Meet LA’s Avant-Garde Heroes

Every fashion city has its young designer rebels. In New York, there’s Katie Gallagher and Asher Levine. In London you have Gabriella Marina Gonzalez and Maria Francesca Pepe. And in Paris you have Rad Hourani and Raphael Young. What you may not know is that Los Angeles is also quite the innovative fashion incubator, home to a handful of designers making West Coast waves. We checked in with three emerging trailblazers to give you the scoop on their work and what’s next for LA fashion.


Designer: Allysun Maria Dutra of KITTINHAWK

Brand concept: “Local handmade love and crystalline magic for darlings and dreamers, inspired by geology, ancient cultures, the animal kingdom, minerals, philosophy, sex, fine art, and fashion.”

Upcoming projects: “I’m obsessed with French new wave and film noir, so I’m working on a short black and white film for the release of the next KITTINHAWK jewelry collection. I’m also working on a new couture collection of avant-garde dresses and headpieces for Concept LA Fashion Week in October.”

LA fashion, now and next: “I adore the fashion scene in LA; there are so many different circles of people creating their own aesthetics. I have no idea where the scene is going next, as everything I thought I knew about people, culture and fashion in LA has shifted dramatically over the years, but I like the mystery and the adventure of not knowing.”

Avant-gardey extra: The brand is available at Gather – a retail and creative space for “slow fashion” (a movement focused on design integrity over fame) designers in LA. Allysun works out of a studio above the store. Also, peep the KITTINHAWK’s eerie short film, A Season in Hell and Illuminations, here.


Designer: Shawn Owen of Shawn Owen Button

Brand concept: “A cosmic headrush mixed with a tidal wave of creative vomit inspired by David Attenbrough-narrated documentaries.”

Upcoming projects: “I’m getting ready for Concept LA Fashion Week.”

LA fashion, now and next: “Right now, LA fashion is like a ’70s tramp soaked in whiskey and smells like tobacco, but in the best way possible. In five years, hipsters will think segways are mad vintage.”

Avant-gardey extra: SOB’s earthy-futuristic promo video features a tune from the Swedish YouTube phenomenon known as iamamiwhoami. Watch the video here.


Designer: Amanda Thomas of Luv AJ

Brand concept: “One part feminine and one part bad-ass, Luv AJ mixes unconventional silhouettes and tarnished chains to give a look that extra little something. I’m inspired by materials, whether it’s an amazing chunk of crystal quartz or a spool of vintage chain.”

Upcoming projects: “I’m currently working on my next collection that will include pierced sheet metal, ombré fringe chain, cuffs, and charm necklaces with a twist. I’m also launching a diffusion line with Urban Outfitters, but more on that soon.”

LA fashion, now and next: “I think LA is filled with fashion-forward shoppers that are looking for something totally unique that won’t break the bank. Consumers are getting more creative with the way they wear their accessories, like rocking bracelets as armbands or bodychains as belts, so in the next few years, I think designers will step it up to match that versatility.”

Avant-gardey extra: Luv AJ is available in the new e-shop for DNA (designers+artists) – a collective of emerging avant-garde and contemporary designers in SF, NYC, and LA.

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