William: Fragrance, for many, is an integral part of our wardrobe, often changing as we move from day into evening. In your opinion, what constitutes the preferred scent wardrobe? Ash: Truly. Often, I shift what I’m wearing around magic hour — 4 - 6 pm in the desert. That’s normally when I take a bath, so a great time to move to a deeper scent. Frau is a great day-starter. That scent is coy and light and airy yet has a bit of dirt in it. Nouveau Ranch and Anima are more nightscents if I’m making the switch. Sometimes I just wear pure amber, rubbed on from a piece of resin I’ve had for years. I’ve also been wearing a favorite from the part of the line that’s coming out in a couple months. Partially to test it, partially because I’m already obsessed with it. It’s super dark and makes me excited for colder nights and fireplaces. William: Do you believe it’s wise to buy fragrance as a gift for others, or is the art of selecting a fragrance too intimate an act? Ash: It’s so personal. Yet, some scents are great on everyone. I must praise Anima again here for this. It’s the crowd pleaser, one of the ones that sits on someone’s dresser forever — no one does not like it. The day-today scent. Yet, for the adventurous gifter, I believe a challenging scent, if you know the person well, can be like selecting jewelry or a piece of art. Why not risk it, because when you nail it, that is some intimate best! William: What are your three key nuggets of wisdom when it comes to fragrance? Ash: Use your body to select it but be both impulsive and overly-committed. Scents are archetypal, so some you need to just use quick instinct while selecting. Others you might need to test out before a month before you buy a whole bottle. Your body will know the difference. William: The industry is moving very quickly on many fronts. On what projects are you currently working and where do you want to take your business in the future? Ash: Fray Ardens will always be an esoteric art project as well as a fragrance line. I’ve a video in the works for 2019, as well as several other visual and musical components and collaborations I’m thrilled to roll-out. Stay tuned. As the
FLUENTIAL JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2019
business grows, I’d like to make the artistic, psychological, and mythological underpinnings more obvious. In the same way you get to know a person a bit over time and richness is developed via time and energy spent; we’ve only scratched the surface of what Fray has to offer. William: What is your best tip for improving a person’s sense of smell? Ash: Be outside more often. They’ve debunked the coffee bean as nose-palette-cleanser myth. Think of the only way to truly get a rotten stench out of a piece of clothing — a long bout of fresh air. That and you are surrounded by nuanced scents at any given moment outside, much like you can improve your eyesight by focusing on something near than something far, doing those exercises on repeat…you can play with sense of smell by trying to determine what you are around and what is off-gassing at any juncture, walk further, do it again. William: Ash, how do you define beauty? Ash: I believe the most beautiful thing(s) are ineffable, just simply known. Like an epiphany, something might hit you, and you’ll feel it in a fully embodied way. We tend to reduce beauty to things we consume visually, but just like a perfectly composed piece of music, an amazing dish, a plant that feels like its speaking to you, a scent that cannot be described but you want to smell it endlessly, what is truly beautiful is just so. William: If you weren’t creating delightful fragrances, what would be your passion? Ash: If not scent, I’d be painting or researching. Sometimes I do those things too; I’m deeply into mythology (it’s too part of my graduate training), so I hope not to shift from scent, but to continue to incorporate this body of knowledge into Fray, and to and make this backing more obvious to the Fray wearer. William: Ash, how are you living your best life? Ash: If I can spend a bit of time outside daily, a bit indoors reading, learning, or creating, most evenings with friends, and about a third of my time traveling, I’m doing great by my standards. l
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