Meet the Artist: Kelsey Van Patten

Meet Kelsey Van Patten, our designer slash resident fashionista. Based in Encinitas CA, this surfer gal is the artist behind our palettes, patterns, and fit designs. Go behind the scenes with her on our current collection and get the dirty deets on her artistic process, how she finds inspiration, and a few of her favorite looks from this season. 

Tell us a little about who you are and what you do.

I am a surfer, snowboarder, artist, and animal lover who is passionate about sustainability both in my personal and professional life. I spend most of my free time traveling, eating, being outside and hanging out with my cat and dog. As the designer for Wild Rye, I create all of the color palettes, prints, and silhouettes for our line, collaborating closely with Lauren (our tech designer/developer extraordinaire) to make it come to life.

What inspired this season’s color story and patterns?

For this season's color story, I drew inspiration from the vibrant colors of fruits, cocktails, and flower fields. Our patterns were inspired by a range of sources, from vintage kitchen towels to jungle creatures to the Japanese countryside.


What does your artistic process look like? Do you have any studio rituals to get in the right mindset?

I usually start by gathering inspiration from a range of sources, among them nature, art, fashion, and vintage. Then I’ll begin sketching, either by hand or on the computer directly. I still like the feeling of pen to paper so I make it a priority to keep some of the prints done in that manner. As far as studio rituals, I drink a lot of green tea so that’s always part of the process.


Can you tell us about the creation of the jungle print and what makes it so special?

It was an extremely tedious and time consuming process, but ultimately I love the result. There are tons of hidden treasures within it, it’s definitely worth taking a closer look. If you were to zoom in on the print, you’ll see that it’s made up of tons of tiny, tiny dots. I did that one by hand, and my forearm and fingers were literally sore after drawing it!

Ok, to address the elephant in the room… WR finally did a solid short. Was that a shock? How did you decide on the color for the debut of solids at Wild Rye?

I was definitely surprised when Cassie suggested that we could do a solid short this season. We ultimately decided to go with something that was already being used as base color for our prints, to keep things feeling consistent. We always design the line with mixing/matching in mind, so our customers get the most mileage out of their garments. When choosing the solid color, we wanted something wearable but still fun—that's how we ended up at Mahogany!

If you could put together one outfit for yourself from this line, what would it be?

I’m having a tough time choosing one, so I’ll choose three! For a more lifestyle-focused look, I'd go for the Eeva overalls in Golden paired with the Mackey Crop in Black. If I need something functional for outdoor adventures, I would go with the Holly Jersey in Lilac (since I’m a big fan of a little sun protection) and the Kendall in our Deco Birds print! If I’m hopping on the Peloton I would choose the Keller Crop in Celery, paired with the Deco Birds Eleanor Chammy and Lucille Bra.


shop Kelsey's looks

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