Category - Spotlight On

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AK Showroom
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Bloom Showroom
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Footwear Designer- Jerome C. Rousseau

AK Showroom

I was so pleased to hear that one of my friends- Amy Kim had recently opened up a showroom in the Cooper Building. I had the pleasure of working with her and Jen O’Brian- the lovely showroom manager during LA Market Week (June 2012). Not only did I learn a different side of the fashion industry, but I also found some amazing brands that they rep: Isabel Lu, Lavuk, Seventh Wonderland, Dra Clothing, Spencer Lacy, The Bikini Thief and Kinship. Here is my little Q&A sesh with Amy…

LAFS: What inspired you to start your own showroom?

AK: I first came into the Fashion industry back in 2006 working as a sales manager for a denim company. And when I paid my first visit to a well-known showroom at the Marts back then, I knew that this was what I would be doing.

LAFS: What brands do you carry and why?

AK: d.RA Clothing. I first met the owner Diana Ra when she was launching d.RA and we connected right away. At the time, she had left the Head Designer position at Patterson J. Kincaid to start her own label – and I fell in love with d.RA instantly. I believed in the brand from the start and hope it achieves the fame it deserves.

LAFS Side Note: d.RA is one of this blogger’s fave brands in the showroom! Love the girly and chic tops, skirts and dresses in fab solids and fun prints! The quality is great and I could definitely see myself having fun mixing prints with this collection!

Isabel Lu. Having come from launching a few Korean-American owned brands prior to opening my Showroom, Isabel Lu was exactly the type of brand I was looking to add to our lineup. The Collection is beautiful, fashion-forward, yet affordably priced for Contemporary. The owner Jane Moon has many years of experience in the industry and is quite savvy in all aspects. A great partnership.

LAFS Side Note: Isabel Lu had some great leopard print separates that I love and some of those maxi dresses would look great in my wardrobe. Everything in the Isabel Lu brand is classy and chic, perfect for the office and dinner after!

LAVUK Los Angeles. I’m a big believer of eco-friendly and earth consciousness. When we first met with Natasha Gindin – the owner of LAVUK for the first time, we knew there was something very special about her and the brand. She brings such unique style and vision to the table which is incomparable other eco-friendly brands out there. Natasha and LAVUK are headed for stardom.

LAFS Side Note: I’ve known the LAVUK brand (and the lovely Natasha) for a few years now. I love the brand… because not only is it eco-friendly as Amy had mentioned, but I love that Natasha takes risks in cut or silhouette…and it looks great!

KINSHIP Made in LA. We’re always to looking for a great new potential brand to launch and cultivate. And what better line to do so with than a trendy, hip, and affordable knit Collection? KINSHIP covers everything from basics, novelty, and graphics – truly something for everyone. Creative Director Alex Vargas and his team bring 10 plus experience in the knits world and have been waiting to launch their own brand for quite some time. We are working towards KINSHIP being the next household name in the knits arena.

LAFS Side Note: KINSHIP is a great brand for your basics. Alex has some unusually fun cuts in the tops and sweaters. I found that the material was nice and comfy!

SpencerLacy. We really wanted to represent some Australian labels – as we know the Aussie brands are very hot in the USA right now. SpencerLacy is a beautiful contemporary collection which all the finer stores always gravitate towards. The Collection brings the cool Aussie vibe and translates them into very wear-able styles for women of all ages.

LAFS Side Note: LOVE SpencerLacy as well! Actually, come to think of it, I’m loving all the Australian brands that have come out so far. The brand offers amazing flowy chiffon dresses in solids and prints. Oh and the knits… I tried on this oversize sweater and wanted to curl up on the couch with a good movie and hot cocoa and just be ‘snug as a bug in a rug’! So yeah, the knits are luscious! Then they also have basics, like tops, leggings, etc.

Swim Division – starting July of this year, we have added a Swim Division to the Showroom. Here are the brands we currently represent: Bikini Thief. This is an adorable Swim Collection which is getting crazy recognition in the USA right now – having been featured in the Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Issues and also sponsoring top women’s athletes! The owner Whitney Andresen is a sweetheart and it shows in the Collection – which is very sweet, girly, feminine, with the right amount of sexiness. Look for an exciting project coming up soon with a supermodel for next Spring!

LAFS Side Note: I didn’t get the chance to view this line in person, but from the looks of it on the website, the suits look nice! It’s also 100% made in Los Angeles.

Seventh Wonderland. Here is an amazing Australian Swim Collection which we just could not pass up, and which inspired me to add the Swim Division to the showroom. Seventh Wonderland is a fast rising star in the USA Market as well, having being picked up by some prominent retailers this year. Look forward to growing their presence in the upcoming seasons and beyond.

LAFS Side Note: Again, didn’t get the chance to see the line in person, but this line looks pretty rad from what I’ve seen on their website. Gorgeous prints and cuts. They take swimwear a little step further….

LAFS: What makes AK Showroom stand out from other showrooms in your niche?

AK: I myself come from the Corporate Sales Managerial background – in which where I was not only in charge of sales, but learned the ropes from the manufacturer’s end. I firmly believe that this enables me to work with all of my brands more efficiently (having been on the other side) and in better conjunction to cultivate and grow sales. I hired Jen O’Brien as my Showroom Manager because not only does she bring almost 10 years of Showroom Sales experience – but has represented every type of brands out there ranging from high-end to lower-end. She is extremely hard working and truly remarkable. I feel very fortunate to have her heading on my team.

LAFS: What can we expect to see from AK Showroom in the future?

AK: An East Coast Showroom is in the works. We will be joining forces with ELR Media Group NY to combine Sales and PR for the brands we present. Our target launch date for the NY Showroom will be September of 2012!

LAFS: How might we contact you if we want to do pulls, etc?

AK: Phone Number: 213-239-0496 Jen O’Brien: jen@akshowroom.com Amy Kim: amy@akshowroom.com

Thank you so much Amy and Jen! I wish you both huge success in the showroom! So, dear readers, if you happen to attend any of the LA Markets, please pay AK Showroom a visit! AK Showroom is also on Facebook.

Bloom Showroom

In the heart of downtown LA’s historic district lies a quaint little showroom, tucked away in the owner’s residence in one of the historic buildings-turned-lofts. Bloom Showroom is independently owned by Jennifer Dermer and offers publicity and sales for emerging designers. Bloom’s mantra is to flourish or thrive. Bloom Showroom’s goal is to help the artists flourish and thrive in the fashion world…Helping new artists ‘bloom’… At this time, five lines are represented: Santina Lucce, Something Charming by Jolica, Lila Clare Jewelry, PERI and Casalinda Studio. The Lila Clare Jewelry collections were one of my faves when I toured the showroom. Each piece is made from eco-friendly sterling silver and other mixed metals, such as copper or 14K gold fill. Designer Clare Johnston draws her inspiration from her love of nature-from basking in the many acres of forest that was her backyard growing up in the mountains of North Georgia. There are three collections: Botanic, Luna and Joy. The Botanic collection focuses on nature in the Southwest with emphasis on the Prickly Pear Cactus. She casts their skeletons to form exquisite abstract cuffs, earrings and necklace pendants. The Luna collection is comprised of mixed metals that produce stunning combinations. The Joy collection offers impressions of lotus petals that are mixed with semi-precious gemstones. For more information, go to the Lila Clare website. The Santina Lucce line was unavailable to preview during my visit, but from what I can see from the images, the line is made for the modern bride. The line is made in America and takes reference from vintage and fine jewelry. So whether you need some fun and whimsical pieces to amp up your wedding attire or need some bling to jazz up your tee and jeans, then Santina Lucce should be on your list. For more information and to check out the images, go to the Santina Lucce website. Another cute jewelry line is Something Charming by Jolica. World-traveler and designer Jolica Taguiped became inspired by the native artisans in Europe, Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. After eight years of having her own shop, Jolica decided it was time to design jewelry full-time. She currently has three lines in the Something Charming collection: Lava, Nautilus and Mahjong. The Lava line is pieced with hand picked gemstones and Murano glass and individually crafted using the lost wax casting process. Jolica looks back at her French and Hawaiian roots for her inspiration for the Lava line. The lava flows on Hawaii’s Big Island are the heaviest influencers of the line. The Nautilus line offers a unique look with hand-hammered sterling silver before shell, gemstone or coral are added. The line is also inspired by Jolica’s love of the Nautilus shell. The Mahjong line is based off of the ancient Chinese game. For more information, please check out the Something Charming website. The last jewelry line and one of my other faves is Casalinda Studio. Casalinda Studio is an eco-friendly collection was founded in 2007 by mother-daughter duo Linda DaPra and Jennifer Dermer. The collection’s inspiration is based from California’s native flowers (influenced by the works of A.R. Valentien-who is commissioned by Ellen Browning Scripps to paint the endangered flowers), mudcracks and other natural wonders. The brand only uses recycled, reclaimed metals and fair trade, conflict free, recycled, reused or vintage semi-precious stones and beads. The brand’s goal is to create ‘guilt-less glamour,’ as explained by the brand, “California’s botanical, sea and geological diversity is an artistic treasure that is the motivation behind creating our pieces. We believe that we must all conserve this environment and preserve the diversity of life that exists here.” Casalinda Studio is based in San Diego. For more information, check out Casalinda Studio’s website. The last line represented is the eco-friendly clothing company- PERI Pure Eco Rag Industry. PERI founded the company in 2010 and is based in LA. She is inspired by her deep love for all the beautiful nature that surrounds her. The PERI motto is I am Organic, I am Biodegradable, I am recyclable. I loved checking out the clothes. The designs were simple yet cute and fun; from a navy-blue short sleeve jumpsuit with fuschia silk belt to a lovely ombre hi-low skirt. She has separates that work for every occasion, whether it be at the office or for a night out. Check out PERI’s website for more information. Check out Bloom Showroom via their new website!

Footwear Designer- Jerome C. Rousseau

Kindly move over Mr. Blahnik…There’s a fab footwear designer that everyone NEEDS to know about! LA-based Jerome C. Rousseau is the latest “IT” designer to hit the mainstream with his impeccable taste of unique silhouettes. Jerome is like ‘the guy next door’ and quite delightful. So, I was honored when he invited me over to his new studio in Hollywood one afternoon to catch up (from our first introduction at MAGIC back in August). The studio space was still being renovated at the time, but the majority of the work was done. All the shoes had their respective places on the shelves, so it was easy to pour over them. Jerome was kind enough for show me some of the other shoes that weren’t at MAGIC and showed me some sketches for his Spring 2012 collection. All I can say is: Bellisimo!!! Seductive femininity at its finest! We also had a more in-depth discussion about his line, which launched in Fall 2008. His fascination of shoes and design started back in the 90s, when he saw the band, Deee-Lite on MTV and noticed their platform shoes. It was during an art class in high school, when he found himself drawing the shoes from the video and realized that he wanted to design shoes. He studied at Cordwainers College and worked for several shoe designers in London before moving out to Los Angeles. It turned out to be a great move for him, because things took off- from a feature in British Vogue to Charlize Theron wearing a pair of his shoes. Inspiration for his collections vary from season to season. He doesn’t do any research, he credits whatever he’s loving a few months beforehand (whether it be a painting, a musician, a sculpture, artist- Kazimir Malevich, muse- Siobhan Fahey and being in California…) and uses that for some inspiration. He loves designing peep-toe booties and loves simplicity and simple peep-toe pumps (especially the ones that show just the right amount of toe cleavage). Fans of the peep-toe staple include: Charlize Theron, Cameron Diaz and Katie Holmes. What makes the Jerome C. Rousseau brand stand out among other high-end shoe brands is that inspiration is very important to him. Also, the cut and silhouette of the shoe makes it very distinctive, like where it’s cut and where it hits the foot. Prices for the line range from $495-1,200…depending on material. The Spring 2012 collection is inspired by British artist, who is based in New York- James Nares. Jerome loves the simplicity of the large paintings and the richness in the colors and shapes. He mentioned that the collection will be minimal and feminine, but also a little flirty (with some references to Marilyn Monroe as well). Boutiques in LA that carry Jerome C. Rousseau include: Arcade on Melrose, Madison in Beverly Hills, Fred Segal in Santa Monica and Saks 5th Ave in Beverly Hills. For more information on the brand, go to his website. To schedule an appointment, etc., email Ali at: Ali@jeromerousseau.com. Thanks again for having me stop by, Jerome, Ali and Renee!

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