Justin Barco is the name about town. The town in question being Los Angeles. This creative director has worked with the likes of Pharrell, Prince and will.i.am, making him one of the most sought after names in the West coast fashion scene. He has also just had a first stab at acting in the science fiction movie Isa.
How would you describe the LA fashion scene and what role do you play in it?
Los Angeles fashion scene is interesting, there’s lots to be inspired by if you look in the right places. Ironically the influencers here go elsewhere and bounce around depending on the season. This is because current fashion houses avoid LA for shows. I started off as a stylist when I was much younger, after building up my reputation and having worked with a couple of big clients, such as 2 Chainz, Pharrell and even Prince, I was being requested a lot. I wanted to collaborate with other artists and share ideas, without limiting my imagination. Creative directing took on that role, which is how I keep myself involved with fashion behind the lens, working with artists and building my own projects. Modelling keeps me up to date with fashion as well, working on different jobs keeps my eyes fresh and lets me see things from a different perspective. I’m looking to mould that vision further into film with a couple of projects I have coming up.
Have any specific films or songs ever influenced your style or identity?
Definitely! I draw a lot of my inspiration from film and music in general. The Doors, reggae and surfing played a big role in allowing me to discover different aspects about myself.
Los Angeles is the city that plays the leading role in more films than any other city. What makes LA such a star?
It’s not the stars that make the city bright but the characters living within the city. To me, it’s the idea that everywhere you go you’ll find someone crazy enough to think they’ll be a star, that they will make it big. Delusional enough to believe the illusions they’ve created in their own minds. But it’s always worth fighting for something you believe in, isn’t it?
Los Angeles architecture used to be distinctive and important to its identity, but now we see more and more of the large-scale architecture that lacks identity. How do you feel about this change?
It’s quite sad actually, the art of architecture here in Los Angeles loses by miles compared to other places of the world. London’s architecture is so beautiful, I was previously in Rome and got a chance to see Paris last summer as well, and it was so inspiring getting lost in Europe. What keeps it semi interesting here in LA, are the stories that some buildings still carry, but it’s just that. An old building that Marilyn Monroe lived in, makes it cool, a memory from the silver screen still being sold.
Where do you place LA in the world of fashion, and how does the LA style differ to that of Europe’s?
Well you know, LA has a very tight knit circle within the fashion community and everyone kind of knows everyone. I do feel as though the LA community influences other countries, just as much as they influence us here, but it’s not recognised as much due to LA’s bad reputation in the fashion world.
You are very much part of the social media generation. What do you read online?
Nothing in specific. I try to learn about everything. We have an abundance of information at the touch of a few key strokes, so we might as well take advantage of it. Sometimes I check out of it though, there’s a love/ hate relationship I have with the internet, because although one can find tons of great things, it can be a bit tedious filtering through all the nonsense on it as well.
Who are your fashion icons?
Andre Courreges, Pierre Cardin, Emilio Pucci, Irving Penn, Herb Ritts, Tim Walker, Richard Avedon.
How do London girls differ from the legendary Californian girls?
Ha, funny enough my girlfriend is British. The London girls humour is better.