Galamaar makes swimwear that looks good and is good too. Based in Los Angeles and founded by California native Blakely Wickstrom, the brand focusses on functionality and the use of sustainable fibres above all else. Boasting clean lines and a muted colour palette, these swimwear styles have become fast favourites in the Well Made Clothes office.
So to find out a little more about the face behind the brand – hi Blakely – and where the swimwear-making magic happens over in sunny LA, we asked Gala Maar’s designer to show us around her town, her way. Beware though: her tour will have you seriously hankering for a trip to the States.
Rosie Dalton: Can you tell us a little bit about your town?
Blakely Wickstrom: I just moved to Echo Park from Brooklyn, NY so I’m relatively new to the area but I’m falling fast in love with it and feel quite at home already. The neighbourhood is made up of creative types, young families and has a vibrant Hispanic community. Dodger Stadium is a few blocks away, which is a prominent and proud feature of the neighborhood (and Los Angeles at large) and it can get quite wild when the home team is in town. It’s not uncommon to hear fireworks on any given evening; it seems there’s a lot to celebrate here.
Rosie: What is your average day like in and around your town?
Blakely: I don’t really have many average days since I’ve been doing Galamaar. I work from a studio space in my backyard, so if the weather is cooperating I’ll start my day with a strong coffee or Matcha on the deck, surrounded by my fur children for some vitamin D and to get the day going. From there, I usually answer emails or work on social media. Early afternoon, I take a break for some exercise. I’ll either take a class at Yogala in my neighbourhood, or at Silverlake Barre Method. Then, it’s back to work. I’ll do some design work, visit my factory or maybe take a lunch meeting at Winsome or Honey Hi. After some things are checked off the list, I’ll take my dog for a loop around Elysian Park or a hike at Griffith Park. From there I’ll pick up something fresh to prepare for dinner at Cookbook, a boutique grocery shop filled with local and responsibly grown produce and amazing prepared foods. After dinner, if I’m feeling frisky, then I might meet some friends at The Echo or catch a gallery opening downtown.
Rosie: Can you run us through some of your favourite places to eat?
Blakely: There are so many good spots in my neighborhood! I tend to cook a lot but when I do go out in the hood I love Ostrich Farm, which is within walking distance from my place. It’s quaint and well designed with a creative cocktail list and a delicious seasonal menu AND they have cinnamon rolls at brunch, so there’s quite a few compelling reasons to go there. I love Elf, which is another small spot that’s been in the neighborhood for a very long time. Its Mediterranean-inspired vegetarian food that’s so good you don’t miss the meat. I also love Salazar in Frogtown when it’s warm. It is an upscale Mexican restaurant and the entire place is situated outdoors. Then there’s my go-to spot Manuela in the Arts District. Its situated within the Hauser Wirth & Shimel building; a restored milling complex built in the late 19th century. Lastly, when I’m feeling fancy there’s Redbird downtown which is also an amazing space built in a late 19th century cathedral and parish.
Rosie: Where is your favourite spot to enjoy a mid-morning coffee?
Blakely: Valerie for sure. It’s an unassuming little place just blocks from my house. I probably walked by it a dozen times before trying it out, but I’m so glad that I did. They have wonderful coffee and tea, plus a small but fresh and delicious breakfast, lunch and pastry menu. I normally opt for the Sencha Tea and the Vegetarian Quiche.
Rosie: What about your go-to for a late-night drink?
Blakely: Bar Stella (situated beside Cafe Stella) in Silverlake, it can get sceney on some nights but I’m a sucker for a great atmosphere and tasty cocktails. Zebulon in Frogtown is fun. It’s also a music venue so a great place where you can catch your favorite band or discover a new one. Its a Brooklyn transplant so that’s another reason I probably love it.
Rosie: If we only had one day in town, which cultural activities would you say are a must?
Blakely There are amazing modern and contemporary art museums in LA. My current favorite is The Broad. It’s a private collection of contemporary art with amazing special exhibits – right now they are showing the ‘Infinity Mirror Room’ by Yayoi Kausma. It does take some planning to go there, as the free tickets book out months in advance. Not sure if these qualify as cultural activities, but definitely go to the Griffith Observatory at sunset and the Venice Beach Boardwalk for a taste of weird LA.
Rosie: What are some of your favourite local spots to shop for vintage, homewares or other rare gems?
Blakely: New High Mart in Los Feliz is great, it’s curated Japanese housewares and quality, sustainably crafted basics and vintage workwear. Dream Collective, is a small shop in Silverlake, where you can find things like amazing ceramics, small batch perfumes and independent jewellery designers. LA is a hotspot for vintage, there are tons of amazing shops like the well-curated Passanger in Echo Park but my favourite place to score some vintage is at the Silverlake Flea, which happens every Saturday. There are a handful of vintage vendors there that always bring the goods for nice prices.
Rosie: What do you love most about where you live?
Blakely: There is a lot to love about where I live, but my favorite part – especially coming from Brooklyn – is how much time I am able to spend outdoors and how walk able my neighborhood is. Most everything I need, I can get to on foot and working from home means I can go days without battling the infamous LA traffic. I also really appreciate how accessible seasonal organic food is, which was always a bit of a challenge living in Brooklyn.