June is Pride Month, and to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, we’re talking with some of our favorite queer-owned and queer-run brands to highlight their missions and their favorite products.
We had the chance to speak with Rachel Berks, a co-founder of Otherwild, a boutique store that highlights LGBTQ small businesses and artists in Los Angeles.
Rachel told us that Otherwild “started in June, 2012, when she was living among a community of LGBTQ aritsts in Los Angeles.” She said her friend, both graphic designers, had the idea to open a store.
The idea, she said, was to “launch Otherwild as a hybrid design studio and retail space that would mostly feature works of artists who were friends, or friends of friends.”
There was just one problem: parking spots. “After about 8 months, we were kind of sick of our friends complaining that there was no parking when they wanted to come. The space wasn’t really right for a queer-art centric design boutique. So we decided to move to Echo Park.”
“During that time we did a lot of community activation through events, pop-ups. But it started because we were always in these locations where you needed to know about us to end up there.”
But then, word started to spread. “A couple years later, we released The Future Is Female shirt (which you may have seen), which led me to channel design for the business itself. It allowed me to design a lot more things for the store.”
With a little help from the internet, Otherwild started to grow and with it, opportunities to induce change.
Which leads us to one of her favorite products, which is the purposely misspelled Hirsuit.
Hirsuit Swim Simple
“In 2018, we launched Hirsuit, an androgynous swimsuit intended for all genders and body types. So we’ve released two designs so far, but this summer we’re releasing more styles. We made it because there aren’t a lot of options out there for folks who don’t want what is standardly offered in terms of swim attire. Our styles have been one piece, we’re releasing several separates in the future that I’m really excited about.” She also added that “All of the swimsuits are made from recycled plastic. Which is another thing we’ve been devoted to with our business.”
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