Meet the Team: Sophia Marinelli

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Angel-faced Sophia started at The Break on the sales floor, and quickly became our resident graphic designer. Our Fiona Apple lookalike may be new, but she's already a fundamental part of the team and we love her to death! Read about Sophia's biggest turn-ons, favorite podcast, and how she turned scrapbooking into a career below.

Name: Sophia Marinelli

Birthplace: Boulder, Colorado (also lived in Olathe, Kansas for 3 years), moved to New York in January 2017

Currently: Brooklyn, NY pursuing a communication design BFA at Parsons School of Design

Astrological Sign: Aries sun, Pisces rising, Taurus moon <3

Follow her: @_ph.ia


What is your role at The Break?

We are yet to figure out the right sounding title, but I do our graphic design. I also work the retail floor every now and then.


What’s a typical day for you at The Break?

My day at The Break starts on my walk to work. I itemize the most important tasks, and visualize solutions. Once I’m in the door I say my hellos, plug in my earphones, turn on some house music and chug away at designing merch, fliers, etc. I’ve usually got a little pad next to me I scribble on. If I feel creatively blocked I’ll do a lap around the block or sit in the store front for a minute. That never fails to get me inspired again.


What’s your favorite part of the job?

The creative freedom! Everyone on the team is so creatively collaborative and constantly searching for new ways to represent the brand. I love being able to design in an environment where I not only care about what we do but I also care about the people I’m surrounded by.


How did you get into graphic design?

It might sound really tacky but I’ll be honest: scrapbooking. When I was in seventh grade my best friend Claire and I would spend hours and hours after school filling albums with pages. It was my first brush with combining imagery and typography. Not to mention all the stickers and paper packs. The reason I love design so much is that it’s the basis for almost all information we consume. As a designer, it’s my responsibility to provide form to information in order to communicate it in the most effective, easily digestible way. You’ll notice if something is poorly designed, whereas good design should feel effortless.


Who are your favorite graphic designers/graphic design icons?

Actual Source, Wax Studios, Experimental Jetset, and Studio Lin consistently produce some of my favorite work. I’ve followed Crystal Zapata for the past year or two as well and love just about everything she does. Some other favorites are Jacob Wise, who does some very interesting unconventional typography, Dayna Casey, who does more “brutalist” design, and Alexis Jamet, who has a more refined aesthetic. And of course Maureen Mooren, who must be my favorite designer of all time.


What inspires you?

I’m really inspired by utilitarianism. I’m often drawn to really dry and functional things, nothing overly complex or fussy. I think there’s a spectacular beauty in stripping things down.


How do you take your coffee?

More ways than one! More often than not I take it black, but more recently I’ve been drinking iced oat milk lattes.


What is your ideal day off like?

My ideal day off always begins with oatmeal and a podcast! I’m aware this makes me sound elderly. My favorite recently has been My Favorite Murder — it’s like Drunk History meets True Crime. I love to take a walk to clear my head, grab coffee, and snap a few photos of odd things I see while I’m out and about. I usually recruit a friend or two to thrift on my usual circuit and stop by Mast Books in the East Village. My absolute favorite thing to do at dusk is run from my apartment across the Williamsburg bridge and into Washington Square Park. I’ll typically stop by Whole Foods on the way home and snag some dinner ingredients to cook up a veggie bowl.


Where/when do you feel most inspired?

In terms of my design work, I love when I find “rogue” typography while walking around the city. Whether it’s a pizza box with a nice serif sticking out of a trash can, or a handwritten sign in the window of a deli, I try to snap as many photos of all the different ways letters can be created!


Describe your personal style:

Pantsuits, sneakers, ironic graphic tees with fun typography, and the occasional frilly top.


How do you get dressed in the morning?

I ask myself what clothes would make me feel the most beautiful that day! Some days it’s a pantsuit, others it’s bike shorts and a grease stained tee. I certainly don’t restrict myself to one look per day. My roommates joke that I like to “play dress up,” and most days I’ll have changed at least once or twice.  

What was your most recent splurge?

I rarely splurge, and I’m no sneaker head, but I’ve been saving to snag a pair of Raf Simons Ozweegos...someday.


The beauty products you can’t live without? Skincare? Hair?

I love beauty routines, but I’m far too lazy for anything overly complex. I’ve struggled with acne in the past, so I keep what goes on my skin as light as possible. Everyday I throw on some CeraVe SPF 30 moisturizer- if you don’t have one with at least SPF 30, get one. Typically, I curl my lashes, dab on some chapstick, and throw on a little bit of Glossier’s boy brow- one of the few products I’ve purchased again and again. I don’t typically wear mascara but if I’m going out I might throw on a little of Glossier’s lash slick.


Biggest turn on?

90s Leo DiCaprio, good jokes, curly hair.


What are you listening to right now?

Usually house music! Ross From Friends, Palms Trax, Mall Grab, or Yaeji. I have a special place in my heart for Supertramp and all things disco.


What’s one of your favorite song lyrics?

“I’m blue (da ba dee da ba die)”


Best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Live through love


How did you get into fashion?

Project Runway. I remember watching it in middle school and begging my parents to buy me a dress form and sewing machine. Although it turns out I wasn't cut out for making clothes, ever since then expressing myself through fashion has always been very important to me.


How did you find out about The Break?

I found out about The Break before I moved to New York! I remember scrolling through instagram in late 2016 and seeing an editorial shoot that The Break had done with a model I followed. I couldn’t believe that the pieces were vintage—mostly because the styling looked so contemporary. I had to visit the store when I moved to NYC in 2017.

Favorite item from The Break?

My vintage Fossil sunglasses that I wear every. single. day.


Favorite place to grab a drink?

I have a friend working at Cafe Erzulie for the summer and I love sitting on their back patio and sipping a glass of wine during jazz night. I believe it is every Thursday.


Dream destination?

The Netherlands! I hope to study abroad there sometime soon.


If you were stranded on an island, what and who would you bring?

DFW’s Infinite Jest— I’ve always wanted to read it, and I feel like that is the only way I would ever finish it.


Childhood celebrity crush?

Orlando Bloom in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie.


Your Current celebrity crush?

Timmy <3 (Chalamet).


Do you have any relationship advice?

Listen!!! Listen, listen, listen— to the other person and yourself.


Do you have any advice for newcomers to fashion? Newcomers to New York?

Try to do something nice for a stranger at least once every day. Help someone carry a big chair around the block, grab the $20 chapstick that fell out of that woman’s bag and run it back to her, etc. It makes the city feel a lot smaller and less isolating.


What are your goals for the second half of 2018?

To execute more personal projects! I haven’t done any design projects for myself in a minute. I have a few ideas on the back burner that I’ve been lazy about bringing to fruition, but I’m really hoping to work on them once I have access to printing equipment this fall.


Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Living in Brooklyn doing who knows what!!


How can we change the world?

By being more present and self aware.


What did you want to be when you were a child?

An insurance agent. I’m happy I let that one slide.


Who are you at the party?

The one on the floor.


Do you have any secret hidden talents?

I used to be a competitive vocalist!

Photos and Interview by Elianah Sukoenig