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Achieve the Indie Aesthetic with These California Brands
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Achieve the Indie Aesthetic with These California Brands

If you’re having trouble putting an indie outfit together on your own, scroll down to find some of the cutest brands to get inspired.

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5 min read

November 13, 2021

There are so many aesthetics in fashion these days it’s hard to keep track. There are soft girls, baddies, cottagecore, gorpcore gals, and apparently angelcore is also a thing now, but none are as mainstream as the indie aesthetic (oh the irony). Popularized by TikTok, indie vibes are mainly baby tees, oversized cardigans, sweatshirts, lace camisoles, chunky shoes, mini skirts in bright colors, and baggy denim—there’s a major emphasis on the latter. But don’t expect to find many logos or brand names like you would with the indie rock aesthetic; just picture a lot of eclectic, nostalgia-inspired pieces that look as though they came from the nearest and trendiest thrift store. If you’re having trouble putting an indie outfit together on your own, then scroll down to find some of the cutest California brands to get inspired.

The indie aesthetic is based on individuality and independence. The aesthetic became popular thanks to TikTok and centers around bright colors.

Abacus Row 

When it comes to perfecting the indie aesthetic, there’s no better brand to turn to than Abacus Row. Based in San Francisco, their refined jewelry will become the perfect finishing touch to your outfit—it’ll also look effortlessly cool, obeying the rules of the indie guidebook. Thoughtfully detailed and meticulously crafted, each piece of Abacus Row jewelry presents a subtle approach to beadwork; au courant, just like you.

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Los Angeles Apparel

This eco-conscious brand is sustainability first and alt-indie aesthetic second, but the two mash together rather smoothly—to think indie means to be a little contrarian at your core, and that’s exactly what Los Angeles Apparel is about. Deeply focused on sustainability and efficiency, this brand buys textile and yarn products from the United States to support domestic manufacturing, helping the interests of their customers, the health of the domestic and continental manufacturing base, and the ultimate good of the environment via reduced carbon footprint. 

This resurgence differs from the original indie style, which didn't include bright colors and was considered more "alternative" by today's standards.

Alchemy Works 

A coastal California retail, gallery, and event space, Alchemy Works helps you take the retro indie aesthetic to the next level. With locations in L.A.’s Art District and Newport Beach’s Lido Marina, this brand boasts everything from clothes to home decor. Modern Weaving, Cult Gaia, and Gabriela Artigas are among the names it stocks, with a particular focus on quality craftsmanship and pieces that stand the test of time.

Altaire 

Altaire is a Santa Monica-based independent accessories label that proudly creates bags that fit the dualities of life (perfect Gemini birthday gift perhaps?). Their locally designed and manufactured collection of geometrically-inspired bags and pouches keeps the balance between contemporary and classic, blending the elements of nature and architecture, travel-inspired textiles, and home-inspired silhouettes. Expect the unexpected with Altaire, whether it be texture, a little detail, or a color palette that you never thought could enhance your indie aesthetic.

The indie aesthetic was, in many ways, similar to the pastel aesthetic; however, the color is paler and even less intense.

Santa Venetia Goods

After witnessing a pair of clogs at a wedding, Santa Venetia Goods owners Raquel and Gemma were determined to take the style they loved and give it a modern, California twist. With a shared passion for everything vintage and a thorough knowledge of cobbling, the two created Santa Venetia Goods—a line of unique, aesthetically exciting handmade shoes that fit perfectly into that soft indie aesthetic.

Waltz

This San Francisco-based womenswear was founded by designer and pattern-genius Danielle Colen in 2014. In response to the fast-changing, trend-driven fashion landscape that plagues our modern lives, Colen’s focus was all about narrowing down the essentials. Waltz creates classic, timeless staples that allow women to streamline their wardrobes and not have to pick from a pile of clutter. Another reason to love them? They practice sustainability through and through.

Another difference between the two is the pastel aesthetic conveys a sense of innocence and sweetness; the indie has more of a darker, moodie tone.

Vamp

Is there really anything better than a bunch of beautiful shoes in one pretty place? Florence Gan left a career as a costumer in Tinseltown to turn her love of great shoes into a full-blown career. Vamp first opened its doors in Silver Lake in 2005 and then made the short move over to the Los Feliz neighborhood in 2009. Always selected by hand, the brand offers shoes and accessories that fit the indie aesthetic to a tee. Vamp also stores goodies from the best local makers, as well as international designers.

The Celect

Founded in 2014, The Celect is a men’s and womenswear retailer born from the design powerhouse couple Carrie and Murphy Martines. With a curated selection that draws inspiration from the couple’s unique style, this brand has items that’ll help you develop that indie grunge aesthetic you’ve been seeing so much of recently. The Celect’s eponymous in-house brand of elevated wardrobe basics also boasts modern and sporty name brands as well as pieces for home decor.

Today, indie fashion is similar to the trends of the 2000s.This includes crop tops, baggy pants, collared shirts, and oversized Ts.

Taylor + Thomas

Designed and manufactured in Downtown Los Angeles, Taylor + Thomas is a cruelty-free luxury women’s shoe line that you need to nail that vintage indie aesthetic. Co-founders Jessica and Elizabeth have a shared goal of bringing a uniquely feminine perspective to the industry, meaning the products are made by women, for women. Every collection at this company is created with an emphasis on wardrobe staple silhouettes since shoes are essential to any closet. Taylor + Thomas is very committed to being eco-conscious; they figure the more we take care of the earth, the more we can enjoy fashion.

Pari Desai

With a couture-like indie aesthetic, knitwear designer Pari Desai has a knack for creating wearable pieces that look straight off the catwalk. Of course, it’s only natural for this designer, she was first behind Calvin Klein and A.L.C before stepping out on her own. Walking the line between upscale luxe and downtown cool, her Los Angeles-based line is sure to become an instant essential. 

Indie makeup is natural or bright, sometimes heavy blush, and hair is worn however they feel like, although bright colors are common.

akin and co

Embodying everything we love about California, akin and co is the brand you need in your closet ASAP. The look you’ll achieve wearing their clothes is that “I just rolled out of bed and threw this on and look amazing” kind of style. From soft linens to intricately printed silks, the brand does weekend dressing like no one else. They also have the indie grunge aesthetic on lock—think loose, breezy silhouettes that define and elevate coolness. 

What are your go-to brands to achieve the indie aesthetic? Let us know in the comments below.

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