The concept for The Living Room developed pretty organically, as a kind of convergence of two desires I’d been feeling for a while.
One was a desire to stretch my creative muscles, to make new work that may not be as commercially viable as some of our simpler, staple garments. While I truly relish the challenge of pulling beauty out of spare lines and upholding the marriage of form and function, sometimes I want to work with less self-imposed restriction. I was craving an outlet to explore things I might not want to commit to, things I may not understand, things that test my limits of chaos and imperfection. To that end, I have been working with unpredictable fabrics, hand painting prints, embracing color and pattern, pushing experimentation with shape to the extreme, and letting the natural elements of the fiber go untamed. Frayed edges, riotous sprays of liquid color, decadent volume - elements of style that intrigue me, filtered through my naturally simple and minimal design philosophy.
The second desire was to share things that I love - beyond clothing - with our community. The work of friends, the work of customers, and work that inspires me - it is constantly shaping how I see the world and the way I design, and I craved a way to bring those things to light in a public way. Carrying other brands products was not a concept we’d explored before, but in this format of intentional, heartfelt curation it felt right. In reaching out to artists to inquire about participation, I heard my own search for creative freedom echoed loudly. As the artwork and goods started to arrive, it became clear how beautifully the work of others completed the story of my own pieces.
So, the creation of The Living Room - this three-dimensional extension of my tastes - is, in part, a self-indulgent opportunity to get weird without strings attached and be surrounded by my favorite things. But, it’s also a way to connect with a community of talented artists that have deeply affected my own work, and to provide them with the same outlet I wished for myself. And, most honestly, it’s a way to welcome you to participate in and inhabit my creative process for a moment in time, which is equal parts exhilarating and mortifying.
Fiele Fragrances - I first smelled Fiele perfumes at the Northern Grade Market in Brooklyn, where we had an ES booth during the holidays a few years ago. I was taking a break from the booth to do some Christmas shopping, and ended up buying myself perfume. It’s been one of my favorite scents ever since.
Jennifer Jeremias - I met Jennifer at the Porter Flea market here in Nashville. It was my first time selling clothing in person. She was so kind and I was immediately in love with her simple, striking sterling silver jewelry. She had a focus and clarity that I admired, and I have always been in love with her sense of style. In fact, she is one of our muses this summer.
Christian Fecht - I met Christian while shooting an editorial for our FW15 collection - the photographer had suggested we use his wooden furniture as a backdrop for the collection. His classic, modern, dark style was so elegant and luxe but at the same time sturdy and practical. We commissioned him to build us a meeting table for our new studio space, and now that table lives right here in The Living Room.
ILĀ - Shop ILA was founded by Karen Mordechai, an ES customer and collaborator we’ve worked with to promote several collections. Her cookbook is the only one in my kitchen shelf that looks as good as the food inside it’s pages tastes. I was so excited when she launched ILA, bringing a whole new level of beauty to the kitchen.
Mary Mooney - Mary is an ES customer, and one of the most energetic and kind-hearted women I’ve met. I stumbled across her paintings on Instagram after she’d commented on a photo of ours. We worked with her to create our custom painted packaging paper that goes out with every box.
Emil Erwin - Emil is a Nashville based bag-maker. When I first moved to town, I peeked into the studio (they were located in Marathon Village at the time) and was instantly both intrigued and intimidated by his impeccable attention to detail and supremely well-crafted bags. They were so perfect I was afraid to touch anything. I’ve since watched the line grow and expand into furniture and home goods, all of which are (unsurprisingly) exactly what I want in my living room.
Melaena Cadiz - Melaena was our first ever ES muse. She has one of the most hauntingly beautiful voices I’ve ever heard. After we ran the feature on her in 2014, she came to play at the Stone Fox here in Nashville. Watching her sing in front of the red velvet curtain and gold fringe in her navy silk Georgia Midi is an image I’ll never forget.
Annie Williams - Annie is a sweet friend of mine, and my absolute favorite bag-maker. If I were a bag, I would be an Annie Williams bag. She’s one of the first people I met after moving to Nashville. My first bag of hers was a trade for a custom ES garment, and while much has changed since then (she has a beautiful growing family) that bag is still one of my most treasured.
Julia Kostreva - I love paper so much. I have been buying Julia’s notebooks for a while, and was so excited when good friend Elise Joseph (who creates incredible playlists with Julia’s artwork as the cover) introduced me to her over email. We chatted a bit about custom projects, and when this opportunity developed I knew it was a great fit.
Michelle Armas - Michelle is a long-time ES customer, and she had been shopping with us for quite a while before I discovered what a talented painter she was. I clicked through her signature in an email she sent about a purchase, and was in love immediately. After getting to know her a bit better, I love her sense of humor and refreshing honesty almost as much as her art.
Katia Carletti - I found Katia’s work after she tagged us in a photo. She was working in her ceramics studio in her Clyde pants, and besides looking like a vision of serenity and artistry she was making some of the most incredible hand formed mugs and bowls I’d ever seen. She only sells directly to stockists in her home country of Australia, so having her pieces here is really special to me.
Mason Louis Marie - An ES team member gave me a Maison Louis Marie candle for Christmas last year. She said she walked into a shop and the smell reminded her of something I would like. She was way off, because I don’t like the smell. I am obsessed with the smell. No. 4 is my favorite candle in the universe. I order them by the case, and burn them anytime I need to think, regroup, focus or relax. I’m telling you it’s magical. I was certain we wouldn’t be able to get these for The Living Room, but they agreed and my world is complete.
Liza Anne - Liza Anne is an incredible Nashville musician whose CD lives in my car stereo. She performed live during the filming of a studio tour last year, and since then we’ve been watching her ES garments travel with her on tour all over the world. We made her a white cotton jumpsuit to wear onstage, and I still get excited to see it in action.
Shayna Stevenson - When I first started making clothing, I did quite a bit of hand dyeing and painting. When I saw Shayna’s ink splattered ceramics online they resonated immediately with what I was doing. I’ve since watched her line grow from afar, collecting bits and bobs here and there. I am thrilled to have such a great selection of her work here together.
Little Seed Farm - Little Seed is a sustainable goat farm right outside of Nashville TN, and they make all kinds of wonderful bath and body products. We included their goat’s milk soap in our holiday gift boxes last year, and the studio smelled like heaven for the whole month. The Charcoal bar is so good for the skin, and their beautiful happy goats are good for the soul.
Zachary Gray - Zachary is one of the most talented artists I’ve ever met. We started working together a few years ago, and he has since become our trusted photographer - shooting everything from product photos, to editorials and studio tours. He has captured and translated the vision ES in its purest sense.
Amy Stroup - Amy played at an event we held at our last studio. She perched on a stool in our courtyard, accompanied by strings, twinkling lights overhead. Her music and authenticity moved me that evening, and she’s been a part of ES since. She wears a black silk tunic of ours at many of her shows, and performs Fleetwood Mac covers at our parties. Not only are we carrying her album High Roller on vinyl, she has cassette tapes here as well. Cassette tapes.
Land of Women - I’ve been a fan of Land of Women’s undergarments since they came onto the scene. Simple, classic, minimal styles that are well-constructed and made in NYC. They’re the kind of pieces I want to wear under everything sheer, and the understated sexiness is right up my alley. I didn’t consider carrying the pieces an option until I found out that McKenzie - LoW’s founder and designer - was an ES customer. Now I’m thrilled that we are able to pair her simple, foundational pieces with the ES garments in The Living Room - many of which are lightweight, sheer, or see-through.
Emily Leonard - Emily is a Nashville-based painter, and one of my earliest customers. She would come visit my first studio, at the back of a gym, with her adorable daughter Wendy in tow. We’ve worked together on a few projects - I made her a white linen dress for a ballet performance during which she painted a 40’ mural (live, onstage). I purchased a panel from the mural, and that piece of art is my favorite possession to this day. This summer, we asked Emily to paint a mural in our studio, and the beautiful large scale protea-inspired piece has it’s home in The Living Room, along with incredible prints of another one of her works.
The Living Room is open from 10AM-6PM every Friday through September 23rd.