Dear Friends of ARQ, we suspect you already know of State, and love it as much as we do. This month we interviewed State the Label’s founder, Adrienne, about small business ownership, creativity, and life with her family in Georgia. We are SO in love with the images she sent along, shot at her home by Rinne Allen, and even more fascinated by the life she has carved out for herself and her little fam. Scroll for images and the full interview below!
The theme of this month’s Posy is the word torpid. It’s a celebration of that ‘dog days of summer’ feeling that we associate with a long, hot August. As someone who runs their own business, do you feel like you are able to slow down at all during this time? (Asking because I don’t!) Any tips on finding/catching those moments that feel distinctly like SUMMER and sharing them with your kiddos?
I have pretty much failed at this too. My kids go to a sweet little school in downtown Athens and they continue their schedule there through the summer. It was fantastic to have that option because I need to work every day and didn’t have to reinvent the wheel for summer child care. But it also means that we haven’t done much “summering.”We spend a lot of time outside, on the tree swing, on the porch, climbing trees, picking blueberries, scratching bug bites. So we’re soaking up the summer days during the in-between moments. Lots of cobbler and ice cream.
In lieu of that pesky question about ‘balance’, I’d love to hear what a typical workday and weekend day is like for you and your family! The routines and rituals, frustrations, what your ‘village’ looks like, etc.
We’ve settled into a nice rhythm with our weekdays. I take the kids to school and head to the studio. which is around the corner. I’ve been trying to workout in my office before getting to work for the day – it’s the only time I can get that done! Each work day is different as our team has varying schedules. Some days there are three of us, some days eight. It’s so fun and bustling and there’s never enough time in the day. I head home by five – my sweet children save their meltdowns for me, so I usually walk into a house of screaming / crying kids. Then, it’s a sprint to the finish line: a lively dinner, clean up, baths in the kitchen sink, painting, books, and bedtime. If I’m lucky, I get to shower (where I watch TV on my phone #momhack), and then am in bed by 9. We co-sleep in a massive bed and it’s my favorite thing to curl up with everyone and take stock of the day and our life in that moment. I feel so lucky.
For weekends, we have been staying close to home and slowing down. Most Saturdays I’m working in the shop for a few hours (I love it – it’s so quiet and I’m never in the studio by myself anymore, so I cherish the time.) Sunday is our day for watering the plants, laundry, tidying up before the week. If we don’t have that day to catch our breath, the week never feels as organized. We also tend to have a lot of out of town company, so weekends fly by.
As for my village, I’m so lucky. My folks recently moved here to be closer to us, and they’re amazingly helpful. My mom watches the kids once a week (she’s a real life Mary Poppins and my kids are noticeably smarter by the end of the day with her!) and we have a babysitter who helps the other four days a week.
My team at STATE is always supporting me. I’d have given up a long time ago without them. I’m always leaving early to take the kids to the doctor, or staying home with them when they’re sick, and with or without me, my team keeps STATE running smoothly.
You just opened a store! It looks so beautiful and fun. How has that experience been for you? Do you find adding a retail element to your regular studio time has been manageable? Are you enjoying the ability to connect face to face with some of the people who are in love with the work you do?
I had curated and produced a project called the Secret Catalog for years. It was a print catalog featuring 10-30 brands making one-of-a-kind items. We took a break from that project – maybe a permanent one, maybe not – and the store picked up where that left off. It was so fun and natural to build it. I've dreamed of running a store my whole life, and it’s pretty incredible to finally have one.
Adding the retail element to our space has been surprisingly manageable. I'm always bookmarking brands or items I want to carry and thinking about how the store can actualize STATE’s vision. The best part is creating installations and changing the shop around. It's so liberating to realize I can do whatever the hell I want in there. It's like a giant sketchbook coming to life. I want the shop to always evolve and push limits visually and spatially, and to be a place we can share with the community. We just started hosting classes so we’ll have visiting instructors teaching and making in our space regularly. It’s such a dream. And yes, meeting customers and seeing people try things on in real life is the BEST.
One of the many things that I love about STL is how precisely you find that space between fun, celebratory, creative clothing that is also completely unfussy, practical, and cool. Literally everyone looks cool in everything you make and I feel like a teenager, parent, and grandparent could all share a STL wardrobe. That’s not a question I guess...
Haha, thank you. Can we use that as a blurb somewhere? :)
Tell us about your background! School. Portland connection.
I had a super creative childhood – lots of clay beads, forts, after school art lessons, etc. I went to college for Studio Art and mainly focused on painting and sculpture. I always loved “fashion” and was an eccentric dresser from a young age, but never wanted to go to traditional fashion school. I've always felt more at home with the art crowd than the fashion one.
I come from an entrepreneurial family so having my own thing is in my blood. I started my first company out of college making one-off garments. It taught me a ton and eventually turned into STATE (through MANY twists and turns and moves). Throw in living and working on an alpaca farm out on Vashon Island, WA, and then a long chapter in Brooklyn working at the Textile Arts Center, and it brings us here to Athens and the current iteration of STATE.
It’s pretty obvious that art and art-making heavily influences your collections, can you tell us your motivation behind dressing people to live their best creative lives? Was it conscious or just a natural evolution from the early days of smocks?
I think creating and art are such a part of my life and family that I assume everyone else lives the same way – cooking dinner with hands that are covered in paint, and skipping baths because we're having too much fun covering everything in glitter. And STATE is just an extension of that. They're the clothes I want to wear, and I'm so thrilled that other people feel the same way.
I think almost like a costume designer, how clothing reads in certain environments. Our best pieces have a quiet (or not!) drama that makes the person feel special and eye-catching in a not-obnoxious way. It's like moving sculpture. But sculpture you can wear the shit out of and throw in the washer and dryer when your kid rubs spaghetti sauce on you.