Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
There are certain things that practically beg to be photographed because they're so cool. In LA, where the perfect Insta shot is queen, you'll need a timeless, luxe accessory that's identifiable but personal, and even slightly unattainable in that underground, never mass-produced way. DTLA-based brand R.B. of McD has achieved the perfect mix of upscale and approachable with their straightforward, simple designs and catchy logo; their bags are Insta-worthy, aspirational, and utterly LA.
The label is under the umbrella of Los Angeles Made Originals, an online lifestyle and fashion boutique housing R.B. of McD as well as women's and menswear line, McMarden, luxury face oil, and swanky candles, all in keeping with the concept of giving a voice to the DTLA aesthetic—in this case, an authentic, clean, polished one. We sat down with Creative Director John McDavid Lehman (himself a third generation Angeleno) to dig deeper into his inspirations, that sick gold logo, and his favorite spots for drinks in LA.
What does your brand name stand for?
I have worked in the leather goods/fashion industry for over 15 years but I started in branding and marketing. The name of our marketing firm was Royal Bank of McD (my middle name is McDavid.) When I decided to switch things up and focus on design I didn't want to start from zero and I liked the idea of keeping McD so we just condensed the name to R.B. of McD.
What went into choosing your amazing gold logo?
With my branding background I always start with the logo first. If I'm not sold on that I cannot move forward. I had the look and layout for R.B. before I sketched out my first silhouette. To this day I still build each and every bag around the logo placement.
As far as gold, I love gold and how it makes our logo and hardware pop! The use of gold is also a nod to Los Angeles and our bold sense of fashion. I wanted a color that would always pop regardless of color palette and I wanted to add a little hint of bling that was still approachable and not too ostentatious for our core customer.
What types of lining do you use?
When we first began to sample our bags I played with a lot of silk linings because of the array of vibrant colors I had access to, but through trial we quickly realized that silk is a horrible fabrication for handbag and wallet lining. We have since transitioned into rayon because it still allows for a bold pop of color and is a very durable natural fiber.
Who would you love to see carrying an R.B. of McD bag?
R.B. of McD is made for folks with very active lives—not so much in the athletic sense, but for people that transition from day to night events and regroup on the fly, as many in LA do. Most of our bodies serve several functions depending on your needs. Our #5 can live as a shoulder bag, cross-body and a clutch very well. Our #4 is at its core a backpack but can also transition into a beautiful messenger bag. I am very big into form and function and work very hard to incorporate natural versatility into our silhouettes.
Favorite places to feel inspired in LA?
Personally I love to see fashion in action. I find a ton of my inspiration at boutique coffee spots like Alfred, Dinosaur and LA Mill during the day. At night I love to see what folks "bring to the party" at places like Cafe Stella, Redbird or Everson Royce Bar. We are also a month away from opening our first brick and mortar store downtown on Los Angeles Street with our sister brand McMarden, a men’s and women’s apparel line, and that whole process has been a great source of inspiration. Having a home base for the brand that allows us to showcase the lifestyle and share our voice with our customer is truly amazing.