The Ins-And-Outs Of New York City With Our Boutiques And Designers

There is no arguing that New York City is a magical, fast-paced, concrete zoo filled with bustling creatives in every realm possible. It’s the city that never sleeps and, as any denizen or tourist can attest, has hundreds of unspoken rules that you best know before coming (like don’t make eye contact on the subway, never take a selfie at a museum, and always move out of the middle of the sidewalk if you are a slow walker). It is also home to many of our close friends, the emerging designers and indie boutique owners that live the city day in and day out; the people we turn to for the inside scoop on how to survive manic, hectic, addictive, draining New York City.

To kick off New York Fashion Week, possibly one of the craziest times to be in the city, we wanted to reveal the best of the Big Apple from our New Yorkers. Scroll on for tips on where to escape the madness, wisdom on how to de-stress, and where to get the best cup of joe.



Image by Michael Cobarrubia

New York can be an extremely productive city, and on the other hand extremely playful city,” says Ivan Gilkes, co-owner of In Support Of, a boutique and showroom in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood. “The trick comes to knowing when to turn it off, and when to turn it on,” he explains.

Szeki Chan of 7115 by Szeki says her studio is her most productive place. “Quiet, peaceful, and no distractions,” she explains. Assembly’s Greg Armas agrees, saying his Chinatown studio is where he gets in the zone. “It’s nice to be surrounded by the city but slightly isolated,” he says. For designer Nikki Chasin it’s her studio in Chelsea.

But for others, being on the on go is what sparks productivity. Anna Pang, the designer behind womenswear line Index Series, says her brain is best “on the train! I tend to have sudden revelations of what my inspiration, concept, ideas are for collections.” Katie Goldman Macdonald, designer of House Dress, bounces off the energy of the Garment District. “It’s where everything happens. I run back and forth between my factories, button, and fabric stores — as well as coffee shops — and end up feeling pretty satisfied (and exhausted) by the end of the day.”



Image by Hannah Schneider

At least two,” admits Mandy Kordal, designer of knitwear label Kordal. “I need coffee to start my day, and then around 4pm I either make another batch of coffee or tea,” Luis Morales, co-founder and creative director of The Ensign, is also dedicated to that AM caffeine fix. “I try to limit myself to one coffee a day, but it’s a mandatory request for each morning.” He likes to stop at Café Integral (above) for his one a day. Greg heads to Doughnut Plant. “Creature of habit, I have one Americano every morning… and a doughnut.”

Stacia Canyon, owner and buyer of boutique Canon NYC, which is located on Sullivan Street in Soho has her liquid day mapped out to a T. “One to two coffees a day from Cafe Regular in Brooklyn or Colombe on Prince Street in SoHo, then one matcha latte from Banter on Sullivan Street in Manhattan, and finally one juice from the Juice Press in Manhattan.”

Image by Matt Johnson

Szeki opts for, “just one, two tops!” She goes to, “Caffe Vita if I’m close to our LES location, Ninth Street Espresso if I’m at the studio in the East Village, and Sweatshop (above) if I’m at the Williamsburg location.” While on the other hand Katie’s average is, “five coffees a day.I love Madman Espresso on 35th, Grumpys on 37th and Culture on 36th in the Garment District. Sometimes if I’m feeling too caffeinated, I’ll sneak in an herbal iced tea or kombucha.”

As for the non-coffee drinkers: “I drink fresh juice in the morning from Kabila across the street from my studio then I drink water throughout the rest of the day. I don’t really drink coffee unless I’m trying to stay up really late or pull an all nighter to work,” explains Dominic Sondag, the designer behind menswear line S.K. Manor Hill.

Adeniyi Okuboyejo, the designer of Post-Imperial, also prefers a fruity option. “I usually get smoothies from the bodega around the corner of my apartment.”



Image by Michael Cobarrubia

Escaping the concrete craziness is essential. “I love to go to Jefferson Park for fresh air. It’s a beautiful garden on the grounds of what used to be an infamous women’s prison, a hidden jewel. I’m also often at Washington Square dog park,” says Kelly Colasanti, owner of Fairlight, a beautiful boutique located in the West Village of Manhattan.

The ladies of Duo NYC, Wendy and LaRae Kangas, love to go for, “ a run along the East River. It’s breezy and great for people watching. But for a dose of real fresh air we take a road trip upstate to Woodstock or Hudson.”

“The parks in NYC are the best,” proclaims Ivan. “I have a top four depending on my mood: Grand Ferry Park is a super cute and tiny inlet park in Williamsburg with great views of Manhattan above the Williamsburg Bridge. Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1 has an equally fantastic view of downtown Manhattan and a great lawn for sipping wine with friends. Prospect Park, which in my opinion is better than Central Park, is the best park for activities all year round. It’s great for a picnic and party during the summer and in the winter if it snows you can sled on the Long Meadow there. Last the High Line is a super fun park for people watching and at the end of it you can finish your visit to the park with a trip to the Whitney.”

But sometimes no nature is needed at all. “When I’m at work I’ll step outside the studio to the street on 39th and if I’m at my house I’ll sit on the stoop,” expresses Dominic.



Image by Michael Cobarrubia

“The buzz of the shows and the anticipation of the collections generally gets me excited,” explains Luis. Ivan has a similar reaction. “Fashion Week can be an extremely fast paced time during the year. Getting pumped up for it doesn’t take that much though. If there is a brand that I’m really pumped to see I feel the excitement come naturally.” His trick once he feels overwhelmed? “I like to return to my home and watch some TV and tune out of fashion completely. This coming fashion week fall shows will be back I’m sure I’ll be watching How to Get Away with Murder and hopefully Scandal.”

For designers, things can be a little different. “I get pumped up when I have all of my samples ready to shoot,” says Nikki. Katie explains how she’s, “just naturally high on adrenaline (and coffee) for a week straight during Fashion Week.” So undoubtingly needs, “to lie comatose for a few days and drink a lot of Sauvignon Blanc in the tub.”

Getting pumped for Anna starts with, “an early rest and a somewhat substantial breakfast (scrambled eggs, toast and an apple).” To de-stress, she likes to, “light a candle, lie in bed and put on a cool face mask for 30 minutes. I never feel like I have time to actually do this so when I do it feels extra amazing.”

Sometimes after that crazy week, it takes an actual escape. “For de-stress, I usually leave for a bit after Fashion Week, it can be intense,” admits Greg.



Image by Michael Cobarrubia

“My love for NYC is a rollercoaster. I’m from Northern California and that’s a hard place to beat, but I’ve lived here for 6 years and I love it a little more every year. Hot sweaty days where I’m carrying 50 lbs of fabric in the Garment District I rate a four, but when I get home and see the trees of Inwood park out my window, my love surges to a ten,” says Katie. Luis has the same teetering feelings. It’s about a two from January-March, a four in March-April, a solid ten from May-July, back down to one in August, and about an eight from September through December. We have a love/hate relationship, but we somehow make it work.”

For others, their love for the city is undeniable. “Ten. After living almost fifteen years in this city, I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. New York has the absolute best of it all,” asserts Ivan. Wendy and LaRae agree, “Eight to ten depending on the day but there’s no place quite like NYC, we’ve got it all here.”

“Ten for sure! I love NYC so much!” professes Kelly.

Both Nikki and Adeniyi went for eleven. “To be honest, I am not sure there is any better city in the world than New York. It keeps me on my toes. It constantly kicks me in the ass to remind me that even with all my accomplishments so far, there is still tons of work that needs to be done,” Adeniyi admits.

“It’s required to 100% love New York City to live here,” states Greg.

Lead and featured image by Michael Cobarrubia

Literary Swag’s Yahdon Israel On Merging Fashion and Literature

Yahdon Israel happened upon the fashion scene in an unconventional way—through literature. It began one day on an NYC train when Yahdon noticed a notably stylish young man reading Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and was struck with inspiration. As a BFA graduate in the Creative Lit field, Yahdon always felt there was a pressured disconnect between intellectualism and style. He admired this stranger’s expression of personal swag using both literature and fashion. He snapped a photo on his phone, posted on Instagram, tagged it #LiterarySwag, and the rest is Literaryswag’s history.

Aside from inspiring people worldwide to embrace the expression online, Literaryswag also has an open book club that meets offline in Brooklyn. It draws members from New York and the surrounding states to discuss literature within an iconic clothing store in Boerum Hill, The Brooklyn Circus. You can check it out on the last Thursday of each month. Sign us up!

We teamed up with Yahdon, and BK clothing store Swords-Smith to showcase some of the best books and collections of Summer ’17. Keep scrolling to get to know Yahdon and his current reading list.

Biera Boxy Jumpsuit c/o Swords-Smith

CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE BOOKS YOU CHOSE AND WHY? HOW DO THEY INSPIRE THE CORRESPONDING LOOKS OR VICE VERSA? So the first book I chose to complement the Beira boxy jumpsuit is Maggie Nelson’s critical memoir, The Argonauts. It was the first book that came to mind when I looked at the Beira piece because The Argonauts is all about the intellectual, emotional, and in many ways, excursion it takes to find ourselves. And the bumps that go along with it. The Argonauts is also a book about navigating identity and our expectations of them—especially as it pertains to gender roles.

Biera Boxy Jumpsuit c/o Swords-Smith

When it comes to menswear there are so many expectations that are assigned to male bodies as to make us rigid in how we express our masculinity. Meaning, that in order for a piece to be considered menswear it “should” immediately communicates heteronormative vision of masculinity. 

But the jumpsuit blurs that vision and it reminds me of a section of Maggie Nelson’s Argonauts where quoting feminist theorist, Judith Butler, Nelson writes, “Performativity has to do with repetition very often with the repetition oppressive and painful gender norms to force them to re-signify. This is not freedom but a question of how to work the trap that one is inevitably in. This jumpsuit to me seems to offer solutions to the inevitable trap of the way masculinity is performed. That while I know what I’m wearing a jumpsuit, I have to also be aware of the perception that this jumpsuit is being read as a dress, and I have to be comfortable enough in my body to be okay with that—to not say—or convince someone that I’m not wearing a dress. Another way of reassuring someone that I’m a man. The swaggiest thing about this jumpsuit is its irony: only men who are really comfortable in themselves can wear it. It ain’t for the faint of heart—and neither is a book like The Argonauts.

Journal Grit Water Shirt c/o Swords-Smith; Journal Fine Brushed Pant c/o Swords-Smith

“You spent so much time explaining yourself, your work, to others—what it meant, what you were trying to accomplish, why you were trying to accomplish it, why you had chosen the colors and subject matter and materials and application and technique that you had—that it was a relief to simply be with another person to whom you didn’t have to explain anything: you could just look and look, and when you asked questions, they were usually blunt and technical and literal.” This is one of my favorite quotes from Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life. Boasting over 700 pages, it’s an audacious novel that journeys with four friends—Willem, JB, Malcolm and Jude—through their friendship, and completely raises the stakes for the term “growing pains.”

The particular quote describes the particular relief that came with being around someone who just understood without something having to be explained. This is a look that brings that sort of relief. On the surface the look obviously matches the book, but it’s more than that. The look has all the elements of leisure, and to me, there’s nothing more leisurely than reading a book where the page count is higher than your credit score.

Folk Combination Tee c/o Swords-Smith; Uniforms For The Dedicated Illusions Trouser c/o Swords-Smith

This third look is one that captures the subtle uniformity of New York City. We’re really only known for wearing one color—and that’s black. More recently olive green has made its way into lexicon of New York’s style dictionary. What these colors have in common is that they go with nearly any and everything which is important in a city where any and everything can happen. 

Talking about New York City, and its diversity, I also have to acknowledge how transient the diversity is. How income and tax brackets change in a matter of minutes. How living maybe a block over provides the capacity to live and lead a vastly different life. The question becomes, how do you dress for a city that is always changing? Unless you are traveling with a wardrobe, every piece and outfit has to be versatile and serve multiple purposes. John Freeman’s Tale of Two Cities is a book that only explores the good and bad, rich and poor, and have and have nots of the city. It’s a book that shows how these seemingly contradicting realities of the city shows that New York—though being one city—exists as many ways as the people who live here. And that’s the only authentic New York experience—the personal one.

Folk Combination Tee c/o Swords-Smith

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT SO FAR? My proudest moment(s) since I started Literaryswag has to be every month I host the Literaryswag Book Club (@literaryswagbookclub). Three years ago, Literaryswag was an online community. But to have that community actualize in real life, where people from all over the NYC—and from other states—come to talk about a book in a clothing store, the experience is more than words can articulate. And that was the point: to show that love for books and clothes is a real one. The meetings are open to the public, and I always encourage any and every one to come—even if you don’t read. I want to show that this book club is about the conversation and community.

WHAT ARE YOUR THREE FAVORITE SPRING 2017 MENSWEAR COLLECTIONS? Because spring is a season of renewal, I’d have to go with Pyer Moss, Margiela and The Brooklyn Circus.

Biera Boxy Jumpsuit c/o Swords-Smith

Visit for more and follow @yahdon.

All photography by Zach Gross. Follow him @zachgross1.

12 things we loved from our Spring #BOUTIQUELOVE Tour

We’ve been on the road for our #BOUTIQUELOVE tour the past couple of weeks crossing North America to celebrate the launch of Spring 2015 collections. Tonight is the final stop so we wanted to share a few of our favorite things from each of the boutiques we’ve partied with. They each have their own amazing curation of brands and unique style, so obviously we had to shop along the way. Our first stop was In Support Of in New York City, a boutique that focuses on local designers doing it right in the city’s garment district. Like Nikki Chasin, an emerging designer we’re super excited about. She had her first pop-up at the party. Next we ate our way through Houston and celebrated Cinco de Mayo with Saint Cloud. They’re stocked with amazing accessories, home goods and loungewear made for the heat. Then we hopped on a plane to Portland where we partied with West End Select, a boutique renowned for the owner’s cool style, rad selection and Japanese imports. Tonight we’re in Vancouver with One of a Few. With their selection of Rachel Comey, Jesse Kamm, Creatures of Comfort and more, it’s easy to spend a looong time there. The best part about all of these boutiques? The people behind them are cool, kind, hilarious and seriously amazing in every way. Thanks to everyone who was a part of the tour!

If you didn’t get to party with us, make sure to check us out on Soundcloud where you can stream the soundtrack from each city!

Shop our picks below.

Photographer and DJ Leslie Kirchhoff shares her favorite things

DJ, photographer, all around cool girl, we’ve got a major crush on Leslie Kirchhoff. Whenever there’s a fashion event in New York City, you’re likely to find her behind the decks. She regularly DJs parties for Dolce & Gabbana, Vera Wang, RVCA, and a whole lot more. Her day job as a photographer often has her shooting people like Pharrell Williams, Solange, Joan Smalls and Coco Rocha. Plus, you can find her interviewed for her style tips by Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue,, Nylon, and more on a regular basis. We have a feeling this is just the beginning for beauty who was born and raised in Wisconsin. So we asked and she answered.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING TO PHOTOGRAPH? I’ve always really loved shooting people, but recently I’ve gotten really into shooting food and playing around with more object-based setups. It’s a nice change of pace and a completely different style of photography.

Style and matzo ball soup with Jacks Wife Freda

Maya Jankelowitz is one of those women in New York City. Amazing style, bustling business, adorable family and an Instagram feed to die for. She also happens to be part of the husband and wife team that feeds the city’s well-heeled at Jack’s Wife Freda. She met Dean Jankelowitz when they were both working at Balthazar (a classic Soho restaurant that also feeds the city’s most fashionable) over a decade ago. They started with a family, and now they have two more babies: a location on Carmine Street and a location on Lafayette. Named after Dean’s grandparents, the restaurant is always packed and the food is all about throwback comfort with a twist. We caught up with Maya to talk about being a restauranteur, her personal style and matzo-ball soup.

Current Inspiration: Artist Dustin Yellin

L-R: From ‘Dust in the Brain Attic’ via No Where Limited, Misha Nonoo and Dustin Yellin collaborate for Spring 2015 via Harpers Bazaar, Dustin Yellin’s prints for Misha Nonoo Spring 2015 collection via Style, From exhibit ‘Dust in the Brain Attic’ via No Where Limited, Tribute to Diane von Furstenberg via W

Meet stylist and photographer power couple Luisa Rino + Evaan Kheraj

Luisa Rino and Evaan Kheraj are kind of like fashion’s take on a superhero duo. Each of them is an amazing talent in their own right, but together the Canadian photographer and stylist make some serious magic. Collectively and together, the husband and wife team have worked with the likes of Nylon, ELLE, Refinery29, Flare, Nomia, Obakki, the Hudson’s Bay… to name a few. Oh and a few famous faces like Emily Haines, Tom Felton, Evangeline Lilly and Arizona Muse. They recently began splitting time between their hometown of Vancouver and New York City so we caught up with them to find out how they make time for a little romance on two time zones with such crazy schedules. Plus, they spill on their musts in NYC.


LUISA: We met in 2003 just after Evaan had graduated from his new media program. I was the fashion editor at NUVO Magazine and he came in to meet about a photography assignment. I didn’t think much past the job assignment but Evaan’s side of the story is much more romantic.

EVAAN: I was working as a video editor at the time and my roommate was working as an events photographer for NUVO. She was moving away to Alberta and asked me if I would want to shoot events. She got me the interview at NUVO. I met with Luisa and showed her my portfolio which consisted entirely of travel images. At that time my dream was to shoot travel stories for National Geographic and I hadn’t the foggiest idea of what the world of fashion entailed. I pretty much fell in love with Luisa the moment I met her. I just remember thinking my portfolio didn’t have a single event photo and that I was probably making a fool of myself. Anyway, I went home that day and told my roommate that I was going to marry Luisa. My roommate laughed and said in my dreams. Well, dreams come true.


LUISA: We both have pretty hectic schedules so the fact that we get to work together means we get to see each other and spend some time together during really busy times. In terms of the final product, there is a level of trust and collaboration when you really know each other. But I would say we feel this way about our crew as well. We’ve all worked together for many years and we understand where to help, how to make something better. It makes for a really supportive atmosphere.

EVAAN: That’s easy, I get to see my wife. I am always happier when she is around. I’m lucky.


LUISA: I don’t know that I’ve ever thought about that. We resolve any disagreements quite quickly and I have all the confidence there can be in Evaan’s skills and his vision. We’ve worked together a long time now and on so many different projects and problem solved a lot together. He has an incredible sense for what will work and what won’t. We rarely disagree.

EVAAN: I don’t think there are challenges. We work well together and that’s always been the case.


LUISA: It’s fun, best of both worlds kind of thing. I can only be grateful that we get to experience these two incredible cities regularly.

EVAAN: It’s amazeballs. Vancouver and New York are two world class cities. You have the stunning beauty of the Pacific Northwest and of course in NY there is always something going on. I have learned to sleep on a plane with ease so the time zone shifting doesn’t bother me. You have to go where the work takes you and New York has been an extremely satisfying step in our careers.


LUISA: It’s been there forever but I really like starting a relaxing day at Café Select. Then, because I’m always on the hunt for deals, I’m pretty much scouring the sample sales.

EVAAN: You can almost always find me wandering the halls of the Met on any given weekend or strolling through Central Park. I take my camera everywhere. My days usually begin at Oatmeals in the West Village which is a fabulous breakfast spot. They have every kind of oatmeal under the sun and the staff there makes you feel right at home. They even have a bowl called The Canadian. My job is fairly tough on my back and shoulders so once a week I head on down to Little Italy and get a good ol’ fashioned Chinese Chair Massage at The Relaxing Station. It’s a hole in the wall sandwiched between a mediocre Tourist-alian restaurant and things-your-clueless-aunt-buys souvenir shop. It feels like you are getting mugged while getting the massage but I exit there feeling refreshed and ready to tackle another 20 blocks and at $13 bucks for 15 minutes, it’s easy on the pocket book and keeps me ready for the next shot. The best coffee I have had is at the OST Cafe in the East Village. Best French toast can be had at the Irving Farms Coffee Roasters in the Lower East Side. It’s made with challah bread and it comes dripping with maple syrup, a fork and a big napkin. For dinner hot spots, I am digging Lovely Day in Soho which serves up some amazeballs Thai food.

Check out more work from these two dynamos here: and

One to Watch: Ying Ying Li, star of The Knick

Clive Owen and Ying Ying Li get into more than a little trouble together in HBO’s latest smash hit, The Knick, where he plays Dr. John Thackery, the genius drug addict and antihero at New York City’s Knickerbocker hospital, and her character Lin-Lin is the most beautiful kind of enabler. From the wild state of medicine at the turn of the century, to the gorgeous Victorian-inspired clothes, we’re kind of obsessed. We fell for Ying Ying Li in the very first episode so we had to find out more about her. Turns out she’s Canadian, totally funny, not afraid to rock a mohawk, and has collected some amazing stories since starting her acting career a few short years ago. We talked to Ying Ying about acting with Clive Owen, her “life is a buffet” motto and her favorite places in New York’s East Village.

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN ACTING? There were a lot of dips and forays along the way, but in my mind my real “jumping in with both feet” moment was when I went to my first audition. After I finished theatre school, I kept making excuses why I wasn’t ready to audition – no agent, no credits, not even a professional headshot. Eventually, I got so sick of making excuses that I finally submitted myself to a bunch of castings, and lo and behold, I was invited to audition for one of them. And I just kept going after that! The thing with a creative career is that there is no automatic treadmill to take you around the bases. So you just have to repeatedly pick yourself up by the scruff of the neck and throw yourself into the gaping maw of the world you want to enter.

ANY TOP MEMORABLE MOMENTS SO FAR? One of my earlier gigs was shooting a commercial with Coco Rocha. I was an office girl with Velma Dinkley glasses, and Coco was supposed to dance on my desk. So basically she did all the work and I would just kind of duck if her limbs swung my way. I was really impressed by how quickly she learned the choreography, but you know what was the craziest thing? Coco was the hardest working person on set, but she never complained or acted like a baby or even joked about being tired. It was awesome. I’d seen diva behavior before, and wondered if that was how actors are supposed to be. But working with Coco showed me that the stronger choice is to hold yourself to a higher standard. I do cringe at how shy I was when I talked to her, though! I was like the mousy nerd girl in high school who’d just been approached by the head cheerleader. I remember hoarsely whispering, “I am from Canada, too,” before collapsing back into total silence.

WE LOVE YOU IN THE KNICK. CAN YOU TELL US WHAT IT’S LIKE WORKING WITH CLIVE OWEN? Thanks! It’s a small role, but I’m honored just to be involved and value the opportunity to work with such a fantastic creative team. I’ve always been a huge fan of Clive’s work, and a part of me still can’t believe that I got to work with him. To be honest, on my first day, I felt like a huge imposter! Like it was just a matter of time before I would be found out and kicked off the set. I had to give myself a pep talk, like, “Ok, so yes, that’s Clive Owen, but you belong here too.” Working with Clive has been an incredible learning experience. He is everything you’d think a leading man should be – professional, kind, down-to-earth, and a quick-study, so smart.

I live by the “life is a buffet” motto and try to work on a variety of projects, including theatre, on-camera work, even once modeling for Imitation of Christ at NYFW despite my non-modelesque proportions. My ultimate goal is to be an actor/writer, so the project I’m most excited about right now is making a short film based on one of my short stories. Coming up, I have a feature film coming out in early 2015 that I am pretty psyched about!

YOU’VE BEEN LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY FOR YEARS. WHAT NEIGHBORHOOD ARE YOU IN NOW? TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE PLACES. Right now I live in the East Village, close to Noho and NYU, and I LOVE IT! My favorite neighborhood places are Colombe for coffee, Mighty Quinn’s BBQ for wings and ribs, Veselka for pancakes and borscht, Soba-ya for healthy but delicious lunches, Angel’s Share on a weeknight for quiet cocktails with friends, and Grassroots for a spacious, unassuming dive bar right on St. Marks. Oh, and if you like the idea of impeccable sushi served in a raucous and merry environment, go to Sushi Dojo and ask to be seated at the bar with Chef David, you won’t regret it. Muji is a godsend for household goods and of course I love browsing the boutiques around East 9th Street.

Meet the Boutique: In Support Of

In Support Of is more than just a name for this New York City boutique dedicated to featuring independent designers while supporting charitable causes.

The new retail concept is an extension of Aikaz Showroom, founded by co-owner Tanya Sheikh, which supports emerging talent with unique perspectives on design. She and her partner Ivan Gilkes open their doors just this past year so they’re just getting started. The Meatpacking District location serves as a jumping off point for collaborations with featured designers they love and charities they believe in. With designers like Steven Tai and emerging labels like Nomia already on their roster, we can’t wait to see what’s next.

We talked with the duo about their upcoming projects and things they love, like random sweatshirts.

Shop In Support Of >




Kalen Hollomon on art, fashion and Instagram

There’s collage and then there’s Kalen Hollomon. The New York artist has taken the fashion world by storm with his provocative mixed media images that juxtapose day to day images with cutouts from fashion magazines and vintage pornography. He can make Rudy Giuliani the face of Céline, put heels on a subway cop, all seeking to explore and reveal the constant relativity of perception. “Above all,” says Hollomon. “I try to capture a sense of romance in images that are spontaneous and slightly unnerving.” He’s been snapped up by many for collaborations but most recently he partnered with Vogue for a project following Paris Fashion Week. Suffice it to say we’re just one of his 77,000 Instagram followers and totally obsessed. We caught up with him to find out more.

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND IN ART? Sometime in elementary school, maybe fourth grade, one of my classmates, Juan Sandoval purchased a drawing of mine. He paid with fake school money but still, it was an eye opener. Last I heard Juan was robbing banks in Texas. Anyway, making art was my main focus throughout high school and college — I did anything that would keep me working in some artistic capacity, from writing bad graffiti to figure drawing classes. I attended three different colleges with decent art programs but I doubt I ever graduated. I’ve always tried to have jobs that allowed me some creative freedom. Right now I’m just working on art, all the time.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO USING MIXED MEDIA? Mixing mediums spawns new ideas and lends fresh perspectives to things. I’m always thinking about perspective and shifting perception. Collage — either photographic or using images on paper feels right and gives me a lot of freedom to do that. Even when I’m painting I tend to utilize a lot of layers and some found imagery. I like the act of adding or subtracting things and seeing how perspective and perception can change. Altering preconceived notions and exploring things that lie beneath the surface interests me.

WHAT DREW YOU TO FASHION AS SUCH A LART PART OF YOUR WORK TO EXPLORE THEMES OF COMMERCE GENDER AND SEXUALITY? I’ve always been really into fashion — of course I love how clothing can alter one’s perception of a person, or even alter how you perceive yourself. Fashion imagery often comes with such a strong story or vibe because of the designer, the brand-name, the photographer. I try to pay homage to the people who originally created “the story” when I work with fashion imagery and I’ve usually chosen something because it resonates with me. Fashion is constantly playing with themes of commerce, gender and sex and by altering those images, you can go pretty deep into some thought provoking terrain. Well, at least I hope so.