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Christophe Loiron, the man behind industry-beloved denim boutique Mister Freedom, stumbled into the fashion industry. Though he was born in France, he moved to Los Angeles by way of Africa in 1990 and began working at American Rag, eventually becoming a buyer at the store. After a few years and a realization that he didn't really like being told what to do, Loiron decided to open his own store. "I never went to stores and was satisfied with what I was seeing as far as new stuff," he explained. "If I wanted a bag I'd go to the flea market and do some research." With this in mind, Mister Freedom was born.
Loiron's retail store houses vintage finds dating as far back as 1850, as well as his line with Japanese company Sugarcane. That's right, he's also a designer. When the company first approached him to collaborate, they asked him if he could make a pair of jeans. "I lied and said 'Yes.'" Because the designer was without a fashion background and gained most of his inspiration from historical books and movies, he made up a story in his head about a young main in the 1930s who needed to make a pair of jeans overnight for work. Success. "The next season they asked me to do a full collection," he laughed. "My stories became more elaborate."
We met Loiron at Mister Freedom's home on Beverly Blvd and jaywalked across the street to Susina Bakery where he is a regular. Over a very low maintenance juice, we talked vintage clothing, first love, and his love/hate relationship with social media.
What are you drinking today?
"An amazing apple juice. Fresh apple, pressed right on the spot."
Plaid or denim?
What is your best vintage clothing find?
"The feeling I got from finding an old Western store in Burbank in the early '90s. It had a lot of old Levi's dead stock and old Lee dead stock. They were just sitting there on sale and no one cared at the time and I was just like 'wow.' It was unbelievable, that feeling was unforgettable."
What music gets your juices flowing?
"My old background is Rockabilly, '50s stuff, so a good ole Gene Vincent would get me thinking."
Paris or LA?
"I lived most of my childhood in Africa so I can't really relate to France that much, nor can I to Africa, I'm always between two seats somehow. So, me being here for 22 years, this is my home. I know I have some roots in France. When I was growing up I was so busy getting inspired and watching old movies or listening to old music that came from here that I feel as close to America as I feel to France, closer to here actually."
Intelligence or beauty?
Do you remember your first love?
"Yeah you never forget that. I remember her. I understood that you could actually cherish someone and look at them like they were someone you wanted to be with. It was kind of a weird feeling because I've always been alone so going from that to 'wow I need that person' was a little weird."
Describe the perfect night out.
"Oh brother. With friends playing music, playing guitar."
Dogs or cats?
What's your best childhood memory?
"With my dad, maybe riding horses. We lived in the countryside."
If you could have dinner with a fictional character who would it be?
"It would be some movie character like Cool Hand Luke. I kind of liked his philosophy. His philosophy summed up in two words, 'Yeah, well.' When I saw that movie I thought it was so genius."
Pasta or burrito?
What's one TV series that you can't stop watching?
"I will be modern and say Deadwood. It was extremely inspiring and well-done."
What is your favorite clothing era?
"It's a mixture of turn-of-the-century to 1940s. It fluctuates depending on what mood I'm in, what movies I've been seeing, what books I've been reading. Sometimes I get very much into the turn of the century Paris underground world and World War II. Not that I dress in military gear, but it's an influence."
New or vintage?
"I mix it."
What do you want to be when you grow up?
"That's a good question. I want to be leaving something better than it was when I arrived. I don't want to be anything in particular, I just want to make things better for people."
What is one superpower you wish you could have?
"I think time traveling would be a trippy thing, I wouldn't mind that. I would go to lots of different places. I would go on the set of Mutiny on the Bounty in 1961, I think. Brando was filming that in Tahiti. I would go there."
What is your life's biggest accomplishment?
"Making my dad proud. He left before he was actually very proud but I've been trying to convince myself that he would be now. So, that would be my accomplishment."
Do you have any secrets that you would like to share with the world?
"I'm not too sure about that one. I'm pretty open and now with all this Facebook B.S."
Are you on Facebook?
"I am, I know?" (He sounds ashamed).
Are you on Twitter?
(Pause) "...I am on Twitter."
Are you on Instagram?
"Yea, I know. It's pretty pathetic when you think about it. It's like a drug and if you have insomnia in the middle of the night checking your Instagram thing. It's a disaster when you think about it."
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