Rock/Creek: Sara, you’re Rock/Creek’s women’s buyer and I know you’re interested in fashion. Can you sum up your style in one sentence?
Sara: I’m a gemini, so I like to think that each of my twins has its own style– one is inspired by my grandmother who was a business woman clad in Burberry trenches draped over tailored everything and the other is inspired by my mother, a teacher who can sport the same outfit from the classroom to the garden to the mountains.
R/C: We’re an outdoor clothing and gear store, so the fashionable clothing we have has to answer to a standard of usefulness and function. Where do you find the balance between fashion and function? Is that even a legitimate distinction?
Sara: Fashion without function is absurd but it definitely exists… just not at R/C. The clothing we sell is no different than the gear we’re known for. Our intention is to make all outdoor experiences as enjoyable and as safe as possible. AND, I do think that baseball games, picnics, pool parties, and trail runs are all equally legitimate outdoor experiences. The balance between fashion and function is simply life.
R/C: Do you have a particular brand or a collection right now that you think strikes that perfect balance?
Sara: The Toad&Co. Modern Travel collection is spot on with combining function and fashion. Pair the Whirlwind Dress with the Skortmaker and a Postcard Cardigan and you’ve created the perfect do-anything outfit that makes you feel and look great.
R/C: Many of the technologies stay the same from season to season, but the store always looks fresh. From a fashion perspective, what trends are you seeing for Spring ‘15 and what makes this season stand out from previous years?
R/C: If I came to you with a free trip overseas–destination unknown–but you had to leave in an hour from our store, without being able to go home to pack, where would you start? What would you buy and why?
Sara: Fun!! I’d start with the easy-to-wash base layers to cut down on weight, then work my way to the outer layers. Of course, I’d leave room in the suitcase for shopping on my trip so that I come home with one-of-a-kind treasures…
- The Osprey Ozone Convertible rolling luggage is a must because of the zip-off backpack.
- One pair of ExOfficio underwear because it’s amazing. Seriously, you have to try it.
- a pair of SmartWool ankle socks so I can just wash/dry/wear/repeat
- Altra Lone Peak running shoes – running/walking/hiking is such a great way to experience a new place.
- The North Face Long Haul Skirt – for going on runs AND for lollygagging around town– it’s got HEAPS of pockets!
- OTBT Bushnell Sandals – would already be on my feet so I’d wear them.
- Patagonia Capilene 1 long-sleeve shirt(s) – for sun protection and as an everyday shirt.
- Toad&Co Ella Ankle Pant – because you can’t always wear a skirt
- Chaco’s Z/Volv X2 Sandals because they’re lighter than my other Chacos
- Marmot Precip Jacket – as my windbreaker and rain jacket
- Smith Brooklyns
- AND, lastly, the prAna Skye Dress because it’s a show.stopper. And, it’ll go perfectly with my OTBT platforms.
R/C: We just came back from Outdoor Retailer’s Winter Market, where we were able to see what’s coming from all the top vendors in the industry for next winter. Was there anything that stood out to you as particularly innovative or interesting?
Sara: Ya know, I love the surge of “made in the USA” products. Our customers are telling us that’s important to them and it’s encouraging to see that trend across the outdoor channel. Keen Footwear is offering the Durand Hiking Boots, The North Face just launched the Backyard Project where all the merchandise is “grown and sewn” here in the U.S. and prAna continues to bring made-in-USA printed tees to market each season.
R/C: Were there any macro-level trends that you see playing out for Winter ‘15?
Sara: Colors. Usually fall outerwear is inundated with black/gray/brown jackets, but next winter you’ll see colors forging through the monotony. I love this trend because colors make you look great during the drab winter weather. Warmth AND fun– What’s not to love?? Also, leggings. This trend of leggings and over-sized tops is not going away. Great! Because they’re comfortable, functional, easy to add to your existing wardrobe. Of course, they come in all sorts of colors and prints to make anything from the carpool line to the tree line a fun endeavor.