Two Asheville designers hit their stride when it’s hot.
by Jess McCuan
photos by Zaire Kacz
What really gets Jenny’s wheels turning these days? A cheap (but stylish) old bike. Jen Swearington of Jennythreads in West Asheville got a purple ten-speed at her surprise 13th birthday. The Indiana native kept the bike for decades—through her move to New York to attend the prestigious Pratt Institute, and through her years in Savannah for an MFA. “It’s funny when your things become vintage,” says Swearington, who turns 38 this month.
Rowan Farrell makes her mythical, dream-inspired paintings at a studio deep in the Mills River woods. She headlines a women-focused group show at a Hendersonville gallery this month.
by Ursula Gullow
portraits by Anthony Bellemare
Rowan Farrell likes to say she was born in the mouth of an alligator.
It wasn’t that she was reared in particularly tough circumstances, living, as she did, in a relatively stable family near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It’s just that her family was full of free spirits, and at times, she sensed a harshness in her surroundings. “It was more like being born in a place of wild souls,” she says, explaining that her sculptor mother once busted up the kitchen table and hung it from the ceiling. “There was an eccentricity that you could find in the culture, and in the bogs and swamps. The landscape really reflects a certain wildness and unruliness.”
She traded her brownstones for Blundstones.
by Ashley English
photo by Naomi Johnson
When I was 20, all I thought about was living in New York City. I would flip through the Village Voice and Paper magazine and imagine myself drinking fancy cocktails with names like “Hibiscus Swizzle” and “Earl Grey Mar-tea-ni.” I pored over the pages of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, envisioning myself rubbing elbows with the likes of editorial giant Anna Wintour. I also thought a good deal about shoes. Gorgeous, handcrafted, high-heeled, disposable-income shoes. These days, I still spend a generous amount of time pining over shoes, but where my youthful self fancied the day I might slip on a pair of Manolos, today I hanker for farm boots.
interview by Jess McCuan
photo by Zaire Kacz
Name: Nicole Schon
Occupation: student and fashion blogger
Lives in: North Asheville
What are you up to this summer? I may spend some time at home, in Cancun, Mexico, where my mom lives.
Is that where you’re from? I’m originally from Mexico City. I moved around a lot as a kid. I played tennis at UNC, so I attended a tennis academy in Florida and was back and forth to a lot of different places.
What was it like living in a place where everyone goes for spring break? It’s really funny. I usually get a range of different, bizarre questions—like, does Mexico have airports? Does Cancun have schools? My sister and my mom have normal lives. It is very touristy, so many more people are comfortable speaking English. I’ve actually never been there during spring break. I’d like to avoid all that chaos.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a fashion stylist for a top magazine. Preferably Vogue—preferably Vogue in Paris.
And how would you describe your own style? My style is more classic chic. This summer, it’s more conventional and feminine, and I’m liking bright colors. But I really like edgy clothing—big stilettos and clothes that really capture your attention.
Do you follow fashion blogs? Right now I blog on a site called Chictopia. Eventually, I’d like to find a way to connect fashion to a global cause. A couple weeks ago, I was wearing a kimono, so I related it back to the anniversary of the Japan earthquake. I wanted to remind people how much destruction was caused, how much it affected people.
Don’t look now, kids. Mommy is foxy.
by Mick Kelly
portrait by Matt Rose
“I’m not that edgy,” says Nichole Esmon, a stay-at-home mother of two. “I just want my children to think I am.”
We beg to differ. But it was funny to hear Esmon, 33, joke about life at home with her six-year-old daughter, Piper, and four-year-old son, Graham. “The most exciting thing in my life right now is a season pass to Dollywood,” she says.
Before her two children, Esmon, a Franklin, North Carolina, native, worked as a copy editor for a daily newspaper in Columbia, Missouri, and then as a freelance writer and editor. Her writing moved to the back burner a year after her son arrived, and now, it mainly appears on her blog, butterscotchsundae.com (a reference to the movie The Royal Tenenbaums; Margot Tenenbaum is a stylishly mopey character who says, “I’ll have a butterscotch sundae, I guess.”)