Thailand Meets Laguna Sheek at ATTU Clothing
You’re surrounded by brick walls, low-hanging beams, flourishing plants and bright clothes as you walk into ATTU Clothing’s newly-opened store in Laguna Beach.
After selling her clothes online and in a clothing store amongst other brands, Jessica Harmon, owner and founder of ATTU, opened her own store in downtown LB to proudly display her creations.
Harmon knew she wanted to embrace the fashion industry from a young age when she began altering her clothes at just eight years old. In high school, Harmon and one of her friends started making skirts and selling them to their friends. After studying fashion in college, ATTU seemed like the natural next step for Harmon.
Drawing most of her inspiration from her mother’s homeland in Thailand -- which she visits frequently -- her creations fuse eastern and western culture together in harmonious pieces that are simple, yet fun and bright.
Attu Island, the store’s namesake, is the westernmost tip off of Alaska’s string of islands and acts as a geophysical bridge between Asia and America. Harmon says the inspiration for her clothing encompasses that same blending of traditional Thai and modern American culture.
“The colors and fabrics that go into designs in Thailand are major inspirations for me,” Harmon says. “I draw from their use of color, but the silhouettes I use are more eastern-inspired and classic.”
Back in Laguna, ATTU’s walls feel like a breath of fresh air and match the easygoing, yet determined and passionate pace of its local customers. The flowing, bright maxi skirts effortlessly pair with form-fitting tanks and crop tops that are perfect for a day of strolling throughout downtown’s neighboring shops and restaurants. “The style we offer at ATTU is natural, easy, and a little bit exotic,” Harmon explains.
However, ATTU is not just the next up-and-coming retail store in town. The business owner strives to make a difference. Not only does she strictly buy leftover fabric from other companies, she also employs victims of domestic abuse and refugees at ATTU’s Thailand factory.
Eventually, Harmon says she hopes the factory will be self-sustaining and they will be able to train their employees with a valuable skill. “There’s a huge problem with refugees coming into the country as an escape but not having the skills to make a living,” Harmon says. “Our goal is to have a factory where we can train these people so if they have to move on or go to another country, they will have this skill.”
With every purchase made at ATTU, Harmon reaches closer to this goal. Her clothes are made with a purpose, and for the young designer, that’s what it’s truly all about. So stop by the dark, jungle green storefront to add some colorful Thai-inspired pieces to your wardrobe. It’s for a good cause... and it’s a lot cheaper than making the trek to Thailand yourself!
Alexandra Applegate is a Midwestern girl who always felt she was a Californian at heart. She’s constantly looking for her next go-to sushi restaurant and would only eat seafood if she could. Contact her at AlexandraApplegate87@gmail.com or find her on Instagram at @BytheApplegate.