6 Brands We Loved at the Axis Trade Show
Whitney Brown and Paloma Jonas, Founders/Designers/Brand Managers for Valentine, at Axis 2015
A guy at this year’s first annual Axis trade show asked me, “How can you decide what you like when there are hundreds of vendors and stands here?”—and he had a good point. The show was crazy. Everyone in attendance was gorgeous, smart and had developed unique companies (like eyewear chains? what?)—but these brands clearly stuck out, not only for their merch, but the people behind them. Get to know Valentine, RVCA, Olympia, Trussit, Private Party, and Beach Riot right now, so we can see you at Axis next year!
“We [along with co-founder Paloma Jonas] wanted to start a business together, but we didn’t know what we wanted to do. We met when we were 19 years old, on a modeling job, and became really good friends. I kind-of convinced her to move to the U.S., and she started making a ton of money as a model. That was 10 years ago! We’ve both always had an entrepreneurial sense…I used to sell vintage clothes, and she had a jewelry line. So we started with an interview blog, and were like “Okay, we’re going to go interview the cute guy at the coffee shop, and see what he’s like when he’s at home, or talk to the cool DJ and see what she’s like when she’s not wearing makeup and leather”. The more we did these interviews, we realized how personal and kind of romantic they were! So we got into lingerie. The blog is still happening, and now the girls on the blog wear the lingerie. The Valentine girl is definitely healthy, and a free spirit. Our sizes definitely cater to a more petite customer, only because we don’t make our bralets with underwire! Actually, girls with fake boobs love our bras. They’ve already got the boobs, so they just want something pretty and comfortable. To design our line, we look for really beautiful, high-quality fabrics. And we stay classy with our colors. We probably won’t be doing anything with neon anytime soon…I want to approach lingerie from a completely new place. I want to do guerilla marketing, I want to do speed-dating parties, I want to do real life installations. I want to make lingerie approachable!” – Whitney Brown, Founder
“RVCA started as an art brand, about 10 or 12 years ago, as a program to create a platform for artists to share their work. We work with artists to get their names and work on our clothes, so you can recognize we’re not just buying and distributing the work for our own good. The mantra of the brand is the balance of opposites; the RVCA woman is a little edgier, she has her own opinion on what she wants to look like…she doesn’t follow, she leads. And we see that women want that; the reinvestment in the women’s line has proven it’s success in numbers alone.” – Lauren Holtz, North American Sales Manager
“I went to design school in San Francisco, and worked as a window dresser for Louis Vuitton when I got out of school, but decided I would really rather work for myself! I always knew I wanted to be a creative, and do something with my design skill. I grew up in Hawaii, so I was always hiking, or visiting a waterfall, but the activewear idea actually came out of necessity. When I was in San Francisco, I got really into spin classes—and this is pre-Soul Cycle and whatever—and whenever I’d look for clothes, I couldn’t find anything. I wanted to make functional pieces that fit my aesthetic. We launched a year ago!” – Kaili Lickle, Founder and Designer
Daniella Pavicic: Yeah! We met at Coachella—we had mutual friends, and we loved each other right away, and the next day we came up with the idea to make eyeglass chains. We were like, wouldn’t these be great at music festivals?
Rasha Balbaa: I had one of these from Spain, but really old, like from my grandmother, and Daniella loved it, and we thought, oh my god, we should really do this.
D: So after we left Coachella I was like okay, I’m serious about this, so I went to a jeweler in downtown Los Angeles, and said, I want to do something jewelry-inspired.
GM: That is so cool. Do you guys have a background in jewelry?
R: Nope, I’m in hospitality.
D: Not at all, I’ve been in the music business most of my life, but I have a business degree, and I know about product development, and have a candle and fragrance line called 4D. I’ve always loved creating things. The name Trussit is actually—we wanted to come up with a name that meant what it did, so you know, a Trussit comes from—not only like “trust it”, but a truss is the structure of a building. We wanted our customers to be able to trust our brand.
6. Beach Riot
“I’ve always loved the beach, and always wanted to work for a swimwear company, but I never got hired, so I decided to start my own! I wanted to create pieces that transition from the beach to the street. Internships in college were really helpful for me, as well as all of my experience in the working world, have really helped to figure out how to run my own company. I actually still do all the designing and PR. I follow a lot of fashion bloggers, and I get most of my inspiration through Instagram, especially by looking at different street style. I like Danielle from WeWoreWhat, she’s one of my favorites!” – Nicole Hanriot, Founder
Don’t forget to check our Bombshell Tee collab with BeachRiot—check it out here.