Show + Tell: Aurora James, Creative Director of Brother Vellies

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As the old edict goes, “you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes,” but we think you can tell even more about the person who makes them. We spent an afternoon with Aurora James, founder of the footwear line Brother Vellies, and covered a lot of ground, from sustainability to starting her own company to clothes as a second language.

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Listen Up: Kate Brien’s Summer Kickoff Playlist

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When we asked View From The Topp blogger Kate Brien to put together a playlist, she gravitated toward laid-back tunes with a decidedly sun-and-sand vibe. (After all, we like to believe that if you play enough Beach Boys songs, warm weather appears.) Her decades-spanning mix will get you in the mood for denim cutoffs and tank tops—even if you may have to wait just a little longer to wear them.

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Listen Up: Hannah Henderson’s Playlist for Plants

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We’ve often heard that music can help plants grow. And while this is an untested theory in our apartments, it’s been working for Hannah Henderson, one of the owners of the impeccably curated Los Angeles boutique General Store. The shop is full of plants—towering in light-filled corners or trailing down walls—that are as eye-catching as the wares. Though not all the greenery is for sale, Hannah did send us off with a plant-friendly playlist that she claims has a successful track record.

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Show + Tell: Hannah Henderson of General Store

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Just meeting Hannah Henderson, co-owner of Los Angeles’s General Store, had us wanting to breathe deeper, go for long walks and wear even more denim than we already do—there’s something just so unhurried and laid-back about her. We spent a morning at her Venice Beach home and then cruised over to General Store in her navy blue Defender in an attempt to absorb some of that relaxed attitude (and style, of course). Continue reading

SHOW + TELL: JESSIE RANDALL OF LOEFFLER RANDALL

We recently discovered that Jessie Randall, founder of accessories line Loeffler Randall®, a Label We Love, has a thing for Coach Taylor. And spicy chicken kabobs. And, of course, shoes (admittedly, we already knew that part…just not to what extent). Her personal style is refreshingly unstudied—California cool with a downtown New York edge—and a lot like the shoes she designs. In a nutshell, she’s not girlish or gritty, just somewhere in that wonderful, multihued place in between.

We tagged along with her for a day, visiting two places she spends quite a bit of time: her Soho studio office (Coach Taylor’s mug is hanging on the fridge) and nearby restaurant Jack’s Wife Freda (Randall always orders the spicy kabobs).

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This Brooklyn resident’s dressing MO is based around three infinitely easy pieces: a comfy tee, a great pair of jeans and an eye-catching shoe. She also invests in statement jackets and bags—an urban dressing philosophy that has a great track record (though she really does put her own unique spin on the whole thing with that gorgeous blonde hair and a bold red lip). And speaking of a red lip, a swipe of lipstick happens to be her go-to finishing touch right now. “It brightens these dreary end-of-winter days,” she says. Another way she’s coping with the cold? Topping off a denim jacket with a leather bomber (clearly, she speaks our sartorial language).

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Randall’s studio is piled high with shoes, of course, and all the inspiration you might expect to find at a creative HQ: mood boards, samples and well-dressed staffers, to name a few. Randall is a self-professed shoe obsessive and told us, “I can never get shoes out of my head.” Adding handbags and wallets to her line in 2012 seemed inevitable, given her appreciation for detail. “I love the way accessories are the punctuation mark on any outfit.”

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While working on this recent collection, Randall looked toward the island of Capri, a spot that has a special place in her heart—it’s where she honeymooned with her husband and they just revisited for their 10-year wedding anniversary. “The perforations on the Sawyer Sandals, for example, were inspired by nets used by fishermen on the island.” Now, if only we could spend another day with Randall, test-driving this shoe at its source.

Take a peek at how that picturesque trip translated into equally dreamy laceless oxfords, a handy zip wallet and more by checking out our favorites right over here.

Listen Up: Leslie Kirchhoff’s Playlist of New Artists You Need to Know

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Given Leslie Kirchhoff’s job titles—photographer and DJ—we weren’t entirely surprised that her playlist included a mix of marquee names and some new ones too. When you have a professional helming your headphones, you can bank on discovering some under-the-radar tunes. With Kirchhoff as our guide, we flipped through the shelves at Bleecker Street Records—an unofficial headquarters for those who take their music analog-style—and got a crash course in the new artists we’ll be playing on repeat.

1. “Almost Home (Washed Out Remix),” Moby

2. “You’re The Best,” Wet

3. “I Shot The Sheriff,” N.A.S.A featuring Karen O

4. “Elusive Youth,” Elephant

5. “Round the Moon,” Summer Camp

6. “Candy,” Wake Owl

7. “Everywhere (Fleetwood Mac cover),” Selebrities featuring Erika Spring and Lissy Trullie

8. “Edie’s Dream,” Suuns

9. “Air Conditioning,” Kisses

10. “Habits,” Tove Lo

11. “Name in Lights,” Little Daylight

12. “White Lies,” Max Frost

13. “Paper Trails,” Darkside

Stream this and all our playlists on rdio.

Show + Tell: Photographer and DJ Leslie Kirchhoff

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We recently wandered the snowy streets of New York with our friend, photographer and DJ Leslie Kirchhoff, turning the tables and putting her in front of the lens. She usually spends her days going from behind a camera to behind a DJ booth—the kind of nonstop routine that requires her style to go, quite literally, from day to night. Her solution? Low-key dresses and lots of denim, all with a ’90s undertone—an outfit MO we can get down with.

Kirchhoff’s interest in photography started early: Growing up in the Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield, she began snapping photos with a disposable camera as a child. “I remember almost falling off a dock into a lake once because I was trying so hard to capture the water at the right angle,” Kirchhoff says, recalling a family vacation. “I was really focused on getting the right light.” She was eight.

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A decade later, she moved to New York for college. An art internship at vogue.com turned into an actual job—“I begged until my boss agreed to let me do a test shoot covering a party”—and soon she started zooming in on famous partygoing faces, including Pharrell Williams, Solange Knowles and Joan Smalls, and snapping shots at famous events like Coachella, Lollapalooza and backstage at New York Fashion Week.

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Since late-night revelry is quite picturesque, there’s something natural about Kirchhoff finding herself behind a DJ booth come sundown. Night owls can dance to Kirchhoff’s “disco-dancey-rocky” playlists on Fridays at Hotel Americano, where she’s the DJ-in-residence.

Both on and off duty, Kirchhoff’s style is always “simple, tomboyish and a little bit rock and roll,” which means denim plays a starring role. She pairs skinny jeans with ’90s staples like flat-bill hats, plaid flannel shirts and graphic tees. She’s a touchy-feely shopper, so she doesn’t often shop online. (Yes, there is a Madewell a few blocks from her Soho apartment.)

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