Heidi Merrick Opens First Store in Downtown LA


Heidi Merrick in her store

At a time when many people are shuttering stores and heading to e-commerce sites to sell their collections, Los Angeles designer Heidi Merrick is making a splash with her very first retail outpost.

Merrick was surrounded by friends and press at the Oct. 27 preview of her 1,500-square-foot space, which opens on Nov. 3. It has the feel of a modern loft with big windows overlooking Ninth Street, a block away from the California Market Center and in the heart of the Los Angeles Fashion District.

The new H. Merrick of California store at 113-115 W. Ninth St. is doors away from the French retailer A.P.C., the Swedish retailer Acne Studios and the Australian retailer BNKR. The hip Ace Hotel is down the street.

Merrick’s design studio, where her contemporary women’s collection is cut and sewn, is around the corner on Broadway near the Orpheum Theatre.

The designer said a retail store was the best way for her to showcase her entire line of dresses, skirts, T-shirts, loungewear, jumpsuits, tops, coats and a home collection. “It feels unnatural to show at New York Fashion Week,” she said. “My lifestyle is here, and I wanted to have the visibility of my full collection here, where it began. It felt authentic and honest.”

She chose downtown Los Angeles instead of the traditional Los Angeles shopping streets of Melrose Avenue or Beverly and Robertson boulevards because it was close to her studio and her Silver Lake home. “My whole collection is about lifestyle,” she said.

Merrick did a whirlwind renovation of the site when it became empty at the beginning of September. Before, a cramped Z Best Audio & Video store had been there seemingly forever.

Now the space looks airy and breezy. A central focus of the space is a rock installation created by Heidi’s close friend, French artist Josephine Wister Faure.

The floors are made of polished concrete and the walls are a soft white. Against one wall are several pictures that are the inspiration for her present Fall/Winter collection, which has an elegant, casual feel.

On another wall are several surfboards shaped by Merrick’s brother, Britt Merrick, in the colors of her Fall collection.

Merrick’s father was famed surfboard shaper Al Merrick, who launched the Channel Islands Surfboards stores, first in 1969 in Santa Barbara and later in Los Angeles. Heidi Merrick got her start in the clothing business as the buyer for the store, where her mother, Terry, also worked.

Heidi Merrick later moved to New York, where she worked as a stylist, and then returned to California. After sewing her own wedding gown with her mother, people kept telling her she had a knack for fashion.

With that, she enrolled at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College to study patternmaking and launched her collection in 2007, which retails for $125 to $795. She also does a limited home collection with floor pillows and throws. The home collection is expanding to bedding, beach towels and tea towels.

Merrick’s collection is also sold online at www.heidimerrick.com.