Post image for guest blog post!

good morning! i’m really excited to bring you a guest blog post from andrea of the blog fly, who also happens to be the artist behind our hand drawn floral converse!  read on to learn about where she drew her inspiration for the shoes.

When I was approached by Free People to use my doodle-style illustrations for a small run of sneakers I immediately thought of flower gardens. Aside from the feminine elements that can be associated with Free People and flowers, I really liked the idea of an eclectic garden of quirks and fun, much how I see the brand.

Over the years I’ve collected tons of vintage fabric swatches and ephemera (like magazine clippings and wallpaper scraps) featuring various forms of floral designs. I particularly like to use Secondhand Rose wallpaper swatches and William Morris’ floral designs for references. Using all these elements for inspiration I developed little clusters of tiny flowers, abstract roses, and dingbats to create the doodles for the shoes.

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thanks so much andrea, we love your shoes!

UK Clothing -Jan 20, 2010, 1:33AM
Thanks for introducing her work here , She is doing very well and I strongly believe in a fact that only those people deserve success who dare to innovate cuz innovation demands too much hard work to create a thing no one knows before. Visit you again, Good Luck for ALL !
Gloria -Jan 11, 2010, 12:56PM
I love her blog and I did wonder how her design and her collaboration with Free People came to be because she posted her design on her design blog. :)

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Post image for there ain’t no party like a free people party

another birthday today – this time for our visual display & store design manager!

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the birthday girl gets crowned…

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and yes, the people magazine was a joke…

fp julia -Jan 07, 2010, 2:11PM
jessica- she works here at the home office but she works very closely with the stores! kat - yes it is! one of the girls here at the office made it and it was amaaaazing!
kat -Jan 07, 2010, 1:59PM
is that monkey/gorilla bread for dessert? i love it! it's a holiday tradition my sister & i started together. looks beautiful and tastes incredible.

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dreamscapes

one of my friends here at the office told me about the artist kia neill, who makes these amazing installations of environments that are mysterious and magical.  using found materials, and lots of glitter, she creates worlds that you thought only existed in your imagination.  if you’re in the austin, texas, area, i highly recommend checking out these incredible environments at her show “terrain,” at the women & their work gallery january 16 – february 25.  kia was also kind enough to answer some questions for me about her work:

what was the inspiration behind the installations in the “terrain” exhibit?
“‘terrain’ is actually the continuation of a series of previous installations. with each installation the environment grows and is reconfigured. most previous to ‘terrain,’ i created ‘grotto’ at lawndale art center in houston, tx. the installation was a sparkly cavernous environment the viewer entered immediately upon exiting the elevator on the second floor. it was as though the viewer was enclosed in a gigantic geode. A geode is actually a good analogy for my work as with my synthetic versions of nature i want to create the experience one hopes to have. for instance if you’ve ever gotten one of the ‘break your own’ geodes, it’s a boring rock on the outside and you’re told it’s full of sparkly crystals on the inside. you fantasize about what’s inside, then you open it, and it’s never exciting as you imagined it to be. my work is what you imagined.”

“here’s a bit of my artist statement, which explains more:
i am drawn to extraordinary, almost extraterrestrial landscapes, such as caves and coral reefs, as well as the diorama of miniature collectable counterparts that serve in household aquariums, gardens, souvenir cases, etc…with my installations, i attempt to produce an environment that reifies metaphysical association and fantasy that such spectacular and bizarre landscapes can induce. my aim is not a realistic replication of nature, but to place emphasis on gaudy or absurd embellishment so to render an enhanced synthetic ideal.”

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what materials do you use to create the installations?
“cost effective and found. mostly paper mache, holiday lights, and i construct the crystals from cds i’ve cut and glued together. and of course, glitter, amongst other misc. craft material. i love hobby lobby, i really should be their spokesperson.”

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you also do intricate graphite drawings…what is your favorite medium to work with?
“hmm….that’s hard. i’ve worked with all kinds. drawing, painting, ceramics, digital imaging, animation, etc…i think no matter what medium i work in, i always have conceptually sculptural approach, even if it’s a flat 2dimensional image. though, i do love glitter, i love how it gets all over everything! it’s like residue or evidence! i also like working with flocking, which is a short thin fiber that when applied gives a velvet surface. that’s very fun.”

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what artists have inspired you?
“so many different artists have influenced me over the years, but i mostly look to everyday culture for inspiration. for years i have been fascinated by holiday decorations, kitsch, and all kinds of gaudy fake flower arrangements and home décor, especially those covered in glitter. my attraction to the aesthetic continually increases, i wouldn’t be surprised if my skin started to take on a gold plated tinge one of these days!”

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if you weren’t an artist, what would you do?
“dance, cook, sing…maybe be a geologist. who knows, art is all i’ve ever done. my family are all artists, so i’ve been surrounded by art since i was a little girl.”

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check out more of kia neill’s work on her website!

Rachel -Jan 15, 2010, 11:42AM
Kia Neill has a solo show at Women & Their Work Gallery in Austin. Opening Jan 16, 6-8pm. The show "Terrain" is open until Feb. 27th. Come by and see it if you can.
Rocio -Jan 06, 2010, 8:36PM
WOW!!! thats amazing. Is too bad that is so far.

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Post image for be a whistle blower for peace

the new year is a time to make resolutions, and to think about your goals for the year ahead.  one thing we’re thinking about here at free people are what causes we feel most strongly about and would like make an effort to support.  there are so many important causes out there, ranging from the environment and poverty to animal and human rights.  one of the girls here at the office told me about falling whistles, an organization dedicated to helping children affected by war in the democratic republic of congo and raising awareness to bring peace to the war-torn country.  i was incredibly moved by the story… check out the video:

Falling Whistles – Be a Whistleblower for Peace in Congo from Falling Whistles on Vimeo.

you can read more about falling whistles here.

at the very least, we would like to help bring attention to important causes, and we hope to work harder to find ways to do more… and we would like to know what causes you, our readers, are most passionate about to make sure that we are aware. please tell us about it in the comments section!

aswelove -Jan 07, 2010, 3:11PM
If you think this is good, I highly recommend you check out InvisibleChildren.com. Stellar organization, incredibly sustainable work.
emily -Jan 06, 2010, 11:45PM
i bought a whistle. very powerful movement

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Post image for winter in wisconsin

the visual mit from one of our fp stores sent me these great photos taken at her home in wisconsin over the holidays…snow blowing across the lake and the reflection of trees in a foggy door.

so beautiful…thanks for sharing!

tabel20 -Jan 06, 2010, 11:56AM
great blog....
fp julia -Jan 06, 2010, 10:46AM
hi emily! you can send stuff to blog@freepeople.com!

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Post image for on the road – final post

well we have come to the end of our first book club selection, jack kerouac’s on the road.

i’ve read the book several times, but this time i really took notice of the writing style.  kerouac got a lot of criticism for his skill as a writer due to the fact that it was written in a creative burst over a span of a few weeks, in one continuous scroll.  however, the content for the book was gathered from notebooks that he kept throughout the duration of his travels, and personally i think that the hurried, frantic nature of the text perfectly suits the subject matter.  it captures the impulsiveness of the adventures that Kerouac and his friends embarked on and the freedom of being on the road without any real destination.

i leave you with this…

“our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. but no matter, the road is life.”

p.s. we’ll be picking the next book shortly, so stay tuned…

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kylie -Jan 06, 2010, 12:20PM
thanks julia! that means a lot :)
shiwa -Jan 06, 2010, 12:32AM
Hey---his writing style is what I absolutely love most about his books....so incredibly creative in the way he describes ordinary things...I've underlined and dogeared so many pages!! I'm not finished yet though... (p.s. I didn't receive my gift either..hoping it's still in the mail! How weird!)

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Post image for irina graewe

is it just me or do these interiors by irina graewe scream free people? i think it’s all the use of pink…the post it notes, tape and yarn. graewe has studied and worked in london and germany, and is currently a freelance interior and set designer.

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these images are from her “africa meets neon” and “patchwork” interiors. check out more of her work here.

d -Jan 04, 2010, 7:47PM
it's like FP and Irina are kindred spirits :) match made in the heavens xo :)
g! -Jan 04, 2010, 4:46PM
Looks like pages from an FP catalog. Beautiful!

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Post image for bahston

so did everyone have a good holiday? i had a blast up in boston, and i thought i’d share some pics from my trip…

the drive up on thursday was long but fun…i love road trips!

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fireworks over boston harbor on new year’s eve.

if any of you want to share some pics from your holiday weekend, send them to blog@freepeople.com or upload them to our facebook page, we’d love to see them!

supra shoes -Jan 05, 2010, 3:50AM
very nice.
Chloe C -Jan 05, 2010, 2:20AM
yeah - even tho I just wanted to gloat about the Boston Bruins, loved that New Hope PA sign pic.

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Post image for monday quote

“they who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
– edgar allen poe

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big and tall clothing -Jan 04, 2010, 11:14AM
nice quote, and Happy New Years!

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Post image for cuteness

we had a super cute visitor at the home office today…look at that smile!

sittin at mommy’s desk :)

df -May 26, 2010, 4:27AM
wow,love!so so so cute!
lisadeav -Jan 03, 2010, 9:48PM
too cute!

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Post image for new website feature!

we have a new feature on our website!  now when you review an item you have the option of uploading a photo with your review!  this is a great way to see how other fp girls are wearing a product you’re thinking of purchasing, or just to share images of items you bought- click here and follow the link for the customer reviews for an example.  i personally find the reviews to be extremely helpful when i’m shopping online, so i think this is a great addition!

happy reviewing!

wholesale clothing -Dec 29, 2009, 12:37AM
Thanks! this is a great feature. http://www.bigdeal4u.com
Chelsea -Dec 28, 2009, 6:15PM
Hey! I know you guys love feedback, and after going through all 243 pages of the blog over winter break, I thought I'd give you guys some! I love seeing the home office and all of the employees working there. Be sure to keep us updated on the new building! Also, I'd love to see more profiles of the people actually updating the blog! It was hard to see when Pruitt stopped updating, and half the time I didn't even know who was doing it! If you guys have new writers, I would love to be informed of who is doing the blog and when the person changes. Just a few ideas! The blog is so inspiring. Keep it up.

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