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Cynthia Vincent Walks Us Through Her Spacious DTLA Studio

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Elizabeth Daniels

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SoCal designer Cynthia Vincent attended LA's Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design and moved to London after graduating to work. Despite the thought that she would live and work in Europe, Vincent moved back to LA and started her first line St. Vincent, eventually merging it to form Vince. Despite huge success, her need for a more creative environment led her to depart and launch a new label, Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, a brand constantly seen on the backs of bloggers and celebs. One of her faves? "Ashley Glorioso of Purse 'n Boots, that's my girl."

Vincent, who just hit a huge milestone with Twelfth Street's 10-year anniversary, is known especially for her prints and cozy sweaters, believing clothes should fit all women. When she moved into her incredibly DTLA studio 10 years ago the Cynthia Vincent team was small and has since expanded along with the brand which now includes handbags, shoes and other accessories. "I have a bit of wanderlust in everything I do," the designer told us of her time travel-inspiration. "And I really try to remember that at the end of the day, we still have to wear it."

Congrats on your 10-Year Anniversary. Design-wise, what did you do to celebrate?
"I did some capsule collections. I took my best sellers, historically, and brought them back and did an Anniversary label. So things like my original log cabin [sweater], original blankets, the Navajo sweater and some shoes that were key in the marketplace. I also brought back a skirt that I did many years ago called 'The Man Catcher Skirt.'"

The Man Catcher Skirt?
"I have the best story about that skirt! I once had a woman accost me when she realized who I was and she said 'You're Cynthia Vincent? You have to know this. The man I married and the father of my children, I met wearing your skirt! He literally ran across the street to come tell me that I looked beautiful in that skirt.' Isn't that crazy?"

We need one of those! How do you feel about the shift from dressing celebrities to bloggers over the past few years?
"I think it's fascinating that this whole other thing has happened because of technology. I get excited no matter who is wearing it. For me, it's really fun to see someone wearing something of mine in a way I never thought of and even more if they bought it!"

What's the best advice you've ever gotten?
"I started my business very naïvely but hired by first person because my then-fiancee's brother-in-law, who's a very successful businessman, said 'Never do the work you can hire.' You need to put a price-tag on you."

What's the first step in your design process?
"A lot of times I'll start with a textile, a vintage print or a garment that I've seen and I'll sketch from that or create a print. I like the idea of mashing up so that it's never its origin. I still bring in vintage for reference."

What led you to expand into shoes?
"I have this fatal flaw, like 'Oh I can do that.' I guess it's not fatal but sometimes it feels like it. I saw a void in the market when I first started shoes. There was no contemporary line; they were either high-end or cheap. So I wanted to do shoes that were equal to what I was doing in clothing. This was before Zara, before H&M."

You're inspired by travel, if you had to visit one time and place where would you go?
"That's just impossible! I have too many. Pre-Castro Cuba. I want to be in Marrakesh and hang out with Talitha Getty, so like '72? But then I want to go to the Byzantine Era. I also wouldn't mind hanging out with Gustav Klimt in Austria at the turn of the last century-that would have been amazing. But then who wouldn't want to be with Marie Antoinette way before she gets beheaded? Tulum in the '60's would have been incredible."

We'll take that itinerary! Who is the Cynthia Vincent gal?
"She's young, she's old, it's really a mind-set. She is eclectic and intelligent. She is either a bohemian in reality or in spirit. We don't all live a bohemian lifestyle but its not a trend. I think if I'm successful in my designs, you can wear it so many ways."

If someone is new to the line, what are some key pieces they need in their closet?
"You definitely need to pick up a printed dress, I recommend a maxi because it can be worn by anyone. My blazers in the brocades, prints or embroideries because they can be in your closet for a long time. Hands-down, a single sole black heel."
· Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent [Official Site]
· Dax at Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent Loves the Ladies [Racked]
· Inside Donatienne's Beautiful, Bag-Filled Studio on West 3rd [Racked]
· UNIF on Sarcasm and Their "Soft and Grimy" Aesthetic [Racked]
· For Love & Lemons Walks Us Through Their Dreamy LA Studio [Racked]