The city of angels is a storied place - at once a scene where our human stories figuratively come to life in vast Hollywood studios, as well the site where our American stories are created in real time through generations of Angelenos immigrating, migrating, building, and preserving a pluralism of culture. On the surface it's seen through the lens of glitz and glamour; Sunset Blvd, Chateau Marmont, Beverly Hills - a product of its iconification through celebrity status and its assignment as the epicenter of entertainment. But that’s merely a landscape portrait that centers a false hero, because as we know the devil is in the details - and in the case of LA, the details are in the periphery.
Built largely through its own grit and determination, LA is a vast network of neighborhoods and locales that create a fabric of diversity unlike anywhere else. It’s the home of Chicano culture, G-funk, skateboarding, the Lakers and the Dodgers. It’s the birthplace of DJ Quik, Nipsey Hustle and TDE, as well as the fight against police militarization in the riots of ‘69 and ‘92. It’s where families from the south and east come to start new, and where industry is born from the working class by any means necessary.
It’s also a place of burgeoning art and fashion - a testament to creativity built from confinement. Rarely acknowledged among the likes of New York, Paris, or Milan, LA instead is allowed a freedom in its own identity. It invests in the street culture that feeds it without having to adhere to a self-seriousness or, god forbid, formality. Fashion comes to life through the laid-back coolness of sport, vintage, and functionality inherent in the SoCal ethos, creating something distinctly Californian and emulated at even the highest rungs of fashion.
It’s the intentionality to craft of Greg Lauren’s masterful patchworking or the youthful authenticity of Rhude’s bandana patterns. It’s the ability of John Elliott to elevate the aesthetic of blanks to the runways of fashion week and the NBA tunnel alike. It’s the earned merit of Chris Gibbs and the La Brea Ave community that has sprouted up around Union LA like a virtuous cycle of art feeding a neighborhood. It’s Fairfax and Compton and Highland Park and all of the corners where culture accumulates to tell a story deeper than products; a story of unshakeable austerity in self-preservation.
Writing by Rachel Misick (@rachelmisick)
Photography by Phillip Soulliere (@ironically_cliche)