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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Post image for giveaway winner!

first of all, thank you so much for all of your thoughtful comments about your favorite blog posts- we love getting feedback from our readers, and you are all so incredibly sweet!

the lucky lady who was picked at random is francesca from massachusetts, who said her favorite post was “our new garden” from june! congrats francesca, you will be receiving this adorable coin purse in the mail shortly!  stay tuned everyone, we hope to be doing more giveaways on the blog in the future…hint hint :)

Laconia -Jan 06, 2010, 10:57PM
This coin purse is soo cute. I was wondering who made it. And by wonder, I really mean where can I find one :)
zola -Jan 06, 2010, 9:29PM
congrats on your win! lucky lady

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Post image for meet our new team member!

we have a new senior web merchandiser who came to us from london! read on to learn a little bit more about her…(transcribed below):

quick questions

what is your theme song?

“rhiannon” by fleetwood mac (long version!!)

if you could go anywhere in the world, free of cost, where would you go?

mallorca in the balearic islands

what is the one article of clothing you can’t live without?
vintage ossie clark dress & wedding band

what is your biggest fear?
not making the most of life

winter, spring, summer or fall?

hope springs eternal…

what color are you?
rainbow colored

what is your motto?

what goes around comes around

what is your favorite hobby?

flea markets

if you could spend a day with anyone – dead or alive – who would it be?
neil young (circa 1973…)

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 more fp-inspired crafts!

after my post about projects inspired by free people this morning, reader krystee sent me these photos of some of her crafts and they’re so awesome i had to post them right away! check ‘em out, along with her description of how she made them:

“the stool was inspired by your vanity stool you used to have in the FP store. i went to purchase one and they were gone so i did a lil twist on small decorative one for myself. i used some fabric from and old scarf and beach cover up and extra yarn from my crocheting,  and added the flowers to give it that bright enchanted garden feel.”

“i found the bookshelf in my dad’s shed so i painted them and appliqued on fabric and added the yarn and flowers to make it pop.”

awesome work, krystee! thanks for sharing!

Trendy Clothing Fashion -Jan 06, 2010, 1:48PM
The colors of the flowers are with harmonic tone... contributing a comfortable feeling! Nice work!

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Post image for wednes-diy

when the visual mit from one of our stores sent in her photos from wisconsin that i posted yesterday, she also sent me a picture of this awesome free people inspired gingerbread house that she made. this got me thinking about other fp-inspired projects, and i thought i’d share some really cool ones that i’ve seen on our facebook page.

kaitlin got the idea to make this shabby chic scrap fabric ornament from a this post on the bldg 15 blog a year or so ago.

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kaitlin was also inspired by our headband, shown here, and cut long strips of denim from an old pair of jeans and braided them into a headband…she says, “i love to find innovative ways to recycle old things to make them into something new!”

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victoria made this fp inspired skirt out of two vintage dresses – so pretty!

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laconia made her own version of our gemmed converse and they look awesome!

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julielani sent this free people-themed care package to her daughter in college – what a sweet mom! here is another one of her fp-inspired projects:
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jewels
lastly, sara posted these pics of her fp-inspired jewels…they are so cute, i love them!

thanks so much for sharing your projects with us! if you have a free people inspired project that you’re working on, let us know! post it on our facebook page or email me at blog@freepeople.com.

paula -Jan 08, 2010, 1:01PM
Love the jewelry by Sara. Where can I buy it?!
Laconia -Jan 06, 2010, 2:24PM
Aw, those are my shoes. Sweeeet! FP inspires me all the time!!

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Post image for we’re hiring!

free people is looking for an in-house hair/make-up artist to join our web team!

a candidate for this position should understand the free people aesthetic inside and out, and have creativity and technical skills to back them up. this person should have extensive experience in both hair and make for commercial and fashion photography. he or she should be able to produce fresh, innovative hair and make-up styles in a timely fashion. he or she should be experienced and prepared to groom one model daily for the FP.com and FPwholesale.com websites, and stand on set to ensure that the model looks her best in photographs throughout the day.

have extensive knowledge of various hair/make-up tools/tricks of the trade
should be able to stand on his/her feet for 8 hours.
have experience working with all hair and skin types.
be highly creative, keep a book of tears for inspiration.
experience working in a studio setting.

a hair and make-up kit will be provided.

please come prepared with your portfolio.

to apply for this position click here.

fp julia -Jan 06, 2010, 3:00PM
hi josie! if you've already applied for the position you are in the system and someone will contact you if they think you're a good match for the job! thanks!
Josie -Jan 06, 2010, 2:33PM
I applied for this position months ago. Should I send my resume again. I would love to create with Free People.

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along with the new year comes new music for our stores! for tunesday, here is part one of the new store playlist…enjoy!


PlaylistRingtones
Create a MySpace Music Playlist at MixPod.com

kathryn -Jan 08, 2010, 10:29PM
hi, just wanted to say how much i enjoy the music you post! i used to be so into music and know all the amazing bands.. then i got married and became a mom! so i just don't have the time to seek out new music.. i've so enjoyed your blog for reconnecting me to great new music. it is really a highlight of my week! kathryn

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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…

image.

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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