Interview with Junko Watanabe, Founder & Creator of PurrrLA
I absolutely love the clothes at PurrrLA
; an adorable clothing company that has a booth at Melrose Trading Post in Los Angeles. In fact, I wore one of their dresses in THIS
post a little while back; and it’s one of my favorite dresses to wear…everywhere. So this lucky gal scored an interview AND collaboration with the company, and I am so excited to bring it to you over the next month or so!
To get you excited for the lovely outfits I get to share, I’m kicking this collaboration off with an interview with PurrrLA founder and creator, Junko Wantanabe. Also enjoy all the pictures of their fabulous clothing 😀 …did I mention she also love cats enough to name her company after them? I mean this is just serendipitous.
Potpurrri: What is the inspiration behind PurrrLA?
Junko: The name itself comes from my love for cats.
Is it just you running the business, or do you have a team?
I have a small team of very skilled sewers.
How & when did PurrrLA start?
I’ve been wearing vintage clothes since I was a teenager in Tokyo, but everything was too big for me so I started to fix them up. I got better doing it for years, and started to sell them at Rosebowl in early 2000. I started company PurrrLA officially in 2008.
What is your background with fashion? Did you go to school for it, or has it always been a passion project?
My parents gave me the first sewing machine when I was 6 for christmas, so its been my thing throughout my whole life.
I love all your pieces, they all have a 90s vintage upcycled feel to them. Are your pieces upcycled or created from scratch? Do you use vintage/thrifted fabrics?
I would say 40% upcycled, 50-60% made from scratch, but we only use rolls of left over materials from fashion houses, so its 100% recycled, all handmade here in Los Angeles.
Who are some of your personal fashion icons/inspirations?
Since I am Japanese, I love all the Japanese designers such as Kenzo
, Rei Kawakubo
(Comme des Garcons)
My main inspirations come from my customers at the flea market, I have seen many trends started from there,
and it’s a well known place for photographers from all over the world to take snapshots of girls for fashion magazines.
Do you have any words of advice or wisdom for anyone looking to start up their own clothing company?
Consistency and patience is the key. It is way easier to start your own nowadays with the internet, you can start building your own customer base and learn what they want.
What is currently your favorite song to blast loud in the car and jam out to?
Chocolate Disco by Perfume ( Japanese electric girl band )
So there you have it! Everything you never knew that you needed to know about this amazing company. If you absolutely love their clothes as much as I do, but don’t live in LA, have no fear! They have an online shop as well! I love everything this company is doing and how they’re doing it; locally made with recycled fabric – that’s smart fashion. Stay tuned to see how I style my PurrrLA pieces!