Rocky Barnes has always had a knack for making anything look stylish, and everything look approachable. An elevated, bohemian twist to her wardrobe has brought in over 2 million followers (and counting) on Instagram and makes her stand out from other models and fashion influencers by far. In launching The Bright Side by Rocky Barnes, her clothing collection that features stylish looks for women, unisex and children, Rocky’s attention to detail, vintage aesthetic and entrepreneurship were all at the forefront of her designs. This new collection is a modern take on vintage cult classics and was inspired by Rocky’s childhood summer days spent roaming the Rose Bowl Flea Market. The line includes trendy blazers, jackets, shorts, dresses and jumpsuits in materials like denim, faux leather and chiffon you’ll want to get your hands on ASAP! With the world finally opening back up, what better way to strut in style than with some must-have pieces from The Bright Side?! LAFM sat down with Rocky to learn all about The Bright Side and her vision for the fashionable future of the brand, as well as her style inspo. Check it all out and more-below, you know you want to!
LAFM: Rocky-we’ve taken a look and all of us at LAFM absolutely love your collection, can you tell us where your inspiration for the Summer Collection came from?
Rocky Barnes: Most of the inspiration as far as design style of the clothes came from my experience growing up going to the Rose Bowl Flea Market on the weekends with my mom. She had a booth and we’d be there from 6am-3pm, and after I helped her set up in the morning, for the rest of the day I didn’t have much to do so I’d wander through the stalls vintage shopping. It really influenced my personal fashion growing up and really made me understand and appreciate what styles, fabrics and silhouettes are going to last. My mom also was a hairdresser and make-up artist, so when I’d be at her salon I would always flip through Elle and Vogue getting inspiration from all these designers I couldn’t afford, and when I’d go back to the flea market I’d be looking for similar designs-or even looks that were similar to the way the clothes were styled in the magazine. That was really my childhood growing up and was my first experience with fashion.
Back in the day my personal style was always very bohemian, I was really inspired by Etro and Blumarine and although I couldn’t afford any of their stuff, I was always inspired by the fit, fabrics, proportions and how the outfit was styled. What I would take from all of that was finding pieces that were classic and could be redone. If you don’t have any money (as I didn’t), the quality you get with vintage pieces is so good. I always looked for quality pieces, searching for for cashmere, tweed, denim, cool prints, I would scour the lingerie sections looking for vintage slips and quality structured dresses. Once I got it home, I would adjust the neckline or take the sleeves off, make it shorter, I even went through a phase in high school where I would buy vintage t-shirts and would cut them up and remake them for all the girls in high school, I even sold a few to some small local boutiques in town!
Going into the flea market, you really see what lasts as far as styles, silhouettes and fabrics so that was really important in creating my collection. You see what the eye catches, items that are still appealing on the rack even if they’re not brand new. I found that it was the same stuff over and over and the stuff that lasts forever. You always look for the stuff you wouldn’t be able to afford-the jackets, the cashmere sweaters, etc. I think having that background and having to change up proportions and styling to make an outfit work really helped in creating the pieces for The Bright Side. I was always dabbling and remaking fashion since I was little, and as all the pieces for this collection are vintage-inspired, they’re not supposed to be so trendy that they’re gone the next day, they’re pieces that I want people to have in their wardrobe forever!
LAFM: Can you tell us what the experience was like creating each piece with Reunited Clothing, from concept idea to seeing the final look?
Rocky Barnes: As far as creating the different pieces with the team, I would bring in pieces from my own closet that I loved and we would work to source some vintage pieces for inspiration, bringing together the different elements and do a brainstorming session to map out all the pieces that I loved and the ones I wanted to change. Reunited has always done private label collections, but this is the first time they’ve done a collection from the ground up, and we’re doing it together. So as much as they’ve been in the industry and I’ve been in the industry, doing a brand from scratch is new for both of us. I always see these pieces as looks we will be continuously working on and adjusting. I want these pieces and any pieces I create in the future to be evergreen pieces that aren’t just one season and then they’re gone.
Finding an accessible prince point was also really important to me in creating this collection. I’ve done a lot of collaborations in the past, so from that experience when I was creating this collection, I really wanted people to be able to afford it, but I didn’t want to be in the fast fashion market. A lot of my followers buy both-I have a lot of luxury and a lot of mass market followers, so finding that sweet spot for me. Finding that balance between offering a quality product and design with a do-able price was something I really wanted to create for my customers.
LAFM: Amazing! Vintage-inspired is totally a style we’ll love for a long time! Can you tell us about developing your unisex pieces and baby pieces, and why this was important for your to include in this collection?
Rocky Barnes: Sure, being a new mom, anything for my son Jones I’m just literally obsessed with! But also, being a boy mom-there’s so many matching outfits out there for mother and daughters but not a lot for mothers and sons. So I thought ‘I want to do something that I can wear with my boy and even my husband!’ Trying to find cute stuff that the whole family could wear, it felt so appropriate for the collection.
The inspiration for creating unisex pieces really came from wanting to create something with my husband Matt for men. I’m always getting PR packages in the mail and Matt’s always trying to steal anything that’s slightly oversized or might fit him. When I wanted to create pieces for The BrightSide Summer Collection, Matt had a lot of opinions and wanted to be involved, it just made sense to do something that we and our customers could enjoy. I think men are actually pickier when it comes to fabric and fit then women, Matt for example is very particular, which ended up being a huge asset when it came down to testing out samples and checking the fit of different pieces.
When you’re making unisex, it has to be right for the man, if it feels feminine it’s going to turn men off immediately. My biggest concern about creating unisex fits was making sure the clothing fit men the right way, and then women can kind of fall into it. As women, we’re used to borrowing pieces like a ‘boyfriend shirt,’ and buying something unisex you expect it to have a boxier fit and be a little oversized. I think that’s how you really run unisex-men like it first then women fall into it, and figure out how to style it.
LAFM: I’m always looking for that oversized boyfriend shirt or pant, so I’m so excited The Bright Side features unisex pieces everyone can enjoy-and can keep me from stealing from my boyfriend! Can you tell us-and our readers-a little more about the pieces in your collection, and what you hope the takeaway from The Bright Side Collection style is?
Rocky Barnes: Creating these pieces, and using inspiration from finding great pieces at the flea markets growing up, I want people to be intrigued by it and inspired by it. I want them to be hungry for more and be excited to see what comes next! I’m on instagram a lot, and it’s so easy to fly by everything, so when something catches your eye it gives you a minute to pause and take a second look. I feel like all these pieces are show-stoppers, they’re classic but still subtly sexy and I want them to be something that stops you from scrolling, making you think ‘Oh my god this is so me!’
Creating evergreen pieces for the wardrobe was so important in developing the collection, I wanted to make looks that you can wear with anything for any occasion. For example the ‘Dawn Slip Dress,’ which is a colorblock vintage-inspired silk slip, I wanted to update the slip dress style in a way where you still have that casual sexiness, but no one’s looking at you thinking that you just forgot to get dressed! The way you would dress up a traditional silk dress, you’d have to layer on the accessories, add a sweater and a belt or something-really toughen it up so it doesn’t look like a dressing gown. Being able to do a new colorblock on it-the slip really takes it out of the traditional lingerie and puts it into something that you can just walk around in, and look amazing doing it. You can dress it up day to night, and they can all stand alone. I really wanted to create all the pieces to have that versatility in them. Items you can wear to grab a coffee or wearing it to a wedding.
LAFM: And lastly, where do you see the future of The Bright Side?
Rocky Barnes: I want to do it all, but I want to do it all in the right time, in the right way. I’m kind of a control freak, so the thought of letting it too far out of my site is a little terrifying, especially for how young the brand is. I’m not looking to expand into every retailer under the sun, for now I really want it to feel right and grow organically with the customer. I definitely want to grow more with the unisex and baby/kids pieces as well, I really value feedback-what’s working and what isn’t, so for now I’d love to continue developing pieces I love and I hope my customers will love! I do want to do it all, but I’m not scared of taking my time to do it, at the end of the day it’s really important to me for it to be done right!
We chose our favorite items from the collection that you can #ShopUntilYouDrop, so check it out below! To see the rest of these must-have pieces for your wardrobe, head to the website, here! #LAFMApproved