Dozens of brands have cropped up in the state over just the last two years, nearly all of them proudly exclaiming “Made in L.A.” Although generally lacking the fashion forward ethos of brands coming out of the European fashion capitals like France and Milan and the still emerging Copenhagen, a new L.A.-based and made label seems to launch every month.
Brands like Cherry, Rezek Studio, Calle Del Mar, Pretties, Gil Rodriguez, Lykke Wulf, Feel Denim and Roxana Salehoun (only the last two being denim and swim, respectively) have launched since 2017. They’re coming off the popularity by varied L.A.-made brands Reformation, The Elder Statesman, Eve Denim, Cotton Citizen and Clare V., among a few others. All of these brands helped shift decades of perception that L.A. was home to mass produced T-shirts, denim and the odd boutique swimwear line.
There is still denim and swim coming out of L.A., but many new brands offer a casual sportswear type of look and often vintage-inspired styles. And lines are pushing where they’re made as a real selling point. With a growing focus on sustainability in fashion, nearly all of the new Made in L.A. brands are following, at least to an extent, the type of transparency that made California-based Everlane popular with a new type of conscious consumer — one that still wants to buy products new, but doesn’t want to support wasteful or harmful practices that have become common in fashion production. Everlane explains its manufacturing process and where all of its clothes are being made and what with.
One new standout that seems to embody the ethos of emerging brands on the West Coast is knitwear line Calle Del Mar, launched just a couple of years ago by Aza Ziegler, whose parents actually founded Banana Republic, now part of Gap Inc. Calle Del Mar bills itself as not only locally produced, but sourced from local, women-owned and operated knit factories that offer “good wages and safe working conditions.” Beyond that, Calle Del Mar says it produces all of its limited-run pieces with “little to zero waste” and explains its frequent use of viscose as a “more durable and green, vegan alternative to silk.”
Other brands don’t go as far to explain their local and sustainable heritage, but being local and sustainable is still a part of their branding. As about half of Calle Del Mar’s 20 pieces are sold out at prices between about $200 and $500, maybe more brands will follow suit.