Print to Wear
A collaboration between Swords-Smith, Calico Wallpaper, and Print All Over Me
How many times have you noticed a piece of art, interior, or act of nature where you thought, “I wish I could wear that!”? The brilliants minds behind Swords-Smith, Calico Wallpaper and Print All Over Me have linked up to bring us exactly that.
After long admiring Nick and Rachel Cope’s inspiring design house, Calico Wallpaper, Briana Swords and R Smith, the duo behind Williamsburg concept store Swords-Smith found themselves craving to wear the inspiring prints and designs of Calico. Insert Print All Over Me, an incredible resource for custom printing just about anything on a multitude of fabrics and silhouettes, created by Jesse Finkelstein. Swords-Smith and Calico connecting with this super cool and forward thinking creative community was naturally the next step for making magic. The product: a capsule collection of clothing and home goods by PAOM in Calico signature prints exclusively available at Swords-Smith in Williamsburg.
At Swords-Smith, the pop up shop features a Calico Wallpaper installation that sits behind the clothing printed in the same pattern (basically the best photo op you could imagine!) Between the natural lighting and the gorgeous backdrop we found ourselves in a heavenly lifestyle mix of home, design and fashion.
The soft gradient color palette of the Aurora print spoke directly to us. Something about a delicate ombre just never gets old. The metallic Wabi and Night Slate prints are sleek and bold, this print is meant to make a statement. The introduction of metallics to POAM’s prints creates an exciting depth and layers to the pieces. Let’s also not forget to mention the quality of fabric here! The attention to detail that was carried throughout the entire collection was so wonderfully apparent. It’s almost impossible to look away.
The beautiful prints managed to stick in our heads for days to come. We found ourselves looking even harder at our surroundings, thinking about their potential to be something reinvented. This collaboration seemed to come together effortlessly - this group’s shared love of art, design and creating/curating a unique product is evident. We would all agree that prints are personal, so let’s take a moment to get to know these personalities behind the brands a bit better.
Briana Swords + R Smith
After spending some time as designers in the fashion industry, how did you find yourself opening your own store?
I've worked as a womenswear designer for the last 10 years in corporate fashion, and Smith as a graphic designer focusing on interaction and digital design. The concept for the store came about organically, as we were thinking of ways we could collaborate and work together. We were drawn to the idea of having a physical space. We've lived in Williamsburg for years and have witnessed the fast-paced development happening here first-hand, so the idea of creating a unique space with an independent spirit was really appealing to us.
Swords-Smith is a go-to for discovering unique labels and designer–Walk us through your buying and curation process.
I always look for innovation and experimentation in design. The buying process never ends. We're constantly doing research, going to presentations and meeting with potential new designers to hear about their product and process. Quality is probably the most important element we take into consideration after design. Our clients expect everything we carry to not only be interesting and exciting, but extremely well-made.
We can imagine the self restraint it takes not to walk home with all the new pieces in the store. What are a few of your favorite items hanging in your closet right now?
I'd like to say we have good self restraint here, but our closet says otherwise....
Briana: I have a pair of glove shoes by Martiniano that I wear almost religiously. I just got a black diamond earring by Still House that's become a new favorite. I have a lot of oversize dresses this season from Samuji, House of 950, Henrik Vibskov and Portland Garment Factory + I've been loving wearing these with sweater tights and big scarves as the weather cools down.
Smith: Boxy tees from Fanmail - these are the perfect cut, they look and feel great. I just got a new winter coat by Henrik Vibskov that I am really excited about.
Airy and modern are two words that come to mind when walking into your space–The natural light is beautiful. What design element was most important to you when building out the store?
We love the juxtaposition between natural elements with sharp, modern lines and colors. The space is a former factory and we intentionally left the original brick and steel details untouched. Our skylights draw in this amazing natural light during the day - it really makes the space feel special.
The collaboration between Calico and PAOM is such a magical collision of worlds. Does SwordsSmith have any other upcoming projects in the works?
The Winter Warmer Gift Market (Dec 10th-28th) launches this week. It's our second gift market - a pop-up shop in-store featuring a curated selection of gifts by 20+ designers and artists new to Swords-Smith. We invited designers we love to bring in a selection of products and objects good for Holiday gifts, at all price points.
With the holiday season upon us, we love gifting things you want but wouldn't buy yourself. What are top three gift ideas from your store?
Our Holiday Gift Guide is great for gift ideas!
The Calico x Joya candles ($65) make great gifts. Once the candle is done, the beautiful marbled vessel can be repurposed for home.
Jewelry (always a great gift) by Still House (price range $55-750), a range of styles in 14K gold or sterling silver.
Supereditions books ($15) ready-to-illustrate books from Paris with quirky colorful text.
Visit Swords-Smith’s website/ insta
Nick + Rachel Cope
With a background in both art and design, how did wallpaper make its way into your lives?
We found ourselves designing wallpaper following the most unlikely circumstances - when Hurricane Sandy hit our loft in Red Hook, Brooklyn, I was focused on my design/build firm and Rachel was working as an art therapist in a major New York hospital. Following the storm my projects were put on hold, Rachel's unit was closed indefinitely and we strangely found ourselves with a fair amount of time to explore a creative collaboration. After sharing a reference that I discovered from a collection of antique marbleized papers, Rachel set out to create work with similar motifs in large scale and Calico Wallpaper was born.
Your recent UK debut is so exciting! How does it feel having Calico Wallpaper adorn the walls of a place with such history?
To be honest, one year ago we could not have imagined showing in a space like Mallett on Dover Street in London. It was once a bishop's palace and was teeming with priceless antiquities - Rachel asked me to pinch her when we arrived because she thought that it was a dream. The funny thing was how open and receptive this highly sophisticated audience was to our work despite being a very new company surrounded by legends (we were showing a side storied companies like Tane from Mexico and Pomellato from Italy).
We love the idea of bringing together the past, present and future to create something totally new. What are some of your favorite pieces of inspiration you have come across through your explorations?
Aside from the earlier examples of marbled paper, we are very inspired by the great scenic wallpaper designers de Gournay, Zuber, and Gracie. The level of customization and artistry involved in every project by each of these companies is staggering and has motivated our process since the beginning. We are also inspired by the architect Peter Zumthor's creation of "emotional space", the optical inventiveness of Olafur Eliasson, and are studio is currently obsessed with light vs. shadow at the moment.
Has home decor and interior design always been something that spoke to you both?
Definitely! My grandmother dealt in the world of antiques for decades and passed on a strong appreciation for the decorative arts. In fact, before Calico Wallpaper got going I was producing interior design projects through my previous company, Dark Green, which focused on eco-responsible design and build. Rachel also had a serious love of interior design and home decor prior to Calico - in fact, when we started dating we were living in different cities and would send hand-made art packages back in forth via US Mail. She included many photographs of how she painstakingly decorated her space with found objects, art, and curios; it was kismet.
So exciting you are participating in Design Miami. Tell us more about your exhibit you’re planning to showcase.
We are so thrilled to be showing something entirely new alongside the amazing Dutch designer Lex Pott in a special exhibit titled FRAGMENTS, brilliantly curated by our dear friends at The Future Perfect. Our typical process begins with creating handmade artwork and digitizing it using proprietary technology followed custom printing based on architectural specifications. However, this time we are creating entirely handmade wallpaper applied on site, which we believe approaches high art. The wallpaper itself is a gorgeous stock of fine Belgian linen that we will hand apply mineral pigment onto to create a heavily textured gradient. The look might resemble a vista in a Chinese landscape painting or perhaps it's simply abstract - we leave that to the viewer. It will also evolve through the duration of the show as we will be painting it as a live performance throughout.
Your daughter is adorable! How do you find the balance in having a family and being creative business owners?
Thanks for the kind words - she is a treasure. It is admittedly a challenge for us to balance our lives as new parents alongside responsibilities at Calico Wallpaper. However, it is quite helpful that our studio and workshop are both less than 5 minutes walk from our loft so we are able to quickly jump between worlds. I think that the biggest tip that we can share is that it is so important to shut down at a certain point each day to enjoy the joys of domestic life (and recharge for the next day).
Print All Over Me
Print All Over Me provides such an exciting platform for innovation and collaboration. What lead you to printing as a medium?
Printing is the best venue for collaboration. It’s an easy and fun way to get people who don’t consider themselves fashion designers making custom clothes.
We are always looking forward to the exciting collaborations between creatives, designers and artists. Which projects stand out in your mind?
We’re just launched a collaboration with the amazing design studio Kastor and Pollux, and just worked with Artsy and Katherine Bernhardt on some amazing throws for Miami Basel, and we’re working on an amazing project with Assume Vivid Astro Focus.
Savannah is one of our favorite cities, we see you have a studio there. What’s your connection to the South?
Georgia is doing some brilliant things in offering subsidies and loans to businesses to help them set up factories and start businesses. That, plus having access to schools like SCAD made Georgia and obvious choice.
Which 3 artists or illustrators would be a dream project for PAOM?
Ooph - so many. Marcel Dzama would be amazing, we’d love to do more things with Katherine Bernhardt, and Craig Green.
If you could custom print a gift for the holidays, what would it be?
For the holidays, we just launched silk boxers - that’s what I want to wear for the holidays and forever.
You seem to be involved in so many projects all of the time! Let us know what the future holds for PAOM.
We just launched Kids and we’re hoping to launch shoes soon!
Visit POAM’s website / insta