After a 9 and a half year stretch in New York City, Taylor Kaclik has returned home. From building SCAPES with Anide Enomoto, to providing intimate experiences with hand poke tattooing, and taking on the task of renovating an entire home, Taylor has proven her hard work, time and time again.
Who are you?
Hi, My name is Taylor Kaclik. I’m a Pittsburgh native, but I spent the last 9.5 years in New York City. I recently relocated back to the city of Pittsburgh in June of 2019, turned my life completely on its head, and am really pushing myself to explore new mediums as I refamiliarize myself in this space.
I am a woman and I am a creative. Using the word “creative” as a noun, in my mind, allows it to be used as a definite descriptor. It is embedded, it is not questioned. It’s an incredibly broad term, but it gives me so much freedom and allows me to continually expand practicing with different realms. I am “formally” trained in Womenswear Fashion Design (although my aesthetic always bridged menswear) and I received my Bachelor of Fine Art degree with a specification in womens ready-to-wear from Parsons the New School for Design.
Let’s start with SCAPES. Since 2015, you have been transforming the clothing industry by fusing womenswear with the distinctive environment of New York City. Why did you choose this feel and direction?
I alone cannot take full credit for SCAPES. Andie Enomoto, my creative partner, and I started SCAPES as an extension of our thesis. Since then, it has transformed many, many times, but eventually became exactly what it was supposed to have been all along-- a true mirror of ourselves. I still in many ways feel that I am through and through a New Yorker, I really feel like the city raised me-- good and bad. I know Andie feels the same. We both sought to create something that was authentic, and there was no better place to pull inspiration from than the place that really defined both of us.
In the beginning, we pulled so much inspiration from our past and the places we grew up. But as we gained confidence in our abilities and really started to find comfort in forging our own path, we looked to our present life for inspiration and all of the juxtapositions within our current environment. We found that things were always in such perfect harmony, and it was kind of a weird interpretation of the two of us, too. The feeling of being “Tough and Tender” was something we always tried to implement into our pieces, a marriage between material and hardware, or model and styling, etc.
As we grew into our own, this became so innate to our design process. We both are so full of ideas, but it always seemed like we would have a simultaneous “Ah Ha!” moment and all of the design elements would fall into place. That being said, super tedious editing was a huge portion of our process. We are both Type-A perfectionists, so we would often spend days adjusting the tiniest corrections to the patterns, or moving embroidery placement up or down 1⁄8 of an inch, or mulling over whether we should use a 3⁄8” or 1⁄2” snap. As ridiculous this sounds, these are some of my most fond memories. There was no better sensation than feeling 100% proud about something you’re putting out into the world for other people to enjoy. We really tried not to give on anything, we’d hold off on releasing things until we felt the construction, material, hardware, appliques, etc. were all done to our standard. Andie and I work so symbiotically, we both definitely bring our own strengths to the table, but everything we create is genuinely 50/50.
With so many streetwear brands out there, We understand SCAPES has created it’s own lane with Women’s Streetwear. Why do you think it’s important to separate? Explain the decision behind this.
I honestly wish I had a better answer for this, but it wasn’t super intentional. We were creating things we wanted within our own wardrobes and this just ended up being how the industry eventually accepted us. I use the word “eventually” because at first stores were so confused. When we first started getting picked up by retailers, we would often get the feedback that “our garments were too oversized” or “ women won’t understand this fit.” We knew that WE were women and WE understood it, so we just kept at it. We trusted that there were women out there, much like us, who would shop in the men’s section to find the cooler translation of that seasons print or graphic. But we found ourselves always having to trade good fit for a better colorway- menswear never seemed to check both boxes for us.
I think SCAPES was a solution to this “problem.” We didn’t want “woman-centric” (in quotes, because I hate how that still seems to mean pink and butterflies in today’s age??) graphics or colors. We wanted the colorways that were offered in menswear, but to fit well on a female figure. We wanted what we felt was lacking from our own wardrobes to be realized. And we wanted it to be thoughtful and made ethically in New York City.
All of the effort, time, and thought we put into creating our collections really paid off in the community that it attracted. What set us apart within the womenswear market really allowed us to bridge working with a wide variety of people. We had the opportunity to connect and work with so many talented creatives who reached out to us because they just really connected with what we were doing and wanted to contribute or be apart of what we were doing. We really trusted the community we curated and often times let our photographers, or models or stylists take creative liberties on projects. There is nothing more humbling than getting to collaborate and create work with someone who’s work you really admire. To me, there is no higher compliment than “this crazy idea I have in my head” being immediately understood without need for explanation.
Leaving New York City to come back to Pittsburgh can be somewhat of a shock creatively because of it being a smaller market. How has the change been so far and how do you interpret the overall creative community here? Have you met anyone or a community that you feel you can mesh with yet?
It definitely is a smaller market, but I find that it’s been very collaborative. It feels like there is so much willingness to share - information, resources, ideas, and even a hand. It’s exciting to see people come together in this way. This approach is something I’ve always thought to be a crucial element to growing and expanding as a creative.
I actually haven’t met that many people yet, I’ve been living north of Pittsburgh while I wait to move into my place in Lawrenceville, so I’ve definitely felt a little disconnected. I’m so eager to get situated down there, I have so much creativity brewing, but I still have a few more months to wait. I definitely feel super aligned with Hounds-- even before we met in person, our brands, inspiration, and media all seemed so connected. Sometimes it’s just so crazy how time and space align. Happy to be here, happy to have linked.
I came from an entirely creative life, I supported myself in New York City off of being an artist. I definitely feel like a fish out of water where I am right now, but I’m hoping that once I move and am in closer proximity to my studio in Bloomfield, I’ll be able to really sink my teeth in. There are so many mediums I want to explore and so many I’d like to tap back into. There are definitely pros and cons of being a creative located here. In many ways, I think Pittsburgh is the perfect place for exploration. The cheaper cost of living actually takes off so much pressure, it gives you the space to create without always having to turn your creativity into a business. There is room to try things, room to make mistakes, room to “figure it out.” I think the only con for me is not being located near the garment district anymore, it was so convenient and everything you possibly needed was at your fingertips. There doesn’t really seem to be anywhere to source fabric or hardware or around here? Things that I used to be able to just run out and get, like muslin and pattern paper, now need to be ordered online and shipped to my studio. Limitation only breeds creativity in my opinion though, so bring it on.
You bring something fresh and different to the city of Pittsburgh, TKBK, One-off hand poke tattoos. Please explain what this is, why you do it, and how this is done.
Ah, thank you. This practice has been so special to me. It’s something I’ve never done full time, but it’s definitely exceeded the role of being “just a hobby.” I started tattooing shortly after I graduated from college. I was so burnt out at the time, and was just looking for something to keep my the creative side of my brain exercised. Tattooing was something I had wanted to do for a long time, but it was Andie who finally gave me the push I needed to “just try.” This “just try” mentality has now become a theme of my life, so big shout out to Andie.
At the time, the method of handpoke (I’ll explain!) seemed to be such harmonious introduction to tattooing. It allowed me to bypass the “boys club” nature of tattoo shops and create a business model on my own terms. I tattooed out of my apartment the entire time I lived in NYC. Everyone loved the setting so much because it was so comforting, light, airy, and honestly just had the most magical energy. I don’t know how to describe it, but almost every single person would comment on it. I think I was lucky, because no one took me less seriously for not working out of a shop. It actually kind of worked to my benefit, people felt so comfortable in my space that so much of my business was created through word of mouth. People were so excited to share about their experience with friends, family, or even strangers that would come up to them to ask about their tattoo. I can’t tell you how many emails I get that start out with “I met this girl at a coffee shop” or “I asked this girl on the train where she got her tattoo from” haha. How incredible is it that these little marks on the skin keep connecting people past my initial interaction with the client? I’m honestly just so humbled by this whole thing.
I think the visibility of the industry has changed so much in recent years. Women are really starting to take a stance and open up shops that only employ female (identifying) artists. It’s been pretty incredible shift to be apart of. I’ve been doing it on and off for about 5 years now and have given well over 600 tattoos by this point. The method is similar to getting a tattoo with a machine, but instead of the machine pumping the needle up and down, it’s done manually with my own wrist/hand. I didn’t invent this method, what I’m doing is a very westernized interpretation of traditional tebori tattoos. All of the same materials are used for this process, the needles are actually what would be loaded into the machine. I use a vegan ink (black only), medical grade gloves and table coverings, etc etc etc. I take this practice very seriously, so I’m incredibly particular about the area is presented. A clean and organized space is crucial and I take every precaution to keep it that way while tattooing. There is so much responsibility in this practice and I am grateful every single day for the trust that people instill in me.
Each design is only tattooed one time. I’ve always worked this way and it’s something I feel very strong about maintaining (even though it’s more work for me haha). I do what I call “1/1 pages”, I fill pages with designs and the client will come in and select something off the sheet. I mark each tattoo after it’s been done with a blue dot, and once it’s marked off, it can’t be chosen again. All of the designs are on a first come, first serve basis, so some people get really concerned that “the one they want” won’t be there when they come in for their appointment. But I always find that the design that is meant for their body will be waiting for them- it always seems to work out this way. I have a pretty delicate, minimal style- my tattoos are not meant to disrupt the natural body. I see them more as little adornments, or decorations for the skin. Movement is always taken into consideration, they are supposed to live with you. There is no better feeling than hearing, “it looks like it’s always been there!” after I’m finished tattooing. I always urge people to go with the design and placement that feels the most natural on their body.
I find that this method creates such an intimate connection between myself and the client. Removing the hum of the machine opens up so much space for conversation. I really get to know every single person I have the opportunity to work with. I just set up an appointment-only shop in Bloomfield and it already feels like it will be in incredible space for connecting and collaborating. It’s a shared creative space, so it will also house many other projects as well. I think the energy will only continue to mature as more people come in and interact with the space. I would love to build the same sense of community in Pittsburgh as I did in New York City through this practice. I know it will inevitably be different, but I’m excited to see how my work in this city unfolds. I know Pittsburgh is a little more difficult to get to than NYC, so I’m particularly humbled and grateful to everyone who is still willing to travel here to get tattooed. I love this city so much, I’m excited to share it with clients from all over the place. A large part of this business and my relevancy revolves around staying connected, so I’d also love to do week-long stints in different cities a few times a year. I’ve been trying to do this for years now, but hope to finally start planning these mini-trips a little more seriously in 2020. New York and LA have racked up a lot of tallies and will probably be my first two stops.
You took on the task of fully renovating a house. Give us some details on the home itself, as well as why and how you plan on bringing this home to life.
This was actually one of the main reasons I moved back to Pittsburgh. Renovating or building a home is something I’ve always wanted to do, and the timing just worked out. I was wanting to make a big change, I was wanting to challenge myself and I was wanting to learn something new -- this checked all the boxes.
I grew up around construction and architecture, my dad’s dad was an architect and my dad started his own construction company before I was born. Working on something of this scale has always been so interesting to me, and I feel so blessed to be able to do this with my dad. I think it’s expanded our respect for one another and the skillsets we bring to the table. The place I’m working on will actually be my personal home here. I often joke about it being an Airbnb for my friends, but I actually hope it does become a home away from home for my loved ones. I love hosting. My dream is to have this be a space for gathering, for connecting, and for sharing ideas and recipes and stories.
The house itself is over 100 years old, so I’m trying to restore a lot of the elements that are original to the space. I’m reopening all of the windows and doors to their original size and took all of the dropped ceilings out to reopen the rooms to their original height. All of the floors will be refinished, all of the corbels and limestone headers that were taken out (WHY??!) will be replaced, etc. A lot more is happening to the house than I initially thought, but most of the “updating” is actually happening with the layout. The house is only 15’ wide, so every inch really counts. The kitchen was so tiny, but the dining room was massive. The master bedroom had no closet and all three bedrooms upstairs shared one tiny bathroom with no storage. We took out a lot of walls, added all new electric and HVAC, added a few bathrooms and really (in my mind) maxed out the usable space. The finished space will be kind of a blank slate - I’m maintaining a color palette of black and white with tones of natural wood throughout the entire space. I’m trying to use as many natural materials as possible, as I believe they add so much warmth to the space. The patina of natural or living finishes is so beautiful to watch over time, it’s a process that truly imbeds the owner into the house and leaves a trail of how you used and experienced the space.
It’s been very interesting to build into an existing structure. There are so many limitations and things that need fixed or redone, so I’m getting to learn a lot throughout the process. I’m getting to see and plan out all of the inner workings of the house. I’ve been approaching this whole process like designing a collection. How do all of the rooms work together to create a unified space? How will a person use the house? Is it functional and are all of the elements necessary? How do all of the colors and textures balance out? It’s crazy how everything is so connected.
Finally, what’s next for Taylor Kaclik? Are you working on something bigger for SCAPES or will you focus more on your personal self, possibly engaging more with creative direction or brand consultation?
SCAPES is on hold right now. I think it’s something Andie and I would love to come back to in the future, but we’re both letting life take us where it will. Whether it’s SCAPES or something else, I know for a fact that Andie and I aren’t done working together. We have a “til death do us part” kind of bond. I really admire her as a creative, I’m always so in awe of the beauty she so effortlessly puts out into the world through her work. She really pushes my boundaries and together I think we create something really unique and beautiful.
I think for me, the start to this chapter is all about self-growth. I’m pushing myself to simply explore and to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I have a lot to learn and simultaneously a lot to give, so I know all of the pieces will eventually fall into place. My “master plan” is to start building an interior design/staging portfolio - my own place being my first project. A test, if you will, to see if all of the ideas I’ve had in my head come out looking as good in real life haha. Since I’ve started this renovation, I’ve been re-experiencing the whole “finding your voice” thing, where you second guess every single decision because don’t have any confidence built up in your practice yet. I know this will change with time and as I have more projects under my belt, and I keep reminding myself that there are no wrong answers, this is MY home. This project has definitely been kicking my ass, it’s definitely been putting me in my place. It’s exciting to me though, it’s been acting as a constant reminder that I have so much to learn.
Shortly after I moved back, I passed the real estate licensing exam, which I feel works pretty symbiotically into the interior design field. It’s kind of just a “the more you know” checkbox, I always like to have as holistic approach as possible. As a long term goal, I think all of the things I’m currently doing are inching me towards eventually curating a furniture/home goods store at some point. If I continue doing renovations, I’d love to use the furniture to stage the homes. I dream of having my tattoo shop in the back of the space with the furniture in the front acting as the waiting room. Creating a home is so important to me and I’d like to share my sentiment of that with others.
In the meantime, I’ll continue working on turning this house into a home. I plan to start tattooing more regularly and hopefully just spending more time down at my studio. I’d love to get back into screen printing and photography and painting, there are a lot of mediums I’d like to refamiliarize myself with. I have had this idea for some large scale mixed media pieces that I want to create before it gets pushed to the back of my brain. I’ve been wanting to create large scale pieces that are based off of my tattoo style for a while now. I think they could be so beautiful translated onto paper and through textiles. I could talk forever about all the ideas I have in my head, but this is one that feels particularly vivid. I’m excited to try to execute this and combine mediums that are new and old to me. This is me exploring. This is me trying.
Photos By: Garrett "G" Yurisko