If you're dusting off your boots from Coachella or, like me, you've trawled through enough festival fashion photos while sipping on coconut water that you can vicariously feel Tame Impala still ringing in your ears, you will likely have come across an outfit or two from Spell & the Gypsy Collective.
Sisters Elizabeth and Isabella "Spell" Briedis make the kind of clothes destined for desert frolicking, sunset swaying, and boy-in-the-band finagling—all cheeky shorts, fringed vests, crochet dresses, breezy jumpsuits and exotic kimonos. But, as their Instagram feed can attest, they don't just dream the gyspy life, they live it, soaking up the flower-child vibes of Byron Bay, the Australian coastal town they call HQ. Here they mix business and the beach, bedecked in shredded band tees, Stevie Nicks-worthy silks and stacks of Native American-influenced jewelry.
"Spell and I both grew up in the suburban sprawl of Melbourne, but always had a yearning to jump in a car and fly up the coast highway to a warmer, tropical fairyland," Elizabeth says. "Whether you live in a city or a beachside town, we all get wound up in our own busy routines and how we dress and accessorize can help us channel that wild-child-of-the-'60s alter-ego that usually only comes out at a festival, or on holiday…. I think that Spell taps into that sense of freedom we all crave now and then." For Spring 2013, the duo explored "lots of textures—tasseled knits, lace, velvet and animal print. Our jewellery range is about to get very bold with chunky carved bone tusks and animal claws that we've cast in brass and silver. It's all very wild this season." To celebrate the recent opening of their flagship store in Byron Bay, which they have kitted-out with vintage antler lamps, cane chairs, cowhides and distressed leather couches, Elizabeth gives us a peek into their new boutique and shares some of Spell's hippie wisdom and local favorites.
Our Perfect Byron Bay day: Early to rise, coffee and pastry at our fave café with girlfriends and their kids, then spend the day at a quiet beach with our boys. Or, if we're lucky, it's the first sunday of the month and we'll head to the Byron Markets for an organic donut. Muses: Stevie Nicks, Kate Moss and Sienna Miller in her boho heyday. Words to live by: Inspire and be inspired. Also, my mum gave me the Desiderata in a birthday card when I turned 12, and every year I read it on my birthday and use it as a compass. Favorite scent:Vanessa Megan Essential Blend. Current obsession: Vintage rocker tees and bells. Favorite foods: Oysters, or all seafood, really. Byron Bay has an epic fish co-op. Our idea of fun: Designing a new range with Spelly, Fleetwood Mac playing in the background. Our take on style: Style is only style if it's your own style. For me, I dress down and over-accessorize. On our stereo right now, you'll find: Storms by Fleetwood Mac—I'm learning it on guitar. —Natalie
Meet Jade: Model, yoga lover and Sigur Rós enthusiast. Here, she talks about traveling the world, searching for great vintage and what you might catch her doing when she's not too busy working.
Interview by Ally Mullen
Introduce yourself and tell us where you’re from originally and where you live now. Hi! I am Jade McSorley. I’m from the North of England and I’m here in New York just for a few months.
What are you doing in New York? I’m here with my agency, One Management.
Before the interview, you mentioned your blog. Can you tell us a little bit about it? Yes, I have a blog called Sold Out. Basically it’s about vintage clothes because I get to travel a lot, so when I go to Italy or Paris there’s always amazing vintage shops and I’m a bit obsessed with vintage. I worked in a vintage shop, before I started modeling, for three years. My collection is a bit mental now. It’s kind of gone beyond me. I’ve got too many clothes! So yeah, I just blog about all the fun finds that I see on my travels. There are some amazing pieces out there.
Where do you think is the best country or city to shop for vintage? I’d say that New York is pretty good if you find the right vintage stores, but Paris is amazing for cheap vintage, especially in Le Marais. There are places where you can go and get vintage, but it’s a bit crazy. Like, you’ll find loads of people in this one room—it’s like a cattle market. Everyone’s rummaging around and you’re kind of a bit scared for your life. And then in Milan you can get really good vintage. It’s quite expensive there, but it’s really good designer stuff.
Where’s the best place you’ve been sent for work? I don’t know what the best place is. Istanbul was pretty amazing. It was just totally different than anywhere I’d been before. It was really serene. I went for a job but I asked to stay for an extra few days, so I got to just walk around. That was really different. I went to the Grand Bazaar, it’s like an indoor market but it’s full of tunnels. And everyone said, “Don’t go alone, you’ll get lost.”
Did you get lost? Of course! But I made it out.
Do you get to do any traveling on your own? I do try and travel outside of work. I do a lot of yoga and I surf so I try and go around Europe when I’m home and go and do a bit of surfing and go to like a yoga retreat to chill out. Gosh, I sound like such a model, don’t I? I love doing that, though. It chills me out a bit. But most of the time I’m traveling and working so I don’t really have that much time to travel. I’d love to do something for like six months to a year and just go away and travel. Maybe one day.
Where are some of your favorite surf spots? France is quite good. I’m not a really pro surfer, so I go for small waves. But Biarritz in France is a really good place. I really want to go to this place in Barbados that’s like a surfing school, so I might go this year.
Jade, featured here in our "UO x Kekkon: The Maxi Tube Dress" April Fools video.
What do you do on a weekend night if you don’t have to work? Well, if I’m in Brooklyn I usually just hang out with my friend, another Northern girl named Abi Fox. She’s a model too, so we usually just go out and have drinks and go dancing to a Spice Girls melody or something. I’ve been seeing a lot of Brooklyn and going to different areas. And doing tons of vintage shopping. And I’m going to a gig this week—it’s a Scottish band called The View. They’re kind of like pop-rock.
Is that the kind of music you’re into? Who is your favorite band? My favorite is
The chill vibes of Byron Bay, the iconic Australian beach town that Isla Collective designers Katie Burmester and Ayla Caughey call home, inspires their collection of hand-printed basics made from 100 percent cotton and other natural materials. "It will bring out the tomboy in you," say the girls of their casually-cut muscle tees and stripy trapeze tanks. This season the duo adds chunky knits, slouchy pants and long-sleeve T-shirt dresses into the mix, giving more options for those of us who don't have the luxury of walking around town barefoot or going for a cheeky surf on our lunch hour. Here, Isla Collective gives us a preview of their southern hemisphere winter 2013 collection, photographed by Hannah Leser on a lazy afternoon in the tropical splendor of their local surrounds. —Natalie
Is winter ever going to end? This is seriously the worst. Sadly, spring break for old people doesn't exist, so if you're out of college, you don't even get to go party in Panama City, FL, with all the other crazy younguns. Thankfully sites like Airbnb exist, so even if you're stuck sitting at a desk this spring break, you can browse through thousands of awesome locations. If you're lucky enough to have a spring break, you should totes book a night on the private Fiji island. And then send me pictures so I can seethe with jealousy.—Katie
Over the past few months, Urban Outfitters has supported employee entrepreneurial efforts by creating Side Projects, a chance for employees to show off their amazing talents and get their products featured in local stores. Below were our first round of employees, with more coming throughout the year. Enjoy! -Ally
UO Sales Associate Andrew Cunningham has spent his time working with wood and building for the last 11 years. Recently, he's been making his own skateboards out of reclaimed wood, turning material that others might pass right by into hand-carved works of art. The reason he started making these decks? "I couldn't find the skateboards that I wanted, so I went out into my parents garage and started making my own." He's been perfecting his craft ever since.You can find his boards in our Santa Monica store (1440 Third St. Promenade).
Upper Midwest District Manager John Migala helps run this vintage shop which is described as, "American heritage with a touch of white collar flair referencing utility, work wear and military styles." Focusing on the needs of the quintessential "man," Scout manages to mix the outdoors with low-cost, unique clothing that will have even the most experienced male thifters at a loss for words. Go get some new digs before they run out at our NYC stores at 14th and 6th (526 Avenue of the Americas).
This vintage shop is filled with all of the things you want to fill your closet with but can never find in any stores. If you want some one-of-a-kind outfits (especially with festival season right around the bend), then this is your to-go shop for making you look cooler than you are. Shop BPV by San Francisco Store Merchandiser Laura Cerri and her BFF Jessica Dega at the NYC Broadway Store (2633 Broadway) and in San Francisco (3322 Fillmore St.).
Hollywood Sales Associate Sean Tully (and our former Employee of the Month) is back for more Urban fun with a bunch of new zines, T-shirts and faux wooden spray cans he created in between his surf days at sea. You can find his stuff in San Francisco and on 5th Ave in NYC. Get 'em while they're hot!
Looking for some new zines to flip through? Then Portland Sales Associate Sara Golden is your girl. Just browsing through her photographs on Tumblr is like having a little kid on your leg begging you to take her on a trip to Disney Land (yeah, that's my idea of a getaway. Sue me.). Her 'Zines are in San Francisco, Cambridge, MA, and NYC.
You would never guess from employee Kat Mills' cat-filled Tumblr that she makes super gnarly zines. You can buy her satanic kitty zine (and more) here, or check her out in San Francisco and NYC.
Lila Ash, assistant display artist at UO Space 15Twenty, is an illustrator, sculptor and performance artist from NYC who lives and works in L.A. Her paintings and comics have been exhibited at L.A.'s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and are published bi-monthly in L.A. Record Magazine. She is an alum of the painting department at the Rhode Island School of Design, class of 2011.
It doesn't matter what side of the equator you're on, right now a felt hat is a desirable object. I've been using mine to protect my head from the strongest of sun rays (that hole in the ozone layer above Australia is no joke), while those braving sub zero temperatures (hey, it's an excuse to drink hot toddies!) could use something to shield from blizzards and combat brain freeze. My favorite new millinery find is Australian label Fallen Broken Street, launched by model David Frim and photographer Justin Crawford, two surfers from Sydney's Northern Beaches. What started in 2011 with knitted beanies has evolved this season to include options like a floppy Carly Simon-worthy style called the Little Hippy; a compact topper named the Cove; an adorable sailor cap dubbed the Slipway; and the Dingo, a modern update on the classic Australian outback hat, minus the dangling corks. Hats off to you, boys! -Natalie
Patagonia is one of those rare brands that values the stories people live in their clothes more than the clothes themselves. Stemming from their decidedly un-corporate founder down to their minimal and functional clothes, the company focus has always been on adventure more than profit.
In that same vein, Patagonia recently launched Worn Wear, a companion to their already awesome Tumblr, this one devoted exclusively to sharing stories of well-loved Patagonia garments and the journeys they helped make possible. Be sure to follow for killer vintage outdoor pics, including some naked man-butt (y'know, if that's your thing,) and some insightful bits of outerwear history. -Angelo
Over a hundred photographs from surf photographer Patrick Trefz will be published in his latest monograph Surfers' Blood later this month. In addition to striking images of surfers catching some beautiful waves, the images also capture the lesser seen moments. Catch a preview of the book at powerHouse Books. -Bob
Two months ago, we partnered up with favorite surf brand Insight and favorite surf magazine FOAM to give away this epic beach essentials package plus a one-of-a-kind art surfboard to match. Check out these totally beachin’ photos our lucky winner Amanda just sent us, and hang ten until our next contest!
A couple snaps from M. Nii's Parking Lot Jam event that took place at the parking lot (of course) of Ron Herman in Los Angeles. Check out their blog for more old school surf vibes as well as some well dressed dudes and betty's here. -Bob
T Magazine takes a trip to Pilgrim Surf and Supply, a surfy boutique situated in Williamsburg at 68 N. 3rd Street, and shows us what's in store as well as some off the shelf styled looks. Whether you're looking for a new pair of boardshorts or a new shortboard it looks like Pilgrim's got you covered. -Bob
Birdwell has been making their iconic board shorts since 1961 out of little house in Santa Ana, California and is still at it today, though not still producing their shorts from a single machine! The American-made shorts are offered in seven fit styles and a whole slew of colors and patterns, a classic for decades to come.
Join Grain Surfboards tomorrow evening at Art In The Age (116 N. 3rd St.) for a hands-on demonstration on the techniques they employ to make their beautiful wooden boards. For more info and to RSVP check the Facebook event page here. -Bob
I really love these bright summer colors Outlier is putting out for their shorts and trunks. As much as I like a good pair of cut-offs in the summer, they're just too thick. Outlier's special fabric dries quick after the unexpected dip as well as wicks moisture on those brutally hot summer days. -Bob
Loving these photo-printed swim trunks by Olebar Brown made for their 5th anniversary. Five different prints are being offered currently, with seven more to be unveiled as summer progresses. What I wouldn't give to have my own photo on a pair of trunks! See the rest here. -Bob
Minna Gilligan's art is colorful, fun, and feels like it came straight out of our wildest teenage dreams. Here we talk about her early beginnings, her romanticism of surf culture, and the art she created for the Surf Daze summer preview lookbook.
Introduce yourself! My name is Minna Gilligan and I live in Melbourne, Australia. I am 21 and in my last year of a Bachelor Degree in Fine Art. In my spare time I work for Rookie Magazine and blog about my terribly boring existence that may or may not be taking place in the 1970s.
When was the moment you realized you wanted to make art? Well I always knew I wanted to make art because my whole family are pretty intrenched in that industry. The idea of being an artist came to me when I was very young and made an artwork out of lolly wrappers in school. It was sort of Andy Warhol-esque, I suppose. When I saw his soup cans for the first time at MoMA I started to take it more seriously, or as serious as possible when making the kind of work I make—you know, cutting out pictures of hamburgers and stuff.
Describe your artistic style in one sentence. At the moment it's a psychedelic playground of personal traumas and exhalations. (Keep in mind this 'one sentence' is incredibly transient!)
What's your main focus when making your art? Color? Shapes? Patterns? My philosophy is "more is more" so I focus on everything: color, shapes, patterns, glitter, stickers. I'm also really into found imagery. I find some really bizarre stuff in old books and printed material. I like to think a lot about sentiments and memories and how they are summarized so succinctly in imagery and color and stuff.
Tell us about the art you did for the Surf Daze summer preview lookbook and how you got involved in the project. I made some text drawings that were inspired by sunsets I'd experienced looking out of my bedroom window. We get some beautiful pink and orange skies where I live, especially in the summer. I got involved in this lookbook via the wonderful world wide web. I have a blog where people can read about the mundanities of my life and I think that Urban found my art there via my Rookie work or some other obscure link. Y'know cyberspace is a crazy place!
What are your biggest influences overall? Well apart from the sunsets that I just talked about I'm really into this surfing movie from 1971 called Morning of the Earth. it's so beautiful and encapsulates surfing culture so eloquently alongside an amazing soundtrack. I give this film five out of five stars even though I'm not qualified to do so.
Who do you look up to in the art world? I get really inspired by a whole bunch of people. My favorite artist at the moment is Mike Brown, who was an Australian painter and sculptor in the '60s and '70s. I also just love Pipilotti Rist, Helen Frankenthaler, Henri Matisse and Australian artists Jenny Watson, Vali Myers and Paul Yore. I also have to mention the likes of Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell, who offer me boundless fields of inspiration.
Do you surf? Are you involved in the surf culture? I don't surf! But every summer I go down the coast on the Great Ocean Road, which is just the most beautiful coast line in Victoria, Australia. My Dad is a huge surfer. In the '70s he would hitchhike down the Great Ocean Road with his friends and camp on the beach. All he could afford to eat was potatoes, he tells me, so he'd whittle them into chips with a Stanley knife and fry them on a bonfire. He still surfs now and has attempted on many occasions to get me involved but I'm more into the 'idea' of it, the romance of catching a wave rather than the salt water in your mouth and getting sunburnt and stuff, you know?
How intwined are surfing and your art? Sort of actually not intwined at all, I hate to break it to you. But I'm into summer and amazing 1970s sunglasses and road trips and listening to the Beach Boys, very much so.
What do you think is the biggest draw to surfing/surf culture? Why? Well I think the romance of it, like the idea of travelin' down a rambling road with nothing but a board and some potatoes (in the case of my father). It's very Bob Dylan, a kind of freewheelin' lifestyle, but who am I to define this? I mean I sit inside all day daydreaming and drawing with markers.
Tallow are one of the latest labels to be picked up at Urban Outfitters for the Surf Daze Collection. We spoke to Ali Mandalis about finding inspiration in far away travels and a life spent obsessed with waves. How did you and Shannon Clynes (your partner at Tallow) meet? We met through the surf company we were working at, Insight. We became friends over a beer while watching the famous horse race in Australia called the Melbourne Cup. We were the only two girls in the company that surfed, so from then on we hung at the beach after work and surfed together. It ultimately created a strong bond between us.
What were you doing before launching your label? I took a year off from working in a full time design role and traveled all through South America. I was meant to only go for about three months and I ended up going for 11. It was one of most my treasured times as I gained bucket loads of inspiration through the incredible cultures and colors. I surfed all day, did my art by night, and was simply blessed to have such an incredible journey without the modern day pressures that we all can get caught up in.
What are your latest inspirations for your next collection? I love researching different art in different cultures. For the next collection we’re pointing towards different African colours and prints. I can't say too much but I'm loving the exploration into their history and present day artisan culture.
You work with a lot of incredible artists. Are there any dream collaborations you would like to make in the future for Tallow? I usually cross paths with an artist somewhere along the way or they just jump out at me from the net, then I ask them with my fingers crossed that they’re interested in collaborating. I love using artists that I haven't heard of before but have that something special that I resonate with, being technique, colour palettes, or simply ocean inspired.
What is your playlist like at work? When I work I love listening to all the old classics. Pixies, Jane's Addiction, Led Zeppelin, Mudhoney, Fugazi, The Velvet Underground.
I noticed you guys support and take part in a lot of events for girls in surfing. Did you both grow up surfing or is it something you grew to love? I had no direct influence of surfing, I was just always obsessed by it for as long as I can remember. A lot of my early days were spent on the beach, hanging in sand dunes and beach bonfires at night. Always salty and sandy. Shan was much the same and nothing much has changed for either of us.
Where would your go-to surfing destination be and why? Right now we’re in autumn and I am loving my own home beach breaks. The east coast of Australia is at its best during autumn—crisp days, warm sunshine, perfect waves, and no crowds. There are hundreds of perfect little secret breaks up and down the coast. Solitude and the beauty of the Australian bush.
Do you have any favorite surfing films? Love all the old classics like Morning of the Earth, Forgotten Island Of Santosha, Sprout—anything old school that meets present day.
Besides your own incredible line, what are some key pieces in your closet? I just raided all the op shops on a recent surf trip up the east coast of Australia and scored some great additions. My favourite is a jade green chinese smoking coat and retro bright red pom-pon beanie. My new uniform :)! Other key pieces and staples are cut off shorts, oversized retro shirts, boots, hatsd and lots of jewels.
What are you doing in your downtime, when you're not in the office? Downtime is spent on the beach on a blanket with friends talking nonsense, drawing, reading, skating, musicing and smiling!
Did you grow up surfing? What kinds of things were you wearing? I grew up on Lake Michigan in a resort town in the north of Michigan. Lake Michigan is like an ocean because it is so large and deep, but the waves were not surfable. I grew up snowboarding every day after school in the winter, and boating every day in the summer. I was very into vintage and my friends and I would go to all the garage sales on the weekends to find the best second hand clothes from the authentic hippies that lived in our town.
How did Surf Electric begin? I began Surf Electric 3 years ago when we opened our Surf Bazaar store in Montauk NY, a little surfing village at the end of Long Island in New York. We wanted to make a collection for all of our fun, fierce, and fabulous girls who enjoy the beach, sun, sand, and surf!
Walking into your shop, what are we most likely going to hear over the speakers? Have you seen any new bands you're excited about lately? I have a friend who is the most incredible DJ who spun the best set ever at a friends wedding in Jamaica. He made a playlist for the store that is a mix of authentic reggae from the '70s and '80s: Brazilian music, classic rock like Neil Young and current chill music like Toro Y Moi. My last greatest show was Devendra Banhart in a small bar in Brooklyn! Amazing!
Besides Surf Electric, what day to day key clothing pieces from your wardrobe do mix with the line? I love to mix vintage pieces that I gather from my travels to beach towns across the world.
I've seen a few of your embroidered coats with amazing black and white prints. Is this something you're considering branching out with more? Do you design the prints yourself? I designed all the prints myself and they are unique to Surf Electric! I am working to use more prints, but strategically placed on the clothing so to give it a fresh and unique look.
What are your inspirations for the line each season? I imagine Montauk has a lot to inspire the eye everyday. There is endless inspiration in Montauk! After spending 15 years here, I am still inspired by something new daily. The lighting here is like non other. I also borrow from all the beautiful beaches I travel to throughout the year. My most recent travels to Japan and seeing their surfing community was truly inspiring! Some of my inspiration is photographed above. You've said that the colors in the Surf Bazaar flags (inspired by Tibetan prayer flags) are represented by the elements that inspire you: water, sun, and earth. Do you choose the colors for the clothing each season with these colors in mind, the same way some labels only work in black and white? Absolutely! Neon has been in my design "tool-box" for many years—I can't imagine that I will ever let it go—but how and where I use it changes all the time. The world is made of beautiful colors, why not use them? It makes us all happy.
What would you love to do with the next collection? I would love to give girls more clothing that they can put on over their suits from the beach, and look cute, comfortable, and ready for fun with their friends. More color, prints, and interesting shapes.
What kinds of things are you doing when not focusing on Surf Electric/Surf Bazaar? Surfing, playing with my bulldog Choncho on the beach, and playing with my new vintage sewing machine! Lately I have been doing a lot of Denim repairs on all my jeans, but using fluorescent thread!
Where would your go-to surfing destination be and why? Nicaragua hands down! It is a beautiful country with the best surf, and more often than not you have the wave to yourself.