Just ahead of the pandemic, Selva Negra's founders Kristen Gonzalez and Sam Romero signed a lease on an Eagle Rock space where customers could explore and shop their sustainable, locally-made pieces. As was the case for so many businesses, plans shifted. Since in-person shopping wasn't possible, Gonzalez and Romero pivoted, using the storefront as a place where local customers could pick up breezy jumpsuits and vintage-inspired dresses and separates curbside. But now that it's become safer to shop in-store, Selva Negra's doors are officially open.
Securing — and transitioning — the Eastside space wasn't the only major change that happened for the brand over the past year and a half: The line has also continued to grow. Before, Selva Negra was known for its '70s-inspired color palette and patterns, roomy silhouettes (think wide-legged pants and oversized coats), and of course earth-friendly and ethical approach to design (in addition to the fact that Selva Negra sources fabric and produces garments in Los Angeles for a smaller carbon footprint, its designers also use scraps to create cool accessories like scrunchies, headbands, and scarves). Now they've added a few more categories to the lineup, including sweats and loungewear that's as stylish as it is easy to wear.
Founded by two women of color, inclusivity was built into the brand's ethos, and that theme has only expanded during this time. Selva Negra's offerings now include extended sizing and unisex pieces — and its marketing reflects the wide range of customers it hopes to reach.
Gonzalez and Romero have hopes that their newly opened physical space will keep evolving as well. The official reopening took place in June, offering pieces from Selva Negra's collection as well as a selection of home decor, and soon they'll carry even more items (think apothecary goods and ceramics) with a focus on BIPOC and/or sustainable makers. To celebrate this new chapter, WhatRivaWore spoke to Gonzalez to learn more about what was so special about this location, what they're most excited about when welcoming customers (finally) inside, and what fans of the cool California brand can expect next.
What excites you about having a physical space to offer customers?
It has always been the goal for Selva Negra to create a welcoming space that feels like you're entering into the mind of artists and independent thinkers. Having a physical space to connect with our community where we can share ideas, tell stories, and build relationships was always at the heart of our brand goal. Additionally, being able to see customers interact with the collection and receive immediate feedback is immensely helpful not only for us, but for us to better serve our community.
Why Eagle Rock?
Eagle Rock is a neighborhood that is situated amongst the Northeast L.A. suburbs where the people are excited about and supportive of its local businesses. Just outside of the happening parts of York Boulevard in Highland Park, we are surrounded by local businesses that have been around for decades. We want the neighborhood to feel comforted by another friendly business on the block where they can find quality goods for apparel, accessories, and home items.
How did you go about choosing the other brands/items in the shop?
We are currently in the process of building out our multi-brand items for the shop, which will be available in late summer. We are curating brands that not only stand with our values, but which also create some interesting pieces for your home and for gifting. The pieces will mostly be Mexican- and Filipino-inspired to bring homage to our founder's roots.
The line is rapidly expanding! Loungewear, unisex pieces, accessories — can you share (or hint at) another element you'd love to add?
Yes! We are slowly building our offerings to our customers as we expand the line into different categories. We would love to add kids and swimwear at some point, but for now we are going to focus on connecting with our customers again and receive feedback on what they would like to see from us!
Any plans for events in the store?
Yes, yes, and yes! We are planning a pop up July 10th with some friends including the embroidery artist we work with, Wells Brown, who will be doing live chainstitch embroidery on some of our tees. There will be music, drinks, sale, samples, and more! We are hoping to have more of these each month to highlight other labels and artists that we are excited about and introduce them to the neighborhood.
Selva Negra, 4706 Eagle Rock Blvd. (Unit B), Los Angeles, 90041; Wednesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m; (323) 507-2142