I attended another Unique Los Angeles on the 5th at the California Market Center. This time, there were over 300 vendors and the show expanded by having the Eco-Green Room in a ballroom on the ground-floor. This goes to show you that the economy is slowly getting back on its feet. 300! Sonja Rasula has come a long way since I first volunteered a couple years back, when they had 200 vendors.
It was not even noon and the line of anxious shoppers was almost out the door. Upon getting my ticket, I also received a limited-edition cotton Unique Los Angeles tote, this year designed by Shepard Fairey’s design company, Studio No.1.
Most of the vendors were the same from previous shows, but I ran into some new vendors.
In the Eco-Green Room was Chime Designs, a booth with jewelry made from donated and recycled drum cymbals and scrabble pieces, designed by Leslie Wilson. Most of the drum cymbals come from donations made by Sabian and local drummers from local bands. For more information, go to www.chimejewelry.com.
I followed my eye to a booth of color… Bold, electric and very 80’s… 1981 Collection, designed by Timmery Turner is a smorgasbord of necklaces, bracelets, hairpieces and rings that are all handmade and hand-painted. She uses vintage pieces, bottle caps, toy cars, etc to create wearable works of art inspired by the 80’s. Contact Timmery at email@example.com or visit her site at www.1981collection.com.
In the 13th floor penthouse, I stopped by Robin Charlotte, designer Robin Humphrey takes fish who have recently died at the local fish store and then preserves and paints them in resin, turning them into charms and buckles for jewelry, belts and handbags. Her pieces are currently sold at Duet (290 Forest Ave.) in Laguna Beach or go to www.RobinCharlotte.com for more information or to make a purchase.
Headpieces are THE trend this year (and I’m hoping next as well). This was elegantly stated by designer, Jesslabelle of NbbWear (Natural Born Beauties). She has been in business since 2000 and does vintage-inspired millinery. Her headpieces can be worn day to evening or as she put it, “Whether your going to a party, dinner, doing a strip tease for your boy, or heck…. even dress up to go to the grocery store or do laundry! NBB WEAR is sure to make heads turn and “Ta-dah” the spot light is on YOU!” The peacock and embellished number she wore at the show really wowed me and I know it’ll do the same for you, dear readers. Visit www.jesslabelle.com and do shop her Etsy store at www.nbbwear.etsy.com.
I recognized my fellow Project Ethos alum, Jennifer Garcia of Vim Trousseau, who was showing some dramatic cropped black and gold Kimono jackets made from 100% silk dupioni. According to Jen, this has been the best seller was inspired by her three vintage kimonos that are in her closet. She wanted it classic but with a modern twist. The kimonos are sold at $150.00. Her latest endeavors are her one-of-a-kind handbags made from her personal collection of magazines…which is aptly named “The Glossy Queen.” She has three permanent collections: ‘Fashion Connoisseurs’- which features images relating to anything fashion, from top models to high fashion houses. Her fav is the ‘Balenciaga Bag.’ The second collection is the ‘Icons Collection’- featuring images of iconic people of the music and entertainment industry. The ‘Michael Jackson Bag’ is of course the most popular of the collection. The last collection is ‘Make a Statement’- which features a play on words. “Fun phrases so your bag can speak when you don’t want to!” Jen also has a ‘Black History’ series and ‘Superheroes’ series, which has clippings from comic books. The bags are $50.00 and also comes with jeweled straps that are removable and can be worn as necklaces. Most bags come with two straps, you get a great deal with a one-of-a-kind handbag and two necklaces. Check out www.vimtrousseau.com or contact Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I spy with my fashionable eye…handmade recycled avante-garde couture! This particular booth boasted just that as well as headpieces and jewelry. The brand is Kittinhawk, designed by Allysun Maria Dutra. She is committed to recycling and keeping her business small and community-oriented. She sources out of antique shops, thrift stores, garage and estate sales, and even out of dumpsters. I love how passionate Allysun is…not only to fashion, but to being unique, one-of-a-kind and environmentally friendly. Check out Kittinhawk at www.kittinhawk.com.
I know I’m straying away from fashion, but I stopped by two booths dealing with photography. Jen Zahigian Photography- Jen is from the Bay Area, but is making her way down to LA. Her specialties are off-beaten paths, hidden corners of the country and nostalgic roadside signs. Check out her amazing shots at www.jenzahigian.com. The other booth, I happened to stumble upon due to this digital painting of the famous motel at North Shore in Salton Sea, CA. 33 Stewart Avenue is owned by Sean Finocchio. He takes photos and then transfers them onto wood, paper or canvas. Check out www.33stewartavenue.com.
NOTE: I would like to also acknowledge the vendors from the previous shows that I ran into: Hillary Danner and Maria Newman of ECOBOOMA & Jenkins Jellies. Hillary recently opened Studio Root 66 in Highland Park, dedicated to emerging and eco-friendly designers. (5917 N. Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90042 ph:323-482-1414 and www.studioroot66.com), Dust Design Co., Fleamarketgirl.com, Mojo Cosmetics, 7Lightningbolt, Dip It Designs. Dip It designer Ryan made a new CAUTION wallets, this time, with Japanese CAUTION tape, fun bottle cap rings and Chinese take-out boxes (for decoration). Lastly, Liz Abbott of Leatherette Heart created new Lady Gaga-esque headpieces with birds and feathers, along with her apparel and barrettes with kitschy charms.
SPECIAL THANKS: Sonja Rasula and the crew of Unique Los Angeles, California Market Center, J, the vendors, Sean and Celeste of 33 Stewart Avenue and sponsors.