Why New Designers Are Flocking to Los Angeles

It’s full of art, good food, and inspiration—especially if you’re a new designer. In collaboration with W Hotels.

By: Samantha Sutton
Photography: Alec Kugler
Videographer: Renée Rodenkirchen

New York may be the official “fashion capital” of the country, but Los Angeles has inarguably caught up to that rep over the past few years—and quickly. The world’s biggest designers and fashion houses (Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, Stella McCartney…) continue to steadily bring their shows there season after season, and with virtually the entire entertainment industry a stone’s throw away (okay, and plenty of that notorious L.A. traffic…), it’s not hard to understand why it's become a contender for fashion’s favorite city. (That’s not even to mention the obvious: the weather!)

Still, that’s not the only reason Los Angeles is worth a visit. Designers from the CFDA’s fashion incubator program—who recently presented their collections via showcase at the W Hollywood—weighed in with plenty of reasons why it was worth it for fashion start-ups and creatives alike to take the trip. Read for their list, the perks of W Hollywood’s showcase, and more local spots to hit up on your next trip (and take in the palm trees).

 

Molly Yestadt of Yestadt Millinery

“L.A. is a fantastic place. It’s creative, it’s open, the light is different. It’s a beautiful city, it has a lot more air, I think, than a place like New York. It offers up a different creative perspective.”

 

Alexandra Alvarez of ALIX

“We’re always in New York, so we always get to show buyers [our collections] and have editors there that we can talk to. But in the fashion world, second to New York is L.A. So the opportunity to come here with the CFDA and W Hotels, and have a presentation in the city, is in itself extremely valuable. The influencers, the social life, the entertainment—everything is here.”

 

Tim and Dan Joo of Haerfest

“Being part of the CFDA incubator, we get the opportunity to work with W Hotels and go on exciting trips that inspire us, like L.A. or Hong Kong. It’s a really great opportunity to experience a new city, meet interesting people, and meet at delicious places. We also get to collaborate with an influencer [at the W Hotel’s L.A. showcase] and really get more brand awareness during these events. We can bring in people in fashion and media and tell an interesting story that we can share.”

 

Daniel DuGoff of DDUGOFF

“Right now, the industry is so driven by Instagram and social media in general. Photographs of famous people wearing your clothing and accessories is just how people find out about brands right now. People aren’t reading magazines, people aren’t reading blogs—they look at pictures and they tap for credits. So to have access to the people that dress these people is crucial for emerging businesses right now.”

 

Katie deGuzman of K/ller Collection

“Being part of the CFDA fashion incubator program, we have all of these designers under one roof and working together—we’ve done all of these classes together, and it’s been about a year and a half. To be able to show next to them [at the W Hollywood] is awesome. We’ve been collaborating with each other and feeding off of each other, so to be able to see their collections in real life—in a presentation and not just on the working-room floor—is really inspirational.”

 

Visiting California's Capital? Don't Miss These Spots:

Hollywood Forever Cemetery: Upon booking a flight to Los Angeles, our second stop is usually heading over to Cinespia's calendar to check if we're in town to take in one of their epic movie screenings at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Keep an eye out for celeb attendees in the audience!

The Broad: The CFDA incubator designers took a trip here during their stay, where they were able to view the Infinity Mirrors exhibit by Yayoi Kusama. Many of Kusamas installations require guests to stand in small mirrored rooms, looking at lights, colors, and quirky shapes that seem to extend on for miles. But the most fun part? The very last room, where everyones given a strip of stickers and asked to place them somewhere (anywhere!) in a fully white living-room-like setting.

W Hollywood: W Hollywood: If you’re heading to Los Angeles, you’ll want to to occupy a central home base that lets you explore the wide-reaching city (everything you’ve heard about L.A. traffic is true). While we love W Hollywood for exactly that reason, they also have one of the most crucial hallmarks of a perfect visit to the West Coast: a rooftop pool situation (theirs has an incredible view of the city sprawl below). You can also take in that same view while getting a massage (and manicure... pedicure... it takes a village, right?) from their Bliss spa. It doesn’t hurt that Hollywood and adjacent West Hollywood are home to some of the best restaurants in the entire city (if you haven’t tried Night + Market or Jon and Vinny’s yet, you must).

Rubies & Diamonds: Owned by a mother-daughter duo and around the corner from the hotel is Rubies + Diamonds, a highly-Instagrammable cafe that makes a mean matcha (there also happens to be Murakami's hanging from the walls).

Melrose Place: We like to do a little damage (or windowshopping!) Violet Grey, The Apartment and fellow CFDA-ers The Row.

Redbird: Post-museum visit, the designers filled up on delicious eats from Redbird. The Avocado Salad has bacon bits, the California Sea Bass is refreshing and filling, and there’s even a fun option for non-meat eaters: barbecued tofu!

Family Books: Another must-shop? This indie bookshop on Fairfax.

Sqirl: No visit is complete without a pilgrimage to L.A.'s mecca of brunch. You already know you're going to get their famed Ricotta Toast.

In n Out: Your last stop before heading home to the W? In n Out, of course (just a convenient 5 minute Lyft from the hotel).

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