Madewell x Where I Was From: Visiting The Place That Inspired Our Recent Collab

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An organic farm outside Albuquerque. Pink hues reminiscent of Mexican architect Barragán. A 40-year-old pair of white jeans. These are just a few of the things Stacy Daily and Claire Lampert, the Brooklyn-based team behind the cool and cult-followed vintage line Where I Was From, referenced when dreaming up designs for our latest collab, a throwback-inspired collection of denim, tees, jackets and scarves. We journeyed to New Mexico, the place where you could say—in a way—this collection is from, to see the inspiration firsthand.

“We often discuss our most important, involved or out-there ideas in wide open spaces…and trips like this facilitate that need,” explains Stacy, one half of the WIWF duo. Their line has a distinctive look and feel that’s as dreamy and nostalgic as it is relevant to today, which may explain why it has such a dedicated following among those in the know. Think of Stacy and Claire as the thinking woman’s designers—they reference architecture, art and history whenever discussing their line—and they gravitated towards the landscapes of New Mexico for this project.

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Specifically, a gorgeous inn/ranch/working farm called Los Poblanos near Albuquerque was a big influence on the 12-piece capsule collection. How did they discover such a unique spot? “It was total happenstance. Our first time there was in October a couple years back, during a scouting trip. In four days we drove 500 miles—we were looking for a place to crash in Albuquerque before hopping on a flight back to NYC. It was Stacy’s first time in New Mexico and she wanted to stay on a working farm,” Claire explained. They found Los Poblanos, they fell in love and revisit it twice yearly now.

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Appropriately, the collab’s faded palette makes everything look as if it had spent a bit of time in the Southwest sunshine—whether working or just playing outdoors. There’s something pretty about the pieces, a softness by way of the outline of a heart on a back pocket or the sweetness of a soft scarf. However, hardwearing details like massive knee rips on a pair of wide-leg jeans and frayed edges remind you there’s nothing precious about them. It calls to mind the juxtaposition of Los Poblanos: a working farm with llamas, chickens and vegetable gardens next to 25 acres of lavender fields. It’s a romantic and pragmatic place.

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Speaking of romance, Stacy explained how one of the signature pieces in the collection came to be. “One of the most beautiful pairs of jeans we ever found has to be about 40 years old, in bleached-out broken twill. The knees had worn through and the hem had been altered several times. This jean inspired the broken-in white pair we created for [the collab].”

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And if this isn’t all enough to make you want to pack your bags and spend some time journeying around New Mexico in Claire and Stacy’s footsteps, they left us with this beautiful scene, “We had one night there [the first time at Los Poblanos], and it was a total respite. We wrote our plan for the next year over a pot of coffee, lavender scones and farmstead shakshuka the next morning.” A few years later, they developed an entire line that recalls this magical and beautiful place.

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Inspired? Shop the entire collection on March 7th (and in the meantime, get yourself some new arrivals, here).