Fifteen years after Rick Owens launched his eponymous knitwear line in Los Angeles, the once style-challenged city has transformed into a fashion mecca. The LA landscape is now dotted with burgeoning talents—such as Endovanera, J Mary, Raquel Allegra, Franklin + Gower—while stores like Church, Zainab and Unholy Matrimony have become boutique tastemakers and big designers increasingly look out West for inspiration. In the midst of this boom, 5From California is a new collective that’s determined to blow LA stereotypes out of the water—on a global scale.
Comprised of Katy Rodriguez, Jenni Kayne, Emily Jerome, Gregory Parkinson and Jerome Rousseau, the group has an independent spirit and edgy approach that will quickly influence the fashion world at large. Longtime friends Rodriguez and Parkinson launched the collective out of a desire for more control over how their collections were presented and sold. Jerome, a designer and recent LA transplant, was introduced to the group by Rodriguez’s muse, Jessica Joffe, while Barney’s Michelle Smoot recommended Rousseau and the group organically grew to include Jenni Kayne. “We love L.A and wanted to include other people we like,” Parkinson explains of the way her brainchild has grown.
For seven days during Paris Fashion Week, 5From California showed in the heart of the Marais at an art gallery called Galerie DIX9. Buyers from Harvey Nichols, Barneys, Le bon Marche and Browns dropped by, along with editors from Vogue, Marie Claire, UK Elle and LUCKY. A subsequent follow-up event was held at LA’s Palihouse, where everyone from WWD to Style.com dropped by for a sneak peek at the designers’ looks for fall.
The members of 5From California represent what is unique about the LA landscape, and, increasingly, its the fashion scene as well—an eclectic combination of music art, international residents, an emphasis on the natural world as well as access to the glitz and glam of Hollywood. “I gather inspiration from various other places and references, but it is here that I get to develop the ideas and concepts that shape my collections,” confesses Rousseau. For Emily Jerome, on the other hand, LA fostered a desire for design: “I felt like I had nothing to wear and couldn’t find exactly what I wanted , so I made my own clothes!”
LA still has a ways to go before becoming a serious fashion capital, but with 5From California and its peers’ flurry of talent and activity, it’s not all that far away.