THIS WEEKEND WAS SPENT beating the heat by making popsicles with Esther and Ngoc (post on that later!) and then exploring the beach with Kaity, my sisters Maya and Tess, and niece Quinn. Seems super summery, but that’s pretty much what you’d expect from spring in southern California. It’s strange because we don’t tend to get clearly defined seasons here, but it’s not always a bad thing. What it means, in this case, is we get to skip the April showers and the June gloom and get an extension on picnics and beach days and popsicle making.
We went to Victoria Beach in Laguna on the recommendation of my pal Ashley of Milk Teeths. It was beautiful; unfortunately, I didn't get any photos of the castle turret nearby, but maybe next time!
I was lucky enough to receive the Vacillar top as a gift from Lisa of Hackwith Design House, along with a brand new scent created as a collaboration between Lisa and Kate of Na Nin as part of the Maker’s Alongside project. It's the second product to be released by the collaboration and will be available at the end of May. Both of these amazing gifts were perfect accents to my weekend. The blouse is sewn into a beautiful silhouette that is pretty darn worthy of its name. (I, of course—wordsmith that I am—did some research into the name, and its derivation means “sway” or “waver.” I feel like these words encompass Lisa’s body of work: flowy, airy, dreamy.) The top can be worn front or back, depending on if you want a boat neck or a more scooped neck. My favorite detail is the sleeve, which flares out the slightest bit (so flattering!). The hem is high/low as well, making it really versatile, like a lot of her pieces. I wear it to teach and I've already taken it with me to Portland, so I can tell you that it travels well-- read: wrinkle-free. I also love the fact that they only make a limited run of their garments, which makes them all the more special. In the photos, I paired the Vacillar top with cuffed white denim Madewell shorts (my sister's) and sandals from Urban Outfitters.
Which brings me to the perfume, “Prairie Fire” which is named—by the Hackwith Design team—after the Sufjan Stevens song “Prairie Fire That Wanders About.” So perfect. When it comes to scents, I normally gravitate towards food smells like vanilla and citrus, but this perfume really won me over. It has notes of rosewood, jasmine, neroli, and vetiver. It smells like sweet grass, and earth, and smoke and sun, but in a feminine way. Really fresh. I like to think of scents in terms of what they remind me of, and this one reminds me of daydreaming and wandering in a field with sparklers on the Fourth of July or something else equally nostalgic. I received it in a roll-on, but it’ll be sold as a spray on May 21st. I’m sure I’ll have to pick it up before I run out. I’m fairly certain it’ll be a staple for years.
Read on for a short interview with both Lisa and Kate!
Tell me a little bit about the mission and inspiration for Hackwith Design House and Na Nin.
We believe that your favorite piece of clothing doesn’t have to be shared; it can be as unique as you are. Instead of designing for mass production, we immerse ourselves wholeheartedly in the process and create every piece with the intention of it becoming that special highlight of your closet. We create less than 25 of each piece, which makes all of them uniquely rare and special.
We also believe that it's important to know where and how your clothing is being made. We begin with a sketch, handpick fine fabrics from all over the world, and then sew the piece in our Minneapolis Studio. We want these pieces to be special and we want them to last, so we make sure that the quality of our garments is outstanding.
We believe that a favorite piece of clothing is one that is versatile and can be worn again and again, so a lot of our designs are not limited to seasons but are meant to be enjoyed year round. Because of that, we decided not to design and sell our clothing in collections but to release one new design every Monday. We hope you’ll find one of your favorites, and you’ll know that you’ll be one of a very small group of people in the world who has it.
When I was invited to be apart of the Makers Alongside Hackwith - I wanted to make sure I created a scent that represented Hackwith Design House. A fragrance that would be unique yet not overly complicated - which is how I would describe Lisa's designs
How does your city influence your designs? What’s the influence/inspiration for your collaboration?
Minneapolis is an incredible place to live. It has fantastic art museums, delicious restaurants, and a burgeoning fashion scene. The parks and bike lanes in Minneapolis make it a wonderful place to be when the weather is warm. My husband and I love taking our dog Samson for a hike along the Mississippi. On these hikes, I often feel inspired by the foliage of the trees or the way the water interacts with the rocks and leaves in and around it. Minnesotans know the importance of layering in all four seasons, and I think that has something to do with how I like my pieces to be fairly seasonless. I want people to be able to wear them no matter the weather as long as they know how to layer!
I live in Richmond, VA - but I grew up outside of a small town in Fauquier County, VA - which is horse country. My fragrances are inspired of memories & visions - that mostly come from childhood memories. My parents raised me with The Band, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac and many other musicians of that time constantly playing in the background.
Richmond inspires me because there is a great community of designers, makers and entrepreneurs that support one another. And feeling like you have people rooting for you is a wonderful feeling that I’m thankful for. I want to make my friends and family proud with everything I do.
The girls over at HDH came up with the name influenced after, "Prairie Fire That Wanders About" by Sufjan Stevens. Praire Fire is a light floral scent with a touch of smoke - that’s inspired by the vision of spring. The notes; rosewood, jasmine, neroli & vetiver blend so beautifully well. It really is a dreamy fragrance that takes you to a happy place.
If you weren’t doing what you were doing now, what would you have wanted a career in?
My original plan after college was to take a year off before going to get my MFA. It was during that year that I started sewing and realized how much I loved designing and making clothes. I never looked back.
Besides running my small business, I am also a kindergarten teacher ( a portion of profit of my products go to the inner city school where I work) it’s a really tough community where I have witnessed some pretty traumatizing situations. But my students are one of my biggest inspirations - because with a great deal of them having very little, and having been through so much, they show me strength and drive every day that helps me be less narcissistic, forces me to be grateful and to take advantage of living a full life with dedication of helping others.
I do fantasize about being a stand up comedian, being on SNL, or being the next Dolly Parton. Almost every song that I listen to on the way to work I envision myself performing it. Whether it’s a wild rap song, a country song, death metal...you name it. So, if I wasn’t a kindergarten teacher/small business owner - I would somehow like to be famous and be able to give back with all of my big money!
I also received this amazing round beach blanket/towel from The Beach People, an Australian company. It's so perfect. The black and white Aztec print is super cute and it's made from terry, so it's completely functional and the sand shakes out of it really easily. It also came with a handy leather strap for toting around. I can't wait to use it on more beach adventures this summer!
Now I leave you with a photo of Kaity, commanding a bird to follow her around the tide pools.