All of L.A. is a runway, and with another Fashion Week upon us soon, it's important to remember that. Fierce style can be seen on red carpets and catwalks, at clubs, boutiques and art shows, and of course in the streets. Here are six designers doing their part to provide Angelenos (and, thanks to the World Wide Web, beyond) with something fresh, fun and unique to wear, using all of the above outlets to promote their work in next few weeks and all year long.
Bo Matthew Metz, the man behind Bomme Studio, describes his aesthetic as "looking to the future." But as the designer himself admits, none of us knows what the future will be, so deciding what to create is an organic, intuitive process. "To me, it's like looking at the darkest part of the night before the dawn. It's the mixing of sex and science fiction, a blend of fantasy and subversiveness," he says. Bomme Studio's inspirations are deeply rooted in American nostalgia, and Metz says experiences such as walking down the horror aisle in '80s video stores and watching the first music videos on early MTV come into play in his dresses and separates. So his work is as much about the past as it is the future, and if he has his way, the frocks he concocts will be worn by technology-loving tribes looking to express themselves in bold ways.
Lone Hawk Hats
Rocker/country singer/hat designer Charlie Overbey has always had an eye for cool headwear. He started doing hats in 1993 during his Sunset Strip musician days. "I really wanted big crazy hats and just could not seem to find anything suitable," he says. "So I just shaped and dressed my own." Inspired by Old West style, Native American culture, '70s Southern rock, Bob Dylan and glam rock, Overbey's hats have that effortless worn-in look, which you usually can't buy for any price. Usually only rockin' nights and sunshine-filled days can weather and personalize the kind of style Lone Hawk hats evoke, but Overbey has the magic touch; when his hats are worn, it's straight-to-the-head alchemy. Fans include Nils Lofgren of The E Street Band and Crazy Horse, Craig Ross of Lenny Kravitz, Blackberry Smoke, Barry Gibb, Richard Fortus of Guns N' Roses, Evan Ross, Raoul Max Trujillo (Mayans M.C.), Marcus King, Kesha, Natalie Bergman of Wild Belle, Chelsea Tyler, Elizabeth Cook, Aaron Lee Tasjan and many more.
Laser Kitten's Marisa Ravel has been killing the enamel pin game for a few years now, with sassy designs, clever wordplay and pop culture–driven cartoony imagery. So it was only a matter of time until she branched out into fashion and accessory collaborations. Her latest includes an '80s- and '90s-style back-to-school capsule collection for The Archies' Betty & Veronica that'll make comic-loving cuties say "tee-hee!" The line includes a pop art mesh bodysuit, body-con dress, heart-shaped backpack, earrings and matching pin set, and it launches Oct. 8, just in time for Fashion Week (available here). A new line of Laser Kitten signature pattern bodysuits will be next, and there are plans for a high-end line of basics including super-soft T-shirts and sweatshirts. Kitten has been hosting monthly art installation events in its Melrose showroom, fun bashes designed to support the L.A. art community and provide some pretty vibrantly backdropped Instagram pics, too.
Check out Laser Kitten on Sat., Sept. 22, when artist Kellesimone Waits turns the space into an "Astrokitty Space World" with another can't-miss installation. 7600 Melrose in West Hollywood; LaserKitten.com.
Minimalism meets social consciousness with Uprising, the L.A. brand from designer Michelle K. Hanabusa. Hanabusa left the corporate fashion world to create something different — basics with a message. Selling T-shirts, sweatshirts and tops with slogans meant to empower, uplift and unite communities, her goal was both fashion- and people-focused. Her eye and knack for marketing garnered attention, even in the oversaturated tee market. Uprising's simplicity, Hanabusa explains, is meant to save time and energy when getting ready every day so that the wearer can focus on more important matters and concerns in life. It brings to mind the trendy home-decluttering movement, but even non-basic, embellishment- and bauble-loving fashionistas will find something in the line to spark joy.
For World Mental Awareness Day (Oct. 10) pop-punk singer Kota Wade and the Uprising brand will unveil a new design, touting Wade's #YoureNotAlone message. Check out uprisingbrand.com/ to connect, learn more and purchase.
When Pinup Girl Boutique closed a few months ago due to skyrocketing rents in its Magnolia Park neighborhood, L.A. glamour gals shared a collective grief for the loss of the whimsical, retro-styled shop. Thankfully designer Laura Byrnes hasn't let the lack of a flagship slow her down. The sexy '50s style frocks Pinup is known for are still available online, and her collaborations with the likes of Elvira and Traci Lords are still on track, too. Pinup Girl has always been a favorite of curvy gals, and Byrnes' newest pieces still adhere to the body-positive approach, even as she stretches her aesthetic in new ways and into new eras. Her latest pieces (available in October) see her dipping even more into '60s and '70s silhouettes and details, with shorts, pants and tops that bring to mind the vixens from Russ Meyers' sexiest bad-girl movies.
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Tiny Bangs is a mother-daughter design team celebrating color, creativity and standing out in the crowd — at any age. Designer Kirsten Bosio and her two daughters were bored with what kids' brands were offering, so they started making their own clothing, often beginning with crafty materials such as yarn, plastic or tinsel, and finding ways to make it wearable with upcycled vintage finds. "I love pop culture from the '70s, '80s and '90s, and I shared that with them," says Bosio of the collaborative mix that makes her work special. "They were most impressed with the fashion from those eras, so you will see a lot of those influences in the pieces (from Hole references to cartoons to cult-hit movies)." Celebrating "the weird side of life," Tiny Bangs' gender-neutral, rainbow unicorn–style pieces make dressing up fun for the whole family.
Check out Tiny Bangs' runway show in collaboration with Fiora Boes (costume designer of SLC Punk!) on Sat., Dec. 1, 5 p.m., at the Silver Lake Flea Market, at Micheltorena Street Elementary School playground, 1511 Micheltorena St., Silver Lake; and see tinybangs.com.