When I first caught sight of Emily, it was a few years back when I discovered the blog at Wildfox. I could tell that this distinct, dreamy aesthetic had to come from someone's beautiful mind - and it was Emily's! She is a designer, photographer, and illustrator who lives in New York, and she also founded Wildfox back in 2007.
After years of following her personal photographs on her website, her Instagram, and her INSANELY gorgeous "Happy Lists" I knew I had to interview her. Check it out!
Your overall design style doesn't seem to be "west coast" or "east coast" – it's somewhere way up in the clouds above both of those. How have you pulled inspiration from living in both places?
I feel that growing up in California gave me a love of the beach and the sun and a warm aesthetic, but having lived in a few different countries and now in NYC I've been exposed to more cultures that have influenced my style. I think my overall design style is a bit dreamy, tongue in cheek at times, and ever-changing. I am constantly inspired by new things and have about 10 huge books full of photos, words, ideas and magazine pulls that I love looking at for inspiration when I'm designing new things. Los Angeles to me is surfers, old hollywood glamour, white Mercedes and blonde hair, - New York is all black, crisp colors, shiny silver windows and energy. If I had to say one place in the world where my style would fit perfectly it would probably be St. Tropez.
What words do you associate with living in New York?
Loud, Talented, Pizza.
Do you prefer working and designing at home? If not where are some of your go-to spots in NYC for getting work done?
I do prefer to work from home most times, but sometimes it gets a bit monotonous, so I like working at coffee shops or in the park. It feels good to be productive in public for some reason. On sunny days I love sitting in the grass and drawing, watching weird people, seeing dogs in tiny sweaters, and feeling like I'm part of a neighborhood. I love New York for that reason- living here makes you feel like you're part of a community. People are a lot nicer than you think. That being said- the benefits of working from home are that I can design in my office just wearing underwear and a t-shirt with Harry Potter on in the background.
Since leaving Wildfox, are there ever morning you wake up and wish you were heading to work there?
Yes sometimes. But rarely. The thing is, I was basically written out of the history of the company by our investor when I left which was sad for me. And leaving was a very hard decision to make- having to choose between my career and my husband was really crazy. But I'll always be proud of what we created and am glad it's still going strong. It was an amazing learning experience and I gained so much from building the brand. But now I'm very happy to be freelancing and working on multiple projects at once. I never take weekends or breaks from my work because I genuinely love what I do. I love working with new clients because it's never boring! And I'm excited to build my own brand again this year finally and do more travel photography :)
What advice would you give to a 20-something who is doing the job they thought they were supposed to do, and maybe went to school for, but wishes they could follow their dreams and do something more creative?
I've been there! I would say 100%- take the leap and follow your dreams. I know it sounds cliche, but if I hadn't left my old job in LA I never would have created Wildfox. It was a big chance to take- and a lot of work to stay afloat at first- but you don't want to regret not at least attempting something that could be great. Also times that are scary or uncomfortable can lead to more happiness and success than you could have imagined. I think in your 20's you're constantly exploring options of what you'd like to pursue- it's a perfect time to try as many things as you can and see what you feel passionate about. Creativity is often undervalued and I think it should be more prevalent in everybody's lives!
What is a typical Wednesday like for you? What is a dream Saturday for you?
Honestly I never know what day it is because I don't have a regular work routine unless I'm on a several day shoot- so every day is different. Yesterday was Wednesday and I woke up- made tea and eggs, responded to emails, had a meeting at the Jane Hotel, edited some photos of a vacation in California, charged my camera for a shoot tomorrow, took a walk around the neighborhood and did some errands, took a shower and cleaned the house, and talked to some old friends on the phone. If I'm working on a project with a strict deadline I'll work till midnight or 15 hours a day easily. I usually take a break though to chat with my friends at Saturday's Surf Shop (right across the street from my apartment) so I don't go crazy. A dream Saturday would be going to a spa with a sauna, going to Dry Bar and getting my hair done there, buying sweaters and browsing book shops, getting coconut ice cream, lots of tea, maybe seeing a play or a movie, making out, going to a stand up show, and pasta.
Do you have any view on health and wellness? I saw you at the CAP Beauty party at Sky Ting!
That was so fun- I loved the gift bags. People should get gift bags every day- just because. Don't you think?
I've been trying to be more conscious of my health and overall wellness lately. Living in NY and trying to stay skinny during the dark winters is hard. When it gets dark at 4pm all you want to do is drink wine and eat comfort food. But when Spring comes I start feeling inspired to workout- probably because it's getting warm enough to finally wear dresses or not be covered in that sleeping bag jacket 24/7. I have friends who don't eat any sugar and swear it changed their lives- so I might try and do that soon. I really love cooking - almost every night- and have been finding recipes for protein based meals. Working out for me has to be fun or else I hate it. I joined a gym and only went three times. Can't. But if you can make exercise fun then it's awesome. I found some vintage beauty books that have work out regimes and I've been doing them about 3 times a week and can already see results. Also- I take probiotics, vitamin D, Wellness Formula vitamins and drink a spoonful of Apple Cider Vinegar every day. Makes my skin glow.
What's a small Happy List for Spring 2016?
Someone is in New York for their first time. What are some magical hidden gem experiences they have to do?
Ahh there are so many magical places here! I never knew until I moved here and I still have yet to discover more magical places in the city. I live in the West Village which is one of my favorite parts of Manhattan. Washington Square Park is beautiful and full of life, beautiful nature and interactive things to take part in. Get a falafel at Mamouns - an institution, go to The Strand bookshop which is huge and nice to spend time in, read funny plays surrounded by the smell of old paper. Bleecker Street has amazing specialty grocery shops, little boutiques and pastry shops. Walking around Soho is fun and the "Little Cupcake Bakeshop" is a perfect place to get a treat and sit and have a coffee. CO Bigelow is a beauty supply, pharmacy shop that's been in the city for about 100 years, Fat Cat is a jazz club and pool hall with ping pong tables and tons of other games, Marie's Crisis is heaven if you like Broadway musicals - you gather around a piano and sing along to show tunes. The Bronx botanical gardens is full of lush plants and rare flowers. If you haven't been, you must go to The Met and Moma art museums. The High-Line is a really awesome walk and a very unique view of the city. The Plaza Hotel is beautiful and a great place for afternoon tea- also go downstairs and get a piece of "Lady M" crepe cake and it will be the best thing you've ever tasted. I would take a picnic and good book or camera to Central Park, see a play on or off Broadway, and go to Comedy Cellar or The Stand to watch local comedians. Minetta Tavern and Waverly Inn are two magical restaurants, Aedes Perfumery on Greenwich Ave is a gorgeous perfume shop, the flower district is a great place to take photos, go to the Westside Highway and look at the beautiful Hudson river and see the Statue of Liberty, go to Shake Shack for a perfect cheeseburger, Tracie Martyn for an amazing facial, UCB for sketch comedy shows, and Francesco's Pizza on 4th St. for my favorite pizza in town. Karaoke Boho is my favorite karaoke spot. For more ideas of things to do in NY I like to go to Time Out NY - they always have great ideas of things to do.
You seem to have an absolutely love-filled life: drawing, taking gorgeous photos filled with amazing things. What does love mean to you?
Thank you! I love anything creative- writing, drawing, photography, collaging, poetry, comedy, cooking, etc. Romantic love- to me- means laughing really hard at the same things, hot sex, traveling, similar goals and making someone happy. But there are so many types of love- I have so much love for my friends and family, books, films, animals, and you can also deeply love a memory, or a movie, or somebody you've never met (Ricky Gervais for example). Above all I think empathy, kindness and laughter are the most important parts of love.
FOR MORE OF EMILY, FOLLOW HER ON INSTAGRAM AT @EMILYaFAULSTICH, AND HER SITES