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Recently we have been exploring all that this giant city of opportunity has to offer our bodies, minds, souls, and well, let’s face it, our closets. Our focus as of late has been on the West side of Los Angeles –the more laid back, beach vibes, and dressed down luxury that is Santa Monica. We are all too aware of the Santa Monica Promenade tourist jungle, alive and bustling with the cacophony of street performers belting out the oldies and top 40 hits, the shrieks and laughter of children running free, and of course, the crowded sidewalks full of shoppers perusing the latest trends. The promenade is alive with visitors who have come to enjoy the sun and sand, but that’s not the only population spending their time on this side of the boardwalk. If you are a local, you strive to break free of the tourist trap and find the quainter, less commercialized boutique and eateries in town.
We decided to explore Santa Monica a little deeper and went off the beaten path, well, maybe just a few blocks off the promenade really, in search of some of the best spots that are establishing reputations as west side residencies that won’t be going off the grid anytime soon. This week we discovered a unique all-in-one place to shop that actually has its historical roots here and really is a Los Angeles household name. You most likely are already familiar with Ron Robinson’s boutiques, or the name at least rings a bell – so it isn’t news that the Robinson brand has been in existence for a few decades. If you haven’t heard about them though, or seen their eclectic and stunningly beautiful layout in their new Santa Monica storefront, let us just fill you in. I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Robinson this weekend and got the inside scoop on what the company is all about, how they got their start, and what you can expect to see in stores and online.
Mr. Robinson started as a salesman for Fred Segal, moved to buyer, and eventually became Vice President for the company before creating his own brand that has been available to the public for the last 20 years now. He has created a shopping experience that in his own words “is supposed to touch your senses through its visual and esthetic pieces … its experiential when you walk in.” And it truly is. The Santa Monica boutique looks like a house made of recycled sea glass (which was the aesthetic intention), filled with an assortment of furniture, clothes, jewelry, perfumes, and high end skin care remedies that you wish filled your own home. Robinson seeks forward design that is “an expression on a lifestyle concept,” meaning buyers can find an assortment of retailers and items that are less common place. The never-ending goal of Robinson boutiques is to represent the Los Angeles lifestyle and present things people have not yet seen. Everything you need and didn’t know you needed is encompassed in this single store.
We appreciate the emphasis Robinson has on keeping business local and cultivating products from Los Angeles proprietors and designers, as well as retailers local and worldwide. Our favorite thing about Robinson’s boutiques is that they are conscious of environmental preservation and offer a variety of brands that feature products made from recycled water bottles, 100% vegan leather suitcases, and an assortment of organic skin care lines. All the lighting is LED and shopping bags are made from recycled products as well. Robinson notes that they have always been eco-conscious and has made these options available before it was cool to save the planet.
Robinson’s newest boutique opened just this past December and can be found in Santa Monica on 5th Street between Santa Monica and Arizona. It’s just a few blocks from the main promenade strip, and you almost wouldn’t know it was there, except for that fact that the inside design of the store is eye catching from across the street. If you can’t stop by the store – but really you should see its beauty – you can always shop their goodies online or at Fred Segal where you can purchase all their women’s, kids and men’s lines as well as home, beauty and accessories.
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