Fashion Grind Through The Eyes of Kill City
My name’s Samira Larouci, something very interesting happened recently, upon boarding a plane from London Heathrow to Los Angeles, I met an endearing gentleman with his team of sales advisors from Kill City Clothing. After brief moments of style curiosity and conversation, we immediately clicked and decided a collaboration was undoubtedly necessary. With my roots firmly planted within the punk scene from a young age, I was immediately drawn to the brand and ethos. With such an interesting back story, inspirational entrepreneurialship and a firm DIY ethic combined with contemporary design and sometimes controversial messaging, to be offered the opportunity to write for such a stand alone brand - I couldn’t resist! The more I’m delving into the brand, the people, the clothing.. the more I need to share with you- the customer, the sartorialist, the style admirer, the underdog, the rebel, the non conformer… this is a brand which speaks volumes and I want to convey their message through the eyes of the people behind the scenes.
To kick start my contributions, I’ve done a brief interview with Drew Bernstein; The founder, owner and beating heart behind the brand itself.
Q. Hello Drew, first off can you give me some background information on how you originally started the brand?
A. Kill City was started in 2005, stemming from my background with the already successful Lip Service brand, my history and focus on underground subcultures and scenes within fashion motivated me to move onto street wear. Kill City maintains the underground feel but with better quality fabrications and refined detailing, aimed to target somebody that has grown from the subculture movement into a more contemporary, edgier style.
Q. What’s the current inspiration behind your up and coming collection?
A. The idea behind our up and coming collection is to keep it edgy- contemporary lines with a punk aesthetic. More graphic tees , subversive messaging and generally just pushing the envelope with statement pieces. Our aim is to add more attitude to classic pieces, get our voice out the there and ruffle some feathers.
Q. As we’ve discussed how encompassing music and fashion are, what are your current Top 5 tracks?
1. Coconut Records- West Coast
2. Klaxons- Golden Skans
3. Hellacopters- Rescue
4. Phantogram- Don’t Move
5. MGMT- Pieces of What
Q. Having visited the offices in Downtown LA, there are definitely some real characters behind the scenes, can you tell us a bit about your team?
A. Because my background is more organic I tend to attract a lot of younger, creative people that are still living the lifestyle and I feel they are perfect for the market we’re working in. They’re a team of people that can wear a lot of hats at one time and complete multiple tasks that need doing. Kill City is a small brand, it’s primarily Paul (Senior Designer) & I who run the brand, he works with the design process and we then work together on merchandising. Diego contributes heavily towards our brand, he’s our sales manager and works directly with the store and sales teams. We use a lot of freelancers; stylists etc. Dirk Mai is a key part of Kill City, he’s a photographer who travels with bands and photographs them, he’s our brand ambassador. We don’t have a lot of resources or money, what we aim to take care of is the small independent stores which we sell to. I see a class war going on, where the rich are getting richer and the middle class are becoming eroded with these bigger stores that are getting more control of the market, which is fine for them but where is the speciality in that. As an independent retailer I feel a strong connection towards our customers, their lifestyle and image as it’s something I can strongly relate to.
Q. Your new campaign ‘Broke is the new black’ is so apt for the current climate, it’s a really strong message, where did the concept come from?
A. I just made it up. A totally tongue in cheek way of looking at the state of the economy and the current state of affairs. This carving out of the middle class is leaving the world in very dull state, there are Starbucks all over the world, it’s becoming boring. There are younger brands like Kill City that are putting themselves out there and connecting with our people and our customers. During a time when everybody is unemployed, down and out and struggling that slogan just injects a dose of humour. Because we make skinny jeans, I coined ‘skinny jeans for skinny income’ because our pricing is incredibly accessible.
Q. What can we expect to see from Kill City over the next few months?
A. For the holiday season we have a lot of new slogan t-shirts for the store, our F/W outerwear will be coming in too which is really exciting. Lots of new colourways and lots of sarcastic, edgy wording across the whole collection utilising unconventional colours and details on denim as well.
Q. Having attended Fashion’s Night Out at your store on Melrose, I loved the atmosphere and feel of the event, the ice cold PBR’s, the live photoshoot etc can we expect any more events?
A. Yep, every other Friday night we will be hosting 11/3 Gallery events at the store, utilising local up and coming photographers, giving them the opportunity to showcase their work instore. Whereby our customers can purchase one off pieces, there’s art currently showcased in our store which is available to buy. We had our launch night back in July, which was incredibly fun but turned into more of a party, rather than an atmosphere to really appreciate the art and efforts of the photographers. These events will be more of a gallery setting, a little more sedate with wine & cheese etc, this way there will be more attached to the artists. We recently held a pop up event at the W Hotel in Hollywood, where we brought a mini mobile 11/3 gallery, which was an event to just have some fun and raise brand awareness, we handed out some coupons for patrons to come instore and receive special one off discounts as well.
KC Featured in Dead Sara’s latest video.
KILL CITY featured in.
Three’s a Company
Photographer Derek Wood shot this fashion editorial for Zooey Magazines June/July issue entitled “Three’s a Company,” Wood took the story to a nearby desert to photograph three beautiful models
Video from Our photo exhibit “Noise and Light” this past weekend. Filmed by Alex Hodges.