In an age where great deals and two-day delivery are just a few clicks away, it’s easy to see how e-commerce conglomerates are thriving. Accordingly, it’s a brick-and-mortar shop’s main goal to bring a special touch to the retail experience. Inland, located in Venice, is taking it a step further by curating a commune of friends’ designs, while offering customization to each garment, bought there or otherwise, in-house.
Founded by Kristin Fedyk, previously with AUST, and her partner Alberto “Ruben” Hernandez, a third-generation milliner currently under the wing of Nick Forquet, Inland was spawned from a combination of opportunity and the couple’s desire to create with freedom.
“Inland is about us not caving to other peoples insecurities. It’s our confidence in the stuff we sell, and knowing that the person who gets the store will love our vision,” Fedyk says. “I want you to buy something here you won’t see anyone else wearing. We just want to create a personal swag, as cheesy as this sounds.”
Inside their shop off Venice Boulevard, you’ll find an eclectic mix for women and men. From clean-cut yet experimental Aussie brands like Acler, to the perfect sunglasses from LA-based Salt Optics, Fedyk and Hernandez have honed in on slightly under-the-radar brands doing unique things.
“We’re always going to look for new designers. We’re trying to get away from the non-supportive environment other retailers have. I’ve passed on labels I could have easily sold out of because I wanted to give money to someone hustling, and doing something that inspires me,” says Fedyk.
Another way the couple wishes to stand apart is by literal distance from the Venice shopping capital, Abbot Kinney. Where independent retailers used to fill the spaces before, developers and property owners are capitalizing on the once-present cool factor of the area by raising rents impossible to be met without big corporate dollars.
“Tourists kill the vibe of Abbot Kinney. It used to be one of the coolest streets in Southern California. Then it became really cheesy from the big brands and chains. The real locals with specialty stuff no longer can afford to be there,” says Hernandez.
Fedyk adds, “ I mean, a P.F. Chang’s is going in, and I love that shit…but it’s obviously a different place now.”
A few other names can be found on the city’s synonymous boulevard, yet with just being open a month, Fedyk and Hernandez are feeling the love from the surrounding neighborhood and community. The shop can be found with classic cars parked outside on the weekends, while hula-hooping ladies create buzz on a street utilized by locals and through car traffic. Hearkening back to the old days of Venice, Fedyk and Hernandez zero in on the original DIY-ness of the area, and people genuinely respond to that.
“My clients ask me where I get my clothes, and it was always things I’d done myself,” Hernandez says. “I figured out that I could open a back studio so we could customize and design the pieces we sold. It started with this flannel shirt, and we tore it apart with Jessica [the shop’s in-house seamstress]. People began asking about it, offering to buy it for ridiculous amounts of money off my back, and I knew we had something.”
No longer satisfied with fast-fashion’s mass appeal, the shopper looking to moderately invest in something unique and well-made can find solace in what Inland has to offer. Taking it a step further, their ability to tailor, add elements, or create from scratch something that you want done turns their backs on the ethos of throwaway culture.
“Maybe this will become the new way people shop. Come in, drop by and we’ll make something for you. It went from Amazon on your doorstep instantly, to being okay to wait three weeks for something that isn’t crap, and handmade just for you,” says Fedyk.
Likely to greet you by the door will be their lounging pit bull Biggie Smalls, and off to the left a terrarium sheltering their rescue tortoise Beyoncé. Too long of a story to be told here—go check in and ask about that one yourself.