“anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did”
— e.e. cummings
These lyrical words were the inspiration behind the name of Cali designer Many Belles Down. Their fun and flirty collections are the epitome of easy chic, and their playful patterns are certain to please. We caught up with them after their recent move from Oakland to L.A. to ask about the inspiration behind their latest collection and to find out more about the folks behind the designs.
When and how did Many Belles Down begin?
This is our second year as Many Belles Down. The line came from not being able to find clothes I wanted. Two big influences were thrifting and Bay Area street culture. The name came from a poem by e.e. cummings; I liked the way the words sounded together. I heard ‘Many Belles Down’ and immediately thought about the girl who is down for whatever. Ain’t nothin’ she can’t do!
How would you describe the Many Belles Down girl?
She is made of many parts, but the core is confidence. In my mind, she always controls the space she’s in. This is really important to me when I design, pick prints and decide what to show. The Belles Down girl has to be unmistakable from any other type of girl.
Can you describe a typical day in the life at your studio?
First, it starts with a cup of coffee. Then, our small team gets together and we go over different bodies matching fabrics and prints and think of ways to make it look amazing on our future customers. We’re always adding things on, taking things off, changing prints, fixing fit, etc. It is a fulfilling but also maddening way to spend your life.
We’re in love with the new pieces from your Fall collection! Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the collection?
Thanks! We love it too! We don’t use an inspiration to build the line, instead we have a conversation that ultimately develops into a collection, and then we look at what we created and name it. We named Fall 11′ after spy themes which was really fun. We thought about the girl spy going undercover to solve crimes while looking adorable doing it!
We hear you’re in the process of moving your headquarters from Oakland, California, to Los Angeles. Can you tell us what it was like being based out of Oakland, and how you’re adjusting to your new home in L.A.?
This is hard because we just made the move. L.A. is still a place I’m getting familiar with… although I am very familiar with traffic by now. The Bay Area is where we drew inspiration and ideas to start the line, and Oakland is actually where we continue to manufacture most of the clothing.
Do you have any favorites in the new collection?
If I had to choose, and I don’t really want to, I choose the Accustomed to Your Vase Dress. It’s the purple fitted floral dress with button detail. It’s super flattering and the print is really fun. And just like a Belles Down girl, they’ll definitely find you in a crowd!