RYAN ROCHE & LAURA FERRARA

RYAN ROCHE & LAURA FERRARA

FADE IN:

EXT. WESTWIND ORCHARD, ACCORD, NEW YORK – MORNING

A quiet calm hangs in the air at Westwind Orchard, a historic farm in New York’s Hudson River Valley. Groundskeepers flit about the property, clearing branches and tending its animals. LAURA FERRARA emerges from the main house.

CUT TO:

A car parks in the gravel driveway. RYAN ROCHE steps out and LAURA, followed by her English Lab, Bosco, walks to greet her. The two stroll toward a wood porch swing on the front lawn.

RYAN
Even though my family has only lived upstate for eight years, it feels like you and I have known each other for an eternity.

LAURA
We’ve been here for 14 years — I actually knew your husband, Garrett, before I met you. He was doing beautiful work on people’s homes in New York City, and our mutual friend, Dennis, had him come up here to do his farm.

RYAN
For at least a year, and with no money to buy anything, Garrett and I dreamt about getting a vacation spot upstate. Dennis suggested this area, which I knew little about at the time. I started looking at real estate, and found the house in Hurley, New York — about 20 minutes from here — that we ended up buying. It was the first one we saw.

LAURA
My husband Fabio and I found our farm, Westwind Orchard, just as spontaneously. He’s very outdoorsy and, at first, would come upstate to fly-fish and rock climb. Really, nature brought us here. When you and Garrett arrived, I kept hearing about how I needed to see your line of baby clothing.

RYAN
I remember that! When we met, you mentioned how many people told you about “this girl upstate and her clothes.”

LAURA
But I never got to see the collection.

RYAN
Probably because I stopped that when I gave birth to my son, Ronan, who I was carrying when we moved. I needed a life break.

LAURA
After having three children and running a business? I can’t imagine why [laughs]. Even before we met, I remember being so inspired by the woman who relocated from Brooklyn with three kids and her own company.

RYAN
By the time I finally made it to Hurley, I had heard so much about you that I was kind of nervous to introduce myself.

LAURA
Because I’m such a bitch [laughs].

RYAN
No! In the early days, your farm was so intimate. I remember wanting to stop by, but I was so shy. Coming here felt like stepping into your world.

LAURA
What amazes me is to see our children, who were babies back then, at the farm now.

RYAN
It’s so incredible. My kids have the most fun here — whenever we come, we always see people we love. I have a vivid memory of my daughter Louella riding on your son Matteo’s back, three or so years ago. It was like a glimpse into the future of their prearranged marriage [laughs].

LAURA
We had about three pigs and ten chickens then. We have more now, and my mother-in-law cooks for the pigs, which my husband named Pancetta, Guanciale, and Proscuitto [laughs].

RYAN
That’s amazing! So they have a really good life.

LAURA
Yes, and they’ll all be in the wedding dowery [laughs]! Louella recently sang at the farm. She has an unbelievably mellifluous voice. It made me cry.

RYAN
My children are all really into music. It’s cool because they vary in age, from second through seventh grade, and go to the same mixed-age music school.

LAURA
There’s such a rich history of musicians up here. For certain people, leaving New York City can hugely influence their creative process and open their minds. There’s nothing like it.

RYAN
For me, it’s everything. Whenever I’m in the city, I dream about turning past the huge maple trees at the end of my driveway and I instantly relax. As a creative person, having a calm escape in my life allows for so much more mental space.

LAURA
Working in fashion for 20 years, like I have, you amass so much information. You’re going to shows, you’re researching online, you’re finding inspiration by watching films or TV. There’s so much noise. But up here, when you’re outside, it all gets edited out.

RYAN
And technology offers an incredible opportunity to disconnect while staying connected — it affords me the life and career I want without conforming to the conventional structure. Having a place that’s just mine, without distractions and interactions, is important as a designer.

LAURA
You do the most beautiful knitwear and hats, which we’ve sold at the farm’s store. I love my hat — I’d be wearing it now if I hadn’t left it on my kitchen table.

RYAN
One of my first major pieces of press was when you styled Julia Roberts in a Ryan Roche hat for Marie Claire. You were so chill about it and I was like: oh my gosh! What’s amazing is that my great grandmother made hats in the ‘20s; back then, it was very rare for a woman to be a milliner. She’d adorn them with feathers she’d find on pheasant hunts. I make my garments in my town, and inspiration presents itself everywhere. Even a simple walk through the woods will often yield some sort of treasure.

LAURA
Everything around you is alive, which inspires so much emotion.

RYAN
Yet sometimes, it’s so fleeting. You’ll watch a beautiful flower grow for a week and then one day it’s gone.

LAURA
Unless you dry it [laughs] — I always do that.

RYAN
You and Fabio are so respectful and considerate of the land. You’ve turned this property into such a special place.

LAURA
The whole thing was really a big labor of love for Fabio, and we’re very grateful for the team of people who help us. Organic farming is definitely not a monetary enterprise — I don’t even consider myself a farmer because I have too much respect for the hard-working people that do this full-time. That said, I’ve learned how rewarding it is to have acorn squash or apples or potatoes after a season of hard work. You appreciate the produce more because you see how precious it is.

RYAN
I always feel so special when I use your honey, or cook with one of your onions. It’s different than getting them from the market.

LAURA
When you think about it, it’s become increasingly difficult to be truly creative. The farm presents us with a real opportunity to have our hands in everything, whether it’s mixing raspberries with apple cider, designing a logo, or building a cauldron. Whatever the task, it not only feels good to create, but to do so using what nature has given us. Just recently we received a handwritten note from a guest who said that, after visiting, he was inspired to get a small plot of land nearby where he could grow his own food. If what we’re doing changes someone’s life perspective, or gives him the confidence to try something new, that’s the most we can ask.

RYAN
The area’s started to change as more people have moved here, but it still feels like the right types are coming. A lot are in the fashion world, but they’re typically the ones who authentically love living upstate — not just because they hear it’s super cool.

LAURA
I would hate for that to happen. It’s nice to be around people who really believe in the place in which they live. That creates a community, which everyone wants to join. Like the old adage says, “You reap what you sow.”

CREDITS

Photography byBramble Trionfo
Sania Tharani

Conversation moderated byAnthony Rotunno

Ryan Roche is a designer based in Hurley, New York. Her current collection is available online and at select retailers.
Laura Ferrara is a stylist and a proprietor of Westwind Orchard.

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THE END