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Since May of this year, Fort Makers has (deep breath): 1) designed bedding for Anthroplogie 2) created Line Lights wooden light sculptures for the Modern Craft Show at New York City's 19th century Merchant House 3) mounted their outdoor Action Painting series throughout Richmond, Virginia (including an 80-foot canvas hung on a cliff face) 4) hosted a poetry reading by Dominique Townsend at their Clinton Hill studio 5) unveiled Free Space, a floor-to-ceiling abstract psychedelic mural in a former Victoria's Secret store at South Street Seaport, where they also 6) collaborated with Baggu on limited-edition, site-specific scarves, totes and pouches at a two-week pop-up shop) 7) designed a stage set for the MoMA PS1 Warm Up series 8) are set to debut a new Lawn Quilt series for the Dumbo Arts Festival later this week and 9) are launching their first e-com shop in October, featuring their fashion, accessories and home creations. Naomi, who cites Louise Bourgeois, Marcel Duchamp, Joan Mitchell and Willem De Kooning as influences, said that Nana helped her re-channel her desire to collect found objects from a "hard edge [Robert] Rauschenberg approach" to a "more soft edge textile base. Their first "Blanket Project" led to a series of dresses (which were picked up by Anthropologie) made in collaboration with Naomi's designer friend Lauren Nevada, which led to "The Leave it to Beaver Set," which led to "The Scarf Program," which led to "Candlestick City," which led to "Made in Kind" jewelry, which led to… You get the idea. Throughout, this merry band of pranksters mounted their signature "Forts" (mobile fabric installations that function as inhabitable paintings) in Massachusetts, Utah, New Jersey and New York.
We talked about their creative process, which involves a fair amount of casual brainstorming and individual conceptualizing that is then vetted by the entire group and which seems to occur in a completely organic, unforced way—whether they're working in the studio, walking in the park or having lunch at the communal table that has pride of place beneath the studio's vast wall of windows. The group nodded in agreement, surrounded by their labors of love and pondering their next move, which will be coming soon to a gallery…or store…or street corner near you. Down at Portland’s Central Precinct, down three floors, three cops sit slack-jawed staring at the biggest flat screen TV I have ever seen. It's 10 til four, and the cops lounge around a long table, the kind we use at work for important meetings. I’m here for a ride-along with Officer Chad Stensgaard -- a cop who spent a day in court last month after parking in a no-parking zone to eat dinner and watch the Blazers game. Half a decade ago, when I was 20 and working in Mississippi, I spent my nights hanging out with black men who hated cops. Outside the old Burger King, the female cop handcuffs Yvonne then guides her to the curb, right outside my window. The female cop picks a little knob off the asphalt and bends down to tighten it onto Yvonne's tongue. The granola-eating cop tells one of Yvonne's friends, the only guy in the group, to break a crack pipe found in Yvonne's purse.
Like many people, I first discovered Ariel Pink when he was self-producing albums from his bedroom in Los Angeles reminiscent of the great lo-fi king R. Lauren Goodman: Will you tell us a little bit about the evolution of your music from making it alone and very DYI, to now?
Ariel: I think so—I intend to be… I think I might be the on board entertainment for the people that will be riding. Ariel: I was dropping off Geneva [musician, Geneva Jacuzzi, on-again off-again girlfriend of Pink’s] at the studio. Lauren: Besides being in the SLP campaign this season, have you noticed how the runways look like your style? Top image: Ariel Pink wears a shark sweatshirt given to him by a fan with his own vintage sweatpants, on Mission St. One of my primary interests when profiling people for Dossier has always been those who do multiple things and somehow manage to do them well. Julia: My very first job, at age nine, was organizing the desk drawers of a friend of my mother's. Julia: I discovered graphic design when I was in my early teens and took classes one summer at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Julia: I set out to have a career in the design and advertising space with style and retail as a subset of my interests, and never considered an alternate path, so there haven't been any big surprises. Julia: Coming off the Kate Spade years and having been quietly instrumental to building the brand, it seemed like an intuitive next step to launch my own concept.
Skye: You mentioned that Chance is very inspired by travel. What are some of the specific places that have inspired the line?
Julia: The Chance launch collection was inspired by the core idea, "Artful classics that travel the world," so I mined both French and American style, a reflection of my own background. Julia: In terms of personal travel, I return to Mexico again and again, and absolutely love Japan.
Skye: You currently have two seemingly full-time "jobs," between Wieden +Kennedy and Chance.
Julia: Wieden + Kennedy and Chance are great complements to one another, and enable me to play at both ends of the spectrum in terms of scale.
Julia: As a creative director at Wieden, I've been focused on design, style, and retail oriented clients.
Skye: When I recently visited the office I got to see some of the design you'd done during the renovation. Julia: The office is also currently being renovated and knowing my experience with showroom and store design projects, the management team invited me to do the sourcing for the lounge spaces, not something that was technically in my job description, but a nice bit of happenstance. It was a serendipitous beginning for Kitty-Ca$h, who lists Trap, Hip-Hop, R’n’B, Pop, House and Reggae as some of her favorite genres to spin, the FIT alum was working as a publicist when her best friend, rapper Kilo Kish, offered Kitty the opportunity to be her tour DJ; with the one caveat--she had to learn how to DJ first. Now, a year later the Brooklyn native has been honing her skills and has released her first ever mix exclusive to Dossier, using trap as a foundation while seamlessly layering down-tempo electro, pop and R and B.
What is beauty?: This is a very layered question that I could talk about endlessly, but to keep it simple I would say beauty comes from within. I felt creative at a young age and I had a strong group of female friends in middle school and through high school who had a deep love for fashion and aesthetics. I've always cared about the space around me, I was always making art in high school and reading lots of magazines.
My girlfriends and I were obsessed with furniture and re-arranging our bedrooms and re-decorating. By early college I was over that hippie phase but I was just as inspired by clothing and art and I was searching for my place and how I fit within my interests. Skye: After opening the store, you expanded to opening a showroom and then to making your own line. We opened the showroom very organically because the economy was so terrible just months after we opened the store; we were trying to be resourceful as to how to generate side income. Maryam: I manage the different needs of my business by taking turns focusing on all of them.
Maryam: Last November, after having the store for four years, I finally felt that it was the time to start my collection.
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We will return in early December with a new format that reflects our ongoing examination of culture in all of its articulations. Naomi was graduating from Pratt Institute and wanted an extra set of eyes for her thesis show.
I don't think it has stopped, it has just changed and evolved." The result can be seen not only in Naomi's fabric paintings but also in the group's hand-painted blankets and appliqued quilts, which feel not like something grandma might have made but more like something sprung from the collective mind of some left-of-center savants with strong Bauhaus leanings.
And somewhere along the line, Nana's cousin Elizabeth Whitcomb (a fledgling jewelry designer from Providence, Rhode Island who also assists with production) joined the collective, turning this band of three into the Gang of Four and adding a welcome new voice to the mix.
Though he studied painting at University of Colorado—Boulder, Noah's focus is on woodworking, specifically candlesticks, cutting boards, light fixtures and other household objects that look deceptively simple but are actually quite intricate in their construction.
These images are taken from a body of work titled Love and War, capturing the progression of a relationship between the photographer and a woman named Caroline Annandale, who enlisted in the U.S. Lil' Rick is a man now, but on the History Channel, he's still a Los Angeles teenager wielding big guns and blue handkerchiefs. I’m a newspaper reporter, new to the night cops beat after spending a few years writing about education. He spends the first hour rolling slowly through the streets, coolly telling me about this or that time he arrested someone. Chad turns the radio on -- the pop station, not the police scanner -- and sings softly as he drives.
He says some code into his police radio then motions to a group of five people -- all black, maybe homeless, maybe in their 40s -- a few feet away. I’d tell black grocery store check-out workers that I’m from the South, hoping they’d understand how similar we are. She's handcuffed, but after Chad leaves, she wiggles around until she's holding a cell phone up. I’m not ready to go into the newsroom yet, so I walk to the grocery store, buy a sandwich, read The New Yorker. They had a special guy there, Daniel Moon, who was mixing up a sort of magenta fuchsia fusion [laughter]. A few months ago I met Julia Leach at Wieden and Kennedy, where she works as a creative director. They're both creative  - Mom, a writer and art teacher, who was always drawing vegetables from our garden, Dad a potter, who originally set out to be an architect - and I'm grateful for their influence on me. In learning more about it, I discovered advertising, and was able to secure an internship at a small ad agency in Minneapolis between my senior year of high school and heading off to college at UW Madison. Each chapter has unfolded organically and each has come with great lessons and rewards, so I plan to continue to trust my instincts.
The striped t-shirt is such an iconic item of clothing, and it telegraphs all of the values I wanted to place at the center of the venture - design, simplicity, personal style, and adventure - so that was where I started (the striped tee also happened to be a constant in my wardrobe). I didn't want people to see it as only French nautical, however, so the second collection was inspired by California, where I spend a significant amount of time. I visited Tokyo frequently during my Kate Spade years, and look forward to going back again.


There's a tribal quality to working at Wieden + Kennedy, a place where there's a relentless quest to do impactful, compelling, and culturally relevant work.
All the pieces fit together when I step back and see (and hear) this voice coming through and all my passions syncing up through various initiatives and roles.
Most of the people that I can actually call beautiful, I see them as colorless individuals. As a child, did you care about clothes and the space around you, or did it come to be important to you later?
I remember opening my closet at age seven and being mesmerized by the beauty of plaid and staring at the pattern.
I would fill my walls with paintings and drawings I did in art class, and I was obsessed with magazines. Looking back, it was very cute that we were so young and cared that much about interior decorating.
I started an experimental project where I would collage and dye vintage lace and embroidered cottons, and make these embellished one-of-a-kind t-shirts. Months after moving here, I met my husband, Uday Kak, in the Lower East Side, where I had moved. Some things in my path have been unexpected ideas, like opening a store or opening a showroom, but I’ve wanted to pursue fashion design since was I was kid. I focus on certain areas more during certain months of the year and also depending on deadlines. I had been feeling like the timing was right and then this beautiful girl came into my life, Melisa Denizeri, who wanted to be my design assistant.
In many ways I feel like I can be more experimental with them because there is less limitation with little girls. Sherry Argov's national bestseller "Why Men Love Bitches" delivers a unique perspective as to why men are attracted to a strong woman who stands up for herself. This artistically inclined quartet resides in Brooklyn (naturally) and specialize in primitive, nature-inspired interdisciplinary pieces that you may have seen without even realizing it. Nana, who had just left her job as an assistant buyer at Barneys New York, stepped in as curator and—voila!—an art collective (or "artists collaborative," as they prefer to call it) was born. It’s not like I want to show all of it but to go through the artistic process, I have to do it physically.
He began woodworking as a kid, a pastime his artist parents encouraged, and spent several years apprenticing to cabinetmakers and furniture craftsmen such as Patrick Townsend, Paul Loebach and Uhuru Design, after moving to New York City.
Tonight, Chad’s going to take me through the dilapidated part of downtown known as Old Town, show me how the crack addicts have migrated north again.
I only have a few hours, and I feel impatient for some kind of action, something I can go back to work and write down so my bosses will think I’m a go-getter. I never would have imagined that a few years later, his infectious sound- a mix of pop music and drum sounds made with his mouth- would be a household thing. There was a sense of understatement in our home, yet also a passion for clean design, thoughtful craftsmanship, organic food, and great music - all things I value to this day. I majored in journalism with a focus on advertising and minored in art history, and set out for New York after graduation, focused on getting my foot in the door at a creatively-driven shop. I didn't want Chance to be seen as just a t-shirt line though, so I also created beach towels, totes, hats, shorts, pajamas and loungewear, and so on, all elements that further communicated the sensibility. I've had a long-time crush on the whole state, but in particular, I love Palm Springs and areas of Los Angeles, and have recently been spending more time in Santa Barbara.
I've enjoyed traveling to many other places, from Argentina to Cuba to Sweden to Switzerland, but Mexico and Japan keep calling me back.
In all candor, it can be challenging to spend most nights and weekends on Chance, but in the end, I do feel like my dual professional life offers the best of both worlds.
I definitely feel like there are more great challenges ahead, and I trust they'll be a continuation of these themes.
When selecting, I wanted songs that evoked an array of emotions like lust, passion, happiness, romance, anger, love and infatuation; resulting in a care-free yet sultry summer vibe for the mix. I call them beautiful because of their spirit (their energy, their heart) not because of their exteriors (physical attraction).
They moved there but it was only a few years later that suddenly the Revolution began, so they quickly moved to the U.S. Years later I remember begging my parents to take me shopping at the Esprit outlet in San Francisco. In middle school, we would save up money and go to Venice on the weekends and go buy tons of crafty treats, like Guatemalan handwork, Rasta gear and vintage clothing.
The style of my work was not clearly art or fashion; I was making textiles that were on the edge of either realm. I walked up to him and asked him directions, and we became boyfriend and girlfriend instantly. Especially after I stopped designing my namesake in 2005, I was dreaming of the opportunity to be able to design again.
I had great relationships with designers who were undiscovered and whose businesses I wanted to help grow, since I was once in their position with my clothing line.
I’m pretty good at managing many balls in the air as well as diving into one area fully, or ignoring the rest.
It was amazing timing to meet her because my gut was feeling the time was right but it was through her assistance and support I was able to get the collection off the ground. I feel very fulfilled and thankful for the opportunity to work and express and even if I could even do one thing instead of a three I would still be so happy---I really love what I do.
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To bring something in and make something [out of it] is like the sketch; it’s not necessarily the final piece. Two years ago, the police chief had declared victory: The big raid had sent 158 dealers or users to jail.
The shop is part of the new, remodeled plaza that city officials had said would turn Old Town around. I’m the youngest person on staff, and I want to stop feeling like I’ll never catch up to the other reporters. I was white and never had any run-ins with cops, but I felt more comfortable with black people in the South.
I’m biking home from work, late at night, and she's sitting on a bench with a new group of friends. These days, Ariel is busy touring with a band and modeling for the new Saint Laurent Paris campaign as well as making movies with Elijiah Wood.
It tells the story of a band in the late 60’s—kind of a mixture of Sly and the Family Stone and Jefferson Airplane.
During our meeting, I also learned that she has her own clothing and accessories line, Chance, which she works on nights and weekends. They both had an effortless sense of style, but we never discussed fashion - though my mother often bought Paris Vogue and Elle, along with Gourmet, when we made trips to Minneapolis for my father's pottery sales.
I'd been crazy about horses since the age of five, so to be 11 years old and brushing, lunging, and working around these beautiful creatures all day long in the summertime was heaven for me. It's become a repository for all my interests, many of them posted on the Discoveries page of the website, and I plan to continue to build it slowly. We have interesting new business opportunities on the horizon, so it's an exciting time at the agency. The next chapter will probably open with a dose of healthy ambition and a little bit of chance. It was the most exciting experience - I can easily compare it to the joy of visiting the Prada outlet in Tuscany in my early twenties! We would always borrow each others' clothes and get dressed up and do photo shoots - not even anything really out there, it was more everyday dressing - but we would style outfits and take tons of photos of each other.
The artwork I made was more landscape and portrait based but all the magazine tears were about fashion. It was amazing to have her as a role model---my whole life she was making custom clothing and accessories for her clients.
I think my plan was always to have the opportunity to design again because that has always been my ideal way to spend my time, yet I knew I had to be patient and be detached from the idea of designing while starting the store and the showroom. The good thing is everything I do (buying, merchandising, styling, designing, consulting) perfectly compliments one another under the fashion umbrella. We were close to pulling it off but we felt our energy was needed in New York so we had to postpone the project. Melisa really understood my vision and we shared the same aesthetic and the love for clothing, shoes and styling.
It’s upscale, but close enough to the downscale area that Chad likes to check in on his wife.
Currently, his hair is a shocking shade of pink and his look seems to be inspiring fashion houses on the runway as he mixes thrift-store finds with goth aesthetic and punk seamlessly. I mean, I am 35 and I started making music when I was a teenager, so I’ve had to quite a few years to work out the kinks and all that kind of stuff. Chance is a line bulit around well-made, beachy essentials - the perfect striped shirt, elegant beach towels, a leather bag you really want to carry everything in.


My grandparents, especially on my father's side, were very polished in a Brooks Brothers sort of way, so I was aware of quality and formal elegance from a young age.
Jay was an incredible mentor and was extremely supportive, giving me many opportunities to learn and grow. I've enjoyed learning about the apparel design process, and my biggest satisfaction continues to be expressing the brand vision through imagery, films, and collaborations.
My eyes were always attracted to color and pattern and I felt an immediate connection and appreciation for textiles. During my hippie phase, I spent a summer with her in London and she taught me how to make clothing. I was working at one of my dear friend's boutiques, Narnia, and I was struggling to find my next move. Actually, I felt so much fulfillment with being on the other side, appreciating design from a buyer's and wholesaler’s perspectives.
I always say all I can do is work a full week from 9-6 daily, and I can't work more that that because of my children, so what doesn't get done in one day has to happen the next. We really feel strong about our vision on the West Coast and eventually we would love to open a store in Paris as well. Another simple example is [that] many women dress in a way that flatters their figure, and my girls they have such little tiny bodies I am styling them in ways I wish I could dress and living vicariously throughout them. You’d open the door and it was like these crazy bars and a tree limb that had nails on it that was super dangerous. The sign is gone, but its essential Burger Kingness -- the drive-through, the mission-tile roof -- is intact. I had wanted a story, and there isn’t one, and I am mad at Chad for arresting people so that I can have a story.
Here, I sat down to chat with him about his musical influences and his plans for the summer. Along with asking her some questions about how her multi-faceted career has come to pass, I asked Julia to share some of her inspiration boards for the current Chance collection, built around Greece, as well as a video shot there for the brand.
My own sense of style continues to reflect this collision of easy artfulness and classicism, thanks to my parents and grandparents. Initially, my parents were a little nervous when I'd go to horse shows around the Midwest for a long weekend, but I'd shown a sense of responsibility, and they trusted me. Chance is about slowing down in a world that seems to be going faster and faster, so I feel no sense of urgency to accelerate its growth.
The most recent collection is inspired by Greece, a place that's long captured my imagination.
They spent their entire savings on opening a restaurant with my dad's sister and her husband, who had also immigrated. I remained close to this group of friends and we got into a major Grateful Dead phase, where we got deep into hippie gear and we were always searching for old 1970s cotton floral caftans from India. I will never forget the thrill of scouring fabric stores for material and spending the day into the middle of the night obsessed with sewing on a mission to finish the clothing. In college I was influenced by Susan Cianciolo, Miuccia Prada, David Hockney, Eva Hesse and Jean Arp; all of whom are still huge inspirations for me. By 2005, I knew that I needed to step back from my work in order to learn more technically and even more about business, in order to come back to designing again. I was actually experiencing and seeing work that was so inspirational that I got fulfillment from editing buys, merchandising or consulting designers about their work. My goal is for the collection to keep consistent and keep evolving, and for it to have a following. My oldest daughter, Anais, is beginning to slip her feet into all my shoes and march around our apartment. He doesn't tell me to get out, so I don't, but I hold my notebook out the window and write descriptions of the trespassers: over-sized t-shirts, sweat pants, windbreaker.
We also did a fashion shoot, shot on location in the famous freewheeling Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco with looks inspired by Ariel Pink himself.
There are other films: I am also going to be a part of a movie called The Transloco, with Willie Desantos. When my parents split up, my mother moved to Finland, where she met a wonderful French man.
I traveled to the island of Paros in April to shoot photos and two short films with a small team from Athens. It would be pure joy to have my designs appreciated and out in the word for people to use and enjoy.
I began to gather images, shoes and clothing that had inspired me along the years while envisioning my perfect wardrobe. Chad tells Yvonne to turn her pockets inside out then he runs a gloved hand over her pocket, holds his hand up to eye-level. They got married and moved to a tiny village in the Dordogne region of France, where she's been living for nearly twenty-five years. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, in a rural area near the beach, surrounded by rolling hills and rocky canyons. Eventually though I felt a void and I missed using my hands in that way, but I really had to be patient for when the time was right to design again. I knew I had an eye for shapes that were missing in the market and I wanted to make designs that would have longevity and serve as timeless pieces one would want to collect and keep for years.
I think she is interested in experiencing what is Mommy's and I can really tell she enjoys it.
I appreciate that through my mother and Michel, I was exposed to a European way of life as well. I loved that job, too, as I'd started to enjoy expressing my creativity through personal style.
Over salads on a hot summer day, he told me, "Our company is growing, we need help - would you be interested in joining us?" The brand was young, so it was a bit of a leap of faith, but I saw the potential in their sensibility and decided to jump on board. Uday would visit me at Narnia and, seeing me in that environment, he told me I needed my own store and really kept encouraging the idea. We thought of building a wardrobe that mimics the store in the sense that it feels eclectic and like parts coming together, some are intricate, some are simple, but it is the mix of color and texture that makes for the story the clothes tell.
At the same time, you wouldn’t know necessarily because I have limited my involvement to the people that I am committed to.
My primary residence, though, continued to be with my father, where my horse was the main focus of my teenage years, along with school and my jobs. The things I learned in each of these roles still come through in my professional life - a strong work ethic and high standards, a sense of order, creative expression, and independent thinking. My mom sold houses and my dad had his own firm as a mortgage broker giving loans for houses. There were so many “For Rent” signs in the neighborhood in Spring of 2008 and we started randomly checking out spaces. I wanted the collection to feel curated and edited, like the store, so I bought hand-woven fabric from India and Japan, from family owned mills, that felt unique and special. Lune, my seven-month-old, has a way to go before she realizes, but it is the best feeling recycling Anais's clothes on her and getting an opportunity to enjoy them again. In the past, I was more promiscuous, so to speak, in terms of whom I played with and under what circumstances.
Once again, the company was sold, and I was ready to take on a new challenge, so I departed, and shortly thereafter, I launched Chance.
We thought how beautiful it could be to create a space to act as a backdrop for each of us, to express ourselves through this open-ended space. We produced shoes in Italy, Turkey and Mexico, hoping that the collection would feel like an eclectic mix of timeless pieces from different places merging into wearable, edited collectables. I love the process of defining a brand and building emotion and storytelling into a vision, so it's been a very rewarding process over the past three years. The idea of the collection is for it to feel like an extension of the store and embody the atmosphere and style of the brand. The other day I bought some kids' clothing my dear friend Susan Cianciolo designed, and we spoke about how beautiful it could be if we opened a kids' store together. Having a start-up can be isolating, however, and I missed a sense of scale and collaboration, and leading a team, so when an opportunity came up to join Wieden + Kennedy as a creative director, I jumped at it.
We don't want to feel pressured to crank anything out and the only way the collection became possible is because we take out time and really go at our own pace, otherwise it would be stressful and that is the opposite of the intention of expression for me.
The people are fantastic, and the agency's creative philosophy resonates with me, especially given my formative years working with Jay, so I've found it to be a perfect counterpoint to Chance. Although I have the showroom, I don't have any plans to wholesale and really grow the brand; I would rather keep the collection exclusive to the store and keep it small and special. I love that my career hasn't followed a predictably straight line, yet certain threads - design, style, innovation, risk taking - tie it all together. The economic crisis was in October 2008, so our timing to open a business was less than ideal but what was amazing was if we had waited a few months with our idea we would have never been able to get a loan to pull it off.



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