Los Angeles launders often. Or rather, we launder Los Angeles often. You and I. It’s not a utilitarian thing; LA is always in a ceaselessly perfect summer. We have no reason for our seasoned, seasonal wardrobes. Yet, each day, as sure as seventy degree weather, as sure as rush hour gridlock, we dress and redress with the rest of the city. The whole city does its laundry.
Moving to LA trained me to pay much more attention to what people wear. Superficial might be your description; I think that’s only half true. Maybe we’re materialistic because clothes are just things. But here’s my revelation: things are choices, and we’re made of all the things we choose. Playlists, subscriptions, groceries, bookmarks. Colors, shapes, and patterns we gravitate toward. We’re collages of opinions, portraits of pickiness. Part of this art, our laundry is a canvas too. Clothes are things as well as the literal fabric of our stories.
“Los Angeles has a year-round painting season.” Judy Baca, a renowned local muralist, is talking specifically about LA’s art community, but I argue that you and I and all of the city are our own art and artists. As we dress, we paint. We choose certain lengths, movements, textures, and colors when we put on a blouse. This week, welcome to the Arts District. Here are the coolest walking, talking murals I found.
Mina and Mina
Mina and Mina are best friends from Orange County. They have been sharing names, patterns, and colors for two years. Mina in the black is in around exhibiting her artwork locally (peep her Instagram @minada_design). Naturally, Mina in the white supports her. Yin and yang featuring scarves and smiles. Mina and Mina bought their neckerchiefs together earlier that day from Zara.
Jay and Jeon
I saw Jay’s outfit from across the street. I’m a child, so I knew I had to talk to Jay about his bright colors.
“I like bright colors,” he says. “And I like t-shirts. And these pink sunglasses. Old-fashioned, but I love it. I bought them in South America—Peru. Only a dollar. Old-school.”
Jay was doing his own photoshoot of Jeon when cross Traction Ave to talk to them. Jeon is wearing a Korean hanbok top, but it’s definitely not traditional. “The traditional ones have long sleeves. This is a fashion hanbok.” Bought in America. New-school.
Meekah, Lost Angeles, Britney the Astronomer, and Sam the Web Developer
Can you guess who’s who? I chatted up this family of outfit misfits after their musical performances at a local gallery show. Meekah (in the cool pants) is a singer, and her music inspires her look. “I have a concept album, Faux Real. It’s a split album. The first half of the album is the ‘fake’ side of me, where I put on this front for everybody. The real side is me being honest. I play on a garden theme where I have both dead flowers and real flowers. Contrast. A lot of contrast.” Find her @meekahmusic.
Lost Angeles, on the left, makes queer synthpop. “I’m Inspired by Lady Gaga and drag queens in general. This is my stab at getting a little political, having fun. I like putting shit on my face.” Lost tweets found @lostangelescity!
Britney and Sam didn’t perform that day, but they still partake in art. Britney is an astronomer who does theater, and Sam plays guitar and develops websites. Coordination was not intended, and neither was the mural behind them. But sometimes, God is good in the city of angels.
Clothes are a portent to their wearer. Fashion has art, craft, and personal branding opportunity. If you don’t care, here’s a thought: though the world loves music and food, it’s a rather special occasion for a musician to play a concert or chef to prepare a full-course dinner. You and I are luckier artists than them. The world loves murals, too, and we’ve got a year-round painting season. We can all be daily special occasions, if we like. Walking, talking murals, if we care.
Take care and do your laundry. You’ll hear from me next next Friday.