Q&A: Shannon Cawley of Aspen Thrift

The L.A. designer swaps out East Coast tailored for West Coast frayed with her new line of shorts.

L.A. Designers // Angelica Bonomo // 04/19/12
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Shannon Cawley of Aspen Thrift.
Acid wash shorts from Aspen...
Shorts from Aspen Thrift

Any California girl worth her salt owns at least one pair (or ten) of cut-off shorts. But we thought, with the second weekend of Coachella approaching, it was time to add another pair to the collection. Luckily, designer Shannon Cawley gave us the scoop on her new collection of hand-torn and specialty denim shorts collection, Aspen Thrift.

How did you get into designing?
I started out as an intern in the Harper's Bazaar fashion closet, then worked as an assistant editor at InStyle, followed by time working as accessories editor at Lucky. I moved to London and got a job working for Tamara Mellon at Jimmy Choo's headquarters in London.

So why did you decide to focus on cut-off shorts?
I moved to LA and none of my clothes from New York or London seemed to make any sense on the West Coast. Jean shorts became the cornerstone of my uniform and I was always ripping them myself since finding a good fit in the market is impossible—they're all designed for 13 year old girls! I started Aspen Thrift so that women could wear jean shorts made for women, not girls.

What sets them apart from other versions on the market?
The shorts are hand-ripped, made from Japanese denim, everything is 100 percent sourced and made locally here in Los Angeles. There is no branding; the fit and cut is what I want people to recognize, not some stamp on your ass.

Where can we buy a pair?
Aspen Thrift is launching this season at Madison on W. 3rd & Robertson and American Rag on La Brea. And in Aspen, of course! At Kali's Denim.

What are three cute was to style your shorts?
With a bikini top (all summer long), with a chiffon blouse (for a power lunch) and with a distressed tee (chilling in a Winnebago at Coachella!).

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