Here is our behind the scenes look at the Free People Home Office in Philadelphia. This video shows our three summer trends for 2008.
Peace Corps Prep: Inspired by girls in the peace corps traveling in India.
Everything But a Flower: A collection of new and vintage geometric patterns and shapes.
Mayan: Inspired by the beautiful Mayan Riviera and Aztec designs.
Here is Rosie!!
and a note from her owner…
I was actually on the hunt for an English Bulldog, but came upon Rosie and loved her immediately! I wanted a female dog I could name Rosie Ruby, and when I saw her, she looked like a Rosie Ruby to me. She is my first dog and she is a handful! But she’s very sweet and good protection since I live alone.
Name: Rosie Ruby
Nick names: Rosie Monster, Rosie Posie, The Beast, Poop face!
Breed: American Bulldog
Likes: Everyone, squeaky toys, digging up the flowers in my yard, taking over the whole bed, and a good belly rub.
Dislikes: People with there hoods up. Boxes, mannequins, and ceiling fans are scary!!
Favorite friends: Indi, Brownie, Baxter and Keegan
Rosie is a great dog! I love that monster!!
Last week was Mill Week. Once a year we invite all of our fabric mills to visit the office so they can get a better sense of what FP is all about, meet with the designers and production team, and take a look at what we are working on. One of our vendors brought a donut tape dispenser, and our designers kind of loved it. Our vendor said she would send one from China, but when the knits team opened the box, she had sent a whole bunch!
So the knits team had a fake donut party. They are easily amused.
A few people asked how they can buy the FP tutus from the photo I posted. We do not have them for sale, but Luren from the display team has some tips.
To make these tutus, Luren used camisoles from past FP collections and petticoats she found on the internet. But you can make your own!
It’s easy to make a tutu: just find a color range of tulle and netting at your local fabric store and a thick band of elastic. If you have a sewing machine you can sew tiers of tulle onto the elastic band in a pleat-y way, folding an inch of the tulle under itself and sewing that inch, then folding more tulle under and sewing that inch so you’re making pleat after pleat after pleat right on the elastic band.
You can make several tiers of pleated tulle on a thick elastic band. Then you can add little bands of pleated tulle onto the bottom of the layers of tulle for extra bulk. We layered bright colors under pastel colors so that when you saw the tutus from below you got a special surprise pop of color.
Then we sewed them to Free People camisoles. The effect of this can be achieved with your homemade tutu or any tutu you can find at a thrift store or a dance shop. Most dance shops carry the donut style tutu (really big and thick around the waist) and the more relaxed skirt-y tutu. You can just pin the tutu to the bottom of the camisole all around and then use a needle and thread to whip stitch them together.
Luren (see this entry to learn more about Luren)
So, no one in the home office dresses alike or wears the same outfit-ever. However, one thing we all can agree on is how much we love the We The Free line.
We noticed how popular the sweatshirts and tees were in the home office so we started to document everyone rocking their WTF.
Some thoughts from the home office:
“It feels good. It looks good….I never want to take it off!”
“If you are rushing in the morning and you don’t know what to wear..you can throw on your We The Free and you are good to go!”
“The pockets on the pullover sweatshirt rule…. I’ve never felt this way about a sweatshirt before. For reals.”
“It’s great to wear everyday. Its super comfy and I get lots of compliments when I wear it…”
Check out the full collection of We the Free
Meet Indiana Jones. Indie is a sweet boy who plays nicely with all of the other Free People dogs and comes to work almost every day.
Indie belongs to Erin, who is the Associate Designer for Prints and Colors. This means that Erin and Indie work on the print artwork for all Free People apparel. They also help to choose and name the colors for each item for every season. So if you love the print on your favorite Free People dress or shirt, chances are Indie and Erin had something to do with it.
Name: Indiana Jones
Nickname: Indie, Monster, Dr. Jones
Breed: Catahoula Leopard mix (seriously, it’s a real dog. If you don’t believe me, look up the state dog of Louisiana)
Likes: Running, running, and running.
Dislikes: People who step on his tail, people who take his trashcan, and mailmen (of course)
Favorite friends: He has an awful lot of friends, but I think his favorites are probably Rosie (an American Bull Dog), Keegan (a Black Lab), Dave (Manager of Free People Direct) and Mary Ellen (Senior Designer for Color and Prints.)
How did you meet Indie: We rescued him from a shelter in Philadelphia. I just wanted to pet him, because he looked so cute and I ended up taking him home :)
Anything else you want to share: Indie loves working at FP! Sometimes when we leave at night he won’t get in the car! He just keeps running back to the front doors!
Courtney and Lizzy made some beautiful marbled papers for our “trend walls.” As the designers are developing a trend, they designate a wall in the hallway where they post all kinds of inspirational images, artwork, magazine tears, trims, etc. You’ll have to wait a few months to see what comes of the trend with the marbled colors… The painting sure looks like fun though!
Here are some of the supplies and tips:
Paper was from Pearl Paint
Big white tub was from Ikea
The marbling kit was from Pearl too.
Innovative Marbling Suminagashi Dye Ink Set:
6 colors, in 12 ml. tubes and it comes with instructions!!
The girls put a little baby oil (does not come in the set) in the water too, just to make it more interesting. Wherever the oil is, the paper will remain white.
Check out the comments from an expert marbler for some more tips…
*First name: Luren
*How long have you worked at Free People? Close to 2 years
*Tell me about your job: I draw on the walls at the new Free People stores during the openings, mostly in the fitting rooms. I design the seasonal visual display that goes to all the stores with my team, which means looking everywhere for inspiration, shopping in thrift stores, trying things out here in our studio, and seeing through production of anything that we make overseas. And I work on the designs for the packaging (the fabric shopping bags you get when you buy clothes at a Free People store).
*What do you like best about working at FP? I get a lot of creative freedom and responsibility, which is exciting because we get to be the face of the retail side of the brand–the part that people see when they’re wandering down the street or shopping in the mall. We get to make really inspirational, special setups in the store that get people using their imaginations and staying in the stores to look at everything we did to make it special, and that gets them to look at the amazing clothes!
Favorite FP items. Why? We The Free! The Relaxed Pullover Hoodie and the We the Free Short Sleeve Rugby Stripe. Anything from WE THE FREE. Looking forward to all the new products that are about to drop.
Tell me about your dog. I LOVE ALL DOGS. But I can’t have my own because I travel all the time for work and to explore the world. So I get to love all the dogs around the Navy Yard, without getting to spoil just one with all my attention. But IDA lives in my house, so she’s my most favorite!
What do you do when not at work? I design textiles, run a gallery and a gallery store which sells artist-made products with some friends, tie-dye old clothes in my yard, cook, grow vegetables in my garden, draw, travel, and I just wrote a book about screenprinting at home called Print Liberation .
What do you like best about Philly? I love Philadelphia. It’s a really easy place to do your own thing. You’re not in the world spotlight like you are in cities like NYC and LA so the pressure is off and people get to dig their heels in the ground and do what they feel passionate about. Which means people are more real and more straightforward. It’s cheap, so your life isn’t on the line if you screw up. People are hardworking and inspired.
Anything else? Picture credit: Mike Wilkes
Note: in pictures I’m in India working on display production, and wearing a free people burnout shirt
Check out this amazing beagle birthday cake that Jill (the Training Manager at the Customer Service Call Center) received for her birthday. It was actually made by her husband Pablo, who works in the South Carolina fulfillment center where all Free People orders are shipped from. Pretty impressive. The design was likely inspired by Pablo and Jill’s dog Baylee, who they found roaming around the woods near the South Carolina facility. The beagle and doghouse are made of marshmallows!
I know you’ve met some of the home office pets in the past (see here and here) but it’s been a while. There are some new faces and they want some attention!
Jack was a rescue dog from Morris Animal Shelter in Philadelphia. Word was that he was poisoned at the age of 4 months and left to die. Poor Jack was put on hold and rejected 4 times by different families for being “too hyper.” Jack eventually found a home with Kelly, our Wholesale customer service rep. She knew he was the dog for her when she took him out to the shelter yard to play and he promptly nipped her on her behind.
Jack now lives in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia with Kelly and her family and likes to come to work on a regular basis.
Name: Jack the dog
Nickname: Just Jack, Jackalope, Jack-a-saurus Rex, Bins, Jackson
Breed: Terrier/Boxer/something very soft
Likes: Girls and raw meat. Flashlights shone on the ceiling
Dislikes: Feral cats and robbers
Favorite friends: Free People Direct girls and Indie pup (one of the other FP office dogs)… Lauren from Wholesale is his real girlfriend
Kelly says: He is the greatest puppers ever. I *heart* him
Here is one more mix CD from the Urban Outfitters Home Office Swap. This was made by Meredith, the Allocation Analyst for the Free People stores! (If you’re wondering what that means, Meredith figures out how many units of each size and color of a style get shipped to each store. She analyzes all kinds of info like what was sold the year before, how similar styles are selling currently, etc)
A note from Meredith:
“It’s called I’m With Cupid. Geddit…
I was talking with a friend this week with whom I often exchange mix cds and was asked how I usually pick my songs. I think most of the time I pick a song because it’s the music that’s emotive to me, not necessarily the sentiment. But when it comes to finding songs for Valentines I see-saw the other way around, and each of these songs kind of pull on my heartstrings. One of my favourite things about love songs is how one time you listen to them and think “AH! This is how I feel and isn’t so wonderful!” and then a week later return to it thinking “LOVE! THE MISERY!” ”
The Moth & Aimee Mann
It Could Be Sweet & Portishead
Soul Food & Martina Topley-Bird
I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good) & Nina Simone
Your Love Gets Sweeter & Finley Quaye
Apple of my eye & Ed Harcourt
(There Is) No Greater Love & Amy Winehouse
Sweet Song & Blur
All Or Nothing & Pauline Taylor
You Know So Well & Sondre Lerche
Hills & Thao Nguyen
You Do Something To Me & Paul Weller
Tomorrow on the Runway & Innocence Mission
To Be Around You (Part 1+2) & Obi
Chicago (Acoustic) & Sufjan Stevens
Munich – (Editor’s Cover) & Corinne Bailey Rae
I’ve got you & New Buffalo
What If We Do & Mia Doi Todd
When I’m Thinking About You & The Sundays