While down in Austin for our July catalog release party, we had the pleasure of meeting the beautiful Indiana of the austin-based fashion blog Adored Austin. she is incredibly sweet and put together this lovely post for our blog :)
Austin is a city obsessed with live music, football, and all things Lance Armstrong. I’ll admit it: four years ago, when my husband’s music ambitions relocated us from Monterey, California to Austin, Texas, I dismally pictured my wardrobe evolving to include dirty old cowboy boots, shapeless pearl snap shirts, and loads of Texas Longhorn burnt orange accessories. Never did I suspect that Austin would be a city full of inspiring personal style and panache.
I was delighted to find out that Free People chose Austin as its muse for its July lookbook. As the self-proclaimed “Live Music Capital of the World”, music is at the heart of everything we Austinites do, including the way we dress. We pride ourselves at knowing about the cool bands before the rest of the country catches on and we eschew traditional advice from fashion magazines that dictate how we should put together outfits, instead opting to mix and match our new duds with vintage pieces. Equal parts rock and roll and bohemian, Austin’s style is edgy and tough but comfortably nostalgic all at the same time.
left – with her sweet baby jude :)
There’s no better place to people watch than South Congress Avenue, which is just a short jaunt (or pedicab ride) across the river from the downtown Free People store. There you’ll find the famed Hotel San Jose, vintage treasure trove Uncommon Objects, an entire parking lot of modern food trailers, and loads of vintage shops, street musicians, independent eateries, and some of the coolest, sweetest people you’ll ever meet.
Come visit Austin for the Austin City Limits festival this fall or South By Southwest in the spring. I’ll even come meet you on South Congress for a cupcake and a taco!
we just shot our july lookbook with bambi northwood-blyth and we all fell in love with her! check out this adorable video of bambi and one of our designers having a friendly drawing competition…it makes me smile :)
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!
check them out in our july catalog, here, and don’t forget to download their song “be yer fool” (for free!) here.
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.
sunshine daydream… that’s what austin felt like. the heat of the sun and the chill of the barton springs water, the taste of tacos and micheladas, the smell of wild flowers and vintage shops, and the sound of live music…
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!
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!