Yony

Yony

118 S. La Brea Ave. LA

TheYony retail space is minimalist.

White walls and floor allow the articles of clothing on the rack, and maybe a painting or two, to stand out.

It’s a risky play since it is so easy to come of as the final day of a closeout sale and if all you have to focus on is the clothes, they better be good.

The clothes are a riff on classic country club athleisure and a touch of 1950 Americana.

The first time I visited I convinced them to sell me one of the stickball sticks they had in the corner. I was amused that next to a stack of white sweatshirts with crossed tennis racket logos, were the tools of back alley athletics.

And that is what they do there. Country Club attire with back alley sensibility.

Trading Post by Dr. Collectors

Trading Post

126 S. La Brea Ave, LA

I would describe what Dr. Collectors do as a French person’s version of romanticized American Western wear via Japanese design.

I am not qualified to unpack all of that. Those concepts are both problematic and fascinating. Like a well executed television show that is consistently cringy yet you still kinda love it. Like The Office. You just can’t pause to think about it.

No matter my opinions I can solidly say they produce unique items with attention to detail. A lot of it, I must admit, looks super cool, and to be fair, I have had zero contact with the owners or designers and don’t have a true sense of what they are all about. And to continue in fairness, I am no expert on Native American design and the boundaries of certain designs, or items, with their associated meanings, and I know even less about Japan.

But I do know a thing or two about colonialism, appropriation, and how clothing communicates meaning, including, but not limited to, identity.

All of which adds up to me having a lot of questions, no recommendations, and a general hesitance from actual opinion.

Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten

451 N. La Cienega Blvd. LA

Dries Van Noten’s LA location is the global brand’s largest and every inch of it is interesting.

The building itself was once Charlie Chaplin’s dance studio but the current contents are neither colorless nor silent.

Past collections are on display creating a museum like quality which flows into art gallery on through to retailer.

When I came to only gawk, not buy, the people there were not just gracious but truly helpful. Like docents with style.

Fred Segal

Fred Segal

8500 Sunset Blvd. LA

Fred Segal opened in 1961 and claims to have pioneered the shops inside-of-shops that are now the norm for modern department stores.

Some give Segal credit for creating the brand of “cool” that the world imagens when they hear the word “California”.

I don’t know if that is true, or care if it is, but I do know that Cher in Clueless shopped there.

They carry all the brands and items that are on trend, or are the trend, or whatever. It felt a little to me like visiting the inside of a phone as it scrolls through Tik Tok, Snapchat, or whatever app the glossy kids use these days.

Snake Oil Provisions

Snake Oil Provisions

5711 N Figueroa St. LA

The first thing I saw when I walked through the door was a pair of pink jeans. They stood out in an otherwise indigo and brown space while somehow retaining their masculinity.

The space is masculine in a way I appreciated, meaning, this is a shop that caters to the masculine and there was a woman working there who did not appear to be attempting to sell her sexuality.

The walls are covered by Indian Giver prints, the racks are filled with leather and denim, and the woman is there as an expert

not as an object.

I love that.

Mohawk Menswear

Mohawk General Store

4017 W. Sunset Blvd. LA

Mohawk General Store is two shops, one for women and another for men. If you want furniture and home decor, there is yet another shop for that. They are all curated, nothing big box there.

They are designer and they are not cheap, but if you want to wear something cool with no fear of bumping into someone wearing the exact thing, Mohawk is great for that.

Unless your friends are famous. But even then, they will have on the same brand, but not the same thing so its cool.

Freenote Cloth: it is denim. the cloth is denim.

Freenote Cloth

5509 N. Figueroa St. LA

You might see the hat and the denim and think this is cowboy stuff, but it is not, nor is it trying to be. It is however, rugged and western.

There is leather, denim, flannel, even some gingham. There are boots and hats, but it is still not cowboy. Think Joshua tree and motorcycles not herding cows and the clothes make sense.

Motorcycle not biker gang. LA, not New York.

Virgil Normal: is not

I am not an expert, nor even minimally informed on high fashion, but I would still venture to say that what one finds at Virgil Normal is not that.

4157 Normal Ave, Los Angeles

What it is, is independent, artsy, and the sort of cool that might get picked up by high fashion, yet exists in its own sphere without “them”. I am guessing they are cool with that.

It has the vibe of the sort of Los Angeles that exists on the flip side of the glossy Hollywood coin. The sort of place where hippies gave birth to skateboarders. Artsy but with scraped up knees.

I’m Down with this Donald

IMG_3095

I see his work as a sort of loose, maybe even sloppy, Matisse. Not that he would ever say that about himself, at least not that I have heard, but then again, how would I have heard?

But what I have seen, is pared down lines, patterns, and brush strokes that despite lack of detail and apparent precision, form fashionable women and style. Like Matisse.

IMG_8803

Having survived the heyday of art directing at Conde’ Nast and Vogue, Donald Robertson has left the hustle of New York and opened up shop in LA, and when I say “opened” I mean his door is open (not right now though) and you can go say hello.

I went and said hello.

IMG_8818

With his new work hanging, or laying, around and his young kids doing the same, Donald and I didn’t hatch a new collaboration or become best friends (I am open to both) but he did answer my question easily and helped me feel relaxed and welcomed.

Then he drew me a picture in my sketch book thereby increasing its value by approximately 2000%.

IMG_8822

His studio is where Evett’s Model Shop once was (1636 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica) and he will let any fool off the street just walk right in and talk to him.

Matisse never did that.

IMG_8810