Welcome to 10 Questions, a series that explores LA through the eyes of its coolest, most stylish citizens.
There's a side of LA that you don't see in the palm tree-fueled lookbooks for swimsuits and denim: the one filled with hungry starlets blinded by fantasies of fame à la David Lynch's Mulholland Drive and of smart-talking PIs navigating through the underbelly of LA à la Raymond Chandler's Chinatown. That's the City of Angels that spoke to designer Andy Salzer, who headed up Brooklyn-bred menswear brand Yoko Devereaux before relocating to the west coast and founding moody menswear label Hiro Clark.
Since founding the edgy basics brand two years ago, Salzer's collabed with Wilhelmina Models, luxe fragrance brand Le Labo, and offbeat literary haunt Circus of Books. Hiro Clark's tees may be sized men, but they'll fit any wearer who doesn't take themselves — and Los Angeles — too seriously.
Already shoppable online, the brand just landed on the shelves of American Rag on La Brea and Ron Herman at Fred Segal on Melrose. Fresh from Hiro Clark's brick-and-mortar foray, we chatted with Salzer about the city from where he hails, how his weirdest LA experience is surprisingly not an Angelyne sighting, and more.
Where are you from originally, and what's your hometown like?
A rainy place: Seattle, Washington. But bonus points for their coffee and weed.
What city did you live in before moving here, and what was the "a-ha" moment that inspired you to relocate?
New York City. My homeland, until I realized I was morphing into a character from a Woody Allen film. The advantages of turning right at a red light suddenly became worth exploring.
What was your first "quintessential LA" experience?
Spotting Angelyne and her pink 'vette.
Weirdest experience in Los Angeles?
Christmas every year – it never gets less weird. 80 degrees. But with ice skating and fake snow and palm trees.
You've got first-time LA visitors staying with you. What does your City of Angels tour look like?
Definitely a trip to [what most call] the "East Side" – Silverlake, Frogtown, DTLA. Los Angeles is a collection of villages – those are my faves.
Once the sun goes down, dinner at El Coyote is a must. If you can score the booth where Sharon Tate had her last meal, you are officially an Angeleno.
Your favorite little-known source for (fill in the blank) is:
Jason Markk, the white sneaker cleaning specialist. He's the dry cleaner of kicks.
In your opinion, what's LA's most least-appreciated hidden gem?
The alleys off of Melrose. Alleys in NYC smell like feet and cheese, and that's being kind. LA alleys are overgrown with palm trees and telephone wires and bougainvillea. They have an apocalyptic vibe.
Favorite taco spot?
Petty Cash Taqueria. Cricket tacos. As you can imagine, they are indeed crunchy.
Favorite spot to clear your head and find inspiration?
Cruising the PCH — enough said.
Describe LA if she/he were a person:
He'd be a little lost but optimistic enough to come out to the west coast and see what he finds. He lives in the sun but has a dark side just below the surface.