Forget what you know about Hollywood, California Casual and Rodeo Drive, these nine women are defining what fashion means in Los Angeles. The city has been gaining momentum as a fashion capital for its burgeoning production industry in DTLA, emerging designers refining modern femininity and the long-standing traditions of denim, and neighborhoods like Silver Lake and Echo Park bringing back the city’s indie scene. To celebrate our LA Ladies Sale, we gathered these designers, who also happen to be some of the most inspiring women we know, at a Los Angeles studio to find out the real deal of La La Land and what they love most about their sunny city.
CECILIA BORDARAMPE, ARE Studio
Minimalism in the form of leather goods and apparel established in 2012. Cecilia brought her education in textile arts, photography and art history back home from the Art Institute of Chicago to create a line of distinct but subtle wares that serve as a clean slate for anyone who wears them. Each and every piece is made by hand in Los Angeles using overstock and deadstock materials.
ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM LOS ANGELES OR A TRANSPLANT? I grew up in Los Angeles, in the Silver Lake neighborhood. I lived in Chicago while attending art school for a few years, but ultimately decided that Los Angeles was where I wanted to settle.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE IN LA? WORK? I live/work in Highland Park at the moment. I really love having my office/studio at home for the most part, especially considering the inherent comforts, like having my dog around and being able to take a break to lounge in the yard for a while.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN LA? The close proximity to so many varied landscapes is a phenomenal thing.
WHAT DO YOU WISH MORE PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT LA? The city is rich with history, despite what some may think. Huell Howser knew it.
WHAT’S YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY? Clean lines, simplicity and ease.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE? I like to feel comfortable in what I’m wearing, to put it simply, so that could mean any number of things on any given day for me. Mostly, I love wearing oversize button down shirts paired with a good pair of jeans – this always feels very chic to me.
TELL US A FUN FACT! I was a serious tap dancer growing up.
GIULIANA RAGGIANI, giu giu
“Weird, unisexy and nostalgic” is how this designer, newly based in Los Angeles, describes her line of quirky cool knitwear. And that’s exactly why we love it. The Central Saint Martins grad lives and designs by blending the rules of tradition and nostalgia with innovation, humor and creative freedom. Ever evolving, each season never really like the last, we’re always looking forward to what Giuliana has up her ribbed knit sleeve next.
ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM LOS ANGELES OR A TRANSPLANT? Transplant. Moved here exactly one year ago from Brooklyn.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE IN LA? WORK? Live in Venice, split my time working between Venice and DTLA.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN LA? LA gives me the mental space to think creatively, and I’m constantly inspired by the contrast of naivety and seediness.
WHAT DO YOU WISH MORE PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT LA? That it’s actually the city of Angels. I’ve met some of the most amazing people in the short time i’ve been here.
WHAT’S YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY? My goal is to design mindfully, balancing a sense of nostalgia with innovation and humor. Above all, I think clothing should be a canvas to simply feel comfortable in your own skin, mentally and physically. Engaging your senses through textures and versatility with wear is important to me. Feeling boundless, simple and light.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE? Comfy ‘n’ caj.
TELL US A FUN FACT! I have a thing for hands.
VALERIE QUANT, LOQ
Alongside her design partner Keren Longkumer, often based at home in Nagaland, Valerie introduced LOQ as a new, modern perspective on the classics of shoe design. The pair met while studying at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, bonded instantly over their shared perspective and love for shoes, and quickly found a cult following for their footwear.
ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM LOS ANGELES OR A TRANSPLANT? Born and raised in Orange County, went to school in San Francisco and now I’m staying put in LA.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE IN LA? WORK? I work from my home in Venice.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN LA? Because I am near the ocean in Venice I am able to ride my bike to the beach, local restaurants and boutiques – one of the biggest perks of Westside living.
WHAT DO YOU WISH MORE PEOPLE NEW ABOUT LA? There is so much to discover, I’m constantly surprised about new neighborhoods that I haven’t explored and endless cultural food adventures.
WHAT’S YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY? Redefining classics.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE? Comfort focused and pared down.
TELL US A FUN FACT! I have a habit of imitating people’s quirks, faces and voices.
ALEXANDRA MICHELLE, Objects Without Meaning
More interested in designing to enhance the wearer, not the object, Alex established the line in 2011 with a keen eye on creating honest, effortless clothing that don’t carry baggage or the expectations of trends. She had worked in various roles in the fashion industry around the world but found home in Los Angeles and launched the line there.
ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM LOS ANGELES OR A TRANSPLANT? I’m originally from Australia and moved to the USA about 10 years ago. I lived in New York for four years before settling down in LA to start Objects Without Meaning… best choice I ever made!
WHERE DO YOU LIVE IN LA? WORK? I live on the east side of Los Angeles in Echo Park and work in the Arts District in DTLA. Echo Park is so diverse and has great energy. I love the cafe’s, restaurant and bars and that everything is walking distance. The Arts District is so inspiring — there are a lot of creative people everywhere. I’m so fortunate to be able to experience both every day.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN LA? I would say the weather. It’s unbelievable how nice weather just makes life easier. My second favorite thing is the people, I love the culture and diversity of Los Angeles.
WHAT DO YOU WISH MORE PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT LA? The food, art and music scene are amazing. You can go watch a great band, see amazing art and eat great food on any given day!
WHAT’S YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY? I look at clothing as an empty vessel, a blank slate to be filled by the many experiences and emotions of daily life.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE? Classic and understated. I’m a uniform wearer. Most days I’m in jeans, a shirt and sneakers. I don’t spend much time getting ready.
TELL US A FUN FACT! I was born in Australia to Argentinian parents, so I speak fluent Spanish (with an Australian accent)!
This Canadian designer honed her design chops in the storied houses of American sportswear Calvin Klein and A.L.C. before striking out on her own in 2014. So of course her knitwear-focused line finds the perfect balance of upscale luxury and downtown cool. She also happens to be one seriously rad human.
ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM LOS ANGELES OR A TRANSPLANT? Born and raised in Toronto, moved to New York to design for TSE and Calvin Klein. Moved to Los Angeles to lead knitwear design at A.L.C., launched my own collection in 2014.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE IN LA? WORK? I live and work in Echo Park.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN LA? Because the weather is so temperate, I love how the boundaries between outdoor and indoor spaces are fluid. This quality and the light make the natural world feel like an essential part of the urban environment.
WHAT DO YOU WISH MORE PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT LA? There is a vanguard of artists and designers working in Los Angeles right now. In terms of fashion it’s still under the radar but there are a lot of ideas being created here that feel new and relevant to our time.
WHAT’S YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY? Minimal, soulful, a low-key approach to luxury.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE? I gravitate toward beautifully made clothes that have the effortlessness of wearing a favorite t-shirt. My uniform is usually neutral but I’ll add unexpected color or texture to bring emotional contrast.
TELL US A FUN FACT! My birthday is New Year’s Eve.
This longtime Los Angeles native spent years in the fashion industry in varying roles of vintage buyer and pattern maker to creative director before launching her own line of versatile, timeless and modern women’s wear in 2012. Emphasizing longevity, superior construction and and impeccable fit, the core of her line is all about those perfect wardrobe staples.
ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM LOS ANGELES OR A TRANSPLANT? I was born and raised in Los Angeles and still live and work here today.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE IN LA? WORK? I live in Highland Park and work in Downtown.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN LA? Diversity – of landscape, people, art, events, beliefs, practices.
WHAT DO YOU WISH MORE PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT LA? The Valley is amazing and weird and worth the adventure… so many hidden gems.
WHAT’S YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY? I aim to keep my designs versatile, well made and classic with some sort of twist in hopes of creating a piece with lasting impact, interest and relevance.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE? Woman on a mission! I dress according to my days duties. If my tasks involve dye house trips or factory check ins, I am likely running around town in something casual — probably Levi’s and a crisp poplin top. Design days, I try to dress in a way that inspires me or makes me feel in a creative mood. My wardrobe is mainly comprised of emerging designers’ pieces, friends’ designs or my own work. I love to incorporate other designers work into my world.
TELL US A FUN FACT! I grew up on a ranch in LA and have ridden horses my whole life. I am more at ease with those gentle creatures than perhaps anywhere else on earth.
JESSICA TAFT LANGDON, The Palatines
When you spend your formative years as a designer in the studio of Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang and Everlane, you’re bound to learn a thing or two about shoes. Jessica moved westward to Los Angeles as she searched for American production for footwear and found an enclave of talent in Los Angeles that finally inspired her to launch her own line.
ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM LOS ANGELES OR A TRANSPLANT? Definitely a transplant. I grew up in and around Philadelphia, and lived primarily in NYC (with some time in the Pacific Northwest, and schooling in Italy) before moving here four years ago.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE IN LA? WORK? I live and work in Silver Lake.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN LA? I love the space – the physical space, and the creative space that this city offers. it’s a city where creativity and entrepreneurism are lauded, and with that comes the understanding that mistakes can happen. it’s a city that forgives and allows second chances, so it’s worth taking the risk.
WHAT DO YOU WISH MORE PEOPLE NEW ABOUT LA? That it’s usually quite cloudy in June.
WHAT’S YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY? I don’t believe that design is particularly philosophical. Our manufacturing, employment and living habits can be based on philosophy, but design is more innate, less intellectual than philosophy. It’s about feelings and relationships, not about rules.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE? Contrary and constantly changing.
TELL US A FUN FACT! My feet are two different lengths – by almost a half size.
CONSUELO CHOZAS AND PAIGE SMITH, VereVerto
Women have an innate ability to multitask so it’s really no wonder that the handbags created by this gorgeous duo are equally talented. Consuelo and Paige met when Paige had moved to Los Angeles from San Francisco and discovered they were both looking for a truly versatile handbag they couldn’t find. Their minimalist leather wares take you from commuting to lunch to an evening out with a few simple adjustments.
ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM LOS ANGELES OR A TRANSPLANT? I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We moved to southern California when I was 4 years old and lived between Newport Beach and Buenos Aires. I came back to LA in 2007 after living in Spain for two years.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE IN LA? WORK? I live in a little pocket of Echo Park called Angeleno Heights. We just moved to our first studio/office this year that is also in Angeleno Heights. I’m pretty lucky because I can walk there from my house and that is a true luxury in LA.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN LA? I love that you can create your own little community within the separate very spread out neighborhoods, and walk to things and bump into friends on the street. All the things I love about European city living can in a much smaller way be replicated in each little neighborhood in LA.
WHAT DO YOU WISH MORE PEOPLE NEW ABOUT LA? That however spread out and lonely it can seem, it doesn’t have to be that way, and exploring all the unique neighborhoods in LA makes it feel new and rich and exciting always even after nine years of living here.
WHAT’S YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY? Paige and I have always agreed on pairing things down, no excess frills, or loud branding, just the simple beautiful materials that shine on their own.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE? I’m pretty classic at times traditional in the way I dress, but love being more daring with my shoes and bags.
TELL US A FUN FACT! I’m obsessed with horses and have been riding since before I could walk. We had a ranch in Argentina when I lived there. And VereVerto works with tanneries that mainly provide leather for the equestrian industry in Spain.
ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM LOS ANGELES OR A TRANSPLANT? I am a transplant from Dallas, Texas. I’ve been living in Los Angeles for six years and before that, in San Francisco for five years.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE IN LA? WORK? I live in Highland Park, and I split time between work in our VereVerto studio in Echo Park and my home studio.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN LA? I landed in LA and fell in love almost immediately. I don’t know if I can choose one thing I love most, but the creative drive here is palpable, there are endless amounts of things to discover, and the weather!
WHAT DO YOU WISH MORE PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT LA? You can’t judge LA as one city. For example, Hollywood is not a good barometer for Venice or Arts District or Silver Lake culture. LA, to me, is made up of many different boroughs, and you have to check them all out to find what you like.
WHAT’S YOUR DESIGN PHILOSOPHY? For our handbags, the old tome ‘form follows function’ works well. Our bags are whittled down to clean essentials and utilitarian needs.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE? I’ve always relied on the shoes, bags and coats. Muted for the clothing and accents for the accessories.
TELL US A FUN FACT! I am also a sculpture/installation artist.
Shop the LA Ladies Sale this way. And stay tuned for our Los Angeles city guide as the designers weigh in on the best of the best.
Photographer: Eddie Chacon, Metropolis of Vice
Stylist: Sissy Sainte-Marie
Special thanks to Kathleen Whitaker for letting us shoot in her beautiful studio space in Los Angeles.