Meet the Artists We Invited to Draw All Over Our Merch

We spent the weekend at Capsule, the roving independent designer-focused trade show, in New York, joined by some pretty choice company. Along with our curated community of indie designers presenting their spring/summer 2018 collections, we had the pleasure of working with six talented illustrators on some pretty special giveaways. Throughout the weekend, the artists spent hours drawing on exclusive Garmentory tote bags for anybody that stopped by our booth and wanted one, with no limit to their creativity. From self-portraits to animals of all kind, each drawing was one of a kind. We wanted people to leave Capsule with something unique, something memorable, and that’s exactly what these ladies delivered. Their stories, inspirations, mediums and aesthetics are all remarkably different, adding to the uniqueness of their canvas bag creations. Scroll on to get to know the six illustrators and rad women we now happily call our pals.

 

Gina Schiappacasse

Designer, stylist, and fashion illustrator Gina Schiappacasse, has been obsessively drawing all her life. Originally from Minnesota, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as an Associate’s Degree in Fashion Design with an emphasis in illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Gina has now spent nearly a decade living in Brooklyn with her boyfriend and dog, Thelonious.

Living in New York, Gina finds herself inspired by the fashion world: photography, icons, and the city’s stylish denizens. With influence from the style of children’s books and Japanese comic art, Gina’s work is fashion-focused with a playful slant.

WHO ARE YOUR MUSES?I’m a huge fan of Björk and her constant ability to blur the lines between fashion and art. I also have always loved Alexander McQueen’s dark beauty and the women he dressed, including Daphne McGuiness and Isabella Blow. I’m in love with the photography work of Tim Walker and Sølve Sundsbø, but I also really enjoy drawing my friends and Instagram acquaintances. There’s such an incredible plethora of imagery online that it’s easy to find muses everywhere.”

 

Youloune

French illustrator Youloune is the kind of artist who carries their sketchbook everywhere they go. She grew up in Normandie, France, lived in Paris for ten years and in January of this year moved to Montreal with her boyfriend to experience somewhere new. Hélène loves to draw what she sees out and about, whether that’s at a concert, sketching the musicians playing as her pencil follows the drum rhythms, or details in jewelry, sculptures, and embroidery shown in museums she often visits. Her illustrations are mesmerizing as she draws as if she is pulling thread from a spool to make silhouettes and stories appear on paper.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO ON A NIGHT IN? “I like reading comics, listening to old vinyl records, and trying to catch my neighbor’s cat! I also take the time to upload all the pictures I took during my daily walks onto my Insta stories.”

 

Gabriella Cetrulo

 

Gabriella Cetrulo grew up in a the suburbs of New Jersey before moving  to New York City to earn her BFA in Illustration from Parsons. After spending many years working for a tech company as a web curator — her drawing falling wayside — Gabriella is now a freelance writer and illustrator living in Manhattan.

She draws inspiration from old films and photographs, idealizing people from the past and bringing their stranger moments to current time. Once described as “ominous posing as innocuous,” by a close friend, Gabriella’s illustrations embody a strong sense of nostalgia. Through character details such as a hair style or vintage silhouette, she brings decades of the past to the paper in front of her.

ARE YOU A MORNING PERSON? WHAT’S YOUR ROUTINE LIKE?I’m definitely not a morning person. I could easily sleep until noon if I don’t need to be anywhere. I usually hit the snooze button at least three times, read some things on my phone, check social media, and then get out of bed to make myself tea. I try to meditate in the morning but usually end up doing that before bed because if I’m still tired in the morning, I’ll just fall back asleep!”

 

Lindsey Balbierz

Lindsey Balbierz is an illustrator whose work lives in many mediums: magazines, book covers, newspapers, as well as live events. She’s the talent behind the cover of I See London, I See France, a book published by Harper Collins, The Boston Globe’s illustrated Sunday real estate section,  a custom pet portrait on a Louis Vuitton dopp kit for a long-time loyal customer, and so much more. She also runs an Etsy shop, where she sells pins, patches and stationery adorned with her illustrations. There are no limitations to where Lindsey pulls inspiration from. Seriously, anything from maps to dogs in bags and farmers markets to snow cones, influence her work. All of Lindsey’s illustrated objects, people and environments are friendly and whimsical. Her distinct aesthetic of hand-drawn, brightly, graphic colors is to say the least warm and welcoming.

IF YOU HAD TO PICK UP AND MOVE, WHERE WOULD YOU CHOOSE AND WHY?My top three would be: 1.) Somewhere outside of Portland, Maine. I’ve always had a dream of buying a farm house and renovating it. The coastal surroundings are so pretty. The lobster is also a bonus. 2.) Maui. I went in 2015 and enjoyed the lush greenery so much! It would allow a slower and more relaxed lifestyle that would be a good change from urban living. 3.) Japan. I have visited Japan twice, but I think moving would allow for a complete immersion of the culture. I’ve taken Japanese classes, but I think moving would force my brain to think in Japanese and therefore force me to speak the language more.”

 

Danielle Kroll

Danielle Kroll is a textile designer, ceramicist, and — of course — illustrator. She is also the co-founder of Beech Hall, a multi-disciplinary artist collective she started with two university friends selling handmade and one-of-a-kind items such as paintings, ceramics, jewelry and home decor. Inspired by everyday life, childhood memories, objects from the past and nature. Danielle’s illustrations are colorful, painterly and playful but not childlike. Think a skinny pineapple ceramic or quirky depictions of ladies at the beach. Her pieces encourage her viewers to experience a more playful look at life – to always look at the bright side of things.

WHERE DO YOU LOVE TO SHOP IN A CITY FILLED WITH ENDLESS CHOICES? “I mostly shop at vintage stores. The pieces are unique, affordable and it’s really fun for me – I like a good treasure hunt! Dusty Rose Vintage in Greenpoint is my spot in the city: They have a whole room of boxes labeled with specific categories like ‘jumpsuits’ and ’80s high-waisted pants’. “

 

Lily Qian

DC-born, Brooklyn-based fashion designer-turned-illustrator Lily Qian has been drawing, painting and sewing since childhood. With her inspiration sparked by artists and entrepreneurs, Lily reflects the beauty of everyday life in her work, which is stylistically informed by cinematography, literature, and fashion history (particularly the 1960s and ‘70s). In her 12 years as an illustrator, Lily has worked with fashion and beauty brands ranging from Sephora to OBEY, sought after for her experimental techniques and loose, romantic style.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PLACE TO ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK’S CRAZINESS?My favorite places to escape NYC’s craziness is going hiking in Harriman State Park, visiting Storm King Art Center, Dia Beacon, and long weekends in Montauk.”

 

Woman We Love: Julia Sherman of Salad For President

“A daily practice of making salad with creative people.” This is how Julia Sherman describes her blog turned cult following turned best seller, SALAD for President. That practice was where we first became obsessed with the recipes and dinner parties behind it all. Julia focuses on not just making salad cool and interesting again, but creating a community of artists and creatives that are just as passionate about that as she is. Suffice it to say, we’re huge fans. The recipes are not only beautiful and delicious, but a kind of storytelling in their own right. Plus, she’s just damn cool. (Follow her in Instagram, you’ll see what we mean.) So as she finishes up her book tour, we thought it was about time that you got to know her too.

SO TELL OUR READERS ALL ABOUT YOU. I am artist, cook and writer living in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn with my husband Adam, and my dog, Lucy. I studied photography at RISD, and then moved to Los Angeles with my husband, where I worked as a photographer on film sets, and ran an artist run space in a storefront that was also my studio. In LA I learned to love gardening and growing my own food, and solidified my place as the unpaid caterer of our young art world on the East Side of LA. We moved to NY (where I am from) in 2009, so I could get an MFA from Columbia. After I started my blog, Chopt Creative Salad Company hired me as their Creative Director, so now I split my time between SALAD for President and my job there. My first cookbook, Salad for President: A Cookbook Inspired by Artists, came out this Spring, and I am rounding out my book tour in San Fran/Bay Area this week (all the dates are on my blog).

WAS THERE A MOMENT OR EPIPHANY FOR YOU WHEN MAKING THE DECISION TO SWITCH OVER TO FOOD BLOGGING FULL TIME AND TAKE A BREAK FROM THE ART WORLD? I think the shift really began when I finished my MFA. This was a turning point for me, as it is a highly competitive program full of young artists climbing their way up the ladder in the New York commercial art world. I respect my peers and my professors who have been able to make that system work for them, but I soon realized that wasn’t it for me. I would have to work to find my place, and it wasn’t in selling objects in a gallery.
I was sick of the isolation of the art world. I realized my real talent is in the way I connect with strangers and that it was time for me to take a closer look at the things I truly loved doing everyday. I am really at peace when I am in the kitchen, much more than I ever was in the studio.
The name was meant to encourage my readers to take the work they love seriously, no matter how everyday or mundane. “Salad” as the conceptual basis for an entire project seems absurd at first, but if you pour your heart and soul into any simple act, it can be as important as anything. “Salad For President” borrows the language of a political campaign to elevate an everyday task.
WE LOVE HOW YOU SOURCE RECIPES FROM FRIENDS AND ARTISTS, IT HAS THIS COMMUNITY FEEL. WAS THAT AN INTENTIONAL PERSPECTIVE OR DID IT JUST HAPPEN ORGANICALLY? The blog started out as a catalogue of my own recipes, but as soon my friends started to offer up their ideas, I jumped. My art practice had always been intensely collaborative, so when I saw how the blog could be operate in that vein as well, I knew I was on to something.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR IDEAL KITCHEN SITUATION. A kitchen has to be well integrated into the social space of the house for me. I would hate to be isolated away from all the fun while cooking! I love having a gigantic kitchen island, so people can gather around while I cook. Of course, there has to be great light in the kitchen. I also like an eclectic mix of textures, colors and pattern. I am not a very streamlined, restrained person, so I prefer my space to be bright and a little chaotic, just like me. 😉

HOW OFTEN DO YOU COOK VS. EAT OUT ON A REGULAR WEEK? My schedule is so erratic, it is really hard to say. But when I am home in New York, I try not to eat in restaurants more than once or twice a week. That said, I end up going to lots of food events, and otherwise, I try to have people over and eat at home. It’s really important for me to feel healthy and grounded.
WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO OUTFIT FOR DINNER PARTIES? I love a concept white shirt and wide legged pants. I am really into having a bunch of variations on the basic white button down. It always feels put together and sharp, and it’s just flattering.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER WOMEN WHO ARE CONSIDERING A CAREER TRANSITION? Try and put your anxiety aside, and really spend some time doing what makes you happy. If you are going to be your own boss, you better be doing something that shoots you out of bed in the morning. Most of all, give yourself some time to just figure it out. You don’t have to have a plan right away, but you do have to stop giving a shit what other people think. That’s a lifelong goal, but a good one to keep in mind.
OKAY, NOW WE HAVE TO KNOW YOUR TOP RECIPES FOR SUMMER. I am obsessed with the watermelon, olive oil, salt and bronze fennel recipe from my book. I also love ceviche more than anything else in the world. This recipe (pictured below) I made recently with Raul de Nieves was so simple and so good!

Visit saladforpresident.com for more.

Photos of Julia by BriAnne Wills.

Beyond The Canvas: Two Multimedia Artists To Watch

With so much talent out there, it is truly exciting when you discover an artist whose work makes your jaw drop and your mind race. Well, that was our exact reaction when we came across the two artists featured below: Katie Bell and Andrea Bergart. With each a distinct aesthetic of their own, these artists are creating captivating art that goes way beyond your typical understanding of art. Their manipulation of everyday materials and objects is straight up beautiful. One of these talented women can takes garbage scraps and turns them into a 9 ft tall sculptural painting and the other transforms working cement trucks into moving public murals. So, without further ado, let your artist crushes begin.

KATIE BELL

Photo by Levi Mandel

The moment we caught sight of Katie Bell’s large-scale paintings we couldn’t look away. Her art goes above and beyond, outwards and upwards, literally. Katie creates her pieces with found materials that she herself went digging for. From ceiling tiles to hot tub fragments, she turns so-called garbage into unreal art. Her color composition, structural thought and innate attention to placement detail will blow your mind. Not to mention, this bad-ass woman can haul bounds of material and somehow get them all on a wall.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF. My name is Katie Bell and I am originally from Rockford, Illinois. I have been living and working in Brooklyn, NY for the past six years. I make large sculptural paintings out of found material.

HAS ART BEEN A PART OF YOUR LIFE SINCE YOU WERE LITTLE? I have a twin brother who is also an artist, and I think growing up we fostered that creative interest in each other.  We were always making drawings, games, costumes, piñatas, plays, forts, obstacle courses, etc.  We were collaborators on all kinds of things and our parents were always encouraging us to make things. I began making paintings in college and started making still-lives to paint from.  The still-lives eventually grew larger and larger and turned into the work I am making now. I have always come to art from an interest in painting.

ALL YOUR SCULPTURAL PAINTINGS ARE MADE FROM FOUND MATERIALS. WHAT’S YOUR PROCESS OF SOURCING LIKE? I am constantly looking for materials and try to find one thing everyday to bring back to the studio. I am mostly finding things on the street, in dumpsters, and at construction sites. My studio acts as a catch-all for all my finds. Things will be rolling around the studio a while before I figure out what to do with them.

HAS YOUR HUNT FOR MATERIAL BECOME EASIER AS YOU’VE GROWN AS AN ARTIST? DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE / GO-TO SOURCE? The hunt is different every time, but it is always a very physical task. As my work has grown I have gotten more specific, so I am looking for particular things now. My favorite part of gathering materials is the looking. I have so many places that I go to regularly to find materials, but one of the best spots is Bartos Pools and Spas. I have made friends with the owner and she saves old hot tubs for me to cut apart.

WHAT’S THE WEIRDEST THING YOU’VE EVER FOUND? THE BEST THING? Weirdest: A three-foot tall rawhide bone. Best: A faux blue geode bookend.

Top image: ‘Backsplash’, cork, foam, drywall, laminate, wood, plexiglass, rocks, plastic, Kleenex box, rubber, springs, steel, and hot tub fragments, 144 x 276 x 108, 2016 Photo cred: Zack Balber with Ginger Photography Inc.

Middle image: ‘Broadcast’, acrylic, wood, ceiling tiles, foam, drywall, plexiglass, nails, laminate, rocks, and plastic on wall, 264 x 156 x 22, 2016. Photo cred: Zack Balber with Ginger Photography Inc.

Bottom image: Breakout’, acrylic, wood, laminate, foam, ceiling tiles, rope, drywall, marble, and nails on wall, 144 x 108 x 108, 2016

Visit katiebellstudio.com for more and follow @katies_bell

ANDREA BERGART

Photo by Maddy Talias

Our love for Andrea Bergart’s work may be new but it’s already very serious. It was just the beginning of May when we started seeing these seriously cool basketball handbags all over our Instagram feed and on all our favorite online magazines. If you didn’t already guess, Andrea is the one behind these bags. We then discovered this was in fact her first design project and that she is also an incredible artist with a long list of talents.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF. I grew up in the suburbs of Boston and the woods of Maine, I live in Ridgewood, Queens and I am an artist.

YOU DO A LOT OF LARGE-SCALE PUBLIC MURALS. HOW DID YOU GET INTO THAT AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT PRESENTING YOUR ART THIS WAY? I have a steady studio practice but occasionally my work will take me to the streets where I can make something extra large. My last series of public works involved painting murals on working cement truck barrels. This idea came to me after spending a year living in West Africa where people paint on everything- signs, walls, houses and buses.  Painting on cement trucks seemed like an exciting extension of this way of thinking about images in public spaces. I love how the cement trucks travel throughout NYC and reach so many different audiences. It’s cool that they are also delivering cement and going into construction sites. I like mixing high and low- fine art and working trucks. I also enjoy seeing the paint decay and get grimey – art dealing with the daily grind.

YOU RECENTLY LAUNCHED A LINE OF BASKETBALL HANDBAGS. HOW DID IT FEEL TO STEP ASIDE FROM PAINTING AND INTO DESIGN? I’m into hybrids right now- things with multiple functions- sort of like the cement truck with art on it. Designing an object that has a function is a lot different than making art. You can be very creative but you are always considering the practicality of the design. It’s fun to play with people’s expectations of objects and form.

SO, WE’VE HEARD YOU’RE KIND OF AMAZING AT PLAYING THE GAME. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE DOWNTOWN GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM YOU’RE A PART OF?  Ha! I’m okay. : ) Downtown girls basketball is conceived by artist Aria McManus. Aria has created and attracted such a cool community. Sure we ball but we also talk about what’s going on in our lives, go to each other’s art openings, collaborate, and bring and reflect positive vibes.

HAS THIS TEAM BECOME A CREATIVE HUB FOR YOUR LADIES? We meet up once a week and having that consistent hang out schedule makes the team an important part of my life.  The routine helps it feel like a family. I think we have a sense of loyalty to each other and that helps me be bolder in my life than I would otherwise be.

Images from top left to bottom right: ‘Trident’, dye and wax on silk mounted on paper, 108″ x 56″; ‘Cheetos’, cement truck mural; Basketball Purse (Skills) Photo Cred: Maddy Talias; Basketball Purse (OG) Photo Cred: Maddy Talias; ‘Swamp Sunset’, acrylic on canvas, 72″ x 60″;  Embossed leather strap detail Photo Cred: Maddy Talias.

Visit andreabergart.com for more and follow @andreabergart.

The Insider’s Guide To Palm Springs

Long before the crowds of hipsters, models and Kardashians descended upon the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs was the OG Hollywood hangout. We’re pretty sure we’re not alone in being tired of those long Coachella days, so we thought you might need some alternative inspiration this April for your upcoming trip to the desert.

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Palm Springs is full of hidden treasures, so we went straight to the experts to get the lowdown on the best of the city. Lauren Coleman (a PS native), Tiff Horn and Sarah Kissell are the brains behind a gorgeous new magazine celebrating the arts, aesthetic and unique woman power behind Palm Springs, DUNES. (Photos from the first issue above and below.) Here, they dish on their faves.

BEST PLACE TO EAT

“We love El Marisol Mexican Restaurant at Los Arboles Hotel. It’s been around forever, the food is spicy and the margaritas are strong. In addition to this, we love Palm Greens Cafe. They have a lot of healthy vegan options and smoothies. In the summer crushed ice with watermelon juice is so refreshing.” (Editor’s note: the vegan date shake is a must!)

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BEST PLACE TO DRINK

“I have always been a huge fan of Melvyn’s Piano Bar. It’s still living in the old Palm Springs tucked away behind Palm Canyon. Also the Avalon Hotel a few doors down is very reliable and Mr. Lyons in the bar if you want some good snacks with your drinks.”

BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE WATCH

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“There are tons of natural desert hot spring spas. Two Bunch Palms is the most reputable, and it’s good for observing the locals interacting with the out-of-towners. The Parker Hotel (above) was just updated and has many observation areas, the bar and the pool being prime. [At the Ace Hotel], the Amigo Room offers good acoustic sets in the bar during the week and DUNES‘ own showgirl Shirley Claire, puts on quite a show calling out bingo on Monday nights at King’s Highway (below).”

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BEST HIDDEN TREASURE

“There are a few shops together tucked away on Perez Road, very Palm Springs-style home furnishings and books. For clothing, our favorite designer vintage shop The Fine Art of Design in Palm Desert. Nicholas and Luisa are extremely helpful and the selection there is incredible!”

BEST OUTDOOR ACTIVITY

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“We love a hike in the Indian Canyons (above). It is super beautiful this year with all the water. And, we always love to stop into Moorten Botanical Garden to say hello to Clark and his doves.” (Editor’s note: You’ve definitely seen the latter on Instagram.)

 

Now that DUNES has given you the tour, here are our personal favorite swaps for the Coachella experience.

BEST ALTERNATIVE CONCERT VENUE

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Ditch the massive crowds in Indio and head to Pioneer Town instead. Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneer Town Palace (above) is a hidden host to some major bands with a more intimate setting. The indoor/outdoor bar has Western vibes in the best way and they’re also renowned for their chilli.

BEST ALTERNATIVE ART INSTALLATION

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From Modernism Week to the film festival, you are guaranteed to find something celebrating the arts in Palm Springs. The city and its supporters are truly dedicated to a thriving arts and culture scene. Desert X, an area-wide exhibition that first opened last year, is still open with a few installations and has announced the second edition to open February 2019. Get excited.

Photo by Lance Gerber

BEST ALTERNATIVE PARTY

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Head to the colorful doors of The Saguaro (pronounced Sa-wah-ro, and pictured above) on the weekend for amazing tacos and watermelon margaritas first. Then wander over for one of their much-loved pool parties. Who needs the Sahara Tent when you have DJs poolside?

This story has been updated and revised. 

Creative Women To Watch: Agathe Singer, Jasmyn Burke and Djuna Bel

Some people just leave you in awe. Case in point: Agathe Singer, a Parisian illustrator who paints with a beautifully delicate aesthetic; Jasmyn Burke, the magnetic lead singer for Toronto-based art rock band Weaves whose distinctive vocals can be heard on the band’s recently released eponymous album; and Djuna Bel, a wardrobe stylist whose discerning eye has landed her work with the likes of Levi’s, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Zoe Kravitz. Talented, driven and totally playing by their own rules, Agathe, Jasmyn and Djuna are our current inspirations. We caught up with the three women to get the inside scoop on the source of their brilliance.

Meet the Artist: Camilla Engstrom

Take a quick browse through the online portfolio on Camilla Engstrom’s website and you’ll find paintings of dicks, sketches of poo being penetrated, and a voluptuous pink character named Husa that gets herself into all kinds of predicaments. They’re provocative images that will definitely make you smile, but the Sweden-born, Brooklyn-based artist uses her sense of humor to tackle more pressing issues of sexuality and gender. Camilla, who first moved to New York to study fashion at FIT, applies her playful-yet-profound approach off canvas, too, and onto her quirky textiles and her personal style, through which she combines minimalist and bohemian aesthetics. Now, along with working towards a solo exhibition at Long Island’s Deli Gallery, Camilla’s stepping in front of the camera modeling our exclusive collaboration with designer and fellow New Yorker, Ilana Kohn. The Gary Jumpsuit, made in a special French Terry fabric, is effortless and easygoing — just like the girl who wears it.

“Ilana and I found each other through mutual friends who have a brand called Cold Picnic,” she explains. “I love the jumpsuit because it’s so comfortable. It feels like I’m not wearing anything. It’s durable yet light. Perfect for hot summers in NY.”

Here, we go behind the scenes with Camilla to learn more about Husa and her world.

Camilla Engstrom

Women We Love: Fashion Illustrator Katy Smail

We recently fell in love with Scottish illustrator Katy Smail’s work and immediately had to know everything about her. We caught up with the Brooklyn-based artist to get a peek into her world.

HOW DID YOU FIND YOUR STYLE AS AN ILLUSTRATOR? I think that I have always had a pretty strong sense of my aesthetic. I think that my style has evolved quite naturally by listening to my intuition, not trying to draw like anyone else and just lots of practice and experimenting!

Meet the Designer: Tara Elwin of TARA 4779

There’s nothing simple about the minimalist jewelry from New York City’s TARA 4779. Even the most delicate, pared-down metal band has a complex story behind it ranging from percentages of precious metals to mathematics. Originally from New Orleans, designer Tara Elwin draws on her background in fine art and galleries for inspiration for each seasonal collection. We went behind the scenes in her studio to get to know the woman behind the emerging brand.

Shop TARA 4779 >

The Studio Series: Chen Williams

The oversized silhouettes of Ilana Kohn’s coveralls allow for them to be totally unisex which was a welcome discovery for Chen Chen and Kai Williams, the design duo at Chen Williams. “We have normal overalls which tend to be a little too technical and also much tighter fitting in the torso which don’t make them as easy to get in and out of,” Chen explains. “We love the simplicity of these coveralls and the loose fit.” Comfy workwear is important to the duo, especially considering their studio develops so many varied pieces: furniture, jewelry, coasters, bookends, home accessories, materials and more. The Pratt Institute graduates founded their creative studio in Brooklyn in 2011 and their experimental and playful combination of everyday and unusual materials has since been featured in design museums and festivals all over the world.

Chen takes the Lola Utility Coverall for a spin in their studio while we get to know him and his partner Kai.