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Ryan Conder opened South Willard five years ago with his ex-girlfriend, Danielle Kays. Since then, the two have been ignoring L.A. Fashion Week and doing their buys in Paris. Conder handles all the merchandising and maintains the store website. (Go for the clothes, stay for the blog.) He intentionally only carries about five or six designers—Raf Simons, Patrik Ervell, Band of Outsiders, Raf by Raf Simons, A.P.C., Dries Van Noten for fall/winter '08: “I really wanted to present it as a collection, not individual pieces. I really believe in the designers I carry.”
Why this store, here on West 3rd?
I feel like this location is central to all of L.A. AOC Winebar is two doors down and it's one of the best restaurants in the city. There are a lot of ma-and-pa shops here, which is really refreshing. I think the fact that there is no parking saves the neighborhood from chains moving in. As long as there is no parking, I’ll stay.
What’s been flying off the racks?
These chunky Dries Van Noten sweaters, knit in Belgium. We’re already sold out of one style.
What are you most excited about in-store right now that maybe isn’t flying off the racks?
Coats, because it’s so hot. We have really good wool winter overcoats. When the time comes to sell them because it’s actually cold, in January or February, we already have our spring merchandise.
You have $100 to spend anywhere in L.A.—where do you go?
I do the Hollywood Farmers Market every week. It’s the greatest thing in L.A.
Make that $1,000.
Sam Kaufman on Beverly has really good ceramics. I could spend it there really quickly.
Some men are wearing leggings. Thoughts?
It just doesn’t look comfortable. Like I’ve seen a lot of guys wearing tight shorts. When I wear shorts, it's because it's hot. So them being so tight, it just doesn’t look comfortable, but to each his own.
When it comes to dating, do you have a fashion deal breaker?
A monogrammed bag. Anyone who needs to wear her identity on a handbag scares me. I like people who dress inconspicuously, who like what they like and dress as an individual. If you buy into ads, that’s just kind of sad.