The Insider: Ray Siegel

Devouring Ray Siegel’s in-the-know posts on is like reading a syllabus of what’s destined to be cool down the road—trust us. Shocker of all shockers: the fashion-slash-music-slash-beauty expert is as cool (and crazy-charming) in real life as she is on the internets. Behold. —carlye wisel

Q: Were you really into music pre-Nylon, or did your job there encourage that?
A: Music what I was first interested in, I would say. When I was young, I remember spending all of my time watching MTV, listening to the radio, and trying to convince my parents to buy me new CDs. I’m actually surprised that I didn’t become a music journalist, because the fashion thing kinda came later. But at Nylon, luckily, I get to do both. And then there’s beauty in the mix, too, which I also love doing. It’s sort of just the perfect mix.

Q: Do you have any beauty tips you swear by?
A: I’m really into highlighters. Trish McEvoy actually taught me this tip where you take your highlighter and draw a triangle under your eye—she calls it the Triangle of Light—and it’s a way to cover any sort of darkness. You just paint it on and rub it in.

Q: What would be your perfect New York day?
A: Well, in the winter, my perfect day is not leaving the house, because I hate the cold. But if it’s really nice outside, one of the things I always look forward to is going to Coney Island. I like going on all the rides, and my favorite pizza place in New York, Totonno’s, is right nearby.

Q: What’s the most embarrassing thing on your bookshelf?
A: I do still have a lot of the books I read as a kid, some of which are probably very embarrassing. Actually, my mom just sent me this card from a book review contest that I entered when I was 10 years old. It’s an illustration and a review of Lois Lowry’s Number The Stars.

Q: The Holocaust book?
A: Yeah! I basically had an obsession when I was a child. After I read The Diary of Anne Frank, I almost didn’t sleep for three years because I had terrible nightmares.

Q: What’s your shopping strategy like?
A: I’m the kind of person who likes trying on every single knit sweater. I will go around the perimeter of Barneys and look at every single thing, even if its a designer I’ve never worn before. You never know what you can find, and it works pretty well if you don’t discriminate. I focus more on the shapes of things, and if I think it’s a shape that would look good on me, I’ll try it, no matter what.

Q: That’s gotta be pretty time consuming, right?
A: It’s pretty slow, yeah. I go to What Goes Around Comes Around a lot. They have stacks of a hundred white T-shirts, and I’ll lay them out and go through every single one. The lady that works there is like, “What are you doing!” and I’m like “Nope, this is just what I do!” I make piles and try on all the ones that I think will fit. I spend a lot on T-shirts and sweatshirts and things that I know I’m going to wear all the time.

Q: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever worn?
A: When I was in college and high school, it was just kind of a bad time for fashion in general. Body glitter was cool, halter tops were cool, off-the-shoulder things and tight pants…and I definitely fell victim to some of that. I also wore a lot of stuff that I’m not embarrassed about at all and still wear. I have a Marc by Marc Jacobs denim jacket with crazy patches and studs all over it that I’ve had since high school, and I still rock that.

Photograph by Melanie Galea of The Street Muse.

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The Insider: Eviana Hartman of Bodkin Talks About “This Weird, Special Place” Called Los Angeles

The newly minted Cali resident and founder of the whimsically modern (and sustainable) clothing line Bodkin spent a long time in New York, covering fashion at Vogue, Teen Vogue, and Nylon before launching her own line. Here, she opens up about why she went West and what she’s loving about her new environs. nathalie

Q: How long have you lived in L.A.?

A: Just over two months, after 11 years in NYC.

Q: Why did you move there?

A: For love (I’m marrying an L.A. native this year), for a change of scenery, for a better quality of life, for the outdoors—and to escape the abrasive attitude and constant physical discomfort of New York. It was a great place to discover oneself and make connections, but when you find yourself shimmying through an 18-inch gap between a seven-foot-tall dirty snowbank and a diesel-spewing ConEd truck, heels on ice and toes dipped in a slush puddle, to catch a bus, while holding a huge bag of samples, something in you snaps.

Q: Who are your favorite L.A.-based designers?

A: Jasmin Shokrian, who brings an artist’s vocabulary and perspective to her choices in color and form. Band of Outsiders, because my fiance looks adorable in their shirts. Rodarte, of course—their work is about material experimentation, emotion, memory, and meaning, in a way that characterizes art, not fashion. Jesse Kamm, because she is my friend and is so smart and cool and funny—and has an effortless, airy aesthetic with an environmentally mindful approach.

Q: What aspect of the city’s culture would you say is most inspirational for you?

A: For me, it’s the city’s post-modernity—its complexity. It feels like a place that is new and changing—where there is possibility around every corner. I have been reading strictly L.A. books lately—Mike Davis’s City of Quartz and Ecology of Fear, The Day of the Locust, and some Joan Didion—and just really getting into the hidden subtleties of this weird, special place.

It’s L.A. month at Of a Kind! More on that here.

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Symmetry Goods

When Ted Byrnes, co-founder of the scarf-focused line Symmetry Goods, is asked whether he had always wanted to work with his wife, Gena Tuso, he responds without contemplation: “No.” But, then, there are very few projects that would have warranted a collaboration between the two. Gena comes from a fashion background—having moved from the post-crash dot-com world into visuals for Diesel and then independent styling gigs for magazines like Nylon and Paper—and he’s a music guy, a serious drummer with a Berklee College of Music degree.

“We both really like scarves—obviously,” Ted explains of their L.A.-based line, currently in its first season. “We don’t really know the genesis of the idea, but the thought was that it would be great if you could wear your scarf in a variety of ways with a component that allows you to do that. Then from there it was all about refining what the aesthetic was

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