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Space Ninety 8: Gather Journal

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

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

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

What are you each eating and drinking this summer?  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UO x Lonely Planet: Instagram Contest Winner

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

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

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

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

Oh, okay. Cool.

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

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

More of our favorites from the contest:

Switzerland submitted by @joseewong

Photo of Hanauma Bay submitted by @robertjhill

Photo from Monastere Monserrat submitted by @kaidahranee

Photo of Copenhagen submitted by @leahmid

Photo submitted by @louiekovatch

Photo submitted by @reicolee

Photo submitted by @theaccidentaltourguide

Photo from Coki Beach submitted by @cierrageyer

Photo from Indonesia submitted by @nadyapink

Photo from Germany submitted by @kayliemarissa

Photo submitted by @kaitlinslone

Photo submitted by @haypeetason

Photo submitted by @mela_ann

Brands We Love: JAKIMAC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Featured Brand: Jansport

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

Vintage Jansport

Skip Yowell, one of the company's founders

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

Shop Jansport

UO DIY: Copper Indoor Swing

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

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


My copper and leather swing has become the most popular seat in the living room since it's been up. It's also such an aesthetically pleasing addition to the space; made from my favorite materials white leather and shiny pink copper, it works perfectly with the rest of my living room. This piece is actually incredibly easy to make and the epitome of my new summer credo "don't forget to play." Ivania

- leather
- sewing machine
- leather needle (for sewing machine)
- strong polyester thread
- two copper tubes, apx. 27cm
- rope (see pictures for examples)
- two clips and two ceiling screws (for hanging)

1.) Take measurements. Cut out a rectangle out of the leather that measures approximately 23cm x 50cm. This can obviously be changed depending on personal size preference.

2.) Depending on how thick your tubes are, create a hem on both ends of your leather for the tubes to go through. Don't leave any extra space but make them exactly the same width, this way the tubes will stay in place tightly. I added a double hem to mine while sewing with the polyester thread to reinforce the swing.

3.) Put the tubes through both the hems, and put the rope through the tubes.

4.) Hanging is probably the trickiest part. Depending on what your ceiling is like, you might have to do a little internet searching to find out which method is best for you, but we found this Apartment Therapy post to be useful when it came time to hanging. Make sure that wherever you choose to hang your swing has a sturdy, preferably wood, foundation (a doorway is a good bet, but make sure you're not screwing into drywall - that will end terribly).

Shop Copper Line

Featured Brand: Publish

Looking for the next great streetwear brand to flesh out your Fall wardrobe? Look no further than California-based brand Publish. Started in 2010, Publish focuses on creating refined, wearble streetwear for men. Michael Hyunh, the brand's founder, wanted to make a line that was "casual, with an air of sophistication," but soon discovered that people didn't fully understand the concept of his brand. Customers were thrown off by the joggers he was producing in sleek, utilitarian fabric, far different from the cotton joggers everyone was familiar with at the time.

By pairing his elasticized dress pants with classic sneakers that his customers were able to put into context, Hyunh painted a picture of the aesthetic he had in his mind, and helped people realize that the dressier pants were, in fact, just as accessible as the standard cotton joggers they were used to. Hyunh feels that his clothing is still extremely accessible for any man out there, and we can't say that we disagree. See below for our favorite shots from our Publish lookbook shoot.

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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!

About a Girl: Best Friends on the Road

With the long days of summer comes the itch to get up from our desks, get out, and explore—whether that means finally putting our dusty passports to use or just making a point to find newness in the familiar. 

To learn more about the latter, we called on the expertise of Los Angeles-based best friends Melanie Ayer and Kristine Claghorn. The girls initially met through each of their boyfriends (and Melanie's now-husband), both members of the band the Local Natives. Frequently making trips back and forth to see their guys on tour, Mel and Kristine's friendship has been largely built on the road...time spent on long plane rides, car trips, and nights in tour bus bunk beds. 

We caught up with the duo on a rare weekend at home, following them around on their perfect LA day. We asked them to share travel stories, packing lists, and their curated itinerary of what to see and do in their own stomping grounds. It's a timely reminder: sometimes you don't need to go far to find an escape. Photography by Chantal Anderson | styling by Katrina Thomson 

Hello K + M! Can you each introduce yourself, please? 

Kristine: I’m an Indiana native, but I’ve now lived in LA for three years. After graduating from Indiana University, I interviewed at a custom apparel company in LA, got the job, and packed up and moved two weeks later! It was a whirlwind. I’m now doing social media for them, so I spend most of my day on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. 

Mel: I’m a California girl, born and raised. I grew up in the Bay Area, about an hour outside of San Francisco, and I always dreamt of living in LA. It had a sparkle to it. I made the move after college to pursue a career in television. I love living in such a creative city that fuels so many of my passions: writing, photography, and collaborative brainstorms.


Set the scene for us about how you two initially met.  

Kristine: Mel and I met for the first time in 2011 at Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago. The next time we hung out was on a trip to New York about four months later. It was Halloween weekend and we ended up at a random loft party in Manhattan. Mel and I took over the music and had our own dance party in the living room. It was hilarious because it was just us (and a random guy dressed as a ghost) dancing the entire night.

Mel: That New York trip is definitely what sparked the goofy, carefree side of our friendship. We have so many inside jokes and silly nicknames that stemmed from a series of awkward events throughout that day. We always get into the strangest situations when we’re together.

You obviously have a connection through the band, but how has your friendship evolved through this?  

Kristine: When I met Mel, I was still living in Indiana. We chatted online about our relationships and interests...and that really helped us get close. I moved to LA the next year, and Mel was the head of my welcoming party. She helped me find my first studio apartment and drove me around after my car was stolen...oh, LA. 

When our guys are away on tour, we spend a lot of time together both at home and planning trips to visit them together. When they’re busy with the band, Mel and I have our own little adventures. Once we stayed at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and got massages & facials. It ended up being a couples massage, which was hilarious.

Tell us some stories about traveling together. What trips stand out, both good and bad? 

Kristine: One of my favorite trips was a day we had in Columbus, Ohio last summer. Mel is the master at finding good spots and she had bookmarked a bunch of cute stores, restaurants, ice cream shops, you name it. We had so much fun exploring, dancing around, and taking pictures.   

Mel: Most of our recent travel has been on the road in a tour bus. This means we’ve had nights with little sleep thanks to bumpy roads, strange food in the middle of nowhere, crazy cab rides, and so many airport drop off and pick ups. We’re almost always on the go. I think my favorite thing about traveling with Kristine is that she always shows up with her favorite pillow, which is a green, squishy cylinder shape that she calls “Pickle”...and also a pack of Lysol wipes to clean off the arm rests and tray tables on airplanes.


What are some tips for traveling with friends and not going crazy?

Kristine: My biggest advice is to make sure you like your friends! Mel and I are both good at going with the flow and taking moments as they come, but also like to have a little list of things we’d like to do. There have been times that we’ve had to wait in long lines at the airport, which can be infuriating. Instead of getting annoyed and impatient, we just laugh it off. If you remind yourself that you’re with someone you love, you can make any situation fun. Don’t take anything too seriously!

Mel: I have to say that I love a good bike tour. It’s a great way to take in a city without worrying about maps and directions. Everyone can just follow the guide and have fun together. And I agree with Kristine. It’s really important to go with the flow and remember that sometimes the plan isn’t going to work out exactly how you thought it would. And the cool thing about travel is that it’s always reminding you that the spontaneous, unexpected moments usually end up being the most memorable.

What items are always in your travel bag?

Kristine: a chunky sweater, a fully-charged laptop, face elixir by Caudalie, and vitamin E oil as a moisturizer.

Mel: Batiste dry shampoo, Yes to Cucumbers facial towelettes, and a swim suit — just in case!


What destinations are on your travel wish list?

Kristine: I’m dying to go to Spain. I majored in Spanish in college and didn’t study abroad, so I would love to be able to go use what I’ve learned. I also want to go to Tokyo, Paris, and South America. It’s pretty hard to narrow down because I’d be happy to go just about anywhere. I’ve been able to see a lot of the U.S. in the past few years and I want to eventually visit all 50 states.

Mel: Bali, Morocco, Melbourne, and I’d love to spend more time in London and Paris.

Walk us through the recipe for an ideal LA “staycation”

Kristine: I’d begin the day with yoga at Yogala in Echo Park or a hike up to the Griffith Observatory. There’s a great little café at bottom of Griffith, Trails Cafe, where you can grab coffee or tea before making the walk up to the top. After, I’d go grab brunch at Local on Sunset. On Saturdays, you can walk down the street to the Silverlake Farmers' Market, which is the place to go for vintage finds on a budget. Painted Bird is another vintage store favorite of mine. For dinner, I’d make the trek downtown to Bäco Mercat and to The Pie Hole for dessert. Make sure to get slices of the Mexican chocolate and the Earl Grey pie. They’re to die for.

Mel: I would start with a massage at The Raven Spa in Silver Lake. It’s so peaceful there, and it’s the perfect place to de-stress and get inspired. From there I’d visit Atwater and grab a burrito at Tacos Villa Corona, and stop at Individual Medley, one of our favorite local shops. For a dinner date, I’d go to Canele. On day two, I’d drive to the West side. The Getty is a great spot for checking out art and amazing views of the city. For dinner I’d want to try one of the many restaurants still my list to check out, like Superba Snack Bar or Son of a Gun. Lastly, I love going to the movies at the Arclight in Hollywood. The chairs are super comfy and the screen in the Dome is massive!

What is it about LA that keeps you there?

Kristine: Since moving to LA, I’ve met so many inspiring people that have helped pave my way into the creative world here. I have collaborated with Kate Miss and Katrina Thomson on lookbooks for their handmade jewelry. I also worked with Wade Koch on a music video for Mister Goodnite.  I do freelance graphic design and styling, and I just started my own blog. Being surrounded by such a supportive community of creatives has really helped me grow into my own. It’s nice to connect with friends that give you the push you need to get started. 

Mel: What I love about LA is connecting with creatives on projects, big or small. I’ve written articles for a friend’s magazine, modeled for a friend’s knitting bookand danced in a friend’s music video. There are so many inspiring people to talk to and it’s really fun to see what a conversation with a new person will lead to. I also love connecting my friends with other friends when they’re looking for a certain skilled person to work with on any particular type of project. It’s exciting to find that perfect match—the missing link—that fits right into the puzzle, and see them all create something awesome together.

Behind the Scenes: White Sands

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

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

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

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

New friend #2: the park ranger.

Who's leading who? 

Three notes on the White Sands:

1. Sabertooth Tiger footprints have been found there! 

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

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

Recap: Afterfest Chicago

At this time last year we were holding our first ever Afterfest in the ever-charming Chicago, and now this year, with a few more successful Afterfests under our belt, we were happy to return to The Mid for our second Chicago Afterfest! For our triumphant return, we headed back to Chicago Friday night where we had Liars, one of our favorite bands, and Vatican Shadow, one of our favorite electronic artists, play to a packed house. As always, Dave P. and Sammy Slice from Philly collective Making Time were on hand to DJ throughout the night to make sure everyone was dancing their little hearts out. (We seriously wanted to hand out medals to the intrepid partygoers who made it all the way until 4am.) The whole show went off without a hitch and was a perfect end to our otherwise super hectic Friday! If you're bummed you missed out, keep your eyes peeled for more of our upcoming Afterfest events, because chances are we'll soon be in a city near you. Photography by Evan Jenkins

Dave P. and Sammy Slice...UNITED.

The awesome graphics from Klip Collective.

Vatican Shadow taking the stage.

Liars on stage.

Read our recent interview with Liars!

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.

UO x Lonely Planet: Get Out There Instagram Contest

Urban Outfitters and Lonely Planet are challenging all adventure seekers and travelers to Instagram their most epic travel photo for a chance to win an 11-day trip for two through Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Document your trip and you could be featured on our site. Get out there and go explore!

How to Enter:
1. Download the Urban Outfitters App
2. Sign up for "Urban On" and link your Instagram account to the App
3. Instagram your most epic travel photo with the hashtag #UOxLP in the photo caption

While you're waiting to see who wins, you can flip through Lonely Planet's book, 1000 Ultimate Experiences, to start planning your next big adventure!

UO DIY: Scrapbooking

After visiting Tulum recently to shoot our newest lookbook, we had so many new Instax photos that we didn't know what to do with all of them. Rather than hang them up, we decided to start a scrapbook/journal hybrid for them, so we could keep all our pics in one spot and also write down some of our favorite memories. Instagram is good but when it comes to keeping track of a bunch of photos, sometimes it's best to go back to a good ol' fashioned notebook. Read on to see what we did!

If you, like us, take a boatload of photos, you'll want to sit down before scrapbooking to decide which pics you want to include and which pics you're going to shove in a box somewhere. It's also nice to be able to look at everything in front of you before you start working, just so you can make sure you have everything you need. Above were our basic supplies for this project. The notebook we're using to start out is this super fun (and bright!) unruled Leuchtturm journal.

Keep It Simple
It's easy to want to throw five pictures on each page with 30 different artistic touches, but it usually (not all the time!) looks better when the clutter is kept to a minimum. (But if you've figured out how to make clutter look amazing, give us a call, because we love glitter and stickers.)

Washi Tape
We love washi tape for scrapbooking because 1) it's adorable and 2) it's the easiest way to adhere pictures. You don't even have to worry about doing the roll of tape on the back because it looks perfect taped right on the front. We're also pretty lazy when it comes to crafting, so it's nice to have something that's so versatile and easy to use.

Obviously stamps are a great way to add some excitement onto your scrapbook pages. You can get literally anything on a stamp these days, which is perfect for those of us less artistically inclined. Can't draw a cat? Stamp it! Boom. Done.

Mixed Media
We liked the idea of mixing in some souvenirs and cards we found, just to round out the whole scrapbook a little bit better. For some of our backgrounds, we bought printed paper in Mexico that we then cut out and taped into the book to give our pages a more colorful background. A pack of beachy playing cards also looked nice mixed in with everything, so we stuck them in there, too.

Stickers are THE BEST. You can put them on pictures, use them to stick pictures to the page, and decorate the page with them. It's super easy to go overboard with them. (We maybe went a little overboard. It's fine.) But hey, if you love stickers, there are some giant books of them out there that will let you sticker to your heart's content.

Shop Travel Journal Essentials

About a Place: A UO Guide to Tulum

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


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

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


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

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

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

Laid-back beach vibes.

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

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


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

For a fancy night out: Hartwood

For a quick post-beach taco: Mateo's

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

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

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

Summer in the City: New York Stories

From Bed-Stuy to the East Village, get to know New York City’s new stock of up-and-comers. We caught up with the dreamers and the doers that are bringing the city to life to get a glimpse into their worlds. Photography by Devyn Galindo

Anna Gray, 25 Editor at Homepolish

Years in New York: Seven
My neighborhood: I lived in the East Village for five years but just moved to Chelsea a few months ago.
I’m originally from New Jersey, moved to France when I was two, then Ireland and Virginia until decamping for NYC at 18.
My personal style is sometimes tomboy, sometimes girly, sometimes goth chick, sometimes ballerina.
I’m currently listening to Sia's "Chandelier" on repeat.
And reading a lot of Joan Didion, some John Updike and every fiction story in my pile of backlogged New Yorkers.
And seeing: Trying to get to the theatre to see Only Lovers Left Alive.
Right now I’m working on getting the Homepolish Magazine ready for a July launch! I can’t live without shoes I can walk in, my dog, my MetroCard, the weekend.
The best thing about New York in the summertime is rooftop BBQs and spaghetti straps.
I want to be remembered for being smart and funny.

Follow me @annazgray

Marcel Castenmiller, 27
Model, Photographer
Years in New York: Seven
My neighborhood: Chinatown
I’m originally from Port Moody, British Columbia.
My personal style: Jerry Seinfeld.
I’m currently listening to "Roxanne" by Cable.
And reading The Face Of Another by Kobo Abe.
And seeing: Just watched Hitchcock's Psycho this morning.
Right now I’m working on a zine and a book.
I can’t live without Ali Michael, my camera, Japanese food, cats.
The best thing about New York in the summertime is people going crazy!
I want to be remembered for falling in love.

Follow me @marcelc86

Arpana Rayamjhi, 26 Co-founder of DISPOSE, painter, sculptor, art student at The Cooper Union
Years in New York: Five
My neighborhood: I live in Union Square. I like walking around the East Village, Soho, mostly Downtown Manhattan.
I’m originally from Kathmandu, Nepal.
My personal style is anything I like and I can afford, clothes that are against the norm. I do not like trends. The ideal situation would be to make my own clothes and shoes–I already make my own jewelry–and wear only that. Nothing that involves fur and exotic animals.
I’m currently listening to James Blake, always listening to Neil Young, Sonic Youth, Joy Division, Smashing Pumpkins, Bjork and so many more.
I’m currently reading critiques on Plato and Aristotle, The Communist Manifesto, Theories of Modern Art, Shel Silverstein and Little Mr and Miss books, like Little Miss Naughty, etc.
And seeing lots of stupid high school movies, some heady movies, following up on Boko Haram, The Guardian and New York Times, internet for my daily dosage of cute dogs and "restoring faith in humanity" videos and funniest game show answers of all time. I'm always looking at feminist theories and finding out about people who do amazing things.
Right now I’m working on DISPOSE, my senior thesis show at Cooper Union and figuring out what I truly value in life and how I can work towards it. That is the hardest.
I can’t live without: I do not know. I have never been in the position where I have had absolutely nothing even though I have lost a lot. And living in privileged urban places will make me want to say things like music and art and friends and all, but I think I cannot live without happiness and love.
The best thing about New York in the summertime is people everywhere (this is both good and bad), lots of things happening. Summer is when New York is at its best but its too short.
I want to be remembered for: It’s too early to say because I haven't done something radical as yet, besides going against every expectation and criticism and being myself fully.

Emily Hope, 28 Photographer
Years in New York: Five
My neighborhood: Lower East Side
I’m originally from London.
My personal style: I guess I dress quite English. Right now I’m wearing Reebok Classics, black jeans, gold chain, etc.
I’m currently listening to Telepathe.
And reading Violence, by Slavoi Zizek.
And seeing: I don’t have a TV so I don’t watch anything really, but Orange is the New Black is back on.
Right now I’m working on: I can’t say too much about it, but my friend Jaime Burke and I are starting up a creative agency, and are working on curating an art zine which will feature both our work as well as some other artists too, so I’m excited about that.
I can’t live without cameras, tea, and my mates.
The best thing about New York in the summertime is: the rainstorms in the hot weather.
I want to be remembered for being a good friend and artist.

Follow me on Instagram @emilio_hope and Twitter @emilyhopephoto

Mike Bailey-Gates Artist
Years in New York: Three
My neighborhood: Bed-Stuy
I’m originally from Rhode Island.
My personal style is a teenager going to Blockbuster to rent The Labyrinth on VHS.
I’m currently listening to feral cats in heat.
And reading It Girl & The Atomics
And seeing: The new X Men movie looks cool.
Right now I’m working on plaster molds of a baby I made. Editing videos.
I can’t live without my friends, Lemonheads, the internet, and Gatorade.
The best thing about New York in the summertime is a breeze.
I want to be remembered for change.

Follow me on Instagram @michaelbaileygates and Twitter @mikebaileygates

Ian Bradley, 28 Fashion Stylist
Years in New York: Nine
My neighborhood: East Village
I’m originally from the suburbs of D.C., Sterling, VA.
My personal style is sporty luxe.
I’m currently listening to TLC.
And reading James Baldwin Nobody Knows My Name.
And seeing old episodes of Sailor Moon.
Right now I’m working on shopping for Sky Ferreira, getting her ready for her world tour.
I can’t live without: Currently, rosé, Birkenstocks, and burgers.
The best thing about New York in the summertime is babes everywhere!
I want to be remembered for making cute outfits.


Shop White It Out

Summer in the City: Rooftop Party with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

In New York City, as the sun goes down and the sweltering city heat subsides, the best gatherings are on the rooftops, where you can party all night and take in the view from above. We spent a summer evening on a Brooklyn rooftop, where we watched a live set by The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart against a glowing Manhattan backdrop. Here, the band’s leading man, Kip Berman, chats with us about NYC and what’s on his current rotation.

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name’s Kip, I play guitar and I sing in The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. We’re from here in Brooklyn, I live up the street actually. I could’ve biked over if I didn’t have to carry my guitar!

Your new album just came out, that’s exciting!
That’s right, yeah, our album just came out in May, it’s called Days of Abandon. We were on tour in America with this band called Fear of Men, and we’re leaving tomorrow to go to Europe to play another month of shows with them, so it’s super exciting. We’re really excited about the new record.

How does it feel now that you’ve put it out into the world, is it like having a new baby?
It’s really different, actually. If you did have a new baby out in the world, you’d be really responsible for it and attend to it all the time. It’s kind of the opposite; it’s almost like you’ve put it up for adoption. It’s out in the world, and there’s almost nothing more you can do to help it grow and achieve its full potential. It’s really a relief, the release of the album. We recorded it last summer and we mixed and it’s been sitting around waiting to be released for so long. Now that it’s out there, it’s really exciting. People know the songs when we play them and seem to be excited about it.

When you set out to make Days of Abandon, did you know what you wanted it to sound like or do you feel it out as you go?
I think with our last album—it’s called Belong, it came out in 2011 and we recorded it back in 2010—we were really trying to make this big, heavy guitar rock album that was inspired a lot by the bands we loved when we were growing up: Weezer, Smashing Pumpkins, Ride. It was all about making big and overwhelming guitar rock. That was so awesome and we were so happy with how it turned out, but we didn’t want to do the same thing again and try to be bigger just for the sake of it. I think it’s a real trap when bands try to make each album sound more massive than before. I think a record should be about songs and songwriting. So there was a conscious effort in trying to refocus and trying to write really good songs that we could play on a guitar for people and not worry so much about how it would sound in an arena. If we do end up in an arena at some point, I hope it sounds alright! [Laughs]

Can you tell us about the experience of recording last summer?
It was a really wonderful experience, making this record. It was a lot of fun. We did it up the street in Greenpoint, at my friend’s recording studio. He’s a guy I’ve known forever and I’ve recorded songs in his basement before. His name’s Danny Taylor. It was wonderful to work with someone who I’ve known for so long and we have such a good rapport. The thing that comes out of working with people you know and love is always… maybe 3% better. Maybe even four! [Laughs]

Do you have a favorite song on the new record?
I wrote a lot of songs after Belong came out, probably like 40, maybe 50. There’s only ten on the record, and that’s because I really believe that almost everything I do is terrible and you really have to look at yourself that way and be merciless and not think everything you do is special. We did a lot of throwing songs away after they were done, because it wasn’t up to what I thought the record should be. So if they made it to the record, they are all songs that made the cut!

One of the first songs I wrote on the record was called "Massokissed" and I really felt that it captured the spirit of the record in a lot of ways. It sort of captured the sound I wanted in a surreal, natural way. It wrote itself; I was working on another song that didn’t make the record, and I was working really hard on it, a really traditional Pains Of Being Pure At Heart-sounding song. I wanted to make it really good and it just wasn’t working, so I just put the guitar down for an hour and picked it back up and I wrote "Massokissed." It was really fast and easy. I know a lot of people like to talk about artistic struggle, but I tend to think the best things that you do are the things that come naturally and almost out of a sense of accident. That song, and I love "Art Smock" as well. It opens the record and it’s a very simple and subdued song.

You live here in New York. Do you have more fun playing shows here or elsewhere?
I think it’s a different kind of fun! I love getting to play music for people and I never take that for granted. I played in a lot of bands for a long time and I never really played outside of the zip code we lived in. To get a chance to travel and to play music is like a dream come true—but like a dream I didn’t even know I had. It’s awesome, but of course coming home and playing in New York… all your friends are there, they get to see you do what you’ve dedicated your life to, and it’s so fun to hang out. Usually when we play in New York it’s at the end of a tour, so there’s a real sense of excitement and relief, and just happiness having gone out into the world and made it home again. It’s a real thrill and I love it.

Is there a recent show that stands out as exceptionally fun?
There were so many great shows on this last tour! Chicago, at The Empty Bottle, The Troubadour in Los Angeles. It was really special for me to play in Philadelphia, because that’s where I grew up. My mom was there, my friends were there, it was at Johnny Brenda’s and was really packed and there was really good energy there. Getting to play and have your mom see you and realize you’re doing something with your life is an awesome feeling. Plus, then I got to go home and do some laundry! [Laughs]

What are some of your go-to spots around New York?
There are so many great places to go have a beer or a coffee. Maybe I’m just really stereotypical, but I really like bagels a lot. There’s this place called Baker’s Dozen on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint that I always go to for bagels.  There’s a great place on Franklin called Spina, and the Pencil Factory is right there, which is a great place to have a drink. Bagels, booze and coffee!

What are you listening to right now?
There are a few new bands that I think are awesome. One is from Gothenburg, Sweden, and they sound like they should be a really abrasive, hardcore band or a metal band but they’re not. They’re called Makthaverskan, it’s really emphatic, righteous, almost like punk pop. I love then a lot, and their record just came out this spring. There’s also Fear of Men, who we just toured with, and they just released their new record this spring. It’s called Loom. It’s really gorgeous. It’s really melodic guitar-centered pop. I think they’re great. There’s another band that I like right now, this band from the UK. They’re going to put out their record this summer, and we’ve toured with them a bit. They’re called Flowers, which is a very hard name to Google! There’s a lot of really good stuff happeneing right now, and the internet makes it easy to find your new favorite band, even if they’re from Gothenburg.

Special thanks to Brooklyn Brewery, The End., Pies 'n' Thighs, Sips and Bites and Luke's Lobster!

Summer in the City: Northside Recap

This past Saturday, we made the trek from Philadelphia to Brooklyn for Northside Festival to catch some of our favorite bands playing the Space Ninety 8 stage during the day. The event took place on Bedford Ave., and we were pretty pumped to see the street was closed off and covered in (temporary) grass, which made it perfect for lounging in the sun. After we got our fill of the stage, we made sure to hit up each of Space Ninety 8's For The Record signings, explored the shops along Bedford and admired all the well-dressed Brooklynites, taking Instax pics along the way. Read on for some of our favorite shots and to learn more about the amazing stage our store team built from scratch!Katie

The stage just starting to come together

Getting the stage ready the day of the event

Our finished stage ended up looking incredible and we have our talented store employees to thank for that. Bryan Metzdorf, one of our display artist mentors, told us, "The stage took several weeks to plan; I had to come up with a modular system that could be adapted to the different stage options that were talked about with Northside." Since Bryan hadn't seen the stage beforehand (and knowing that set-up time was limited), he had to come up with a simple stage construction using only triangles made from dowels, eye screws and dichroic window film that changed colors depending on lighting conditions, which was then assembled with zip ties.

Closeup of the finished product

Neighbors performing

Four days prior to the installation, Bryan had a team of seven local UO display artists come out to help with the fabrication and troubleshooting. To ensure a smooth build, the team broke the backdrop into eight large pieces that were easier to handle. "Overall, the display went up pretty smoothly considering all the variables, and the whole team was really excited to see it come together," said Bryan. The finished, seriously impressive product was the perfect backdrop for our performing bands. Seeing the crowd's positive reaction to the stage (and their selfies in front of it) showed that Bryan and his team's hard work didn't go unnoticed.

Mas Ysa performing on the finished stage

Stage installation in action

Top: Space Ninety 8 stage / Bottom: Bedford Ave.

Top: Loungin' / Bottom: Our first band Teen Girl Scientist Monthly waiting to go on

Left: Eagulls signing a fan's chest / Right: The best spot to hang

Top: Views of the city skyline / Bottom: 6th and Bedford

Top: The cutest bike / Bottom: Eagulls at their For The Record signing

Left: Checking out the Space Ninety 8 stage / Right: Eleanor Friedberger

Top: Flowers along Bedford / Bottom: All hands in at Space Ninety 8

Special thanks to all the bands and store employees who helped make this day a success!

Behind the Scenes: Works Engineering

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

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

 See more in our Shore Ride lookbook

Studio Visit: Goldies and Meow Meow Tweet

With our vast beauty selection continuously expanding, we wanted to take the time to focus on some of the local beauty vendors and companies that are always working hard on making small-batch products with locally sourced and organic ingredients. This week, a few days ahead of their launches at the new UO Herald Square location, we shine a spotlight on two natural beauty brands from Brooklyn, NY, that we can't stop talking about: Goldies and Meow Meow Tweet. We spoke to Sarah Trogdon from Goldies and Tara Pelletier from Meow Meow Tweet to find out a little bit more about each company. Katie


Hey Sarah! Tell us a little bit about how Goldies came to be.
I come from a family who was always growing a lot of stuff. My parents are hippies, so I had that background already; I was always gardening. I used to work at Robertas, and when we put in the rooftop gardens I finally had a garden space in New York. I started experimenting with all the herbs by making soaps, and I was really good at it. I'd come wait tables at night with a suitcase full of my products and people just kept requesting more and more. With all my connections from over the years, I eventually started selling in my friends' shops and people from all over ended up just finding me that way. [laughs] And the brand just keeps growing.

When did you realize this could be a full-time business?
I do all the products for the Wythe Hotel which was a big move for the business. That happened right at the end of my year of being a stay-at-home mom, when I had to make a decision about what I was going to do, job-wise. I thought I'd go for it and see if I could make this something to support me and my family. That happened all at the same time and it pushed me to create products that weren't just hippie, but were products that everyone all over the world could enjoy. And I did it!

Where do you find the ingredients you use? Do you grow it all?
It's mostly stuff I have to order. Most of what I grow is for experimenting or testing stuff out within our little family and then I have to source stuff in larger amounts, because I need a lot of it. I make sure it's all sustainable and organic. I try to source everything as close as I can, but a lot of the oils come from other countries.

Do you have a product that's a best-seller?
Yes! Well, the thing that Urban carries the most of is the Vinegar Hair Rinse which is a super, super herbalist, simple recipe. Also, the Vetiver Dream Cream is one that sells well.

How do you decide what you want to start working on next?
Seasons. And necessity and desire. Thinking of things that I'd like to have in my own life. That's basically how the brand got started. The things I would spend money on were wine, cheese and beauty products. [laughs] We sit there and think about how we would make things really pure and unique. Then we do! Like right now we're working on a beachy hair spray that has salt in it but also lightens your hair. We've been testing that one out the past few days on the beach near our studio in Rockaway.

Is there a scent or ingredient you use the most?
We use vetiver a lot, which has really made it onto the scene.

Where do you see the brand going in the next few years?
Hopefully doing more hotels and spas. We're working on a travel kit that will be coming out really soon. And a beach kit, with a tanning oil, hair lightener. Maybe makeup, because I think it's really fun. Just bigger, bigger, bigger. [laughs]

Hey Tara! Tell us a little bit about Meow Meow Tweet.
Jeff [Kurosaki] and I have been doing Meow Meow Tweet for the past five years, but we've been doing Meow Meow Tweet without supplementary jobs for the past two years. It started off because six or seven years ago, my grandma gave me a bar of handmade soap in my stocking from one of her friend's farms, and we were like, "Whoa, this is amazing!" We're artists and always thinking about how we can make things and we were really into urban homesteading, so we were like, "What if we made soap and it supported our performance art?" [laughs] Because of course performance art doesn't support you. So we bought a book on like, Amazon about making soap and it was successful. [laughs]

And that's how Meow Meow Tweet was born.
Yeah, I don't know what would have happened if it wasn't successful. [laughs] We were like, "Whoa, this is awesome!" and also like, "Whoa, this is a ton of soap!" so we started giving it away and people kept telling us we had to sell it. We applied to the Renegade Craft Fair without being an actual business yet, so we went back and forth on the name because we needed one. We have two cats and a bird, so that's where Meow Meow Tweet came from.

What happened after Renegade?
We were accepted for some reason. [laughs] We made so much soap and came up with all the packaging. We don't do any markets anymore, though, except for the Vegan Shop-Up. It's the only vegan open-air market.

What ingredients do you use the most in your products?
When we started, we said we wanted as many ingredients as possible to be certified organic, for everything to be natural and for everything to be understandable to a person who is not in the know. Like if you go to a fancy restaurant and you read the menu and you're like, "I don't know what any of this stuff is." We didn't want our ingredients to be like that. [laughs] Things that everyone understands but also work really well together. Most of the oils we use are from the U.S. and Mexico and then our butters are from South Africa. We definitely source so everything is from certified organic farms, and all of our glass is manufactured in the U.S.

Do you guys have a best-selling product?
Our Deodorant Cream. It's all natural. This was one of the recipes that took the longest to formulate. When I was done with it, I was like, "Jeff, you need to make a drawing that represents how long it took to make." So he drew a snake making a slam dunk. [laughs] If you look at the ingredients, you can understand it all. You just apply it with your fingers and it's highly effective.

Do you have a favorite thing to make?
Well, I formulate all the recipes and Jeff does all the drawings and is in charge of operations. My favorite thing to do is probably come up with new recipes. I always like making the newest thing because it's the thing I've made the least. [laughs] Right now I love making our newest face cleanser.

What are your plans for the future?
To get bigger, but to do it in a way that we can handle and keep the quality of everything that we make. We know we can only grow as much as we can afford but, you know, world domination. [laughs]