We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristin Parker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristin, how do you think about risk?
My life has been all about risks. I would not be who I am, where I am, or doing what I do without the risks I have taken. When I was younger I used to take some pretty bold risks for the sake of fun. But when I grew up I used this practice in risk taking to take smarter, more productive chances that have brought me much of my current success and happiness. The first big risk I took in my adult life was moving to L.A. I left hometown life in Raleigh, NC with hardly any savings and landed in L.A. with basically just a suitcase and a dream–I was going to be a fashion designer. I knew only one person in L.A. and stayed on her couch for one week. I got a brief job in retail within that first week of being here and by the second week got my first job in the fashion design industry as an assistant designer for a kids clothing company. Since then I’ve not shied away from risks. When I found myself in unfulfilling or toxic work environments, I took the risk to leave full-time work to freelance. Freelancing then led to higher pay and more creative freedom. I was back and forth between freelancing and full-time work as a designer for a while, often working on my own brand, AllAlong, on the side. The investments in my own endeavors were also big risks as my disposable income was often limited, but the time and money I put into that led to getting my line into a boutique on Melrose and shown in L.A. fashion week. (Worth it!!) My most recent risk was almost two years ago when I left my full-time work and started my casual clothing brand, L.Alien. I put a large chunk of my savings and countless hours of work into my ongoing, ever-growing process. The brand has expanded as I’ve put more and more into it. My business continues to present risks, but I know that without taking them it will not continue to grow. Overall, my risks define who I am and have taken me places I never would have been otherwise. Like they say, a ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships are made for.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Life as a fashion designer is not easy. But even at the toughest times I’ve found that giving up is the hardest thing for me to do. Something just won’t let me settle. So, I’ve never given up no matter what and every time I reach a goal I set a new one. I think this mentality has been the secret to my career. I’ve learned that success takes a lot of time, effort, patience, and dedication. Both of my brands, AllAlong and L.Alien, represent boatloads of passion, sweat and tears. They are also absolutely an extension of who I am. AllAlong, my contemporary collection, connects with my most creative inspirations that have been a part of me all along (hence the name). L.Alien is my way of connecting with like-minded creatives who also never settle and who strive for success in their creative endeavors, no matter the challenges along the way. The clothing I create for L.Alien is more fun and lighthearted and aims to offer a little something for everyone while also representing the lifestyle, stories and diversity of creatives in L.A.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
• Hike to/visit Griffith Park Observatory • Universal Studios (The Simpsons ride!!) • Eighty-Two pinball bar downtown • DTLA Arts District • Sushi Gen (Best. Sushi. In. The. WORLD! Sit at the bar. Guaranteed you will have to wait a while to be seated, but there’s nothing in the world that I can think of that’s more worth the wait.) • The Mermaid (theme bar next to Sushi Gen – get a drink there while you wait for your seat at Sushi Gen) • The Edison (One of the few bars in L.A. that has a dress code, but it’s not an overwhelming one so don’t let that deter you – this place is so cool! No sneakers, no shorts) • Any bar/lounge by Houston Hospitality (i.e. La Descarga, Harvard & Stone, Pour Vous, No Vacancy, Dirty Laundry, Good Times at Davey Wayne’s, Butchers and Barbers and Break Room 86). All their venues are full of unique experiences, fun secret entrances, and vintage interiors that will take you to another time and place. • BeetleHouse LA (Tim Burton themed bar) • Scum & Villainy (Star Wars themed bar) • Venice Beach Boardwalk. Walk, run, bike, or skate from Venice Beach all the way to the Santa Monica pier. There’s tons of boutique shopping, a skate park, bike/skate rentals, street tacos, ice cream, just about anything you can think of. Then when you get to the Santa Monica Pier there’s an arcade, a roller coaster, a ferris wheel, and tons of other fun stuff. If you’re up for a slightly upscale meal while you’re there, go to The Lobster and enjoy a beachfront view with some great food and cocktails. • The Galley (in Santa Monica) • L.A.C.M.A • Sunset Strip • The Standard Hotel (DTLA or Hollywood – both are great) • The Last Bookstore (DTLA) • Runyon Canyon hike • Jet Rag (amazing vintage shop and every Sunday they have a $1 sale out front. Go early and prepare for a truly unique shopping experience) • Wacko (Large offbeat shop that offers an eclectic range of pop-culture ephemera, novelties, housewares & gifts) • Melrose Avenue. Go shopping at lots of eclectic boutiques and get some of the best Mexican food and best margaritas in town at Antonio’s. Be sure to check out all the pictures on the wall at Antonio’s – the owner knows every celebrity you could ever think of from Frank Sinatra to Keanu Reeves. You may even have the opportunity to meet Antonio himself! • Rodeo Drive (if super swanky, designer shopping is what you’re into). For a more unique but still upscale, swanky shopping experience try Robertson Blvd. • Hollywood Farmers Market • Pretty much any flea market in L.A. is awesome • The Rose Bowl • Go to a Dodgers Game • Med Men
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family: my dad for giving me my creativity my mom for giving me my strength my sister for giving me inspiration, leadership, and wisdom
Other: • L.Alien: Website: www.lalienstyle.com Instagram: @lalienstyle Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LAlienStyle/ • AllAlong: Website: www.allalongapparel.com Instagram: @allalonglust | @allalongapparel Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AllalongApparel/ • Portfolio: www.kristinmichelleparker.com
Lorenzo Hodges Getty Images