Shannon Davenport & Julia Wilson’s Awesome Upstate Adventure

You’re gonna want to be friends with these two—promise.

“For us, inspiration is all about getting away,” says Julia Wilson, one-half of the ridiculously cool jewelry line, Fortune Favors the Brave. “Every summer, we plan a trip around Julia’s birthday with a group of friends,” adds Shannon Davenport, the Romy to Julia’s Michele. This year’s escape? A weekend at a badass barn in Tivoli, two hours from NYC. Way more on that—and the inspo they gathered—below. —alisha prakash

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Julia: “As you drive out, there are all these beautiful farmers’ markets. I bought seven jars of apple butter, which were the best thing ever. We also got jam, peaches, berries, and homemade granola.”

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Shannon: “We’d sit outside the house, and there’d be these huge butterflies and dragonflies that would come and land nearby. Our next season will have some insect pieces—we’re using the dragonfly, in particular, as inspiration—so it was exciting for us to see them.”

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Julia: “Shannon and I are obsessed with building fires. It takes us longer than it probably should, but it’s well worth it once we get it going. Shannon taught me. It’s one of the many things I learned from her—she’s an excellent fire-maker. We sat around the fire and made s’mores.”

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Shannon: “There was an outdoor shower, which was incredible. It’s a pretty sizable private, wooden booth, and you’re surrounded by trees. The wall is pretty tall, so no one can see you—but there’s no roof, so you can see the sky. It’s really relaxing. There’s also a tree rope swing, which I really liked, so I spent some time on there, too.”

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Julia: “That was my bed because I was the birthday girl. The ceiling was really high. This and all the beds were separated by curtains, so it was like a big sleepover—you could talk to everyone while everyone was falling asleep.”

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Shannon: “There was a big wall with feathers sticking out of it, plus a whole library of books and interesting trinkets that made you feel like you much farther than only two hours outside of the city.”

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Julia: “This is my French bulldog, Bebe. She’s eight months old. One of our other friends had her Frenchie—it was a big group of us with dogs and friends.”

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Shannon: “There were also these really amazing Persian rugs. The whole place had a feeling of luxury even though it was very rustic.”

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Julia: “This is Bard College. They have a beautiful garden overlooking the Hudson River. That was probably the most magical part of the trip. We saw all these young, hip people and the guy who plays Ray from Girls. We were like, ‘Wow, this is really the Brooklyn of Upstate New York.’”

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Julia: “We played a lot of cards here, but we also went on a lot of walks. The barn is on an acre of land, and on the property, there was this really beautiful creek. Overlooking the creek, they had this wooden deck where you could do yoga—a meditation deck—so we spent some time out there, relaxing, which was really nice.”

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Shannon: “The whole place represented getting out of the city, into a rustic environment with nature and quiet that was removed from our busy lives. Also, the big thing for us for in this collection is that we’re using color a lot more than we have before. We associate with the colors in nature. Everything seems a little more vibrant.”

Get ready to be blown away by this dynamic duo’s new edition—available now!

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Of a Kind

Packing for summer trips would be way easier if you owned this Upstate dress, no? —erica

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Of a Kind

Our girls at Upstate are delving into HOME. Yup, one more reason you won’t wanna get out of bed. —erica

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Fave Look: Upstate

Attacking the SS13 collections, one getup at a time. See ‘em all here.

Upstate

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Of a Kind

For fall, Upstate is delivering one of those dresses that can go, well, anywhere—BF’s work party, rehearsal dinner, drink date—and knock everyone’s Happy Socks off. —erica

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A Year in…Studio and Home Tours

A slew of our designers were kind enough to play host.

Not to hate on Cribs and its entertainment value or anything, but sometimes it’s more appealing to explore the pad of someone with taste—who keeps more in the fridge than Dom and Perrier. In the last 12 months, these are the designers’ living quarters and work spaces we were lucky enough to invade:

+ Hillary Taymour’s (Really, Really) Amazing Home (see pic above)

+ Kalen Kaminski and Astrid Chastka Think Big in a Really Small Space

+ The Symmetry Goods (Home) Office

+ Kathryn Bentley Busts a Move

+ Peek Inside Blanca Monros Gomez’s Brooklyn Home

+ Sara Gates Shows Off Her Space

+ Erica Weiner’s (Three-Story!) House

+ A Tour of Annie Larson’s New Brooklyn Pad

Until 2012, you can get a whole 25% off the editions these designers made for Of a Kind—just use the code NEWYEARNEWGEAR on any purchase over $40. You’re welcome!

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Next Level: Fall Dye Jobs

Oh, hay. What’s this? We’re rolling out some new/revamped features up in here. Don’t worry: There won’t be any running columns about taking your look from day to night. For “Next Level,” we’ll pick a theme and round up four pieces that suit you whether—to draw a ski comparison—you’re working your way down the bunny hill or whipping around moguls.

Tie-dye doesn’t have to be just a summer thing. You knew that, right? The key is (no surprise) going for moody colors on thicker materials than that wispy, 90-degree-day stuff. —erica

LEVEL I: This made-in-Ethiopia pouch from Sammy is the ideal low-key clutch. It wouldn’t look out of place next to a plate of pizza crusts.

LEVEL II: K, technically this is shibori, but you get the idea. The top that Upstate made for Of a Kind really kills it tucked into anything high-waisted—flared jeans, gray pencil skirts, you get the idea.

LEVEL III: Oh, yes, that’s dyed suede. Somehow Veda makes the biker jacket look fresh over and over and over again.

LEVEL IV: These might just widest legs we’ve ever seen on a pair of pants. Thank you, Wildfox Couture, for going there.

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Of a Kind

If you were wondering whether you’re still going to be into maxis next spring, well, Upstate makes a major case for YES. (PS: Still a handful of our exclusive tops from the twosome left here!) —erica

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Of a Kind

If you’re in the market for FNO plans in NYC, pretty sure they should be BUY THESE SHOES. Osborn is collaborating with a slew of rad designers like Upstate (see above—the duo also made this amazing top for us), Mary Meyer, Study NY, and Chromat. They’ll be selling these puppies at International Playground, which also happens to be one of our favorite places in town to uncover new lines. 13 Stanton St., 7-10p! —erica

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Fan Fiction: We Have a Winner!

Big ups to Sarah Eden who is the ultra-talented, super-official winner of our very first fan fiction contest. Girlfriend went all out: She not only featured two Of a Kind designers—Upstate and Clare Vivier—but she also did illustrations. I’ll pause to let you absorb this information: PICTURES. And I’ll let her take it from here. —erica

Twenty-six Of a Kind editions ago, Astrid Chastka and Kalen Kaminski, the duo behind Upstate, got their inky hands on one of the 30 Clare Vivier La Pochette wallets. They agreed to share their good fortune, settling on a joint custody arrangement: Saturdays-Tuesdays with Astrid, Wednesdays-Fridays with Kalen, Sundays off to spend time with other Of a Kind family members.

Now life in Brooklyn, where the designers are based, can result in some treacherous situations for a cream-colored wallet. Packed, sticky subways and the need for caffeine encourages a person to buy dark accessories. These risks, however, are nothing compared to a Brooklynite with a passion for shibori. You can wear gloves to protect your hands, but if Dexter has taught us anything it’s that protective plastic can only go so far to shield the rest of your dye zone.

Astrid and Kalen’s La Pochette (affectionately referred to as LP or LaPoche) now looks like this:

"Why," you ask?

It was the Tuesday before the release of Upstate’s Tri-Fold Dip Top. Being Tuesday, Astrid, of course, had LaPoche. She was in the dye-nook of Kalen’s apartment working on one last detail of the final shirt. Astrid folded #31 and added it to the teetering tower of Tri-Fold tops. “Understated cool. Sure to dazzle for all seasons,” she declared. “After all of that beautiful gray dye, though, I do have a hankering for a little pop of color. Where did I put that glam pink nail polish?”

A slant of light caught LaPoche’s golden knob, reminding Astrid of the polish’s whereabouts. She retrieved the polish from the wallet, placed LP atop the pile of shirts, sat down, pulled out the wand, and painted away. Just then Kalen rushed into the tiny apartment with a stack of certificates of authenticity to sign for the tops. She knocked into a pile of fabric bolts – the certificates flew into the air – and then the bolts tumbled onto the floor. Before Astrid could move out of the way, the fabric crashed into her, shocking the polish out of her hands. Luckily, fabric is soft so Astrid was OK. The polish, however, found a new home on LaPoche and the pile of Of a Kind tops. Chance and a wand: it was indeed magic that gave the Tri-Fold Dip Top—and  LP—their pink touches.

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