Step Into Pretty Sour Designer Laura Brown’s Kawaii Wonderland
The community’s love affair with pastel colours isn’t just limited to clothes! Take designer of Pretty Sour, Laura Brown, for example. She turned her home into a kawaii wonderland full of colourful garlands, fairy lights, and hand-painted soap dispensers! Her home is more than a home, it’s a creative sanctuary. The COMM sat down with her to talk life as a designer and dream home renovations.
Please introduce yourself!
My name is Laura Brown, I am a colourful fashion designer and a collector of cute things! I’m originally from Louisiana but I’ve been living in Los Angeles for the last twelve years working in the fashion industry and participating in the Jfashion community here. I live with my boyfriend and our 3 cats in a little pastel oasis.
How would you describe your personal style?
It’s hard to narrow it down to one specific style, but here are some common themes that I draw from: hyper-femininity, vibrant pastel colors, 50’s through 80’s vintage nostalgia, nursery room decor, 2010s DIY culture.
Can you tell us about your first encounter with Japanese street fashion?
I initially found Jfashion the same way most Westerners did, through FRUiTS magazine! My first IRL interaction with other people wearing Jfashion, I’ll never forget it, I was asked to design a dress for the official Sanrio Hello Kitty 3 Apples fashion show about a week after I had moved to LA for fashion school. I had never seen anyone wearing these styles before outside of Japanese magazines and Tumblr and it was so magical to see the actual community in person.
Can you tell us a bit about your brand, Pretty Sour, and the concept behind it?
I started Pretty Sour about 3 years ago. The concept is candy-coloured, easy streetwear inspired by childhood motifs. I think we’ve mostly become known for loose comfy sack dresses we make with extra details like embroidered phrases, frilly appliqués, and kawaii cartoon mascots.
Can you tell us your favourite piece?
My favorite piece is what I’ve dubbed the “Cat Clown Dress”. It’s a daffodil yellow, relaxed fit sack dress with a lace trimmed Peter Pan collar embroidered with the words “Don’t cry”. It’s a lot of details haha. Oh and of course there are pockets!
You are also the creative director of online boutique, My Violet. How difficult is it to juggle these two roles? Do you get enough “me-time”?
Honestly, it’s seamless! I thought it would be much more of a struggle but I’m seriously thriving with it. I go to work and think of cute things to make for My Violet all day and then I come home and think of more cute things to make for Pretty Sour with a slightly different aesthetic.
“Me time” is always a struggle but that’s what I have my decoration projects for, as a way to decompress from fashion while still being creative and having fun.
You have documented the entire DIY renovation of your apartment on Instagram. It looked like a lot of work, but the results are amazing!
Thank you so much, it took a lot of time and money but it’s worth it! I’m naturally a really messy person but I’ve learned that I take better care of my home and my things in it when it’s decorated. I also procrastinate less and am more creatively productive when I’m working in a cute space, so when we moved into our new apartment, we got the keys early and spent a full 3 days painting and renovating all of our furniture to match!
How much was your boyfriend involved in the entire renovation?
I would definitely say that I’m the creative captain of the renovation ship but if there’s ever something that is too big of a project for me to tackle, he’s down to step in and help. I have a very specific aesthetic and he goes with the flow, haha.
What was the most challenging thing about the whole process?
I think for me, the most challenging thing was just how long the process took! A lot of the things that I needed, I had to scour through secondhand sites and marketplaces to find. Like, I instantly had a vision of covering my apartment in plant-filled, vintage nursery planters but finding them all took about 6 months. It was a major lesson in patience.
What is your favourite part of your apartment?
I really love my bathroom! I found the most precious, vintage clown swag lamp on Etsy that hangs above the toilet as a nightlight and I just love it so much I decided to make the whole bathroom vintage pastel circus-themed.
Your patio looks amazing too! What do your neighbours think about it?
Haha, this is a great question! It has definitely become a pastel beacon that you can see from a block away. Our immediate next door neighbour is the most amazing older lady that comes over and visits the cats when we let them on the patio and she loves it. I’m not sure what our upstairs neighbours think, but we noticed that they recently added fairy lights and hanging plants to their balcony, lol.
Are there any points at which your personal style, work and interior design overlap?
I think an obvious overlap is with my personal style and my designs. A lot of my inspiration comes from the things that I have in my own closet or things that I wish were a part of my wardrobe. As for interior design, I like to feel comfortable in my spaces so I make them my own. My home also acts as my backdrop for my product shots so it was all decorated with my Pretty Sour designs in mind!
What are your future goals and dreams?
I’m so happy with where I’m at right now, I’m just trying to stay on this same path and see where it takes me. I think it’s reasonable that in a couple of years I could be running both My Violet and Pretty Sour but on a much larger scale with big seasonal collections. I would also love to have a physical shop one day!