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Los Angeles with Virginia Calderon

Story by Rachel Schwartzmann – Follow Virginia on Instagram – Photos by Karen Hernandez for The Style Line

“The city of Los Angeles has truly evolved into a hub for

for young creatives.” Virginia Calderon, emerging style maven, and social media guru shared in our interview below. “That said, I’ve known the city for a long time and always found a charm to it. My friends and I like to call it an ugly beautiful concrete jungle. There is something especially stunning about seeing something from the outside that appears unattractive but taking the time to explore the hidden areas of beauty.” Much of the enigmatic beauty Los Angeles is known for can be attributed to its creative inhabitants, which brings us to today’s feature. Virginia Calderon first caught our eye with her lushly curated Instagram feed, all of which features her impeccable personal style and snippets of her day-to-day in Los Angeles, specifically her frequent trips to the city’s celebrated flea markets. These adventures are affectionately known as #mymarketlife.

With that in mind, we wanted to have that same spirit translate into a guided tour of the city featuring Virginia’s ideal day out in Los Angeles, along with where else you’ll find her while en route to the local flea or farmer’s market. As she expressed below, “Because I enjoy going to farmer’s market and flea markets I started the tag to track my expeditions. I also found others starting to use the tag and love being able to see other market lives throughout the country.”

Without giving too much away, read on to discover more of our morning with Virginia who shared more of her favorite local LA haunts, her thoughts on the city’s position around sustainable fashion, and her advice for the next generation of creative thinkers and makers. Also, enjoy exclusive photos captured by Karen Hernandez for The Style Line.

*THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN JULY 2016 AND REFLECTS UPDATED CHANGES TO THE LAYOUT AND INTRODUCTION

My name is Virginia and I

am a coffee addicted, design enthusiast that appreciates people and things with style. I have been living in Los Angeles county my whole life. I am first generation Mexican American. I was raised to appreciate family, friends, social gatherings, and all things beautiful in life including things as simple and soulful as food. I grew up living in a city that values cars but was taught by my family to walk when going to the library, farmers market, a friend’s house, or the park. I’ve also been raised to appreciate the importance of things such as taking the train to museums and other city events. Now in my 20’s these values stay with me.

How would you characterize the city’s take on fashion and how does it feed into your own approach to style?

It’s amazing to see how each crevice of Los Angeles has its own style. The West side and the East side are like two different states when it comes to fashion. I reside in Highland Park and all around my neighborhood I observe chic women rocking the funkiest looks. There is something about it that is refined but casual. Frumpy looks become ready to wear with the addition of a gold necklace, a beautiful pair of shoes, or a rad bag. This city also feels like an endless summer and you can see that reflected in the style of this season-less place. Sandals, dresses and t-shirts can be worn all year long. Because of the casual nature of Los Angeles denim, it is all always appreciated.

We love your personal style with this in mind, what role would you say LA is playing the conversation around sustainability in fashion?

I think there has been an influx of women here who are willing to invest in a piece that is of high quality. Consumers now care if their products are being made ethically and or locally. People are willing to pay if they agree with the brand’s value. Los Angeles is also a city of flea markets and vintage shopping and this furthers the sustainability in fashion here. When I purchase and old pair of Levis, or a retro tee shirt its fun to imagine its previous owner and the world my garment once inhabited. I respect that Los Angeles designers are interested in keeping their operations local and/or production made ethically. If it’s not comfortable, I won’t wear it. I want to be able to go from work to the farmers market to the bar. I’m also unafraid to wear bright colors or taking fashion risks. Another huge part of personal style is my love of denim. I’m perhaps a denim hoarder.

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Rose Bowl Flea Market

Address: Pasadena, CA

“This has to be one of my favorite places in the universe. You can spend all day looking for vintage treasures. It’s where I have found some of my most treasured vintage goodies and all sorts of inspiration.”

Shop Virginia’s look: Leisure Rules T-shirt (Similar $34), Engineered Garments FWK skirt, VANS shoes (Similar $50), Caron Callahan Krasner jacket $292, SALT sunglasses 

Talk to us about your relationship with Los Angeles. How has it changed over the years? What speaks to you about the west coast the most?

The city of Los Angeles has truly evolved into a hub for young creatives. That said, I’ve known the city for a long time and always found a charm to it. My friends and I like to call it an ugly beautiful concrete jungle. There is something especially stunning about seeing something from the outside that appears unattractive but taking the time to explore the hidden areas of beauty. West Coast cities like San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle appear quiet and beautiful upfront which are beloved by all but Los Angeles makes you work for it. The city gets a lot of flak but all of this adds to its appeal. I believe people are discovering this more and is continuing to develop the loving diversity and culture.

Talk to us about #mymarketlife. From green markets to flea markets why do you think play such an essential role in the LA lifestyle?

From almonds to oranges to avocados, California takes the lead on all major produce. This means there is a huge farmers market culture. Because I enjoy going to farmers market and flea markets I started the tag to track my expeditions. I also found others starting to use the tag and love being able to see other market lives throughout the country.

Speaking more to the above question, how do you think LA as a city encourages embracing nature/detoxing digitally? Is there anything you think the city could be doing better to help its residents achieve more of a balance?

As I touched on earlier, the weather here is always so sunny which opens up a world of possibilities. Working freelance I am able to turn the beach, the local parks, and more into my office! Just this year the city of Los Angeles introduced a line from downtown LA to the city of Santa Monica that opened up many possibilities for the environmentally conscious citizen. Still the public transportation in LA pales into comparison to cities like New York, San Francisco, and Boston. It’s my hope that is no longer a problem in the future.

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Virginia’s Los Angeles Go-To’s

“There are so many great places so I apologize to those I leave out but I would say these are my top choices!”

Farmers markets + Food: 

South Pasadena, Hollywood and Santa Monica: Kitchen Mouse, Sqirl (pesto bowl), Blacktop coffee (avocado toast), Gjusta, Petit Trois, Mercado Restaurant (Santa Monica, Third Street or Hollywood location), Bestia, The Factory Kitchen, Republique, Guisados, Osrtich Farm, and so many more! Food here is AMAZING! ETA, Block Party, Highland Park Bowl, Resident, Everson Ryce Bar, Arts District Brewery, The Ace rooftop, and The Comminasary at the Line Hotel. Jenis, Salt & Straw, Mconnell’s Fine Ice cream, Van Leeuwen, and Bert and Rockys (if you find yourself in my home town of Claremont). Eightfold, Blue Bottle (all locations), Blacktop Coffee, Go get em tiger, copa vida, g&b coffee, woodcat coffee bar and Document.

Shop Virginia’s Look: Vintage 505 Levis jeans (Similar, $44.50), Pari Desai Reed Canvas Jacket $294, New Balance 620 shoes $56.99, Clare Vivier Alice Bag $199

Shopping + Entertainment:

Voyager LA, Mohawk General Store, Shop Nonna, Poketo, Tenoversix, General Store, TGS Tortoise General Store, The good liver, Cactus store, Lawson-Fenning, and Individual Medley. Long Beach Flea Market, Sunbeam Vintage (for furniture), Weepah Way, Shop Passenger and Avalon Vintage. Huntington Library is one of my favorite places, Norton Simon Museum, Hammer Museum, LACMA, Hauser & Wirth Gallery, The Broad, Getty Center and Getty Villa.

Shop Virginia’s Look: Caron Callahan Morris pants $320, Rachel Comey denim top (Similar,$ 336) Maryam Nassir Zadeh Roberta shoes $451.53, Mansur Gavriel bag $595, Nikki Montoya rings and bracelet 

In addition to LA, are there are any other cities that you could see yourself living in? What are they and why?

LA is home. I live for the weather and the kindness of the people here. I love how you can go from the desert to the beach to the mountains all within 30 minutes (if there is no traffic). That said, I do enjoy new opportunities and would be open to cities like San Francisco or New York. I do love the walking culture of those two cities.

What is one question you wish people asked you more often?

I love answering the questions that people ask me on social media from where I purchase jeans, to how I take my avocado toast. I would love to talk about other things I enjoy from the books I read to the songs I listen. These are things I am open to sharing with others as well. And perhaps these are the things that would unfold more easily in one on one conversations.

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Civil Coffee

Address: 5629 N Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90042

“I come here on the regular because it’s walking distance from my place. Actually, to be honest, I was still here all the time even when I wasn’t walking distance. Let me tell you – BEST customer service ever. The owners and employees are the best humans. You are treated like family. Aesthetically, this such a beautiful place! Pure eye candy. Coffee and food is great! I love coming here for inspiration and business meetings with friends and family.”

Shop Virginia’s Look: Caron Callahan Bethany jumpsuit $419, Maryam Nassir Zadeh Palma shoes $400,
Linen t-shirt (Similar, $35)

The Style Line was built on the premise of discovery, exploration and transit. With this in mind, if what is your “the style line” in your wardrobe?

I like to describe my style as French tomboy with a hint of minimalist Japanese grandma. The tomboy in me loves sneakers, jeans and a tee-shirt which can make for the right outfit no matter where your day leads. I also use that statement to describe my style because my style is all over the place. If I love a piece from another culture I love to borrow from it and put my own twist on it. I think it’s easy in the fashion industry to copy without adding an original flair but I believe it is important to always take inspiration from other people, things, and put your own imprint on it!

How would you advise the next generation to leave an imprint in the world simply by doing what they love?

I myself struggled with this for a long while. It is scary to overlook certain societal expectations and do what you love even if the money or prestige is not certain. Just two months ago I left behind my steady, nine to five job to pursue my own passions. I have been doing freelance social media/consulting/product development as well as working on my own personal brand and at times it can be unnerving. Yet, the reward of making my own schedule and putting my dreams first has been so incredibly rewarding. I’ve felt lots of spiritual growth as well. I think if you believe in what you are working on, if you’re passionate, if your kind, and work hard opportunities will follow!

“The city of Los Angeles has truly evolved into a hub for young creatives.”