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UNIF = UR Not In Fashion

Created by killer couple Eric Espinoza and Christina Lai in 2010, UNIF is a ride-or-die L.A. brand that basically doesn't give a shit about being anything other than their grungy, nineties-lovin' selves. Over the top platforms, spikes that kill and satanic references are the norm for this youthful and edgy line.

Once upon a time, there was a boy and a girl who shared a love for DIY and the occult. Naturally, they joined forces, marrying those aesthetics into a brainchild: UNIF. Sold at heavyweight retailers like ASOS, Nasty Gal, Karmaloop and Urban Outfitters, UNIF is one of the few LA brands whose industry cred is caught up with their street, LAC sat down with real life couple, Eric Espinoza and Christine Lai, to find out what makes them tick.

HOW DID UNIF Come TO FRUITION? DID YOU DESIGN your first shirts with a collection in mind?
Like a lot of people, we both started making clothing at a young age, and UNIF was just an evolution of that. Since it was our first time arround the block, it didn't start with a "brand" in mind. It was just a creative outlet.
we love that you two are a real life couple. how did you begin designing together?
We worked out of the same building for a couple of years, that's where we met. At the time, I was working on UNIF and Christine was designing for another company. Then we ran away together.
what's your process? does everything begin with a sketch?
Not everything, Christine and I have very similar brains in this regard. Neither of us likes to sit through a million processes, so we just skip to the meat and potatoes as quickly as possible. Lots of talking and arm movements and tape.
which one of your tees has been the most provocative?
One? That's tough. Give me something, anything, and I'll find someone who's offended by it. I think some people sit around waiting for something that they can take offense to. What a waste of time. I don't think anyone here is easily offended unless there's some kind of ugliness behind it. There's no ugliness behind what we do, if you find it offensive, it just means you don't have a sense of humor.
how long did it take until you were able to quit your day jobs?
A couple of years, I wouldn't say we quit our day jobs, we just upgraded.
what's next for unif?
There are a million things we want to do. We've been talking a lot lately about the path of our expansion, but we're being smart about it. You don't want to get too big for you britches, you know? We're growing our international distribution and talking retail locations. We have a month long pop-up shop on Fairfax that runs into November, We've never really done anything like that before, so that's kind of exciting.
5 Things you love:
Ice cream, puppies, good weather, finding money, people.
5 Things you hate:
Ice cream, puppies, good weather, finding money, people.
subtitle on your future memoirs?
"If you're reading this, you can read."
cops or hippies?
If you don't have anything nice to say...
to live and did in la?
Sure. Just stick a ton of traveling in there somewhere and we're good.
text ERIN DENNISON
photo HEATHER GILDROY
INTERVIEW FROM LA CANVAS

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