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Who is the Coolest Person in Los Angeles?

LOS ANGELES — In 2014, Alex Erdmann, known as “2Tone,” and Chris Printup, known as “Spanto,” decided they wanted to host a party. Something dressy but raucous, something for their friends.

“My thought was, there’s just a lot of women in Los Angeles that have dresses that they don’t get to wear,” said Mr. Erdmann, who founded the streetwear brand Born X Raised with Mr. Printup.

The party was a laid-back affair at an old wood-paneled hall in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.

“We told everybody what the rule was — to dress formal,” he said. He and Mr. Printup thought it would be something like a high school winter formal, cozy and nostalgic.

“People came in stretch limos!” Mr. Erdmann said. “It was much more quaint, but the vibe was out of control.”

Eight years and a pandemic later, the Born X Raised Sadie Hawkins Winter Formal is a Los Angeles tradition in certain circles, a night where a faction of the city’s creative class can dress up and get out.

It has ballooned since the first one, and, last week, about 3,500 people showed up. This version was a dance party in a parking lot in downtown Los Angeles, which gave the event a stark, gritty and cinematic ambiance.

Chris Printup greets guests during the Born X Raised Sadie Hawkins dinner at the Soho Warehouse in Los Angeles.Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York Times
Alex Erdmann, the co-founder of Born X Raised.Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York Times
Natasha Newman-Thomas, left, and Ella Yehros.Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York Times
The founders of Born X Raised started hosting the Sadie Hawkins Winter Formal, to give people a chance to get dressed up. Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York Times
Jasmine Daniels and Luka Sabbat at the Born X Raised Sadie Hawkins dinner, which included cauliflower soup, fish curry and chocolate chip cookies.Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York Times

Hours before the doors opened, a line wrapped around the block. The crowd was wearing kitschy prom suits, dark shades and second-skin party dresses. Inside, D.J.s leaned heavily on modern hip-hop and ’90s throwback jams. In one corner, partygoers lined up at a prom photo booth. Multiple bars served cocktails, and the pungent aroma of weed hung in the air.

Before the dance party, Born X Raised hosted a dinner and cocktail hour at the rooftop restaurant of Soho Warehouse, next to the parking lot. Friends of the brand, including the musicians Miguel and Syd Tha Kid, the actor Danny Trejo, the model Luka Sabbat and the artist Nadia Lee Cohen, dined on cauliflower soup, fish curry and, for dessert, warm chocolate chip cookies.

We asked partygoers about their outfits, their obsessions and the coolest people they know. Here’s what they said.

Interviews have been edited.

Michaela Quan

Photographer, 27

Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York Times

This dress is crazy — tell me about it.

It was made for me by my friend. She functions under the name Lavanda Contrabanda. I just wanted to be cute. The sleeves are detached and she repurposed a curtain. She’s this sick designer out of East London who does a lot of reuse. And my best friend couldn’t be here, so I’m wearing the plushie that they gave me.

Who’s the coolest person in Los Angeles?

Probably my friend Khôi, a floral sculptress who operates under the name Fleur Boy.

Daniel Moon and Nicole Reber

Owner of Hair Los Angeles, 43, and real estate agent, 33

Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York Times

What are you into right now?

Ms. Reber: We love Dorothy Draper. That’s our big thing. It’s the oldest interior decorating company in America, and it’s all about being colorful and floral and just going for it.

Mr. Moon: It’s another form of sophistication.

What inspires your style? It’s very colorful and dressed up in a town known for being pretty casual.

Ms. Reber: We like the positivity that it brings. When you get dressed up in a culture that doesn’t see people getting dressed up like that, you’re embodying positive interactions. It’s a sign of respect. I do it to show houses, and he likes to do it for clients so they feel like they’re having a luxury experience.

Danny Trejo

Actor and restaurateur, 78

Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York Times

Tell me about your outfit tonight.
The jacket is by G-Memo and it has my logo all over the inside. It’s fresh from the neighborhood, you know?

What’s something you’re really into right now?
My cars, I love cars. I have a ’65 Buick Riviera and a 1930 Ford Station Wagon.

Detavius Evans

Retail associate, 31

Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York Times

You look great, tell me about your outfit.

I love thrifting, and I found this at one of my favorite places called 2nd Street. And then I went with this shirt because I’m feeling wild. I just wanted to come clean. I’m just trying to have fun with life.

What about your jewelry?

Well, I’ve got a cherub and a cross because it compliments my neck tattoo. It says “God Lives.” God lives in everybody and everything.

I love the grills.

Oh, well I’m from Louisiana, the South. Grills are prominent. I remember seeing, like, grandmas and older aunties with real gold teeth. So growing up I always wanted a grill.

Folasade

Entrepreneur, 35

Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York Times

Talk to me about this amazing outfit.

I’m going to give a little secret for people in L.A.: Santee Alley. I got this dress from a shop I frequent. I walked in with the mind-set that I needed something for Sadie Hawkins and I saw something sparkly. As soon as I put it on, everyone in the store said, “Yo, you look like you belong on a red carpet.” The jacket is from a brand in Copenhagen, I can’t remember the name.

A thing I learned is, coming from New York, I thought L.A. would always be warm, but I was sadly mistaken. I thought this would keep me warm tonight, plus I’m wearing a transparent dress. Because I’m bald and I don’t wear weaves, hats are my thing. I bought this in Harlem, on 136th or 137th. I’m really intentional about what I want and the moment I see it, there’s no question.

What’s something you’re really into right now?

I just started teaching myself to D.J. I’ve been really focusing on it, and in June I got booked for my first big gig. I love music, and I wanted to be open to new opportunities. Music is powerful, it brings people together, and it connects people.

Lorenz Christopher

Fashion designer, 24

Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York Times

Tell me about your outfit.

I don’t know if you heard but Raf Simons is closing his brand. So out of respect, I wanted to rock the Raf jacket — it’s from spring 2022. The bag is from Dooney & Bourke and the shoes are Margiela Tabis. And this ring is a tiger stone in 14-karat gold and it has six diamonds around it. The tiger stone gives off confidence, being able to speak out about how you feel, and staying true to yourself. The pants are from my brand, Art Community.

Who’s the coolest person in Los Angeles?

I’d say Kendrick Lamar. He’s one of the best rappers, basically up to Tupac, if not better. And he came from Compton, he’s from the West Coast. He’s very silent, but his silence kills. He’s unpredictable. He’s quiet, but when he makes noise, you pay attention.

What’s something you’re into right now?

I guess self-awareness. I’ve surpassed looking at other people, it’s all about the battle within. Even if it doesn’t look like life is going your way, it’s about knowing there’s a reason for it. It’s about hard work, confidence, and knowing your present self is better than your last self.

Liana Bribiesca and David Riviera

Stylist, 28, and retail associate and model, 23

Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York Times

Where did you guys get your outfits? What was the vibe you were going for?

Mr. Riviera: I got the jacket from Santee Alley. I don’t know, it’s like cowboy meets skater? Not really any vibe, I guess.

Ms. Bribiesca: I actually pulled it from a studio where I was working on a job.

Who is the most stylish person in Los Angeles right now?

Ms. Bribiesca: The ladies at the local beauty shop. They’re always the flyest.

Nicolas Ortiz

Chef, 24

Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York Times

I love your shirt. Tell me about it.

Ah, yeah, just a little bit of Mexican pride. But, honestly, I bought it in the Alley, just a little $2 piece. I like being loud and shiny. My favorite piece is the belt, it’s from Guanajuato, where my family is from.

Does the scorpion have any significance?

Well, I’m a Scorpio.

Do you feel like one?

Definitely. People love to hate us.

Who’s the coolest person in Los Angeles?

My mom because she’s a cutthroat gangster. She taught me how to crip walk! Tell me something more L.A. than that.

What’s something you’re into right now?

Japanese-Peruvian cuisine. Like tallarines verdes with chicken katsu on top with some fried potatoes. If you want to try it, hit Kotosh in Torrance.

Drok Grant

Musician and multimedia artist, 26

Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York Times

Talk to me about this outfit. OK, well it’s a Bode top, a Bode shirt and a Bode vest. The shirt is, like, a bunch of circles all sewn together. And then a Smock shirt, from Mohawk General Store, underneath and Sillage pants.

Who’s the coolest person in Los Angeles right now?

Karl Charles, who works at Mohawk General Store. He’s low-key the mayor of L.A.

You’ve got a lot of love for Mohawk General Store.

It’s super-dope. They’ve got a lot of fire stuff there.

What’s something you’re into right now?

Home goods. Especially vases, bowls, and couches. I’ve been looking at a bunch of different silhouettes and shapes. I went to Mid Century Shop in North Hollywood recently to get inspired.

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