& Other Stories Sets Up Third Atelier in Los Angeles
H&M's sister brand, which launched in 2013, already has existing design studios in Paris and Stockholm.
Four months after opening its first boutique in Beverly Hills, & Other Stories, an H&M sister brand, is expanding its L.A. presence — this time with a design studio that's just as airy and luxe as its store.
The light-soaked, high-ceiling atelier is located in the same building as Hollywood hotspot Catch L.A. on Melrose Avenue. The brand, which launched in 2013, already has existing ateliers in Paris and Stockholm. However, & Other Stories managing director Samuel Fernstrom felt there was a missing piece to the design puzzle.
"We very soon realized that to get to some diversity, we needed to have prime colors in our collection. Not actual prime colors, but you know, if you have red, yellow and blue, you can make any color by mixing those, so to show that, we needed two different cities to design in. Because if you're sitting in one place, that will affect your design a lot," Fernstrom tells The Hollywood Reporter during our visit to the space. "Quite early on, we realized there was a missing part, and that's the collection we have here today."
Among the pieces on display from the L.A. collection included metallic gold separates (a single-shoulder ruffled gold top and matching skirt) made for the ladies headed to afterparties; a pink, ruffled long-sleeve top with a peep-hole neckline designed for the playful creative; and a coordinating velvet varsity jacket and skirt that gives a nod to Americana sportswear.
"We're L.A. women designing for L.A. women," says Caity Knox, an & Other Stories designer based in the L.A. design studio. Adds fellow designer Dakota Solt: "[Our customers] can fill all aspects of her wardrobe for any occasion or any adventure she goes on, from day to night. Wherever she may be, we want her to be able to create her own personal look."
In contrast to the romantic designs from Paris and minimalist creations from Stockholm, the L.A. range offers crop tops, denim cutoffs, cozy knitwear, print dresses and tops with shoulder cutouts — the typical essentials of dressing like a Cali girl on the go. & Other Stories has always included L.A. as part of its narrative, having collaborated with Los Angeles-based Rodarte and Clare V in the past.
The L.A. atelier, which currently houses about 30 employees, sits on the second floor with an open kitchen space that features a long wooden dining table with matching stools, shelves decked out with indoor plants and coffee table tomes, and a patio space that overlooks the busy intersection of San Vicente Boulevard and Melrose Avenue.
Out of all the places to choose as its L.A. studio, Fernstrom says that Melrose was the ideal location because it's "where you see your typical L.A. women. Here we have a mix. If you go to Catch, you see one kind of look. If you go to Gracias Madre or Urth Caffe, you see another look." He considered downtown L.A. as a possible location, however, "that's much more European, so it wouldn't make sense to have an atelier in L.A. and see kind of a European look all day."
"L.A. is a very allowing city that embraces different personalities and creative directions," he added. "There's a blossoming creative culture here that spans over many fields — fashion, art, movies and music. Perhaps it’s the casual California aesthetic, the slower pace and the sunshine that draws talented people in. Being here, you become part of the American dream."
Guests, including Grace Gummer, Sasha Spielberg, Langley Fox and Rodarte's Kate Mulleavey, were invited to the space Thursday night to celebrate the launch of its first collection designed in L.A, which will be available at all & Other Stories locations and stories.com, starting March 30.