I heart LA. I really do. California living appeals to my fantasy mindset, so much so that I’ve started looking into schools for my kids in Palm Springs. First things first however; I still need to make some FITE t-shirts and sell them to make enough money to buy a mid-twentieth century bungalow with a kidney shaped pool in the desert.
It’s only my fourth time here and it’s aptly July; the sun is shining, the sky is blue and it’s a Saturday when I check-in at The Standard downtown. DTLA is a mix of Gotham-like architecture with abandoned theatres, cute hidden away coffee shops and the occasional crackhead. Walking the streets in a ‘just-stepped-off-the-plane’ jet lag haze feels like you’re on the set of a movie made in the 80s. It’s a microcosm of city workers, artists and vagrants. Dover Street Market opens it’s doors here in 2018; another clue as to why the area is on the up-and-up. There’s also a Two Boots hole-in-the-wall pizza spot here that serves up a killer gluten-free slice.
Day Two is a Sunday and I head over to Supreme to queue like a teenager for 30-minutes only to not buy anything. But I do find the most amazing baked chicken at Love Wings on Melrose AND there’s root beer on tap, so my morning hasn’t been totally unsuccessful. It’s a nice easy afternoon before a week of meetings with factories, fabric mills, packaging suppliers and logistics warehouses.
FITE is the sole reason I’m here. It’s a womenswear label I started with the Founder, Holly Peterson. A California Girl, born and bred; we met when she was living in London two years ago, started a conversation about t-shirts and here we are now, about to launch our LA-made collection. It’s meant a ton of travel, initially to San Francisco where Holly now resides and more recently to LA where our design team and factory is based. Developing product with the correct fit in totally new fabrics is a laborious process of trial and error; but we are getting there and working towards our launch at Paris Fashion Week in September this year.
I’m also here to catch-up with Andrew Pollard, an old friend who I haven’t seen since he left NY for LA years ago. I first met Andrew when he was President at Project (trade show) and we worked together with Nick Wooster for two seasons. Since then he’s moved on (as we all do) and has started a fashion tech company, launched a store on Abbot Kinney and now has a leather jacket brand very cleverly called LTH JKT. Now what goes better with an iconic black leather jacket than an iconic white t-shirt? I like the fact we’re doing a similar thing at a similar time, so we cram 10-years into one hour over brunch at The Butcher’s Daughter and by the end of our meeting we’re now working together again; this time on a FITE shoot here in LA scheduled for next month.
The trip gets called short by a day as Holly wants to get back to her family who are all in Aspen having a grand old time. I can’t change my flight back as I’m constantly trying to save company money and have booked a non-refundable ticket; so I decide to check out my future home in Palm Springs! A 90-minute drive from LA may not seem ideal and PS is in the middle of nowhere, BUT I’ve based my fantasy decision on what I think I can afford plus there are more Donald Wexler homes here than anywhere else in California. I’m a little obsessed with straight lines and Wexler pioneered the use of steel (also straight) in his uber-appealing mid-twentieth century architecture. I’ve checked into the Ace hotel/motel and it feels like stepping back in time. There’s palm trees, mountains, oven-like heat and a kidney shaped pool. I think I’m in love. Again.
Editors Notes: Here are a couple of California travel tips for you. If you have a sensitivity to caffeine; avoid matcha green tea pancakes at The Butcher’s Daughter on Abbot Kinney (or anywhere else for that matter), as you may have an out-of-body experience and feel odd for several hours. Also, if you have really bad spatial awareness and swim fast underwater you may break your nose at the Ace Hotel pool.