It started with a job to shoot for Junk Food Clothing’s fall 2018 lookbook that landed model and photographer Gabbriette Bechtel a limited-edition capsule with the local T-shirt brand.
Junk Food tapped the multihyphenate creative, who has modeled for Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty line and had her work appear in V magazine and vogue.com, for the nine-piece capsule. The collection is to be celebrated on Thursday ahead of its Oct. 8 launch on Junk Food’s online shop as well as Tees + Jeans, the experiential retail space on Abbot Kinney it opened in partnership with Levi’s.
The collection consists of bodysuits, print tops and accessories bearing a cheetah print, some of Bechtel’s photography used as graphics on T-shirts and even a few of her tattoos embroidered as overlays on some of the pieces.
“I pretty much live in T-shirts and sweaters and pullovers, just cozy things I can wear every day,” Bechtel said of the starting point for the capsule’s direction. “The inspiration is pulled from my own closet. I collect vintage and so I used favorite pieces from my closet like cheetah. I look for rare cheetah pieces when I go shopping so we re-created that. …We also drew inspiration from my tattoos. They’re like stickers on my body. They’re kind of random, but they all have meaning.”
Ten of Bechtel’s tattoos were utilized throughout the capsule, including a spiderweb and beetle tattoo (in a nod to her love of insects and the month of October).
The pieces were also designed for men and women, as Bechtel wanted all of her friends to be able to sport items from the collection.
Working with Bechtel is part of a focus by Junk Food to play up its Los Angeles roots, explained Junk Food Clothing creative director of content Imani Lanier.
“We really wanted to go after the L.A.-centric vibe and also support Los Angeles as a brand,” Lanier said. “We really felt that Gabi and her crew personified from a cultural point of view what we’re looking for from a brand identity. The brand is founded in Los Angeles. It’s a 20-year-old brand and the founders are born and raised here. So it is a new initiative for us to take that and run with that and have that be a companywide direction that we really focus on for Los Angeles.”
Lanier said production of the Bechtel collection was limited to 30 to 35 units produced in L.A. for each style with labels hand-printed. Lanier went on to say the company will gauge whether another collection is called for once they see how this launch fares at retail.
The launch party at Tees + Jeans will feature photos Bechtel shot for the look book as well as behind-the-scenes images from the photo shoots.
Junk Food and Levi’s partnered late last year on the Tees + Jeans concept as part of a retail experiment to address the continued popularity in personalization of products. The 2,700-square-foot space carries Junk Food and Levi’s staple pieces that can be tailored and customized. A portion of the space is dedicated to various events or art exhibitions, such as one focused on the birth of skateboarding and Venice local Craig Stecyk, who wrote the documentary “Dogtown and Z-Boys.”
“The customers that come through there are very eclectic and it’s across the board and I think that’s because of the customization aspect,” Lanier said. “People are able to do what they want to do.”