By Kathryn Romeyn | October 1, 2018 | People Feature
A sextet of forward-thinking style guys are changing the face of fashion in L.A.
“We are seen as the black sheep in the fashion industry,” says Not Just A Label CEO and founder Stefan Siegel, 39, of his business, which he conceived to stem the excess eating at the luxury fashion court. NJAL cut out the middlemen for 30,000 indie designers following their creative instincts instead of politics or money. Indeed, the former Italian navy man who dresses for comfort (think WeberHodelFeder sneakers, vintage 501s and an old Margiela sweatshirt) is known for doing things differently—a neon sign behind his desk reads, “Be anything else!” Soon NJAL will launch a service to help designers grow their ventures independently. Siegel finds inspiration in challenging the establishment. “I always say, changing the world is not an option, it is an obligation—at least to try!”
Talk about game-changer: Ashley Bezamat, custom eyewear maker, created the NikeiD of eyewear, allowing customers to design every tiny detail of their shades or specs. It’s all part of his hyperpersonalized business, called Dom Vetro, America’s only microbatch, artisan, direct, custom eyewear company and LA’s only eyewear factory. Bezamat, 37, was inspired by his great-grandfather, Frank Sinatra’s personal tailor, and owes his success to his willingness to take a leap of faith. “There was definitely a point where it didn’t make a ton of sense, moving to a remote village in Italy and becoming an eyewear maker, but my passion led me to exactly the right place.” Now he’s working on another innovation: an iOS app allowing him to custom-fit glasses on clients around the world. Bezamat’s aesthetics may blend France, New York and California, but his mantra feels wholly of the latter: “I chant ‘Nam Myoho Renge Kyo’ every morning to set my intention for the day. It’s changed my life.”
At just 21 years old, actor-cum-model Andre Lamonè is already making waves, not only for his dynamic work—see a recent head-turning Prada campaign—but also for his truly singular sartorial point of view. Since seventh grade, when Drake’s influence had him wearing fisherman sweaters even on hot days (“Why? Because I wanted to look good”), he’s been putting himself together with a sleek, carefully styled sense. “I dress as if life is one long walk in the park on an autumn day,” he says. Think tailored yet relaxed slacks, sandals and Tommy Bahama short-sleeve button-downs that most couldn’t pull off, let alone make cool. When he’s modeling, it’s from an actor’s perspective: “I like getting lost in the ‘moods’ they give us to play. I naturally live in my dreams, so it’s not too far-fetched to [embody] what can’t be seen with the physical eye.” In his immediate future watch for more theater, more runway and, “next,” he says, “I want to cultivate peace of mind!”
Others might go by “celebrity stylist”—his clients include Céline Dion, Zendaya, Ariana Grande and Tiffany Haddish—but Law Roach prefers, and even trademarked, “image architect.” Since he was 12, Roach has been obsessed with high fashion. He cut his teeth at his own vintage boutique in Chicago before working up the courage to move to LA. Now, goals met—see top magazine covers, Grammys, Oscars, viral wardrobe moments and a yet to be announced “shocking, surprising” collab—his happiness is derived from motivating others with his success: “I love sharing all the hustles of what I do.” And as polished as his clients are, Roach calls his own image “high-end tacky, honestly.” The coat collector loves a jumpsuit and a midboot with a small heel. “I wear an Alexander McQueen runway coat with a pair of pants I got at a thrift store. It just feels wealthy to me when people have a nice coat.” But at the end of the day, for himself and others, Roach’s goal is simple: Make people feel beautiful.
Josh Peskowitz, co-founder and co-owner of fast-fashion-fighting menswear boutique Magasin at buzzy Culver City destination Platform, has majorly propelled men’s style in both his editorial roles (he was formerly at Vibe and Esquire) and retail trailblazing. “I was one of the first people to move from editorial to retail, back when editorial was trying to figure out how to be retailers and retailers realized they had to be storytellers,” says Peskowitz, 39, who moved crosscountry to LA in 2016 to hawk hard-to-find brands and one-of-a-kinds. His own signature is his beard, says the ‘90s teen whose viewpoint is still affected by hip-hop culture. Ultimately, it’s impossible to pigeonhole Peskowitz—he finds Malibu’s fried seafood biker cafe Neptune’s Net the chicest place in LA—which is exactly his appeal. If one thing makes the man, in his eyes, it’s self-confidence.
Strong, confident and enigmatic are the words former Max Azria runway designer-turned-independent creative director Michail Sykianakis attributes to the women he visualizes while draping clothes directly on the body, taking a couture approach to ready-to-wear that’s clean, flattering and bordering on futuristic. The son of a Greek dressmaker, Sykianakis started sketching women at only 5 years old and never stopped. His devoted clientele, including Hollywood types, appreciates his eye for balance. “Above all else, it’s knowing when to stop—this is key,” he says. (His innate sense of “sexy” without showing too much skin is especially admirable in LA.) Sykianakis makes his own pieces in his workshop, when possible, and alternately dons a Zegna suit, Dsquared2 jeans or Jil Sander and Bottega Veneta pieces. “I don’t like to be the center of attention, but I do quite enjoy being remembered,” he says, echoing his perennial goal for the women for whom he designs.
SIEGEL PHOTO BY ALEXO WANDAEL AND CLOTHING BY DR. COLLECTORS/LA; BEZAMAT PHOTO BY ADAM AMENGUAL; LAMONÈ PHOTO BY JENNA DUFFY; ROACH PHOTO BY ERIK ASLA; PESKOWITZ PHOTO BY KIMBERLY GENEVIEVE FOR LOS ANGELES CONFIDENTIAL; SYKIANAKIS PHOTO BY CASSANDRA PLAVOUKOS