Art, fashion, and music collide at this anti-Hollywood retail escape. By Joanna Pena
Nestled in the heart of L.A.'s Chinatown area sits one of the city's best-kept retail secrets—Ooga Booga. Creating a storefront set-up focusing on her personal aesthetics rather than seasonal trends, owner Wendy Yao opened Ooga Booga in 2004 with the sole purpose of supporting independent, underground culture by consolidating fashion, art, music, and DIY publishing all at one destination.
Carefully selected, the store merchandise consists of rare and unique items and serves as a hybrid of equal parts boutique and art space. A rack of garments designed by Opening Ceremony, Susan Cianciolo, and hard-to-find pieces from European design collective, Bless, are thoughtfully merchandised alongside sneakers from Keep, a Los Angeles-based label. Making it even more interesting, Yao likes to mix up the super new with worthwhile finds from the past. "I'm interested in archive pieces along with seasonal merchandise," she says. "Rather than focusing on trends, I like to come at it from a different angle by having a selection to filter through."
Soccer ball-shaped handbags by Bless and decorated ceramic mugs by Los Angeles artist Pentti Monkkonen exude just the right amount of urban kitsch. In keeping with the independent spirit, Ooga Booga also stocks mix-tapes compiled by Calvin Johnson, legendary hero of the underground band, Beat Happening, and founder of K Records. New releases from Los Angeles underground post-punk band, No Age, share a space with zines and accessories created by local artists, along with art books by Paper Rad and Wolfgang Tillmans. Beloved by art collectors, style renegades, music aficionados, and the like, this haven for all things indie is a refreshing detour off the typical L.A. routes. Says Yao, "I hope to communicate with people by supporting different kinds of creative culture that I believe in."
Art, fashion, and music collide at this anti-Hollywood retail escape.