L.A.’s Fashion Identity

L.A. Weekly recently asked “Does L.A. have a fashion identity?”.   
Gendy Alimurung’s article supported the notion that L.A. is “behind” when it comes to fashion.  

Yet strangely, Los Angeles is not a town for high fashion, for $5,000
head-to-toe designer outfits. “We’re behind a little,” Cota admits. “Or
we don’t pay attention. Fashion Week in L.A. is not the strongest. It’s
not a priority.”

We disagree wholeheartedly.

There are many [mainstream] styles distinctly “L.A.” (that is, styles organically-raised by subcultures “born” in our town).  Those who contributed to the article seem to have been too busy to watch L.A. “looks” go from underground  to boutique to mainstream Wal-Mart.

In this case, the quote above was coming from the perspective of a designer/business-owner who is more likely speaking to the popularity of fashion and style in terms of business revenue.  “Style” in L.A. doesn’t always generate revenue for store-owners because not all L.A. socialites (unlike their East Coast counterparts) necessarily feel required to carry luxury-brand handbags to gain admission into exclusive social circles.  Some do.  However, others use some form of “cultural and/or social currency” (more on this topic of “cool” later) to “belong”.  It’s less likely for an L.A. socialite to be dismissed for not having blood ties to Andrew Carnegie.  Thus, display of “old money” is less relevant to become popular in this town.

That doesn’t mean “L.A. is behind”, Mr. Cota.  It just means we can use many alternatives to luxury brand clothing and accessories to demonstrate to others just how “cool” we are.


There’s certainly a backlash from all the unkempt and boho looks
perpetuated by non-L.A. folk which drive more and more Los Angeles
denizens to adopt tailored and manicured self-images just to counter the
stupidity of wearing $500-dollar printed Hanes cotton Tees marketed as
“vintage”.

L.A./So Cal is the birthplace of many now-mainstream-trends. Love ’em or hate ’em, here are a few distinct “L.A. styles” (among many others):

1) Chucks – “..The Mexican kids doing the…rockabily thing…” you
mention in your article above helped bring popularity to Converse’s
Chuck Taylors. Once only worn by “greasers”, these ‘played-out’ shoes
(in various patterns and flavors sold by shark-y Nordstrom salesfolk)
seen even on midwestern homecoming queen L.A. transplants were
popularized, if not born, here.

2) Graffiti prints – popularized
by Stussy, a retail brand which originated in the 80’s from Laguna Beach
became universally popular for its graffiti-inspired shirts. This
version of “cool” or “urban” – incorporating nuances from
skaters/surfers – was quite distinct from the NYC’s definition of
“urban” (read: hip-hop). The grafffiti/”bombing” style print was
exclusive to “L.A. identity” during the 90’s.

3) Terry cloth
loungewear (a la Juicy Couture)
– (image below) as hideous as they are (terry cloth
tracksuits + Ugg Boot combos) were born and raised in So Cal (read:
please blame Orange County). I went to USC and my girlfriends and I had nightmares about velour tracksuits even years after college (Thanks, Greek Row).  I’m not proud of the “I’m-gonna-wear-my-GOOD-sweats” look, however, it is
distinctly “L.A.” (if by “L.A.” you mean trends not associated with NYC
or other large metropolitan cities).

Lastly,
trust-fund-bohemian-types who labor to achieve the “…nonconspicuous
conspicuous consumption…”
I’m-not-vain-and-it’s-my-job-to-judge-those-who-blindly-consume-and-obviously-take-pride-in-their-physical-appearance
are the most unoriginal, self-righteous judgemental L.A.
transplant-types. (Totally non-sequitir, but I needed to vent).



meg@myprettypinkponies.com,
the girl who conspicuously consumes (and isn’t ashamed of it)
fin 

the worst gang in Los Angeles
Other good & bad popular (or, once-popular) “looks” originating in Los Angeles:
  1. Michael Stars and the comfortable yet fashionably sexy tee (no smelly bohos here).
  2. Baywatch and the tan, fit and “shapely” physique (medically-enhanced).
  3. (tbc..)





Sources:

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