INTERVIEW: ASHLEY JONES OF DIMEPIECE + RIDE MY VIBE

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There’s something about fashion designers Ashley Jones + Laura Fama. It’s DIMEPIECE. It’s the epitome of TEAMWORK. The Los Angeles based clothing label has been around the block for 7 years, and the progression of female empowerment through the brand’s urban-inspired fashion + accessories has churned a global aesthetic that’s second to none.

As LA CANVAS celebrates all things that go hand in hand to make a dream work, we salute the DimePiece Summer 2014 “Ride My Vibe” collection. Yet more importantly, a feverish interview manifested with lady boss, Ashley Jones — she dishes on what DTLA means for the brand, the advice she would give her designer self ten years ago, and her favorite quote you may be familiar with if you’re down with the DimePiece zest:

LA CANVAS MAGAZINE: What’s the rock behind your explosive fashion label, DimePiece?

ASHLEY JONES: DimePiece has been around for about 7 years now, we have been very fearless + experimental with designing and marketing our brand since the beginning.

LAC: Who’s the female that wears your brand?

AJ: The DimePiece girl is bold, fashionable and always carries strong opinions on various topics. Femininity is key, but she isn’t afraid of embracing her masculinity. She is influenced by music, art and everything creative.

LAC: Congrats on dropping the “Ride My Vibe” collection. Inspo, please!

AJ: Ride my Vibe was a simplistic take on streetwear here in Los Angeles. We wanted to bring a collection that merges popular influences in West Coast Culture with contemporary perspective on womenswear. The collection boasts a wide range of Summer 2014 MUST HA VES. Our favorite piece in the drop has to be our swimsuit immortalized with the image of West Coast’s most recognizable bad boy.

*If you don’t know who she’s talkin’ about, it’s Tupac.

LAC: Any collaborative or LA-based projects in the works we can keep on our radar?

AJ: Tons! We are working on some very special shoe collaborations for our lifestyle brand. We just started our visual DimePiece “State Of Mind” campaigns around the Los Angeles area Fairfax locations. Check them out while your driving. We are constantly working with new ideas + collaborations with international brands and we are planning a big launch party to release our new collection, online store and website. Stay tuned at @dimepiecela and www.dimepiecela.com. It’s very exciting for our team!

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LAC: What would you say to your designer self ten years ago?

AJ: Thats an AWESOME question. First things first — a ton of blood, sweat, and tears will go into your passions if you are consistently driven towards your goals. Always ask questions about apparel sourcing, designing, business advice, and ideas. Always surround yourself with amazing peers that will uplift your goals and dreams, stay positive and keep working hard. Keep a balance of business, fun and learning…never stop learning. Inspire others and inspire yourself.

LAC: And now?

AJ: THINK GLOBALLY in trends, fashion and business!

LAC: DTLA means a lot to you. How do you think fashion culture fits in that schematic?

AJ: Downtown LA is super special to us because of it’s amazing fashion resources and manufacturing companies that allowed us to grow our brand independently. The community of downtown LA is unlike anywhere in the world. People are constantly supporting each other, trading resources, talents and hard work. The Los Angeles creative community is buzzing with new energy and design juices! We are lucky and super happy to be a part of it everyday in the fashion district — watching new talents come in and help out is a beautiful thing to watch. We love DTLA. Our generation is going to leave a mark in the fashion industry for west coast culture.

LAC: Favorite part or time of the creative process?

AJ: I think the best part of the creative process in our industry is being able to create ideas and projects with your close friends. A fashion shoot, a graphic design for a print, an event or a fashion film. Truly, the best part of our creative process is being able to BUILD goals with your friends and peers.

LAC: What advice can you dish to some of the aspiring fashion designers and entrepreneurs out there?

AJ: Best advice I can give to fashion designers is too never stop trying. Find a niche of the market that you love and design towards that specific niche, street-wear, haute-couture, handbags, accessories, whatever you love go for it. Do something that other designers and brands aren’t doing and do it the best. Try your best and always keep positive and find solutions. Find a team and people that you vibe with and work hard with, only success will come out it!

LAC: What are you wearing right now besides your own creations? Who’s making you tick?

AJ: We love sportswear right now, mostly rocking DimePiece and vintage pieces. We’re definitely feeling the nostalgic 90’s throwbacks; Adidas, Nike, work out gear in sportswear.

LAC: Quote to live by:

AJ: “Love Don’t Pay The Bills”.

INTERVIEW: GUNS GERMS $TEAL

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Best friends and creative team, Smiley Stevens and Philippa Price, are the two designers behind one of the most bold and exciting menswear lines out there, Guns Germs $teal. Coming straight out of LA, a city that continues to struggle to find its own style identity besides tees and jeans (at least for mens), GG$’s innovative, bravado brand of dope, forward-pushing items are a much needed breath of fresh air. Just don’t call it streetwear. It’s menswear on a higher level. In a matter of two years, the brand has gone from a small accessory line to a complete clothing line that is now beloved by major artists like Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz, and Haim. Currently, the label is getting ready to debut at New York Fashion Week in early September.

Smiley and Philippa, both former models,  share their excitement as they chat with LAC to tell us more about their FW13 collection and the future of the brand.

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LAC: Ok, so you both met at a birthday party in the Lower East Side of NY. What connected you two?

GG$: Our height. We were both like, woah you’re awkwardly taller than everyone else here, cool, me too … let’s be friends. But we realized pretty quickly we shared a creative connection that exists on a different wavelength. We’re Soul Sisters.

LAC:  What eventually brought you to LA?

GG$: We both grew up here, so after college (mostly because we were broke) we moved back to LA. We still miss the grind and the energy of New York, but we know we wouldn’t be able to be doing what we’re doing if we had stayed out there. Besides, nothing beats L.A. weather. Mentally I don’t think we could handle the stress of starting a business on top of handling a New York winter … or a grimey New York summer for that matter.

GG$: Has LA changed the way in which you perceive menswear – would you be designing different items had you stayed in NY?

GG$: Our designs are whole heartedly and organically a product of the unique vision that the two of us share … I think this would be the same no matter where we were. We weave an eclectic range of experience and influence into each of our pieces and don’t consciously design with a certain type of person or trend in mind… in fact we try our hardest to stay away from that. Generally speaking, men’s style here is not exactly the best, but I think in that sense, being in LA has enabled us to really focus on developing our own style that remains true to the root of our vision.

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LAC: Let’s talk about your new collection. It has an impressive amount of elements that work so well together. It was difficult to describe it. I almost came around to calling it “conceptual sportswear.” How far would I have been?

GG$: Exactly as you say, we layer so many different elements and influences together in our designs, that our “style” is almost impossible to define. It’s funny because people have been trying to define our brand since we first started, and I don’t think we’ve even figured that out ourselves yet. Yes, this collection could definitely be described as “conceptual sportswear” but we wouldn’t say that defines GG$ as a whole … just wait till you see what we have coming for Spring / Summer 2014.

LAC: So what then would you say defines GG$ as a whole?

We don’t believe in definition–definition is what has divided people for the entire course of human history. The only thing our collection defines you as is confident.

LAC: What was the concept behind the collection?

GG$: For this collection we focused on the concept of the uniform. We explored everything from military uniforms to astronauts, sports uniforms to royal regalia, even the idea of skin as a uniform. We expanded our interpretation of the term “uniform,” focusing on the idea that even personal style over the past century has become a uniform, used to identify you with a certain division of our culture. We blend elements from all kinds of subcultures, creating our version of a universal uniform.

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LAC: Since showing the collection back in February at Project Las Vegas, what has been the feedback? 

GG$: We’ve received really great feedback from those who have seen the collection … it’s only just available to the public this week so we’re excited to see the reaction. We’re particularly excited about the pieces we created with our amazingly talented friend and photographer Brianna Capozzi. We used a few of her photographs on the neoprene sweaters in the collection which thus far have been everybody’s favorite. Combining her bold images with our neoprene silhouette created a really unique optical illusion when worn as clothing and we’re excited to see how people interpret that.

LAC: How does the collaboration dynamic work between the two of you and do you ever wonder if guys will really dig what two ladies are creating?

GG$: Day to day, Philippa handles most of the design while Smiley manages the company operations. The way we work creatively is very organic. One of us will come up with an idea, and the other will add a new dimension, and we will go back and forth until we reach something next level. We’ve come to trust our combined aesthetic so we don’t really worry about what guys’ reactions will be … when we both agree on something there is no question… we just know it’s TIGHT.

LAC: For what kind of guy do you make your clothes for? 

GG$: A guy with confidence. There couldn’t be anything more attractive than confidence (PLEASE NOTE: confidence is NOT the same as arrogance).

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LAC: Out of a long list of celebrities that already wear your items who would you say best exemplifies your line and who else can you see wearing your clothing?

GG$: That is such a hard question. It’s pretty much impossible to pin it down to one person… our pieces have already been worn by such an ecclectic range, from Kendrick to Rihanna, and of course our girls Haim and Brooke Candy. They are all people who’s individual movements we respect and who we feel are leaders in this verging culture movement of our generation… I think that in itself is what best exemplifies our line.

LAC: You went from making accessories to menswear, any plans on creating more womenswear?

GG$: Oh just you wait… clothing is just the beginning for GG$. Right now, we are really focusing on our mens collection but like we said, we have come to realize that we have a strong following of women who wear our clothes. With that in mind we have definitely been focusing on developing more unisex pieces and fits. You will see this in our Spring 2014 collection which we are getting ready to present at NYFW this September … in two weeks actually. Fuck!

LAC: Finally, when and where can we get our hands on the new collection?

GG$: We are launching the collection this Thursday at 424 Fairfax in L.A., and by the beginning of next week the collection will be available in a few select retailers around the world –

US: 424 Fairfax / American Rag / Extra Butter

UK: Browns London / Machine A

JAPAN: Nubian / GR8

The lookbook was shot by L.A. photographer Adri Law.

Photo of Smiley Stevens and Philippa Price is courtesy of Diane Abapo / SUSPENDMAG.COM

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