We go into the mind of fashion designer Brad Callahan, the genius behind BCALLA, asking him about his migration from NYC to LA, creating outfits for Lizzo, and random quirks of his everyday life.
Ever since I was a little boy- my older brother was really into female fronted comics and we would make our own, I would design the costumes and my brother would draw them into comics. My father is a painter and he has this painting of me at about age 5 crying because I couldn’t get my barbies dress just right.Your work has especially been embraced by the queer community. How has this affected the evolution of Bcalla?
Thankfully it has given me a support system mainstream could never, allowing me to work rather freely without a lot of bureaucratic red tape. It’s funny because when I first started my brand was often criticized for being too queer or too niche and now other brands are trying to get a piece of the pie lol
Who are your fashion idols?
Omg too many to list, Rudi Gernreich, Walter van beirendonck, Amanda Lear, grace jones, eiko ishioka, Anna piaggi, JCDC, Quentin crisp, Pete burns, and the lost just keeps going honestly
Where (outside of fashion) do you find inspiration?
I’m a big movie watcher, love finding old music videos, insects, plants, medical gore, and honestly my day to day life when I’m walking to and from work in dtla is super inspiring.
Sweet or savory?
Sweet, I have a huge sweet tooth
You recently custom made an outfit for Lizzo for Maha Festival. Talk us through beginning to execution?
Honestly that look was kind of a thank you gift to Lizzo’s team for being so supportive- I just walked into my studio brought out her sloper and went straight into the design through the patterning.
Last book you read?
Fukt to start with by Walt Cessna
Favourite meal of the day?
Lunch or brunch
Favourite body part?
Hands or feet probably
Coffee or tea?
Milk or sugar?
Both if it’s a cheap coffee otherwise just half and half
How has the brand evolved since moving to LA from NYC?
So much, it is just so much easier to make my work out here than in NYC.
How I work in the industry- custom one of a kind performance/ press pieces… the garment district here is set up for that because it’s such an entertainment based city.
What do you miss most about NYC?
I was part of a wonderful community there that I miss a lot.
What do you not miss about NYC?
The weather, the MTA
Last song you sang aloud with?
Amanda Lear “fabulous lover”
Your creations are insanely meticulous. How do you keep so focused?
I work a lot with my partner who does most of the intense cutting and stoning so it’s a team effort for sure.
Have you ever ripped a piece apart out of frustration?
Not really because even “failures” have unexpectedly ended up being part of something major so I’ve learned that even if it doesn’t work for what you intended for it still could have a life somewhere else. For a while I was working with an artist that loved destroying clothes on camera so I lent out pieces I wasn’t scare to let go of and got some pretty major shots out of it
What was your first masterpiece?
Not sure I’ve made one yet but the fashion porn is pretty iconic
Tell us a quirk about you that we don’t know about?
I love dollar stores
If you could dress any politician, who would that be?
Ruth Badger Ginsburg
What can we expect next from BCALLA?
New custom work, new ready to wear and a new collection
Where do you see Bcalla 10 years from now?
Hopefully with funding…
What advice would you give to young emerging designers?
The same that was given to me- go be a dentist, your life will be a lot easier.
What is your fashion forecast for 2020? (Trends you think will stick?)
I can’t believe I’m saying this but I think we are due for a hit of minimalism.
Production: Underpin PR
Photographer: Hatnim Lee
Styling: Landra Dulin
MUA – Elaine Thompson
Editorial Design: Hannah Mill