After more than a year of lounging in sweats and nap dresses, it's no surprise that we're all ready to graduate from our homebody uniforms to bold, statement-making pieces fit for re-entering society. Enter Cloud College, a new Highland Park boutique that's here to school Angelenos in artful dressing for the (almost) post-pandemic era.
The 600-square-foot shop is the brainchild of Rebma and Sam Salad (whose professional names are aliases), the anonymous designers behind avant-garde L.A. labels 69 (known for its oversized denim silhouettes) and Meals, respectively. As its name suggests, the space was envisioned as the school store of a community college — except one that enrolls stratus to cumulonimbus undergrads.
"We spent a lot of time on school quads growing up, hanging out with friends," Sam Salad tells WhatRivaWore. "We wanted to recreate that laid-back, chiller vibe within a store. The walls are painted to look like a cloudy sky, and the floor and shelves are appointed in astroturf."
On shelves are university-inspired notebooks, pencils, barometers, and more essentials for cloudfolks alongside an ever-revolving line of cult-favorite brands as well as the founders' own brands.
In addition to gender-free apparel and accessories by 69 and Meals, the space's current lineup includes stocks NYC-based Telfar's elusive logo bags, streetwear from Braindead, hats by Clyde, graphic tees and ceramics by artist Seth Bogart, and more.
The year of quarantine inspired the creative duo to achieve a better work/life balance, says Sam Salad. "We hosted sales at our home in the American Cement Building prior to the pandemic, and those were great, but 2020 was the year of self-improvement, which for us has meant setting boundaries. We wanted to separate life and work, so we moved the studio out of our home and build a store within it."
Located just off buzzing Figueroa Boulevard (and not far from zero-waste shop Sustain L.A.), the shop was "bequeathed to us by ceramicist-slash-rocker, Seth Bogart. He also hosted a store there called 'Wiggles,' which was incredible," Sam Salad says. "The space is entirely unassuming from the outside, which makes the inside all the more unusual. The neighborhood is nothing short of magical, too. Most of it was built in the 1910s, and everything's walkable."
Once Los Angeles fully reopens, Cloud College plans to host events — and perhaps even double-dare guests to step out of their comfort zones.
"We recently purchased 'liability insurance' for the space, so at some point we'd like to open it up to aspiring dare-devils," continues Sam Salad. "Maybe someone gets shot out of a cannon or jumps two stories into a cup of water. It's a very generous policy, with only a modest deductible." (We'll bring our helmets and bubble suits.)
Scroll through the gallery above for a few more snaps inside Cloud College, and see below for the address and hours.
Cloud College, 5440 Monte Vista St., L.A., 90042; open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.