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Alexx Jae Monkarsh and Bari Milken Bernstein, the designers behind eco-friendly line Alexx Jae & Milk, are both born and raised Angelenos. They met when Bari was right out of college and moving into a new place at the Palazzo with her cousin, a friend of Alexx's who suggested the three live together. The duo became fast friends and as they say, the rest is history.
Alexx grew up environmentally aware (her mother is president of the Environmental Media Association) and always knew she wanted to start an eco-line of her own. She decided to launch a high-end line called, simply, Alexx Jae. Bari, who owns the popular Milk boutique on Beverly, suggested Alexx design a more contemporary, one-off collection for the store. The capsule of wearable pieces did so well that the girls decided to launch a full collection. Welcome, Alexx Jae & Milk.
Unlike a lot of eco-friendly lines, the Bernstein and Monkarsh try to minimize their footprint on the planet with upcycling. This means that instead of working with sustainable new materials, the designers use fabrics that are left over from huge companies who mass-produce and therefore have an abundance of overstock, enough for the designers to use for an entire collection. "We're not limited to what material we can use which is kind of cool," Bari explained. Their "greenness" does not stop there, though: in addition to upcycling, they use canvas labels, work with an eco-friendly dye house and source everything in LA to avoid shipping.
We caught the designers on a rare break from mom duty at Earth Bar to discuss everything from Disneyland to happy hour orders. Here's what the duo had to say.
What are you drinking today?
Bari: I'm having The Trio which is the carrot, apple, ginger."
Alexx: "I'm having The Trio too, but I added spinach and cucumber and it's quite good."
Alexx, we hear your three-year-old daughter is a fan of juicing?
A: "My daughter went to a juice bar where you pick your own fruits and she said 'I want a pink juice.' I told her, 'Well, you have to pick things that will make it pink.' I was thinking strawberries but she started adding everything, and it was brown. She tasted it and said 'This doesn't taste pink.'"
While we're on the topic of colors, black or white?
What is your favorite room in your house?
A: "My family room because we just renovated our house and it's open concept. So our kitchen, family room, and breakfast room are all a big open area. It's really easy when I want to hang out or if I'm cooking dinner, everyone gravitates towards that room. It's the comfy room."
B: "I actually would probably say my bedroom. I like taking my computer in there. I can lie in my bed with my dog and do my thing."
Dodgers or Angels?
What's the best concert you've ever been to?
B: "I'm a die hard Dave Matthews Band fan. That would be my concert because I follow him around California. I am beyond obsessed."
A: "Britney Spears, I wanna say 10 years ago. It was a classic."
What's your favorite ride at Disneyland?
A: "I was just at Disneyland! My favorite is Splash Mountain but I went on the new The Little Mermaid ride, it's kind of incredible. I could go to Disneyland every day of my life."
B: "I would have to say The Haunted Mansion."
Downtown or Santa Monica?
A: "Santa Monica!"
B: "Can I say, 'Not crossing the freeway'?"
What's the last thing you had to apologize for?
B: "Oh my God, I feel like I have to apologize to my husband everyday because he's so sensitive!"
A: "You can double that for me too."
What's one piece of clothing that every girl should have in her closet?
A: "A white tee shirt. You can tuck it into anything, a skirt, jeans, leather pants."
B: "Maybe a good pullover, like a sweatshirt or sweater that you can wear with jeans. You could wear it over a dress if you're cold or with a skirt. It can transition from winter to summer."
Sweatpants or evening gown?
What's your favorite happy hour drink?
B: "Usually any sort of beverage involving vodka. This one drink I really used to like, I don't think it has a name, is vodka, Malibu, oj, and pineapple juice."
A: "I would do a Diet Coke."
What's your guilty pleasure?
B: "I really like adult cartoons. I would say The Simpsons or Family Guy."
A: "Reality TV would be my guilty pleasure, I love every one?like every one, down to Wife Swap. Any reality show, I'll watch and I'll enjoy it."
Who was your childhood crush?
A: "Joey McIntire."
B: "I don't know, probably Luke Perry."
A: "Oh that's a better one! I'm obsessed with 90210. THAT's my guilty pleasure. I watch 90210 every single day. The old ones."
Shop sale or new collection?
A: "New collection."
What book is on your nightstand right now?
B: "Lately I try to read books as a movie is coming out and I like to compare the book to the movie so I'm rereading The Great Gatsby. It's amazing and I don't think I've read it since 7th grade."
Hip hop or country?
Both: "Hip hop."
What place in LA do you find yourself visiting over and over again?
B: "Sushi Park. I go there every week without fail."
A: "I've been going to Nate 'n Als since I was a kid. I used to get the bagel on a string and now my daughter gets it. They know me there, I feel like I'm at home when I go there. Oh and the Counter at The Beverly Hills Hotel."
B: "The Counter, it's a coffee shop, I go there a couple of times a week."
True or false: Pretty is as pretty does?
· Milk [Official Site]
· Alexx Jae & Milk [Twitter]
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