John and I spent a lot of time and effort developing this line. We thought this would be a fun opportunity to share what goes on "behind the scenes" here at Compas. As a creative, I always love to learn about another artist's process. So we're sharing with you our journey in creating The Wild Life collection.
Growing up with the Catskills region just south of my backyard has allowed me to form special connections with the area. Many of my friends and family live in the Catskills, so I've spent a great deal of time exploring with them. We have hiked many of its mountains and stumbled upon countless towns along the way. The more we discovered about the area, the more we knew that the Catskills would be the perfect place to highlight for the Compas brand. After months of research and site visits, we whittled our line down to a handful of pieces that were directly inspired by our experiences and connections with the Catskills region.
Any time you visit the Catskills, you're bound to meet interesting, unique and truly special people. In just one day's journey you could cross paths with a fine arts sculptor, a carpenter, and a farmer. The diverse culture of the Catskills is one of it's most endearing qualities.
The inspiration for our Go Your Own Way tee came a few winters ago. I was spending the weekend at my friend's family cabin in Grahamsville, New York. The cabin was set back on a hill off a road that was rarely traveled. Passing cars were few and far between, especially in the winter months. That Saturday morning we were out for some fresh air on the property when we noticed a dark figure emerge at the end of the road. The dark spot meandered side to side and was very slow to come into focus. We were not quite sure if we were seeing things, or if the Zombie Apocalypse was upon us. For a moment, the thought that we were the next victims entered our minds.
A fretful 15 minutes later, the figure came clearly into focus as he was passing by the cabin. The dark figure emerged as an elderly man. He had a beard as long as Dumbledore's and long, hot pink hair. His travel partner was an epic walking stick. As he passed, he turned his head, gave us a wave and carried on his way.
While our imaginations may have gotten the best of us, our encounter with the Pink Haired Wanderer really cemented the vibe of the Catskills. It is a place where you can truly "Go Your Own Way".
The exact origins of the Coyotes in the Catskills are shrouded in a bit of mystery. Local folklore often refers to them as "Coywolves" or "Coydogs". Their size and color has lead many to believe the Coyotes are actually a mixed breed of Coyotes and Wolves and/or Coyotes and Dogs.
However you choose to interpret their origins, the Eastern Coyote has become a prominent member of the animal kingdom in the Catskills region. Although the coyote is a predator and can be a nuisance to farmers and local residents, he is still a majestic creature in the wild. As we were researching for The Wild Life, we discovered that the coyote was the perfect creature to sound the call for our new line. These animals literally have their own serenade
, or what we like to call, "The Call of the Wild."
One of the most notable historical events tied to the Catskills region is the Woodstock Music Festival in Bethel, NY. Heralded as one the most defining moments in American music history, Woodstock set the musical stage for decades to come. The festival is often noted for it's free spirited nature or it's "hippy" culture.
I wanted to make an ode to the historic festival without creating an obvious Woodstock themed design. The design needed to connect the free spirit mentality of the Woodstock culture to our message as a brand. To fit with our message, I represented this free spirit through the image of The American Black Bear. Since he is another prominent animal in the Catskills region, I knew he would blend well with our theme.
Combining the likeness of the black bear, the hand written typography, and the "Wild and Free" message was a fun solution to the challenge of blending the two ideas into one. Although the final product may not resemble the Woodstock Music Festival, it was directly inspired by it.
Our lookbook for the Summer 2016 products can be found here.
You can purchase products from The Wild Life here.
Thanks for reading!