Just a few blocks west of Triangle Square lies your typical sprawl of industrial warehouses. And within a compacted radius, these warehouses are home to . . . uh, well, just about everything cool that's from Orange County. Hurley, RVCA, Urban Decay, Paul Frank, Generic Youth, E.C. Star and others all are based in Costa Mesa, while storefronts and venues that help keep these names thriving—the Pinch, Detroit, Avalon, eVocal—are their neighbors.
Costa Mesa just may be OC's closest answer to a real arts scene, one where there's a sense of camaraderie, in all aspects: clothing, music, art and spoken word.
It's kind of hard to put your finger on what kindof scene it really is, just because the people involved in it are incredibly diverse. Hipster? Kinda. Skater? Surfer? Those, too. Fartsy without being too pretentious? Yeah.
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RVCA may be the one leading the charge in this multitasking, being a sort of art house in the guise of a clothing company. Their mantra meshes design with an active lifestyle, breaking out of the mold with which so many action-sports labels have constrained themselves. The little-bit-of-everything brand nurtures close connections to everyone—artists, musicians, skaters, surfers. They put out everything from graphic-art tees by artist/musician/composer Mark Mothersbaugh to flannel baby-doll tanks and tailored dark skinny jeans that'll flow perfectly fine with the most expensive top you've got in your closet.
Diversity seems to be a common thread with RVCA and its contributors: One of the brand's most well-known designers is Huntington Beach resident Ed Templeton. The artist/photographer started as a pro skateboarder, but he also did designs for his own skateboard company, Toy Machine, creating decks and clothing. As a skater, he's sponsored by RVCA, but he frequently contributes to the company as well, making shirts and even helping out with RVCA's latest venture, ANP Quarterly, a giant 11-by-17 magazine that's freeand flies off racks at skate shops, bookstores and clothing shops.
So once again, the arts collide with the latest slew of Templeton for RVCA shirts. One of my favorites is an effortless navy-colored girls' fitted tee, featuring one of Toy Machine's most recognizable icons, the Sect Eye (the other being that yellow-horned, zig-zag-mouthed horned monster). The back simply reads, "RVCA X TOY MACHINE" in white script. The shirt's fitted, but not too tight, and just long enough to avoid any T-shirt-to-jean ratio awkwardness (in short: shorter T-shirts look real fucking gauche when paired with normal rise denims).
Seriously, Orange County: We've got a really good thing going on here with Costa Mesa—and have for awhile. Keep it going, hit up events and shows, support the artists . . . contribute.