Get To Know Six Of Seattle’s Coolest Creatives

Between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington lies a city of distinct neighborhoods and urban districts that thrive with industrial, commercial and cultural activity around the clock. This bustling city is overflowing with creatives, makers, and explorers, and we want you to get to know six of our favorite. In the simplest terms, our Seattleite squad includes a photographer, restaurant owner, designer, toy collector, hair stylist, and vintage store owner. But, of course, they are all so much more. Get ready to meet some of the coolest creatives we know, find out why they love to call Seattle home, and get the lowdown on their expert city tips.

CHRISTINA HICKS, PHOTOGRAPHER

Art director and photographer Christina Hicks lives in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood with her boyfriend Ryan — also a multi-disciplinary creative — and their two year old rescue dog, Nori (a must-follow on Instagram). Hicks creates content in the fields of design, fashion, travel and technology with work that is both commercially strategic as well as artful.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN SEATTLE? I love the freedom of living in a growing city with so many amenities, yet being within a short drive of so many beautiful natural environments: the Pacific ocean, the Puget Sound, two major mountain ranges, an archipelago of islands, national parks, forests, and deserts, to name a few.

WHAT’S THE CREATIVITY COMMUNITY LIKE? The creative community here is definitely close knit — I think Seattle’s geographic location up in the corner of the country contributes to a sense of pragmatism and camaraderie.

I love that there’s an undercurrent of go-getters that gravitate towards one another, encouraging and supporting each other as both friends and creative colleagues. And with the more recent tech boom, I feel as though the creative community is coming together even more strongly as a means of survival in a quickly changing city that could easily displace artists and small businesses.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PLACE IN SEATTLE TO PHOTOGRAPH? I love the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island- it’s an inspiring place to walk and clear your head, and the impeccably kept grounds offer an endlessly changing backdrop of colors and textures.

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MICHELE TANSEY, HOME GOODS STORE OWNER

Michele Tansey co-owns a vintage rug and furniture shop called Homestead Seattle as well as Plant Shop Seattle (you can imagine what they sell) with her partner Ryan. In their spare time, the couple has been renovating and restoring their 1903 house over the course of seven years. They run an Airbnb out of the home, and it is one of the most beautiful places to stay when in the city.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN SEATTLE? I’m from Washington state but grew up in the midwest, and I always felt like I just needed to get back to Seattle. It’s beautiful here even when it’s cold and rainy because it stays so lush and green. If the green can carry you through the sunless winter, the summer here is just perfect (and practically mosquito free). We live about a mile from downtown and can walk to a beach or forest just as easily as a museum or restaurant. But my favorite thing about living in Seattle right now is watching it grow, so much so fast. Even though some of the growth is problematic I’m still proud as hell of our city, continuing to evolve and make a bigger name for itself in the world. Like me, it seems to be right in the middle of its story and I’m interested to watch how it plays out for both of us.

WHAT’S VINTAGE/ANTIQUE SHOPPING LIKE IN SEATTLE? It’s good and bad. Compared to somewhere like Portland, we have fewer cute, small vintage furniture shops, but we have more large antique malls, especially if you’re willing to drive an hours. I’d consider Pacific Galleries to be the gold standard of antique malls in Seattle. We also have some really great collectors that you can easily find selling on Craigslist. If you’re not scared of a bit of elbow grease, our friends over at Seattle Furniture Co have a 7000+ sq ft basement filled with furniture to hunt through.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE YOU’VE EVER FOUND AND DID YOU KEEP IT? Pretty much anything that’s made the cut to stay in our house at this point falls into the category “favorite.” We only have so much space, and in order for something to stay something else has to move on. If I was forced to pick one thing right now that I own I think it would be a large Persian Gabbeh carpet that I have hiding under a stack of other beautiful hoarded rugs in my basement (this stack is the one thing I allow to grow). As for furniture, in the shop right now we have a pair of lucite Pace Argenta Chairs and a set of Mario Botta Quinta Chairs. If I could, I would hoard those forever, too!! Definitely going to cry when those lucite chairs leave the shop.

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BOBBIE YANOUPETH, HAIR STYLIST

After living in New York for the past 10 years, Bobbie Yanoupeth has moved back to his hometown of Seattle. In 2015, he and his business partner Michael Sing teamed up to open BAHTOH, a bridal boutique that does everything from floral arrangements to decor to hair styling. Bobbie is a professional (and seriously amazing) hair stylist who has worked with Lady Gaga, numerous fashion houses, and whose work has been featured in Vogue, Brides, Nylon, and more.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN SEATTLE? Seattle has just as much to offer as any other big city. It has great food, cute little shops, dope art, so many cool neighborhoods, diversity and who doesn’t love driving along the freeway and seeing all the lush greens and Mt. Rainier in the distance!?! Even with all this growth and great culture, Seattle still has a small town feel. Since opening our shop, so many people have reached out to us and are so excited to support us. There is a sense of community here that a lot of big cities lack.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER YOUR LOVE FOR HAIR STYLING? I was eight and we were living in Holland, MI. My parents were refugees from Laos and could barely speak English. So my mother decided that in order for her to keep up with the hair trends, she was going to teach me. She pulled the dining chair up to the kitchen counter and taught me how to perm her hair. Which then led to French braids, French twist and other updos. I became obsessed and started playing with everyone’s hair. I would get in trouble in class cause I was braiding hair during work period.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WEDDING VENUE IN SEATTLE? I’ve really been into intimate weddings. We did a wedding at Zoe Events recently. It feels like a little secret garden in the middle of the city. I can’t wait for the day that a couple give us total freedom to do whatever in that space. I want to recreate that moment in The Great Gatsby movie when he meets up with Daisy at her cousin’s house. He had the whole place decked out with tons of flowers, sweet treats and cakes. SOOOOO DREAMY!!!

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LINDA DERSCHANG, RESTAURATEUR

Linda Derschang is the founder and CEO of The Derschang Group, which owns and operates six neighborhood cafes, bars, and restaurants in Seattle. With so much success, Linda has rightfully earned the title “Queen of Capitol Hill.” Her signature aesthetic –– rustic, Scandinavian-inspired, vintage–– can be found in each space, big or small.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN SEATTLE? I love the Seattle summers. After nine months of grey, it is such a treat to spend so much time outside and on the water.

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INVOLVED IN THE SEATTLE FOOD SCENE? Ever since moving to Seattle I have known people who are involved in food, art, and music. After opening Linda’s Tavern in 1994, it was just a natural progression to move into food.  

TELL US WHERE YOUR IDEAL DAY OF EATING OUT WOULD BE FROM BREAKFAST TO DESSERT. My ideal eating out day would start with Vif in Fremont for breakfast. I love their smoked trout tartine. Then I would pop over to Juicebox in Capitol Hill for lunch. They have amazing juice and salads. Le Caviste is just a few blocks from my house downtown so I often head there for wine, bread, and cheese, or charcuterie in the evening. I would  finish out the day at Stateside in Capitol Hill.

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ABRAHAM VU, BOUTIQUE TOY SHOP OWNER

Abraham Vu and his family moved to Seattle from Edmonton in the late ‘90s. He’s spent most of his career at tech companies including Microsoft and Amazon, until he recently quit the corporate world to pursue his dream of starting a boutique toy shop, curating collectible and designer toys under the moniker Made to Scale.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN SEATTLE? The diverse mix of culture, food, and the great outdoors. Seattle’s culture has been flourishing with the recent come up of tech companies and startups, leading to the increase of new food spots and developments in the city. I also love that you don’t have to drive very far to be surrounded by water, mountains, or the forests of the Pacific Northwest; what’s not to love!

HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO COLLECTING TOYS? For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been into collecting toys at some point in my life. My passion started as a kid the day I received my very first Transformers toy from my parents as a birthday gift. Since then I’ve collected everything from He-Man and Ninja Turtles, to Marvel toys, to now the more art-centric collectibles. I’m a huge sneaker collector, too, and the designer vinyls go hand-in-hand with sneaker culture. I think what appeals to me the most about toys is seeing the progression of the hobby so deeply rooted in my childhood to now being fully engrained in my life and my appreciation for them as an art form. I have always viewed toys as the artistic process of starting from a 2D art drawing, manifesting into its 3D representation.

YOUR FAVORITE TOY RIGHT NOW AND WHY? My favorite toy right now is the 400% Jackson Pollock Be@rbrick, from the Japanese company Medicom Toy, a collaboration with the late American painter. What draws me to this piece is that it perfectly captures the essence of Jackson Pollock’s work and makes for a great display piece in any collection. Medicom Toy is definitely my favorite toy company because of their collaborations with high profile artists and brands such Andy Warhol, Kaws, Nike, A Bathing Ape, Daft Punk, just a name a few.

Follow @madetoscaleshop

 

NIN TRUONG, DESIGNER

Splitting his time between Seattle, California, and Japan, Nin Truong kind of does it all. He runs a small design studio and gallery called WKND with his partner Christa Thomas, which is home to serveral in-house projects: Maiden Noir, a men’s and womenswear line, Blk Pine Workshop, a lifestyle, accessories, and furniture collection, and a small neighborhood coffee shop called Café Weekend. Along with the design studio, he is the design director for Stussy and to top it off, he has recently started a new project called the Da Da Da Gallery. Located in Seattle’s little Nihonmachi/Japantown, it is a revolving creative and contemporary space for work that can transcend from multiple dimensions.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN SEATTLE? I really love the geography and setting in Seattle. It’s a major city but is tucked away between the water and the mountains. I’m always reminded about how much I love Seattle when I’m flying back home.

YOUR FAVORITE SEATTLE NEIGHBORHOOD AND WHY? My favorite or part of Seattle is the South End (Columbia City, Beacon Hill, and Seward Park). There’s a lot of diversity and food choices are pretty amazing. There are still little immigrant restaurants and shops sprinkled throughout. Seward Park is great for swimming and there’s a few good loops for trail running.

HOW WOULD DESCRIBE SEATTLE MEN’S STYLE? It’s a mixture between laid back outdoorsy and contemporary. There are remnants of the grunge era still around, that’s part of the laid back vibe. Filson is based out here, along with several other outdoor brands, so that has an influence. Then there’s a great design and art community in Seattle. It’s much more contemporary — almost Scandinavian or Japanese in sensibility.

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Bonus: We have an unreal Seattle flash sale happening right now! Shop the city’s brightest boutiques and designers at up to 85% off, but only until August 30. And go >

Expert Gifting: Boutique Buyers’ Picks

Not only do our boutiques curate the best and brightest in emerging fashion, they also happen to have the inside track on the best gifts. So we had to ask: what are you giving this holiday season? From the practical to the unique, to the downright beautiful, you will seriously want all of their holiday gift picks. One for them, one for you…

Brooklyn Boutique SWORDS-SMITH Shares Their Favorite Statement Coats

Briana Swords, co-owner of the Brooklyn boutique SWORDS-SMITH, knows that when it comes keeping your sense of style intact in the winter, a coat is not just a coat. Her Williamsburg-based boutique is beloved for not only stocking some seriously special pieces you won’t find anywhere else, but Briana has that special way of finding new talent before they become household names. She also believes in supporting emerging designers that use an inspiration-driven design process and manufacture their products responsibly (we obviously see eye-to-eye on this). So, as the cold officially breaks, we asked her to play favorites. “These are statement outerwear pieces for women who are looking for something unique and special,” she says. “Your everyday coat doesn’t have to be basic because you are not basic.”

 

RODEBJER

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“Rodebjer ‘creates fashion for women who make a difference’ and this pretty much sums up why we love the Swedish brand.” 

Daylon Quilt Coat – Shop Now> 

STINE GOYA

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“The Copenhagen-based designer is known for her unique, artful prints and feminine silhouettes. The extra attention to details on the pin-tuck navy velvet smoking jacket makes it extra luxurious.”

Rubik Coat – Shop Now >

HENRIK VIBSKOV

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Striped Cape Coat – Shop Now >

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Cape Coat in Black – Shop Now >

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Last Coat in Hunter Green – Shop Now >

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This Coat in Black and White Stripe – Shop Now >

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“The Danish designer came through this season with SO MANY beautiful, unique coats. The draping, seaming and fabrics are phenomenal – these coats come to life on the body.”

Babette Coat – Shop Now >

REALITY STUDIO

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“The Xiong coat is one of our best sellers and Reality Studio offers it up in a few colors and fabrications every Fall. This coat makes you feel like you wrapped yourself in a blanket and walked out the door.”

Xiong Coat in Dark Gray – Shop Now >

Can’t pick just one? Shop all of Briana’s favorite statement coats here.

Meet The Boutique: Idun of St. Paul

You’d never guess that Idun was Dahlia Brue’s first foray into the world of retail. After all, the Minnesota-based boutique (pronounced Eden and named after the Norse goddess of youth) has quickly become a go-to for fashion-forward-thinking women since it opened up shop in 2014, carrying a curated selection of emerging designers that aim to inspire confidence in the woman that wears the clothes. Dahlia was working as an event planner for a local magazine publishing company before she decided to finally start her own business — always a dream of hers — and worked on the concept for two and a half years before opening Idun’s doors. And, in fact, it is confidence that has carried through from Dahlia to the stock on the boutique’s shelves, as her admiration for under-the-radar designers and the instinct that prompted her to follow her heart has remained imprinted into the shop’s brick and mortar. Here, Dahlia shares with us what made her take the leap, as well as some of her favorite things.

Shop Idun >

Greg Armas of Assembly on style, slow fashion and bicoastal retail

“I started finding that a lot of interesting academic psychic, explorer, and adventurous avatar-type of individuals seem to disappear,” Greg Armas says, describing his Spring/Summer 2016 ready-to-wear collection for Assembly. “The classic examples were Amelia Earhart and Maria Orsic.” We think both of those women would certainly approve of Assembly’s striking, utilitarian pieces. Brave of heart, mixed with a little intrigue, is a fitting mood for Greg, the founder and designer of Assembly. He was first a galleryist in Los Angeles before starting his first foray into retail, Scout, on Third Street in LA back in 2003. He made the move east to open Assembly New York in 2008, launched their namesake label in 2012, and this year, embraced the bicoastal lifestyle with a second location, Assembly Los Angeles.

This month we’re excited to be the exclusive retailer of three pieces from the SS16 collection. So we caught up with Greg to find out more about his approach to retail, his own personal style and the best place to get tacos in LA.

Shop Assembly >

ARE THE PRINCIPLES OF A RETAIL SPACE AND GALLERY SIMILAR FOR YOU AND YOUR APPROACH? We’ve always run the shops as galleries and built our relationships with clients and designers as such. This can be challenging, considering retail’s breakneck pace, so at times we opt for more of a slow fashion mindset.

Meet the Boutique: Lynn Louisa

Tucked away on a charming street in Georgetown, Lynn Louisa is kind of a goldmine in Washington, DC. Owner Gabby Klingman stocks the shelves with up-and-coming and sought-after lines like Rachel Comey, Ganni and Just Female. A seasoned veteran of the fashion industry, she opened up shop in 2014 after her she and her husband made the move from Seattle to the country’s capital. Gabby previously worked in a ton of varied roles in retail – from buying to wholesale – and wanted to put her experience and her passion to work in a boutique of her own. Her eye for new lines and cool-girl brands quickly built a loyal customer base, many of whom she now counts as close friends. We caught up with her to talk about starting a business, the evolving style of DC and the joys of being a homebody.

Meet the Boutique: Baby & Company

Located around the corner from Seattle’s bustling Pike Place Market, Baby & Company is still somewhat of a hidden gem. Originally opened in 1976 by Baby and Uri Burstyn, the boutique has long been known for its pioneering spirit in the city’s fashion community and has been a go-to destination in the city for elevated clothing and accessories. Flash-forward forty years later and what sets this boutique apart from the pack is its unwavering commitment to the slow-fashion movement. Jill Donnelly and her husband Wayne took over in 2012 and gave the Seattle boutique a modern facelift: think clean, minimalist lines, cool gallery walls and a European atelier vibe. Today they curate a cool collection keeping with her philosophy that quality and ethics are not optional, they are non-negotiable. We sat down with Jill to talk about the highs and lows of running a business, their philanthropic efforts and her personal approach to style.

Shop Baby  & Company >

Meet the Boutique: Neighbour/Woman

“Precision of geometry” and “elegance of nature” are two phrases used by the up and coming, and much applauded, London-based fashion label 1205. It’s pretty fitting that Saager Dilawri would name the line’s designer Paula Gerbase as his favorite designer as they would be equally great ways to describe his two boutiques in Vancouver — Neighbour and Neighbour/Woman — not to mention his aesthetic point of view. The balance of easy and exact is even something he embodies himself and we love him for it. We sat down with Saager to find out more about his concise approach, his favorite neighbors and all the cool things he loves.

Shop Neighbour/Woman >

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT OWNING BOUTIQUES? I think the most intriguing thing about running a multi-brand store is bringing everything together. There are so many great designers out there and of all of them we have are narrowed down in selection to several, and then you need to narrow down your selection from each collection. It is interesting to play with this and become concise, while making everything work together.

Meet the Boutique: SWORDS-SMITH

Everything we love about Williamsburg is in this boutique. Housed in a former factory with original brick and steel juxtaposed against neon accents and diagonal lines, SWORDS-SMITH hosts art installations, parties and pop-ups on the regular, and is stocked with an always inspiring curation of emerging and established designers. Briana Swords and R. Smith opened up shop in 2013 with a vision to create a different kind of retail concept and one that celebrates the independent spirit of Brooklyn. With former careers in interactive and fashion design, the husband and wife duo’s interests, aesthetics and values converge at SWORDS-SMITH. We caught up with Briana to get a peek behind the scenes.

Shop SWORDS-SMITH >

WHAT’S THE BEST PART AND THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF RUNNING A STORE WITH YOUR PARTNER? The best part of working together is the collaborative, creative work of building something together that we both believe in. The most challenging part is hitting the off switch and not discussing the business during everyday life.

Meet the Boutique: Parc in Minneapolis

Is it just us, or are the best friendships made via Instagram and a glass of rosé? That’s how it all began in New York City with the amazing Thao Nguyen, founder and owner of Parc, and we instantly fell in love with her pared-down, beautiful aesthetic and expert curation of brands we love like Kowtow, Lacausa, Oak, Miranda Bennett and more. We caught up with her to find out more about what she loves about living in the Twin Cities, how she got her start and all of her favorite things.

Shop Parc >

DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO OWN A BOUTIQUE? While working my corporate 9 to 5, I spent my weekends hitting up the local shops in San Francisco. I honestly wasn’t sure that I wanted to own a boutique, but I was inspired by the local retail scene and wanted to bring that vibe to Minneapolis. Parc now has two brick-and-mortar locations and I can’t imagine myself doing anything but this.