Shani Pak Hunts Unexpected Inspo at L.A.’s Industrial Surplus Stores
A trash-to-treasure tale if there ever was one.
What are you calling junk?! The often-dismissed industrial surplus stores of Los Angeles are where Shani Pak of the understated jewelry line Metonym unearths some of the most consciousness-expanding stuff. “The right mind with the right imagination and right vision can walk into here and build, essentially, anything,” she explains. Here, she helps us get into the headspace. —carly pifer
“This is Rick. He curates curiosities and is the man behind the collection at C&H Surplus. I love going in and scoping his knowledge. There’s always something in there each time that captivates my wonder and imagination on the possibilities of what I could build.”
“What is really special about this place is that most of the objects are manufactured from a time before our current generation’s way of mass-producing low-quality fast. So you can observe objects made with exquisite precision and quality manufacturing and study what makes them so beautifully made. It is a standard slowly going extinct in an industry demanding higher-yield over quality.”
“It’s like a laboratory—like if Pee-wee Herman was a rocket scientist! I enter these places like I would a museum, observing and honoring quality-made objects and studying how the solid construction lends to such beautiful products.”
“Apex is a widget fantasyland. You can get lost all day within the boxes upon boxes of electronic parts and hardware and the outdoor yard of plane parts.”
“I love how the space has a post-apocalyptic quality but how all of the objects leaving are endowed with a new life, sometimes in Hollywood!”
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Weather Vain: Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California - 87 and Partly Cloudy
We were in L.A. last week, and you know the one thing we don’t like about that place? Leaving. Wah. Here’s a getup that’s itching to head to all of our right-off-the-101 haunts. —erica
Clockwise from top left:
+ A Kieley Kimmel top ready to hit the boutiques around The Junction.
+ A piece of cool-girl fine jewelry from the L.A. sisters behind Gabriela Artigas.
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Jessica Taft Langdon Gets Her Dance On
Move over, Richard Simmons.
Ah, little Jessica!
Growing up, Jessica Taft Landon was serious about ballet…until she ditched the barre at age 16. Now she spends more time thinking about sandals for her footwear line The Palatines than she does pointe shoes. But since moving to L.A. in 2011, she has developed a bit of a dance habit—one that helps take her mind and body off the stresses of starting her own label. Here, she makes her case. —olivia seely
“When I first moved to L.A., a girl that worked at the Weltenbuerger store mentioned these dance classes she took at a place called The Sweat Spot. It piqued my interest, so I took a class on a Sunday with Ryan Heffington, the owner, and really enjoyed it.”
“Ryan runs the studio in a way that is meant to be as inviting as possible. A lot of the people who come have no background in dance—no training—and aren’t particularly fit. It’s an incredibly high-energy, super-inclusive, very Silver Lake-specific experience.”
“The class is basically divided up into three sections. The first is a pretty straightforward warm-up, which includes light cardio, stretching, and yoga-based moves, all of which are strung together in slightly choreographed routines. During this section, Ryan also does a quick bit on technique, focusing on jazz- and ballet-based positioning and strengthening.”
“The second part of class is pretty quick floor movement. Ryan really encourages people to be expressive and make the moves their own—be sexy if you’re feeling sexy, be silly if you’re feeling silly. This part of the class is the most fun for people who aren’t classically trained.”
“The third part of class is the most challenging part for most folks. It is for me! Ryan teaches a new combination or dance routine every second week. The combinations range from a minute to a minute and a half in length. It sounds really short, but if you think about trying to follow choreography and string everything together and be sexy, a minute and half is a really long time!”
Class photos courtesy of Ryan Crase.
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Explore Annie Costello Brown’s Corner of L.A., Mt. Washington
You ready to soak up the sun?
One Los Angeles ‘hood that should most definitely be on your radar: Mt. Washington. “In the early 1900s, it was a getaway for people living in Downtown L.A. and Echo Park—two of the original neighborhoods in the city,” says Annie Costello Brown, the crazy-talented jewelry whiz who’s all about her increasingly hip (but still serene!) part of town. Just check out its charms. —alisha prakash
“My son Dion and I are in the garden at the Self Realization Fellowship, which was founded by Paramahansa Yogananda. We’re on the top of Mt. Washington. It has beautiful places to sit and meditate or just enjoy the view. We do a lot of walking here, especially on the trails. We often start or end here because we live nearby.”
“Here I am soaking up the sun at the Southwest Museum of the American Indian, which was opened by Charles Fletcher Lummis in 1907. Lummis walked from Cincinnati to Los Angeles in 1884 and collected surveys, tales, and artifacts of the Native Americans—many of which still reside in the museum’s research library. It’s a place to come and hang out and get a great sense of the older ways. There’s an amazing access tunnel from below that generations of Angelenos have taken up into the museum. Right down the hill is the Gold Line Metro, which speeds you to pretty much any part of Los Angeles. We like to ride to South Pasadena Farmers’ Market, North Hollywood Arts District, MOCA, and Exposition Park. No, you don’t need a car to get around this town.”
“This is me looking out at downtown L.A. from atop Radio Tower Hill in Lincoln Heights. The view here lets you see all the way to Long Beach and the Santa Monica Bay, with the city spread before you in thousands of shapes. There’s a bunch of funky vernacular architecture up here.”
“At the bottom of Mt. Washington is La Tropicana Market on Monte Vista. Inside, there is a sandwich counter called Monte 52, which is one of my favorite spots to grab some food, like the yummiest $5 fried chicken sandwiches with homemade pickles. Just around the corner on Avenue 56 is Good Girl Dinette, which is Vietnamese food that falls within the farm-to-table sphere. My friends run Avalon Vintage next door to Good Girl Dinette, and there’s always something cool to find. Last time I was there, I nabbed a pair of Romeo Gigli linen trousers.”
“Mt. Washington and Northeast L.A.’s colors inspire. Here’s a burnt orange house with a gigantic fuchsia bougainvillea up against it and a mustard yellow wall with sculptural cacti all around—it’s total sun-bleached California post-modernism.”
“We stopped by this wall of yellow flowers in Montecito Heights. Across from where I am standing, a couple of old hippies were blocking the road with their old VW bug and were trying to figure out what to do with a downed phone line.”
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City Haul: Where We Eat and Shop in Austin *and* L.A.
This week, Claire and I are headed west. Our itinerary: Austin, L.A., and Vegas. And though we can’t really comment on the latter—you know, what happens in Vegas…—we did want to share the places we’ll be visiting in destinations #1 and #2. In fact! We told Conde Nast Traveler alllll about our go-tos, and so for the full run-down, you best click on through. —erica
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100xbtr Gives its Lumber Supplier Some Serious Love
This is their wood stock.
Back when Brendan Sowersby and Will Rollins were focusing on building custom furniture and cabinetry for fancy-pants L.A. types—before they launched their home-goods line 100xbtr—they were always pushing back against the excess of the world they were working in. “I think the whole green movement is kind of funny,” Brendan says. “If you’re so interested in being green, don’t have such a big house, or a Range Rover.” Now, the duo gets to go all-in, making chairs, lamps, and bowls from locally sourced, FSC-certified wood from Bohnhoff Lumber. Brendan’s so into his supplier, in fact, that he’s giving us the hookup.
“Bohnhoff Lumber opened in 1910 and is the oldest hardwood lumber company in Los Angeles.”
“It’s still family-owned and -operated, and Charlie, the grandson of the original Mr. Bohnhoff still actually works there.”
“I’ve been buying wood from them for the last 15 years, and besides supporting local small business, I work with them because of my sales rep Walt Maas. I consider him more of a friend, and he is the most knowledgeable person concerning wood and the lumber industry I have ever met. He’s always willing to go the extra mile when we are searching for the perfect material for each job.”
“My favorite types of wood change all the time, but right now they’re ash & walnut.”
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6 Super-Important Possessions that Make Allison Heutsche Feel At-Home
Including one very adorable doggy.
Allison Heutsche of the L.A. jewelry line Artasan loves her Larchmont Village apartment-slash-studio so much that she gave it a nickname: The Tree House—a shout-out to its foliage-filled views. But what makes her abode most special are the meaningful things it holds. Get the stories behind the half dozen things she values the most. —serena qiu
“Right before I moved to L.A., my mom found me this antique watchmaker’s bench that she thought could be a perfect workspace for making my jewelry. It was one of two things I brought with me in my move. It’s one solid piece of furniture except for the drawers on the backside. I made some modifications, and now it’s where I do almost everything for jewelry-making. When I’m sitting on my bench behind the glass, it’s like I’m looking out a window into my world at all the things that inspire me.”
“In 1996, I’d gone through a bad breakup, and my parents gave me the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Legend was that if you made 1,000 paper cranes, you’d be granted a wish. I wanted peace of mind, so I made a goal to fold 1,000 cranes that year. I would make five or ten every morning as a meditation. My kitchen was filling with bags of birds, so I started stringing them and hanging them across windows, walls, doorways—I went way over my goal! When I moved out, I kept one strand to remind me what that year meant to me.”
“Each of my sisters had an antique trunk, and I was the only one who didn’t. Right before my move to L.A., my grandma wanted me to have hers—to have a part of her with me. It and the watchmaker’s bench were the only two things I left with. She was a pretty spectacular woman.”
“I remember the dressing screen in my parents’ bedroom as a kid, and how my sisters and I would play dress up. Eight years ago, my mom shipped it to me as a surprise because she knew how much I loved it.
The sheepskin I use for meditation and Kundalini yoga. Both are so instrumental to my work. The idea of the sheepskin is to help with the electromagnetic currents and to ground you.
Harold & Maude is one of my favorite movies, and I needed a Maude in my life. Maude is all about living to the fullest! When I went to pick up a dog seven years ago, I saw him. I couldn’t name him Maude, so I named him Harold. He’s saved me so many times. He’s a total people-person—and I’m not usually—so he makes me get out of my bubble.”
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See Everything Amanda Blake Gets Done in a Day
She works hard for the money.
Multi-hyphenate Amanda Blake—owner, designer, and sole employee of the classic-with-a-twist line Calder—has multitasking down to a tee. Here’s a peek into Amanda’s ruthlessly scheduled life that makes space for running a biz, being a mom, and everything in between (you know, like taking taco breaks!). —genevieve ang
“In the morning, I get up at 6 A.M. to have some tea and some quiet time to myself. The family—my daughter Calder and my husband Chris—wakes up around 7 A.M., and we all have breakfast in the kitchen. We’re really strict about not having computers come out right away.”
“After dropping my daughter off at school, I prepare for the day’s appointments and head out to my first stop of the day—L.A. Air Line, my printer. They have a really cool workspace—it’s a converted airplane-manufacturing warehouse. It’s a great creative zone to work out new ideas; they do other stuff besides screen-printing, like sponge-printing, airbrushing, and all these other techniques that give me ideas.”
“My next stop is a trip to the dye house—I’ve used these guys since the beginning of the line. I look over production of the spring line and samples for next fall.”
“All these spots are kind of all over the place, so I get a ton of mileage on my car. Along the way, I like to stop to get a little fruit salad with Mexican lime, chili powder, and salt. Or tacos! Tacos Baja Ensenada makes the best baja fish tacos—I’m drooling now just thinking about them.”
“I then head over to Hollywood to visit Tenoversix, which is a store that debuted my T-shirts [Ed: They’ve also done an Of a Kind edition!]. They have great style and believe in a lot of L.A.-based, local designers. I’m popping by to have lunch, to take a look at what’s going on in the store, and to get some feedback from them because production for the spring line is dropping soon.”
“I then come back home to do a fitting, work on the fall sample line, and style the lookbook shoot for fall 2014, which is happening next week. This is super-fun, and I love getting to play with the clothes. The fitting will be in my home office, the shoot will be in my house—my home is Calder central. The bedroom is filled with fabric, my guest room is for shipping, and there are samples all over the place!”
“End of the day! I pick up Calder from school, go for an evening walk on the beach, and have dinner with my family.”
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7 Echo Park Spots Kathleen Whitaker Says You Gotta Check Out
Ahh—a ‘hood that has it all.
Why does the jewelry designer Kathleen Whitaker love Echo Park so freaking much? “I don’t need to leave the zip code. I can walk my dog and hit it all, which is a rare thing in L.A.,” she explains. “It’s loaded with so many working, accomplished artists, designers, chefs, filmmakers, musicians, and architects.” And it’s packed with the sort of vintage shops and snack emporiums that make you want to move in next door. Check out Kathleen’s must-hits. —alisha prakash
“Fix a low-maintenance, neighborhood-y, easy, convenient place to go—and it happens to have a lot of great coffee. In the mornings, my husband and I will walk from our house with the dog and stay for a cup of coffee and walk back.”
(2100 Echo Park Ave.)
Echo X Park Artist Studio
“Peter Shire is an Echo Park institution—a ceramicist and sculptor. There’s a large green gate that covers his parking lot, but if the little doorway in the green gate is open, it means that he’s in there—and you can go in and wander into his studio and take a look around.”
(1850 Echo Park Ave.)
“Beatrice Valenzuela is a very old friend of mine. She’s been cutting my hair for about nine years. In this period of time that I’ve known her, she’s started making shoes, styling people, and creating the Echo Park Craft Fair. And this year, she opened her flagship store. She carries work by some local people like myself and my friends Samantha Grisdale and Agnes Baddoo and also carries imported goods from Chiapas and Oaxaca.”
(1547 Echo Park Ave.)
“Cookbook is a tiny grocery store run by Robert Stelzner and Marta Teegan. It has prepared foods and pantry items and a whole bunch of dry goods. Everything is so well-sourced that you could go in there blindfolded, and no matter you took back with you, it would be discovery and the best thing in your kitchen. They have Straus Family Creamery, tons of amazing cheeses, and Fever-Tree ginger beer, which is so delicious.”
(1549 Echo Park Ave.)
“Erin Tavin used to be a stylist, and she opened her own store of vintage clothes. She goes all over the country to source the vintage that she carries—she has a really interesting, flamboyant point of view. You’ll find really old stuff—Victorian lace dresses—all the way to awesome pre-owned Isabel Marant or Pierre Cardin.”
(1534 Echo Park Ave.)
Lucas Echo Park
“Lucas is a salon that also offers facials by this woman, Tracy Marcellino, who is actually a musician. She’s a lead in a major band. She used to be in Twilight Sleep and is now in Oh Boy Les Mecs. and her husband is also a musician in a popular band called Silversun Pickups. She got her esthetician’s license on the side. I’m a facial whore, and she’s really, really good.”
(1541 Echo Park Ave.)
The Time Travel Mart
“If you go into The Time Travel Mart, it almost looks like a 7-Eleven—it’s built like a convenience store—but all of the products in there are sci-fi and from-the-future (curiosities like hand soaps you can only use on Mars). It’s a really bizarre place, but kooky and awesome in the best possible way. It’s a nonprofit, so all of that is a front for raising money for children and literacy.”
(1714 W. Sunset Blvd.)
Beatrice Valenzuela photo courtesy of Nancy Neil Photography; Cookbook photo courtesy of Bradford Whitaker.
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Oldies but Goodies: 29 of the Best Vintage Stores EVER—According to the Designers Who Shop Them
Looking for a worn-in Wrangler jacket? A super-fly seventies Halston dress? Then you’re going to want to keep reading. —erica
Some dope shoes from Marmalade Vintage.
About Glamour, Williamsburg
Tara St James of Study: “I am really hesitant about submitting this because I feel like I’m giving up a best-kept secret, but here goes: My favorite vintage shop, by far, is About Glamour. It is the best place to find nearly new and vintage Japanese designers for great prices—including Yohji, Comme des Garçons, Zucca—as well as a lot of Vivienne Westwood. But shhhh!”
CJS Sales, Garment District
Stacy Herzog of frieda&nellie: “It is like going on a crazy treasure hunt for vintage jewels. You have to swim and dig through boxes and piles of inventory. The signed, rare, crystal wowzer pieces I have found make it well worth the hunt. It is unlike any vintage store, flea market, or warehouse I have ever been to.”
Fox & Fawn, Greenpoint and Bushwick
Sara Gates of Cook & Gates: “My absolute favorite vintage source is Fox & Fawn. Best of all is you can buy items directly off their Instagram feed. Call the store and get your payment info on file—then all you have to do is be the first to write ‘ring me up’ and your last name on any item you see, and it’s yours. Sheer brilliance!”
Marmalade Vintage, Little Italy
Ann Yee: “They have stand-out pieces and a great mix of designers. I’m always so inspired because of the abundance in texture, color, and pattern. I feel like I’m walking into a collage.”
No Relation Vintage, East Village
Collette Ishiyama: “This is a tough one, as I love a good treasure hunt and have many favorite spots in NYC No Relation Vintage in the East Village is pretty great. You really have to dig, but I found a camel Burberry trench there a few years ago for about $50.”
Stella Dallas, Williamsburg
Nikki Chasin: “The home store is great for textiles, and the clothing store is amazing, especially for old athletic and military garb. The last time I was there, they had a bulletproof vest!”
Andrew Spargo of GREI.: “We go there often when getting started each season. Many times I’ll buy fabric and indigo-dye it for personal pieces.”
Larry Paul of GREI.: “It’s also the bandana mother lode. They usually have a couple bins full of assorted colors—most are fairly common, but if you dig hard enough, there are rare finds.”
Yesterday’s News, Carroll Gardens
Annika Jermyn of mrs.Jermyn: “They get furniture from old brownstones around Brooklyn mostly. I pass this store every day on my way to the studio and often check out their treasures just for inspiration, even if I’m not buying anything.”
The Sweet As… space—stunning, right?!
Animal House, Venice
Sophie Monet Okulick of Sophie Monet: “I’ve been shopping at Animal House since I was 13. I love the tiki bar-meets-rock band hangout vibe. The owner collects vintage Pucci and skateboards from the sixties. You can always find a killer vintage tee and perfectly distressed jean jacket among the racks.”
Jeet Sohal of Bare: “I always find something that I absolutely cannot live without be it a fifties tulle gown, an Irish linen blouse, a French twenties cropped cardigan, or a Greek metalwork belt.”
Rose Bowl Flea Market, Pasadena
Tere Artigas of Gabriela Artigas: “I’m not into vintage clothing, but I love vintage furniture and antiques! Her, you can find Danish pottery, California design, and mid-century furniture in impeccable. It’s just great!”
The perfect suede bomber, c/o Where I Was From.
Brimfield Antique Show, Brimfield, Massachusetts
Jaclyn Mayer of Orly Genger by Jaclyn Mayer: “My favorite spot is probably Brimfield because you can wander for hours and never know what you’re going to find.”
Captain Betty’s, Delaware, Ohio
Allison Sires of Thomas Sires: “I grew up in Columbus, which is nearby, so my friends and I started going to Betty’s when we were in high school. When I’m back home, I still make a trip to check out what’s there. As one Yelp reviewer put it, ‘Captain Betty’s personality complements her eclectic collection of vintage clothing.’ If you’ve met Betty, you know what he’s talking about—which is a reason in itself to visit the shop.”
Colorado—like, the whole state
Isabel Halley: “My most favorite vintage sources are thrift stores in Colorado. The entire state is filled with an incredible range from cheap Salvation Armies outside of Denver that have stellar, perfectly worn denim to incredibly well-priced consignment stores in Aspen.”
My Sisters’ Closet, St. Paul, Minnesota
Jennie Engelhardt of Hare+Hart: “Living in New York, I have a plethora of great vintage stores within walking distance from my apartment, but my favorite is still over 1000 miles away in my home state of Minnesota. My mom and I discovered My Sisters’ Closet while driving down Grand Avenue in St. Paul on our way to get homemade chocolate from Just Truffles (another great Minnesota find). The store is a mix of vintage and consignment, and the owner does such a good job curating it that I never walk away without something really unique and special. I’ve found so many amazing pieces there—including a collarless eighties Chanel blazer for $145 that has become my staple jacket this fall.”
Orbuni wao-woo, Twi, Accra, Ghana
Maryanne Mathias of Osei-Duro: “The Accra bend-down, or ‘Orbuni wao-woo’— which means ‘dead white-man’s market’ in Twi. There are tons of bales of vintage castaways from England, Canada, and Korea. You can find piles of brightly printed gathered skirts, or amazingly worn Korean printed undershirts.”
Ragtag, Tokyo, Japan
Christine Marcelino of Materials + Process: “I don’t shop vintage much, but I did go to great spots in Japan. My favorite was called Ragtag in Harajuku. It has a great assortment of streetwear, formalwear, and designer labels. All the products are in amazing condition.”
Thanx God I’m a V.I.P., Paris, France
Hillary Taymour of Collina Strada: “I go here every time I’m in town. Their vintage YSL collection is remarkable. I’ve gotten amazing, lifelong pieces here, such as Jean Paul Gaultier silk pajamas and floral-print Dries van Noten dress pants.”
Where I Was From, Online!
Emily Sugihara of Baggu: “Claire is a friend and has AMAZING taste. I can reliably find something I love there.”
Ellen Van Der Laan of Baggu: “Their taste is totally WOWEE ZOWEE!”