Music Monday: St. Lucia

This #MusicMonday, we’re bringing you an exclusive interview and behind the scenes photos of the super-talented, Peter Gabriel influenced and South African natives St. Lucia. Check out the interview below:

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Behind the scenes photos of St. Lucia on September 25th at Mr. Small’s Theater in Pittsburgh, PA

AEO:  People usually want to know what any artist’s influences are. But we’re going to make you narrow that down to the one album that truly affected your path in music.

St. Lucia:  I can easily say Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’. It was a turning point in the whole way that I thought about music, and it’s still an incredibly impressive album today. My parents got it for me one Christmas because of a recommendation of some guy at a mall that they asked what they should get their son, and I remember listening to it the first time and it sounded like noise. I’d never heard anything remotely like it, and so I wanted to return it, but all the ships were closed because of Christmas weekend. So, I was forced to listen to it a few more times, and it started to open up to me. Eventually, I was listening to it nearly every single day a few times. It made me realize that music can be accessible, catchy and can act in a deeper and more cerebral level as well.

AEO:  Being a musician means traveling to a lot of different cities and playing to a lot of different crowds. Which place was your favorite and why?

St. Lucia:  Playing in South Africa was pretty incredible to me because when we did it, I hadn’t played there since I left about 12 years ago. My family all still lives there, and so it was incredibly moving to see all of my old friends and family in the audience, and get to hang out with them afterwards.

AEO:  Where was your first show together and what was it like?

St. Lucia:  Our first show was a secret show at Union Hall in Brooklyn. It was terrifying. We already had a fair bit of hype at that point, and so we felt a lot of pressure to do something great. I think that at that point we were more-or-less standing completely still on stage, at least compared to now.

AEO:  If you could bring just three things on tour, other than your equipment, what would they be?

 St. Lucia: Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Zebra Shirt.

AEO:  Anyone who’s seen any movies about rock bands knows that the tour bus can be like an extension of a wild backstage party or a place for band antics. Tell us the craziest or funniest tour bus story to date.

St. Lucia:  Our craziest one, was when we forgot to close the door of our trailer in Minneapolis on our Winter tour earlier this year. It was the coldest day in 100 years there, -40F, and we ended up driving 30 minutes with the trailer open. Fortunately for us, the only things that fell out were two suitcases. Things could have ended VERY badly.

AEO:  Describe a day in your life in five words.

St. Lucia:  Coffee, Music, Food, Sleep, Try-to-work-out- (In no particular order).

Love St. Lucia as much as we do? Then check out our in-store playlist which features their song, Closer Than This.

 

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#AEOSTYLE Roundup

American Eagle Outfitters is all about expressing your individual style. Show us your original style with #AEOStyle on Instagram and Twitter for the chance to be featured on our blog so we can show the world how you take what we make and make it your own. Check out our favorite looks from this week below!

Shop the look:
Jegging

Shop the look:|
Hi-Rise Festival Shortie
Feather Light Open Cardigan (shop similar)

Shop the look:
Denim X Jegging
Real Soft Favorite Scoop T-Shirt
Plaid Jegging Shirt
Hooded Dolman Cardigan

Shop the look:
Vegan Leather Hi-Rise Jegging
Real Soft Favorite Scoop T-Shirt
Aviator Sunglasses

Use #AEOSTYLE on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram for the chance to see your photo on our AE.com Style Gallery, Instagram, Tumblr or on our blog!

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Wear America X Muses & Rebels

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We sat down with former AEO Women’s Wovens Design Director, Natasha Landenberger, the founder, owner and designer of Muses & Rebels to talk about daily inspiration, the pros and cons of starting your own business and balancing it all. When this Los Angeles native is not hard at work building her lifestyle brand empire, she is spending her weekends making frequent trips to the beach, the Rose Bowl and other local flea markets to find materials, vintage clothing and unusual objects for photo shoots. Basically, she does it all.

How did you start Muses & Rebels and where do you draw daily inspiration from?
I created Muses & Rebels in 2010 after spending a month in Japan with one of my best friends. She had made a beaded necklace that I loved which influenced me to make jewelry while I was staying with her & her family in Osaka. I made my first thread wrapped chain bracelet during this trip. When I returned home, my mom was extremely supportive of the pieces I had made (as most moms are) and told me I should sell them… that was the beginning of Muses & Rebels.  When I launched M&R, it was a new venture into accessories and I am completely self-taught when it comes to jewelry.

On a daily basis I am inspired by images on Tumblr, Pinterest, blogs and magazines. I have always loved the beach and my husband is a surfer, so I am naturally inspired by the surf/beach lifestyle.

You mentioned being completely self-taught when it comes to designing jewelry, can you describe that creative process?
Designing jewelry has been a very different process for me personally than designing clothing. With jewelry, I first find the materials and then design the styles. With clothing, it is the opposite – I design the styles and then find the fabrics and trims that best fit the design. As I am creating the jewelry for a specific collection, I draw from images I’ve curated, key colors for the season, and the overall concept of the collection. Being a self-taught jewelry designer means I am learning new techniques with each design and the collections are growing stronger with my knowledge.

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Muses and Rebels began selling jewelry and and has slowly transitioned to clothing, can you tell us about that natural progression and motivation behind your current assortment?
Coming from a fashion design background, I have always intended to add clothing to the line. I created Muses & Rebels with the idea that it will become a lifestyle brand, not only focusing on jewelry. I first grew the line with a small assortment of hand tie-dyed bikinis and screen printed tees. Adding a men’s jewelry line seemed like a natural progression and also a need in the market. More clothing for both women and men will be added to our online shop with a focus on vintage items that are trend right and pieces you just need to have.

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Can you tell us a little about Muses and Rebels’ “made for you” concept?
The Muses & Rebels’ “made for you” concept means our products are made to order. M&R styles are not mass produced – they are lovingly handmade for each customer in limited quantities. I also like to think of Muses & Rebels as a line with products that are perfect for the individual. These are pieces that are “made for you.”

You’re also a fashion illustrator for many American contemporary brands – how do you balance this, along with your M&R responsibilities?
M&R is my top priority, but I will always make time for fashion illustration opportunities because it is something I truly enjoy doing. In order to keep the business moving forward and take on additional projects, I tend to count every day of the week as a workday. I work a lot, but it is so worth it.

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Can you speak to the pros and cons of running your own company vs. designing for a large brand?
The great thing about running my own company is that I am my own boss. This is a good thing and also a bad thing. It’s great because I am ultimately the decision maker and get to envision and create a brand exactly as I want it to be. Creating a brand and watching it grow and become known is so gratifying and rewarding. It is tough being your own boss because you are completely responsible for all aspects of the business – meeting deadlines, growing the brand, sales, and production. The stress and pressure of the business side of owning a company can be a lot to handle while still motivating to be creative. When compared to designing for a large brand, the business pressure is quite minimal because you have the support of a large company. In many ways it seems easier to design and be creative when you have a team to help produce your designs. Large brands also provide the comfort of a salary, compensation, bonuses and benefits.

Do you have any advice for someone interested in starting their own company?
Don’t wait to start your own company if you have the passion and the idea – take advantage of the moment and dive in. My advice is to be very aware of your financial responsibility for the company, slowly build your brand in a way to minimize your expenses and learn from your customers. It is important to keep the big picture of your company in mind and to not get sidetracked by the minute details.

Want a chance to win a @musesandrebels necklace from our #WearAmerica collection? Follow and RT to enter! See Official Rules for complete details.

 

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Trend Alert: How to style Over-sized Sweaters

Over-sized sweaters have become one of our favorite fashion trends this fall.  This cozy, cold weather essential can take your look from day to night by simply mixing up your favorite accessories. Start your look by selecting your favorite over-sized sweater — add flats and a beanie for a more casual look or swap out those pieces with booties, a fedora and a cross-body hand bag for the perfect evening look.  Read on to check out three looks we styled to inspire you to wear your over-sized sweaters this season (and next).

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Shop the Look:
Soft Cable Sweater
Tomgirl Jean
Slouchy Marled Beanie (Similar Style)
Suede Bootie

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Shop the Look:
Shawl Collar Cable Knit Sweater (Similar Style)
Vegan Leather Hi-Rise Jegging
Glory Hats Fedora

OVERSIZED_SWEATER_3_19306Shop the Look:
Cable Knit Sweater
Denim X Jegging
Slouchy Perforated Bag (Similar Style)
Open Side Flat

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6 different ways to wear Leggings

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Leggings, ahhhh, every girl’s dream come true… style, warmth and comfort come together for your wardrobe must-have for the fall and winter seasons. If your’e anything like us, then you probably own multiple pairs of the same exact legging and wear them over and over again. To keep your legging style updated and on trend, we came up with six different legging looks for outfit inspiration that you can rock all year long.

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Look One: The run errands, go-anywhere look. Pure comfort meets style in our Printed Legging (similar style), Jegging Hoodie and Reebok Classic Sneaker.

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Look Two: The perfect night on the town look. You’ll be the the life of the party in our Mixed Print Leggings, Henley Sweater, Vegan Leather Moto Jacket, Fitted Baseball Cap and Lace-Up Harness Boot.

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Look Three: Lattes and lunch, anyone? This may be our favorite of the looks. Pair our Ankle Zip Legging and Blanket Knit Cardigan back to our Slouchy Suede Bootie and Glory Hats Fedora.

LEGGINGS_1_8606Look Four: Friday night football game. Hi-Rise Legging, Classic Denim Jacket worn over our Long Sleeve T-shirt, and Textured Zip Bootie.

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Look Five: The campus look. Turn heads this school year in our Zig Zag Legging, Jegging Sweatshirt, Hooded Parka, Riding Boot, Knit Beanie and Geo Pattern Tote Bag.

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Look Six: The Sunday brunch look. Dine with friends in our Floral Legging, Over-sized Cardigan, Chunky Knit Loop Scarf and Double Zip Bootie.

Which legging look is your fave? Tell us in the comments below.

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Wear America x Pommes Frites Candle Co.

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Introduce yourself, your business name and where you are from.
My name is Kristen and I’m half owner of Pommes Frites Candle Co. I grew up in Northern Virginia, but I currently live in downtown Los Angeles. By the way… our business name, Pommes Frites may translate to belgian fries, but it’s actually just a goofy play on my last name (Pumphrey). That’s what happens when you start a business at age 22!

You made your first candle at the age of 12, what inspired you to do that?
My sister brought a candle-making kit home from Michael’s craft store, to make and sell candles for a home economics fair. In true little sister, “me too!!” style, I learned to make candles and continued to make them for easy gifts throughout high school. When I started my business after college, it was a no-brainer to make candles again, I already had the tools!

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Tom and Kristen in their studio 

What does the day in the life of Kristen Pumphrey entail?
During the week I usually work from 9 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. or so. Work usually entails emailing with the shops that stock us (both independent boutiques and our national brands), developing new scents, making sure all the orders are heading out and receiving supplies. I usually take time each day to post on our instagram (@pfcandleco), play with our dog (an Italian greyhound named Max), and go for an iced coffee. Weekends, I love to explore our neighborhood in DTLA, or get away from it all on a quick camping trip.

Your candles smell amazing, what inspires your scents and how do you know which scents to combine?
Thank you! There’s two ways we go about picking scents: brainstorming sessions and direct inspiration. We do a scent brainstorming session once or twice a month, where we will pull out all the oils we have on hand, dip blotting strips, and just start smelling combinations together. A little bit of this, add some of that, mix the oils together. Then the whole team will stop what they’re doing and smell the results. For direct inspiration, we may think something like “we want to create a scent inspired by Big Sur” and we will take a trip to that location and smell everything we can, just taking it all in, and taking notes. This usually gives us a base to start with, a few notes that were prominent to us, then we will take that inspiration to our brainstorming sessions for further development.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Travel and nature are huge inspirations, visiting national parks, camping, or even visiting a nearby botanical garden. We want to produce scents that invoke feeling or meaning and that also smell really, really good.

Can you share the making of a soy candle with us?

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Our soy candles are poured in small batches, but we work from a larger batch to get there. We will melt anywhere from 50-150 lbs. of soy wax at a time. Once the soy wax is melted and has come up to temperature, we add fragrance oil into our giant wax melters.

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From there, the wax is poured off into metal pitchers, allowed to cool, and then poured in into pre-wicked jars in batches of 8-9 (or 12-16 for the mini size). We use the same method I used when I started making candles, just with fancier equipment and on a much larger scale.

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What inspired the packaging for PF candles?
My design skills are pretty limited, having never taken a class in graphic design, but I wanted to make something that felt authentic to me. I loved interchangeable stamps and used them in packaging across the board (when our company used to make more than just candles), so one day, after feeling frustrated with designing on the computer, I went back to basics and just started hand stamping our labels. I wanted the candles to be simple enough that they can exist in your space every day without being too fussy, toeing the line between rustic and clean design.

What is the one scent that we will always find burning in your home?
It depends on the room! For our living room, I like Neroli & Eucalyptus and Summer Breeze. Sweet Grapefruit is always either uncapped or burning in the bathroom. When I’m at work, I like to burn Campfire on my desk.

Have you ever mixed a scent that made you say ‘what was I thinking’?
Absolutely! Luckily with our brainstorming session, it usually doesn’t get past the initial phase. There have been a few combinations that I’ve smelled and said “NOPE!”. My biggest no-no when it comes to a scent is if it gives me or any of our crew here a headache then it gets eliminated from the list. We work hard to make sure our candles can be enjoyed by even those with fragrance sensitivities.

Besides candle-making, what other hobbies/interests do you have?
Camping, bike riding, tending to my ever growing plant collection. And as I said before, traveling and experiencing new places. We try to take a weekend trip at least once a month. We live and work in the heart of downtown LA, so escaping from city life is awesome.

Describe your personal style.
Mostly utilitarian with a little bit of California hippie thrown in. My job is always hands on. You can find me unloading a pallet or unpacking wax or mixing fragrances, so I tend to wear things I don’t mind getting messy. In the summer I wear simple cotton dresses and Vans sneakers. In the winter, I’m all about jeans (including AEO jeggings!) and a simple tee shirt. I usually always wear little stacking rings and copper or bronze skinny cuff bracelets. But my favorite thing to wear, hands down, is a poncho. I can’t wear them at work,just not practical enough, but on a camping trip I usually don’t change out of one. I have this awesome one my dad gave to me when I was a kid; it’s from Argentina. It’s one of those things I didn’t appreciate until I was older.

Tell us something surprising about you that no one would guess!
I may be a candle maker, but I actually studied to become an actor. I did 4 years of rigorous training at NYU’s Tisch School, and right before graduating, I realized it wasn’t the right choice as a career for me. I got involved in the DIY community, and haven’t looked back since. In school, they constantly told us that you have to make your own work – sometimes there wouldn’t be somebody who would want to give it to you or take a chance on you. It was a really important lesson to learn – and one I clearly applied when starting PF.

Anything else you would like to share?
We’re so happy to be able to partner with AEO for their Wear America initiative! It’s awesome to us that the candles that are handmade in our studio by our crew of six can be enjoyed by a wider audience, and that handmade on a larger scale is possible!

What is your favorite scent from PF Candle Co?  Tell us in the comments below!

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