Yep, it’s that time of the year again…Shoppers converged to the thirteenth floor penthouse of the California Market Center for the Spring Edition of Unique Los Angeles- the independent designer gift show. This year, over 7,000 people shopped the 270 vendors, including familiar ones from December’s show. Ecobooma, specializing in Earth-friendly tees and totes, their partner company, Jenkins Jellies, known for their decadent organic homemade jellies, the creative wire-wrapped jewelry from Namaste Creations. Their website is officially up and running, go to http://www.namastecreations.com, Tucker Paisley, who were showing their new purse line and floral print dresses that would be perfect for a day out at the OC beach cities, Rojas, designer Freddie Rojas had plaid bustier dresses that made me want to scream, “I’m mad for plaid!” Another key piece is the knee-length leggings with fringe running down the sides of the legs. Lastly, my friend, Liz Abbott of Leatherette Hearts, showed me a recent piece from her collection… the Michael Jackson (or MJ for short) shirt. She had screen printed his mug shot as a repeated pattern. Very chic! **For contact info on these companies, please refer back to the first UNIQUE LOS ANGELES blog**
Ok and moving on to the newbies of this year’s Unique (or maybe they were there last year but I just didn’t see them.) I would like to start out with Dust & Co, an all women owned company created by Jill Stevens. She designs jewelry and totes that are eco-friendly. Her amazing necklaces made with vintage car emblems immediately caught my eye, cause I am also on the lookout for new or vintage BMW emblems myself. I made my way further into her booth and discovered a treasure-trove of vintage goodness. Necklaces, earrings, cufflinks that were made from optical lenses, watch parts from the 1800’s/Art Deco/ Mid-Century periods and vintage keys. I would also like to mention one of her totes with the saying, “Fuck You and Your Prius”… such a riot…now if only she can make one with “Fuck You and Your BMW (or Beemer)” Her collection can be found at www.dustdesignco.com.
Weeks before the show, I had learned that Maria Peralta from Devious Damzels, would be showing her line at Unique. You may know her from Project Ethos Fame in my Ethos write-up. She had also shown at December’s show. Maria was ecstatic to once again be apart of Unique…She feels that it’s like being apart of the LA community and she enjoys sharing the creative space with other artists, such as Dim Mak. Her love of neon really showed in her collection. She had an updated version of the LA shirt and had her signature piece, the fuschia “Miss Rockwell” pin-up (for the inner burlesque star in you.) She also had a sample for clients to view the latest treatment to her line, flocking and is also introducing her men’s line, due out by the end of the year. The price points for her shirts run from $25- 50. For more information, go to www.deviousdamzels.com.
Sharing the space with Maria is her friend, Daisy Romero, jewelry designer and photographer. Daisy owns El Cholo’s Kid by LA Daisy, a jewelry company based on religious imagery and the Mexican culture. The name, “El Cholo’s Kid” derived from when Daisy’s father was young. He was nicknamed, “El Cholo.” When Daisy went back to Mexico, the neighborhood kids would say, “Hey, it’s El Cholo’s Kid!” And voila….the rest they say…is history. Her pieces range from religious like the necklaces with small rosary boxes and pictures of Jesus and Mary on the front to the kitschy, like the neon headbands with dancing skeletons, some with skirts and others with ponchos and sombreros and lastly, barrettes with Mariache figurines. Daisy finds her pieces whenever she travels to Mexico and then brings them home to LA, sits at her kitchen table and puts them together. Her pieces of gawdy “ghettoness” are ranged from $5- 30, which I think is well worth it to add some ‘flare’ to a plain, dawdy outfit. To shop her line or check out her photography, go to www.ladaisy.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I was perusing though the booths, my eyes landed upon a sleeveless dress with the skirt made from a wool scarf from a flea market. I just had to approach the designer. The company is Sea Pony, owned by Fati Beloved. Beloved has been designing for fifteen years and creates everything from scratch. Since she drapes, her fabrics of choice are silks and satins, but also likes to challenge herself by using difficult fabrics as well. She finds inspiration through her friends behaviors and personalities. And also by doing custom designs for people. It’s interesting the ideas people come up with without any knowledge of garment construction that Fati, with her design knowledge has to interprete into a functional garment. She also does bridal. Her bow ties are $5, scoodies (scarf with a hoodie) are $40-50, jackets and skirts are $60-80, and dresses are $80-150. Contact Fati at email@example.com.
I stopped at another booth and admired fun handmade clutches, bracelets, headbands and necklaces. The designer peeked her head out and introduced herself as Wendy Gooie from FM Clothing. All her accessories are made from recycled fabrics from her line. The necklaces are made from silk, mesh and cotton and them, along with the leather hats were worn by MIA during her performance at Coachella. Other celebrities that have worn her line include Lindsay Lohan, who has been spotted wearing her signature headband and Rhianna, who has worn her leather hats. Signature pieces from her clothing line are a deep-v tunic and leather shorts. She owns a showroom at the LA Apparel Mart and her accessories range from $ 5-55 and $34-110 for clothing.
Browsing through the eco-friendly part of Unique, I came across wallets made from the “Caution” tape and fortunately, the designer was on hand to talk to. He is Ryan of Dip It Designs. He uses the “caution” tape and pom-pom pieces for wallets. And he uses the soy milk packs from Trader Joe’s to make wallets, coin purses, keychains, etc that go for $3- 25. His key piece is a bowl made from a recycled record and goes for $30. For more ‘dipiliciousness’, go to www.doubledipped.etsy.com.
Another accessories booth I found that had ‘unique’ products was Elisa Gonsalves Designs. Elisa has been in business for six years. Her inventory included beautiful long necklaces, chunky wire-wrapped rings, and headbands with feathers on the side. She does a lot of traveling and picks up her random key-pieces for her accessories, and also finds inspiration in the clutter in her room. Her pieces range from $20-300 depending on how detailed it is. She is trying to make the products more affordable to people, due to the economy. Her collection is available online at www.elisagonsalves.com.
Sharing the booth with Elisa is her friend Virginia, of De La Luna Designs. “De La Luna” means “of the moon” in Spanish and is a company based on culture and life. She uses recycled purses, luggage, wallets and flasks and applies the applications on the fabrics. When she makes her products, which she likes to refer to as artistically useful products; she thinks about individualizing people. For more information, go to www.delalunadesigns.com.
Some other booths I found had interesting products include, Voz Clothing & Art by Jackie Sepulveda. She gets vintage and/or gently-used purses and bags and paints intricate designs on them. She also was selling rings and other jewelry with graffiti printed on them. Go to www.vozclothingandart.com. I stopped by 7Lightningbolt’s booth and LOVED their handmade cuff bracelets and my friend from Chicago loved the scarves. Their collection is available at www.7lightningbolt.com. I found a company that sold wallets, card holders, condom cases, etc that are made from laminated paper (with fun prints, like a map of LA with Culver City circled) which is then sewn with clear vinyl. The designer is Jamila Tazewell and her company is 11:11 Enterprises. For more info, check out www.eleveneleven.net. Where can you find Chanel earrings with hotdog charms? Or a beautiful cascade necklace made from rings? Jen Martin Jewelry! She has a shop at www.radness.etsy.com. Marlene and I picked up fun, yet small heart-shaped sunglasses, plastic toy dinosaurs, lollipops and posters at the Dim Mak (by DJ Steve Aoki) booth. We were also salivating over the yummy cupcakes they had sitting and luring people to the booth with their yummyness. I want to give a special shout-out to one of the sales reps, Melissa, who answering a few questions and also was responsible for deconstructing a few of the tees. Check out www.dimmak.com! The Weekend Store (who vended at Felt Club) was there. Designer Adjowah Brodie was on hand to inform me that, along with the vintage typewriter key charms, earrings, necklaces and bracelets decorated from watch parts; she had new necklaces with prints made from bird pictures from 1940’s books. Visit www.theweekendstore.com for more details. Lastly, thanks to Marlene’s keen eye, we saw a belt with a Victorian hands buckle. It was definitely a one-of-a-kind item that I’ve never seen before. You can read more about the company, Kim White Handbags at www.kimwhitehandbags.com.
Congratulations Sonja Rasula on another show well done!! Thank you again to all the volunteers and sponsors! And thank you Marlene Halper, it was great seeing you! Glad you had a fantastic time!!