Naughty by Nature: Nasty Gal by Rafael De Cárdenas

Snapshot: Fashion forward online retailer Nasty Gal celebrates eight years in the business by opening their first brick and mortar store on Melrose Ave with the help of Architecture at Large founder Rafael De Cárdenas.

Started on e-bay by founder Sophia Amoruso, Nasty Gal quickly grew into a global go-to for online apparel shopping, featuring a constantly updated selection of statement pieces, shoes, vintage gems, and trending basics. After 8 years Amoruso decided to take the clothing conversation with her devoted  customers "offline" so to speak, opening a spacious brick and mortar store in heart of LA's Melrose shopping district. Engaging the daring design chops of Rafael De Cárdenas of Architecture at Large in NYC, Nasty Gal IRL is the perfect platform for trying on and stepping out.

Known for creating environments with moods, Cárdenas took inspiration from concert stages and clubs of the 80's with his design for Nasty Gal, incorporating mirrors, neon lights, and large open cage-like structures that hint at both exposure and enclosure.  In contrast to online shopping, the focus of Nasty Gal on Melrose is the try on experience. A central bank of fit rooms mirrored in two-way glass nurture a confident exhibitionism as shoppers can look out on the store while testing out tops in perfect privacy.

In other mood enhancing motifs within the store stunning shoes parade down a pyramid of stairs, alluding to red carpet grandeur while handbags casually hang out with a small cluster of unassuming cacti. Bright white neon rods radiate from the center of the ceiling in a casual sunburst pattern to light the space, and are accented by colorful neon slashes on the front windows and the deadly serious neon signage reassuring passers by that "No, It's Not a Porn Site."

The over all look of the space is certainly informed by the 80's throwback style popularized by American Apparel, but Cárdenas created a more visceral and individual design for Nasty Gal, a perfect reflection of the independent and free-thinking style of the brand.

Photography courtesy of Architecture at Large