Profiles in Style

Cali-born designer Staci Woo and her team offer stylish garb and artistic inspiration.

I Love Woo

Cali-born designer Staci Woo and her team  offer stylish garb and  artistic inspiration.

WRITTEN BY AMBER KLINCK  |  PHOTOGRAPHED BY LAUREN PRESSEY

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After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, California native Staci Woo kept moving south until she landed in sunny LA. The move eventually led to Staci’s creation, along with her husband, Mike Badt, of Woo: a lifestyle brand of beachy-chic loungewear and accessories for men, women and kids.

“We cater to the lover of style who doesn’t want to look ‘styled,’” Staci explains. What began as a cool but small spot on Venice’s Main Street has evolved into Woo’s new locale in downtown LA’s Arts District.

“We’ve been in the Arts District for 10 years,” Staci says. “When we outgrew space, we knew it was inevitable that we would have to move downtown. It was a much easier transition after finding this little gem—it had a cool neighborhood feeling, open spaces, parking and a great community.”

 

“We cater to the lover of style who doesn’t want to look ‘styled.”

 

With a design career that began in her early 20s, Staci attributes the origin and growth of Woo to a series of “small successes” and some good advice from a worthy mentor. “I worked as Adriano Goldschmied’s assistant for a denim and garment dye clothing line,” she says. “Adriano would take me shopping and tell me to buy vintage denim, Hawaiian shirts and kimonos. gave me the confidence to make the same styles in repurposed fabrics. So I did what he said, and Woo was born.”

Today Woo’s customers include the “18-year-old California girl; the 35-year-old well-traveled professional; and the 65-year-old chic grandmother,” Staci notes. Woo’s lines include Little Woo, Underwoo, Sand & Sea Club’s resort and beachwear and the new fleece line, Uplifters.

But what really put Woo “on the map,” Staci explains, were the lace and cotton camisoles they offered. “To this day women will tell me they still have one in their drawer 15 years later,” she says. “The style has varied throughout the years, but it set the tone for the rest of the line.”

As for the line as a whole, “We have pockets in every style possible,” Staci says. “We take inspiration from the styles we love and design them in fabrics we really love. We aren’t chasing trends, but we design each season based on what want to wear now.”

 

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Behind the scenes, making it all come to life is Staci and Mike’s tried-and-true team. “We are lucky enough to have had the same sample sewer for 10 years,” Staci shares. “We’ve also had our sample cutter/finisher for 10 years. I am so proud of our history together.”

Mike handles the production and business end of things, with Staci in charge of design and marketing. Staci and her team at Woo share their art and passion with young creators. The House of Woo offers a Little Woo Custom Design Workshop where kids ages 4 through 12 can design their own clothes.

“It started as an event I hosted for our elementary school auction,” Staci says. “I thought it would be great for the kids to choose a style and customize it using patterns, fabrics and trims we had in our archives. sketch it out, swatch their fabrics and customize the details.” Staci and her team then get to work cutting and sewing to the kids’ specifications for a finished design in less than two weeks.

Also in the works is a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to transform Woo’s warehouse space into a workshop for local artists looking to “build their craft and at the same time have a forum to sell at retail,” Staci explains. By offering outlets that inspire creativity—not just in other creatives but in children as well—Staci and her team are doing more than selling a brand. They are encouraging an artistic lifestyle.

 

 

Design in Hi-Def

A duo of entrepreneurs is putting the tech in textiles.

WRITTEN BY DARREN ELMS | PHOTOGRAPHED BY KREMER JOHNSON

hiDefMainPaul and Johann, the duo behind the new platform Mod Thread.

 

In the era of Instagram and Snapchat, photos have become more than just quick memories; for many, they function as a huge part of our identities. Food, landscapes, fashion, selfies … no matter the subject, our social feed chronicles the journey with every snap and spreads the message across our chosen channels.

Think about how much time you put into finding the perfect filter or considering the ideal crop. Too bright? Not enough saturation? Maybe a blue tint will help. Even with little training or experience, we test the limits of our artistry with each post.

hiDef2Sharing digital images on our smartphones may be rudimentary at this stage of the game, but wearing them proudly on a garment takes sharing into new territory. That’s where local fashion designer Paul Goncalves saw an opening—one where savvy social media users can create their own fashion.

Mod Thread is a new customization and collaboration platform that empowers users and brands to unleash their creativity. With a mobile app, users can create custom, all-over designs with a variety of cut-and-sew fashionable products. It’s as easy as uploading designs and photos from your phone’s photo album or another app like Instagram. Users can also turn digitally-rendered prints and patterns into anything from a simple cotton tank to leggings.

Paul founded the company last year and brought on partner Johann Conforme shortly after. “Johann and I previously worked together at Saatchi & Saatchi and more recently Phenomenon, an ideation brand consultancy firm,” says Paul, who also launched menswear line Bespoken in New York and kids sportswear line Heroes & Hooligans here in the South Bay.

In the spirit of keeping it local, everything at Mod Thread is produced and sourced in Southern California. “We also work off an on-demand model, which means that an item only gets produced when a customer actually purchases it—which does away with excessive inventory and wastage,” says Paul. “All orders are fulfilled within three days.”

Ready to put your mark on the fashion world? Check out Mod Thread at the Apple App Store or Google Play.

 

 

Worldly Joys

Clothing and jewelry designer Chan Luu opens her first flagship lifestyle boutique in Southern California.

WRITTEN BY JENNIE NUNN

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Chan Luu, founder of an eponymous LA–based lifestyle brand that bears her name, attributes much of her successful career to three key trends: a skinny scarf, a hand-painted seashell necklace and a multitude of stone adorned, leather wrap bracelets. “The company is where it is today because of those three trends,” says the clothing and jewelry designer who was born and raised in South Vietnam.

Launching her company in 1996, today Chan’s designs also include clothing like hand-embroidered skirts as well as men’s jewelry.

“I love creating beautiful products that are inspired by my experiences,” adds Chan, who lives in Pacific Palisades. “There are a lot of things that influence my designs: nature, diverse cultures, ancient crafts and traveling the world.”

This year Chan opened her first U.S. lifestyle boutique in Santa Monica and she debuted CL Lifestyle—a collection of refined home-wares including handloomed cotton Turkish beach blankets and made-to-order woven reed tote bags adorned with shells, tassels and brightly-hued pom-poms.

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White pearl wire thread thru earrings, $80 (worn by Michelle Obama)
Labradorite choker on dark brown leather, $145 (also available in moonstone and hypersthene)

Silver bead wrap bracelet on natural brown leather, $295 (also available in gunmetal)

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