On Friday I met up with Elsa of the blog Styleabaad for coffee. She chose the spot – Last Drop café on 13th and Pine. I live in Old City and rarely come over this way, but I was completely charmed by this coffee shop! I love cafés that feel homey and unique, the kind that makes you want to bring a book and get cozy and stay a while.
I first met Elsa when I posted a photo of her on our blog, not realizing she was currently living right here in philly! It just so happened that same day she was at the Free People home office visiting her friend, our Art Director. Small world, huh? We decided to meet up and talk about blogging, fashion, philly and more.
Elsa is fascinating – she is from Sweden, and has been living in Philly for three years now with her husband. She loves to write and travels often – the last 12 years she has been traveling to India, where she has spent time in an Ashram and also worked various jobs including backup dancer in Bollywood films. In addition to her blog, she is working on a novel about her travels – I for one would love to read it! She also had some really interesting perspectives on fashion in Philly vs. fashion in Sweden, and what it was like to move here as a foreigner. Stay tuned because she agreed to write a guest post about it for our blog :)
I also couldn’t get over how cute she looked with her blue hat, backpack and kate spade bike!
I had to get a closeup of her awesome nail polish too – what a cool idea!
We’re already missing summer and longing for a trip down under! But since we can’t travel to the other side of the world for free, we can at least ship there for free :) Starting today Free People is offering free shipping and 10% off on all orders over $100 to Australia and New Zealand through November 1st!
This week’s featured blogger is our good friend Natalie of the blog Natalie Off Duty! Here’s one of her favorite looks for fall (featuring our polka dot boho top!) and what she’s most excited about this season.
What trend are you most excited about for Fall?
For Fall, I am sooo excited to get back into layering, especially with knits. I love something chunky on top with something a little more fitted at the bottom. Playing around with proportions is great for fall weather. Right now, I love mixing something very classic with something totally unexpected and fun. I look forward to everything from printed blouses to shearling coats!
Favorite designers right now?
My favorite designers right now are Chloe, Stella McCartney, Rebecca Minkoff, Alexander Wang, and Isabel Marant.
Your must have Free People item for Fall?
The Genteel V-Neck Sweater. It’s super classic and looks great with just about everything. It also looks like something I could just cuddle in!
What is your favorite Fall activity?
I LOVE playing in ball pits or riding my bike through the parks!
In this look: This vintage 1970’smaxi dress is the gem of my closet! I love wearing it in fall/winter and styling it in different ways depending on the occasion. Here I decided to dress it down a bit for a more casual fall look so I added a Free People vest, a stack of bangles and a floppy hat. The shoes and sunnies are vintage.
What trend are you most excited about for fall?
I am so into jewel colors right now like amber, sapphire and emerald. Also I can’t leave my house this fall without a hat – I love both fedorasand floppy hats and I don’t think I could have too many.
Favorite designers right now?
I always follow the shows but find myself more inspired by the archives. Like 1970’s YSL and Halston. But I have to say I adore Dries van Noten and Etro’s latest collections.
Your must have Free People item for fall?
I’m dying to get my hands on the Velvet Extreme Flares in the “moss” color! It’s the perfect piece for fall and I’ll wear them in the daytime with a thermal and oxfords and at nighttime with a sheer blouse and high heels.
What is your favorite fall activity?
I can’t imagine anything better than getting up really early a sunny fall morning and heading out to a big flea market. I love to wander around with a hot tea looking through the stalls and finding those treasures for my house I know are out there.
We had a fun visitor in the office last week – our creative director and art director met Ronen Verbit in New York and loved him so much they brought him down to our home office for a day! If you aren’t familiar with Ronen you should check out his videos – they are so clever and unique. Here’s one that we got a kick out of!
Not long before I went to San Francisco for Outside Lands, one of my co-workers sent me a link to a blog that she thought was worth checking out, called Refuses to Label. I clicked on the link and spent the next hour or so perusing the inspirational posts and photos on the blog. The writer, Amy Soderlind, is a stylist and writer living right outside of San Francisco on a beautiful farm. Her style is impeccable and I love her poetic way of writing – check out some photos below, along with a writeup about what she loves most about her city.
San Francisco carries character and integrity in every little crevasse of her small size. Take a walk and in just two blocks you are in another world. New smells, subcultures that I must sit and appreciate, really take in. I go nowhere without my note/sketch pad, and I do say: the most incredible quotes come from some of the crazies on the morning MUNI rides. I love that I can get from one end of the city to the other in less than 30 minutes.
The history that she holds also brings many like minded free spirits to live and create… the Beat Generation AND the Summer of Love? yes please.
Taking Sundays to myself… City Lights Books, Trieste and Vesuvio: reels playing in my mind of Kerouac perusing the shelves and writing on the small table tops… Ginsberg spitting out words and phrases that still blow our minds today. The De Young or MOMA…. and yes, the many many beautiful small ma and pa vintage shops that I tend to spend far too much time in.
My favorite thing about this city? The beautiful people that are apart of my life here…. extraordinary talents that make my life rich with happiness.
Dressing in San Francisco is a year round challenge. Our summers are in October (for 3 short weeks) and the rest of the year is unpredictable with certainty of daily fog. I actually love this very variable when it comes to dressing – You can wear boots! Socks! Hats! Scarves! Jeans! Layers…. opens up doors of options that usually are shut tightly in August.
In this Look: Vintage Crochet Dress, Vintage black leather belt, AA Hat, Vintage combat boots, Afghan Necklace
In this Look:Thrifted Harem Pant, AA Tank, Vintage Cord Bomber, Diesel Boots, Panama Bag, Painted Bird Glasses, All Vintage Jewelry from around the Globe.
In this Look: Ernest Sewn High Waist Denim, Crop Tee, Vintage Bag, Vintage Belt, Vintage Jewelry Africa and Bali, Printed Silk Jacket.
another guest post from one of our austin friends, tolly of the blog austin eavesdropper! tolly is awesome and i wish we had more time to hang out with her in austin, she’s so much fun :)
The 5 Things I Love About Austin, Texas
By Tolly Moseley
Free spirits. Hippie maidens. Band groupies and mustache-wearing gents. These are our kin here in Austin, Texas, where Free People came to play recently.
When I found out that Austin band The Happen-Ins would be the stars of Free People’s July 2011 catalogue, and that they’d be shooting at some of our favorite clubs in town, I squealed in delight. Where better to celebrate the delicious lazy days of summer than in Austin, a city where even the suited CEO’s loosen their ties for a rock concert? Where you can take your lunch break at a swimming hole, or bust out vintage cowboy boots regardless of seasonality or dress code?
I had an awesome time meeting the Free People girls when they came to town for The Happen-Ins show, and wanted to show them everything there was to see here in Austin. I also want to show you. Here are my 5 favorite things about my beloved city, a place I hope you get to visit sometime:
1. Even when we’re fancy, we’re a little hippie.
It’s true. We can’t resist vintage. The entire zip code of 78704 in South Austin has been officially zoned for the selling of hip, recycled clothing. I’m kidding. But the great thing about Austin is that we never see an occasion NOT to rock a gently used frock, be it SXSW or a gala. So if you’re ever here and have a hankering for vintage, check out some of my faves: Feathers Boutique (for boots), Laced with Romance (for dresses), or tweet my girls Homebody Vintage for accessories/home stuff.
2. We like to play dress up.
Austinites love a good dress-up party. That’s me above, dressed as David Bowie. Isn’t the resemblance striking?
3. We make things.
DIY is huge here. That applies to crafts, food, and even businesses. I wish I could tell you I knit-tagged that whole car above … but I didn’t, it’s the handiwork of Knitta Please, one of our local craft artists. You’ll find her knit-tagged objects scattered about all over Austin, from parking meters to statues, and they reflect how much we adore handmade – not to mention the creative spirits behind it.
4. We can’t get enough live music – ever.
In terms of survival, music is second only to air. For Austinites, I mean. We’re the city who invented Austin City Limits (the show and the music festival), Spoon, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and of course The Happen-Ins! Stroll down Red River at night, by The Mohawk, Club DeVille, Stubb’s, Emo’s … and your ears will fill with honest-to-goodness rock n’ roll, screaming guitars and pounding drums. This city is a music-lover’s dream, and if you’re ever here, chances are a friend of a friend of a friend is playing the same nights you’re in town. If we’re not a musician ourselves, we’re probably dating one.
5. We welcome visitors and vagabonds with open arms.
I have a personal belief that Austin chooses people, and if you’re reading this post, chances are she’s chosen you, too. You can find me here, and if you ever venture down to Texas for a visit, I’d love to show you around. We’ll bask at Barton Springs Pool, eat tofu and/or bacon (we are equally enthusiastic about both), and find multiple excuses to play dress up.
All photos by Tolly except for last one (Austin Motel sign) which is courtesy of Ellen Jo Roberts.
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.