There are few labels that tick all the boxes. Underground, with mainstream appeal. Luxury, but affordable. Sustainable, yet uncompromising. LA-based and produced brand Allen Schwartz covers all these bases and more. A favorite among A-listers (the brand has been seen on Jessica Alba, Jenna Dewan, Kate Beckinsale and Busy Philips this month alone), and ‘it’-girls alike, designer Bianca Bernal pivoted the 35-year-old red carpet staple, ABS, to effortless casual and occasion wear that won’t date.
And, you can shop with a clear conscience, with each piece is manufactured in downtown Los Angeles with consciously selected fabrics. And given the climate of AS’s home base, it’s Bernal’s contributions for the warmer months that are truly astounding. Their structural, sheer dresses are reminiscent of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s direction at Dior, their three-piece satin suits perfect for summer workwear, and statement-making linens sending a clear message that comfort need never be sacrificed for style — all while expertly balancing trend and timelessness in their dedication to flattering the female form. Check out the SS19 collection and read our conversation with Bernal about all things fashion and femininity, below.
Tell me about the reinvention and evolution of Allen Schwartz, what’s your vision for the brand?
Before, ABS was dress-centric. Allen Schwartz is more focused on our woman’s entire wardrobe. We didn’t turn our backs on dresses, we simply expanded our designs to make a complete collection that would enhance our customer’s lifestyle. When we were slowly evolving to Allen Schwartz, the first addition I was excited to design was a suit. These days, I think a tailored suit on a red carpet is just as captivating as an evening dress. The vision is to create pieces that are timeless. We want to make styles that can be picked from your wardrobe time and time again. The woman we are designing for has an inherent appreciation for design in all aspects of her lifestyle, and our clothing is intended to help enhance this special piece of her being.
How do you ensure design diversity in the oversaturated fashion landscape?
When designing, I’m going with what I’m inspired by rather than purely following trends. The goal is to always work on improving and honing our core aesthetic which is clothing that is timeless, season-less, and therefore supporting sustainability. We produce everything in small batches to avoid contributing to the over saturation of the fashion landscape and to separate ourselves from fast-fashion.
What are you particularly proud of from Allen Schwartz’s SS19 output?
I’m proud of the work that I accomplish with my entire team. I’m proud of the collaboration opportunities I have with small and family owned mills that help us realize our vision. I’m proud of the fact that everything from Allen Schwartz is made in Los Angeles. I design and create because it is a part of who I am, and every collection is a further expression of that.
How do you define the personal style of the Allen Schwartz woman?
Timeless-vintage-inspired with a contemporary vibe. Our customer might pair one of our floral dresses with a vintage oversized blazer. She knows what she wants and we’re here to complement it.
Tell me your take on the the dos and don’ts of summer dressing.
Personally, a forever “do not” is wearing something just because it’s a trend. However, for spring and summer, I love everything in cotton and in white. Otherwise, do you.
Trends are becoming increasingly androgynous, but Allen Schwartz does a great hob of presenting utilitarian femininity. Why is maintaining traditional feminine elements so important to the brand?
We want to stay true to our own style, which is geared toward the unapologetically feminine woman. We do not want to be everything to everyone—we want to have a clear brand voice. Femininity will never go out of fashion.
What still excites you about fashion?
I find it exciting that we can improve and evolve with every collection. And with social media, we are able to tap into a network of people with similar aesthetic and values. We can establish our own voice and have the opportunity to grow the brand in ways that weren’t available even a few years ago. Also, with the current technology, there are so many interesting new fabrications that aren’t as harmful to the environment, and we are able to utilize these with our mills. The sky is the limit.
Shop Allen Schwartz here.