Seems we can’t hear or read enough articles about New Yorkers heading to Los Angeles, about the blossoming cultural moment there (super cool stores, close-knit and supportive art scene, culinary delights!) and of course about how easy life is, all slow and more considered. The sun’s always shining. Maybe you even have a pool. True confession: we’re die-hard New Yorkers. But based on the provenance of some of our favorite collections right now, well, maybe we should be considering a more westward gaze. At the very least we’re looking forward to soaking up some of the city’s modern magic through these five standout, Los Angeles-based brands; here the designers tell you why their city matters.
Designer: Alexandra Michelle Year
Founded: The brand was launched in 2011.
Your brand in one sentence: Objects Without Meaning— represents nothing more than the beautiful simplicity of its materials and form.
How long have you lived in Los Angeles? 4 years. After working in New York and Australia for many years I decided to make Los Angeles my home.
Is LA crucial to your brand DNA? I think that my surroundings are a big part of the brand's DNA so yes...I'm inspired by the authenticity I can find in nature, people and places.
What aspects or vibes of the city inspire it and how? Art, music, history and quality of life are important—it inspires me to be creative.
Favorite secret Los Angeles spot? I love being out in nature, the desert, the beach, the forest...I'm so lucky to have all these things in Los Angeles! One of my favorite spots is Griffith Park it's so peaceful and yet so close to where I live. It's a great way to relax without going very far.
Favorite Los Angeles meal? There are so many! But I'm a huge fan of sushi so I would say Sushi Gen in Little Tokyo would be at the top of the list.
Designer: Shaina Mote
Your brand in one sentence: “Pare down to the essence, but don’t remove the poetry.” –Leonard Koren
How long have you lived in Los Angeles? Since birth.
Is LA crucial to your brand DNA? Yes. LA's mellow attitude is impossible to deny. The clothes tend to be unrestrictive and easy to throw on.
What aspects or vibes of the city inspire it and how? LA is home to sun bleached everything, hard and angular shadow and oddly assembled and diverse textures found all together on one block. The fact that there is not all too much history as a city leaves room for all sorts of exploration and discovery. It feels like there is room to grow here and to create something new and beautiful.
Favorite secret Los Angeles spot? The Temple of Leaveson top of Mount Washington.
Favorite Los Angeles meal? Anything from Elf Cafe.
Designer: Ahlem Manai-Platt
Your brand in one sentence: My goal is to make frames that give people confidence.
How long have you lived in Los Angeles? Since 2013. I'm a born and raised Parisienne. When I met Bo, my American hubby, I always knew we would move LA. When we did, we came straight to Venice.
Is LA crucial to your brand DNA? Paris and New York are extremely inspiring but so very overwhelming. LA tempers everything; the music, the flow, it makes things more steady. It’s the only place right now where I can just think about things. Something about the air, the space, the weather. “Well being” is so important here and it’s a lifestyle that totally fits me. We think of our collections as a part of us; it’s slow made and personal.
What aspects or vibes of the city inspire it and how? LA’s architecture is so inspiring, it’s an incredible galleria of modernism, in real size.
Favorite secret Los Angeles spot? I don't drive. I live in Venice and bike everywhere so the whole neighborhood is my secret spot in a city built for cars only.
Favorite Los Angeles meal? Ceviche tacos at the La Isla Bonita truck on Rose, I love them so much!
Designer: Rebecca Grenell
Your brand in one sentence: LACAUSA (Los Angeles California USA) and also means “the cause” in Spanish, is committed to creating beautiful, quality garments under ethical conditions with our headquarters and factory in downtown Los Angeles.
How long have you lived in Los Angeles? Born and raised.
Is LA crucial to your brand DNA? Of course! We have branded ourselves around the Los Angeles lifestyle and the environmental landscape of our city and coast. We love LA and feel as it becomes more and more of a cultural epicenter, new technologies, trends and ideas can be mixed with more traditional style and our aesthetic can evolve with the city.
What aspects or vibes of the city inspire it and how? I love how casual the city is, but also how ambitious and creatively diverse it is. It is a prolific environment
but also very relaxed and slow moving in a lot of ways. Growing up in Malibu with mountains and ocean up against each other, agriculture farms to the north and the busy city not far, makes for a very unique way of life that has so much beauty, and nurtures and supports hard work. Our clothing aspires to capture this duality.
Favorite secret Los Angeles spot? Secret Malibu surf spots, where only we know where the big rocks are...
Favorite Los Angeles meal? So many! Weekday Breakfast at Gjelina: the Pain Perdu. Lunch at Gjusta: a strawberry shrub and a falafel plate. Dinner, always and forever: the Seafood Yosenabe (fish hot pot) at Inaka on La Brea!
Designer: Ainsley Cohen
Your brand in one sentence: Directional, casual dressing for women
How long have you lived in Los Angeles? Since 2001
Is LA crucial to your brand DNA? I think my collection could live anywhere, I find women in Los Angeles have a very unique aesthetic, displaying sophistication in a way which is so relaxed and casual and this feels very much in line with the DNA of my collection.
What aspects or vibes of the city inspire it and how? The lifestyle in Los Angeles is so easy and effortless, I try to capture that in my clothing.
Favorite secret Los Angeles spot? My backyard.
Favorite Los Angeles meal? For a sit down meal I'd have to go with Son of a Gun.