“I love coveralls, simply because they’re easy and fit my lifestyle, but I especially love Ilana’s,” ceramicist Shino Takeda says. The full-time ceramicist grew up in Kyushu Island in southern Japan and then moved to New York City when she was twenty years old. Working in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Shino’s inspirations comes from the nature she sees, feels, tastes and hears each season. Her work is hand-built using the coil method and several different clay bodies, so the coveralls are basically perfect for her. “I feel like the coverall is even better when it gets dirty with paint and clay! Plus, it has BIG pockets. I can put my iPhone in them and listen to music when I work in my studio or when I go for walks.” Shino shows off her pair and answers all our questions below.
You don’t need an introduction to Pamela Love. The New York City-based jewelry designer has been a household name to anyone following fashion for nearly a decade, racking up countless magazine credits, stockists, collaborations, and awards. The brand’s blend of on-the-nose aesthetics, careful material sourcing, and made in America production quality has proved to be the perfect storm for continued success in the rocky retail climate that’s emerged since Love began tinkering with jewelry making back in 2007. We spoke with the established-indie designer on dealing with copycats, price point backlash, design integrity, and more. Read on for more on the balance of art and commerce with Pamela Love.
CONGRATS ON TEN YEARS IN BUSINESS — THAT’S PRETTY REMARKABLE. Thank you! I kind of feel like it’s a cheat to say ten years because the first two years I was experimenting; I sort of sold stuff, but not really. It’s always funny to say we’re ten years old and we started the company in 2007 because I think from 2007 to 2009 was just me fucking around and I think I sold to one store. I don’t know if we’re allowed to count those first two years as, like, “doing business,” as much as it was like, “Pam playing around.”
WHAT WAS THE MOMENT WHEN IT FELT LIKE “OFFICIALLY” A BUSINESS? It got to a point where I had to get an office space, and I had to quit my day job because I didn’t have time to juggle both. It was a great feeling, but also really sad, because I loved my other job. But I couldn’t juggle everything, so I had to pick.
It was a great feeling to be creating something that was supporting me and other people, I was able to hire some jewelers. It was a great feeling to be able to see that I was able to support jobs here [in the US] and myself. As soon as I was old enough to work, I was working. So it was really nice to be able to be a business owner.
AND NOW YOU’RE DOING YOUR FIRST STORE, WITH THE CFDA RETAIL LAB. Yes, we have a temporary retail space through the end of September. We’ve done little shop-in-shops, but this is the first time I’ve gotten to curate a space and, for the most part, get to represent the brand the way I would if I had my own store.
IF THE PERFECT STORE SPACE PRESENTED ITSELF AND YOU COULD DROP IT INTO ANY NEW YORK CITY NEIGHBORHOOD, WHERE WOULD YOU OPEN? Probably on the Bowery. I’ve been obsessed with this one building forever — it’s right across the street from the Bowery Hotel — that’s housed a variety of brands over the years, and I’ve had this dream that I would one day occupy this space on the Bowery. I don’t know if that will happen or not — it seems to be occupied currently.
WHAT DRAWS YOU TO THAT SPACE? I love that neighborhood, I love the architecture of that building, the interiors are really great, there’s a lot to work with. I just always found it to be a really magical spot.
I CAN’T IMAGINE THIS IS THE FIRST OFFER THAT’S COME FOR YOU TO DO A STORE. WHY DID THE CFDA OPPORTUNITY FEEL RIGHT? We love the CFDA. They’re so supportive and they make projects like this available to brands who may not be able to front [the money]. Their programs allow us to experience things we wouldn’t otherwise get to experience. I’ve always wanted to open a store, but I never thought it made sense for us, financially, to do that right now.
THE CFDA HAS BEEN REALLY GOOD TO YOU. I love the CFDA.
HOW DID YOU GET HOOKED UP WITH THEM TO BEGIN WITH? We applied for the Vogue Fashion Fund many years ago, and we didn’t get in. And we applied again the next year, and I was finalist, and then a runner up. After that, we applied to be a CFDA member, and since then my brand has won the Swarovski accessories design and the CFDA Award for accessories design. That was something we were nominated for three times, and in the third year we won. I think it’s actually kind of cooler, because I got to go through it three times, which puts attention on your brand for three years. I was so excited to win the third time instead or the first time — or at least that’s what I told my team.
WHAT DO YOU IMAGINE YOUR GROWTH WOULD HAVE LOOKED LIKE WITHOUT THE SUPPORT OF THE CFDA? I don’t think we’d be here without Vogue, without the CFDA. I think I would have given up at a much earlier time. The access to mentors and people who can help grow and guide you was so integral to the growth of my business.
There are so many factors that go into whether or not your brand is successful, so I don’t think the CFDA is a silver bullet, but I do think it is an integral ingredient and wonderful support structure for finding success.
IN YOUR EARLY DAYS, YOU WERE KNOWN FOR A CERTAIN AESTHETIC: THE TALONS, THE DAGGERS. WHAT’S YOUR RELATIONSHIP LIKE NOW WITH THOSE PIECES? It’s a funny thing that happens when you start a company at 25, 26 and then you grow up. I was a single girl living in Greenpoint, wearing cut-off denim shorts and combat boots, started getting tattoos, I thought I was so cool, I smoked cigarettes, and the [brand] aesthetic was very much that. And at some point it started to transition to be more bohemian, but at some point you grow up and you want to make things that you identify with, that you would wear every day and not just things that you know will sell whether or not they appeal to you any more. That’s been an interesting transition for us. Some of the pieces won’t really die, for lack of a better word, and at a certain point you say, “This isn’t who we are any more, so I don’t offer this.”
And we’re changing again. Next season [spring 2018] is going to be very interesting, because we’re sort of going to be closer to going back to home but with a very different point of view. It’s going back to the origins of the brand but with more of a sense of humor and not taking itself so seriously.
Those transitions can be hard because people do think of you as one thing, and it’s hard for them to think of you as something else. There are definitely some mistakes I’ve made, from a design perspective, or designing on the requests of a retailer versus going with your gut. It’s a learning process. You’re not going to do everything right every time.
WHAT IS THAT LIKE WITH RETAILERS, WHEN THEY HAVE ASKED YOU TO REPRODUCE SOMETHING YOU MIGHT NOT BE INTO ANYMORE, BUT THAT YOU KNOW WILL MAKE YOU MONEY? I definitely have made mistakes making things I didn’t stand behind because it satisfies something the retailer needed, but I’ve learned that’s not the way to do it. If you wouldn’t wear it, if you don’t stand behind it, it doesn’t matter if it sells well or not because ultimately it’s not going to communicate your brand properly, and it’s going to detract from your brand’s strengths. So I decided I’m only going to make things I want to wear, and if that works, great, and if it doesn’t work for a retailer, unfortunately that’s it.
I’ve been doing this a long time, and it’s a learning process. Right now, we’re in the process of learning what it’s like to listen to ourselves 100% and follow my gut and the gut of my team, and see what happens.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED OVER TIME ABOUT PRICE POINTS? It’s still kind of a mystery to me. It’s harder now because there’s always a cheaper alternative to what you’re doing, and that can be challenging, because people are always looking for something more affordable, but at the end of the day you have to stand by your quality and your manufacturing, and if it’s more expensive than someone else, and someone else is able to do it cheaper, there’s really nothing you an do to control that. We just try to stand behind our work and how much it costs.
It does get to me some times when people complain the product is too expensive. That’s always hard, because you want everyone to be able to afford your stuff, especially people who love it, but at the same time we don’t want to compromise quality.
I posted a picture of a ring on Instagram yesterday, and somebody commented, “I loved this, until I saw that it was $2,400,” and it was a piece of fine jewelry. I didn’t want to respond or say anything, there’s nothing to do. That person doesn’t understand how much something like that costs and that’s the end of it.
I love how democratic it is to work in sterling or brass, because of how many people you can reach with it. But I also love creating one-of-a-kind things with some of the best materials in the world, and that, unfortunately, is not so democratic and affordable.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH COPYCATS? DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST ONE? Yeah. I remember the first time. It hurt so much. It was some random brand in Europe. It was a girl with a blog who also made jewelry, and she knocked off the talon cuff, which was our best seller at the time. I was so upset, and I tried to reach out and contact her and ask her to stop. Apparently that’s a big no-no — you don’t contact them. But I thought if I could explain how important it was to my business and to my livelihood that maybe she would stop. But she didn’t. And then there were a lot of copies after, and ultimately what you realize is you just have to keep doing what you do. If you get tired of a piece, you move on from it, if you love a piece and you’re not ready to move on from it and it gets copied, you still make it as well as you can, and nobody can really take that integrity from you. If a high street retailer copies you, [their product] isn’t going to have that integrity or that craftsmanship, and a customer who cares about that isn’t going to buy it from them, they’re going to buy it from you. A customer who doesn’t care about that is probably going to go to the high street retailer anyway, and they weren’t your customer in the first place.
WHAT’S YOUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS CELEBRITY FANS OF THE BRAND AND INFLUENCERS? It’s always very, very flattering when anyone you admire wears your product, but I never want to make [celebrities] too much of what we’re about. We’re more about every girl. We’re excited about girls from every walk of life doing cool, awesome stuff and trying to change the world. And whomever they are — a celebrity or your neighbor who works at Greenpeace — for me, it’s about righteous women who are doing awesome stuff. I want to support them and I want them to support me back. If those women are celebrities, that’s awesome, but I wouldn’t share that more than someone else I look up to who is maybe in another field.
By Nicola Fumo
All photography by Chloé Horseman
Ask any devotee of New Zealand’s Kowtow, a contemporary line of sustainable and ethical womenswear, the secret sauce is the fabric. Descriptions like “buttery” or “so soft” almost do it justice. Weather it’s a basic t-shirt from their line of closet staples, Building Block, or a pair of crisp culottes with a directional cut, as soon as you get your hands on one thing from their collection we swear you’ll be able to recognize the rest just by touching it. “She was like wow, that’s such lovely fabric,” founder and designer Gosia Piatek recalls of one fan’s reaction. “It’s so nice when you hear that because it is. You don’t realize that when you go into chain stores, their fabric doesn’t feel like our fabric. It’s cotton, and ours is cotton, but it has this lovely feel to it.” How you treat fabric, she says, breaking it down in pesticides or formaldehyde dyes or keeping things au natural, makes a difference. “It’s just a softer material.”
The kicker? They only use one type of fabric: 100% fair trade, ethical organic cotton. So not only is Kowtow committed to using sustainable fabrics and creating them ethically through their own production chain, but the line’s foundation and identity is literally defined by their values. Using one type of fabric puts certain limitations on the type of clothes you can design. But that hasn’t stopped them from building a thriving, global business. Creating apparel from seed to garment, while paying fair wages and increasing visibility on the imbalance of living standards around the world, means working at least a season ahead of other labels and going without traditional trend forecasting. But their original POV has only helped them build a mass cult following. (If you haven’t watched their video that details that process, we highly recommend it. Find it here.) They now have over two hundred retailers worldwide in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, a number of which include our own community of boutiques. So of course you don’t need another reason to fall in love with this New Zealand line, but we’re excited to give you one: their founder.
It’s a gray, windy day in Wellington when we wave at each other on either side of a Google hangout, but Gosia is immediately light and bright with her warm eyes and off-white linen blazer from Copenhagen and Kowtow separates. “I never find time to go shopping, apart from when I travel for work,” she says of her every day uniform. “Pants and t-shirts, quite boyish, relaxed, easy, a pair of sneakers. I don’t really dress up.” Today she reflects on a milestone: Kowtow’s 10 year anniversary.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR DESIGN PERSPECTIVE. DOES NEW ZEALAND HAVE AN INFLUENCE? We do play around with traditional design a bit like America. We take traditional fashion from Europe and give it our own take on it. We make loose, minimal, kind of a Japanese vibe to it. I think Wellington, well, we’re kind of at the edge of the world here. It’s not like every person on the street is super fashionable. I think here it’s a little bit more underground and people have less money so you do see some cool street style. We don’t have the big designer stores like Gucci, Prada, all of the big designers, so people do put their own take on how to put outfits together which is quite inspiring. A little bit fresher, maybe like some of the smaller periphery towns in America. I feel like there’s a parallel. Maybe because we’ve both been settled by the English in the last century.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR DISTINCT VOICE IN MINIMALIST FASHION? We only work with cotton so we have quite a limited palette of textures. So we won’t have some of the things that other designers have with synthetic fabrics. Like a specific lace or a pleat in a fabric, but we can’t do that so straight away you can’t play with textures so much so you play with proportions and paneling.
It’s nice to sell a product that you know is going to last. And that it’s made with love and that we put so much care into every single garment our design and we do it from an original point of view we have our own thing a story we think about the girl that’s going to wear it. We don’t copy other people. I think that’s what has led to the success of the brand.
The other thing is that natural fabrics aren’t the norm any more so organic cotton is already makes for a unique product. So there really is something quite special about it. And with cotton we’re quite trans-seasonal. We have a store in Iceland that just loves it, can’t get enough of it. And we’re the opposite season from them. We don’t need to offer a boiled wool coat, we don’t need to offer everything to everyone that’s what I’ve realized. We do our own thing and it’s working.
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR SEED TO GARMENT PRODUCTION. We work quite far in advance because we have an ethical production chain. We can’t push our employees to do crazy hours, which is another reason why we continually stay original because we can’t forecast what’s going to happen that far ahead, we just do what we love. Sometimes we’re like, oh, wow that’s actually on trend. (laughs)
We have to work so far in advance. We work a season ahead of most other designers. Because we have to source the cotton from the crops, from the farmers. The farms grow it and we secure the yarn from them and then we get the fabric made, so we don’t work with fabric merchants, so they’re all exclusive to us. So we design the weave, the color, the texture, the feeling, it’s all unique to our brand.
SEEMS LIKE A PRETTY WELL OILED MACHINE. We’re quite planned out. We’re quite methodical people as well as design driven. I feel like you can do both and that’s why I started the brand. You have these places where it’s acceptable to do 12 hours or you’re not working hard enough and it’s just like, there’s always going to be work to do. Sometimes it’s hard, but I just think people feel like if they’re falling behind they’ll work on a Saturday every three months and it isn’t that big of a deal. I think if people love their job they’ll do it and we don’t micromanage them to do it or make it feel like a chore. We have a really cool team, a really cool team. They’re so engaged. I feel like I’ve got an easy job, that’s my feeling anyways.
DID YOU HAVE A DRIVE TO DO THIS AT AN EARLY AGE? In terms of sustainability I think that began in my childhood. My parents weren’t eco warriors but they lived quite simple. Growing up with that mentality, that inspired something. My parents used to take me out every weekend. New Zealand is really, really beautiful so it was really exciting. We’d go on bush walks or by the sea. I think I just fell in love with nature. I knew I would just love to do something that means something one day in my life, that has an effect, I think, on the right foot forward. We need to look after the planet. It’s not going to survive unless we do something, that’s how I felt. Maybe that’s a bit naive, I don’t know. But I still think that.
Fashion wasn’t the original way I wanted to go down this path. I just found it as an outlet for all the things that meant something to me, that stood for something. Ten years ago it was pretty new to the market, pretty heavy. It wasn’t fresh or cosmopolitan but I think we made it look like that. People just loved it, they didn’t even know about all of that stuff. They would be intrigued with what ethical means, but I think people are more educated now. I think with younger people now it’s cool to know about all that stuff. Where, you know, I wasn’t cool, that’s for sure. (laughs) You wouldn’t talk about sustainability, you would go and get drunk. Now it’s a different mindset. And we’re quite a young crew, they’re pretty awesome, but they’re young and they’re so interested in the details. This is the next generation. It’s great.
Shop Kowtow right here on Garmentory.
Keep the Kiwi vibes going and get to know our community of NZ designers and boutique owners here.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
It’s been 352 days of outfits and we’re kind of ready to get 2016 over with. Don’t get us wrong, we love diving into our closets and pulling together pieces that make us want to sneak in a bunch of mirror selfies before leaving to work. But we’re tired and whenever our inspiration starts to lag, we know it’s time to defer to the experts. We’ve rounded up 13 outfits from some of our favorite boutiques and designer pals. These easy yet undoubtedly stylish step-by-step outfits will have us cruising through to 2017.
Throw on your chunkiest turtleneck and an oversized coat for an effortlessly cool look. Bonus: you’ll stay warm.
There is nothing better than finding vintage jeans that fit you like a glove. Work those ’90s vibes by pairing them with a colorful sweater and menswear-inspired lace-ups.
If you haven’t stored away all of your spring/summer clothes grab that t-shirt dress and layer a turtleneck underneath it. Accessorize with loafers and your favorite sunglasses.
We’ve said it a few times: having a statement coat this winter is a must. Throw it over top of pretty much anything and you’re good to go.
A two-piece cashmere set that feels like pajamas? Yes please. Go with a neutral color to really make your shoes pop.
Go all black for a modern tailored look. We especially love these menswear inspired trousers paired with sleek black boots.
These culottes are the perfect length for showing off your socks and shoes. Side note: don’t be afraid to mix navy and black.
Holiday red has never looked so good. Pair a knit maxi dress with sneakers for a comfortable yet put together look.
Go bold with texture (and color) this winter. An orange shearling jacket paired with silver sparkly boots… too good.
It’s all about staying warm. Pair a textured sweater with furry shoes to stay extra cozy.
Monochrome navy… the best kind of blues.
Layer unexpected pieces for a unique outfit that everyone will want to copy.
Go gold this holiday. A vintage silhouette like this one will keep things feeling classy.
When it comes to putting together the perfect outfit, a killer pair of shoes is pretty much key. With styles that look good with everything, this emerging Los Angeles-based label totally fits the bill. Equipped with years of experience working with some seriously big players in the footwear industry, like Jeffrey Campbell and Solestruck, designer Ty McBride has gradually been taking over our shoe game since he launched Intentionally Blank is 2014. From the line’s signature mule to their casual-cool slides, we simply can’t get enough. With the belief that designs should have a distinct POV, his collections are created with practicality and function in mind while always hitting all of the right style notes.
And now, keeping that philosophy in mind, Intentionally Blank has finally expanded into apparel with the launch of their amazing capsule collection AND are opening a Los Angeles brick and mortar, to boot. Things just keep on getting better.
Here, we sit down with Ty to chat about design, his undying love for the east coast, and what exactly he likes to do with his time off. Spoiler alert: his answer is the best.
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.
We’re lucky to work with some of the most amazing creative people out there in the world of fashion, so it’s always an honor to share the work they do beyond the clothes. Carleen, the Brooklyn-based label on the rise by designer Kelsy Parkhouse, just released their Spring/Summer 2016 collection with a video lookbook that’s currently inspiring our everything. Kelsy was inspired by Leanne Shapton’s watercolor art and the textures and palette of her native California this season, along with the power of strong female sisterhood. She enlisted Laura Kaltman and Jinnie Lee to produce and direct the video which aims to capture all those elements with a narrative of two stylish women in a long-distance, pen pal friendship. “The long distance/snail mail aspect really resonated with me because I have so many friends that I’m in that spot with right now as we get older and more spread out.”
It can be really fun to let other creatives put their own spin on things,” Kelsy explains. “Kind of like when a girl buys a dress and incorporates it into her outfits and lifestyle.”
Watch the full video above and shop the looks below.
Never before have we been so conscious of what we buy and its impact on the world. From the slow-food movement to sustainable fashion, we are all striving to be more mindful about what we eat and wear. Austin-based designer Miranda Bennett pretty much embodies this lifestyle with her eponymous line of naturally-dyed women’s wear. The rule-breaking designer chose to ignore the atypical, seasonal industry mold and launched her label in 2006 with small, carefully-designed capsule collections. In the years before she created her first line, she honed her POV while studying fashion design and art history at Parsons School of Design and Eugene Lang College in New York. Designed to be versatile, seamless additions to any woman’s wardrobe, her collections are streamlined with a penchant for clean lines and solid, earthy colors. Basically, every piece is completely seasonless and looks amazing year round. Everything is made-to-order in her studio using natural fabrics and plant-based dyes, and sustainability and ethical production are incorporated into every aspect of the brand. We talked to Miranda about design, sustainable production and the best part of her job.
Every now and then a new designer bursts onto the scene and immediately resonates. Ty Ziskis, the designer behind Seattle-based line ZED, is one of those rare designers that has captured the attention of both the industry and a wide net of customers. Stand Up Comedy’s buyer and owner, Diana Kim, gave us the heads up first. She’s a friend of Ty and has already been selling his pieces nonstop. “There’s something of traditional French workwear and Japanese denim elements mixed in, but that’s really to say it’s a global tone,” she says. “Anyone could wear these clothes as a daily uniform, but they’re well-suited for travel, mix-and-match in a rumpled, jazzy way.” Choosing to ignore the notion of gender specific clothing, Zed may have began as a men’s wear label but it appeals, and sells, to both men and women. “It’s a line made for men, but works so well for women too, because of the silhouettes. Just order the XS or S,” Diana explains. Perfect for the jet set, minimalists, or anyone who is attempting the five-piece French wardrobe challenge, each collection is small and carefully curated. “They’ve done it smartly,” Diana said. “Two jackets, one shirt, one pant, in a few different color ways and fabrics.” After everything that Diana had to say, we obviously had to find out more about this under the radar label. Here, we sit down with Ty to talk about his journey into design and why he believes that gender specific clothing is on the way out.
We all know that shoes can make or break an outfit, but what if they give you blisters every single time you wear them for more than 45 minutes? Shoes for show are one thing (and we all have them obviously) but shoes for real life are what The Palatines does best. Jessica Taft Langdon is the designer behind the emerging Los Angeles footwear line. After developing an extensive and impressive resume working for heavyweights like Alexander Wang, Catherine Malandrino, Coach, Everlane, and Proenza Schouler, she fearlessly took the leap to launch her own label. Settling in LA’s Silver Lake neighborhood after living in Philadelphia, New York City and Milan, Jessica began with the firm assertion that every style would tap into the American sportswear spirit and be produced locally. Meticulous construction in Los Angeles and ultimate comfort are paramount. The result is nothing less than effortless, elegant and cool. No Band-Aids required.
We’ve teamed up with Jessica for a special collaboration (watch this space), so we sat down to find out more about her shoes and her life in Los Angeles.