Tag Archives: Arts District

Meet our Neighbors: emily elliott

How long has it been since Townsen started and how has the response been?

It’s been about a year and it’s really good. We’ve booked orders with with Nordstroms, Saks, and Bloomingdales, and all the majors and sell through has been really good. You can buy it in store at those retailers or online at revolve and shopbop.

How did you start designing? 

I started designing clothing after college. I had done a mixture of things,  fine art, graphic design, fashion design in Paris and some business classes. I always knew I wanted to work in the fashion industry. I had to review my portfolio with someone for school credit. My friend Sean Woolsey worked at Hurley and knew the women’s designer there ands she offered to review my portfolio. From that point she asked if I wanted an internship after I graduated and it kinda just fell in my lap. Hurley wasn’t really where I wanted to be but that’s just kind of where home was and I started off there. For four years I designed their women’s line while I was there. My friends Amber and Jenny approached me about a new job designing a knit line in LA. My Boss now, called me and one thing led to another and I basically was offered my dream job.

How did you end in the Arts District? 

I thought I would never get the job, within two weeks and many phone conversations I had the job. It happened so fast. I had to learn everything from scratch. I had never produced anything in LA, I had never started a company. There’s 20 people at Hurley doing what I do now. My husband Ian’s company, Sew, worked in this building in the Arts District. I need a space and there was one open so I jumped on it. I had to find pattern makers in LA, sewers, cutters, fabric vendors, etc. . Building the first sample line was a huge challenge, lets just say I learned a lot in the first six months…

What do you think is different about designing in Los Angeles than other cities?

Working in downtown LA is always an adventure. Lots of hidden treasures and great people willing to work.

Hopefully we are designing clothes that girls feel confident and inspired to be in and help represent something about them.
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Meet our Neighbors: Ted Vadakan & Angie Myung

Why did you guys start Poketo? 

We started Poketo in 2003 and at the time we were basically seeing our artists friends finding it tough to sell original art because it was cost prohibitive and people like us couldn’t afford it. So we decided to have an art show and invite our friends to be apart of the show. Instead of just having art on the wall we created a product with their art on it, which was the wallet. It was something that people could walk away with from the show. Angie was in art school at the time at CCA and we used all their facilities, staying up all night making them. We had the show and it ended up being one of the awesome and magical nights in San Francisco. The wallets totally sold out and we went home that night knowing we had to do another one. That energy kicked off another series, and then another. But, we wanted to explore the idea of “art for you everyday” and we didn’t just want to make wallets. So we got into apparel, housewares, stationery, and all kinds of products that fit into our lives. We’ve been building on this idea of “art for your everyday” for the past 10 years online and now for the first time in the brick and mortar Poketo store.

What made you guys decide to open a store?

Opening a store has always been a dream of ours. Our current location was the first and only spot we ever looked at and it just felt right so we took it. We had been in the Arts District for the last 5 years and absolutely love the neighborhood. Everyone is so supportive and this area is only growing. Every year we’ve been able to establish ourselves more and more in LA and online. We’ve always wanted to do this and this time it just felt perfect so we moved our operation and opened up the front of the space as a store and a gallery.

I guess we are very traditional in that way, that we love the human contact and getting to meet people in person. We love having events and getting the community together and we’ve always wanted a permanent space where we can do whatever we wanted to so this is a great spot for it.

What do you think is unique about having your brand in Los Angeles?

There’s so much energy in LA it feels limitless. It’s so big and yet there’s a really strong sense of a community. People are really stoked about working together and doing things. Especially in the Arts District, there are so many creatives doing so many different things, it’s amazing being part of the growth and energy that is happening here.

How do you feel being open now for the past couple days?

It’s so exciting seeing so many people loving it. They come in and they immediately say “Wow, this space is amazing!” and how much they love everything about the store. They are so excited about it and I’m feeding off their energy.

When can people come by? 

The Poketo Store is at 820 E. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, 90013. We are open 7 days a week Monday-Friday from 12-7pm Saturday and Sunday 11-7pm. So come on down!

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Meet our Neighbors: Jeremy Williams

Why did you start District Millworks?

I grew up re-modeling homes in Hollywood and a friend and I decided to open our own cabinet shop to service the needs of our construction work. instead of buying furniture and cabinetry we decided to make our own stuff and our pieces somehow got popular. The next thing you know we are a business making furniture.

How did you end in this mansion in 3rd street?

A friend of mine in the Arts District lives in Ierland half the year so we rented out half of his studio across the street from here. That’s actually how we found out about this neighborhood. I found out about this building cause it was across the street. I tried to get it for a long time… it took me two years to get this place. It use to be a janitorial supply company and the owner of the building had it filled with mops and brooms and other things. So when I grew out of my other space with my artist friend naturally this was the closest and best place, and we moved in here 2.5 years ago.

Why do you think your business does so well in Los Angeles, California?

I think most of Los Angeles is turning into a place that is becoming very eco conscious. I think our furniture works because we mainly recycle building structures, wine barrels, flooring, bowling lanes, we recycle stuff. People here are drawn to that idea.

We take things and turn them into other things. We take a bowling lane from nebraska and turn it into a dining room table in Nashville. We take a wine barrel from napa valley and turn it into a bed in Austin, and so on.

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meet our neighbors: matt locke

How did you get into art and interior design?

It always came naturally, just what I did. When I was four years old my parents often found me at 3am on the kitchen floor drawing pictures of aliens and far-away worlds. For a while they thought I WAS an alien. At five I announced I was redoing my room around a table design I had – glass top, Baskin-Robbins ice cream bins for legs. As a teenager at home I made my own furniture, and at school painted murals on the walls for extra credit. My dream was to live in a big concrete building in the downtown of a huge city, making art and designing and building things, which I now do.

Though I got a degree in history from Princeton, I went to art school the year before and design school the year after. I always knew I’d be in art and design but I worked a telecom job back in my native Colorado for years to pay the bills. That job allowed me to design and build my own house, but I still wasn’t satisfied doing art and design only on the side. I sold the house and almost everything in it to move to LA in 2005, and that’s the best decision I made.

Why is it unique to be an artist and interior designer in Downtown Los Angeles compared to other cities?

This city has more raw talent per square mile than any other city on earth. In just my little neighborhood alone are architects, fashion designers, woodworkers, metal smiths, photographers, writers, and even the CNC machine that brought my NYC map to life. I can produce my art and have pieces made for my design clients without even getting in my truck. That’s just not possible anywhere else. The other amazing benefit to LA is that people here have money to spend on art and design, and are quite friendly in making connections and helping each other out. I’ve never found Downtown to be the plastic superficial world stereotyped in movies. This is more like a small town of working people who lend each other a hand, like really glamorous Amish who use electricity.

What does you typical day look like?

No matter what I’ve done to fight it, I am a night owl to the core. As long as I don’t have to start my real work day before 10am, I can do ANYTHING. I usually start at the computer with email, invoicing, scheduling, and lately photo editing and collage-making. I have meetings around town mid-day and afternoons, and then I work diligently on projects well into the night, breaking only for the gym. It’s not unusual for me to work until 1am, not noticing the time pass, especially while making maps in Illustrator. For the last seven years, I’ve worked six days a week, taking Sunday to do nothing but eat delicious food, see friends, and go to the movies. The boundary between my work and personal life is incredibly blurry; my clients become my close friends, and I have no problem responding to texts and work emails until midnight. I guess that’s how I know I’m doing what I truly love!

It’s essential that the Arts District remain a place of art and creativity and not simply become just another fashionable neighborhood.

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Meet our neighbors: Shea Parton

Why did you start Apolis?

My brother and I grew up in Santa Barbra and our parents knew that we would never know how good we had it. So from an early age we traveled quite a bit and all the travels we we were expecting all these difference. Language barriers, currency, even plug outlets, but we were blown away by all the similarities everyone has the desire to laugh and learn and provide for your family. And what we really stood out to us about how to provide for your family was a proverb that our parents taught to us, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” and what we saw through our travels is that there are plenty of well trained fisherman, but very few that have the right bait in the right pond. So we had come home from quite a bit of traveling and decided to connect a clothing business that could really connect developing economies to the market place with more relevant products and doing that in such a way that we connected to a wider audience and a stronger market. We anchored it to the word Apolis which translates to global citizen. We have seen through these travels that all people are created equal and should have equal access to opportunity.

Why did you set up shop in Downtown Los Angeles?

This is our first space and we’ve just known that there is no need for another retail environment. Today’s world is online. To think someone wants to get in a car, go through traffic, find a parking spot, take off their clothes, try on clothes, go home, show it their significant other, find out their significant other doesn’t like it, and have to go through the whole process to return it is extremely overrated. So we just thought of really wanting to create regionally specific
retail environments starting here in Downtown Los Angeles. Being in the Arts District we thought a gallery was really relevant and doing it in such a way that its adaptable to key note presentations, gallery expeditions, collection releases, films, dinner parties. Just to make it a cultural embassy for what we consider global citizens.

Tell me about the Uganda project?

We spent a lot of time with the founders of Invisible Children, specially in Northern Uganda and we’ve been blown away with how intentional they are with their programs on the ground. The cotton innovative has really come out of Northern Uganda being one of the most fertile locations in Africa, yet for the past 20+ years the industry of fertile their agriculture has just been put on hold due to safety with the rebel group LRA. Now that they have made progress to make the agriculture more accessibly with the LRA being closer with central Africa. Invisible children has really seen an opportunity to invest in the industry of cotton. We have worked closely with a mill in Jinja to create a 17.5 ounce canvas that we have created 700 units of the philanthropist briefcase. To utilize 7 farmers entire yield of cotton.

We build opportunity with a goal of doing it locally as well as globally. Locally we have worked with artisans in a 10 mile ratios of our space here in DTLA to really put a name and a face to really celebrate the people who make our product as well as the people who are owning our product. Seeing it globally is within these projects we have dubbed advocacy through industry where we are wanting to really show the social impact of projects in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Israel and Uganda and annually index the impact of jobs and the opportunity its created through employment.

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