t be the end of existence without at least a little rubble.

“Not to get super heady about a music video concept,” Hiro says, “but I’m really interested in a pocket moment that takes place in a doomsday world.” In the case of this video, that means Britt Daniel, the lead singer of Spoon, is cruising in a vintage Plymouth wagon through a very lackadaisical Sunset Drive kind of vibe, and it just so happens that the buildings are on fire behind him. Which is actually kind of what Los Angeles feels like sometimes anyway, metaphorically, Hiro concedes. “Hey, once you own the chaos of the apocalypse,” he says, “there’s a certain kind of calmness to it.”

Just then Britt walks up, head to toe in black, before he hits makeup for some bandages and bruises. “We’ve never really made a video where I totally understood the concept,” he says. “But this one, I get it.”







Though they’d had several conversations over the phone about the video, Hiro and Britt are meeting for the first time on set. (The rest of the band was back home in Austin, enjoying the day off.) “This is one of those videos we have to rehearse 800 times and then do it once correctly,” says Hiro, explaining why we’ve been watching them do laps around the parking lot for hours. The video is to be shot almost entirely in one take.

“I like really deliberate filmmaking,” Hiro says. “I like things that are very in control—the pace of the storytelling, what you show the audience, and when. Although I don’t know why I haven’t learned my lesson from the one-shot thing, because every time I do it, it’s such a pain in the ass.”







Britt isn’t worried in the slightest. “I looked at Hiro’s videos and it seemed like he really knew what he was doing. Like he had a flair for the bizarre and the unique.” It’s part of an aesthetic his band’s been mining for two decades and eight full-length albums.

Sometimes music videos “can be one of those things that you ‘have’ to do for a record,” says Britt, “but I’m enjoying this one because I have a good feeling about it.” The way he sees it, he explains, “is that we’re seeing the last scene of a movie, right? And you as the viewer is dropped into this last scene without understanding the full context. I’ve been battered around, and I’m driving down the street and you don’t really understand what’s going on. You see a few reveals of who I’ve got in the car, you see there’s all this destruction going on. The car’s on fire, people are running, you don’t really understand why. And the last bit of video…”

Well, if we continued with the explanation, what would be the point in watching? No spoiler alerts here: check it out and find out how it ends yourself. Photography by Mike Selsky

Pre-order They Want My Soul on vinyl

About a Space: Beachside Bungalow

"I always knew I'd end up living at the shore…but figured that I would know when the time was right." 

In the spirit of the lazy, beach-filled days of summer, we took a quick trip to the tiny, nautical-inspired beach bungalow of Steve Olszewski. Steve is a stylist at Urban Outfitters, and commutes 80 miles each way from his home in Villas, New Jersey to UO's Philadelphia home office—a schlep, but one he considers well worth it to live in the history-filled, 550-square-foot beach house he's completely restored in the last two years. We talked with Steve about beach life, DIY renovations and tips for making the most of a small space. 
Photography by Michael A. Muller.




More than just an escape from the city, Steve's beach house is the realization of a childhood dream: the house originally belonged to his grandparents, and Steve grew up spending every childhood summer in the house he now lives in. "I always wanted to live at the shore," he explains. "I remember fantasizing about living in my grandparents' beach house as early as when I was nine or ten years old."

Two years ago, he started making steps toward leaving the city and retreating back to his roots. He sold the house he owned in Philadelphia and bought the beach house from his cousin. "It was really a surreal moment of all the right things happening at just the right time," he says.


He started renovating last January. Within two months, he and a friend had completely redone the interior. "I had originally intended to just spruce things up," Olszewski explains: "Embrace the 1970s wood paneling…[but]these things do tend to snowball. And just because you get nostalgic over a memory of playing Chinese checkers on the front porch addition of your grandparents' house—complete with shag carpeting, dropped ceilings and dark wood panelling—doesn't mean that it's something that warrants preserving." Above, coats hang on a wall made from reclaimed cedar fencing.  



Throughout the renovation, he also kept in mind that he was converting a summer home into a full-time home, and made steps to have it be "comfortable for summer visitors but also functional as my home when they were not." 

Above, a nautical mirror in the living room that Steve can trace back to a provenance inside his grandmother's shed. ("I always loved it!") When his mom tried to sell it in a yard sale, "I made sure it didn't get sold," Steve explains. "It sat in [storage] for years as one of my 'I'll have a house at the shore one day' belongings and just recently saw the light of day for the first time in over 20 years when I hung it on my wall." To continue the nautical influence, the mirror hangs over a displayed U.S. Navy blanket from WW2.


To make the most of the small space's limitations, Olszewski installed these paneled doors so the heat can get through. 


On living with less, he says, "I accumulated so much stuff while I was living in Philly and had to let go of a lot of things...living in a small space forces you to have less. The bedrooms in my spot are pretty tiny—this place was built for someone to drop his things and go fishing and then stumble home to sleep…space and comfort were the least of the worries of the people building these houses." 

Steve makes up for quantity with the quality of objects he keeps around: The house is packed with relics from the home's history that Steve has preserved and re-realized to fit into his own aesthetic. Above, vintage fabric used for bedroom pillowcases. 


Steve gutted and rebuilt the entirety of the tiny bathroom after discovering a leak buried beneath three layers of tile and concrete. "There were days this winter where there literally was no floor," he explains. "All you saw was the dirt in the crawlspace underneath the house; I referred to it as my litter box."


Details on a cedar wood shelf, constructed from the same reclaimed cedar as the wall in the front room.  


"This is my Great Aunt Mary passed out in a hammock." On his collection of vintage photos, Olszewski says he eventually wants to create "an installation of photos of people relaxing and having summer fun."


Steve's future plans for the beach house extend outside: painting, building an outdoor shower and planting a garden. 


"It always drove me crazy when I saw people ditching their beach chair in the trash because their butt ripped through the seat," Olszewski says. "I always thought, 'It's a perfectly good chair! It just needs new fabric!' Over the past few years, I've been grabbing beach chairs with good solid salvageable frames and refurbishing them with new fabric."


Steve's tips for small-space living:

1. Figure out what you will need space for, and plan accordingly
"You really need to consider how you are going to use a particular space, how often you plan on using it and form your plan around that. For example, I knew that I would only eat at my table when I had friends over, and also that when I have friends over, we pretty much spend most of our time out on the closed-in porch. So, moving the table out there in order to have a more open space in the kitchen was a no-brainer. Same goes for the second bedroom…I'll not have guests way more than I will have guests…so it only made sense to utilize the room as an extension of my bedroom (but leave enough space for a really comfy air mattress)."

2. Be inventive with storage
"You have to utilize every nook and cranny for storing things. Don't just have a coffee table…have a coffee table that’s actually a giant old trunk with all of your extra sheets blankets and pillow cases in it."

3. Keep things clean and bright
"As for keeping a space seem open and larger, I always stick with light, bright colors and avoid too much clutter—put your stuff away! I also painted the entire house one color so that things didn't feel separated at all. I wanted it to feel like every room was an extension of the next."


A nearby escape — Steve's two-block walk to a quiet stretch of beach. 

Studio Visit: Duffy's and Herbivore Botanicals

This week, we're looking to Seattle to two favorite beauty brands doing things differently in the Pacific Northwest. First, a trip to the sunny studios of Herbivore Botanicals, where owners Julia Willis and Alex Kummerow share how running a do-it-yourself "science lab" is pretty much the best job ever. Next up is a visit to the Elysian Brewery, where we talk with Duffy's Brew owners Nicolette and Sean about the magical haircare benefits of their line's not-so-secret star ingredient. Photography by Robin Stein



A natural apothecary line operated by Julia Willis and Alex Kummerow, Herbivore Botanicals' ingredients run the gamut from Japanese Bamboo Charcoal to Brazilian gemstones. We talked with the couple about being accidental soap makers, drawing inspiration from scent, and their ideal Seattle day.   


How do you describe Herbivore Botanicals?
Julia: Herbivore Botanicals is kind of my dream come true. Its all about bringing together my favorite things: creating amazing natural scents, spa-like experiences and pretty designs. I love my job.

Alex: I couldn’t be happier. I love how everything is still done in-house. It is so rewarding creating a product from the ground floor. The initial ideas, the formulations, packaging and design, seeing the label printed for the first time, combining design and product to make something that people know as Herbivore Botanicals… I love seeing people love our product. 


How did this all start for you?
Julia: It really just came together out of nowhere, definitely not planned. In 2011, Alex, who is now my husband, and the other half of Herbivore Botanicals, bought me a soap-making kit for fun. Once I started, I became totally obsessed and knew that I had come upon something important. My friends and family were totally confused by why I was spending all my time doing this! I had never really made anything before and was definitely not a crafty person but once I started I knew it was what I needed to do. So, I pretty much followed my gut feeling
 and started this business. Alex and I now create and design everything together. We are our own formulators and graphic designers.


What inspires your products? 
Julia: For me, new product inspiration usually starts with a scent. Since all of the scents that we work with are plant based and natural I then look into the the properties of that plant, what it is traditionally used for from a therapeutic healing perspective. Then, I start blending and thinking about what other ingredients it would work well with, and what the purpose of the product will be. For example, we are working on a new body oil and our first full blown perfume right now, so I am very much in a world of scent experimentation. Visual images, color and words come next and we like to keep them simple and directly related to the scent of the product and the feeling that it evokes.



Tell us more about where you work. 
Alex: We love our workspace. The building is a tri-level building from 1900 that was used to house the horses that pulled carriages for the Bon Marche back in the day. Sadly, no more horses live here, but it is a great building filled with a handful of artists and creative businesses. 


Any new-to-you ingredients you've been experimenting with? 
Julia: I order samples of new ingredients to test out weekly and am kind of the mad scientist / mixologist around here. My current favorite ingredient is probably Tourmaline gemstone powder. This powder is amazing. It is a pure gemstone powder from Brazil that naturally brightens and refines the skin. You can find it in two of our newest facial masks: Brighten and Activate. My other current favorite is Jasmine Sambac essential oil, it can be found in our Egyptian Jasmine Luminous Body Oil and most likely a few new products that will be coming out for Spring 2015. 


Why Seattle? 
Julia: I am from here, actually. I grew up in Snohomish, a small town outside
 of Seattle. I tried moving away from Seattle a few years ago but missed it too much and came right back! I love Seattle: I think we want people thinking its all doom and gloom here so we can keep it all to ourselves.

Alex: I love the rain. Well, I loved the rain back when I moved to Seattle from a very arid climate. There is something about the Pacific Northwest that I have always found enchanting. It has an almost dreamlike, surreal vibe. The foggy mountains, the misty nights, the perfect summers...


What are some of your favorite things that are happening in the city right now?
Alex: I think maybe the best way to answer this question would be to describe
 my perfect day off. Julia and I sleep in a bit. We wake up and walk to local coffee shop Vivace for a espresso and delicious pastries. We walk a block or two over to Volunteer Park and relax in the grass amongst other Capitol Hill patrons looking to escape the hustle. Next, brunch at our favorite vegetarian restaurant Cafe Flora before heading to a trunk show at Glasswing at Melrose Market. Maybe a little siesta before heading to one of our favorite bars Montana for a Moscow Mule made with Rachel’s local ginger beer. Grab a bite at In the Bowl vegan thai restaurant and set off to see our friend Garrett Vance’s band Night Cadet at some venue on Capitol Hill. To cap it off, we would go to Pony to dance until closing to the tracks our employee/ favorite DJ kkost (Kyle Kostrzewa) would be spinning. 

Shop Herbivore Botanicals in UO Beauty

***

Duffy's



There is an old wives' tale that goes something like: put beer in your hair and the malt, barley and hops will make it shinier and healthier than ever before. Duffy's products puts a modern spin on it, using beer from Seattle's Elysian Brewery to make shampoo and conditioner. 

Why Seattle? What was it that drew you to the city / what has kept you there?
Both of us were drawn to Seattle because of its music culture. The beauty here sucks you in too… every time we fly somewhere else it looks lackluster compared to the breathtaking views and lush green landscapes we’re used to. We’re also huge foodies and severe coffee addicts and there is no shortage of either here. As far as starting/running a business, we’ve grown to love how much Seattle fosters those with an entrepreneurial mindset. We began selling Duffy’s at local farmers’ markets in Ballard & Fremont…not many cities have those kinds of grass roots venues so readily available.


Can you share some of your favorite things that are happening in Seattle right now?
We just checked out the Georgetown Carnival last weekend. So many cool things happening in that neighborhood right now! It reminds us of the way Ballard was before it exploded. We had some of the best Mexican food in the city at Fonda La Catrina in Georgetown. It was amazing. 


How do you describe Duffy's?
It gives people a unique alternative to spice up their grooming routine. We’ve revived this age-old wives tale into a fun and sexy product line that has a little more personality and lot more performance than your average shampoo/conditioner.


Tell me more about the Duffy's backstory: what exactly is the old wives' tale about beer and hair?
Back in the 60s and 70s women used to pour straight beer on their hair to add volume and shine. This works great as a short-term solution for dull, drab hair…but we wanted to expand on that. With Duffy’s, we amplify all the benefits beer has for hair while still maintaining that salon quality. We also process out the majority of the alcohol so that your good results don’t end in a dry, pungent mess days later.


Tell us more about how the Elysian Brewery got involved?
We approached several big players in the Seattle brewing scene to gauge who would be interested in working with us. Elysian was enthusiastic from the get-go. They aren’t afraid to get involved in something unique and they’ve been nothing but supportive since day one. Plus their craft brews are complex and delicious! 


What's your go-to brew (for drinking, not hair-washing)?
We're both really excited about the cider scene happening right now. 2 Town’s BrightCider (out of Corvallis, OR) and Seattle Cider Company’s Dry Hard Cider are two of our favorites.  


What's next?
We’re in the R&D stage right now on a beer-based beard wash/conditioner as well as some hops infused styling products. 

Shop Duffy's in UO Beauty

Brands We Love: One Teaspoon

Jamie Blakey, founder of denim and clothing line One Teaspoon, started the label when she was just 21 and with only $3,000 to her name. Now stocked in 32 countries worldwide, One Teaspoon shows no signs of slowing down. We spoke to Jamie about her favorite denim she's put out over the years, what she's currently wearing, and how we can get our own perfectly distressed denim.



Hi Jamie! What are your favorite One Teaspoon jeans, past or present?
My most favorite jeans of ALL TIME are the Ford King Pins and they're only just about to hit stores! When the sample finally arrived (this sounds lame…), my eyes welled up a little bit! Heavy, I know. Over a pair of jeans. But I couldn't believe them. Everything was perfect and just so me.

Do you have a favorite pair of jeans to wear?
Ford King Pins and the Black Wetlook Runaways.



How long have you had them?
They’re freshies. So only about 2 months.

What's the best thing that happened to you in those jeans?
Heaps of cool shit. Just everyday life is pretty damn great.

What's your favorite outfit currently?
You know what… It’s been the same since I was about 13. Mid-wash indigo baggy jeans with an oversize white tee. The cuts vary from season to season and the styling changes with what shoes and accessories I put with them. But it’s always that. Jeans and a white tee. That’s me.

How many pairs of jeans do you own? How many do you actually wear?
About 50 pairs. I get obsessed with one or two pairs for a month, wear them always and then I get over them and move on. Always have a drop crotch baggy on high rotation, though!



Any tips or tricks for distressing denim?
Just get some scissors and sand paper and rip in. The blunter the scissors the better. A big bottle of cheap bleach is always good to have on hand, too. The cheaper and more shit the better. I like to use the whole bottle with only water. Don’t be shy about it. After that, you just watch them until they reach the color that you’re after. Don’t do stretch denim, though, as you’ll lose all your elastane out of the denim. Once you’ve gone mad cutter and finished sanding and bleaching, put them in the washing machine with a decent scoop of powder and you’re away. Always dry them in the dryer after so they come out nice and soft.

Tips or tricks for making vintage denim wearable?
I only ever wear men's vintage denim. Low waist and baggy. Make a couple of nips and tucks and rips here and there and they’re good to go.



Favorite places to shop for denim?
I don’t have a favorite. For vintage I only ever go to thrift stores because getting them for a bargain is part of the fun. New denim I don’t buy so I wouldn’t know where to go that’s great... other than One Teaspoon and Urban Outfitters, of course!

What's been the best moment of your career so far?
It’s all pretty great. I feel like the best is still yet to come though for some reason?

Shop One Teaspoon

About a Guy: Paul Koneazny

Philadelphia artist Paul Koneazny was kind enough to let us invade his Fishtown apartment for our newest men's photo shoot. Packed with original art and works-in-progress, the space (which he shares with his girlfriend, fellow artist Jamie Felton) was the perfect setting, and we left feeling inspired by Paul's refreshing outlook on art, music and his approach to creating pieces. On a break from shooting, we sat down with Paul to talk about the creative life. 

Photography by Mark Peckmezian



What's your process like for creating a new piece?

Most of the ones here I've been working on a long time. I like to keep a painting going as long as I can to have as many edits with it as possible. The way I look at it, all of the work I make can be opened back up again.

How long is a "long time" for you?

Well, I have been working on some of these for over three or four years [Laughs]. It doesn't look like four years worth of work, does it?



It's great that you're able to remain interested in and actively inclined to work on the same project for that long. That means you're in the right place.

I don't know if I always want to work like that. I envy people who can move from one piece to the next and knock things out, but I feel like after a certain amount of time, the me that started the piece is in a different frame of mind, so it becomes a collaboration with yourself, gives it more range than was originally possible.

Do you ever have a show or display pieces publicly and then get them back and revise them after that point?
If it's in my possession I will change it. It's too hard to resist! My sister has one of my pieces, and it's no different: either she needs to finish it or I do. I'm really not sure what that's about! I'd like if a light show came down over me and said, 'This is done,' or something, but I feel like there's always a way to improve something.





What are you working toward right now?
I feel like I'm at the end of a period of tunnel-vision painting. Just working. Most of these will probably wrap up at the same time; I'm gradually building it all up so that most of these will get sewn up in the same day or two.



You experiment a lot with medium — can you talk about how fabric and experimental "canvases" play into your work?

A lot of my paintings start with a more specific grounding that I leave peeking through in a way that communicates with the piece. That element is a starting point, then I find ways to show how that functions in an opposite way. Any move made or material or style that goes in there has to show opposite purposes. Also, it's just an odd technique to have a rug or carpet soak up paint. This [points to art piece] was originally a blanket from a thrift store. That [another painting] was a Mickey Mouse bed sheet, and I tried to take as much information as I could to try to make it something else.

So they're all playing with the idea of art versus art-objects, and the line between those things?
Yeah, most of these start to go toward the realm of objects. I guess that's what the found fabric is about. I haven't stepped too far into sculpture, but these are all augmented toward sculpture or environment.



You mentioned earlier that music plays a big part in the work you make. Tell us more about that.
I listen to music all the time in general, but I think when I am painting well, the album will end and I'm still painting and I don't realize that the music is off. I think I steal a lot of devices and strategies from musicians as well as visual artists.

Can you cite any specific examples?
Like drum and bass, which is about sensory overload but there still also being a steady rhythm that keeps you from being off-put by it. When I look at certain pieces I sort of hear that playing.



Do you have that same connection with any other art mediums?
I look at images on the Internet all the time as a way to just soak up imagery, but I never really look at that while I'm working—just before or after. As I'm doing it, I never realize it's art-related; I just need to absorb it. 




About a Band: Liars


Before heading out to Chicago and hitting the stage at our next Afterfest, we wanted to catch up with Liars’ guitarist Aaron Hemphill to hear what the band has been up to, listening to and looking forward to, following the release of their seventh album, Mess.
Photography by Zen Sekizawa and Jiro Schneider




Hi Aaron! What have you been up to since we last spoke? (For the “Mess on a Mission” video.)
I’m not sure if we’ve ever been as busy as we have been in the last few months, but we’ve gotten to do some amazing projects and it’s all to do with Liars so I’m definitely not complaining. In between playing more shows in support of Mess, we hosted and curated an event called Friday Flights at The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, which was really special. We assembled and installed a wide range of visual pieces all exclusive to the event and space. We also got to involve our very special friends like Mary Pearson Andrew, John Wiese, Kate Hall and Protect Me to do the same. At the moment, Angus and I are working on a special project that’s somewhat a secret at the moment, but we’ll be dropping clues on our social media and website to keep everybody informed as soon as we are able to. When we last met, our beloved Clippers were still alive in the NBA playoffs, so we’ve been dealing with the crushing blow of our early dismissal and are looking forward to the future and rebuilding for next season.

In the immediate future we have some exciting plans, all things we’ve never done before. First we are going to be performing at the Roskilde Festival where some little band called the Rolling Stones will be headlining. After that we are performing at All Tomorrow’s Parties (ATP) in Iceland—our first performance and trip ever to that country!

Really, we’ve been super busy and we’re so grateful for all of these amazing opportunities.





Can you tell us about the process of making Mess? Is there anything you would do differently if you had the chance?
The process of making Mess was all about immediacy and trying not to over analyze too much. WIXIW was such an intense experience where personal issues mixed with our inexperience with tools we were using. This led us to a very critical, doubtful, and calculated process. With Mess we had more experience with the music programs and we really felt grateful to be in the position to make records. It was a much more relaxed and confident atmosphere that I think was—dare I say—more playful. It’s not to compare one album with the other; it’s more that both records were made over a period of time where as we moved forward, the more we learned, and the more songs were able to flow with less debate. There are always things you wish you did differently, but you always realize that it’s better to learn from it than to be able to change it. Whatever happens is part of the album, and the experiences around it that you hope to incorporate into the music. If every record was perfect you might lose any sense of place or timing the album should hold.

What can we expect from your upcoming Afterfest performance?
To be honest, our live shows are similar to how we write our records. If we start feeling too comfortable with what we are doing, we naturally gravitate towards an environment where we are forced into feeling like complete novices. We like to feel that anything can happen, both good and bad, during a performance. It’s been our experience that when we play a show where we feel there were no mistakes, this rarely equates to what the crowd feels is a great show. This contrast is what keeps putting on a great performance a mystery and not a formula, which is great since there is the band experience meeting with the crowd’s experience. That said, I think the highest expectation we could hope to attain is for the crowd to expect the unexpected.

Are there any bands you’re excited to check out while in Chicago?
There are certainly a lot of great artists performing that we admire. I’m sure Kelela, Grimes and our friends Factory Floor will all be amazing.

And any spots you like to visit whenever you’re in Chicago?
Chicago is a great city. While we’ve been there many times on tour, we’ve never had any time to take in the sights. We’ll be so preoccupied with preparing for our show, we won’t be able to devote the time and attention a great city like Chicago deserves.

What’s been one of the best parties you’ve ever been to (besides this Afterfest, of course)?
For Angus’ birthday we raced go-karts and went to a Clippers game. We don’t have much downtime and when we do we tend to spend it apart doing our separate things, which is totally understandable. It’s nice to get together outside of band situations and cut loose a bit.





We saw the recent video you did with Yoonha Park for “Pro Anti Anti.” How did that come about?
What we like to do is give the directors complete freedom to execute their interpretation of the song. For all of our videos that aren’t directed by a band member, the story and vision is all from the director. One of the reasons we prefer this method is because we feel it adds another meaning or possibility for the song’s interpretation by having someone else’s vision represent the track. While in certain circumstances we like to make the videos ourselves, we fear that if we do it too often it might be perceived as how the song should be heard. We feel that once we’ve released the album, the song’s meanings are no longer strictly based on our perspective. Any misinterpretation is not only welcomed, it’s an invaluable part of us being able to learn what has been communicated by our album.

The ending was awesome, but do you wish you had gotten to keep the busts of yourselves?
I don’t know… for me it was really hard seeing my head that way. I got to see angles of myself that I’m more than happy never to see again!

What do you think are the best albums of 2014 so far? Any upcoming releases you’re stoked for?
Container’s Adhesive 12" is amazing. Also, HTRK’s Psychic 9-5 Club is pretty amazing. I’m excited for the new Grimes record, though I’m not sure when it’s due to come out. We did some shows with Jana Hunter recently where she played some of the new Lower Dens tracks solo. From what we’ve heard, the new Lower Dens record should be pretty amazing.

What are you listening to currently?
The two records I mentioned above are played quite frequently. I recently got a hold of Free Kitten’s discography, which is awesome. I think Kim Gordon’s bass playing was so huge in defining Sonic Youth’s sound. If you imagine any song of theirs with a different bass player, with a different bass line, you might argue that it’s the backbone of their sound. I got to see Free Kitten play once back in the day and it made such a huge impression on me. At the time I hadn’t ever made songs or played in a band but I had been playing guitar since I was really young. They sort of fortified the concept in my head that anything is possible. I know that sounds cliché, but I can’t describe it any other way.



Come see Liars at #AFTERFEST in Chicago on Friday, July 18th! Click here to RSVP.

As always, Making Time DJs Dave P. and Sammy Slice...UNITED will be DJing our Chicago event. Listen to
July's edition of Making Time RADio here!

Brands We Love: Antonym

We're excited to welcome Antonym into the UO Beauty lineup, a mineral-based and eco-friendly line founded by the French makeup artist Valerie Giraud and designed in subtly-bold shades that strike that perfect, just-made-up-enough balance. And with a namesake that emphasizes moving away from homogeneity and moving toward people who think outside of the box: it's a movement we can get behind. 

We had fun playing around with all the amazing Antonym products, and asking the ladies behind the brand to share what all is in their summer makeup bags.


What sets Antonym apart from other natural beauty lines?

Antonym was founded on strong performance. We set out to create a line of products that uses gentle natural ingredients but still performs as a premium line should. For us this means strong pigments in color and silky textures.

 

What products are in your makeup bag for summer?

This summer, it is vitamin E oil, the Antonym Medium Foundation, The Peach Blush and the Koral Lipstick. It’s a very summery look, with orange hues. The mascara also never leaves my bag.


 

What's in the Antonym starter kit? 

Mascara, lipstick pencil and blush 


 

What products do you recommend for makeup removal?

I use the Miscellar Cleansing Water from Nuxe or the Melting Cleansing Gel from Nuxe, and follow both with gentle toning lotion. They are very gentle on the skin yet remove makeup perfectly.


Who are some of your beauty muses?

Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn. Both strong, beautiful women. 

  

Can you share any secret-weapon makeup tips?

I have two tips, especially since Antonym products are gentle on the skin:

1. If you use the eyeliner with a small angled brush you can apply a lighter and more define line for daytime.

2. You can use the baked blush as eye shadow and also on the lips with lip conditioner.


Shop Antonym in UO Beauty

About a Girl: Keating Sherwin

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

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

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


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

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



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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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




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


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


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


Behind The Scenes: Adri Law


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



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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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




Space Ninety 8: Welcome to the Gorbals


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





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

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





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

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





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

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





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

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





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

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

Studio Visit: Three Potato Four

Stu Eli and Janet Morales are moving away from owls, beards, and "I Heart NY" sweatshirts. The couple's seven-year-old brand, Three Potato Four, is a line of homewares, accessories and ephemera, for which they design and source U.S. manufacturers for antique-inspired objects. What began as an online platform to fund a mutual obsession with the thrill-of-the-hunt quickly evolved into a full-fledged business, eventually allowing Stu and Janet to create their own line of new items based on favorite vintage and Americana discoveries.  Studio visit photography by Michael A. Muller

 
Three Potato Four recently collaborated with Urban Outfitters' new Herald Square location on Souvenir Shop, a pop-up gift stand inside the store that offers an exclusive collection of New York-inspired objects. 

This weekend, the Souvenir Shop will pay homage to summer travels (or wanderlust) with a special postcard event. A variety of 3P4-designed NYC postcards will be available for customers to send a special message home—with pens, stamps, and a UO artist-designed mailbox included. 

Looking forward to the event, we took a quick trip to the 3P4 headquarters in small-town Pennsylvania, where we explored their studio and chatted about Charlie Brown ephemera, moving away from tchotchkes, and keeping up with trends. (If you're wondering, whales and owls are out; typography is in.)


Above: The 3P4 studio pegboard, including souvenir pendants, arrows, and a knot reference guide.

Can you tell us more about how 3P4 started? 
Stu: We started the company in 2007 as on online retail business, wanting to sell gifts, housewares, and fun novelty things from overseas that you couldn't find regularly over here. We also had a good bit of antiques, which sold really well so we decided to focus on shaping the business around that. After awhile we got into producing, sourcing, and manufacturing our own items in the United States based on the best-found or most-favorited vintage pieces. 

So this was really on the forefront of the whole Americana-influenced aesthetic that's been so big over the last few years. 
Stu: It was totally right-place, right-time; [when we started] the only place you could really shop for antiques online was on eBay. I think Etsy only had two vintage sellers at that time. All of that was in its infancy. 


Above: Framed maps, a 1950s circus poster, a mounted wooden first aid kit, and an illustrated guide to flowers

How have you avoided getting stuck in that genre? 
Stu: We've had to change our business every year based on trends and what's hot.  When we started it was all owls! 
Janet: It also helps that we have different taste and different backgrounds. 
Stu: Yeah, she has a design background and mine is in business. We are also into different things: I love '70s-'80s fun novelty stuff, like motorcycle-meets-MAD Magazine, with a touch of humor. There's so much seriousness with trends that feel really outdoors and camping-centered and, like, 'I'm an Adirondack Mountains man.'

So no more beards? 
Stu: No more beards.  



Above: Piles of paper ephemera fill a huge table in the studio wall, ranging from postcards and ticket stubs to cigar receipts and printed french fry bags. 3P4 sells "Paper Packs" of unique ephemera, each filled with a combination of numbers, type, pattern, graphics, and color.  

What about you, Janet? 
Janet: My style was originally more feminine, that's when DIY was really big. I'm a designer so I'm always drawn to things with nice type and that feel graphic.  




Above: An inventory of 3P4's linen portraits (and a taped-up reference for packing). Each of the paintings in the Portrait Study Series is based on original found early Twentieth Century artwork.

What about your own collections? What objects are you most drawn toward? 
Stu: When we first started we were big collectors: Mid-century stuff, ephemera, natural history… 
Janet: Lots of vials and specimens. 
Stu: Right. But since we've bought so much and it's passed through our hands, it's less that we keep. 
Janet: It's easier to pass things along to someone else. 

So no collections now?
Stu: Our house is pretty pared-down now. It's mostly kids' toys and laundry. 



Above: A 3P4 banner modeled after an antique biological study print of a rhino; a row of multicolor lights originally part of a seaside amusement rollercoaster ride in the 1950s. 

What have been some all-time favorite buys? 
Stu: My favorite find was a hand-carved 3D, folk-art style sculpture of Charlie Brown. It was something where there was clearly only one of them made and it was put together with such care. That said, it was clearly not for everyone! I think that's a lot of what our business is—'things' are so rooted in nostalgia. Sometimes people see something and just have to have it.
Janet: I think that's the entire idea behind Souvenir Shop—it's the feeling of going to a cool news stand full of special things, which [I think] is a hard thing to find in New York. We weaned to make new things that felt special, especially if you were a visitor.  
Stu: It's not an "I Heart NY" sweatshirt.


Above: A hand-stitched felt banner version of 3P4's Ace of Spades design, inspired by popular American folklore and iconography surrounding the Ace of Spades playing card, which was made popular by WWII and Vietnam war soldiers and then later by American motorcycle clubs. 

What other items are you continually on the hunt for? You mentioned loving natural history.
Stu: Yeah, one thing that really stands out was this set of vials filled with sand that this guy had collected and marked. For example, one filled from when he went to the Mohave Desert. I love that someone sought out to do this and kept it together.  
Janet: I think rather than always looking for something in particular, we're looking for something that when we see it, when know it. Those moments when you're just like, "This is it!" 




New York customers can visit Three Potato Four's Souvenir Shop at UO Herald Square (1333 Broadway), and be sure to stop by this weekend for their exclusive postcard pop-up, which starts on Thursday, July 3 and runs until postcards run out.

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

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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Above: stacks of soap ready for packaging. 

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

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


Above: production scenes at Level Naturals HQ

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

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






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



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

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

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


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

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


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


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

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






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


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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

For the Record: Sharon Van Etten

Things people are saying about musician Sharon Van Etten’s new album, Are We There, include: 


1. “…a masterpiece, an album of extraordinary depth and sophistication that finds the New York singer and songwriter in full command of her considerable talent. (via Paste)
2. “…her most present-tense album to date, her most immediate and urgent—the peak of a steady upward trajectory. (via Pitchfork)
3. “A poignant tour-de-force, the message of Are We There is urgent, its delivery selfless” (via Pretty Much Amazing)

The record, Van Etten’s fourth, was released in late May, and like all of her work, it’s an earnestly vulnerable and deeply personal album filled with, as she explains, “songs that hurt like hell.” It is an often gut-wrenching trip through the complexities of a relationship. It is an appropriate use of the word “heavy,” but in a way that is satisfyingly sincere.  

Van Etten has spoken widely—widely!—about the album’s inception, from the break-up that inspired much of its architecture to feeding the songwriting cycle that her career has so-far dictated. 

Leading up to her UO “For the Record” vinyl signing on Thursday, July 3 at our Westover Road store in Portland, OR, we opted to lighten the mood by inviting Sharon to channel her own stomping grounds from the road—asking her to tell us all about her favorite things in NYC, from her ideal summer day in the city to her favorite haunts, from apartment horror stories to what its like to see Julie Andrews at the dentist.


This is Sharon Van Etten’s New York.

Years in the city? 
10 

Current neighborhood? 
Village

New York in the summer: what's on your itinerary for an ideal day?  
Bike Ride along the West Side, picnic, then read on a bench.

What was your first job in New York? 
Salesman at Astor Wines

Tell me a story about your worst New York apartment. 
I moved to Linden Street off the JZ line in 2005 and the neighbors told me they didn't want me in their neighborhood: Literally told me they didn't want me in their neighborhood after I had just moved in. They made sure I didn't feel comfortable on their block.

What's the most recent, truly great thing you saw in New York?
I saw The Great Beauty at Angelika. So moving.  So vivid.  And afterward, I went to Veloce wine bar and had amazing wine. Perfect evening.

Where in the city do you go to be alone?
I love going to Film Forum and IFC to movies by myself and wine bars, in general. Also, the Comedy Cellar when I am feeling low.

Tell me about a favorite New York memory.
I went to my dentist and as I was paying my bill, Julie Andrews walked in. I was immediately in tears. Childhood hero.

What's something very New York that you refuse to do?
Hang out in Times Square

What's something very New York that you shamelessly love?
The city skyline at the waterfront by the promenade driving in a cab at night.

Please share your best NYC survival tip.
Don't be an asshole, but be kind of on-guard while helping people. And work your ass off.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
 Living here and working here and helping people do the same.


Method of transportation?  
Subway

Bar where you're a regular? (and what's your poison?)  
Four Faced Liar, Bourbon and beer

Spot for leisurely brunch? 
Joseph Leonard

Spot for a celebratory dinner? 
Palma

Morning coffee shop and order? 
Americano at Joe's 

Favorite music store? 
Princeton Record Exchange (sorry! In Jersey!)

Music venue?  
Bowery Ballroom

Where do you get your news? 
Gothamist and New York Times

Place to see art?  
MoMA

Place to be outside? 
Washington Square Park or the West Side

Easy summer day trip?  
Long Beach Island

Place for a group hangout?  
My friend Taylor's house

Place to people-watch?  
Washington Square Park

Place to be inspired?  
Everywhere

SHOP SHARON'S VINYL PICKS

And if you're in Portland, be sure to stop by Sharon's UO "For the Record" vinyl signing Thursday, July 3 from 4-5pm at the Urban Outfitters on Westover Road, Portland, OR.

UO Music: Raury


Raury is an 18-year-old performer from Atlanta, GA, and even though he just graduated from high school last month, he'll soon be supporting Outkast (along with Childish Gambino and Kid Cudi) at their sold out #ATLast festival this September. We've been hearing the buzz about Raury for some time now, so this Friday, June 27, Raury will be performing at our Atlanta, GA location. We caught him on the phone last month right before his graduation to find out a little bit more about what he plans to do this summer and just how he's going to take over Atlanta. Katie



Hi Raury! Thanks for talking to us.
No problem. Nice to meet you, Katie.

Nice to meet you too. How’s everything going?
I’m graduating today!

Oh, today?!
Yeah, I have to be at the center around 4pm.

Oh my god, well thanks for doing this interview. And congratulations on graduating!
Yeah, for sure. It feels so good to be free.

Do you have any plans for the summer yet?
Oh, yeah. To take over Atlanta. [Laughs] Those are my plans.

So you must be pretty happy to be done with school now.
Yeah, I guess a lot of people are pretty excited to be done, like [excited voice], “I’m graduating, I’m graduating!” But I’m just so ready to get it over with and go away. I don’t feel that excitement. Maybe it’ll hit me when I’m in there, but right now I’m just like, “Get me out of here!”

Are you planning to move out of Atlanta or do you want to stick around?
I have unfinished business here. There’s a lot to be done before I can just up and leave. I’d like to be here and then leave from time to time, like business trips or working with other people. I feel like I need to take over the city before I leave it. [Laughs]

We saw online that you’ve been going on an “Anti-Tour” and played outside a Childish Gambino show recently.
Yeah, yeah.

Do you have plans to keep doing that?
Okay, I’m going to tell you a secret but you can’t tell anybody. I can’t even say it too loud because my mom’s in the other room and she doesn’t know either. But you know how I’m graduating today? Guess what’s about to happen? [Laughs] A lot of kids like the song and I didn’t perform at the talent show, so they’re pissed off at me. They’re about to get their performance. [Laughs]

Have you ever gotten in real trouble for one of those performances?
Nah, I’m too fast to get in trouble. [Laughs]

Do you ever play venues in Atlanta?
Actually, my first "real" show at a venue is going to be June 10th.


Footage from Raury's first "real" live show, Raurfest, June 2014

When does your EP Indigo Child finally come out?
I'm thinking late summer. Be on the lookout for it August through September!

Do most people find you through the internet or do you have a good fanbase in Atlanta that's spreading your stuff?
Well, in my high school I've always been really well-known for doing music. Like I started a music club and directed the talent show so I have a lot of people that believe in me and the things I do. For the past two years my management and I have just been building up one hell of a network. Getting to know the right people and starting the right relationships, you know? Now that it's time for me to release something and they know what the music is, they really champion it. They really love the music.

When did you start getting super serious with your music?
I knew that music was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life when I was 14. I was a young kid and was like, "What can I do to get rich and get the girls?" [Laughs] I've always been doing things, I've always been musically inclined. And I tried other things, like I ran track and football, but at the end of the day I wrote my first song when I was 3, looking up to Michael Jackson and all that, so by the time I was 14 I quit playing football and really tried figuring out every way I could get involved musically with the school. Just putting myself out there. Throughout that, I just got to meet the right people and get into a position where I'm doing the things I'm doing now.

Who have you been listening to lately?
I've been listening to PARTYNEXTDOOR. Also digging deeper into some older stuff lately. I've been retrograding with my music. Like Stevie Wonder and Prince. I just downloaded Nirvana's Nevermind album. I'm always listening to Kid Cudi, I'm never not listening to Kid Cudi. I'm never not listening to Justin Vernon.

What are you excited for this year?
To see how the world reacts to the Indigo Child project. I feel like it's not just gonna be a collection of music. It's not just an EP or a mixtape or anything like that. It's a movement and a project within itself. The videos and interviews, everything down to the shows I do, they inspire this new wave in music. There's a lot of cool, different types of kids in my city, not to mention the rest of the world, that are young and overlooked. Throughout this project it'll just bring awareness to these young, advanced kids of the internet age. Kinda wake the world up about that.



See Raury perform live on June 27 at our Atlanta store (1061 Ponce DeLeon Ave. NE)!

Studio Visit: Wild Rose Herbs and Willamina

We're looking to the Pacific Northwest for our latest UO Beauty studio visits, with a trip to two Oregon studios, Wild Rose and Willamina Modern Apothecary, both making natural apothecary products with an eye toward seasonality and locally-minded, high-quality ingredients.





A conversation with founder Willow Light on herbalism, starting your own business, and Portland's entrepreneurial support system. Photos by Michelle Cho


Tell us about the history of Willamina Modern Apothecary.
Willamina Mordern Apothecary (WMA) began from my love of herbal healing, plant medicine, aromatherapy medicine, and touch healing therapy. I lived on the Oregon coast on a 17-acre property, [which included a] forest for a backyard, animals, gardens, fruit trees, and wild herbal medicine. We didn't go to the doctor much, we used what we had on the land, really.

When I moved to Portland in 1990, I apprenticed with Joseph Montana, owner of Atlantis Rising… [and later apprenticed with] Grinning Goat Farms, two herbalists I loved instantly and began a three-year intensive with on the farm. I really learned how to make tinctures, cordials, infusions, teas, baths… I was in pure bliss!

In 1999, I went to work for Nordstrom as the lead esthetician of their Decléor Spa. I had access to more than 80 different skincare lines working in the cosmetic department. We had the opportunity to go to any cosmetic training that was offered at Nordstrom, so I went to all of them, and learned a great deal about ingredients, intention, branding, and integrity. It was eye opening.

I decided to go out on my own and offered my esthetic services and my years of study. I began to make my own medicinal herbal tinctures, infused honey, healing salves, and herbal baths for friends and family, then one day, I felt it was my duty to share my knowledge with others. I see WMA spreading the word of aromatherapy and herbal wellness. 


Can you tell us more about the ingredients you use?
It is extremely important to my brand and my integrity that all WMA ingredients are pure, unadulterated and consistent. When I apprenticed at Atlantis Rising, I made a very valuable connection [with] Liberty Naturals...[where] I get everything from beeswax to the best essential oils I can buy. 



What are your favorite products for summer?
I am crazy about WMA Sunkissed Skin Protector. It took me over three years to formulate it! It is purely plant-based with no toxins, parabens or carcinogens, [and is made from aloe vera oil, beeswax, shea butter and a blend of oils—coconut, carrot seed, red raspberry seed, and essential oils]. All of the ingredients on their own as plants have their own SPF built in to their DNA. I use it on my face during the summer as a daily moisturizer; it is very hydrating and illuminating without congesting the skin.



Tell us about your studio setup.
My husband is a craftsman builder and he helped me create my apothecary in our home so that I may work from home and be here for our two young children. I also have a healing touch and wellness studio in our home. I see clients in the evenings. Then, during the day, two-to-three days a week, I make product, ship product, and do the business piece as well. It is a true whirlwind, I love it. 



Tell us about working in Portland. What about the city inspires you and compels you to live and work there?
Portland, Oregon is a wealth of beauty, nourishment, and local companies producing hand-crafted creations to share with others. [There are so many] green, lush escapes right in the city. Portland folks are amazingly talented and creative entrepreneurs, making P-town the best city to live in. I feel like in Portland we are almost cheered on to go out and do something extraordinary.

Can you share some favorite places in Portland? What are your haunts? 
Le Bistro Montage: A local favorite with communal seating. They yell really loud when you order oyster shooters ("TWO OYSTER SHOOTERS!").

McMenamins - Kennedy School: Locally-sourced food, locally owned and operated business, and locally brewed beer. Kid friendly and they have a soaking pool with salt water. 

Lan Su Chinese Garden: The grounds are mystical and so very relaxing. [There's] a large pond in the middle, with koi fish, and a traditional Tea house offering our local Tao of Tea company.




WILD ROSE

Ashley Bessler from Wild Rose on how a childhood of bad-tasting supplements led to her own herbal apothecary line. Images provided by Wild Rose



Hello Ashley! Can you tell us a bit about the history of Wild Rose?

I learned the value of a DIY ethic at a young age. I was raised by a single mother of three and resourcefulness was key in our household. My mom gets credit for introducing me to herbalism. Teas, tinctures and bad-tasting supplements were always on hand, and colorful herb books filled our shelves. This, combined with my immersion in the local punk scene, made me crave the skills necessary to be totally self-reliant. Despite doing well in school, I skipped college and invested in a small library of books on everything from aromatherapy to homesteading.

At first, I didn’t intend to sell my creations. I made them as an alternative to store-bought synthetic products for myself, family and close friends. It wasn’t long before I was selling my herbal salves to the local health food store, funding my new-found hobby. I maintained a low-key presence at farmer's markets and craft fairs for the next four years, even while living off the grid in Northern California. When I found myself back in “the city,” I decided to take my most treasured recipes and reincarnate my products under the name Wild Rose.

Can you tell us more about the ingredients you use?
Wild Rose is my response to an economy where the ecological, political, and social costs of manufacturing are veiled. I spend much of my time tracking down raw materials, packaging, and even office supplies to their source. This minimizes or eliminates the social, environmental, and ethical footprint of my products by choosing sources that are non-GMO, sustainably harvested, organic, or fair trade. I grow many of the fresh botanicals needed for my recipes just outside my workshop.



Are there any seasonal ingredients you're excited to experiment with as we go into the summer season?
Right now our rose bushes are incredibly productive. We collect fresh blooms daily, leaving plenty for the bees and butterflies as well. The petals are dried and powdered for use in our Attunement Facial Mask and Bloom Muscle Rub. Calendula is another flower we grow heavily on the farm. These I tincture fresh for our handmade calendula extract, a vital ingredient for our face washes and Ink Balm Tattoo Ointment. Calendula is also dried for use in our Wild Man Aftershave and garden hand cream. Summer is also time for collecting fresh yarrow, rosemary, cayenne peppers, lavender and sage. Every year, we grow more of our own botanicals right on the land.



Tell us about your studio setup.
We're incredibly lucky to operate out of a 400-square-foot workshop on our two-acre homestead in the heart of Southern Oregon's Rogue Valley. Most days I float between making products, computer work, and tending to the garden. I'm fortunate to have help from my mother and mother-in-law. The mom team helps me with packing orders, answering emails, and bulk bottling/labeling.

When I get the chance to make a new product, I generally look through my "personal stash" for inspiration. All of my products started as a custom recipe for myself or a loved one. I then do an immense amount of research to get the very best ingredients available. The specific formulation of a product could be called intuitive. I tend to know exactly how many drops or milliliters of an ingredient will give me the result I want. 



Tell us about working in Oregon. What brought you there and why do you stay?
Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley is a hotspot for alternative entrepreneurs. I gain my inspiration from those who have come before me—the formidable, independent herbal and beauty companies who started right here. Of course, I believe the main reason this area is so full of successful, alternative businesses is due to our beautiful surroundings. Southern Oregon, part of the Klamath-Siskiyou Region, is known as a climate “melting pot” as we see the confluence of four different bioregions: North Pacific Coast, Cascades, Great Basinm and California’s Central Valley. The people here are varied, but we all hold the same basic values: a focus on sustainability, a love of nature, and a desire to protect this critical bioregion for future generations.

What are some of your favorite Oregon spots? Can you divulge any secret swimming holes you love?
Grants Pass is a pretty small town (a population of about 33,000) and the largest in the county! You’ll be hard pressed to find a restaurant open past 9pm. And if you’re looking to shop downtown on a Sunday or Monday—forget it! Grants Pass runs on its own schedule; even the cops hold banker’s hours. Most locals find entertainment outdoors, especially on the Rogue River, which runs right through downtown Grants Pass.

This area holds the largest concentration of intact watersheds in the Pacific Northwest, which means we also hold the largest concentrations of secret swimming holes! I’ve lived in the region for seven years, and I feel like I’ve only begun to explore the endless rivers, streams, and lakes. One of my favorites is on the Illinois River about six miles up Illinois River Road out of Selma. It’s a steep hike down the canyon, but a gentle and deep swimming hole awaits with plenty of jumping rocks.

A few more miles up this road you’ll find the infamous Illinois River foot bridge where daring locals take a 60-foot plunge in the river. Another favorite spot is actually north of Grants Pass along the Umpqua River. If you take Highway 138 East out of Roseburg, you’ll be treated to one of the most scenic and easily-accesible drives through the Cascades. There’s more waterfalls than one can visit within a day, plus the most epic natural hot springs near Toketee Falls.