Retro Active

Locally designed and distributed clothing label E.C. Star seems to have found itself assigned a niche. Given that head designer Jen Johnson received her start with backing from Huntington Beach's resident Gothic/punk clothing outlet Electric Chair (now across the street from American Apparel!), I guess it's not too far of a stretch that the brand has been deemed as, well, clothing strictly for the mod/Gothic/punk/whatever crowd—lifestyle clothing.

With E.C. Star's popular black (only black) hooded sweat shirts featuring monochromatic, linear drawings of guns, skulls, sharks (nature's toughest animals), mod targets, and Dia de los Muertos-inspired skulls and sacred hearts, the connection is understandable, but the majority of Johnson's designs are actually more comparable to those DIY-type of digs you've always wished you were capable of making yourself or that you could find at retail shops—but couldn't.

E.C. Star's spring/summer line echoes Christian Dior's “New Look” movement of the 1940s—the brand as a whole is a return to the classic sense of femininity: floral prints, lacy trim, gathered waists, ruffles, cap sleeves and heart-shaped buttons—yet it's all still just contemporary enough to render it completely wearable without looking costume-y. It's tough to pull off the throwback clothing without looking like a less-than-adequate Betty Grable. E.C. Star is romantic but modern, summer-y but classy, and classy but still feminine and adorable.

It all looks like what that punk girl who sat in the back of your high school earth-science class would wear now, 10 years later. And if you yourself weren't that girl? Well, you'd like E.C. Star, too. One of the most standout features about the brand is its universal appeal—retro cuts flatter any body type.

Filled with sweet blouses and A-line dresses like the Carmen or the Lucy, with its apron front, Peter Pan collar and peepy button front (that shows juuust enough); flared pencil skirts; '60s-inspired striped French tunics; or fun floral print and pink-and-pistachio-striped skirt suits that look just as natural on the steps of Montmartre as they do well, here, E.C. Star's spring/summer line is vibrant and fun enough to properly welcome in summer weather and rid ourselves of the thought of those goddamn 65-degree winters we've been cursed with.

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