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"CHOOSE CHINATOWN" Boutique Grand Opening 2/13/09
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Chinese New Year's Carnival and Fashion Show
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Rock Madness Fashion Show @ BoxEight 1/31/09

"CHOOSE CHINATOWN" Boutique Grand Opening 2/13/09

Nestled in the heart of Chinatown on Gin Ling Way, amidst the kitschy shops selling Chinatown souvenirs, is a narrow boutique, who’s only advertisement is its name, “Choose Chinatown” stenciled in white lettering on the windows.  They were having their Grand Opening on Friday the 13th.After a hearty dinner at Hop Louie, my friend and I arrived at the boutique. Since it was still fairly early, not many people were there, but that meant I was able to connect with the sales people and the owners on a more personal level. There were rows of Tecate set up on the front counter, beckoning for the arriving patrons to grab and quench their thirst. Meanwhile, DJ RoRo was playing the latest hits at his booth set up in the corner.

I met up with the owners of the “Pop-Up” shop, as they referred to it, Raymond Tseng and Jason Gillix. The concept of “Choose Chinatown” began about 3 ½ to 4 years ago, when the slogan was just on t-shirts. A friend of Ray’s designed the logo, while the slogan was based off of “Choose Life” during World AIDS Day. Seeing that the neighborhood kids were sporting them and that they were just selling well in general, they decided to open a boutique. They sell the brands, Cheap Monday and WKND. WKND is only sold in Europe, but they had the line shipped to their store. During these tough economic times, the prices aren’t bad either. Price points range from $20- $250. The best selling item, being the jeans, sell for $70 and the “CHOOSE CHINATOWN” tees sell for $20.

The designers of the installation were also there, Alex Chew and Danielle Wagner of the firm, All that is Solid. They came up with the idea of a playful, kitschy pop-up store that geared towards the target audience of the youth of this generation. I thought the balloons that decorated the ceiling were a fantastic idea. The total layout of the space was very modern and contemporary, with those little kitsch surprises displayed throughout. They told me that from concept to design, it took about a month, with the installation taking about a week. Check out www.allthatisolid.net for further information. 

Note: The owners of “Choose Chinatown” also own “Lion’s Den” and “Welcome Hunters”, also in Chinatown. For more info, please visit www.choosechinatown.com.  Choose Chinatown is located at 441 Gin Ling Way, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

Special thanks to Jose Garcia for letting me drag him out with me to the opening after work and on Friday the 13th….

Chinese New Year's Carnival and Fashion Show

This post is going to go a little differently. Mainly because I was modeling in the show. My dear friend, Rebekka Lien was showcasing ten to fifteen of her designs at the Chinese New Year’s Carnival held at Mandarin Baptist Church of Pasadena in Arcadia. After the show, I emailed her questions about her inspirations, etc and I’m going to post it like a Q & A. 

Q: So Rebekka, what was the inspiration of your collection? 

A: The collection consisted of all the pieces that I made in the last 2 years.  There isn’t one inspiration in my collection- but I would definitely say that what inspires me is the abundance of life.  I am constantly amazed at what life throws at me, at times bad, at times good.  However, it is the tears and joy of life, that overall encompasses my work. I love color, prints, and believe that fashion is all about being yourself!

Q: Did you have a theme in mind when designing the collection? 

A: The theme was “I Love My Models!”  Honestly, I was not so concerned about getting my name out there or showing my designs, but I really wanted everyone to have a blast.  I was mostly concerned about my models and the audience.  I picked music, hair- dos, wacky colors and fun accessories so that it would create the most “wow” effect.  I also loved how my models weren’t professional, I wanted them to have fun dancing and just being themselves. So I think my theme was probably “The Unique You…Fully Enjoying Life”.

Q: How did you hear about the venue

A: The carnival coordinator and good friend of mine had asked me to do it.  I was psyched because it would be my first fashion show.  I also wanted the show to be enjoyable and theatrical.  Thus, while I was planning the blue prints of the show, I decided to include freestyle dancing and skits to go along with it.

 

Indeed, the show was a blast! I met new people and walked another runway, while being able to break lose and just have fun. (Ok, so I was a tad-bit shy. No break dancing for me…but…) I do want to shout-out to the designer herself, Rebekka, her brother, the people that were at the MBCP that day and of course, the models!!!

If you would like more information and to buy her amazing designs, check her out at: http://rebekkalien.wordpress.com or email her at : rebekkalien@gmail.com.

Photos courtesy of: Rebekka Lien!!

Rock Madness Fashion Show @ BoxEight 1/31/09

 What does an awesome hairstylist, “Hollywood’s Notorious Fashion Coordinator”, photo shoots and a fashion show have in common? Why “Rock Madness Fashion Show” at BoxEight Studios in downtown Los Angeles, of course! And it was hosted by Joseph Rene and Parris Harris.

I arrived a little after four, parked my car and walked into the bustling warehouse- turned- photo studio. Models were milling around or in make-up with Joseph Rene and Parris was running all over the place, making sure everything was in order. I made my way to the back of the place, and ran into my friends Jenny, who was modeling Trendy Rags and her friend, Crystal. I just love it when you go to industry events and you see the same people over and over again. It’s like we’re all one big, happy family! Kudos to the fashion industry!

Now, on to the important stuff! Let’s meet some of the ‘fahbulous’ people that helped put this unique show together. Joseph Rene, celebrity hair stylist and Executive Producer of the show. Joseph had a lot of energy through-out the night, despite being up until 3am, making the hair extensions for the models. He, along with Parris, came up with the “Rock Madness” idea three months prior to the show. He was approached by Trendy Rags to do a a live photo shoot and fashion show. And of course, the show was something that I’ve never seen before and it turned out to be a huge success.

The other co-producer, Parris Harris and I had to meet up for coffee, due to him being extremely busy the night of the show. His inspiration for the show was hot men and women and energy mixed with ‘fantasticness’ all at the same time. He and Joseph wanted to have a 70’s and 80’s theme. The wildness of the 70’s along with the make-up of the 80’s. They chose Trendy Rags and David Kahn Jeanswear as the featured designers of the event.

Trendy Rags is owned by Jimmy Lee and offers two lines, “Motor City Legends” and “Fresh and Famous”. This is the third event for Lee, however, he’s done other shows at major Hollywood clubs. He manufactures here in LA, not far from BoxEight. Motor City Legends is influenced by rock, whereas Fresh and Famous has an 80’s influence. The colors are bright and the garments have an urban and street feel to them. The lines include: tees, hoodies, thermals and will eventually feature denim. The tee from Fresh and Famous that stated, “Recession My Ass” was especially made for this show. (And is one of my favs!) Trendy Rag tees range from $75- 600. Check out Jimmy Lee’s brands at www.trendyrags.com, www.freshandfamous.com, and www.motorcitylegends.com.

The fashion duo chose David Kahn Jeanswear as the other designer because Parris loved that the flared jeans were 70’s and the skinny jeans were more 80’s, sticking to the theme of course. I spoke with Alesia Poynter, representing Mr. Kahn, who had a meeting that evening. She was quite helpful when I asked about the line. Mr. Kahn  met Parris through a myspace ad last year. David Kahn is known for making women feel beautiful and comfortable in the jeans. He’s fitting women ranging from twenty to sixty years old. The jeans have just enough stretch in them that anyone can wear them.  They also manufacure here in LA. The jeans are made from Japanese and Italian Premium Denim. They retail at $150-200. The line is viewable at www.davidkahnjeanswear.com.

I enjoyed the energy of the night… as a budding photographer myself, it was exciting watching the main photographer/owner of BoxEight, Peter Gurnz shoot the models strutting down the runway to the loud, pulsating music by  DJ Joe and then have a “mini-shoot” at the vintage car parked at the end of the runway.

 

Special Shout-Out’s to: Dominic (Make Me a Supermodel), Tiffany Pollier (I Love NY), Mo (Mo’s Models), iModels, Sense Magazine, BoxEight Studios (www.boxeight.com), Bliss Tea, Jeff Knight Photography

EXTRA NOTES: You can reach Joseph Rene at www.josephrenesalon.com. Parris Harris is also a designer, he has a line named, “Punk Mail”, which is mainly reconstructed garments. Check out all of Parris’s “dysfunctional function” at www.justintv.com/parrisharris, www.myspace.com/phashiontv and www.parrisharris.com.

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