THE INTERVIEW: Designers Nathanial Crissman and Rachel Turk of Church & State

Check out Church & State’s 2008 Fall Stateside Collection. (left-North Dakota; Right-Delaware)

Several years ago, I attended a fashion show where a model came out in a skirt made of paper maps; certainly a cartographer’s delight! It was very Cyndi Lauper Time After Time video. Since then, those maps have guided the design team of Church & State to a degree of notoriety. Church & State is made of the extroverted Nathanial Crissman and the soft-spoken Rachel Turk (both of Portland, Oregon). The name of their line has no political motivation, but rather they chose the name due to its melodic ring when pronounced out loud. Church & State create minimalist, progressive looks with attention to detail and solid construction. Their signature looks include cowls, leggings, pipings, and at least one print per collection. In the beginning, they started with both menswear and womenswear, but it wasn’t proving successful. They eliminated menswear all together and exclusively create ready to wear clothing for women. In 2006, they were GenArt finalists, which introduced them to the New York fashion market. Their collection may be found at In God We Trust (Brooklyn and SoHo) and Church & State. We spent a few minutes with Nathanial (N) and Rachel (R) for a tete a tete…

Qualities you most admire in design?: N and R – Craftsmanship, balance, proportion, and thought.

Qualitites you least admire in design?: N and R – Messiness

Musical inspirations?: R – country music; N – hip hop and Sufjan Stevens

Favorite NYC spots shopping, dining?: R – Cafe Havana, Opening Ceremony, Dean & Deluca; N – Comme Des Garcons, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen

Best part of NYC?: the electricity and meeting people without trying to.

Least favorite part of NYC?: R – Trying to find a public restroom and cramped spaces.

Favorite vice?: Sleeping

Where would you live in NYC?: Brooklyn

NYC’s best kept secret?: We feel unqualified to say.

Where do you get your clothing?: Church & State samples

What clothing item best describes your personality?: R – a dress; N – a jumpsuit

Compare NYC and Portland style. N and R – A lot more people take risks in New York, less so in Portland, but both places have people whose fashion catches your eye on the street.

What is your must have fashion item?: R – Shoes; N – A go-to pair of pants

What is your favorite place to stay in NYC?: With friends

What should you spend money on in NYC?: Good food and Church & State


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