Talking Shop: Q&A With Cheryl Cohen

I was reading an article on IFB last night about the Internet’s current obsession with getting inspired… Well, you know what inspires me way more than typed out inspirational slogans? Success stories… in the flesh. I’m completely obsessed with the story of Cheryl Cohen’s journey as a young babe with a head full of dreams, moving to L.A. and opening a vintage store on a hip block of Hollywood with her beloved husband.

Twenty years later, Cheryl and Joe are still together, Wasteland is a thriving business with multiple retail stores and a cult following; and with the recent launch of their e-commerce site, the duo proved once again that when it comes to fashion, they still got their finger right on the pulse. I recently had a chance to sit down for a fun fashion chat with the one & only Wasteland mama, check it!


LF: Can you recall how & when you started thrifting?

CB: When I first met Joe, we would jump into his big blue Chevy Van and hit Estate Sales and Flea Markets all over the Bay Area. We would find the most amazing treasures, I always made him stop on the way and get me coffee, which he doesn’t drink.

LF: Name one thing I’ll always find in your closet and one thing I’d never find there.

CB: You’ll always find a collection of my favorite designers; Vivienne Westwood, Yohji Yamamoto, Martin Margiela, Rick Owens, that I covet and that inspire me, but will probably never wear. You won’t find anything from the 1980’s or the 1990’s, it’s cool to see all my Wasteland Girls in their 20’s wearing all the things I wore in my 20’s going to clubs in San Francisco, but I’m not going there.

LF: What’s your favorite pair of shoes you own?

CB: Alexander Wang black fringe Alexis boots!

LF: What’s your favorite trend for Fall?

CB: Big square shaped sweaters, you can throw them over short skirts with high boots or long skirts with platform sandals, Rick Owens styled jackets, which you can wear with anything.

LF: What are your favorite picks from the e-store right now?

CB: Unif’s Gwen Skirt, I have the original one in red plaid that I wear to death. The Jeffrey Campbell Hell Yes Boot… these boots are so Rad, I scored a pair for Danielle Clarke from Frankie B. before they went up on the site. And BB Dakota’s Fab Faux Fur Pele Jacket – I am a Jacket Junkie.

LF: Wasteland opened its flagship store in Hollywood in 1993. How has Melrose changed since?

CB: When we first opened Melrose was the famous Melrose Ave. When the economy started crashing, lots of stores closed, but now there is a resurgence of cool stores opening up, great bars and restaurants, tattoo shops. It’s even cooler now.

LF: What’s the best and worst thing about being in business with your husband?

CB: The best thing is that we are into the same things, art, music, clothes, especially vintage rock t’s, Joe has a MASSIVE collection!! Worst thing – we talk about Wasteland all the time, we are obsessed.

LF: Where’s your favorite place to people watch?

CB: Wasteland – the coolest people you could ever imagine meeting, actors, rock stars, designers have all come through the door at one time or another.

LF: Who’s your favorite model / muse / trendsetter right now?

CB: Alison Mosshart from The Kills, hands down, the coolest chick in Rock n’ Roll. Plus, Jamie Hince marrying Kate Moss? I’m in serious love with The Kills.

LF: If you could be born again in another decade, what would it be?

CB: London in the 60’s with Vivienne & Malcolm McClaren.

LF: You’re obsessed with Vivienne Westwood. Can you pull a few favorite blast from the past looks?

CB: I have a Vivienne Destroy Shirt that I loved so much I framed it.

LF: Any upcoming project / collab you’re excited about and want to talk about?

CB: We just did an amazing collaboration with Erin Fetherston at “From Erin’s Closet” that were all clothes from her own personal collection. She has such chic style and is honestly the sweetest person. We have done collaborations with all our favorite lines, Unif,  See you Monday and Jeffrey Campbell. We have a couple of collaborations coming up with some really cool people, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise…

LF: How fast do you live?

CB: With two kids, a husband, four stores and growing at such a rapid pace, plus I’m a Sadge, everything is like a whirling dervish for me.

L’Agent Goodies…