Over the past few years I've been hearing about this town in west Texas, and each description of it felt as ambiguous as the last. Some good, and some bad. It felt like a place that people weren't sure what to think of. I'd hear "western, but like.. modern.. desolate, but not really desert. Sort of deserty. Aloe. Lots of art and a thriving art culture, but not over saturated...I don't know how to explain it." I knew before starting Stone and Harper that Marfa was place I wanted to see for myself. I'm charmed by anything that draws people out through a less than exciting 10 hour stretch of midwest terrain (which actually turned out to be somewhat mountainous and lovely!)
I've always felt that we have a pretty great little community of creatives in Oklahoma City. Brittany Phillips is among the many talented photographers that I respect and had been wanting to work with. She's very intentional and thoughtful with her photography, flawlessly capturing lifestyle shoots like no one I know. She's also an exceptional fashion editorial photographer AND she slays as a make up artist. She's got a lot of tricks up her sleeve and so much humility that you'd never see it coming. Brittany took a trip to Marfa a few months back, and shared some of her sentiments about the town with me. We casually said we'd plan an editorial photoshoot in Marfa juxtaposing my simplistic design aesthetic with her edgy Americana style. It was something we planned, and replanned, and did a few more replannings before we landed on what I didn't know would be one of the best creative experiences I've ever had.
The crew ended up being myself, Brittany, and two models I'd never actually met in person: Nikki Harrison and Karen Ortiz. Nikki and I had a ton of mutual friends (I soon found out that one was my roommate!) but somehow had never crossed paths. Brittany suggested her and I was so impressed with modeling she'd done on past shoots that I had to reach out to her. She was so gracious to commit her weekend to the shoot. After meeting her I was amazed at how sweet and selfless she is. I feel so lucky to have gotten to get to know her and work with her. I'd seen a modeling photo of Karen on the "discover" page of Instagram. Instagram is such a funny thing - while I do complain about the time suck it can be, it also connects us to one another like nothing else can. I wouldn't know Karen if it weren't for Instagram and let me tell you, that is a sad thought. She was also very sweet and agreed to the shoot with strangers in a city she'd never been to. I later found out how silly, weird, and hilarious she is. She added so much more than flawless modeling to the trip (yas mamii!) These girls are actually angels. The four of us have such different personalities, but all got along so well. Our deep talks on the road made the trip fly by and filled me creatively and emotionally in ways I certainly didn't expect. We had a pretty idyllic venture to say the very least.
The editorial photos aren't ready to be shared with the world quite yet, but here are some captures by Brittany that tell the story of our adventures in the sweet little town of Marfa, Texas.
I was so amazed at all the good that was packed into this 1.5 day long trip. Outside of Brittany capturing photos that made me feel all weepy and emotional, I also got to meet a couple of my heroes in the world of makers.
We were walking around looking for a wall we'd seen a photo of and wanted to shoot with. It ended up being the doors to Do Your Thing, a great little coffee shop. The "wall" was a little anti-climatic and we didn't shoot much there, but Brittany nudged me to look across from the wall at the maker in the tiny studio covered in beautifully fraying denim (I'm a little bit into denim..) I knew pretty much instantly that it was Ashley Rowe and I had to talk to her. So we did! She is just as lovely as she is talented. It was a super special moment for me to talk with her about her space and see how much I felt like I could relate to her as a maker. The brief meeting left me feeling inspired to open the windows and hide away making work that I'm proud of like Ashley does. And of course we took a photo.
This is the video that actually first sparked my interest in Marfa. Ever since learning about Cobra Rock, l've been in awe of their craft. Logan Caldbeck and Colt Miller are the couple behind the custom boot shop. On Sunday, I saw Colt pull up to his shop (which is only open on Saturdays) and had a mini freak out. I was just excited to have seen the shop and had no expectation of meeting the duo. On Monday before we headed out, I asked the girls if they'd mind me driving by Cobra Rock just on a whim. I saw their car again and had a feeling they were home. I knocked on the door (LOL) and Colt was sweet enough to invite all of us into their perfect little space. The girls made fun of me for how undone I was by them - they really are incredible. We talked about their new process that they were actually in the middle of, the patterns they'd been updating, and background on a few other makers they carry in their shop. They were kind enough to take this photo with me:
I don't know if I could have asked for anything more out of our short venture. It was far beyond what I expected and it felt very meant to be. Being a designer became more real for me as the talented people I worked with breathed so much life and excitement into the garments. To see something you worked on become celebrated and embraced doesn't really translate into one specific feeling. It's a mix of gratitude, excitement, pure joy, fear, and amazement. I left the trip feeling recharged and ready to create things that have a mark of craftsmanship and integrity - even if that means burrowing for a few weeks in the process of doing so. This is what I love to do, so I should do it. If you have something you love to do, you should do it too. Don't wait for something to come to you. Make it happen. Drive out 10 hours to it. Fly across the ocean for it. "Go the whole wide world" as the Monkees would advise. It's in you for a reason and the world needs to see it as much as you do.
Here are a few more photos that I took, didn't edit, and pale in comparison to Brittany's. RAW UNCUT FOOTAGE!! Ha - I'm no photographer, but I fell in love so many times that I could help trying. Needless to say, I'll be making the trek back to Marfa again and hopefully soon. With no agenda and more days to spend. Thanks for reading and being so excited with me about this trip - your support of our creative journeys sparks a flame in us that leads to growth.
"We are often so distracted by wanting the brand new that we forget there is already so much richness around us that just needs a second wind"