Fashion design for Oakland-based designer Ali Golden has always been about the process of actually making clothes. Trained in graphic design and fine arts, her first garments were constructed and sewn in her spare time, as a hobby. But in 2011, she discovered that what she loved doing for fun could actually be a career. Today Ali runs her own fashion line alongside two eponymous boutiques stocked with her own designs alongside like-minded brands like First Rite, Creatures of Comfort, Ilana Kohn and Dusen Dusen, one in Oakland and another in Los Angeles that just opened its doors on Sunset Boulevard. It’s easy to see how the California native’s approach to design leads in to the clothes themselves. Her easy dresses and separates are cut to fit everybody and every lifestyle.
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YOU STARTED OFF YOUR CAREER IN GRAPHIC DESIGN. HOW DID YOU END UP RUNNING YOUR OWN FASHION LINE? I got really sick of sitting in front of the computer all day and I wanted to spend my time moving around and making something that was tangible. As I started making clothing for fun, I realized how difficult it was. The idea of “fast fashion” and the extremely low value we attribute to clothing really pissed me off. I thought I would like to start a line that celebrated the craft of making a garment (and was also capable of functioning in the global economy) and it helped that I really loved pattern-making and sewing.
We asked a few of our favorite designer friends to share their mood boards for Fall. This week, Molly Keogh and Maryanne Mathias of Osei-Duro share their inspiration for the season.
“For Fall we thought about linear and geometric prints, and how they distort on the human form, especially as slouchy clothes. We brought in stripes and plaids, but they are uneven and distorted, imperfect. That idea of a mathematical form that is handmade, so a bit soft around the edges. The colors are moody and raw, a little emotional and even bruised. It’s about juxtaposition, an inside out thing. Heart is on the outside. Is the body wearing the dress or is the dress wearing the body?”
Behind those gorgeous lookbook shots for Clare Vivier, Jesse Kamm, Black Crane and more there’s a rad woman wielding a camera. Jeana Sohn, based in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake neighborhood where she lives with her husband and son, was a painter before she picked up said camera to shoot her stylish friends’ closets. These portraits of enviable wardrobes from women like fashion designer Sophie Buhai and stylist Sissy Sainte-Marie led to a blog and to a new-found career. We had to find out more, so we asked and she answered.
HOW DID YOU FIRST FALL IN LOVE WITH PHOTOGRAPHY? I took some photography classes while I was majoring in graphic design in college. We only used film cameras in the class and I enjoyed it more than graphic design classes.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT IT? I love that it’s so spontaneous. I also love working with other people as a team and that every shoot is different.
Loriann Smoak has been putting her passport to work. Originally from Carmel, California, she moved around the world to live in some of the world’s most glamorous cities: Paris, Milan, New York. Plus, she’s visited just about everywhere else. In 2011, she decided to take her expansive fashion knowledge gathered from her years globe trotting and set up a boutique in New York City. Condor quickly gained a loyal following for stocking chic, modern clothing with a bold aesthetic. Her store mascot, an adorable fuzzy, English Angora bunny named Merlin gained his own following (follow @merlin_manhattan on Instagram), appearing in Vogue and Lucky. But this past year, Loriann decided to move back home to the sunny west coast and lay down some roots. Now based in Los Angeles, the shop has most certainly kept its New York sensibility of effortless cool. We caught up with her to talk about coming home, the best parts of California living and quiz her on her favorite things.
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Eric Blum’s pieces are so complex they offer up more interpretations than a Sia music video. Born in Fresno, California, Blum grew up in Los Angeles and now calls the East Coast home. He has an intimate studio in New York City where he creates his enigmatic works. Blum began his artistic career as a photographer but currently works with transparent layers of ink and wax-infused silk. You might be able to categorize Blum’s play of light and shapes as abstraction, but his stunning forms have a story to tell and we’re totally hooked. He has been a recipient of grants from The Pollack-Krasner Foundation and New York Foundation for the Arts, and continues to exhibit widely throughout the United States. We were lucky enough to grab a moment of his time to find out more. Blum talked to us about his medium, what his work has to say and more.
THE LAYERS ARE JUST STUNNING. IS THERE A UNIFYING THEME FOR YOUR PAINTINGS IN TERMS OF INSPIRATION OR FEELING? I didn’t know it when I started out, but the unifying theme turns out to be uncertainty: seeing without looking, which expands the possibilities of interpretation… how a form viewed peripherally or in the background can be felt as something other than itself, something potentially more desirable, poetic or preposterous. Like anagrams, parts are mixed up and reassembled to become something that ultimately appears foreign; no longer resembling one’s own preconceived ideas.
With a background in journalism, Chantal Anderson has a knack for telling a story. The self-professed sun worshipper headed south from her home in Seattle years ago and landed in Los Angeles. Her career began taking photos all over the world for the BBC and other news outlets. Today Chantal’s client list includes such mega brands as Nike, Google, Need Supply, Urban Outfitters and Warner Bros. She’s also working on her first book. We have a thing for rad women doing cool things so we had to find out more.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN PHOTOGRAPHY? I grew up in a small town on the Puget Sound outside of Seattle, Washington. My father is part Swedish and part Tlingit Haida, and when I was little he would be gone for months at a time fishing in the Bering Sea. My mother, sister and I would take photos and record VHS videos to send to him every couple weeks. In high school I had access to a darkroom, and became obsessed with experimenting with printing styles and tinkering with aesthetic. Today I still have a similar sentimentality with images, and in a way the documentation of my life for my dad continued into adulthood.
WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS? Everywhere I look. There are things like lipstick on a porcelain teacup in the morning, freckles on my lover’s cheekbones, sunlight through my dusty L.A. bedroom window. But I also am inspired by things I can’t see: outer space, music, the wind.
Things just keep getting better for Los Angeles and Ghana-based Osei-Duro.
We sat down with the rad women behind the ethical and sustainable line to find out what’s next after a successful Kickstarter campaign (home goods coming soon!) and some major moves towards creating a positive, more inclusive industry.
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Sometimes things are just meant to be. The designer behind Collina Strada talks about falling into fashion as she gets ready for NYFW.
Collina Strada makes the perfect bag to wear everywhere, anywhere, and any time. The line was launched in Los Angeles with handbags and accessories. Clothes were added just last year after they made the leap across the country to NYC. Founder and designer Hillary Taymour looks for inspiration where others don’t, which makes their styles fabulously off-the-wall. The designer has already gained a ton of fans: Style.com called her the next big thing, VH1 dubbed her a raising fashion star, and mega babe Blake Lively has be seen wearing her pieces. Better yet, sustainability is an important part of the business for Collina Strada: each piece is handmade in New York with eco-conscious materials. We caught up with Hillary to get the inside scoop as she prepped for her upcoming FW15 show at Milk Made Fashion Week in New York.
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