AEO Friends and Family: Lakwena, Street Artist

Meet Lakwena, the super-talented artist behind our Alternative Spring Break project at the Wynwood Walls in Miami, #HEARTTHISCITY. We spoke with Lakwena about how she got her start, what it was like to work with the AEO cast and crew and where she finds her inspiration.

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Lakwena with her team in front of our #HEARTTHISCITY mural. Photo from Lakwena’s Instagram.

When did you first discover your love for art?
I’ve always loved art. My earliest memory of art is learning to write in school when I was about 4. It was my first introduction to typography.

Did you attend university for art or are you self-trained?
I studied at the University of the Arts London.

Tell us a little bit about your style and work.
I like to play with typography, colour, and pattern. I love working on a large scale.

Who has been a mentor or inspiration to your career in art?
My mother. She always knew I was an artist and encouraged me and believed in me.

What piece of your work has the most meaning to you? Why?
Hard question. Maybe my recent piece in Wynwood, ‘I remember Paradise’. Being given the opportunity to paint on such a large scale is an actual dream come true. Regardless of what happens from here onwards, that’s something that I’m really proud to have accomplished.

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Lakwena’s “I remember Paradise”. Photo from Lakwena.com.

What is the most challenging part of being an artist?
At least with commercial work, having to be creative on demand, often with very little time.

How did you get involved with the installation art at Wynwood Walls?
A friend who has a gallery in Los Angeles put my name forward to be involved, the curators liked my work, so I was invited out.

What was your inspiration for #HEARTTHISCITY?
The designs came from sketches that I’d been experimenting with, playing around with quite intricate patterns inspired by memphis patterns amongst other things. A friend described the original sketch works as ‘afro-futuristic circuit boards’, which I liked a lot.

What is your favorite memory of working with American Eagle Outfitters and Project Live Your Life?
Seeing lots of people working together on my designs.

What do you heart about your hometown, Bromley in the United Kingdom?
I love the trees there. What I love most about East London is the creative energy there.

What do you heart about Miami?
The creative community.

Tell us a fun fact about you.
I’m a wrestling champion!

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Meet the Cast: Matty

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Meet Matty, an aspiring chef from Bend, Oregon and winner of American Eagle Outfitters Project Live Your Life. We had the chance to learn more about Matty — read on to learn why she loves to cook and what her specialty dish is.

You’re originally from Dalles, OR and now live in Bend, OR. What do you heart about those cities?
The things I heart about Dalles is that most of my family lives there and it is a place I can always run away to if needed. I heart everything about Bend! Bend, Oregon will forever have my heart. From the breath-taking scenery, to the kindest people you’ll ever met, and the small town feel… I love it all!

You love to cook. What is your specialty?
My favorite thing to cook is Chicken Parmesan.

Do you feel like food is a form of art?
I definitely feel like cooking is a form of art. It’s crazy to throw together so many different ingredients together and have it turn info something amazing that you’ve never even tasted before!

When did your love for cooking begin?
My love for cooking began when I was a pretty little, around 8 or 9 years old I would say. I would always watch my grandpa in the kitchen and watch cooking shows on TV with him for hours. I think I fell in love with all the different smells!

Do you have any cooking traditions?
A cooking tradition in our family is everyone coming together to help make great meals for the family. I think that’s what I really love about cooking, it brings the ones you really love together.

Who inspires you to cook?
My grandpa inspires me too cook, as well as most of my family.

What do you enjoy most about cooking?
The thing I enjoy most about cooking is making everyone happy through food and bringing everyone together. Who’s not happy when they are eating good food?

You love nature and enjoy working in your community garden. What are some of the reasons that you love doing this?
I loved working in the community garden over summer for the fact that I was helping out someone else. It felt really good to give back to such a beautiful town.

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And the Winner Is… Project Live Your Life Week 5

And the Winner Is… Project Live Your Life Week 5

To celebrate our Spring 2014 photo shoot in San Francisco as well as our #HEARTTHISCITY partnership as part of Alternative Spring Break, we wanted to make the prize for the last week of Project Live Your Life a trip to the City by the Bay. Gil A. from North Laredo, Texas will be taking a friend on a trip to San Francisco! Congrats, Gil!

Be sure to check back here and at ae.com/liveyourlife to meet the grand prize winners who will be part of our Back to School 2014 campaign.

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#AEOSTYLE Challenge: Spring Break Looks

#AEOSTYLE Challenge: Spring Break Looks

We’re ready for Spring Break at American Eagle Outfitters — and so are Jessica and Justin, two up and coming fashion and lifestyle bloggers. With spring break season quickly coming to an end, and last minute trips or day outings needing to be planned, we  find ourselves asking these questions: “I need a head-to-toe spring break look? I don’t have the time to pull an outfit together?” — so if you are in the same boat, no worries, we got you covered! We asked Jessica and Justin to each put together a spring break look to wear for a daytime outing and the result — awesome. Stylish, fresh, and fun are exactly what these outfit say. Read on to learn more about Jessica and Justin, their blogs, and what inspired the styling behind their spring break looks.

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Jessica of My Style Vita enjoying a sweet treat (Photo Credit: Jnelly Photography)

Meet Jessica:

Jessica is the fashion and lifestyle blogger behind My Style Vita. A place to find great outfit inspiration, recipes and home decor for the everyday girl.  Sometimes her cute pup, Pork makes an appearance or two. Jessica is also the co-founder of Southern Blog Society, a community of bloggers in the southeast.

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Jessica’s spring break look (Photo Credit: Jnelly Photography)

 

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 These shoes are a must-have for spring (Photo Credit: Jnelly Photography)

What inspired her Spring Break look:

“One of my favorite color combinations is coral and olive. I chose this fun printed sun dress for the perfectly girly silhouette and the unique cut outs in the back. I always love a fun detail that’s unexpected. Layering a relaxed moto vest over it was a great way to add color and interest to the look. Plus, I’ve been wanting a great vest to layer for at least a year now and was so excited to be able to style this for Spring. Add a classic wedge and mirrored aviators and I’m ready for Spring break, sunshine and sweet treats.”

Get the look:

Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses

BC Wedge Sandal

Brown Bag – Similiar Style

Surplus Vest

Printed Sundress

Follow Jessica:

Twitter: @mystylevita

Instagram: @mystylevita

Facebook: Facebook.com/mystylevita

 

Meet Justin:

Justin is a creative consultant and freelance writer with a focus on menswear and home interiors. His passion for style was born in Mississippi and bred in New York City, where he currently resides. Justin spends his days scouting out new discoveries for readers of his lifestyle blog, Scout Sixteen. He has three main loves: whiskey, good times, and french bulldogs.

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Justin of the lifestyle blog Scout Sixteen ready to run errands around the city

About Scout Sixteen:

Scout Sixteen is a New York-based lifestyle blog covering style, home, and travel from the desk of editor Justin Livingston. With an original voice and unique perspective, Scout Sixteen is a forest of inspiration and a place of daily discovery. Every day is an opportunity to explore a life built around style… let Scout Sixteen be your guidebook.

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 Justin’s ready to pound the pavement in his New Balance Sneakers

Why Justin chose this look:

“When I’m running around the City, it’s important that I’m dressed as comfortably as possible. However, being comfortable doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your style.  These American Eagle Outfitters pieces keep my day relaxed and my outfit on point – bright colors, neutral basics and grey kicks that keep me on my toes.”

Get the look:

Spring Jacket

Original Straight Jean

Canvas Bag

New Balance 501 Sneaker

Follow Justin:

Twitter: @justinliv

Instagram: @justinliv

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ScoutSixteen

Did you get inspired by Jessica and Justin to create your own spring break look? Show us your looks on Twitter and Instagram with #AEOSTYLE for the chance to see yourself on AE.com.

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Meet the Cast: Maria

Meet the Cast: Maria

Meet Maria, a paddle boarder from Coral Springs, Florida and winner of American Eagle Outfitters Project Live Your Life. We had the chance to learn more about Maria — read on to see what she had to say and follow her on Instagram.

How does Miami compare to your hometown, Coral Springs? Have you been here before? Miami is so different! Coral Springs is very suburban, while Miami is a city were no one sleeps. Miami has beaches, art, festivals, and so much more adventures and experiences. I loved staying in Miami with the AEO cast and crew!

What do you heart about your hometown, Coral Springs, Florida? What I heart about Coral Springs is my family and friends that live there.

You enjoy paddle boarding. How did you get into this sport? My uncle lives right on Deerfield Beach, so I would always go over his house and hangout with him. He took me paddle boarding one time and I just fell in love with it. I got the hang of it on my first try and after that I found it so easy and relaxing. Plus, its a great exercise and I don’t have to wait for waves to come to take my board out.

What were some of the biggest challenges that you faced when you were first learning how to paddle board? I didn’t face many challenges paddle boarding but one of them probably had to be getting the paddle board onto my small Mini Cooper and down to the beach!

Are there any other sports that you enjoy? I enjoy soccer. I have played for about 11 years and I played for varsity on my high school team for South Plantation high.

Who inspires you to stay active? Someone who inspires me to stay active has to be pro-surfer Alana Blanchard. She’s such an inspiration to me, she taught me that being active and doing something new everyday just brings happiness and healthiness to you and always have fun everyday because life is short.

Tell us about your part of the mural. What inspired you to draw what you did? With my part of the mural I just expressed myself. I had so much fun doing it and it really inspired me to go after what I want.

You also describe yourself as an aspiring stylist. What trends are you into right now? The trends I’m into right now is laid-back vintage bohemian clothing. I like my clothes to be very chill and beachy. I love to add gold and leather jewelry-mostly strap-on bracelets and gold rings, with one of my cute little vintage tribal beach bags. Oh, and I can’t forget my leather moccasins!

What sets you apart from the crowd? I feel that my wild personality makes me stand out. I can be very outgoing and happy at one moment, but then very chill and mellow at another. My personality works both ways! Also, my sense of style makes me stand. I’m the only girl at my school who becomes a little rebel and wears shorts to school with a cute crop top and a laid back long sweater. I feel that being small and energetic makes me who I am. Also, my ambition to always look for an adventure and do something creative and new everyday!

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Meet the Cast: Devin

Meet the Cast: Devin

Meet Devin, an artist and photographer from Athens, Georgia. Devin is a winner of Project Live Your Life and is currently featured in our Spring Break 2014 campaign. Learn more about him and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

You’re from Athens, GA. What do you heart about your city?

I love that it’s a college town and the numerous concert venues that they have there. I am an arts and entertainment reporter and I got to cover and photograph around 12 bands that came and played just in last semester. The music scene is a huge plus that I love about it here. The Georgia Museum of Art is also located on campus and the festivals that they have frequently are also pretty great.

You’re an artist. How did you find your love of art?

I’ve been drawing ever since I could remember, but I didn’t realize how in love with it I was until recently. With painting and drawing, the idea of capturing an emotion, thought, place and person as it was or they were in one moment in time is sort of just amazing.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Definitely from the people around me, my friends and other artists and photographers as well.

Who is your artist icon?

I’m going to cheat and pick two on this one. Andy Warhol, because his photography and art is really hip and I actually have two of his prints in my apartment in Athens. The second is Steve McCurry. He’s a really phenomenal well-known photojournalist and if you ever have time, check out his work. I promise you’re life will be positively changed for the better.

As an artist, you’ve watched Wynwood Walls go from a blank slate to a colorful piece of art. What emotions were you feeling during this process?

Being apart of the process and especially collaborating with my cast mates during the initial process and then coming back on the last day and seeing how it all turned out was one of the greatest things ever. I definitely felt a lot of feelings of accomplishment, pride, happiness and camaraderie. I don’t think anything really brings people together as much as creating something, so that bond with my cast and crew and also the thought and idea that people in that city will possibly be inspired by that.

What does art mean to you?

A chance to express yourself in one of most incredible ways possible. It’s sort of like a language, but to different people and at different times it can mean completely different things.

You’re a photographer as well. What are your favorite things to snap?

Pretty much I like to shoot people, concerts, sunrises/sunsets and people again!

Is this your first time to Miami? What about this city inspires you?

Yes. Being in Wynwood Walls and seeing all of the street art all around the city was kind of awesome. The art, scenery, people, attractions and just the busyness of the city as a whole inspired me.

What makes you unique? What characteristics help tell your story?

I love people a lot. I love learning from them, meeting them, hearing about them and just being around them. I go by the idea that each and every single person that you meet changes your life for the better or worst depending on how you let them impact you, so I treasure each person that I do get the opportunity to meet. I’m really into photography, I’m an arts & entertainment reporter, I’m in love with painting and drawing, I’m really really awkward and I like to make fun of myself a lot because it’s hilarious.

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