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UO Shoots: Born to Run

Interview by Kate Williams

Lyndsey Butler is the designer behind VEDA and our latest Designed By: collaboration, Vice Veda. Here, she styles her motorcycle-inspired collection in the wilds of New Jersey.

You grew up between Texas and Argentina. Can you talk a little bit about the style, aesthetic and fashion of both of those places?

Texas is known for its big hair and flashy ways, which I used to shy away from, but over the years I have grown pretty obsessed with the vivacity of Texas fashion. I love turquoise, denim and leather, which are three Texas staples!

In Argentina I think the style is almost the opposite. The women tend be very natural and have more of a bohemian style that utilizes a lot of the traditional textiles and native garments. Also Argentina is known for their incredible leather goods. I always come back with a plethora of design inspiration.

Tell us a little bit about the Vice Veda collection. What was your inspiration for it?

I wanted to create cool jackets with classic details while also continuing the same focus on fit that is so important to the jackets in the VEDA main label. I think the Urban Outfitters customer is daring and fun, so I wanted to make styles that reflected a sense of adventure. Vice Veda was inspired by cult classics, cool kids, bad boys, girl gangs, smoke breaks and dead poets. But, this inaugural collection was specifically inspired by Evel Knievel, motocross flag girls and Bill Ray’s photos of the Hells Angels.

How many leather jackets do you own? What is your favorite?

Oh no, this is unfair, at any given time I probably have 15-20 leather jackets in my closet at home but I am always snagging samples from the office and wearing them for a few weeks and then putting them back where I found them! I don’t like playing favorites, but if I had to choose three I would say: a black, super worn in vintage Harley Davidson motorcycle jacket that fits like a glove; the first vintage army jacket with black leather sleeves that we made for VEDA; and the Castor motorcycle vest in Ruby from our current collection (Fall ‘12).

Why is the motorcycle jacket so iconic?

I think the motorcycle jacket is the (un)official symbol of cool. It represents a counter culture that is yet to be totally co-opted by the main stream. It still represents rebellion and chaos.

How do you style motorcycle jackets so it looks like you're not trying to be a poser?

I think its important to mix stuff up, you can’t wear a serious motorcycle jacket with serious motorcycle boots it will just feel unnatural. Unless, of course, you are planning to jump on a bike and ride off into the sunset. Wear the tough motorcycle jacket with the pretty vintage dress. I also tend to design jackets that have elements of a traditional motorcycle jacket but that ultimately have a slim feminine fit. I think this helps a girl to feel more comfortable in this style because they still look feminine.

Seriously, why do girls love guys on motorcycles? It's pretty much a fact that they do.

I think it is the badass factor. It is that simple, if you ride a motorcycle you are little dangerous and wild and there is something undeniably appealing about that.

Where did you go for this shoot?

We actually just drove a couple hours out of NYC into New Jersey. We found a small town that had a real Americana feel. We spent the day exploring and discovering new locations.

If you were heading out on a motorcycle road-trip, where would you go?

I would probably head over to the American Southwest (West Texas, Rio Grande, Taos, NM, the Four Corners, Bryce Canyon, etc). I took a road trip with my family when I was a kid and we traveled through a lot of this part of the country, it was epic. I think doing it on a motorcycle might be the only way to top that!

Who are some fashion icons who pull off the tough girl 'leather and lace' look particularly well?

Kate Moss! She looks killer in a leather jacket. She always owns the look. Erin Wasson also always looks confident and cool in leather. She often wears leather items like a top or shorts instead of a leather jacket, which I think is a cool way to do it.

Photographed by Olivia Malone
Model: Muriel Beal at Elite
Hair and makeup by Patricia Iglesias