Since closing his cult-favorite L.A. fashion boutique, Lo-Fi, in 2007, fashion designer, vintage apparel dealer and DJ Kelly Cole has been relatively content spinning records at trendy watering holes and selling clothing to top-flight stores, including American Rag Cie, Barneys New York and Confederacy.
But gradually, the naturally social Cole began feeling like a lone wolf. "I started to miss people," he explained. "I deal with people in my DJ life, but at night it's a whole different rhythm."
To assuage his isolation, Cole decided to relaunch his Lo-Fi brand as, simply, Kelly Cole and launch a new store — Kelly Cole Extraordinarium — to carry the label along with a handful of like-minded under-the-radar brands.
The former stage actor, who's designed for and outfitted celebs including Ben Harper, Juliette Lewis, Joy Bryant, Adam Levine and Holly Hunter, shares the 1,500-square-foot 3rd Street space with custom denim makers Denim Revival. The two stores will be collaborating here and there, Cole said.
The new collection, which includes vintage, over-dyed graphic T-shirts priced at around $55 and rough-hewn leather belts ranging from $80 to $250, is designed to be unisex, but "is probably geared more toward menswear," said Cole, who plans to add a new category to the line each season.
Decorated high school-style in retro rock posters from the likes of the Dead Kennedys and Devo, the shop also carries vintage clothing for men and women, books, home furnishings and art. "What's great is that I can do all the things I'm really passionate about in one place," said Cole, who still DJs weekly at Bar Lubitsch and Le Trousdale.
As for the self-titled collection he plans to grow, Cole said he hopes the thought he puts into it sets it apart from the scores of T-shirt-and-jeans brands in L.A.
"There are so many brands out there," he noted. "I sometimes ask myself, 'What is the aesthetic I'm advancing? Is there an organic purity in what I do?' I guess I'm still sort of finding that."
Kelly Cole Extraordinarium, 7934 W. 3rd. St., L. A. (323) 782-1400. 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.