// Interview with musician, Mary Pearson.
Mary Pearson is one half of LA via Brooklyn band, High Places. In addition to constructing songs and lending vocal effects to the duo’s particular brand of “homemade dance rock”, Mary also maintains a personal style blog called, Hype Laces, where she posts photographs of her various effortless eclectic outfits. We recently caught up with Mary to talk about how fashion figures into her life as a musician, what life’s been like since relocating to Los Angeles, and her admiration for the old Japanese tourist look.
Koshka: How would you describe your personal style and what types of things are you drawn to?
Mary: I love menswear, sportswear and clean lines. I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, but I’m a sucker for all-over print matching tops and bottoms and I never tire of monochromatic dressing. I like feminine pieces too, but nothing too fussy.
K: How does fashion figure into your life as a musician?
M: I like to give my music a proper context by performing in clothes that are an extension of my lyrics’ inspiration and the visuals I project behind my bandmate Rob and me. The natural world, the science of spirituality, being a woman, basketball, and hip hop are ongoing fascinations for me. They steer my approach to aural and visual projects, including the way I dress.
Mary in our Reality Studio Tie Waist Trousers.
K: In addition to making awesome music as the second half of High Places, you also have your own fashion blog, Hype Places! What motivated you to start it?
M: Like many people, I enjoy looking at street style blogs. I’ve been blogging for years, mostly photo blogging, so starting Hype Laces(homophone for High Places) was a natural decision. I wanted to document some of the photogenic pieces I’ve received and collected on tour and at home in LA. I do a lot of hiking and I often spend the rest of the day in my studio, in my workout clothes. Having the blog encourages me to get dressed!
K: LA’s now your home, but previously you were living in NY. What are your thoughts about living, making music and dressing in both locales? Has living here now changed you in any way?
M: Living in New York was an important time in my life. I had some life-changing experiences there and there was a lot of creative energy floating around that I found very motivating. I’m just not cut out to be a New Yorker though. Living in that city eventually made me feel like a caged animal. I was sick all the time, and writing (mostly) uplifting music about nature was an attempt to rise above my ever-worsening Seasonal Affective Disorder. I wore bright colors in another effort to cheer myself up, and since I biked everywhere, I dressed very casually.
My Californian existence is much sunnier, literally and figuratively. It has been an adjustment to find inspiration in contentment! It’s warm during the day here and cools down at night, so I’ve expanded my sunglasses and jacket collections. I’ve become a Los Angeles Clippers fanatic, so there’s a lot more red and blue in my wardrobe these days.
Mary in our Cheap Monday ‘Utaka’ Dress.
K: What are some of your favorite places/things to do in LA, especially in the spring and summertime?
M: The Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga is a special place where you can dine outside under twinkling lights next to a stream. Din Tai Fung in Arcadia makes the best vegetable dumplings and garlic green beans. I’m also hooked on huitlacoche tacos from Cacao Mexicatessen in Eagle Rock, and made-to-order Neopolitan pizza from 800 Degrees in Westwood. They don’t advertise it, but you can have your pizza topped with vegan cheese.
Nearly all of my creative ideas are born during my hikes in Debs Park in Montecito Heights. I’m up there almost every day. I’m also really into hiking Los Liones in Malibu. There’s a gorgeous ocean view the entire hike up. Palos Verdes has lots of beautiful tidal pools and cliffs to explore.
It feels like it’s officially summer when I see a movie in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery or drink a margarita on the patio at Casita del Campo in Silver Lake.
K: Anything particular in your wardrobe you’re currently obsessed with?
M: I went to the Philippines in December, and my boyfriend had some drawstring pants made for me by a man who has created an entire collection of clothing made from cloth flour sacks. They’re white with bold-colored print and they are so comfortable.
K: What’s something you wish you could wear but don’t have the guts to?
M: There’s this older Japanese tourist look I see a lot when I’m on the road and I’m so into; utility vest, bucket hat and linen pants. I can pull off one element at a time of that look, but the whole outfit just looks too costume-y on me.