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Inside Steven Alan

A Visit with Boy + Girl

  • We recently caught up with Christine Chang, founder of children’s clothing label boy + girl, at her studio in Downtown Los Angeles:

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    Your collection is designed right here in Venice Beach and produced in Downtown LA. As a native Californian, was that a major priority for you?
    Yes, for sure. Sustainability is a key design ethos for boy + girl, so we think a lot about how to lessen our environmental impact. Everything from printing our hangtags with recycled paper and soy based ink to where we manufacture is top of mind. I wanted to create a brand with a soul, and a big part of that is staying true to my own beliefs.

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    The boys and girls lines go really well together, but they each have their own identity and aesthetic sensibility. Can you tell us about the inspiration for each?
    The boys line is really surf and skate inspired. He’s definitely a West Coast dude. I’m also in love with a lot of cool menswear and streetwear brands so you’ll see some of that influence as well. My girls line is more European. She has a really feminine look with fun prints and silhouettes that are just easy to wear. We like to style it really layered and mix/matchy. It’s more bohemian, like my own personal style.

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    You were previously at Ralph Lauren, ABC Home, and Nike. Was it challenging to make the transition into designing children’s clothes?
    Not really. I don’t design like a typical childrenswear person. I think of it as the same as designing a menswear or womenswear collection, then comb through it at the end with that kid state of mind. I make sure it’s comfortable, really wearable and practical. These little guys have a lot of energy so they have to be able to move in everything.

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    What’s the most daunting aspect of starting your own line? The most rewarding?
    I’m very much a “jump into the deep end” kind of person. But yeah, you have a million ideas about what you want it to be – going from inception to execution can be daunting to even think through. And there is so much out there! Fabric options, thread color, sew details . . . you have to edit, stay open-minded, but also have a really clear vision of what the product is going to be. Sometimes I flip through my notebook and come across a little sketch or just notes I jotted down months ago . . . it’s crazy to think that’s how it starts and really rewarding to see the end results! And of course having great shops reacting to the line is just amazing.

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    The natural fabrics you use are really beautiful and your designs feature subtle details not often seen in kids lines. What are your favorite materials to work with?
    Cottons and linens. Almost the entire Spring/Summer line consists of cottons and washed linens. Both fabrics wear really well and after we wash them they have this great vintage, worn-in, nubby feel. They get softer as you wear.

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    You once lived in New York. Is there anything you miss about it?
    I just got back from NY and I still miss that hustle and bustle. The cool thing about New York is how the design element is really at the root of the city. You can feel it everywhere from the way people dress to the way a shop is curated to how a restaurant looks and feels – they do such a good job of creating that special experience.

    Which coast is better? ;)
    No question, the West Coast is the best coast. California is where I grew up so it’s a huge part of me. There’s definitely a joie de vivre attitude over here that permeates through everything we do. And I’m just in love with the elements – the sun, the sand, the water. I live in Venice Beach and I just love that energy.

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    How would you spend a day off in the neighborhood?
    Wake up early, grab a California Sun from Moon Juice. Stretch it out in a yoga class, then take a walk to the beach and hang out with friends, people-watching and just enjoying the waves. Cruise around the little shops on Abbot Kinney, stopping by Gjelina to order a Michelada and enjoy it on their back patio. Browse the clothing racks at Steven Alan, furniture and amazing Mexican blankets at Surfing Cowboys and the coffee table books at Firefly. Then at the end of the day, pull up to the Tasting Kitchen bar with a big bowl of their spaghetti pomodoro and a nice glass of red wine.

    Many thanks to Chris! You can find boy + girl at our Tribeca, Venice, Brooklyn, and Fillmore stores and in our web shop.

    Photos courtesy of boy + girl

    This entry was posted on Monday, April 1st, 2013 at 5:54 pm and is filed under In Stock, New Arrivals. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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