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Fashion's social media superstars may be serenaded with free merch left and right, but even big-money blogstars love to shop. The shopkeeps behind LA's best boutiques are style influencers in their own right, painstakingly traveling to fashion weeks around the globe and scouring local industry markets to discover the best rising designers.
Here, we shine a light on the fashionable folks responsible for stocking the racks of our city's coolest shops. Meet seven of them below and find out what's in their closet, the fresh talents they're loving right now, the labels that are currently flying off shelves, and more.
Kristen Cole is wearing a The Great shirt dress, a vintage tee, Rachel Comey slides, and a Sophie Buhai sterling silver choker (available at TenOverSix Dallas).
Store: TenOverSix (8425 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood)
Previous occupation: I worked in fashion for ten years before opening the shop — mainly as a shoe designer and fashion stylist.
Story behind your shop's name: We ultimately chose TenOverSix because we thought numbers would stand the test of time. It started with a song, White Rabbit, as covered by Patti Smith, that I was listening to while conceiving of the shop. That led us to Alice and Wonderland, a childhood favorite, and eventually to those numbers. The store has always been about discovery and the best of emerging lines, so it fits.
Top splurge item on your wish list: A Ward Roberts Cartography piece from the art show we have up at TenOverSix LA right now.
Most prized fashion possession: Everything.
Favorite LA shop besides your own: I really mainly shop TenOverSix as far as LA boutiques go, but I think Iko Iko is beautifully done, and OK has a great mix.
Two favorite emerging designers: Isa Arfen ready-to-wear and Modern Weaving handbags.
Three favorite beauty/skincare products: Olo natural oil fragrances, Beautycounter tinted moisturizer, and coconut oil.
Best advice for someone opening a store: Slow and steady wins the race.
Raan Parton is wearing all Apolis clothing, a Weiss watch, and Peal & Co. shoes. Lindsay Parton is wearing a Topshop shirt; a vintage skirt, belt, and necklace; Jenni Kayne shoes; and bracelets by M. Ready, Gabriela Artigas, and Ariel Gordon.
Store: Alchemy Works DTLA (826 East 3rd Street) and Lido Marina Village (3408 Via Opporto)
Story behind your shop's name: (Raan) The name Alchemy Works represents the golden era of California and means the process of turning something into gold, as seen in our use of gilded items throughout the stores and our edit on new and found merchandise.
Previous occupations: (Lindsay) I was a wardrobe stylist and before that a financial advisor.
How your personal style has evolved: (Raan) I grew up with an action sports background so after living in Europe a short time in college, the combination of becoming interested in the craftsmanship of garments and also the etiquette of respecting the people around you by your appearance changed my mentality on dressing. Now I wear only all Apolis, but the brand has evolved in the same way.
Most prized fashion possession: (Lindsay) Found items that Raan has collected for me on his travels — Peru, Japan, and Italy — and a vintage YSL linen tuxedo dress.
Top three store bestsellers: Weiss watches, Gabriel Artigas jewelry, and The Office of Angela Scott footwear.
Fashion item on your wish list: (Raan) 1960s Brietling panda chrono watch.
Two favorite emerging designers: Vere Verto and Rose & Fitzgerald.
Three favorite beauty/skincare products: F. Miller hair oil, Goop face oil, and MUSC de Madame fragrance.
Best advice for someone opening a store: (Lindsay) Earn your purchasing power, start small, learn your customer, and don't overbuy! (Raan) Be resourceful on the build-out on your space as the money you spend on that is the fence you have to jump over to break even.
Steven Torres is wearing an Art Comes First hat, a Songzio blazer, a Stampd shirt, Chapter pants, Nike sneakers, bracelets by Cast of Vices and Ebb & Flow, and a ring by Cast of Vices.
Store: MRKT (3814 Sunset Boulevard, Silver Lake)
Previous occupation: Buyer/store manager at Vivienne Westwood.
Story behind your shop's name: When [co-owner Kenji Sunaga and I] were planning on opening a store, we couldn't settle on a name. [We] started to travel through Paris, Tokyo, and New York fashion markets, and we were so overwhelmed with so many markets that we had to name it MRKT.
How your personal style has evolved: As I got older, I got more interested in subtle design with a relaxed feel.
Top three store bestsellers: We have a collection from London named Art Comes First; they have a very loyal cult following. Also from Japan we have Discovered who every season keeps getting better, and of course from the U.S. Phillip Lim does extremely well for us.
Splurge item on your wish list: A flight ticket to create more memories with my other half.
Most prized fashion possession: When I was 13, my mother gave me a gold necklace with my name that she got made in Compton Fashion Center. She only had enough money to spell Steve, which always reminds me that we have come a long way. It keeps me grounded and grateful for what I have.
Favorite store in LA besides your own: I don't get much out to shop, but I like buying ceramics at Heath.
Two favorite emerging designers: Arte from Antwerp and Squad from LA.
Three favorite skincare products: I do like to hydrate my skin; I learned from my father to always moisturize. I use a night cream from dermatologist Cane Austin and a day cream with yogurt from Korres. I'm also guilty and embarrassed to say that I like Salma Hayek Nuance moisturizer in the dry season. It's a bit oily so its amazing for winter, the price is right and it doesn't have much of a scent, so guys and girls can use it.
Best advice for someone opening a store: Have patience and be ready to make changes to your vision when necessary. Oh, and have lots of cash flow!
Whitney Bickers is wearing a Whit blouse, Levi's denim, The Office of Angela Scott sandals, an Albin Jewelers watch, Mykita glasses from Gogosha Optique, a Fox & Bond necklace, an antique cameo ring from Erie Basin, a Kathleen Prindiville wedding band, rings by Mocium and Fox & Bond, and vintage and family heirloom rings.
Store: Myrtle (2213 Sunset Boulevard, Echo Park)
Previous occupation: Film development! I went to school for screenwriting but had a change of heart after eight years in entertainment.
Story behind your shop's name: Myrtle was my great-great-grandmother's name; she was alive when I was born so it means family and longevity to me. It's also a pretty flower that we use in our branding.
How your personal style has evolved: It's going through a major evolution right now! I've always been a dress girl but since my son was born I can't just take off my whole outfit for nursing so I'm getting more into separates. I still like to look pulled together but there's a lot more ease in what I wear since I was pregnant.
Most prized fashion possession: So hard to pick just one thing! Probably an antique opal bracelet I bought for my wedding because, unlike the dress, I wear it again on special occasions and it reminds me of that day. I'm hugely sentimental when it comes to my wardrobe.
Fashion item on your wishlist: A birthstone ring in honor of my son but I'm still searching for just the right jeweler.
Favorite LA boutique besides your own: En Soie; I covet both their clothing and home goods and the sisters that own it are so passionate about their family business.
Store: LCD (1919 Lincoln Boulevard, Venice)
Previous occupation: I worked in the music business in New York. I was head of online technology and direct-to-fan strategy at Atlantic Records and ran about 175 artist and label websites.
Story behind your shop's name: LCD was originally Lust Covet Desire, three words that convey a powerful wanting of something. When I first launched, the store had a stronger streetwear and accessories slant and so it worked to have a name that was a bit cheeky. But now we've kind of "grown up" and with the opening of the brick and mortar, I wanted to transition to a name that would more closely represent the modern, artistic aesthetic that we center our curation around.
How your personal style has evolved: When I lived in New York I definitely dressed up more. I have a closet full of crazy heels that are just collecting dust now. I've always loved loud, weird fashion and tried not to have a single defining style. I'll go from normcore one day to weird Japanese balloon pants to glam. I guess what's evolved since I opened LCD is that I tend to wear much more independent designer fashion now rather than the big names I used to covet.
What you would be doing in another life: I would probably be a freelance web developer and making way more money. [laughs] And the nerds shall inherit the earth!
Fashion item on your wish list: That Sandy Liang floral embroidered leather motorcycle jacket! So good.
Most prized fashion possession: For sheer wow factor I may have to say these 5" Alexander McQueen Mary Jane heels with these elaborate engraved stirrups that spin and jingle as you walk. I've only worn them a couple times because they're precariously high and annoyingly loud but they're just such an interesting and beautiful design.
From an emotional standpoint I once got home and found a giant Céline box sitting in front of my house. It was almost as tall as I am! Inside was a single, vibrant yellow super oversized cashmere sweater that I had fallen in love with. It was a gift from a very very lovely and wonderful friend. I was so shocked and overwhelmed with gratitude.
Two favorite emerging designers: I'm really excited about what Sander Lak is doing with his new line Sies Marjan. I actually met Sander through my friend, the jewelry designer Asia Ragland, when he was still working at Dries van Noten and even then his friends were telling me how exceptionally talented he is. It's super exciting to see how powerful his vision is for his own line.
I'm also so thrilled about my friend Matthew Williams' Alyx Studio, which we'll be carrying at LCD in the fall. Matthew was once Lady Gaga and Kanye West's creative director, so you know he's not only immensely creative but also very savvy about art, design, fashion and culture. Alyx was just announced as one of eight finalists for the very prestigious LVMH Prize, a global design prize honoring young designers. The brand combines edginess and luxury; a nonconformist punk attitude with production done in the finest manufacturers in Italy. It's very exciting to watch and there is a serious buzz around their pieces.
Three favorite beauty/skincare products: I love Yoke's adaptogenic rose perfume and body oils — the bottles are so lovely with little rosebuds floating in the oils and they smell divine. I use it right out of the shower and it makes me feel great all day. For hair I'm kind of obsessed with Sachajuan's Hair Cleansing Cream, it doesn't sud so it takes a little getting used to but it smells so divine and my hair feels so much happier without the heavy sulfates.
And I can't go without mentioning Grown Alchemists's all natural, organic Intensive Hand Cream which uses Persian rose (the best kind of rose there is) and argan oil. It's the only hand cream I've ever finished an entire tube of without getting sick of the scent and feel.
Best advice for someone opening a store: Make sure you have a plan and have all your books in order. Raise the proper amount of funding. Be prepared to work your ass off.
Lucy Akin is wearing an Acne tee, Club Monaco pants, Maryam Nassir Zadeh pumps, Electric Body and Tattoo earrings, and a Sophie Bille Brahe pearl ear cuff.
Store: Shop Super Street (458 South La Brea Avenue)
Previous occupation: Before I opened the shop I was the buyer for Satine. While I was there we opened the Venice store so it was amazing having the experience of buying for two stores. I also worked at Jenni Kayne in their design offices and for VOD Boutique in Dallas, Texas.
Story behind your shop's name: I concepted the name because we mix high-end fashion designers with skateboard brands. I'm really influenced by the modern mix that people wear today — taking from men's clothing brands and styling it with women's pieces. Shop Super Street tells that story.
What you would be doing in another life: If I didn't own my own store, I think I'd be living in a remote city in Mexico, embroidering and designing pillows.
How your personal style has evolved: I feel like I get very over-stimulated by my job. Every season, I'll see around 50 to 60 different designers and so by the time I dress myself in the morning, I'm pretty de-sensitized. I stick to the classics and the basics now. I usually wear all one color with a statement shoe. I used to be a lot trendier, but now I just stick to what works for me and looks good on my body — it's definitely a mix of grandma's sweater set with grunge-y pieces.
Most prized fashion possession: My closet has racked up so many goodies after being on the retail side of fashion for so long. My mom gave me a gold herringbone necklace with small diamonds scattered on it. I'll have that the rest of my life and bring it out on special occasions.
Top three store bestsellers: Bliss and Mischief's embroidered denim is incredible, and people love Maryam Nassir Zadeh's shoes. Y/Project is on the rise at our store — it's the perfect mix of streetwear and fashion.
Favorite LA shop besides your own: I absolutely love going into the home store Garde on Beverly. It's got the best selection of home goods, gifts, and candles. I would love to buy everything they have.
Shareen Mitchell is wearing a reworked vintage dress and A.P.C. sneakers.
Store: Shareen (1721 North Spring Street, Downtown)
Story behind your shop's name: I was hesitant to give the store my name but someone advised me that ones name has a resonance, like a piece of music, and that resonance or frequency, belongs to you. I decided to let my spirit serve the identity of the business and I think it has.
Previous occupation: I started my career in fashion magazines then became an actor. I worked for 13 years as an actress, but the year before I started the business I was unable to get work. I went broke and I was directed to give up all my credit cards. This single action changed my whole life. I was left with no option but to reach for God. I babysat for one year before setting up a booth at the Melrose Trading Post.Three months later I had my first store. That and the rest of it is, frankly a miracle.
How your personal style has evolved: Over time I have just gotten clearer about how I like to represent myself. I am either edgy or romantic, black and white.
Most prized fashion possession: I am not oriented to the material. Everything I own could go up in flames and I wouldn't give it a second thought.
Top three store bestsellers: To be honest, they are three wedding dresses that I designed: one in chiffon, one in organza, and a two-piece in chiffon and lace.
Fashion item on your wish list: The Self Love Pinky Ring by Fred and Far because it will remind me to choose and honor myself on a daily basis.
Two favorite emerging designers: Jennie Baltzer and Emmy London.
Three favorite beauty/skincare products: Dermalogica Vitamin Repair complex, Dry Bar Blonde Ale shampoo, and St. Tropez tanning mouse.
Favorite LA shop besides your own: Just discovered the Blushing Bird in Toluca Lake. Gorgeous everything.