Kayten Schmidt is a long time friend, frequent Are Studio collaborator, muse, and stylist behind our SS20 editorial, photographed by Nastassia Bruckin, set on a cloudy Southern California beach. Kayten is also an art director and co-founder of Lawrence & Schmidt, an online collection of unique sculptural jewelry curated for the adventurous and the sensitive. We’ve asked her to answer a few questions for our on-going Journal series which explores the connections that form between us, the things we carry, and the vessels that carry them. This series was born out of a desire to ask questions with the potential to reveal intimate truths and inspire us to explore, design, and grow. Kayten photographed some of her favorite styles from the SS20 collection during the past few months of quarantine at home and we are happy to share some of our favorites with you.
How does choosing your bag and its contents tie into your daily ritual?
Well you have to think about where you are going and what you need to carry, I try to go as small as possible to fit everything needed. These days it's pretty much nowhere so I just have one underused bag waiting on a chair that my wallet lives in. Or I throw on the Disc to go for a walk around the neighborhood. I think of the days packing for a long trip and trying to pick one bag, that one is clearly your favorite whether you know it or not.
What are the non-functional/meaningful things that you carry with you on a daily basis?
I always have rings in my bag that I've taken off during the day and forgotten about. A lapis stone. A tassel. Forgotten treasures.
What expressive function does your bag have for you?
Is it bad that I just want my bag to look expensive? Haha. I'm not really a novelty bag person, I like a classic.
How does your bag (read: shape, features, size, material, etc.) inform the way you carry yourself, the activities you choose to do, the way you engage with your surroundings?
I am so in tune with this, being sort of slight with meager core and upper body strength, a bag can really carry me around. I hate bumping into things, or a bag falling off my shoulder, or being so heavy that it causes me to lean. I love a crossbody or a waist bag for this reason. Perfect for a day walking around the city. For an evening out a wristlet or clutch frees up your shoulders and your outfit. I love the stance one takes when holding a bag in their arms.
Choosing a bag can be an act of expansion or a pairing down to essentials. Which one of these do you gravitate toward (and why)? When thinking about this, do notions about security/agency/independence come to mind? If so, how?
I think I go back and forth between the two. Pairing down usually, but then sometimes you just want the freedom of something large enough to carry huge books or vegetables. Security comes to mind regarding a small bag when I need something that closes because I often accidentally dump my bag getting out of a car. It's also nice to be able to feel around for the essentials in a small bag, to quell the "where is my phone" mania. It's an ordeal with a bigger bag.
What shapes, features, materials, textures, and/or functions are inspiring your creative process currently?
Lizard (faux lizard) is a texture I'm drawn to lately. Worn leather. Tulle. Smooth sea glass. Shiny gold. Shapes are free and sheer. A new function is organization.
Share an image, a taste, and a sound that are on your mind.
An image - soft skin. A taste - pickled cucumber. A sound - purring cat.
Kayten is wearing the Cosima in Crema & the Fehn in Black. All photographs by Kayten Schmidt.