RISING BRAND HONOREE
EUNICE CHO, AELLA
After graduating from Yale with a degree in fine arts, Orange County-raised Eunice Cho headed for New York City and wound up working for a high-end lingerie company. There she took on a number of creative roles while whetting her appetite for the business side of the fashion industry. She decided to go to business school, which led to the realization that she had nothing appropriate to wear to the interviews. It became apparent to Cho that the casual and comfortable clothes she wore to work in the anything-goes environment of fashion didn’t meet the expectations of the buttoned-up business world. In classic entrepreneur fashion, Cho decided to create her own solution: AELLA.
Launched three years ago by Cho, AELLA is an online retailer offering women a full line of pants, blazers, and t-shirts. The company has now made its foray into brick-and-mortar sales with a pop-up at Bloomingdale’s flagship store in New York City.
In short, AELLA is a three year-old womenswear brand focused on creating everyday essentials for women who are going places. Using patented & proprietary activewear-inspired fabrics, AELLA combines performance benefits with polished, office-appropriate silhouettes. For the on-the-go woman who needs clothing that can keep up, AELLA’s entire offering is machine-washable, comfortable, flexible, and wrinkle-resistant. Pants are AELLA’s core offering, and the brand offers several services including try-on sizing & stylist consultations, to ease the pain of shopping for pants online.
AELLA is a proud proponent of Los Angeles based sourcing and production. Using the company’s South Gate knitting mill, AELLA is able to create and knit proprietary textiles that adhere to the brand’s mission of creating machine-washable & performance-based clothing. The majority of AELLA’s styles are then produced locally in Los Angeles. In addition, the brand’s leadership team regularly partners with and supports Los Angeles based brands & organizations, specifically those founded by women.
FINALIST: COREY EPSTEIN AND MARK LYNN, DSTLD
DSTLD, an LA-based brand, was launched in 2014 under the premise that ethically produced, well-crafted clothing shouldn’t cost so much, and that Fast Fashion is an excessive and unsustainable industry. Inspired by the creatives that constitute Los Angeles — filmmakers, writers, entrepreneurs, artists, and designers — Corey Epstein and Mark Lynn set out to build a contemporary brand based on the modern uniform they saw around them: jeans, t-shirts, and other luxury- level basics no person can live without.
With the help of a small circle of socially responsible suppliers, DSTLD maintains high standards for people and apparel alike. The brand demands a higher standard not just in denim, but also in labor practices and conditions. DSTLD carefully screens its suppliers, laundries, and factories to ensure its products are fairly manufactured and 100% sweatshop- free. The brand is equipped with top-of-the-line premium fabrics, many of them eco-friendly and fully sustainable.
FINALIST: ALISA TOVMANYAN, Tovmali
Fashion designer Alisa Tovmanyan, founder of Tovmali, began designing from her love of fashion and affection with colors and texture. She had made a career out of her passion and was able to achieve her dream of designing her own collection. Tovmanyan began illustrating at the age of 3 with guidance from her grandfather and sewing dresses for her Barbies at the age of 6 with guidance from her grandmother.
Growing up, Tovmanyan’s interest in fashion deepened and evolved even more. She has always been interested in outfits that women wear around her, paying close attention to details in their garments. As a designer, she combines sophistication, ease and “super-chicness” in her designs. She loves elaborate, personality flattering, feminine yet fun pieces. She loves the idea of elegance and intricacy, and she is never afraid to make a bold statement or try something new. Tovmali the brand is her very own ready-to-wear fashion line, where she creates colorful designs with a feminine silhouette.