i know i’ve talked a lot about these guys over the past few weeks on the blog, what with our catalog release party and the free download, but today i wanted you to get to know the happen-ins from their mouths :) here’s a little slideshow interview with the band mixed in with some behind the scenes photos from our catalog shoot!
it started when our creative director discovered the sisters of the black moon and began printing their lookbook photos from various tumblrs and blogs like cosmic dust and sun in scorpio, and hanging them for inspiration. she didn’t realize the photography was current- their decayed, weathered look led her to believe they were vintage 70s shots. then one day last year she received an email from the photographer, alexandra valenti, and was shocked to find that she was a living person from this time period! alexandra found us since we were working with her friend leslie crow from heyoka leather, who she also shoots with. immediately we knew we had to work with this photographer – and the rest is history!
read on for an interview with the beautiful soul alexandra valenti and see some of the amazing outtakes from our july catalog shoot.
When and why did you first get into photography?
I started pretty young and always loved it. After I finished college, I moved to NYC and assisted fashion photographer, Sante D’orazio. I didn’t know anything about the fashion world and not that much about the technical side of photography, at least not at that professional level – I was the WORST assistant ever. He’d probably tell you that too. But he and I became very dear friends and I paid attention and learned so much. I thought I’d end up making movies, so I moved to LA and wrote scripts, but I didn’t like how long it took to make something (which is, it took FOREVER). And that frustrated me beyond belief. So I moved to Austin and I went back to photography, and started to develop a style and a voice in images in a quiet way, on my own time. I’m a very, very late bloomer.
We all love your work with the Sisters of the Black Moon. How did you guys meet?
I think we met at Alecia’s birthday party at a place called Shangrila in Austin. I knew who they were, and I had major girl crushes on them! We started hanging out and soon after I asked them if I could take pictures of them at a swimming hole nearby.
Do you have a favorite moment from the Free People catalog shoot?
It was all so great! I couldn’t have asked for a better experience and I”m so insanely grateful for it. I feel like I made new friends, it wasn’t just a job, you know? That’s a pretty special experience to have – I didn’t want the shoot to end. Doub is my hero. What a beautiful, generous, loving woman… all of my friends fell in love with her. I kinda wanna put her in my pocket and take her with me everywhere. And I just loved all the models – Ashley Smith was a dream, I’d shoot her everyday of the week if I could! I guess, one of the best moments, though, was when the band was playing as I was shooting. All my friends were there, it felt so comfortable, it was a love fest from the get go! That and the last night when we went to eat at the Mexican restaurant, and we shut it down. They were sweeping up around us :)
If you had a time machine, where would you go?
The future to see if everything I dream about comes true.
Or back when I was struggling to tell myself it’s all gonna be just fine. Ha!
Where do you draw inspiration for your work?
Old paperback book covers from the 60’s and 70’s.
Who are some of your personal favorite photographers/artists?
Oh man, there are so many. Maybe the anonymous photographers from the turn of the century or family snap shots that were shot with Polaroids in the 60’s and 70’s. As for fine artists, I’d say self-taught, outsider artists – people who make art, houses and furniture out of scrap material.
What music are you listening to right now?
Two things: My Willie Nelson Pandora station.
And my rooster crowing in the garden. He’s a mean punk ass SOB.
But his crow kills me, so funny. Except at 4:30 in the morning. That’s when I wanna ring his neck.
Autobiography of a Yogi and the Bhagavad Gita, the Eswaren translation.
Both changed me immeasurably.
What do you love most about living in Austin?
You don’t have to drive very far to get anywhere… the swimming holes (when there’s not a drought!)…and the people, my friends. There’s a real sense of community here. I’ve never felt that way about any other city I’ve lived in.
Tell me something most people don’t know about you.
Hmm, I don’t know, I’m kind of honest to a fault. I feel like as I get older I realize I’m like everyone else… same fears, a dreamer… I’m no better, no different than anyone else. I wear my heart on my sleeve most the time and pretty wide open about my feelings… man, sounds so boring. I should have more secrets. I’ll work on that.
view the july catalog shot by alexandra valenti in its entirety, right here.
thank you so much to everyone who came out for our july catalog release party on friday at the mohawk room in austin! we had an amazing time, the happen-ins killed it, and we met some wonderful people. austin will always have a special place in our hearts :) here are some photos from the event!
the poster we had made of one of our favorite shots from the catalog!
upon entry guests could pick up a free people bag and discount flier, enter into our raffle to win fp gift cards, and check out some merchandise from the happen-ins. stay tuned, once we pick the winners from the raffle i’ll let you guys know!
cutie pie :)
fp girls in the house looking fab!!
beautiful joanna of keep austin stylish.
we previewed our july catalog video for the attendees, and then the happen-ins took the stage for a phenomenal set that had the crowd dancing up a sweat!
alexandra shot some photos at the show, i will definitely share them with you guys when i have them!
john michael’s shoes :)
huge thanks one more time to alexandra valenti, the happen-ins and the mohawk room! xoxoxo
*update – check out more fashion photos from the event here!
It’s always such a treat to see the pups of Home Office that the girls of Free People Brooklyn thought we’d introduce some of our local customers! All dogs are welcomed with shakes, treats, water, and love :)
Lalo! (He’s recovering quite nicely)
Waffle loved our mannequin outfit so much he collapsed in front of it :)
Huahua (as in Chihuahua) and mom!
Lemon (with Huahua in background – they’re best friends!)
Last but not least, Chewy!
so cute! i love all their names…especially waffle :) thanks for sharing ladies!
our new houston galleria store shot a lookbook with texas photographer shanna ingram and when i first opened these photos i was completely floored! these girls are gorgeous and the photos are lovely.
in this look: hinted florals maxi dress.
so beautiful, ladies! nice work :)
if you love dreamcatchers as much as i do, you must check out the work of rachael rice. she’s a very talented artist who makes dream catchers that are beyond anything i’ve ever seen. and that’s just one thing she makes – she is extremely creative and was kind enough to share some of her projects and how she makes them for our blog!
once you have the basic steps down for making a dreamcatcher, it becomes much easier to experiment and get a little crazy with them! here, rachael demonstrates how to make small ones using bangles and string – these would be adorable for key chains, bag charms and hanging in your car!
once this part is complete, attach feathers or any other embellishments using string!
rachael has also been making more conceptual dream catchers using pieces of cardboard or thick paper, vintage doilies and hand-made paper feathers!
“Doily is a funny word. What I love about them is that they’re like lace mandalas, and whenever I hold one I think that some woman’s hands probably created it. I like collecting them, and you can find them for next to nothing at yard sales and antique shops.
Pieces of cardstock, cardboard, or even stiff paper can be a home for a lost doily reincarnated as a dream catcher. Paint or collage on your disc (I used silver) and glue your doily on top!”
“To make the feathers, start with some heavy paper and use crayon or oil pastel to create designs. Add any collage elements you’d like (you can use FP catalogs!) – be random, don’t think too much. Paint over those designs with watercolors, or thinned out acrylics or tempera paints. Let dry. You can also do the back! Cut feather shapes out of the paper: I made a stencil and just traced it with pencil. Use markers to make feather designs, or just doodle – you can’t do it wrong :) Attach the feathers to your dream catcher with some embroidery floss, simply hang them where you like!”
amazing! on the right is an example of another one she made called “dark star.”
and last but not least – i think these are my favorite – lace quartz pendants!
“Vintage lace and doilies find new life when cut up and glued onto the tops of quartz crystals. That way we can wear pretty rocks without having to drill holes in them! Simply cut a strip of lace or doily and use a glue gun or regular Elmer’s to attach it to the top of a pendant. A little jump ring or piece of wire run through the holes makes it ready to hang from a piece of leather cord, or a chain.”
Be sure to check out our new DIY Projects category for more DIY Inspiration!
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one of the things that i admire and respect most about musicians, is the fact that they are able to not only write music that is often intensely personal, but they perform it, on stage, in front of crowds – sometimes alone. that thought terrifies me… but it’s also incredibly inspiring. geron hoy, today’s featured artist, is not only a talented singer/songwriter but i happen to know him personally and he’s one of the most humble, thoughtful and hilarious people i’ve ever met. he inspires me because he is accomplishing his dream of putting out an album and because of the passion he shows for his music both on and off the stage. it definitely comes across when he performs, leaving you with the feeling that you just witnessed something very special. his debut album came out today on itunes and i have been listening to it all morning – his thoughtful lyrics and skillful guitar playing seem to have a wisdom beyond his years. oh and he also plays the harmonica – my weakness!
read on for an interview with geron to get a better idea of what he’s all about, and as you read, listen to the first single from his album, “lady crow.” it’s addicting!
when did you write your first song, and what was it called?
oh man… a pretty wretched little ditty called ‘near to you.’ god, it was awful. i knew three chords and i took a complete shot in the dark just to see what would happen. but some of the friends i had back then would sing along to it and ask me to play it. that was enough to get me to write another.
if your music was a place, where would it be?
there’s an image on the back of a record i have. i think it’s james taylor but i can’t be sure. i’d go look, but all my records are in a storage unit in texas. but it’s of these musicians jamming in a dingy room with a wooden floor, an old beat-up piano with a glass of whiskey on it, speakers hanging from the ceiling, the sunlight battling through the cigarette smoke. it just looks like the perfect environment. where i’d want to spend every day. and i remember pointing the photo out to friends and saying, ‘why cant we be there, right now?’
why did you decide to name your album “soldier”?
there’s a track on the album called ‘soldier.’ i recorded that song with my friends about four years ago in new york before i had a label, and it’s the song that got me signed because one of the owners of the label fell in love with it. the song itself is about fighting with everything you’ve got for something when you have no control over the end result.
is there a certain song you’re most proud of?
they’re all my babies and i constantly tell them to keep cool…
you’ve lived in a bunch of different places, is there one that has had the most influence on you personally and/or musically?
i went to new york when i was eighteen. that was my songwriting school. i probably wrote at least a hundred songs in the five years i was there. and kept fifteen of them. there was so much inspiration… living in the city was like being on cruise control at 300 mph.
what’s your favorite venue you’ve ever played in? and is there a particular venue you dream of playing in one day?
if i played at the beacon theater in new york i’d die a happy man. and my favorite place so far i think would be this small bar in the upper west side in new york where i used to play every thursday with some of my closest friends. it was in a basement surrounded by stone walls. we’d drink and play all night and the audience always asked for more. it was a great time.
if you could jam with any musician, dead or alive, who would you pick?
well, i automatically start sifting through all my heroes and i’m incredibly intimidated and awestruck by all of them. so i’m not quite sure who i would pick. townes van zandt? but what about neil young?? but what about mozart??!!! would i have to wear a puffy shirt?? i’d be down…
if your life was a movie what would the theme song be?
“changes” or “ziggy stardust”?, “space oddity”? pretty much anything by david bowie.
if you had a time machine where would you go?
2015 so i could ride a hover board with michael j. only four more years! i can’t wait for the self-drying jacket!!!
if you were deserted on an island what three things would you want with you?
a fire-breathing dragon, a saddle, and wilson.
tell me something most people don’t know about you.
i own a fire-breathing dragon named wilson.
the album, soldier, is available now on itunes – get it here!
thank you so much geron!
amazing photos from our facebook fans…so inspiring.
“the sun is up, the sky is blue, it’s beautiful and so are you.”