Can you tell us a little bit about your space and how you utilize it?
My studio is a little building on the outskirts of Downtown Los Angeles near Echo Park. I basically do everything in the building except for making production runs of WELCOMECOMP ANIONS. It’s part showroom and part workroom and I try to keep it as flexible as possible. Eventually I’d love to be able to separate the showing and the working more since they are constantly battling each other for space. It’s also a bit of a library as I like to keep lots of books and my ever growing knickknacks collection around for inspiration and breaks.
Why the name WELCOMECOMPANIONS?
The origin of the name came from thinking about how much time we spend with our accessories and that they should be more like friends than just stuff we carry around.
What’s the story behind the start of your brand and the development of your aesthetic?
I’ve always been interested in our relationships with the objects and clothing that we surround ourselves with. WELCOMECOMPANIONS arose out wanting to literally play with those relationships by creating a little suspense through the objects- is it a hat or a handbag? It also came out of wanting to drive around with a strawberry or mouse in my passenger seat rather than a plain (albeit well-designed) bag.
Each collection is a story in itself. So, internally, they have a look among themselves. I suppose as a whole, the WELCOMECOMPANIONS aesthetic is both playful and abstract. I’m always interested in the glove coin purse, for instance, being recognizable as a glove yet also thinking very carefully about the detailing that makes it a coin purse rather than a normal glove. That’s where I think the abstraction comes in- I’m interested in details that are as minimal as possible and shapes that are just enough to communicate an idea let things get gaudy. And color- bright colors play a huge role! The colors communicate a whole spectrum of the emotion and tone of our stories.
What were you doing before WelcomeCompanions?
I was trained as an architect and before that I worked in editorial at an art magazine. Fashion had always been an interest, too. Both architecture and art definitely inform where I am now and WELCOMECOMPANIONS.
How would you describe the WelcomeCompanions girl?
I know you are supposed to as a brand have a singular “girl” but I find that the WELCOMECOMPANIONS “girl” is really a spectrum of “girls” or women even some men! There are those who fall for the pieces from a purely aesthetic point of view- the colors, the recognizable shapes, there are those that get drawn in by the stories, and then there are those get seduced by the details. All and all she’s a reader, probably loved Little House on the Prairie and The Borrowers and daydreamed a lot as a kid and now that she’s grownup and stylish and fancy and running things she wants some of that fantasy back.
Can you tell us about your latest collection?
The latest collection is called Two-Face and it plays with our perception of objects and how sometimes two different objects can share the same exact shape. So for example The Eye-Football Cross Body, an eye and a football are actually the same shape.
I’m really excited about the pieces that Nasty Gal is carrying, because it’s a sampling from a few different stories or collections and really shows our range so to speak. I’ve mentioned a few of the pieces already like the Glove Coin Purse and the Eye-Football Cross Body- the other one that’s in that group is one of my all-time favorites the Cocktail Toast! Carbs are the perfect side kick for a day out or a cocktail party. Then there are the animals from our collection Navy Yard. The Mouse Cross Body which is one of the most loved pieces and his friend the sophisticated Tortoise Handbag.
How did your collaboration with Miranda July come about? What was the inspiration behind it?
Miranda has been a big fan and supporter of WELCOMECOMPANIONS from very early on. I was working on the collection called Classics which was using “classic” handbag shapes and making holes in them and kinda acid-washing their colors. I realized that no classic handbag collection would be complete without a namesake bag like the Birkin or the Kelly and immediately thought of asking Miranda if she would want to collaborate on one. She said yes! The Miranda comes as a limited edition almost art piece that actually contains little pockets with the stuff Miranda carries around as well as a version that’s empty for all of our stuff. We decided that regular version should come in red and pink and black and pink in case people wanted to be a little more subtle with their color palette.
What are you hoping to bring to the world of fashion with WELCOMECOMPANIONS?
I hope WELCOMECOMPANIONS brings a bit of play into what’s ordinarily very serious. There’s a long history of playful fashion from Schiaparelli’s surrealist creations with Dali to Moschino in the ’80s. I hope I’m contributing to that lineage and continuing it.
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