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Meet Tila Hanthaley of Smoke and Rose in West LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tila Hanthaley.

Tila, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’ve been designing for so many various companies for over 15 years in both apparel and graphics tees. I guess it started with an over quarter century meltdown and I had an ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ moment and left my life in attempt to start over in Europe. I wanted to be in a culture that was so foreign to me, in a place where I didn’t speak the language. I romanticized over it but the reality was so far from what I had envision. That didn’t work out as planned but while I was there I had an epiphany. I wanted to tell a story through my craft and paid a homage to my journey as an artist and a designer which was the beginning of Smoke and Rose. The moment I decided to do it; everything just sort of fell into place, as if destiny was pushing me towards this journey. So, I held my breath and took a leap of faith and dove right into it and it all came together like a jigsaw puzzle. Since then, Smoke and Rose took off running.

Smoke and Rose told my story. She is both fiery and romantic, strong yet delicate, edgy but poised, and I loved every creative process that it took for us to get here.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It wasn’t so smooth road. I’d be lying if I said having your own brand is nothing but peaches and ice-cream. When I started out; I had to do everything from designing, sewing my own samples, bookkeeping, putting together look books, coordinating photoshoots, and the daily task of running a business. My social life was non – existence. I had this sense of nostalgia of leaving my job at 6pm and go to a nice restaurant with a glass of cab. In the beginning I woke up and slept with my work and I started daydreaming of very simple things that I took for granted; like sleep. I was daydreaming of having a normal life, conversations with friends or a date night with a flame; a normal balance of work / life. Yet at the same time I needed to have that drive alive in me, because I had dreams and I needed to see it through.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We are a clothing brand for the Rock’n Rollers, the gypsies, and visionaries, and those who go their own way.

Smoke and Rose is a retaliation and a response to the world of “fast fashion” – off-the-rack cookie cutter designs made for imaginary women and men, for real people to squeeze and shoehorn their way into, discarding whatever personality doesn’t fit the Procrustean bed. Instead, Smoke and Rose is about the little things; the Devil is in the details, after all, but so are the Angels, the Mermaids and the Unicorns.

She’s defiant, she doesn’t fit into the social norms and she does what she wants to do, wears what she wants to wear. She has her own voice and she doesn’t need to fit in to be accepted in society.

We take pride in supporting local artists and mom and pop’s manufacturer that majority of our products are made in USA.

What were you like growing up?
I was a spoiled brat and lived in my own world. I am the youngest of 12 and my mother’s baby, how could I not have been spoiled. LOL. My family is loud and loving, a version of my “Big Fat Greek Wedding”, where they will shove food into you all the while getting your drunk. It’s always a fun time.

I was that typical little girl that loved tiara’s, big puffy dresses; and an obsession with Jem and the Holograms. She was my first fashion illustration when I was in the 3rd grade and I remember my chest swelled with pride because everyone took noticed on my drawing abilities.

Years go by and that was all that I did. I drew a lot and explored more into different techniques and became good at it. It was my therapy and my voice when I didn’t have to courage to tell people how I felt and it was my only saving grace when things didn’t turn out for me. I knew I could go into another world the moment that I turned on Tori Amos or the Cranberries with an empty canvas in front of me. I wasn’t an emo kid in anyway, but I certainly had a lot of misplaced emotions. So, in other words, your typical artist.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Photographer: Michael Schmitt
Model: Jennifer Lakey
MUAH: Styled by Mele

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