Housefit: The Story Behind the Photos

August 4, 2020


Tomorrow we launch a little capsule collection we're affectionately calling HOUSEFIT. It's composed of five happy pieces designed with comfort and home in mind.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we've tried to find creative ways to identify the distance and isolation we feel and express it through our photoshoots. What started as a wild idea became reality when a trio of remote friends accepted a unique challenge: we asked them to take our collection into their homes and assume the role of remote models.  Aside from their excellent personal style, the story of their friendship is so inspiring and can teach us all a lesson about connecting in the digital world. 

We have loved getting to know Melissa, Salina, and Nicolle over the past few years. They support our brand, love our clothing, and have taken our styling game to the next level. 

The remote photoshoot was fun to dream up and execute, and it also gave us a reason to finally meet these three (on Zoom) and collaborate. We’re finding the pandemic is all about silver linings. And HOUSEFIT was certainly one way to make lemonade out of the massive amounts of lemons we’re all getting right now. 


Nicolle, Melissa, and Salina met on Instagram in the slow fashion community. There is some debate over the exact moment the trio came together, but they think it was way back when the first STATE Swayers launched as part of our Blueniform collection. The friends bonded over their love of STATE, and they admired each others’ styling. A private message thread, STATE of the Union (shoutout to Nicolle for the brilliant name) was then formed over Instagram DM and the friends have gathered there for every collection launch since. On the eve of each new STATE drop, the trio messages back and forth as they review the collection preview, have intense discussions about the pieces they like, and they help each other through their indecisiveness. (We can't tell you how much this warms our hearts as a brand to hear how our clothes have brought people together and continue to help foster community! What a total thrill.


Nicolle Deufel (she/her)

Worcester, MA / Logistics Manager, Mother to Fern, Lover of butter and aperitifs 

Find her: @saltootd5

 *Interviewed on her honeymoon, so we kept it brief ;)


How would you describe your style?

Moody, I either want to be dressed in complete monochrome OR with as many patterns and colors as possible.


How does clothing bond you three together?

They give me a safe judgment-free zone to creatively try patterns and sizes and shapes that I believed were not acceptable for women of my size and color. They make my exploration of style feel like a visit to an amusement park instead of an exercise in conformity. My favorite part is how committed we all are to the people that we know AND the people we don’t know being positively represented and welcomed.

Since the pandemic began, are clothes playing a different role in your life? 

As an essential worker, I am lucky to still have a job that I go to every day so my clothing choices haven’t changed all that much. I do find that I find bright pops of color to be essential for my mental health during all of this despite my acute knowledge that as a Black woman in a leadership role I am required to make sure I look “professional”.

Has your friendship changed in any way since lockdown?

With soo many unknowns and uncertainty, reaching out to each other provides a pressure free zone to gather support and much needed perspective.





Salina (she/her)

New York, NY / Artist, Controlled Chaos Maker, Friend

Find her:  @salina_wears  @fu_ceramics

Have you found other commonalities outside of clothing?  If so, what?

Melissa and I are both artists dabbling in eCommerce. Before I launched the Fu Ceramics webshop, Melissa and I had extensive conversations about the trials and errors of starting a small business. It's great to have someone bounce ideas with, who understands exactly what you're talking about.

Have you ever met in person?  

I've only met Nicolle in person just recently. It was her wedding ceremony and it felt so special to be part of her big day. I wish I could've given her a real hug! Melissa brought up the idea of a STATE road trip. We'll go from Detroit to Boston to NYC to Athens, and probably just take up residence by the STATE studio. One day!

How would you describe your style?

 I love clothes that have charm, and I tend to describe the way I style as controlled chaos. Frankly, I can probably describe my life that way too. Give me colors, patterns, textures, and all the layers! I'm a huge introvert and I love using clothes to express my personality. I dress for the artist inside of me.


How does clothing bond you together? 

I think the three of us all share similar criteria when we shop for clothes. We want to support small businesses that are ethical and sustainable. Beyond caring about the environment, brands need to care about the humans who support them. This means being size-inclusive and actually showing the clothes on a diverse range of models. Clothing is self-care, but it is also political.

Since the pandemic began, are clothes playing a different role in your life? 

 To be honest, I've mostly been living in Arq sets and loungewear. I haven't worn a bra in a long time and I'm fully embracing the freedom. Since the pandemic began, I look for clothes that bring me comfort and ease, that I can get dirty in. Most of my days are spent between playing with clay and cooking. I think being at home for the last five months has shown me the true workhorses in my closet. My Swayers are definitely in that category.


Has your friendship changed in any way since lockdown?

Our friendship has always been online, so with lockdown, it feels like nothing has changed. If anything, I think we are more appreciative of one another for providing a sense of normalcy, while the world is on fire. 





Melissa Anderson (she/her):

Detroit, MI / Artist, Mother to Betty White, Chips and Salsa Enthusiast, Bringer of Happy. 

Find her: @melissanderson @bringthehappy


How do you three stay in touch? DMs, text, phone?

We regularly chat as a group over DMS, but we also all chat individually. Nicolle and I basically text each other pics of Betty White and Fern (our dogs) every single day amongst a wide range of other things. And Salina and I have chatted extensively about owning and running a small business. 


Have you found other commonalities outside of clothing?  If so, what?

 Everything? Ha. Clothing definitely brought us together and is probably our most regular source of connection, but there is so much more to our relationships. I jokingly say everything, but I think in general our values align and we all just really care about each other's joy. 


Have you ever met in person?  

I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT. Nicolle and Salina got to meet recently and I could not be there. It filled me with so much excitement (read: jealous rage) to see pictures of them together. We’ve joked about a STATE road trip for a while now, but once we are allowed to leave the house again, that shit is happening. Tell Tulsi to have a menu on standby. ;)


How would you describe your style?

Honestly, I feel like I don't know anymore. I love a layer, so I always feel a bit off in summer. And with the pandemic, I feel like I never quite “complete” an outfit anymore. Those final elements I put on before leaving the house are really what make my outfits shine, IMO. 


How does clothing bond you together?

I think we all believe clothing is a form of self-care, but the way we shop also speaks to our values. We vote with our dollars and we all care about those dollars going to small businesses we believe in. Small businesses that believe in ALL of us and ALL of our bodies equally. Not only do we love our STATE clothes, but we are all able to shop the site and see ourselves represented. Look, this is a privilege I get all the time, but if my friends aren’t invited to your party then none of us are coming. 


Since the pandemic began, are clothes playing a different role in your life? 

As a thin, white woman, I have extreme privilege when it comes to clothing. Not only can I shop at any store I choose, but even when I worked in an office (currently unemployed), I’ve never had to worry about looking “professional.” These privileges (along with my financial privilege) have allowed me to spend the last few years investing in a wardrobe that is very much me, works for my everyday lifestyle, and above all is comfortable. This means most of my clothes are pajama chic and make for great pandemic loungewear. 


Has your friendship changed in any way since lockdown?

Our friendship has always been remote, so things feel rather similar. However, we are living in a dumpster fire and we’ve been able to provide each other with extra support and comfort during this time.