A conversation with Brigitte MacGowan and Desley Maidment

How did the concept for State of Escape come about?

BM: With a chance conversation. Dee and I always loved to talk business and travel and when the opportunity came about to combine the two we jumped at it.
I say ‘jumped’ loosely as it was twelve months of designing, sampling and research. If we were going to do this we were going to do it properly with a unique product we were passionate about. When I felt those excited butterflies in my stomach on completion of the prototype I knew we were onto something.

Can you share what it’s been like to work alongside each other, as friends and also co-owners of a company?

BM: Despite all the warnings from outsiders at the beginning we’ve been incredibly fortunate. I couldn’t have done this without her and I’m sure she would say the same about me! We have complimentary skills and are very respectful of each other - we listen and acknowledge each others opinions, love to laugh at ourselves and all the crazy things that happen in this business everyday. Each others happiness and our friendship will always come above all else.
 DM: Brig is an incredibly inspiring individual to work alongside. Her innate sense of style and creativity has opened me up to a whole new way of approaching our business. We are both very determined individuals who work hard and have an immense amount of respect for each other, and the roles we each play within the business. In saying all this, we still make sure we have a great time and enjoy the successes along the way and never take ourselves too seriously. Our friendship has grown over the past 5 years and our families are very connected – they mean the world to us.

What does a typical day in the SOE offices look like?

BM: Rounds of tea, coffee, toast and a few laughs to start the day! As a team we spend the morning catching up on what’s happened overnight and then we are heads down for the rest of the day. There’s no time to waste. I love to immerse myself creatively at home as often as I can – these days are sacred.
DM: For me it is about morning catch ups with everyone from wholesale to production to design and then reviewing communications overnight from all our international partners. I spend a lot of time reviewing strategies for our ever-growing international wholesale division, and analysis of our expanding Ecomm platform.

As businesswomen and mothers, how do you balance work and family life?

BM: I never feel I have the balance right. Balance for my kids would be no work! Having said that the girls are so proud of what Dee and I have created and love to see what we call ‘bags in the wild’.
Having your own business you never fully switch off but I’m getting better at compartmentalizing my time. I used to sneak off and try to work without anyone noticing which of course never worked.
DM: I honestly don’t feel like there is ever a real balance, it goes in waves of having more time set aside for the business (i.e. during big projects, travel overseas to meet partners, new product launches) and then coming home and making it up to my kids by allocating more time to be present and involved. My husband also makes it all possible by working with me to keep it all on track – we don’t always get it right, but the kids happily let us know when we drop the ball and forget something – a lunch order, rsvping to a party or just not paying them enough attention. Equally my daughters love that Brig & I get run our own business and think its awesome we can travel as part of our jobs.

What is your #1 travel destination? What would you pack and why?

BM: Kyoto, Japan. It’s all about design, tradition, the amazing food and lots of walking! I’d recommend packing a wardrobe that is super comfortable yet stylish. Oversized dresses, wide leg pants, linen shirts and sneakers. You’ll never feel out of place walking into a temple or a beautiful restaurant.

DM: California – anywhere on the coast – Malibu, Santa Barbara, Carmel, Monterey and everywhere in between. I love the freedom of the open road and the beautiful coastline. All that open water on one side and then the gorgeous towns, forests and wine country on the other. Fresh air, sunshine and endless ocean views – fantastic memories from my younger days, with the hope to make new ones soon with my husband and kids.


What are your methods for de-stressing? Do you workout? Take a digital detox?

BM: I love to run but horse riding is my sanctuary. I gave up 3 years ago when everything became frantic at work and I’ve just taken it up again. It made me realise how much I’d missed it.

DM: For me its about having time by myself to slow down - long walks with the dog, being out and about near water (hence why we live near the beach), it always drops it down a level and makes me feel calm. I have also just started getting into mediation in the past 6 months and I love it – I was super skeptical but now very impressed and reaping the rewards.

When creating a new product, what is your starting point? Where do you seek inspiration? 

BM: The collection has very much been driven by us and how our lives have transitioned over the years. From our children gaining their independence to our extensive travel schedule, where we find our greatest inspiration. We’ve now created a collection of bags that gives our customers the flexibility to tailor what they carry and for any occasion. It’s all about finding beauty in utility, for all of us.

Do you have a style or aesthetic that applies to not only your beautiful range, but also to the way you dress or design your living space?

BM: Simplicity, shape and proportion is always key to the way I dress and design the collection. Nothing overly embellished or complicated. Everything has to serve a purpose. This rule goes out the window with my own home where I love to surround myself with objects that tell a story – this makes my house a home.

DM: Pared back and simplistic. I love to dress up, but the reality is most of my days are spent in the office and then driving my daughters from one activity to another, so its about being practical and comfortable, whilst looking respectable. Denim is my go to a lot of the time. My home is about clean fresh open spaces that link the inside with our outside.


Thank you so much Brig and Des!!! 

xx Kaili


Shop the exclusive STATE OF ESCAPE X OLYMPIA tote HERE



To learn more about STATE OF ESCAPE, click here:  www.stateofescape.com



The making of a new collection takes us roughly nine months, from concept to product launch.  Below is a small look at our journey through the making of RESORT.  From Maui to Bali, to a crisp white sand dune in southern New Mexico called White Sands.  






The work of Hawaii / Thailand based photographer, Samantha Feyen, has the ability to transport you.  Thumbing through mind numbing insta posts suddenly you land on a white sand beach under the shade of a palm frond and you can almost taste the salt in the air.  That's our kind of photo.  The breath-of-fresh-air kind of photo.  Surreal. Soft. Daydreamy.  We love Sam's style.  So when she wrote to say she would be shooting in Maui, naturally we got excited, sent her some looks, and of course had to ask a couple Qs.
What got you interested in photography?
To be honest I can’t give you a sappy story about my humble beginnings. My whole career was a total mistake of passion, I originally made jewelry and needed to take pictures of my jewelry on models and from then I just continued taking pictures of everything else. When I was younger I did have a profound love for disposable cameras so I at least had some idea of what I was expecting. 
How would you describe your style? 
Oh man, this is hard. If I had to choose three words probably; raw, beauty, evolving. Evolving because my style is never the same from week to week.
As a creative, what drives you and keeps you inspired to create new content?
Being surrounded by amazingly creative people with new innovative ideas keeps me inspired everyday. I am so extremely lucky to have friends in the industry who not only push my boundaries with my photographs but as a person in the creative community in general. I’ve never met anyone here that wasn’t so darn creative! 
What kind of exciting projects do you have coming up?
Luckily I have a lot of projects to keep me super busy! I am co-directing the San Lorenzo Bikini Fashion Show, which will be a ton of fun and full of beautiful babes! I also will be helping direct the The 50th Annual UH Manoa Fashion show: Roots. This will be one of the biggest show we’ll ever put on! Shoot wise I have a project with AWATTZ coming up for their summer line, Rove Swim Wears upcoming collections which I might fly to Bali for *crosses fingers*, My shoot with Love Me Knots jewelry, and just a long list of more creative people who I get the chance to work with!
What is your dream shoot location?
Back home in Thailand. Chiang Mai preferably in the magical temples with rad people!
Samantha Feyen for OLYMPIA ACTIVEWEAR. La Perouse, Maui
model:  Anna @haoleprincess

Q&A with Bailey

Bailey Roberts is a fellow Maui girl who now lives in Brooklyn, NY.  Her photos have long inspired us and so we were thrilled for this opportunity!  Enjoy...

Tell me about your choice of model?  Who is she?

The model in the shoot is Bree Warren. She's an Aussie and a fellow surfer.  We met about a year and a half ago while I had a brief stint modeling and we were represented by the same agency.  I always gravitated towards Bree because I related to her stature and her lifestyle.  As a photographer I always try to stay conscious of the message I present via the people I choose to photograph - for me, Bree communicates the power of a confident, strong, athletic girl.  She was the perfect fit for the narrative of the shoot.

Explain how you developed the theme of the shoot.
I started training Muay Thai about a year ago.  Being involved in the sport has really enriched my life and sense of self in incredible ways and I became inspired to create images about that confidence and that strength.
What do you look for in choosing activewear?
Something that doesn't fall off. It is actually surprisingly hard to find activewear that stays in place and doesn't interfere with your movement. This is one of the things I love about OA, the separate elastic bands really keep the leggings up and the sports bras in place, very important.
Where was this location? Why did you choose it?
This location is in Bedstuy in Brooklyn. We shot it outdoors in front of an old hand ball court.  The desire to shoot here was lead by a combination of aesthetics and feeling.  I felt that the grit and urban quality of the location really amplified the feel of what its like to train and the sentiment of a fighter. 
What is your favorite work out? Did this play into your interest in the shoot?
I love to surf and I love to train Muay Thai - both of these sports have taught me how crucial my strength is to being able to do the things I love so I wanted to make images that celebrated that.
Thank you Bailey and Bree!!
Photographer:  Bailey Roberts
Model:  Bree Warren

Our island home

At the beginning of the year we relocated to our home in Maui and are so happy to be back where Olympia first began.  This Hawaiian summer has been long and hot, literally record heat and hurricane activity.  On the weekends we cool off with beach walks, waterfall runs and freshly cracked cocos. Barre with Trish keeps us sane during the week.  While it sounds like paradise there is much work to be done on the business front.  Our humble design studio is an old converted garage with big windows and tons of light. It feels great to grow into a new space. We've been working hard on the launch of Collection 2016 this fall.  Planning shoots, perfecting fits, updating the site. Summer Capsule '16 designs are underway and we are thrilled to bring a brand new texture to our classic waistbands ;) stay tuned for something you haven't seen before. Lastly, we are beyond thrilled to collab with our BFF Naomi Newirth of Acacia Swimwear on a collection of 'swim meets active' suits. Modern cuts + our custom sport elastics... rather amazing!  Vogue.com thought so too ;)    x






Kaili & Max



The day started with a howling wind and the sand was kicking up everywhere -- a mess to say the least!

Our team pushed through and the wind died down in the afternoon.  We couldn’t be happier with the resulting images! A huge thank you to the dune crew:


MODEL: Laura Gosch



And to the weather gods who really turned out! Location: Nipomo Dunes, California






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RESI STIEGLER: Olympic Athlete & Total Babe

We met Resi through mutual friend, Naomi Newirth. Resi is all at once magnetic, wild hearted, adventurous, and a total joy to be around! She's a member of the US Ski Team and travels the world chasing Winter. That's why it was a rare treat a couple weeks back to be on Maui at the same time! A mini photo-safari had to happen so we set our alarms and met at Baby Beach for a little morning sweat.  Resi makes 10 straight pull-ups look cool and easy!  Watching her compete this past Spring at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi was thrilling.  We were star struck! ;)
Here is a Q&A  with Resi where we ask about her training routine, life on the road, and what the future holds...
When did you start skiing and when did you decide to make a career of it?
I started skiing when I was 2. I grew up in Jackson Hole Wyoming and it was just a way of life... I loved the outdoors and fell in love with skiing immediately. It came very natural to me so I just progressed into racing around the age of 6 and from there it was just one step at a time. 
Who has been your inspiration along the way?
I looked up to my dad at a very young age because he was also an olympic gold medalist and he taught me to love the wilderness and have a passion for adventure. I made the US Ski Team when I was 16 so I made a lot of friends; one who inspires me daily is Sarah Schleper. Her love and hard work is so motivating and she was always up for an adventure on the road. 
Can you give us a glimpse into the training required for the Olympics? 
We race from October till April every Einter even in off years of the Olympics.  So we have to travel and train all Summer. We workout everyday and we travel to New Zealand and Chile in the Summer to get on real snow to prep for Winter. During the season its mostly racing, traveling, and recoveries. Keeping the body fresh and ready for the next race. 
What was the best moment of the 2014 Olympics for you?
For me the results were not what I wanted or expected but I really tried to be apart of the Olympics. Really explore the venues and get out and watch other sports. I watched a ski cross event, a nordic combined, and got to go to the Gold medal hockey game. So even though I wanted to do better I didn't waste time being sad about it and had a great time. 
What was the most challenging moment?
Knowing that you weren't going to win, but that you needed to still go 100% and try and do the best you could do. After first run of the slalom I was sitting too far out for the gold but I still had the opportunity to get a result. So I had to go back up and put it all down. 
What keeps you centered mentally when competing?
I really love what I do and the best part is the travel. So for me I need to see the places I go. I need to explore and take away something in my memory. Getting out for a walk, or going into a town or city and having a coffee. All of these things are what you really remember and how you keep yourself centered while running around the world. 
Your career takes you on the road a lot, what are your must-have travel essentials?
I have to have a good kit for airplanes, trains and buses: a face wash, lotion, water and great vitamins. I can't get sick because it brings our energy down so much so I just have a special bag for travel with all the best stuff to stay healthy and fresh. I also try to travel with the right outfits. We have so much stuff on the road it helps to pack as light as possible. Luckily Olympia is the best for working and paring with sweaters for travel or even going out. Those are key for travel, multi use items that are comfortable and classy! 
We are always on the look-out for yummy & healthy recipes, do you have a favorite that you'd like to share?
I am from Wyoming so any good pasta meat sauce I'm into. We have elk and bison stalked in the freezer so when I get home I usually like to mellow out cooking a mushroom and meat sauce with a good bottle of wine. Also Salmon. After being on the road all the time its nice to overload on some fresh salmon especially in the Winter. Putting it in tacos and finding fresh cilantro and adding brie and apple cabbage to it. (YUM!)
What does the future hold for you? More competitions? Adventures?
I am feeling really strong at the end of this year. In the past I had a lot of injuries so it feels good to be coming to the end of the season still feeling fresh. I think this and some of the good results I have been having will help build into next year. We have world championships in Vail this coming year which is on home turf and should be really exciting! Until then a really fun summer with lots of great work outs. Starting in Maui with some much needed vacation and then wyoming with camping and hiking! Can't beat long summer days filled with endless adventure! 
Thank you, Resi! xx


Good Morning!  I have a recipe that is so simple, delicious, and healthy that I feel the need to share... BANANA PANCAKES.  

The ingredients:  banana + egg

The ratio for this recipe is one to one for each serving. My boyfriend loves these pancakes so much that I have to make an additional serving (3+3).  


3 eggs

3 bananas (I dont like them over-ripe, which can be too sweet)


Peel bananas and put in blender, crack eggs over bananas.  Blend until smooth.  It should look just like traditional pancake batter.  Preheat your pan on medium-low heat (the key is not to burn your pancakes, so let the pan heat gradually).  I use real butter to grease the pan before laying down the batter - it just tastes better!  Then pour 3 smallish pancakes into a large pan. After several minutes, when the bottom is nicely browned, give em a flip!  A pancake griddle is also awesome because you can do all the batter at once.

Serve with berries/whip/yogurt/real maple syrup, and have a delicious Sunday morning!



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