By Damon Banks
Together for more than 25 years, Trina Turk and Jonathan Skow are partners both in business and in life. Since launching her eponymous lifestyle brand in 1995, Turk has earned a reputation as Southern California’s resident cool-girl designer and, despite debuting the line without a formal business plan in place, her clothing currently hangs on the racks at retail powerhouses like Fred Segal, Barneys New York and Saks Fifth Avenue. Husband Skow has been along for each moment of the ride, all the while establishing a career as a noted stylist and photographer whose work has appeared in Esquire, Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar, as well as national advertising campaigns for brands like Sony and Target.
Several years ago, the duo launched menswear line Mr. Turk with Skow at the helm. A home decor collection followed, effectively elevating the brand to an international phenomenon.
Both Turk and Skow approach business just as they do their everyday lives—remaining casual, comfortable and inspired by their vibrant surroundings. Motivated by a sincere love of the Golden State, they incorporate themes of optimism, progressiveness and confidence into each of their unique collections. And though they operate boutiques across the country, their hearts will always be in Southern California. Here, fashion’s power couple dispenses tips and advice to discover Los Angeles’ best-kept shopping secrets.
Loews Magazine: What is your favorite neighborhood when it comes to shopping in the LA area?
Trina Turk and Jonathan Skow: For us, it’s Melrose Place [in West Hollywood], and the area around Melrose [Avenue] and La Cienega [Boulevard]. You can get in both your fashion and home decor shopping within several blocks.
TT and JS: We love Joan’s on Third for a quick bite of something delicious—although it is a short drive away. However, another great option would be to walk to Urth Caffé on Melrose.
LM: What is your favorite place for a short coffee or tea break in between retail stops in the West Hollywood neighborhood?
TT and JS: In this area, we’ve recently discovered Alfred Coffee & Kitchen, a specialty coffeehouse frequented by the locals. Plus, they have outdoor seating so it’s great for people-watching and plotting the next stop on your shopping trip.
LM: Other than your own boutiques, of course, what are some of your favorite stores to frequent in the LA area?
TT: When shopping for clothes (although it’s not a store), I always look forward to A Current Affair, a semi-annual vintage show that brings together vintage retailers and private dealers from all over Los Angeles—be sure to check it out. For things for the home, Downtown [home shop on La Cienega Boulevard] or Lawson-Fenning are great options. Both shops have a curated and personal vibe that makes shopping both surprising and inspiring.
LM: For someone seeking the quintessential LA look on a limited budget, what shopping or styling secrets do you recommend?
TT: Vintage would be the best way to go for an original look on a budget. Squaresville on Vermont in Los Feliz is affordably priced. The Rose Bowl Flea Market is another option; it’s the second Sunday of every month. Go to the left as you enter—vintage clothing, shoes and accessories are concentrated [all the] way to the left, past the aqueduct and the bridges, but there are dealers scattered throughout and it’s not just about fashion—you can find anything there.
LM: Accessories are an integral part of an ensemble—which stores do you recommend for discovering the best selections of hard-to-find and original accessories?
TT: I’d have to say go vintage for accessories, too, and shop the above-mentioned venues. … I also like Mohawk General Store and Tenoversix on Melrose for jewelry and accessories.
LM: What’s your favorite under-the-radar store that most people visiting LA would never hear anything about or find listed in magazines?
TT: I love OK on Third Street for cool books, jewelry, home accessories and gift items, all with a modernist point of view.
LM: What do you think makes shopping in LA different from shopping in other cities?
TT: You don’t have to worry about slogging around in the rain.
LM: For savvy travelers who may be visiting the LA area for the first time, which three stores would you say they absolutely have to stop by?
TT: Besides Trina Turk, I’d send them to JF Chen if they love interior design, OK if they need to buy a gift and Reform Gallery if they want to see some original, one-of-a-kind California crafts in ceramics, furniture, jewelry and textiles. L