4 Unique LA-Based Brands You Need To Check Out

I’m always looking for cool, new, trendy stores to explore in LA. This city is filled with such a grand variety of styles and tastes; each corner leads you to a different world of fashion and creativity. During the last two years that I’ve attended UCLA, I’ve come across some very unique and interesting brands and stores.

  1. 1. Valfre

    Valfre, named after its creator Ilse Valfre, is personally one of my favorite brands ever. Ilse, known for her drawings on Instagram, brings her artwork and vision to life through her LA-based online store, which launched in late 2013. Her designs reflect many different facets of style: confident versus vulnerable, cute/girly versus edgy or assertive/strong versus soft. 

    Valfre is a brand for every girl out there and promotes a carefree mentality to be who you are no matter your size, race, sexuality, etc. Whether you’re looking for a cute T-shirt with a girl power slogan, an edgy dress with slits, psychedelic-themed accessories or even hell-inspired outfits, Valfre is THE place to shop.

    I have purchased several clothing and accessory items from Valfre in the past (both for myself and for friends), and I was not disappointed. And even though it’s just an online store, I definitely recommend checking them out. Who knows? Maybe you’ll fall in love with them like I did.

  2. 2. Dolls Kill

    Dolls Kill is one of those brands that really catches your attention. Founded by Shoddy Lynn and Bobby Farahi, it's known for its kawaii, goth, punk, streetwear and festival clothing styles. Plus, their message of gender neutrality and not caring about what other people think is so inspiring.

    Although its headquarters are in San Francisco, you can find a Dolls Kill store on Fairfax Avenue, alongside other streetwear brands like Supreme and RIPNDIP.

    The brand represents its style with six dolls: Coco, Willow, Kandi, Mercy, Darby and Mia. These dolls are essentially the different "lifestyles" that their clothing encapsulates. Coco’s wardrobe is very girly and cute, filled with pink patterns, sparkling rhinestones and lavish furs- basically an edgier version of Legally Blonde. Willow is their bohemian/hippie babe who advocates for world peace and a good time. Her style features unique patterns with bright colors and lots of tye-dye. Kandi is their raver girl who lives for neon lights, smoke machines and electronic music. She brands herself with platform shoes, iridescent outfits littered with cutouts and lots of sequins. Mercy is their cold-hearted goth-witch who rocks basically an all-black strappy wardrobe with underlying supernatural themes. Darby is a punk-rock princess who wears lots of plaid, ripped jeans and chains. Lastly, we have Mia, the self-obsessed influencer who is always on top of the trends and rocking the latest streetwear fashion. Her closet is filled with lots of neutral tones and chic accessories- think the Kardashians' wardrobe.

  3. 3. Sorella

    Sorella is one of those "started at the bottom, now we here" stories. Its two creators, Heather Sanders and Brittney Turner, founded the online store in 2012 with no fashion background or training, but their success soon came with the opening of its Los Angeles location just south of Melrose Avenue on Fairfax.

    Sorella is known for starting their women’s movement, #GIRLSTOUR: “Representing strong women, working women, and independent women of all ages, colors, and sizes. Empowering women all over the world to not only be confident and have a vision, but also to be a dope girl with style and hustle.” They even have a wall inside the store for the movement! The wall is filled with Polaroids of their customers, including many celebrities and influencers, and it has become a must-stop photo destination in Los Angeles.

    This brand has so many unique clothing trends and styles that can fit any size. I have loved every purchase I’ve made and will definitely return for more. Their clothes will leave you feeling confident and glowing.

  4. 4. Nasty Gal

    Nasty Gal is another one of those "fast fashion" stores. It started out in 2006 as an eBay store based in San Francisco where the creator, Sophia Amoruso, made her start by selling vintage pieces that she found on her own. Amoruso eventually moved her headquarters to Los Angeles and opened a store on Melrose Avenue in 2014.

    This brand also promotes a theme of self-confidence and owning yourself, no matter what the public may think. It has a similar vibe to Forever 21, but throws in the edgy and sometimes outlandish themes that LA is known for. Although I have yet to purchase something from them, I really do like some of their pieces, especially their dresses.

Although these stores and brands might not be for everyone, I highly recommend checking them out. They are some pretty unique and awesome hotspots in LA. Even if you don’t end up buying anything, you can still enjoy the amazing setups and maybe discover a part of yourself you didn’t know existed before.