Music Monday: El Ten Eleven Interview

We called up LA post-rock duo, El Ten Eleven, to chat about Star Wars, cell phones and skinny jeans. Their song “My Only Swerving” was featured in our in-store style videos and our American Beagle Outfitters campaign. Get to know the double neck guitarist, Kristian Dunn, after the jump.

 

ETE-NewPromo

 Kristian and Tim of El Ten Eleven

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.

Kristian Dunn:  The soundtrack to Star Wars. I’m not joking. That’s one of the most influential records of my life. It still holds up too. I was actually listening to it today because it was Star Wars Day. And it’s just really brilliant. It’s hard to hear it with fresh ears because you’ve heard it so many times before. But even as a film score, it’s really different from all other film scores.

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?

KD:  It’s hard to pick one. Austin, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, LA. We just went to Europe for the first time and that was cool because we went to a lot of places that we wouldn’t have really chosen to go like Moscow, Athens, Croatia, Slovenia. So that’s kinda one of the cool things about being in a professional band – you end up going places that you wouldn’t expect.

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

KD:  It was at a place called the Whistle Stop in San Diego, it’s a bar. And we were nervous. We didn’t know if we were quite ready. We only played 4 songs. We were opening for, actually, we were opening for ourselves. We were in another band at the time and we were opening for them.

I was pushing us to play. Tim, my drummer, was thinking, “I don’t know if we’re ready for prime time.” There were about 40 or 50 people there or something and they reacted really positively. And that kind of vindicated the feelings I was having that we were onto something that was kinda cool.

AEO:  If you could bring just 3 things on tour, other than your equipment, what would they be?

KD:  Laptop. Phone. Actually, I guess I could live without laptop. Clothing. I was going to say toothbrush but you can get those on the road. Phone is the most indispensible thing. I remember touring – this is how old I am – without cell phones because they didn’t exist at the time.

My main thing is I miss my daughter and my wife and that’s what the phone’s for. I can Facetime with my daughter.

AEO:  At AEO, we love our denim. What’s your favorite fit or wash and how do you style them?

KD:  I like skinny jeans. I don’t like them as skinny as I used to like them. I look back at pictures of me from 2, 3, 4 years ago and those jeans are so freakin’ tight. And I’m like, ohmygod what was I thinking? But I still like the cut – the tapered cut. Right now I’m barefoot, but I just got some high tops that I wear with them and I’m wearing a collared shirt, untucked. But El Ten Eleven is pretty much a t-shirt and jeans kind of band.

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Merchant Interview: Laura Khan

Some may say that a girl’s best friend is a great pair of shoes. Now, imagine getting to work with shoes all… day… long.  For Laura K., Merchandise Manager for shoes and accessories, this is reality.  We sat down with Laura to learn more about her amazing job as well as a little bit about her, too — she is quite the fashionista, gals!  Check out the interview below.

Name:  Laura Khan

Occupation:  Merchandise Manager

Where are you from:  This question is always tough for me because I grew up moving around a bit.  I lived in Maryland, North Carolina and Ohio before moving to Pittsburgh.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do… I’m a Capricorn, a dog lover, married to a smarty pants and a new mom of the coolest kid in the world.  I’m obsessed with interior design and party planning for any one of my friends — our accessories team is famous for office birthday parties!  I manage the men’s and women’s shoe and accessories buying team for our website.  We work with the store merchants, design and production teams to develop amazing AEO product and then buy styles from other brands (New Balance, Birkenstock, Timberland, etc.) to build an awesome assortment online.

What kind of projects do you find yourself working on from day to day?  Our team manages four seasons at once, so we are analyzing sales, tracking shipping, buying or hind-sighting on any given day.  Right now we are working on buying our Holiday 2014 collection, so I am spending a lot of time checking out new vendor assortments to see if we want to buy any of their product.  There will be a lot of fun gifts in accessories this year and you are going to want to update your closet with at least five new pairs of shoes.

What do you love most about working with shoes?  I like being able to shop the market, going to different trade shows to see product from our vendors AND working with our fantastic AEO shoe design and production teams.  That gives us a lot of options to make sure that our collection is trend right and ties back to the apparel assortment.  Shoes complete the outfit!

What made you want to pursue merchandising?  I kind of fell into merchandising.  I started out at AEO allocating skirts and dresses to all of the stores eight years ago.  After about a year, I moved over to the web merchandising team because there was a lot of growth potential and I could get creative merchandising the web site and be focused on product.  I started in web when there were only five merchants and now there are 30!

Who are some of your favorite artists?  If you know me, you know I like slow R&B jams.  My favorites are John Legend, Miguel, Trey Songz and Bruno Mars.

What are you obsessed with lately?  Watching my son grow up.

Associate Interview- Laura K.

Check out Laura’s adorable son on her Instagram.

On your playlist?  Beyoncé, Beyoncé and JayZ!

Any upcoming vacations planned that you are excited about?  Headed to Nags Head, Outer Banks in 2 weeks with our family!  I can’t wait to sit my bum on a beach chair and watch the kids play and listen to the waves crash.

Five words to describe you:  Sparkly, Neon, Happy, Smiley, Yes.

Favorite destination:  St John, USVI.  We went in January with some friends and every beach there was ridiculously gorgeous.

Favorite quote:  If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely – Roald Dahl

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?  Be kind. Work hard. Stay humble. Smile often. Stay loyal. Keep honest. Travel when possible. Never stop learning. Be thankful always. And love

And the advice you’d offer aspiring buyers?  See above!

Three items on your AEO wish list.  AEO thick strap sandal in gold, AEO Crocheted Romper in black and the AEO Boho Embroidered Bucket Backpack in multi.

Three tasks on your bucket list.  Travel the world, have a garden and ride horses.

What are your fashion rules to live by?  I live in jeans, I make sure to purposefully wear white before Memorial Day and I can never have too many pairs of shoes.

What AEO pieces are topping your list this year?  Overalls, rompers and all of the shoes I buy of course.

If you were accidentally locked in AEO HQ overnight, what would we find you wearing in the morning?  I would seriously have to call the AEOHotline if this happened to me, but luckily the Aerie team sits two rows down from me and they normally have a few samples lying around.  And I’d have to hit up our AEO sample closet for a dress.

AEO Associate Interview

Laura’s purse contents. We know where we’re going if we want a sweet snack!

Favorite style of shoes?  Booties. They look perfect with almost any outfit all year round.

Favorite accessory?  Jewelry.  I always have a watch, stacks of bracelets, stud earrings and some sort of necklace on.

Are there any accessories or shoes coming out this summer that you’re loving?  Stacking earrings up your ear, I was surprised to see that I still had my second earring holes! I’m even contemplating getting more — crazy!  Birkenstocks are back in a big way this year, I still have my Arizona’s from middle school, but I also have the Gizeh in black and Kairo in white. And now I want to buy baby Birks for my son.

What trends are you seeing with shoes and accessories for Summer and BTS?  This is definitely the year of the sneaker.  There’s a lot of print and pattern to spice up a basic outfit.  Bandanas are a fun multi-use accessory to wear as a headband, bracelet, bun wrap or tie around the strap of a bag.

What trends would you like to see gone for Summer and BTS?  Skorts!

 

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Men’s Prep Shorts Interview with Ben. T

We sat down with Ben T., Assistant Buyer of Men’s Pants, Shorts, Swim and Fleece Bottoms, to talk about one of the most popular short fits of the season: the Prep Short. Read on to learn more about Ben and his recommendations on how to style the Prep Short.

Name:
Ben T.

Occupation:
Assistant Buyer of Men’s Pants, Shorts, Swim & Fleece Bottoms

Can you tell us about the history of the Prep Short?
The Prep Short was first introduced in the 2010/2011 Season. Since then the fit has evolved from a knee length, boxy fit to a trimmer fit through the leg that hits above the knee. This year we have introduced a noticeably different fabric with a small amount of stretch content for maximum comfort and wear-ability. We have also included a belt on the short this year for no extra charge to the customer. It’s been souped up.

Interview with Men's Assistant Buyer, Ben J.

Prep Shorts from Aqua to Floral

What are the new fits for the Prep Short?
Just one new and improved fit. The leg is slimmer and tapers slightly towards the hem. The short is meant to be rolled to an 8″ inseam, although you can style it however you please (rolled once to ‘’9 inch just above the knee, or unrolled at 10″ right on the knee).

The fabrics have changed, can you tell us why and how the new fabric feels?
This is my favorite fabric in our entire line. It is a dense twill with stretch in it. It feels really compact/ light and at the same time has a little give which makes it great to move in. It’s a perfect Summer short.

Any cool colors that you love this season?
Really excited for the Bright Rhubarb.  It’s a reddish fuchsia that you will not be able to find anywhere else. Imagine a lobster blushing. We also have a couple of really cool prints coming in, including a grey camo and a brown tropical that emulates a very cool Havana Yacht Club type look.

How do you wear the Prep Short?
The great thing about this short is the versatility. Like I said, you can cuff it or unroll it to suit your style. I love wearing them cuffed with a plain tee and a good pair of sunglasses. Super easy for anyone to get into.

Bens go to look

 

Shop Ben’s Go-To Look:
1. Legend V-Neck T-Shirt
2.Icon Sunglasses
3.Prep Short

Can you take the Prep Short look from day to night? If so, what do you recommend?
Switch out the T-shirt for a short sleeve woven or layer on a solid long sleeve oxford for versatility. Unbutton a few buttons and remove the sunglasses, unless you’re really trying to make a statement…

Why do you recommend the Prep Short?
Again, it’s versatile. You can wear it many different ways and fit it the way you like it. It is also currently our only short (aside from swim) with stretch. It’s basically the short design of the future.

Now we would love to learn a little about you!

What made you want to pursue a career in Merchandising?
I was always interested in big business but not so interested in working strictly with numbers and finances. With merchandising, you get to be very creative and hands on with your product. Your performance is not only measured by your bottom line, but also on the style and perspective you are infusing in your assortment. Great clothes are ultimately what creates brand loyalty and an excited customer base.

What kind of projects do you find yourself working on from day to day?
Most of what I do revolves around how to drive and evolve the business. If something is working well, I am asking why is this working? What can I do to get more? And, what do I have coming down the line that is like this? If something is not doing so well, I am brainstorming the opposite and making sure I don’t make the same mistake twice when building future seasons.

Five words to describe you…
Team player, risk taker, pizza lover, driven and adventurous.

Favorite destination:
Portland in the summer. That’s East Coast.

Favorite quote:
“Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.”

First thing on your bucket list?
Travel for a year with a backpack and no itinerary expect for a list of must try street foods. (Try not to end up on the show Locked Up: Abroad.)

Favorite Band:
The Boss

Fun fact about yourself?
In my youth, I rocked both a mullet and a bowl cut for three years… each.

What does your iPhone say about you?
I organize my apps like a nerd. Not very exciting.

 

Ben's iPhone

Ben’s iPhone Home Screen that he sent us after our fast track interview

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Designer Interview: Tamarah Ghourdjian

Bright, bold and colorful prints grab our attention every season. This season’s print… Global!  We wanted the inside scoop on what influences our design team to create these fun and trendy prints, so we caught up with our Senior Director of Women’s Concept, Tamarah to learn what things and places sparked her team to conceive this season’s collection.

Name:
Tamarah Ghourdjian

Occupation:
Senior Director of Women’s Concept

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 Tamarah in our New York Design Office concept work space

Where did you draw inspiration for the global prints?
We pulled inspiration from everywhere — Vintage [finds], traveling the world, blogs, books, paintings and more!

Can you tell us how you wear the global print trend?
I wear our black and white print mix jumpsuit with a military jacket.

What are your three favorite global print pieces from this season’s collection?
I love the black and white floral jumpsuit, the tropical romper and the black and white zig-zag soft shorts.

If you were to share what global print piece that every girl must have in her closet right now, what would it be?
My favorite is a jumpsuit or romper, whether it be an ethnic print or tropical. Both are on trend this season.

skateboards with AEO spring global prints

 A few skateboards that our design team had printed with some of our global prints for Spring 2014.

How cool, right?

Now we would love to learn a little about you!

What made you want to pursue fashion design?
I grew up in a crafty family. My mother and grandmother taught me to sew, knit, dye fabrics, make jewelry, weave—you name it, they can do it all.  I started making clothes at a very young age, first for my dolls, and then later for myself and my friends.  As far as I can remember it’s always been a part of my life and I can’t think of anything else that I’d rather be doing.

What kinds of projects do you find yourself working on from day to day?
Everything and anything — No one day is the same, but research is always part of my day.  I am always looking for new inspiration; a new brand, [fashion] blogs, [street] style, silhouettes, boutique finds, prints or a color that inspires me.

What three items will we always find in your purse?
Chapstick.
A hair tie.
My passport.

What inspires your style and how would you describe it?
Anything vintage, authentic, lived-in and casual inspires my style.
You could say it’s boy meets vintage girl or somewhere in between.

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Designer Interview: 10 questions with Natalie Malcolm

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We had a rapid Q&A with Senior Designer Natalie Malcolm of Men’s Swim and Outerwear. We fired off 10 questions to Natalie to learn what inspired this season’s swim trends and get a brief insight into her personal life.

Ready.Set.Go.

1. Where are you from:
Manchester, England

2. What are the trends for men’s swim this spring?
Neon brights, color blocking and shorter inseams lengths. Favorites include; beach photo real and galaxy prints.

3. Where did the inspiration for these trends come from?
California beaches, from festivals and runway shows.
We also loved the color and energy from the 90’s vibe.

natBeach, Festival and Street Style Inspiration

4. What do you love most about working in a creative field?
Endless boundaries and ever changing trends, keeping up with the latest and greatest.

5. Five words to describe you-
Honest, grounded, sarcastic, fun, optimistic.

6. Favorite destination:
Cote D’Azur with my family and friends.

cote

Cote D’Azur  (Photo Credit: smarttravelinfo.com)

7. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Keep your head up and put your best face on.

8. And the advice you’d offer aspiring designers?
Be open to criticism, accept advice, have thick skin and of course, dress to impress.

9. Three fashion staples every girl should have for spring:
Rompers, printed sundress, and shades.

natalies_closet

10. One swim trunk every guy should have on his wishlist?
Colorblocked Swim Trunk!

 

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Meet the Dog: Tippy

Meet Tippy, a happy tail-wagging pup. Tippy is one of the fierce models starring in our American Beagle Outfitters campaign. We wanted to learn more about Tippy, so we asked her mom Chrissy, to share the inside scoop on her daring daughter.

tippy

Dog Name:

Tippy

Dog Age:

Two years old-ish (birthday is celebrated on Christmas, because she is a miracle)

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Tippy in the city

Dog Breed:

German Shepard Mix (but I’m pretty sure she’s a domesticated coyote)

Tricks for Treats?

Sit, Shake, Other Shake for turkey, chicken, bacon, and anything cooked in butter.

Why did you think your dog would be a good model for our newest line?

She’s an adventurous and independent free spirit pup…SHE LITERALLY LIVES HER LIFE.

What are your dog’s favorite places to hang out?

Presque Isle, Erie Pennsylvania with her best friend Nellie the yellow Labrador. It’s the perfect combination of beach and woods.

Does your dog have any shameful secrets?

She’s terrified of water.

What’s your dog’s most embarrassing moments?

She ran into a stop sign once while checking out another German Shepard.

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 Ready for my close up

What is your dog’s favorite outfit to wear?

Anything that’s easy-to-wear, she’s a T-shirt and jeans kind of pup.

Would you recommend American Beagle Outfitters to other dogs?

Absolutely! She has so many dog friends who love clothes. (especially her friend Ella)

Is your dog single or attached?

She’s kind of a babe. Doesn’t want to settle down anytime soon. She digs Pnewman, though.

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Tippy looking fine.

Ride in the car vs. Walk in the park?

Walk in the park, as long as it’s off the leash.

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Relaxing in the grass at the park

Rope vs. Fetch?

Both, but loses attention quickly, she would rather hang out with her friends.

Favorite treat?

Cloud Star Buddy Biscuits or Tricky Trainers

What’s your best memory with your dog?

The day I adopted her.

Why did you pick this specific dog?

Those ears.

What was it like seeing him/her up for the first time after you purchased the dog?

MAYHEM.

Is the dog an only child?

She has a step brother who lives in Columbus, OH (Ogi)

Does your dog bite or lick the mailman?

“What’s a mailman?” – Tippy

Nappers vs Players?

Perfect combination of both.

What words do they know?

Sit, stay, “no, no, NOOOOOOO!” “COME HERE!”

What tricks can they do?

Sit, shake, other shake, lay down.

Do they prefer mud or baths?

Oh mud, for sure.

Describe your dog’s personality in 5 words-

Pesty, nosey, vocal, out-going, happy

Who are your dog’s best friends? Any neighborhood animals?

Andy, Nellie, Pnewman, Ogi & Ella

Where does your dog sleep?

She has no boundaries.

What’s your sleeping style? Don’t disturb the dog, or don’t disturb me?

If you want to sleep in, don’t wake the dog.

Is there anything your dog won’t do?

She won’t eat vegetables.

Does your dog have any favorite TV shows?

She doesn’t have cable.

What makes your dog bark?

Men.

What is the funniest thing that your dog does?

Whenever someone gets up off the couch, she steals their spot.

How would you describe your personal style?

Casual, simple, active.

What is your dog’s #AEOStyle?

W I L D F U R C H I L D

What do you think of your dog’s outfit?

Outrageous + fun.

When you heard American Eagle was coming up with a clothing line what were your first thoughts?

Initially I thought it was pretty wild, a dog clothing line?! I’m pretty excited that we can coordinate!

Where would your dog wear American Beagle Outfitters?

The sidewalk is her runway.

What would be the perfect look for you to match your dog?

She’s active just like me! We run a lot together. So anything that is versatile enough to look good and be functional to wherever our day leads us!

 Follow Tippy:

@stuffpupdoes

Want to show off your dog’s style? Then use #AEOSTYLE on Twitter and Instagram for the chance to see your pup on AE.com.

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