This month we’re shining a light on one of our own— Auckland born and bred graphic designer, vintage clothing curator, mad - about- shoes, red lipstick wearing, all round tastemaker — Ashley Keen. She is not only the epitome of a woman living life by her own rules, but she is also a near and dear friend and part of the Sauce fam. Ashley designed our first ever logo + website and has continued to evolve the visual aesthetics on all things SAUCE. Keen has the brains, the beauty and the style so naturally we wanted to take a look into her life and share it with you.
“I am a Pisces (like, the definition of, apparently)”
ON HOME AND CAREER
“Central Auckland has always been my home. Being a two harbour city gives me the sense of constant movement. Surrounded by water, in a dynamic city - both geographically and culturally – I feel lucky to have grown up here and establish myself as a designer.
In a place where ‘everyone seems to know everyone’, I feel it’s a fertile place to connect and collaborate with people across multiple disciplines. That said, I feel there is an increasing energy of ‘same same-ness’…It might be time for me to find a new backdrop.
I studied fine art & design and have since worked in multiple facets of the design world. Print, web & brand were my focus, however for the past two years I have practiced UI/UX design for a Blockchain venture studio. Believe me when I say, I never thought I’d end up here! But, I do think it’s the way forward. Also, don’t ask me to explain Blockchain, I’m still figuring that out.
I also freelance and have personal projects on the go (including work for my favourite sauce-mag). You can view my portfolio at ashleykee.com.”
“I’m particular, yet open to new trends. Recently I have been more focused on re-aligning my attitude towards shopping with my personal values. Mainly – to simplify. I believe in investing in quality timeless pieces that puzzle together and work in multiple contexts.
My rule to go by is dressing for every occasion – all at once; to go from work – to dinner – to a formal event, with only a change in lipstick and perhaps eyeliner.
I do most of my shopping at a select few stores, and tend to keep the colour palette minimal, usually with a splash of my signature red lip. I’m obsessed with footwear - I can’t be stopped.
That said, I recently culled about 70% of my wardrobe, feeling it was time to cut ties with those pieces I lug around purely for their nostalgic value. It was time to go full Marie Kondo, and say thank you, next.”
“Most of what I’m wearing in these images (shot by my bff Sam Craigie) is vintage! When I was in London last year I found this hidden gem on Brick Lane called Serotonin. Some of my finds included a vintage sparkly olive green Calvin Klein suit, Yves Saint Laurent velvet overalls, a Versace zipped turtleneck, a red Prada bikini – all circa 1990, I got a bit carried away…
I like to buy from local designers –I recently invested in a Frisson Knit which I know I’ll have forever. I’ve thrashed my Miss Crabb pieces (I’ll be sad to see her go). I really admire what Paris Georgia are doing. I’d wear The Row head to toe if I could afford to (one day). I am wearing a Symetria Concept shirt , another local label I love wearing.”
“I recently caught up with one of my oldest friends, I hadn’t seen her in a few years, and the first thing she said to me was ‘well you still smell like Ashley’ haha. I’ve had this said to me on multiple occasions actually, but I suppose if you wear the same fragrance for a decade it eventually moulds to your identity. I’m probably 2% Versace Crystal Noir by this point…and 2% M.A.C Ruby Woo, I don’t go anywhere without either.”
“One thing I love about being a designer is finding solutions to complex problems. It seems like an intentional, logical process, but it’s often chaotic. The challenges of what I do are defined by the specifics of the brief - and it’s this very aspect of design that drives me - to work with a client to find solutions through visual communication. As a designer you have to be adaptable to others’ needs, and so this particularity is reliant of energy, openness and nous.
I like to think I follow principles rather than trends, and these are defined by long standing rules to go by, as well as cultural movements of the time (or yes, trends).
Work is a big driver for me. I’m excited about the work I’m generating at Centrality and my independent projects. I’m starting an online platform to produce artist-projects, or more so, art works as websites, and that not only gets me up, but keeps me up.”
ASHLEY KEEN’S PLAYLIST
“I struggle to work/focus without headphones. Half the time I’m listening to nothing at all, it’s a distraction deterrent more than anything else…
But for the past few weeks my working score has been Carla Dal Forno’s show on NTS radio, mostly minimal synth to folk and art rock. Otherwise I have my ‘Worth Saving’ Spotify playlist on circulation – a very eclectic mix of tunes that (I thought) were literally ‘worth saving’. I’ve been adding to it for years, you can follow it here, it’s good – well, I like it. I hope Ariana Grande will still be blasting at parties in 2050.”
Photography | sam CRAIGIE [35mm film]
thank you sam and ashley <3