LOS ANGELES, United States — Whether looking for work in the City of Angels or tech-driven start-ups in San Francisco, the Californian dream of self-reinvention and innovation is stronger than ever. With the world’s fifth-largest economy, ahead of both Britain and France, and a gross domestic product of $2.7 trillion in 2017, the ‘Golden State’ is increasingly viewed as a land of opportunity within the land of opportunity.
Although reports of a creative exodus from New York to the West Coast are overstated, the trickle of fashion professionals choosing to relocate to L.A. has increased to a steady stream. Shoe designer Tamara Mellon is now based in Los Angeles; jewellery designer Eddie Borgo recently moved there. Nicholas Kirkwood is spending more time in the city.
“It’s not just luxury brands — there’s a creative class of cool kids doing things differently — and thriving,” says LA-based fashion consultant Katherine Ross, who often advises and mentors young designers in the city. “People just like it here,” she adds.
When taken in conjunction with rising importance of the entertainment industry in fashion, and Hollywood’s role as a nexus of celebrity, L.A. is now indisputably fashion’s fifth capital. However, it is of course the ever-increasing influence of the technology industries on the West Coast that is the biggest draw for creative talent. Indeed, some of the most influential entrepreneurs working at the intersection of technology, fashion and beauty are also based in the state, including Stitch Fix’s Katrina Lake, Everlane’s Michael Preysman and Beautycon’s Moj Mahdara.
At BoF's inaugural West Coast summit, Bof West, Preysman, whose company is based in San Francisco, spoke of greater “openness” on the West Coast. Indeed, thanks to the influence of tech-culture, in California the stigma around failure is lower than most industry-driven areas. What’s more, the state prides itself on the lack of hierarchy and the greater interaction and acceptance of individuality, creating an environment primed for achieving ambitious goals. As John Thorbeck, chairman of supply chain analytics firm Chainge Capital said at BoF West. "What motivates people in California [is] that they want to change an industry.”
E-commerce Supply Chain Operations & Strategy Senior Manager, Gap Inc. - San Francisco, United States
Editor's Note: This article was revised on July 5th, 2018. A previous version of this article misstated that Gap Inc. is headquartered in Los Angeles. That is incorrect. It is based in San Francisco.