I don’t know about you, but when I go shopping I am all about the ambiance and the vibes of the store. When I walked into Aviator Nation on Abbot Kinney, I was immediately greeted by happy and relaxed employees as well as Michael Jackson spinning on the record player in the background. You truly feel like you’re at home, or at least at your local hangout spot when inside of the store. Paige Mycoskie, the founder and designer of Aviator Nation was more than welcoming as were her two adorable doggies. Sitting on the couch with her in the backyard of her store, I got to find out the back story behind her brand and also discuss with her our mutual love for animals and Cetaceans and adventures to Hawaii. She is so down to Earth and has created fashionable women’s and men’s sweats, tanks, flip flops and much more, that I myself may start to live in day to day. If you’re a surfer or skater I am probably not telling you anything new but to my other friends, this is the perfect beach town gear, as well as travel wear, so soft and cozy!
Q&A with Paige Mycoskie (Founder/Designer of Aviator Nation):
How Old were you when you started designing?
“I started drawing as soon as I could hold a crayon. I was sewing at age 3.”
Where are you originally from?
“I was born in Arlington, Texas and that is where I grew up. I moved to California in 2001 and have been here ever since.”
How was the process of trying to launch your very own line?
“Launching my own line was not easy and it’s still not easy. Since I started in 2006 I have put out thirty-six collections, including roughly 250 new styles. It’s a lot of designing on top of just running the business itself. I love every minute and you’ll never hear me complain but it takes a lot of hard work to keep it all going. I know that in order to keep my brand desirable I have to put out new designs every few months. Lucky for me, I have a lot of ideas ;). Another one of the major struggles I experienced in the early days and still experience on occasion is wholesale buyers that don’t pay. It’s sad but a lot of stores simply don’t pay for their orders. The stores buying, know you are small and you can’t afford to fight them so they take the clothes and tell you they will pay in thirty days and sometimes you never see the money. This happens A LOT and there is nothing a brand/designer can do about it except try to file a lawsuit which would end up costing thousands. When this first happened to me I simply didn’t understand how a store could take my clothes, sell them and not pay me but I soon realized this happens all the time. I deal with this now by choosing who I sell to very carefully. I keep it simple and only work with people I can trust.
Where do you see Aviator Nation a few years from now?
“I would love to have a couple more Aviator Nation stores if I find the right locations for them. I only want to open stores in really special areas. Other than that I just want to continue to design great gear for my wonderfully loyal fans. I have som cool merchandise in developement right now, like swimwear and board shorts and the new collection coming out for the holidays this year is going to be super, rad!”
Is there one really popular item in the store, style/color? X
“That’s tough because we have a lot of favorites but if I had to choose one I would probably say the ‘Sunburst Hoodie’. The amount of detail that goes into that hoodie is pretty incredible and every time someone buys one, I think they also know they are getting something special. A lot of love and hours go into making that hoodie.”
What was your design aesthetic behind building your first store on Abbot Kinney?
“The truth is I had no real plan for the Abbot Kinney Store. I basically started putting all of my favorite personal “stuff” into the store and it quickly took on a life of it’s own. First, I brought over my 1975 Indian Moped, then my skateboard collection, my record player, and my 720 degrees arcade game. Next thing I knew I had a pretty rad store starting to take shape. At the time I had no money to spend on it but I had a pretty cool collection of vintage belongings, so that’s how I made it happen. Once everything was in my store I realized that my personal vintage collection was the perfect backdrop for my clothes because my designs are all inspired by my passion for vintage goods. It all works together because it’s everything that I love all under one roof. When you walk into Aviator Nation you are basically walking into the brand because you are surrounded by real elements of the 70’s. It’s not just a store it’s a window into the past”
Do you surf? Where is your favorite place to surf?
“Yes I surf…as often as I can. When I first moved to Cali I surfed everyday at sunrise and sunset. Now I don’t surf nearly as much as I would like to because Aviator Nation keeps me pretty pre-occupied, but when I do surf my favorite spots are, surfing in Malibu and down south near San Onofre.”
What is in the works for your Fall 13 collection that a “Fancy Hipster” should look out for?
“Watch out for my new Moto Collection. It is pretty incredible and definitely one of my personal favorite collections, to-date.”
Snag some goodies here!