Echo Park has, for almost a century now, been the hub, home and inspiration for artists, creatives and activists alike — Frank Zappa, Jackson Polluck, Elliot Smith, Eric Garcetti, Ayan Rand, J.D. Souther, the Eagles, Tom Waits or Jackson Browne ring a bell? The community-minded Spacedust boutique continues this creative tradition by showcasing and selling clothes, art, jewelry, accessories, zines and other quirky chachkies by local artists and designers.
Located in a hip, ever-expanding sector of west Echo Park, Spacedust is a fitting addition to the plethora of neighboring vintage shops, cafes and cool eateries. This store, however, is itself an anomaly amidst the others; beyond the contents of the shop, it is a world unto itself with its own defining story, stance and vision.
(Left) Arielle in Spacedust tee, Michelle Rose shorts and Bohemian Hips belt pouch & Ashley in Ghost and Stars crop top and Chop Siouxy velvet shorts. (Center) Spacedust’s sparkly storefront. (Right) Spacedust owner Michell Rose in a dress by Rebekah Trigg.
Spacedust owner Michelle Rose is the ideal spokesperson for a store of this nature; a multi-faceted artist herself, she renovated and opened the store in an impressive six weeks with the gusto and creed of any true DIY devotee. “I cleared it out completely, got some of my own fixtures, re-did the lights, the sign and painted the walls and floors. I offered pizza to friends to help me paint, and others volunteered their time for my noble mission … I was completely hands on, working on the physical face of the shop, creating the website and internet presence and designing back-end procedures and systems.” Stepping foot into Spacedust, you can undoubtedly feel the love, labour and creativity of these efforts first hand. Whether it’s the edgy black, tar-like floors embellished with fairydust sparkles (painted by Rose), or the colorful world of circus-esque oddities and one-of-a-kind merch, Spacedust seems, quite remarkably, to have a little something for everyone.
We were particularly impressed by the breadth of Echo Park locals represented at the shop including the whimsical, Missoni-esque dresses by Elizabeth Marcel, zines and other works by the well-known comic-artist Ron Regé Jr. and Black Willow Jewelry by Jessica Senteno, to name a few. Expanding beyond Echo Park, there are also popular items like Shahrzad Ghadjar’s humorous coloring book, Dinosaurs Smoking Weed, the bizarre and fantastical one-of-a-kind handmade clothing, bags, and dolls by Marcel DeJure and quirky, novelty candles by Kokocandles.
Spacedust is also a place where art is created. Rose, a talented clothing designer and seamstress in her own right, uses the store’s plentiful space to both create and sell her designs — a fitting, microcosmic metaphor for Spacedust’s fundamentals. The store is also used to showcase local musicians, artists and performers with events such as their monthly comedy show, The Cosmic Comedy Hour, which has featured special performances by Andy Dick — a self-proclaimed Spacedust fan — on two occasions. Another notable patron is Miley Cyrus, paving the way for an inevitable popularization of the store with the hopes of maintaining its Echo Park-ness.
Different places, be it neighborhoods, cities, states or countries, often become physical manifestations definitive of certain characteristics or values. Just as Portland strives to maintain its weirdness, Rome its ancient relics and Silicon Valley its innovations and unrelenting work ethic, so has Los Angeles, specifically eastside neighborhoods like Echo Park, created certain emblems by which it’s defined.
“LA is one of the leading cities for awareness of big issues like sweatshop labor, art movements, and spiritual wellness,” Rose explained when describing the purpose and inspiration for her store. “The US economy is in shambles … sending too many jobs overseas has cost us our own self-sufficiency. No one is paid fairly, and technology has not eased our lives, it’s only made them more complicated, more difficult to turn off, unplug and relax… Barely anyone has extra money to spend on things like clothing, art and toys. If they do, they go to Target or other big stores where they feel they can stretch their money and get more. Unfortunately, many aren’t thinking of the importance of supporting local artists and designers, until we change their minds.”
Rose represents the sentiments and goals of many fellow Echo Parkians that we could, perhaps, make our slogan, keep Echo Park local. Or maybe it’s creative, indie, diverse, historical? The list, inevitably, could go on for pages, but what Rose illustrates and strives to achieve with Spacedust is invaluable to the ethos of our neighborhood.
Tomorrow, September 26th, marks Spacedust’s one year anniversary. There will be festivities at the store including discount art by local artists, dancing, music, comedy and prizes. All are welcome and all should attend, as this unique, Echo Park treasure will indeed inspire your own creativity and most likely leave you with a trinket in hand.
Keep Echo Park Local. Keep it Creative. Keep it Diverse. Keep it Echo Park.