Today we’d like to introduce you to Carol Young.
Carol, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Undesigned grew out of my Master’s Thesis project at Cornell University. Trying to find a sustainable design method, I was using post-consumer recycled clothing + technical fabrics to make clothing for the Urban Nomad, a theoretical client who uses human-powered (walking/cycling, etc) and mass-transit to get around. Ironically, I ended up back in LA, where I grew up and where the car-centric culture is the opposite of an urban nomadic lifestyle. In 2003, I launched Undesigned, which was a micro-line focused on pleated “travel wear” and sold mainly at samples sales and boutiques worldwide. In 2005, I opened my “starter store” in Echo Park (where Hecho En Echo is now), since my dream was to have a little shop with a studio in the back. A year later, I found my current location in Los Feliz and have been here ever since. The line, which is now known as Carol Young, has grown to a full collection that is designed and made in the studio behind our shop.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’d say definitely not a “smooth road”, but full of twists & turns & serendipitous happenings. Sometimes I think the universe throws me curve balls to see how I’ll react and keep me on my toes. I feel like that move to Los Feliz was my metamorphosis into “adulthood” since my son Hugo came a year later, and his brother Paolo in 2009. After the boys were born I had to learn how to juggle motherhood with being a small business owner, as well as designer. Finding work and life balance is definitely something I struggle with everyday.
Please tell us about Carol Young Undesigned.
Carol Young | Undesigned is a working design studio and boutique that features sustainably designed clothing, shoes, accessories and gifts that cater to eclectic professional women of all ages and sizes. Besides our house clothing line, we carry other independent accessories designers such as cult favorites Trippen shoes, Tracey Tanner leather accessories, Boet jewelry by fiber artist Emily Bixler, Oropopo laser cut leather jewelry, Sydney Brown vegan shoes & Verre Modern glass jewelry as well as new designers such as ceramicist Raina Lee and Clau leather accessories by Art Center grad Christine Lau. Having the shop has also been a way to promote other female designers through trunkshows and pop-ups, as well as a venue for hosting fundraising events for our favorite social & environmental causes.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I’m not sure—that’s a tricky question! I’d maybe partner with someone who’s skills complement my skills in areas that aren’t my forte, such as the business stuff and marketing. I’d love to be able to focus more on designing, but I also think wearing multiple hats is a really important a part of what makes my job fun. So I’m not sure! In any case, I love what I do and hope to continue doing it for as long as I can!
- Address: 1953 1/2 Hillhurst Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027
- Website: carolyoung.com
- Phone: 323-663-0088
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @undesignedLA
- Facebook: facebook.com/CarolYoung.Undesigned
Portrait Photo – Stephanie Son
Collection Photos by Rollence Patugan, Madeline Hug, and Quyen Tran