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Kara and Brit Smith, the sisters behind Elkin, always knew they wanted to create something together. It wasn't long after leaving their jobs (with no back-up plan) before they found a rad studio space on Skid Row and a production team. Creatively, both girls design part of the collection and blend those ideas together for what Brit describes as an "oddly off-balance cohesiveness."
Each collection is loosely based on a different literary genre and the designers find other inspiration in music and cinema. Passionate to promote literature, for every Elkin piece sold, a book is donated to Young African Express through Kenya. "People forget how cool it is to not read Fifty Shades of Grey. There are other books out there," Kara explained.
The name Elkin was born during a trip to a taxidermy store in LA where they stumbled upon a, you guessed it, elk head. "It was feminine and masculine and beautiful and fragile and strong. It had all these qualities that we thought were the line. And we're kin," Kara then asked, "Where is that elk?" We found the sisters after a night of karaoke at Silver Lake's Naturewell and we talked literature, LA hideouts, and New Years Resolutions.
What are you drinking today?
Both: "Super Acai."
What's your favorite book?
Kara: "To Kill a Mockingbird. I identified with Scout and Jem, I'm such a dork that I know their names but I just love those kids. I always had these fantasies of summers in the South, like the movie My Girl. I had these fantasies and when I read To Kill a Mockingbird, I thought 'this is my dream life.' It just impacted me in some way. There were issues that were addressed in that book and at the same time it was super fun and super scary."
What's your favorite day of the week?
Brit: "Saturday because I feel like on Friday, I don't want to go out, I just want to unwind and rest. Saturday is a really fun going out night-like dancing or going to karaoke-and then Sunday is pajama day. So, Saturday is the most lively night, and I like that."
Love or Money?
K: "Love. For sure."
What is your off-duty attire?
B: "Oxfords with a little Elkin or vintage dress or I'm in converse a lot."
K: "Definitely a black mini-dress or a leather jacket or sweatshirt. Even on the most casual nights I'll still wear mini-skirts. I gotta rock it while I can."
If you have a bad day how do you recover when you come home?
K: "I think I'm always recovered. I don't let that much stuff affect me. I am always mentally dealing with it. When I come home, I usually make a cocktail, not because I'm pissed but because I'm psyched on the day. I deal with it, then come home, have a glass of wine and watch really embarrassing TV."
What character do you feel like you relate to the most?
B: "I think Pippi Longstocking. She's always on weird adventures and having so much fun. It seems like she doesn't want to grow up and I have this thing about being eternally youthful and running around rampant."
Downtown LA or Venice Beach?
Both: "Downtown LA."
What's the worst thing you did to get in trouble as a kid?
K: "I stole a car?and totaled it. Umm..I can't really say everything."
What is your best accessory?
K: "I guess a hot dude on my arm."
B: "[My] vintage 1954 original saddle bag is my favorite. I love it. It's such a conversation starter. Every time I go out guys talk about it, it's like bringing a puppy somewhere."
Matching or clashing?
What do you think is LA's best-kept secret?
K: "I feel like if Bob Baker Marionette served booze, it would be that. Our parents would take us there every year for our birthdays. It's really fun."
B: "Griffith Observatory does night walks and I don't know if a lot of people know about that but it's so beautiful, LA looks incredible."
What is your New Years Resolution?
K: "My New Years Resolution is the same every year. It's to stop fake laughing at people's not-funny jokes because it gives me eye wrinkles and I don't need them. It's helping myself and helping them, they'll never tell them again if they don't get laughter."
Rain or snow?
What one word would you use to describe the other?
K: "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. It's the most incredible word ever."
What is the best party that you've ever gone to?
K: "We went to the Natural History Museum, Brit and I, it was the most beautiful party and it was such a rager. Brit and I wore these massive heels. It was pouring rain, we were in fur coats and didn't care; our hair was drenched. It was just fun. We were cheering and all of the sudden I faced so hard that my whole front tooth came out. Brit was still cheering. We found it, and we kept it for the weekend and they put it back in."
What would be your life's theme song?
K: "Tupac, 'Life Goes On.'"
B: "'I Don't Want to Grow Up' by Tom Waits."
Elkin is available in LA at TenOverSix, Satine and Madison; shop it online on Shopbop.
· Elkin [Official Site]
· Young African Express [Official Site]
· Christos Garkinos is Waiting for a Tom Ford Sample Sale Invite [Racked]