Shangri-LA, Hell-A—whatever name you like to bestow on Los Angeles, I prefer to think of it of the home of Myrtle. The shop is run by cute-as-a-button Whitney Bickers, who sells independent clothing labels from all over the world, including totes by fellow WORN crush Fieldguided. Myrtle is a fine purveyor of handmade kitsch (and independent fashion magazines such as yours truly) that appeals to dreamy girls and boys.
How did Myrtle come to fruition? What inspired you to enter the retail business?
The store has come along so well that people ask me if it was a lifelong dream, but Myrtle was a true lightbulb moment for me. I moved to Los Angeles to go to film school and worked in the entertainment industry for almost seven years. I ended up making big “boy” movies (my name is in the Cowboys & Aliens credits!) and realized I wasn’t doing the right thing for me. I spent a long time knowing that I would do something else if I only knew WHAT and then it came to me all in one day—the idea of a store, what I would sell, what it would be called. I wish I knew how to make this kind of epiphany come about because I would have done it a lot sooner!
How did you dress in high school?
I dressed very differently in high school. My almost daily uniform was jeans, a button-down shirt and brown oxfords. I grew up in suburban Ohio and Abercrombie was definitely more prized than originality.
If Jayne Mansfield and Shirley Temple had a lovechild, it would be Emi. Born in East Hollywood, this whimsical, first-name-only gal was raised by her single mother who taught her that creativity has no limits. When she’s not busy making her own clothes, Emi can be found with a big bow in her hair behind the counter of her cute novelty gift shop, Pygmy Hippo. She talked to WORN about beetle jewelry, her astroturf obsession, and sharing clothes with her best friend.
How did you dress in high school? How has your style changed?
I just wore what I liked and dressed to suit my moods, but I didn’t really learn to sew until I was 17, so I was just stapling and glue-gunning all kinds of shit together. Back then I had dreadlocks (it was the ’90s, okay?) that I’d dye a different colour of the rainbow every month and I had these insane 8” tall stacked sneakers that had fake Adidas stripes on the sides, which I’d paint with nail polish to match my hair colour! I feel like I was a lot more adventurous when I was a teen. I used to wear my grandma’s hospital gowns backwards with huge baby diaper safety pins to keep it shut down the front! I was also really into astroturf and covered everything from shoes to bags in it, and when I finally learned to sew, I made an astroturf bustier with a gingham tablecloth skirt that I was really proud of. I still have it in my closet!
You’re a good friend of Marie (AKA Agent Lover) who we also have a mega crush on. Do you ever swap clothes with her? Or even coordinate outfits?
RieRie’s my #1 boo! We definitely go over our outfits when we have an event we’re both going to, especially when there is a theme involved (love a theme!), but we haven’t coordinated our outfits to match like the Doublemint Twins or anything…YET. Luckily, we’re pretty much the same size so we can borrow each other’s clothes when we want and we also share custody of a lot of our shoes. Something I love that Marie started doing is buying little accessories in duplicate! If there is something I’m really crazy about, I can guarantee Marie will love it too and vice versa, so we’ll just buy two of whatever item we’re fawning over. I know this seems weird, but I promise it’s not—it totally works for us!