Created by husband-and-wife Bobby Farahi and Shaudi Lynn in 2011, Dolls Kill started as an online boutique, serving as a one-stop-shop for all things bold, edgy and expressive. Whether it's a bright striped “Party Starter” tube top for that upcoming warehouse rave or “Pixie light-up hologram platforms” to show off in the perfect Instagram influencer shot, the “look at me” and “IDGAF” attitude is loud and clear in everything the brand makes and promotes. For young gals looking to grab attention, Dolls Kill isn't just a clothing line, it's a movement. It's a reminder to be yourself unapologetically, no matter what anyone thinks. It's girl power, it's man power, and it's a testament to individuality.
A few weeks ago Dolls Kill opened the doors to its new flagship location in Los Angeles. Located at 415 N. Fairfax, right next to Jon & Vinny's (and down the street from Supreme), it could not have found a better location. Even those who haven't heard of the brand were intrigued, while loyal fans got in the back of a long line and waited patiently to enter. With the public invitation reading “Dreamz Are Becoming a Reality,” the grand opening comes a year after the inaugural San Francisco store opened.
L.A. Weekly arrived on the scene in the late afternoon, the day after the big opening bash, peeking beyond the blacked-out store doors that create a sense of mystery and excitement about what's inside. The industrial club vibe is immediately apparent in the gray brick walls, reflective silver mannequins and gigantic speakers sitting beneath the DJ booth overlooking the endless array of clothing.
We found Shaudi Lynn busy folding clothes. With bright blue glitter over her eyes, a bold red crop top and platform boots, she was the epitome of a Dolls Kill model. But she is so much more and her vision — which values online promotion and in-person atmospheric environment — just may change the face of brick-and-mortar retail in L.A. and beyond.
L.A. WEEKLY: Why Los Angeles? Why now?
SHAUDI LYNN: I kind of grew up in L.A. I met my husband in L.A. We did this together. It definitely has a place in my heart as far as my vision and where it all began. You walk around and see girls who are letting it all come out internally — what they want to represent as a person through their clothing. It's just an epic place for creativity. People can be themselves and do whatever the hell they want.
Talk about the creative process. What was happening behind-the-scenes for the store?
My husband always wanted to open a club before we were Dolls Kill. We met on the dance floor, so this is kind of where the baby was born. That was the concept of, “Let's make a night club that's also shoppable.” Bringing that underground, industrial garage vibe to the shoppers was something I had never seen before, ever. We also wanted to be able to have these artistic installations with different artists. We brought in so many creative talents. The dressing rooms aren't open yet, but each one has been designed by somebody.
The industrial nightclub theme is genius. Who thought of this and how easy or difficult was it to implement?
I think we made the impossible happen. I haven't seen anybody in L.A. that's done what we've done. Even nightclubs don't look as cool as us.
It's crazy to think you only opened shop one year ago in San Francisco. Given your success there, what goals do you have for the L.A. store?
We're from S.F., so the HQ is in S.F. — the warehouse is nearby also. We knew we had to do it there first. It's a small location on Haight-Ashbury, which is a very D.I.Y. street. It just felt right. We brought everybody from the office to paint the walls and put their representation on the store. This was a little more deliberate. We wanted to take that aesthetic, that vibe and that unique feeling when you walk into Haight and make it more grand.
Talk about your mantra “dreams are becoming a reality” and the “IDGAF” attitude.
I think every girl that walked in here last night was like, “We needed you. L.A. needed you. I needed you.” It's this feeling of when somebody walks in here, they kind of fall into this dream-world state. We try to represent all kinds of different underground culture for girls. When they stumble upon us or they've been following the brand and they get to walk in and experience it in real life, it feels like a dream come true. It's like, “Wow, this is my home where I belong and I don't want to shop anywhere else.” Because why would you?
Talk about the superpower feeling that comes with your products.
We're all about unleashing your inner “whatever.” Your inner whoever it is at the time. It's a really powerful message. You can speak to whoever you want through what you wear. A lot of girls that are a little more reserved or don't necessarily want to talk so much, they can do it through their clothing. I'm actually pretty introverted. I grew up speaking with my mind and the way I felt through my clothing. I think that's really important for girls to stand for something through what they wear.
What are some immediate feelings as the shop opens its doors to the public?
It really is a dream come true, even for me who sees this clothing every day. I walk in here and think, “Wow, I want to shop too!” It's so weird, this feeling of seeing everything in one place and it not being on the web. It's just a different format and it feels so right for the brand. Everybody was like, “Why are you doing the store?” Once it was in front of everybody on our team, we all realized, “Wow, this was actually perfect for the brand.” It feels really authentic. It just feels like we did it. We did what we wanted to do.
The shop, at 6000 square feet, is actually almost six times as big as the S.F. shop. Talk about the expansion and what the future looks like.
We stumbled across the place. It was a mattress store. The space just felt really right. We weren't really looking for something a certain size. It was about what felt right for the brand. This shape felt right. The location is also very male-dominated. We also felt like, “We can do whatever we want. We don't give a fuck. We're coming into this place.” There's some really cool neighbors. I think it's the right vibe. It's like girl power, even though I don't necessarily feel this is just a girl's brand. We had a lot of guys in here last night that were like, “Oh my God, make this in our size!” So we're definitely expanding.
What are some of your favorite parts of the L.A. shop?
Coming from being an ex-DJ, I love the sound system. We bought it in Italy, it's called a Pequod sound system. It's a very, very refined sound system. It's probably a better system than any club in L.A. The music is crisp and it feels right when you walk in. That's what gives it that aura: You feel the music. You can talk over it and shop over it. It's not this annoying sound. Being in music, I just know how important that is.
Being that L.A. is the mecca of entertainment, will you be doing more collabs and exclusives?
Oh yeah. We are so excited to be here with so many creative designers, models and Instagrammers. The creativity is endless.
Dolls Kill L.A., 415 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; (800) 354-ROCK, dollskill.com/wait-for-it-la.