Women’s clothing with a menswear sensibility. That’s what Austin designer Stephanie Beard set out to create in the inaugural collection esby (said like the phonetic pronunciation of “SB,” Beard’s initials), her first clothing line, which offers timeless, season-less pieces for women that emphasize comfort and proper fit.
Originally from North Carolina, Beard moved to New York in 2003, and gained a technical background in the children’s design department at Tommy Hilfiger. From there, she went on to work at Levi’s and eventually Converse, where she spent the majority of her New York career in the menswear department. “I worked a lot on the Converse One Star line, which is sold at Target,” Beard explains. “Being involved in the whole process, from fabrics and wash to factory communication, I really focused on what you could do to get as much value as possible in a piece of clothing.” After five years at Converse, Beard left the East Coast in 2012, in search of a place that would allow her to live more affordably and throw all her energy (and savings) into her own clothing line, an idea that had been simmering in the back of her mind for years. Enter Austin.
At home, Beard speaks with an easy drawl about her own style. Her daily “uniform,” she explains, is a mix of comfort, proper fit, and a handful of specific pieces that she’s overly sentimental about: for example, a light and perfectly versatile chambray shirt; high-waisted skinny jeans that she pairs with a blousy top or tunic; a couple of Australian-discovered basics that just have, she says, “the best weight.”
Her one-bedroom apartment in southeast Austin, which she shares with her boyfriend, Nick Boyles, is similarly utilitarian. “Simple can still be interesting,” she says. And at 650 square feet (“believe me, it feels huge compared to the 250-square-foot place I lived in before this”), Beard has made the most of it, creating a home that feels consistent with her design principles. “In New York, I had a friend build me some great reclaimed-shelving units that are the central part of the living space,” she explains. Many of the pieces inside have a similar provenance, made either by friends or by Beard. The neutrality of the wood furniture is balanced by a healthy number of plants (Beard rattles off: “I’m obsessed with desert plants, clay-textured pieces, cactus, succulents . . .”) and textiles, vintage or purchased from “seriously weird rug websites,” like the gorgeous white-and-dark-brown-patterned Moroccan rug in her bedroom.
It’s this same mix of personality and function that drives esby, which Beard funded in March through a Kickstarter campaign. This allowed her to quit her day job at STAG and dive into her dream—the first run of her line is being produced in a small factory in New Orleans and will be released in boutiques and on her website this summer. And despite the line’s underlying simplicity, esby isn’t just for the minimalist: “Busy women need to feel confident in what they’re wearing,” Beard says. “It takes me fifteen minutes to get ready and feel good because everything that I’m wearing just fits! That’s what I’m about—cutting out what’s unnecessary and figuring out what works.” Learn more about Stephanie, follow the development of esby, and preorder season one of her collection at esbyapparel.com.
by Joanna Steblay
As the warm weather begins to set in and patio parties hit our calendars, we can’t help but embrace that summertime has returned to Austin. If you’re anything like us, you’ll be celebrating the return of the season with decadent ice cream, healthy smoothies and icy cocktails from your favorite local spots.
For those days when it’s too hot to venture out, we went to Austin’s sweet treat professionals and compiled the ultimate collection of DIY recipes to make from your home. Click through the galleries below to learn how to make everything icy and sweet, from poptails for date night to ice cream sandwiches for a dinner party.more
The spring edition of the Renegade Craft Fair returns for its seventh year in Austin May 14-15 at Fair Market. With over 125 makers on the roster, the scene is sure to be bustling with local artisans and DIYers slinging their unique, one-of-a-kind wares. In addition to great shopping, the RCF offers activities, special showcases and plenty of food and drink options for visitors. This year, celebrate your hard work shopping with a snack from Burro Cheese Kitchen and Lucky Lab Coffee Co. before commemorating the afternoon with some snapshots from Magnolia Photo Booth Co. But before...more
by James Ruiz
Inspired by the beautiful outdoor living spaces featured in our May feature The Space Between, we went window shopping and found some great outdoor furniture and accessories to liven up your outdoor patio, porch and pool. Flip through the galleries below to see how you can add a pop of color and style to your outdoor hideaway.more
Hundreds of people are moving to Austin each day, and downtown is one of the major hubs of growth for the city. Local real estate expert Jude Galligan discusses smart urban growth and what to expect this year as the skyline continues to evolve.
Your blog keeps Austin updated on the latest news in downtown. What is the most exciting development happening right now?
From my point of view, the most exciting development is the Waller Creek District Master Plan. Decades in the making, this transformative project came to life after designers competed for the contract. It is finally coming to downtown, bringing an imaginative chain of parks,...more
by James Ruiz
As you flip through the pages of our February Love Issue, one thing you’ll notice is the beautiful blooms that pop up throughout the magazine. We got some major googly eyes for the bouquets featured in our "Real Weddings" features, and earmarked the TRIBEZA Wedding Guide for even more Pinterest-worthy petals.
Instead of letting all that inspiration go to waste, we tried our hand at flower arranging to see what we could create. Since we consider ourselves floral design novices, we asked a few top designers...more