Labels like Rodarte and Band of Outsiders bucked the trend of going New York-centric a few years ago, their studios (and their aesthetics) firmly grounded in Cali culture. Hedi Slimane has decided to stay in Los Angeles (where he’s been working as a photographer), despite the fact that his new gig is at a newly rebranded (at his impetus) Saint Laurent Paris. Even John Galliano has been spotted in LA and is rumored to be considering a move out west. And that got us thinking…Could Los Angeles be the next big fashion capital to emerge in the global scene?
After speaking with industry bigwigs and experts, one thing has become increasingly clear: The City of Angels is definitely having a “moment” in fashion right now.
“I think for so long LA was the land of t-shirts and jeans but designers like Rodarte and Band of Outsiders definitely changed that perception and it’s really upped the momentum of the LA fashion scene,” said Elle Creative Director Joe Zee.
“If you think about all the successful new fashion labels to come out in the past five, seven years–all the companies that were purchased–they were all California companies: Lucky, Seven for All Mankind, Vince, Juicy Couture,” Ilse Metchek, Executive Director of the California Fashion Association, told me.
Metchek is also quick to point out that it’s not exactly groundbreaking news that LA’s fashion scene is hopping.
“I think it’s worth pointing out that we already have a tremendous amount of talent here,” agreed Who What Wear co-founder and editorial director (and former New Yorker) Hillary Kerr. “In addition to Hedi Slimane and John Galliano moving here—which is unquestionably exciting—we already have a number of LA-based design visionaries (like Kate and Laura Mulleavy, George Esquivel, and Tom Binns, to name a few), in addition to some of the world’s most noteworthy photographers, makeup artists, stylists, and hair stylists.”
It’s true, L.A.’s fashion scene has been growing steadily over the past ten years, but everyone agrees it’s reached a new pinnacle–particularly in the high fashion department. Now, Los Angeles fashion is about so much more than just surfer girl flip flops, and cheesy Paris Hilton-types. Though, of course, those haven’t gone away entirely.
“The fashion scene is interesting because it varies so tremendously, as you’d expect with such a large, sprawling city!” Kerr said. “It includes everything from the classic, relaxed Malibu girls to the vintage mavens of Silverlake and everything in between. I think that diversity—which also certainly includes some very questionable looks too—is refreshing.”
Questionable looks aside, there’s no question that, thanks to designers like Rodarte, Band of Outsiders and now, Hedi Slimane and (possibly) John Galliano, as well as publications like Who What Wear, the city’s fashion scene is not just about glossy celeb style anymore–it’s become a destination for high-level designers and a hotbed of creativity.