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Kendra Szabo of KJZZ and 24 Maple Favors Light and Airy Style Inspired by Her Furniture

Kendra sits in her new Phoenix home.
Kendra sits in her new Phoenix home.
Andie Flores

Phoenix native Kendra Szabo is a woman of many talents, with a style to match.

The 21-year-old journalism and justice studies is set to graduate from Arizona State University this month, and she's well on her way to turning her hobbies into a career.

See also: Phoenix Artist Zach Bootz on Ditching Denim for Slacks

Szabo may have studied and held jobs in print and broadcast journalism, but she's pursuing a career that has little to do with her degrees.

Currently, she works for KJZZ 91.5, where she produces Morning Edition. The job begins at 4:30 a.m. every day, and in the afternoon, you can find Szabo at a bakery called Ollie Vaughn's, where she helps bake.

Szabo also works with bees at Roosevelt Growhouse. The gig started journalistically, but her love of bees is real.

"I have a giant thigh tattoo of a bee," she says. "When I'm in the bee suit, I'm totally protected. Once you get past the terrified stage, you can just watch them."

The business Szabo is truly pursuing and the thing she likes most is building furniture. It's also where most of her style inspiration comes from.

"My life dream is to build and make custom furniture for a living," says Szabo. "I built my living room and dining table and I do small woodworking projects."

Szabo reveals to us that even the couch we're sitting on is about to become an upholstery project.

She says she gets inspiration for her daily looks from the raw materials she likes to work with. "That's how I try to dress too," she says, "Super simplistic. I pay more attention to texture and color. I do think shapes are very interesting and you can tell in my furniture how I incorporate that idea.

"For the furniture I make, I focus on a very industrial, raw natural material. I think of being outside and what the city looks like. For my clothes, I like light and airy pieces. My friends joke that they only see me wearing white and creme."

When she doesn't know what she's going to wear and needs fashion inspiration, Szabo turns to her favorite magazine, Kinfolk. "I love the aesthetic of the magazine," she says. "It's more lifestyle and not fashion, but I like to mimic the people who are featured in it."

Szabo also admires the blogs Call to Style and Life Without Tanlines, as well as Refinery29.

Her website, 24 Maple, launched this week. It will be a design blog that features her furniture and writing.  

What are you wearing? I'm wearing a vintage '70s chainmail scarf necklace that I got from Annie Boomer Vintage in downtown Phoenix, an H&M top, pants from Urban Outfitters, and thrifted shoes from Buffalo Exchange.

Where do you usually shop? Normally, I shop at the vintage shops on Sixth Street in Phoenix, like Annie Boomer Vintage, Cellar Door Vintage and GROWop. I also shop at Free People and Urban Outfitters, and sometimes Forever 21 and H&M.

What was the last item of clothing you bought? These shoes.

Name five things every woman should have in his closet. 1) A pair of black skinny jeans 2) Statement necklace 3) Red lipstick 4) Flats in a variety of colors 5) Statement heels

What's a trend you can't stand? You know those shoes that are both sneakers and heels? I keep seeing them and I don't like them. Wear a fashionable pair of sneakers or a fashionable pair of heels, but they don't go together.

Give us a childhood memory of you and clothes. When I was really little, I was obsessed with being a princess. My style isn't necessarily like that now, but I remember every night when I was 6 years old I would very seriously try to barter with God that if when I woke up, I'd have an entire closet full of princess clothes, then I'd definitely do my chores. It never happened. Anything princess I just wanted more than anything else.

What's your one piece of fashion advice for Phoenix? Wear materials that breathe really well. Half of my closet is chiffon. It's very light. So even if I wear long sleeves in the summer, I don't get too hot.

Editor's note: This post has been modified from its original version.

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Ollie Vaughn's

1526 E. McDowell Road
Phoenix, AZ 85006

602-254-1392

www.ollievaughns.com


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