AEO Associate Interview: Kai G.

At AEO, we have some pretty talented and amazing associates working behind the scenes to deliver the best  product to date. Senior Fabric Development Manager, Kai Gomes-Brown is no exception to this rule. Get to learn all about Kai and her daily responsibilities at AEO.

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Meet Kai, Senior Fabric Development Manager for AEO and aerie Knits.

Name:  Kai Gomes-Brown

Occupation:  Senior Fabric Development Manager – for AEO and aerie Knits

AEO:  Where are you from?
Kai: 
I’m originally from Fairfield, CT but I consider Queens my home!  I’ve lived in NYC for 20 years!

AEO:  Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do….
Kai:
  Growing up I always loved fashion!   My love for fashion began in the late 80’s when I started watching Style with Elsa Klensch, (a television show about fashion and design from around the world that aired from 1980 to 2001) with my parents on Saturday mornings.  I would watch the show to see designer runway shows presented during New York, London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks.  I learned a lot about high fashion and the designers that created the collections.  In high school my favorite elective course was Home Economics where I learned to sew and then I attended F.I.T. (Fashion Institute of Technology) where I studied Merchandising.  I’ve worked in fashion since graduation for some of the most recognizable names in the industry. As a Fabric Developer it’s very important to stay in tune with the latest and upcoming trends in fabrics and silhouette so I am able to work with designers and fabric suppliers to interpret those trends into fabrics that are in line with the American Eagle Outfitter’s and aerie aesthetics and price structure.  Unfortunately, Style with Elsa Klensch is no longer on television but there are a number of resources like blogs and magazines that I use and are available to everyone to research the latest and upcoming fashion trends!

AEO:  What kind of projects do you find yourself working on from day to day?
Kai:  As I mentioned one of the most significant aspects of being a Fabric Developer is to research in order to stay in tune with the latest and upcoming trends. I work on weekly trend recap reports and competitive analysis reports to share with our designers and fabric suppliers.  Another important function of my day to day responsibilities is to maintain the fabric library that houses numerous types of knit fabrics including: jerseys, ribs, laces, waffles, jacquards and many more.  When a designer is in need of a fabric they can search the library to find a fabric that suits their needs.

AEO:  What do you love most about working with clothing?
Kai:  I love that what you wear is an expression of who you are. It’s really important to me that I develop fabrics that are great quality and on-trend so our customer feels confident when they wear our clothes.

AEO:  We’ve been hearing a lot about plush fabric. Tell us more!
Kai: I’m really excited about Plush!  This fabric is the softest fabric ever!  It’s super cozy and luxe but completely versatile to wear for both day and night!

AEO:  What differentiates plush fabric from other fabrics used in graphic t-shirts and tanks?
Kai:  The biggest difference is that Plush is a rib that is specially treated to get the cozy, plush surface whereas most (but not all) of the fabrics used for graphics, tanks and tees are jerseys with smooth surfaces.

AEO:  What are a few different ways that you can wear this plush fabric?
Kai:  Plush can pretty much be styled with anything!  A pair of AE distressed Hi-Rise Jeggings with AEO Buckle Strap Booties, a Sky High Suspender Skirt with AEO High Top sneakers or a pair of aerie printed Leggings with Riding Boots.  The styling combinations are endless!

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Introducing, Plush Fabric.

Shop the look:
Vintage Plush Heart Graphic T-Shirt
Ruffle Hem Skort
Shimmery Slip On Sneaker

AEO:  What are your top three items for this upcoming season?
Kai:  I can’t name just three!  My top four “most favorite, I can’t wait for fall” items are:  the AEO Sky-Hi Jegging and Vegan Leather Moto Jacket, aerie’s Skinny Jogger and of course, the Plush Long Sleeve T-Shirt!

AEO:  What’s your personal style like?
Kai:  I would describe my personal style as being relaxed, chic and edgy.  I get a lot of inspiration from runway shows and high end designers. I try to interpret that aesthetic into my look but within my budget through-my hair styles, clothing and accessories.  Some of my favorite places to shop are AEO, asos, Saks Fifth Avenue, H&M, Barney’s and Alchemist in Miami.

AEO:  Where do you draw your daily inspiration from?
Kai:  Blogs, magazines, fashion trend services and people watching!  Some of my daily blog reads include:   Stylesnooperdan, MajaWyh, TheyAllHateUs, WhoWhatWear and YahooStyle.  My favorite magazines are V, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Jalouse and Elle Decor.

AEO:  What is your favorite city that you’ve either traveled to or what to travel to?
Kai
:  My most favorite city that I’ve traveled to so far is Barcelona and I hope to visit Paris in the very near future.

Have you worn our new plush fabric yet? If so, tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

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Follow Her Friday: Kelsey Miller

We’re inspired each day by the stories you share that show how you’re #AerieREAL. This week we wanted to highlight an incredible story from Aerie girl, Kelsey Miller. As the Senior Features Writer at Refinery 29, we loved reading her funny and very candid musings each day. Her honest approach, especially when it comes to body image is refreshing. Read more below about this fantastic Brooklyn-ite below!

Follow Her Friday: Kelsey Miller #AerieREAL

Aerie: Hi, Kelsey! We are so excited to chat with you. Tell us a little bit about yourself! How did you get started in writing? 
Kelsey: I’m an out & proud late-bloomer. I began my writing career a few years ago, fiddling with personal essays and some humor pieces. When I got my position at Refinery29, I found that my most personal work is what hit home for readers and I decided to take the plunge with one very personal issue: food. I’ve struggled with disordered eating, body image, and yo-yo dieting for my entire life, and of course, I’m not alone there. But I finally quit dieting in the fall or 2013 and began chronicling my journey with Intuitive Eating and sustainable fitness in a column called The Anti-Diet Project.
Now, I’m working on a memoir called BIG GIRL: How I Gave Up Dieting & Got A Life, exploring my journey into the morass of disordered eating and, at last, out of it. It’s a story of struggles many of us have faced, and the rocky path toward freedom from food obsession and self-loathing. But, it’s funny! I hope!

Aerie: What does #AerieREAL mean to you?
Kelsey: It means knowing that you’re pretty great, right now, this minute. You’re you, and trying to be or look like someone else is what gets us into trouble. We all need growth but no one needs “fixing.” So, just be the most YOU, the most honest and forthright, even if you right now feel uncomfortable, ridiculous or fallible. Because, that’s everyone — that’s just the deal with being alive.

Follow Her Friday: Kelsey Miller #AerieREAL

Aerie: What makes you #AerieREAL?
Kelsey: I know that I’m not finished as a person, and I give up on the concept of “finished.” I struggle with self-esteem some days, and other days I feel like a rockstar. But, no matter what, this is who I am, and I refuse to sit out on life because of that. Why should I? With all my flaws, both physical and personal, I’ve still managed to do pretty well. I have friends, love in my life, and a career I’m sincerely thrilled about. I also have lousy days, bad habits, and a laundry pile the size of a grown man. Nothing is ever going to be perfect or even close to perfect. Screw perfect.

Aerie: What’s your favorite inspirational quote?
Kelsey: This question is killing me. Every time I go searching for THE inspiration quote I need, I end up losing two hours on Pinterest. Well, I don’t know if this is my favorite, but it’s one I never forget from Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Aerie: What has been your biggest accomplishment thus far?
Kelsey: I want to say something very zen and mature here, but really I’m just so pleased and proud of my book. Every time I sit at my laptop and fuss over a tough paragraph, I have to remind myself that getting a book deal is a pretty incredible accomplishment and I should take the time remember that. Plus, the whole reason I’m writing a book is because I made a radical decision to change my life and embrace myself. So, high five, me. And, then I get back to work.

Aerie: Do you have a role model? If so, who is he or she, and why does he or she inspire you?
Kelsey: Every time I feel overwhelmed or ridiculous I think about Tina Fey. She’s made a career based on refusing to see herself through anyone else’s lens and I think we can all agree it’s working out pretty well for her. She’s always unapologetically herself, and she’s a seemingly tireless creator. Her brilliant work aside, I admire her creative energy, her bs-free attitude, and the fact that she manages to somehow have a life on top of everything — but never puts forth an image of perfection. She seems to have it all while acknowledging the myth of “having it all.” She’s open about struggling and the importance of missteps. She’s a wonder, to be sure. But, she’s the real deal, too.

Follow Her Friday: Kelsey Miller #AerieREAL

Kelsey and her handsome boyfriend, Harry Tanielyan!

Aerie: Do you have a favorite Aerie item? 
Kelsey: Aerie bikini undies have been my favorite since college, so it’s hard for me to say I love anything more. But, I think the Aerie Real T-Shirt is pretty tough to beat. I might love it a little bit more. I STILL LOVE YOU TOO, UNDIES!

Aerie: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, All, or Nothing?
Kelsey: All, but it’s mainly Instagram and Twitter these days. I feel like I’m able to be funny and smart-mouth’d on those platforms, whereas on Facebook I feel like I need to watch my mouth lest my grandfather happen to log in that day. Plus, Facebook keeps giving me ads about how to lose a hundred pounds and I’m like, hey, Facebook, I got this.

Aerie: Favorite song to listen to in the car or working out?
Kelsey: Right now? “Carrying The Banner” from Newsies (the movie, not the show). I refuse to be embarrassed by my enduring love of musicals. If you were a theater kid like me, then nothing gets your heart pumping more than a cast recording. Whatever gets you through the workout, people.

Aerie: Do you have a secret talent, skill or quirk? Do tell! 
Kelsey: I can do the entire rap from TLC’s “Waterfalls.” And, I absolutely will do it if you give me 2.5 glasses of wine.

Follow Her Friday: Kelsey Miller #AerieREAL

Thank you, Kelsey! Follow her on Instagram here and on Twitter here!

xoxo,

Aerie

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Music Monday: MKTO

Back in August, the talented Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller from MKTO performed at Stage AE in Pittsburgh, Pa. We were lucky enough to sneak onto their tour bus to grab an exclusive AEO interview, behind the scenes photos and enjoy an out-of-this-world concert. Check out the interview below and keep it classic!

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Music Monday: AEO Up Next: Vance Joy

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For this week’s installment of AEO Up Next, we present Aussie indie folkster, Vance Joy. He’s been super busy on tour and handling the new-found stardom that comes with a chart-topping hit. That hit is called “Riptide” and it’s just about the most simultaneously lighthearted and painful love song out right now. Check it out below and read on to get to know the man behind Vance Joy in the Q & A after the jump.

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.

Vance Joy:  Elliott Smith: Either/Or

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

VJ:  It was at the Queenscliff Music Festival when I was 10. I was with my family. My little sister and I sat near the edge of the stage as Jimmy Little played his set. We had had his album “Messenger” in the family car for a while before the show, so we knew the tunes. I have a few strong memories of that night.

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.

VJ:  Our tour bus isn’t crazy at all it is pretty calm. On the long road trips you need to just zone out and read or watch some t.v show. We have had some late night music dancing sessions which have been memorable. I get so pumped up listening to “Turn Down For What.” And also Sheryl Crow “If It Makes You Happy”, but mainly “Turn Down For What”. We were driving around Maine with turn down for what pumping and getting so fired up.

AEO:  What was the last song you played on your phone?

VJ:  “Mad World” cat Stevens

AEO:  What’s your favorite thing to do when you have a creative block that you need to work through?

VJ:  Go run errands and make them the focus. Make coffee dates and run around like a headless chook.

AEO:  Top 5 albums that anyone who’s reading this should go out and buy right now:

VJ:  Cat Stevens – Tea for the TillermanColdplay – Rush of Blood to the HeadElliott Smith – Figure 8Father John Misty – Fear funKillers – Day and Age

Now that you’ve gotten to know about Vance, channel his look with #AEOStyle.

vance_joy

Shop the look: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |

1: Solid Poplin Button Down Shirt
2: Slim Jean
3: Downtown Leather Belt
4: Thorogood 1892 Boot
5: Slim Jean
6: Plaid Button Down Shirt

Want more Vance Joy action? Check out our BTS 1 playlist curated by Vance on Spotify!

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MUSIC MONDAY: AEO UP NEXT: DESERT NOISES

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For our second installment of AEO Up Next, we called up Kyle Henderson of the band Desert Noises to talk about the great state of Utah, Alabama beaches and life on the road. The twangish, indie-rock quartet recently released their LP, “27 Ways,” which is something of a tribute to their roots in Utah coupled with their life on the road. Get to know more about Kyle and listen to a track off of “27 Ways” after the jump.

AEO:  Were you born and raised in Utah?

Kyle Henderson:  I was,  yeah. Most of us were. Brennan was actually born in California and then we’ve all lived here for most of our lives.

AEO:  What’s Utah’s music scene like?

Henderson:  It’s actually really good. It’s all sorts of different stuff. But yeah, there’s a really good music scene in my hometown of Provo.

AEO:  How has the scenery of Utah or the music scene itself inspired your work?

Henderson: I think a lot of it is inspired by the surrounding nature. How this place is, you’re surrounded by mountains and kind of just trapped in, ya know? It’s also a really hard place to leave because it feels so closed. And the culture is so tight-knit and everything, that I’d definitely say that the beauty of this place plays a huge part.

AEO:  Can you tell us a little bit about “27 Ways”? How long did it take to create and what was the process like?

Henderson:  We were working on it for probably about two years before we started recording it. And it was basically like in between tours, we’d be writing new songs and really trying to focus on that. We’d take them out on the road and change them as we were touring. So it became an album that came from being on the road and living on tour. We’re on tour a lot. So we kind of have to do things a different way by trying out new ideas on the road.

AEO:  Interesting. That’s almost counter to what you described Utah as being like: an insular sort of culture. You created this album in completely different circumstances. Were you just traveling the States?

Henderson:  Just the States. We haven’t played outside the states yet.

AEO:  It’s coming soon, I’m sure.

Henderson:  Yup.

AEO:  I know you guys have been billed on a few festivals. Which ones were your favorites so far?

Henderson:  Oh man. They’re all so good. They’re all so different. Recently we just played this festival called Hangout Festival, which is on the beach in Alabama.

AEO:  Alabama has a beach?!

Henderson:  Yeah, you’re literally in the sand while you’re playing.

AEO:  That’s awesome!

Henderson:  Yeah. So that was very epic.

AEO: Can you tell us what the one album is that truly affected your path in music?

Henderson: I would say Led Zepplin III.

AEO:  Good one. So, festivals aside, what smaller show was your favorite to play?

Henderson:  I guess what comes to mind is Lincoln, Nebraska. For some reason, that place really just gravitated towards us. And so every time we go there it’s just like a riot. That kind of place was like our first show experience where it was like, whoa, there’s people actually coming to the shows. I think that that was a big key point in our music career.

Now that you’ve gotten to know Kyle and the Desert Noises a little better, channel their look with #AEOStyle!

Shop the look: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

1: Plaid Button Down Shirt 2: Knit Beanie 3: Denim Workwear Shirt 4: Slim Jean 5: Skinny Jean 6: Legend Crew T-Shirt 7: Dark Denim Jacket 8: Camo Sneaker

 

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Music Monday: AEO Up Next: Tijuana Panthers

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For the first installment of the AEO Up Next Series, we called up Phil Shaheen of Cali based Tijuana Panthers to learn where his musical inspiration stems from; chat about how mowing the lawn can inspire inspiration and how cool cassettes still are. Stop into AEO to hear a playlist curated by the Tijuana Panthers. And be sure to head over to their website to buy their latest record, which, of course comes on cassette.

AEO:  Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Where are the other Panthers though?

Phil from Tijuana Panthers:  Ha! We’re sorta spread out. We’re still close enough where we can drive like a half hour for practice in LA. Dan lives there so we just practice either in the Silver Lake area or Echo Park or Glendale.

AEO:  How has the landscape or just the vibes of California affected the sound of your music?

Phil:  I think because of the 60’s there’s a lot of these garage surf bands that came up. And of course there’s the Beach Boys and all that. There was a lot of surf music going on back then. So I guess, the environment affected those people and we are influenced by those sounds for some guitar riffs and things like that. I think, overall, the landscape didn’t really affect us that much. But it affected us in that manner, I guess.

AEO:  So you were affected by the Cali sounds that came before you more so than the space itself.

Phil:  Yeah, we just grew up playing punk music. And a lot of punk music was influenced by surfing so there was a lot of influences that come from that.

AEO:  Can you narrow your influences down to one album or artist that really affected your path in music?

Phil:  For me it would be the Dead Milkmen. “Big Lizard in My Backyard” is the name of the record. I heard that record when I was in junior high, from a friend’s older brother. He gave us the tape to listen to, a cassette tape. We wore it out. I even buried it in my yard because it meant that much to me. It was like the best thing ever as a junior high kid. I mean, it’s the best thing ever now still. I still enjoy all those records that they put out. And we got to play with them.

AEO:  Oh, you did?!

Phil:  Yeah, we got to play with them at FYF in 2011. And then someone from FYF hooked up a show on Long Beach where the Dead Milkmen came and we got to open for them.

AEO:  That’s very cool.

Phil:  Yeah, it’s insane! The heros, who maybe aren’t heros to most people, but I had them up on this pedestal, we got to hang with them and play. So it was pretty cool.

AEO:  How was that show for you? Do you remember much of it or were you just awe-struck?

Phil:  It was fun. I geeked out a bit but it was a more memorable show. We’ve gotten to play with a lot of old punk bands that I never thought we’d ever meet or play with. Like, hanging out with Keith Morris, from Black Flag and Circle Jerks, asked us to come do his radio show. So that was crazy.

AEO:  So you first heard that Dead Milkmen record on a cassette tape. And you sell your music on cassette and vinyl. How does a physical release, as opposed to a digital one, change your perception of a record?

Phil:  I think its personal preference. Some people really like the sound of analog. They love the sound of the hiss, pops and cracks on records. I never stopped collecting records from when I started listening to music. I think that maybe that’s the area that I grew up in. Long Beach, it’s pretty easy to get records. And it wasn’t even like my parents kept listening to records. It was my friends. When we were growing up tapes were what the medium was. Digital is great. I love it. I’m definitely not one to go either way. I like ‘em both. With digital, you can get music out to everyone, for free too a lot of the time.

AEO:  So, what’s the songwriting process like for you guys?

Phil:  We work on everything by ourselves. And then we come together and just hash stuff out. That’s just something we’ve always done, even when we first started out. We kind of jammed a little but we were never like a jam band. We’d never really get into it like that and just have a jam session. There are moments of inspiration, like I’ll be mowing my lawn and I’ll have this moment of, “Oh, I got some lyrics now.” It’s not about mowing my lawn. It’s just doing that mundane task helps me write stuff. Dan is different. Chad is different. Everyone has their own way of doing things but I kinda just zone out on some stupid task. Things come to me that way. I can’t just sit down and write anything.

Now that you’ve gotten to know more about Phil and the Tijuana Panthers, channel the band’s Punk rock style below:

Get The Look: Tijuana Panthers

Photo Credit: paleyontology

Shop the look: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

1: Signature Graphic T-Shirt
2: Global Print Paneled Hat
3: Reverse Belt
4: Skinny Jean
5: Plaid Button Down Shirt
6: Skinny Jean in True Black
7: Canvas Sneaker
8: Dark Denim Jacket

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