The Brain Behind Left Hand LA
The Brain Behind Left Hand LA
INTERVIEW BY : JACK SUNNUCKS | IMAGES BY : STEPHANE WAFER
The Queen of LA Streetwear weighs in on her signature chopped & screwed style.
Julie Kucharski’s mother had the right idea when in 3rd grade she steered her daughter away from shopping and towards making her own clothes. The result of that (sort of – she studied fashion in London in the meantime), is Left Hand LA, her label that re- and deconstructs a variety of vintage and splices it with sportswear of her own creation. Named after both Lisa Left Eye Lopes and her own fair left hand, Julie’s pieces, especially her beyond distressed, patched and scribbled on jeans, have been worn by the dual bearers of culture, Beyoncé and Rihanna, and encouraged her to start producing at a larger scale than the one offs she does now. WestwoodWestwood caught up with the future Queen of LA sportswear about the brand that’s for “ Your daughter, your grandmother, her boyfriend, and his basketball coach.”
|How did Left Hand come to be?
I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember. My mom turned my shopping addiction into a design addiction in 2nd or 3rd grade and I haven’t stopped since. I went to fashion school in London, and Left Hand officially started when my mentor Kubo, the owner of Gr8 Tokyo, saw jeans I made and asked to sell them at his store. I sold my car, rented a closet in an artist warehouse downtown and took disco naps on an AstroTurf covered floor with silver spray painted walls when I was tired.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
A little bit of everything. DIY reconstructed vintage, mixed with cut and sew, mixed with airbrush. The brand is kinda like my brain… all over the place. There’s a piece for your daughter, your grandmother, her boyfriend and his basketball coach all from the same brand. Denim is constant, so are patches and bedazzles. It’s however I’m feeling, really.
Where does your love of activewear come from?
I personally love being comfortable. Who doesn’t? I started off making prom dresses and sweet 16 dresses in middle and high school but always appreciated brands like Juicy and Limited Too. The second I moved to LA and casual wear became relevant, I jumped on but kept the decorative aspects from the evening wear I created in my youth.
What are some of your signature pieces?
The crazy cutout jeans are a staple. Also the Darkworld suit, and the bedazzled dancing girl hoodie. The sweatsuits are always a hit as well.
What or who inspires you to make a piece? Who are some of your inspirations?
As much as I love other brands, I don’t usually look to others for inspiration. Lisa Lopes Left Eye is where the brand got its name. Brands like Betsey Johnson, Heatherette, and BBC Ice Cream were a few of my favorites growing up. McQueen was a huge inspiration for my eveningwear stuff when I was young.
How does LA inform what you do? In terms of distance from the fashion industry, or just the fact that it’s wild here.
Being from a small southern town on the east coast, I’ve ALWAYS always always been into LA brands and LA culture. The colors, the details, the graphics, the borderline tackiness. I love that shit.
What about clothes excites you?
Everything. Literally. From socks and underwear to headbands and hats and all the inbetweens. I love how clothes can speak for you. Sometimes I’m bad at explaining myself, or I’m kinda shy. But my outfit always says otherwise.
Tell me about how Beyoncé came to wear your stuff
That’s the best part about living in LA. One day you’ll wake up and your favorite celebrities are wearing your stuff. Every time I have a celebrity moment I find myself jumping out of my chair with the biggest smile ever, and suddenly my texts are flooded with congratulations like I just graduated high school again.
Have you made a lot of custom pieces for celebrities?
Yes! A decent amount. But there’s many more to come ;). It’s time we get a man in Left Hand.
What do you want to do with Left Hand? Where do you imagine it in a year or so?
I never know what’s next for left hand, I’m surprised everyday with new opportunities. I wanna make more shoes and do accessories. I think I’m finally gonna sell to stores and make more than 1 of each style. Not 200 of each but more than 1. Maybe 5 to 10 max. I also wanna tap back into my roots and do more eveningwear and cut and sew pieces.
How do you hope people wearing Left Hand feel? How do you feel when you wear your clothes?
I don’t know what it is, but every time someone wears Left Hand they always tell me how many compliments they get. I’m not sure if it’s the DIY aspect or how loud it is but it always turns heads. That’s the goal, to create something no one else has, and let people speak through their outfit instead of their mouth.