If there were one clothing line, one brand, that would perfectly describe my personal style it would be LA based Calvin Rucker. Calvin Rucker designs casual ready-to-wear clothes with “the spirt and passion of couture” for women of the creative class: in other words, it’s a line created for all of us ladies who love beautiful feminine/sexy/classic pieces that have an edge. The founders and designers of the brand, Caroline Calvin and Joie Rucker (get the name now?) both come from strong fashion backgrounds – Joie was the founder of beloved brand Joie, and Caroline was the SVP of global design at Levis, Levis actually being where the two met and became longtime friends.
Being the fan girl that I am of this brand and of these two incredibly inspirational and genuinely wonderful women, it has been such a joy to watch the brand grow into what it has become today. Calvin Rucker continues to become available in more and more boutiques all over the world while badass chicks like Gwen Stefani, Amee Song, and myself (obviously) are out strutting the streets of LA representing the Calvin Rucker label with pride.
This week I paid another visit to my two favorite ladies in fashion at their DTLA warehouse and had a blast talking shop about life, Los Angeles, loves, and of course, fashion. So now it is with complete overexcitement and pleasure I share with you my interview with Caroline Calvin and Joie Rucker: the creative, the founders, the fashion innovators behind LA’s very own, Calvin Rucker:
What have you found to be your favorite Fall trends this season?
Joie: PLAID!!! [laughs] Plaids, stripes, red, but mostly plaids.
During my last studio visit, you showed me a book of vintage shots around LA (during the 60’s-70’s shot by Julian Wasser) so I know LA inspires Calvin Rucker, but in what way(s)?
Caroline: I think it’s the melting pot of the people that are here; from the ex pats, the Japanese tourist, the people that come over to find the dream, to the up and coming creative underground that has popped up around Downtown LA. And also just the diversity of the landscape; being able to go from Downtown to the beach. LA is inspiring because of different aspects and elements you can discover and uncover when you live here.
Joie: For me it’s like the first thing Caroline said, it’s the people coming here with a dream. And it’s about the “American dream”, but the “American dream” doesn’t really mean a specific background, history or nationality, it’s just the dream of being a star, and being the best you can be. LA attracts that, which is awesome.
Caroline: I also find LA to be inclusive. I’ve lived in New York, I’ve lived in different cosmopolitan cities, but I found that in LA you have a little bit more access to different cultures and different neighborhoods than I personally felt were all so inclusive. If you wanna be a punk rocker at the beach or a princess in the city you can do what you wanna do.
And the weather’s not bad. Neither is the surf.
Where’s your favorite neighborhood spot?
Joie: It’s a burger joint in Malibu across the street from Dukes called The Country Kitchen – it’s awesome you can sit outside, you can get breakfast sandwiches in the morning, and the burgers are great.
Caroline: Hamakaze Sushi on Washington Blvd.
Joie: And Cholada Thai, that’s another one of those places that people who actually live in Malibu eat at. There’s some amazing hidden gems in Malibu that most people don’t know about. But, really I think we spend more time here [Downtown] than we do at home.
So what are your favorite local spots around your home away from home?
Joie: The juice bar downstairs (Juice Crafters), our little panini shop, Terroni, Lazy Ox Canteen, and Palms.
Caroline: There’s also so many places we’ve been meaning to try too like Bestia, Faith and Flower, 1810.
In your humble opinion, who do you find is crushing it with their style game. Besides myself of course.
Caroline: Alexa Chung. Love her. She’s has a very genuinely creative expression in her style. [to Joie] Who else?
Joie: There’s people I’d definitely give kudos to, like I’d give kudos to someone like Gwen Stefani – she continues to refresh, reinvent, and renew, and yet she always manages to maintain that red thread. She kills it consistently. And she loves our clothes.
Caroline: Our jeans are in her new video.
[5 minute pause for freak out mode over Gwen]
How do you unwind after a long crazy day?
Caroline: There’s three steps: running, then not running, then a martini. And then of course a really good dinner.
Joie: For me I do the ten steps [laughs] it’s mainly wine, but what’s actually my guilty pleasure is to read fantasy and sci-fi novels. When I’m really relaxing, after a day of surfing of course, it’s like a day in bed with red wine and my little friend Red the cat, I make popcorn with butter and salt, and I’ll just read all day. It’s so wonderful.
What’s your guilty pleasure? (to Caroline)
Caroline: It’s kinda the same thing but with martinis and popcorn on the couch with Neflix. Vampire Diaries [laughs].
Robert Palmer is known for his addiction to love, what are you addicted to?
Caroline: I’m addicted to photography books… I’m obsessed. And Amazon. I’m addicted to Amazon and books [laughs].
Joie: Surfing. I’m completely addicted. Sometimes I have to force myself not to go out, because I have to work and be conscious. I only get out [to surf] on weekends, and I feel like one of those accountants that has a really rockin’ Harley Davidson sitting in the garage [laughs] and they only get to take it out on weekends.
Caroline: It’s like a drug [surfing], there’s something that sits in the core of your body, almost like an itch you have to scratch that you can’t get to until you get in the water.
What are your spirit animals?
Caroline: I’m a seahorse.
Joie: An eagle. Real 1970’s of me [laughs].
Cake or ice cream?
Caroline: …both? Yeah, both? I can’t have one without the other.
Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd?
Joie: Pink Floyd.
Caroline: Are you kidding me! …fine. Led Zeppelin. That’s so hard.
Now for the tough hard hitting question…. leather or lace?
Caroline: Oh leather.
Three words that describe life in LA:
Caroline: love. hate. love.
Joie: I think that does it, it could be “fun, fun, fun”, but love, hate, love is more real.
What’s been the best thing about 2014 for you ladies and Calvin Rucker?
Caroline: There’s been so many great things, but I think Studio 1111. [where their office/warehouse is]
Joie: That’s what I was going to say: moving here. It was a a big step.
Caroline: it was us finding a home, and specifically being that we found a home in DTLA, and that we feel like pioneers – even though we’ve done it before and there have been people here before us that have become successful designers in LA, but you get down here and this is the real deal and we’re gonna establish ourselves and make it work.
Photos | Tommy Garcia Photographer
Stay tuned for how I styled one of Calvin Rucker’s white lace pencil skirts for Fall 2014!