Welcome to our newest editorial initiative, Who What Wear Spotlight, where we'll be using our editorial platform, social following, and ad inventory to turn the spotlight on small businesses that need our support now more than ever. Each week, we'll be highlighting a new fashion or beauty company. If you own a small brand and would like to be considered for the program, please apply here.
Alexandra Bunch is a huge supporter of vintage and thrift shopping. In fact, one could say she lives and breathes the mentality of recycling clothing. When she launched her womenswear brand, Local European, she wanted to make high-quality pieces that could be wearable forever—maybe even passed on through vintage shops decades from now. "I want to create things that are birthed from my same values," Bunch says. "I believe in less is more and being as ethical as possible."
One way she's putting that ethos into action with Local European is by taking steps to reduce the brand's carbon footprint with practices like using deadstock fabrics, which Bunch has come to find actually has a hidden benefit beyond reducing waste and energy. "Outside of doing our part, I love the exclusivity that using deadstock fabrics creates. Because resources are limited, it makes each piece feel more special and exclusive," Bunch explains. "Again, less is more."
Bunch believes that Local European as a brand has a responsibility to set an example and inspire both its customers and fellow designers to consume mindfully. After all, the Local European shopper is one who seeks out pieces that can be worn in many ways: working from home or the office, dressing up for dinner or parties in the hills, or simply relaxing at home or running errands. "The LE woman is a boss-driven hustler, who is not afraid to be unapologetically herself," Bunch says of the person who comes to mind when she designs for Local European. "She belongs to any culture and loves luxury athleisure looks."
Bunch's original source of inspiration, however, is one that anyone with a badass and loving mom can agree with. "A lot of my inspo comes from my mom, who is from Barcelona," Bunch says. "I fell in love her style years ago. She had the perfect edge while rocking the most simple pieces—that’s where my love for mixing masculine and feminine silhouettes stemmed from."
That vibe is all over Local European's new swim collection that just launched and can be shopped after the interview. The tops are itty-bitty and stringy; the bottoms are athletic and clean; together the sets are super sexy. Bunch has created a brand that really oozes with the ultra-cool, confident sense of style that L.A. ladies are known for. She's made exactly what she set out to do."
"If I could give my 28-year-old self advice when I first started LE, I'd tell her to trust the vision; to put on her boots and strap them on tight because it's going to require a lot of work and a lot of ups and downs. But if she can just tap into her inner strength and always put her faith first, she’ll know she can do anything," Bunch says, adding: "I’d also tell her to find her voice and be comfortable being 100% her, which is something I’m still working on!"
Tell us about yourself and your business.
I'm a marketing manager turned entrepreneur. I'm now the owner and creative director for Local European. I founded the company three years ago after deciding to forego my corporate-marketing position in the entertainment industry.
Local European is a womenswear label based in Los Angeles. Our focus is on timeless silhouettes with modern touches. I like to describe our style as "minimal with a touch of edginess” or "sophisticated edge." In an adorned nutshell, LE is building a brand around women who walk in their delight and who are not confined to mediocrity. Our garments are designed around soft minimal looks that would make even a distracted eye focus.
We value quality, luxury, and exclusivity. The boundless designs of LE give the wearer the art of rising to any occasion.
And if you had to sum up your business in 5 words or less?
Timeless silhouettes with modern touches.
What inspired you to start your business?
I was working in entertainment marketing for a lot of cool companies but didn’t feel like my heart and soul were in my roles. I felt like I hadn’t tapped into working hard for something, and I really, really wanted to dive deeper and figure that what that was. I wanted to learn how to hustle and figure something out on my own.
I actually remember asking one of my friends if they could teach me how to "grind" because I knew I hadn’t tapped it to my hardest working potential. I knew that I wanted to have a business. I knew that I loved clothes and loved fashion. One day, I sat down and turned my apartment walls into a giant mood board, and that’s when I really figured out I had this idea for a brand. My first collection was birthed off of vintage silhouettes that I redesigned because I love the concept of giving something a second life. I find beauty in bringing old things back with a twist.
How have social-distancing and stay-at-home orders affected your business? How have your priorities shifted?
Times are so crazy right now. Stay-at-home orders have allowed us to really pause, regroup, and reconnect with our core values. Although it's caused a few difficulties, we've remained nimble and have been able to adjust to the times. I'm grateful for the shift because it forced us to practice resiliency and dig deeper creatively. Surprisingly, we've grown the most during this time, and we're incredibly grateful for the outpouring of love and support we've received.
What are two to three of your favorite brands you like to support and why?
I mostly shop vintage. I love Goodwill and all of the little vintage gem stores in L.A. Oh, and of course LE!
Shop Alexandra Bunch's Favorite Products
Aralyn Beaumont joined Who What Wear as the copy editor for branded content after a career in food media. Years of poring over intricate recipes with a fine-tooth comb and working with high-profile chefs has prepared her well for working with fashion's top brands while honoring Who What Wear's voice. Her background as a research editor makes her a finicky editor who will probably care too much about making sure all copy is as factually accurate and aligned with the house style guide as can be. Maybe it's because she's a Gemini, but her personal style is impossible to pin down: One day you'll see her in a turtleneck sweater tucked into a midi skirt with heeled boots, and the next, she'll be wearing mom jeans, a white Hanes tee, and classic Vans. At the end of the day, her style reflects her various moods. Sometimes it will be feminine and elegant, and others it will be grungy or androgynous. Certain things will always remain constant, though. She'll forever be on the hunt for the perfect pair of high-waisted jeans.
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