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.
One look at Staud's undeniably cool, modern-yet-vintage-inspired collection (imagine what Jane Birkin might wear if she lived in present-day Silver Lake) and it shouldn't be surprising the brand's founder Sarah Staudinger would need an inspiring environment that's conducive to creating. That's exactly what she and partner George Augusto dreamed up for their Arts District atelier, a plant-filled oasis with art, books, and other pretty things (not the least of which are the effortless jumpsuits, mod minis, and culotte/crop top combos we can't get enough of) placed at every turn.
Surrounded by the neighborhood's best craft coffee spot, a vegan-faved eatery, a stylish interior design showroom, and sprawling mixed-use complex One Santa Fe, Staud's studio is a one-stop design shop, complete with an in-house pattern and sample maker and most of the company's behind-the-scenes team all under one roof. A typical work day here might also include an appearance by Sarah's teeny yorkie Flea (aka Fleayoncé), who's also instrumental to creating a productive environment.
Luckily, you too can experience the dreamy studio, which not only accepts private shopping appointments, but is now open to the public every Sunday from 12 to 6pm. Until the time you get in there to peruse the It Girl-loved collection (Emily Ratajkowski, Hannah Bronfman, and Courtney Trop are all fans), we're giving you a look inside the lush, inspiring space as well as sharing with you Staudinger's scoop on the in-house design process, what she loves about working in DTLA, and what's next for her label (hint: faux fur is involved).
You've kind of made your studio into a little sanctuary. What do you love about working there?
I love everything about working there. My co-founder George Augusto has the greenest thumb of all time so I am lucky enough to have the most beautiful plants around all the time. I love the light and the openness of the space. I love how everything is constantly changing and how there's something new every day. We have people stopping by all the time which makes it a really fun collaborative place to spend time.
What are your must-haves for getting shit done in there?
Must have music playing at all times. Must have multiple dogs and/or babies. Must have a semi-organized and merchandised floor before I can get anything else done. Must have stronger wifi than we currently do. Must have a hot beverage in hand at all times.
A lot of your team works under one roof everyday. What's the vibe like?
Very open. We all talk all day, or at least I talk all day which probably annoys the rest of the team quite frequently. In many ways it makes our working environment productive or at least it does for me. I'd rather shout across to the other loft than send an email. I can't speak for the rest of the team here though, they tend to send a lot more emails then I do which is probably a more more professionally way to communicate.
Tell us a bit about your in-house design and production process.
It changes from season to season. We're still very new and figuring out our scheduling. but it starts with a collection of ideas: sketches, drawings, old editorials. Then I usually share it with the creative team and try and convince them to let me make it all for a couple hours. Then someone will reel me in and we'll narrow it down per category.
Once the design ideas are more honed in, we then beginning the fitting process. Our pattern maker and sample sewer is in-house which makes the process so fun and much easier. We usually do between four and five fittings on a style before we approve it and then one or two final fittings before production.
We all contribute to the design process. Even our CTO gets a say. It's important to me that everyone gets a say even if I don't agree. It's a very collaborative process and I think it's important that your whole team knows what's coming and what everyone thinks about it. Sometimes we will even make bets on what will sell, although I don't think any of us has ever coughed it up.
How does the neighborhood inspire you?
There are so many amazing artists in our community. I try and do studio visits as frequently as possible. I love seeing an artist's work in their own space. I think downtown LA very much inspires my color palate. I'm particularly obsessed with the color blocking from graffiti cover up.
Sometimes they try to match the color but usually its either completely random or a very far stretch in the same hue. There will be this beautiful blue textured wall with a block of teal somewhere and then like a light blue spot off to the side. Its really quite beautiful. There's a few blocks in particular that tend to get the most action and I often try to take those streets when shopping for fabric.
Any plans to open permanently as a shop?
Yes, we're currently open Sundays from 12pm to 6pm in addition to appointments during the week. We want to ease into being open for any more regular hours. The appointments are nice because we really get to spend time with a customer and understand what they want, why they want it, and what they think is missing in the brick and mortar experience.
The last thing LA needs is another place that sells things in a conventional way. We're only interested in doing a store if we're providing an experience to our customer that's somewhat meaningful beyond just leaving with our product. Maybe it's the way they interacted with our shopping consultant, maybe it's just the over all vibe of the space.
We also cary product from our friends who are incredible designers. Art from Luckey Remington and Jasmine Albuquerque, ceramics from Denise Lopez and Mitsuko Ikeo, jewelry from Elena Stonacker, custom playing cards from Claire Hungerford, plant sculptures by Lani Trock, and vintage clothing from Elizabeth Parks at Collection in Echo Park. There's so much talent out there right now it feels good to represent our friends and community and showcase their work beyond our own.
Anything you can tease about your next collection?
Muted rainbow. Fun faux fur. Chic jumpsuits. And we've taken two piece sets/suiting to a new level this coming season.