Humor comes mixed with a bit of naughty in Malibu brand Local Authority’s capsule collection timed around the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.
The brand, which draws some of its influences from the worlds of punk, moto and skateboarding, was started in 2014 by Alan Sutcliffe and Jeff Skene. It’s become known for its edgy, alternative point of view stamped onto vintage or vintage-inspired looks gaining the attention of a number of big names, from retailers such as Maxfield — its first wholesale account — and Selfridges to celebrities such as Kristen Stewart and Kendall Jenner.
“It’s festival season time now and we really wanted to give an amazing offering to our customers and to our retail partners, specifically Maxfield and FWRD,” Sutcliffe said of the collection. “It kind of goes along with our product. It’s a little bit humorous, tongue-in-cheek. It’s a little bit naughty.”
This would be the first time the brand’s doing something around Coachella and continues momentum around a number of exclusive capsules Local Authority’s been doing for retailers, including Montaigne Market in Paris and Barneys New York. The market can expect more of those exclusive mash-ups moving forward, Sutcliffe and Skene said.
“There’s just so many different brands out there and it’s nice to give them something that other retailers can’t have that’s unique out there for their specific stores,” Sutcliffe said. “And, also, Local Authority has always done humor- and location-based product. That was how we started in Malibu. We started out with a small [capsule] for Maxfield Malibu and it just grew from there, really. So it’s always been a part of our brand philosophy to do these things.”
The desert collection allowed Local Authority to debut an expanded offering of full-color graphics and tie-dye prints, which Skene added is a reflection of “the attitude of the desert and the freedom there.”
“Part of it, too, is expressing the culture of different areas and the fun that went into designing,” Skene said. “Specifically, with the desert collection, it’s inspired by the desert trips we’ve taken and partying and riding [motorcycles] so it’s fun to portray that in fashion.”
Local Authority’s desert collection includes a mix of graphic cropped tops, tanks, long-sleeve shirts, zip hoodies and hats ranging in price from $144 to $674.
The partnering with Maxfield follows last year’s takeover of the famed L.A. retailer’s Malibu outpost for a three-day run.
“It was a tremendously successful and exciting opportunity, and I think from our perspective and also the perspective of Maxfield, it went really, really well. Far better than, I think, anybody was expecting it to,” Sutcliffe said.
The amount of space afforded to the brand within that pop-in also allowed the company to expand its assortment, noted Skene. He pointed to the addition of Local Authority hard goods, such as the surfboards and skateboards that were sold during that store takeover. Since then, the brand’s gotten requests from other retailers for their boards, Skene said.
While the retail experience was a positive one for the brand and there is consideration of a Local Authority store perhaps in the next year, the two founders agreed the capsules for individual retailers are more top of mind than anything else.
“Right now, we’ve been so busy with the brand — it’s just growing so fantastically well — and working on these capsules,” Sutcliffe said.
Local Authority for the first time this summer is to launch its own footwear — sneakers to be more precise, which will be Made in Italy. The company’s working with footwear designer Mike McGlaflin, the former Saint Laurent men’s footwear design director. While Skene has done a number of hand-painted Local Authority shoes in the past, the summer launch would be the first time the company’s doing something on a larger scale in footwear.
Even as the company expands into a new category and builds out more capsules, it’s also going back to its roots which was in the reworking of one-of-a-kind vintage product. The two in the beginning shopped the Rose Bowl Flea Market, scouring the famous Pasadena flea for garments to recast. That product’s always been sold in Maxfield, but they’d like to broaden that out and bring it to more retailers.
“Alan and I have definitely tried to go back to our roots and start to develop more and more of this custom re-work stuff and specialty applications,” Skene said. “The reworked vintage, the fact that it’s limited, is what we’d like to continue with and the charm of it.”
“Doing the vintage is where we’ve always found so much inspiration,” Sutcliffe added. “It’s not only a fun element and an inspiring element to doing the brand, it’s essential almost for us because we don’t want to move away too far from the roots of the brand.”