We teamed up with footwear brand KEEN in honor of their new Bridge City Collection to meet some of the most stylish, creative duos in New York City. Get to know the Suarez Sisters.
For Dylana and Natalie Suarez, style comes naturally. The multi-talented sisters, who are a photographer/blogger and a model/blogger, respectively, have garnered thousands of fans on the web and on social media (Instagram in particular) who flock to their fashion, travel and lifestyle blogs (dylanasuarez.com for Dylana and natalifeoffduty.com for Natalie), to get style tips and read essays and personal entries about the Suarez sisters' lives. But before each sister launched her blog, the LA-raised siblings learned about fashion and taste from their mother, a talented sewer who Dylana says "had a very definitive style." Now based in New York City, we sat down with them to hear their thoughts on raiding each other's closets, hanging out at their favorite haunts in NYC and why they think it's better together.
Tell us about your relationship growing up. What were you guys like when you were younger?
Dylana: Growing up, we always did everything together. We were best friends. We're three years apart and when we were younger age difference seemed like a bigger deal. Nat always wanted to follow my footsteps and copy what I did and come hang out with my friends. I was almost a little annoyed but now it's kind of different.
Natalie: We were always singing.
Dylana: We always wanted to be performers even though I was really shy and Nat was more the young, outgoing funny one. I was always writing my stories.
Natalie: We would sing, we'd pretend to be newscasters, we'd ice skate in the garage and do weird things. We were always dancing.
Dylana: We always had each other's backs.
When did you both become interested in fashion?
Dylana: Our mom was a really good sewer so she would make us clothes when we were younger because she came from a family of ten kids and our grandma made everyone's clothes. She learned to sew when she was a kid and she had a really good sense of fashion and it kind of rubbed off on us. She'd always sketch little mannequin dolls for us to paint over. We were surrounded by it even though she didn't work in fashion. She had a very definitive style and we noticed for sure.
Who had the better clothes growing up?
Natalie: Dylana definitely had good style. She always wore very girly clothes. I was a tomboy so I only wore really baggy jeans.
Dylana: You wore Timberlands and denim on denim and I was wearing what my mom wore. She'd take me shopping. Sometimes in LA we'd go estate sale hunting and I'd get cool things. Back then I was almost embarrassed to go to them but that's how we developed our style -- with second-hand clothes.
Natalie: I'd always wear Dylana's hand-me-downs.
Dylana: I loved color and prints.
Natalie: Eventually when I started getting more into music like rock n' roll, that's when I started getting more inspired to find my own style. I'm very inspired by the '70s.
Who has the better style now?
Natalie: We both have very similar styles.
Dylana: But I think with Nat's modeling background, she's very good at pulling off cool, edgy things and sometimes I think I can't. We do borrow from each other's closets all the time and wear a lot of the same pieces but we wear them differently in very subtle ways. We inspire each other.
What is one item that your sister has in her closet that you're really KEEN on and wish you could steal?
Natalie: I'm really KEEN on Dylana's vintage kimonos. They're very colorful. I can never find good stuff when I go vintage shopping. I really have to dig and she digs very well so I try to steal all her stuff.
Dylana: I'm drawn to things with lots of colors that remind me of our traveling. Our mom is from Southeast Asia so we grew up with things our mom brought back from home and those prints and styles. I'm KEEN on all of Natalie's really awesome patent leather outerwear pieces. She has this super cool black, patent leather trench coat that whenever she wears it, I just want to steal it off her back. She pulls off statement pieces so well.
Where are you guys from originally? When did you move to New York?
Natalie: We're originally from L.A. We were born in Santa Monica and raised in the Valley.
Dylana: I feel like growing up in the 'burbs inspires you to stand out and get out. That's why we're true California girls but the grass is always greener on the other side. We always dreamed about moving to the East Coast. Ever since I watched When Harry Met Sally, I wanted to move to New York and have a New York City fall.
Natalie: Yeah, we love the seasons and experimenting with different styles here.
Dylana: I always dreamed of moving to New York City but I went to school in LA and I felt like if I wanted to work in fashion, New York was the place. I moved to the East Coast five years ago for a job in Philadelphia and eventually made the move to New York and Nat was already in New York City.
Natalie: Yeah, modeling brought me to New York and so it was perfect timing.
Dylana: I was styling in Philadelphia and after two years, I felt like I needed more and wanted to explore more creative endeavors and having had a little taste of New York City every now and then really pushed me to make the move here.
Tell us about where you live in the city and what are some of the places you're most KEEN on in your neighborhood?
Natalie: I moved around a ton when I first moved to New York but now I live in DUMBO. It's the first place I moved to when I moved to New York. I love it because it's very peaceful. You can still see the city and it's so close to Manhattan and it's such a pretty place and I'm obsessed with it. It's very old-school New York, very quaint and iconic.
Dylana: When I first moved to New York, I was in Williamsburg and then I've been living in Bushwick for a little over two years. I've always been a Brooklyn girl. I like it because there's more space and it reminded me a little bit more of the scene I had in Philadelphia -- it's more chill and laid back and I can have quiet nights and you're not in the bustling city. Bushwick has some of the best places to eat. I'm KEEN on Sunday brunch at Montana's Trailhouse. And I think the best burger that I've ever had in New York City is at AP Café off the Jefferson stop, which is super unexpected but when I tried it, I was like, "This is amazing!"
Natalie: We're KEEN on Mother's Ruin in DUMBO. We love Atrium. Still one of my favorite places in the city is Central Park -- it's iconic but I still love it. It's a little escape every now and then. I also love the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Classic New York mixed with Brooklyn.
Do you guys ever get to work together or collaborate with your blogs or on projects?
Dylana: We're always working together behind the scenes and have been doing that from day 1 since we started the blogs in 2009. When I started my blog, it originally didn't feature myself in it -- I shot Nat and styled her. I wanted to develop my photography and Nat was modeling. I think it's cool to work with someone that thinks the same as you and is not afraid to tell you that you can do this better and give you critique on things.
Natalie: We're very honest.
Why is it better together?
Dylana: At the end of the day, it's great to have support and have someone to share things with. It makes things more fun.
Natalie: We've always had our own projects but I feel like it's always better when we're together because we complement each other and help each other. It's always nice to work with your best friend.
Dylana: And we travel a lot together. We do a lot of projects like go to every music festival together and we create content for brands and I feel like the whole creative process wouldn't be as seamless if we weren't sisters and knew exactly what each other wanted and could see things visually.
Natalie: It's so much easier. We just get each other.
Dylana: It seems a lot more natural.
What are you guys KEEN on outside of fashion and blogging? What are some of your other hobbies, passions or interests?
Dylana: Nat and I are definitely both KEEN on music. When we were little, we were always singing.
Natalie: And writing songs.
Dylana: Yeah, probably really bad, stupid songs. Nat grew up playing piano and Nat's also pretty good at the guitar so sometimes we do covers for fun. We just jam together.
Natalie: And with friends, too. We just like to play together and make videos. We're always taking photos wherever we go. We love to travel.
Dylana: I love to write so that's a big part of my blog, just expressing myself with words. I want people to visit my blog not just for the pictures and where I'm at and what I'm wearing but to visit my blog and read it and take something away that's inspiring and empowering from that. I feel like I'm always in a mode of self-development and that's what I express in my blog. I talk about a lot of personal things.
What do you hope you'll each be doing in ten years and where would you want to be?
Natalie: In ten years I still see myself working with Dylana every day. Probably forever. I definitely would like to keep the blog and continue to tell my story but maybe in a different way -- maybe more behind-the-scenes and not as much focused on ourselves. Like maybe we would have our own clothing line or something. Just something we could still shoot for and story tell through and, of course, clothes and fashion are kind of our thing and it can tie into music.
Dylana: I definitely think I'll keep our stories going but social media is always changing and our blog will change and we always change as people so I don't know. We've always talked about creating our own brand together. We're so inspired by so many different things and I think together we have a unique perspective so just thinking about an idea or something that we can actually create from scratch and put out there would be nice.
Natalie: Something that our readers can really identify with. Who knows. We'll see.
Dylana: Maybe we'll no longer be in New York City but somewhere exotic and warm and by the beach but still doing what we love. And we do so many different things and as long as we can involve travel, photography, writing and storytelling, I think we'd be happy.
Check out KEEN's Bridge City Collection here.
Producer: Erin Francis
Director & Editor: Symone Ridgell
Stylist: Sam Bates
Hair and Makeup: Mirna Jose
Clothing by Dion Lee and Ji Oh