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When asked if she would be changing her last name to “Spearman”, Star said she wasn’t sure yet because she had never wanted to get married until she met, her now husband, Joah Spearman.  When Star met the co-founder and CEO of The Neighborhood (which will take the place of Style X during SXSW this year), the two hit it off and quickly married in a low-key courthouse ceremony just months later.  “I don’t get  most of this being married stuff short of that it’s awesome to be with someone I love so much,” Star says.

If you’ve ever met Star, then it shouldn’t come as a huge shock that she would choose to do something as conventional as getting married, in an unconventional way.  From the first time I stepped foot in her former retail store, I knew the owner of this space had a unique style different from most Austinites.  Dog & Pony, which Star opened up after moving to Austin about 2 and a half years ago, stocked different brands from all over the world, including many from New York where she had previously lived for 5 years.  Star’s style can most definitely be called “eclectic”  as she was born in South Korea, has lived in the U.S., and studied fashion design in Milan.  She has an eye for unique clothing items, and she herself wears them well alongside her signature edgy black eyeliner and bouncy voluminous hair that looks like something out of a L’Oreal hair commercial.

Located in West Campus, Star’s store Dog & Pony quickly became a favorite of UT fashion students, and Star has became like a mentor to these students. University Fashion Group member Tyler Neal says “She was always there as someone we could seek advice from, or just talk to.  She was never above helping us or coming to University Fashion Group meetings to share wisdom.”  In fact, Star ultimately decided to close the retail side of Dog & Pony so that she could focus more on the creative aspects of her business by working with young fashion designers and photographers.  In September Star re-launched Dog & Pony as a “Creative Fashion Space with the goal of providing an open and aesthetic creative environment in which artists can realize fashion related projects.”  Dog & Pony is currently available for rent as an event space, photo studio, or more.

More photos and a Q&A with this stylish Austinite…

Q&A with Star:

How would you describe your personal style?

Eclectic. It really runs the gamut depending on how I feel. I don’t spend much time shopping anymore, so I tend to pick stuff up through work and the people I meet. Your closet starts to coalesce around your taste after a while, patterns and preferences emerge, and dressing then becomes an exercise in different ways to put them together. This works better with an organized closet. To be more prosaic, my closet is about 50% black, 30% neutrals, 20% prints + crazy things.


Where are you from originally and how do you think, if at all, it has influenced your personal style?

South Korea, I attended three years of school there. It’s a very appearance and trend-based culture, and it must have been my first conscious introduction to clothing and it’s social implications. I wore a uniform for half a year of middle school before moving back to the States, and it’s an interesting thing how you can manipulate a school uniform, intended as a homogenizing tool, into communicating different things about yourself. People find a way.


Have you always been interested in fashion? What were your other interests growing up?

I wasn’t very interested in clothing as a child, instead I read a lot of books.


Any embarrassing style moments from your past you wish you could take back?

Every teenage outfit, probably… I tried.


What’s your favorite thing about the fashion scene in Austin?

It’s changing and growing so much alongside the city, and that’s always a good time to be involved in an industry. There are a lot of great young creatives to collaborate with, and with Austin being so affordable to live in, it allows for a lot of creative output to happen.


What’s your least favorite thing about the fashion scene in Austin?

That it’s still growing. One aspect is that I think Austin doesn’t know yet what to do with the great creative energy it generates. It’s something I wonder about for our business a lot, how to contribute and make ourselves part of that process, and to use that energy productively. But I also tend to think that some things just take time- I was in Austin briefly 7 years ago, and already fashion here is very different.


What’s your go-to accessory?

I’m consistent with my jewelry, I’m very picky about it. These days I wear religiously: a Delfina Delettrez hand ring that all I cracked all the red enamel off of, and two geometric bangles- one by Species by the Thousand, and another I picked up in Delft during my last visit to The Netherlands. I also have a necklace from my mom I wear when I need a little boost, I have the sense it protects me- it’s the only thing I own that I’ve imbued with talismanic powers.


What is the fashion piece that you have had in your closet the longest? Why?

I can’t pinpoint one special piece, but they’re the things I’ve kept from my time in Milan. I didn’t really understand how to shop for quality and longevity before then. I still treasure a lot of my finds from the Senigallia Market, a Saturday flea market that happens weekly on the Naviligo River. Living in a palazzo with 9 other friends that went to the same school, it was a weekly obsession, sometimes race, to go and hunt for treasure. Example: a vintage gold chain Versace belt I paid a woman 5 euros for- it’s beautiful.


Joanna Wilkinson

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