Q&A: Fashion Gets Book Smart with Elkin

The literature loving sisters behind the L.A.-based brand dish about their spring 2012 collection, their top music faves and why they prefer villains over heroes.

L.A. Designers // Virginia Ibarra // 02/06/12
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By Virginia Ibarra

Claire Acey from the band Nightmare and the Cat models Elkins Spring 2012 Collection

By Virginia Ibarra

By Virginia Ibarra

Sneak Peek to the Sci-Fi inspired Fall 2012 collection

By Virginia Ibarra

The Elkin Studio in Echo Park

By Virginia Ibarra

Elkin's S/S 2012 Collection

By Virginia Ibarra

Elkin's S/S 2012 Collection

By Virginia Ibarra

By Virginia Ibarra

By Virginia Ibarra

Inspiration board for the S/S 2012 Collection

By Virginia Ibarra

The Fall 2011 Mask

By Virginia Ibarra

Designers Kara and Brit Smith, courtesy of Elkin.com

We sometimes imagine book smart girls with their heads buried behind a stack of fiction, their eyes framed with glasses, hair pulled back from makeup free faces and a fashion sense that's, well, a little shaky. Allow Elkin designers Brit and Kara Smith to put that stereotype to rest for good!

The L.A. sister act has been on our radar ever since super-blogger Rumi Neely sported their yellow, long-sleeved mini dress in our Blogger Issue last year, so we paid them a visit at their studio. Here, we chat with the dream team about brothel fashion, taxidermy and what to expect for their fall collection:

The first thing we're all dying to know is: What does Elkin mean?
Brit: We were in an amazing taxidermy place in L.A. and saw a really strong, rad stuffed elk and couldn't get it out of our heads. We're kin, so we combined the two words hoping the strength and beauty would come alive in our clothes.

What inspired you in designing the S/S 2012 collection?
Brit: This [collection] was technically inspired by brothels of the old west.
Kara: When people think of brothels, they think of a G-string and a garter but the brothel owners back then (in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s) really wore suits and the girls were really covered up and would wear these long sheer dresses.
Brit: They didn’t wear anything that was above their shin...but we like a short dress so we used fabrics that had an old time-y feel.
Kara: It’s all in the details.

We know that you both read a lot! If you could star in the film adaption of any book, what would that book be?
Brit: I like The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, I love Brit the character—she’s rad. I also lived in Paris, so the whole '20s in Paris thing really speaks to me.
Kara: I want to be Patty Smith from Just Kids and I want to be the girl version of James from James and the Giant Peach.

Who do you prefer, the villain or the hero?
Both: Villain
Brit: Somehow the antagonist is always a little more complex and interesting. Protagonists are pretty vanilla. We like getting to explore deeper the motives of the villain.
Kara: We want to see them do well, you want to see them do good and you feel sad for them; it's really complex. You always want to see dark stuff into the light stuff.

Anything exciting coming up for Fall 2012?
Kara: We are doing artist collaborations right now. We enlisted a secret artist to do a mask for us because we really play on the whole costume aspect. We're also doing really cool limited edition artist t-shirts too.

Expect the S/S 2012 Collection to hit stores on February
More info on Elkincollection.com!




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