Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
A lesser known fact about Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters behind the romantic and dreamy label Rodarte, is that they hail from Northern California. Although they are based in Pasadena, an LA suburb that many pubs have firmly tethered to the brand, their formative years, as told to the New York Time's T Magazine, were spent in the Bay. They explored the forest behind their childhood home in Aptos and hung out in Santa Cruz before studying fine art and literature, respectively, at UC Berkeley.
To the girls, Santa Cruz was "the big city," and San Francisco was "boring" and "uptight" — which it most likely was in comparison to the '80s in the beachside, college town immersed in the surf, skate, and punk cultures (which remains largely true today). "You can really be a weirdo here [in Santa Cruz]," Laura explained to T Magazine's Sarah Nicole Prickett. This is the freedom that would lead to the sisters' wild imaginations set free in the form of clothes.
Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon best described the designers' firm grasp on other-worldly fabrications when she told Style.com, "It's like they're on psychedelics, the way they describe things." Kate and Laura journey back to Santa Cruz at least twice a year. Perhaps muse isn't the right word, but the sisters' collective nod of appreciation for the area's nearly unchanged "really weird vibes" make incubator — for the brand's boundless, imaginative creations — better suited.
· For Rodarte, a Santa Cruz State of Mind [T Magazine]
· The Rodarte Sisters Call S.F. "Uptight" In Latest Interview [Refinery 29]
· Rodarte [Official Site]