Not all weekends are spent with Ericke, but when she’s not attending festivals or out on camping trips, we go to places we both enjoy like dessert shops and flea markets. LA is big, but on our first stop last Saturday, the Arts District Co-op in DTLA, we found Laoagueña Lala Dudley, daughter of fashion designer Lulu Raval and granddaughter of former Ilocos Norte OIC-Governor Castor Raval. There she was at her own space in the warehouse turned flea market that’s actually cozier than a Sunday flea market. I just knew it was her when I saw the very current kimono robes on display. Call it intuition.
After hearing about the designing family when I was still in Laoag, I tried googling them once and their flowy kimono robes stuck in my head.
The meeting was kinda funny. She looked surprised when I started talking in Ilocano.
Lala’s one-of-a-kind creations range from vintagey with lace inserts to embroidered gauzy cover ups, tasseled bohemian prints, and heavy poncho coats. I had to have two (a maroon with leaf embroidery and the blue in photo below). Ericke bought a sweet number in antique white and another in summery washed out pastel.
A sewing machine stands atop her desk. She says she’s been stationed at the Arts District Co-op for a year now. “How many kimono robes have you sold? 500?” I asked. “More. I’ve sent to countries like the Middle East.”
“Would you believe I started with zero? I first sold my own things,” she tells about her humble beginnings. In my head — #inspiring #lifegoal.
The meeting was serendipity at its finest. I felt pride for a kababayan.
The vegan bags at the other store are made with vinyl tarps. I’m not sure if they were repurposed from used tarps. Independent and local are accurate words for the vendors.
In the block…
Photographed by Tina and Ericke Tan
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