At first glance, our Co-Founder Kate Hudson seems to be the quintessential California girl—a true free-spirit born into Hollywood royalty. Most people assume she grew up playing on the beaches of Malibu or in the hills of Laurel Canyon, but the reality is so different (and so much more interesting). For the launch of our new October collection, Kate suggested shooting her favorite fall pieces at her own childhood home in the chilly climate and rocky terrain of Aspen, Colorado; a trip that ended up being a journey back in time, into a magical childhood in the mountains, an insight into the real Kate and how a unique upbringing made her the woman she is today.
We toured Kate’s parents’ ranch—mugs of herbal tea in hand—for an intimate conversation about what Aspen means to her, why it remains such an important part of her life and why she wants her children to embrace the country life.
How does it feel when you arrive home?
Every time I arrive home, it almost feels like a huge sigh. Especially when you’re here because there’s just something about living in the mountains. It just feels like your shoulders release and everything lets go. It’s that feeling of home, isn’t it? There’s something about being in the mountains—having the experience growing up here—that was really special, growing up in nature. I think you can travel all over the world, see all these different cities, but coming back to nature, there’s just nothing like it.
How is life for you different here?
Life for me is different here because it just feels a little bit slowed down. I don’t mean that you don’t have the same responsibilities, but you sort of take things in differently. I think that has to do with being so integrated into nature. Your days are planned around the weather: can you get into town? Is it snowing or is there a blizzard? I mean, it’s very different than living in an urban city environment. Sometimes the day consists of going to the barn, feeding the animals, going to the market and getting food for the kids, and reading a book. Then some days, you actually get some work done; when I’m up here, I actually feel more creative than I do when I’m in city environment. I write more, I dream more, I play more music. I find myself connecting more with people, having more one-on-one conversations and the family time we have up here is more plentiful.
“I just don’t think the mountains ever leave your blood.”
What does Aspen mean to you?
Colorado is like California, just such an incredibly beautiful state. But as an Aspenite, you just think there’s no better place than Aspen. For me it’s because you have everything here. You have vast valleys, open valleys, and these incredibly lush and intimate mountain settings. You have the joys of a small little city, with good shopping and great food and good restaurants. Then you have the more local places like Basalt. I think the range in Aspen is wonderful for living. I remember most of my 20s were about traveling all around, living in New York, living in London. And then my 30s, I started coming home more; it became more of a priority for me. And now as I’m in my mid-30s, I want to spend even more time here. I just don’t think the mountains ever leave your blood.
“What I love about coming back here now as an adult with my kids is watching them have these glimpses of my childhood experience.”
What do you love about coming back here?
What I love about coming back here now as an adult with my kids is watching them have these glimpses of my childhood experience. Sometimes it makes me feel like I need to make this more of their home. I love coming back and watching my kids exhilarated by the experiences they have. Sometimes I can’t believe I was riding dirt bikes and 3-wheeler ATVs when I was 7! It’s just what kids do in the mountains you know. Now, as an adult, I look and see my 12-year-old riding a dirt bike and I get nervous. I realize “wow… there’s so much freedom up here for them.” And I can see them expand in nature. To have them all have that experience where they can roam reminds of me of what my experience was like here. Also, the holidays here are just magical. It’s just like a winter wonderland—sparkly, beautiful, romantic, fun, festive and special. The people are great; the locals, you just know them forever. I’ll be in New York and someone will come up to me and go “Oh, I went to Aspen Community School with you,” and next thing you know you’re talking to someone else who grew up in Aspen. You’re immediately connected.
What is the anticipation you feel when you’re heading back to Colorado?
Every time I head back to Colorado, I feel giddy, I feel excited, other than the initial stressfulness of packing up your kids to go anywhere. Once we get here, it’s that moment when you walk into somewhere, just drop your bags and you’re like “ahh.” That’s what it is for us, for all of us, in our family. We’re just all so happy here. And it really is a testament to my parents. They created this for us. The experiences we had here, they created and they were profound and special. And they’ve held really true for all of us, me and my brothers, for a long time. And it followed us into our adulthood, which is why we always come back.
“What I hope is to encourage positive living, activity, spirituality and connecting with oneself.”
How do you like to unwind when you get home to nature?
Some people actually can get anxiety in the mountains because it’s so powerful. I think it takes time to get used to how powerful mountain energy is. For me, it’s so grounding and I find a very spiritual connection with the mountains. So, for me just that energy alone grounds me. On top of that, it’s just a lifestyle; it’s country living. You don’t live close to anything. So you just end up doing things at home, you sit around and play a board game. I think all of that is unwinding. What I hope is to encourage positive living, activity, spirituality and connecting with oneself. The more we’re in nature, the more we concentrate on connecting with ourselves. The more we do that, the more we want to connect with others, which makes for a much healthier family unit. Another way I unwind is my horses. I just love talking to them. And taking the walk to the barn reminds me of being a kid because I’ve taken that walk so many times. That just centers me.
What do you wish people knew about this place and part of your life?
I don’t know if it’s about wishing that people knew something about this or anything to do with my life. I think it’s more about what you want to put back into consciousness as a whole, which is living in nature. I think that in such a fast-paced, growing society, everybody is on their phones—including myself—and when you come into mountains or into nature, very slowly you get into a groove where you just feel more connected with the people around you. Slowing things down and simplifying is really important to our spirit and our health. Nature connects you immediately to the most primal sense of who we are as humans.
What is your daily ritual here?
The normal routine in our house is that we all wake up in the morning, and we come down really early. We wake up probably around 6:30, 7:00 in the morning. Everyone trickles into the kitchen. We have our coffee going, we get our respective coffees—everybody drinks it a little different. I drink mine black, my dad drinks his with a little cream and sugar, my mom just likes a little foam on top. We go outside on the porch, and we have our morning coffee and we talk. We talk about what we’re going to do that day, we talk about what happened the night before. Then mom and I probably go for a walk, or we’ll go for a hike, or we’ll go for a little jog, maybe we’ll do some yoga. We go into town a lot and do hot yoga here which is amazing in Aspen, but it is sort of our routine. And as mom says, she has her uniform up here, which is basically the kind of clothes that I make!
if it’s Christmas, and there’s snow on the mountain, you drop everything and go skiing. Now that I’m a little bit older, I’m not as hardcore a skier as I used to be when I was trying to keep up with my brothers. And they’re kind of the same now. We usually put the kids in ski school because it’s awesome. I just get so excited that there’s so much activity to do here. I don’t think a day goes by without there being something active. The other thing is, the altitude is incredible to train in. So, as someone who loves to push myself, coming up here and working out is a completely different experience.
“When I’m up here the nostalgia I feel is based in really what a wonderful childhood I had—the freedom I felt, the trouble we got into.”
When you’re outdoors, what makes you feel nostalgic?
The first time I felt truly nostalgic being outdoors, I was actually in Italy and I stayed out in the mountains for a couple of nights. When I was done with the trip, I was incredibly emotional because I realized that I had this upbringing that was so wonderful. It was the first time I had real gratitude for my upbringing. I think that’s something people don’t really know about me. I think I live at a very fast pace, what people would see is Hollywood lifestyle, when in fact it’s kind of the opposite. My parents raised us to slow all that down even though we are living on this side of the world which we love, which is making movies and telling stories. There’s this whole other side of our family that is really about nature, being outdoors, being together, being part of nature. And when I was up in the Italian Dolomites, it hit me that my childhood was like that. When I’m up here the nostalgia I feel is based in really what a wonderful childhood I had—the freedom I felt, the trouble we got into.
How do you get centered?
The way I become more centered is by simplifying everything. Meditation is very big for me, but what really centered me was the change of how I approach life when I started taking accountability for things. I think it’s very easy when you’re younger to avoid taking full accountability for where you’re at, whether be emotionally, physically, financially. For me, I think when I started taking accountability for everything, recognizing your own accountability in life, in your choices, is when I start to feel more inner freedom. I started to feel more centered, way more grounded, way more comfortable with who I am. You know, people will perceive you how they perceive you. There are a lot of people out there who are unhappy with themselves and can be very mean. We live in a very mean world sometimes, but the more that I stopped pointing outward and pointing inward, is when my life started to become more grounded and centered.
Keep reading about our amazing Aspen journey with Kate next month!