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ShopLocalSD: Find Homegrown Fashion At Local Boutique

Local Boutique owner
Danielle Nastro.
Photo by Rebekah Sager

When people think of La Jolla, they think fancy cars, high-priced real estate, upscale restaurants and the breathtaking coastline.

What folks don’t picture is a small, locally owned boutique carrying designer lines by San Diego artisans.

Local Boutique is just that. It's a showcase of homegrown microdesigners who manufacture their wares no further away than Los Angeles in lots no larger than 100 pieces.

When owner Danielle Nastro opened, she knew immediately the direction she wanted to take the store. Being the modern sort of woman suggested by the ironically generic name of the shop, her first stop was Craigslist: She needed to find artists.

She looked for quality and creativity. “You can’t fool me," says Nastro. "Some people I contacted were not exactly who they said they were. They tried to bring in things they had crafted from kits at Michael’s.”

Her high standards haven’t changed, and now the designers come to her. One designer is Jennafer Grace, a Pacific Beach resident and graduate of the Fashion Design program at Fashion Careers College in San Diego. Using new and recycled fabrics, Grace designs form-fitting dresses with a vintage look. She incorporates iconic style from various eras to create dresses that define classic and feminine form.

Stacie May is a San Diego native with a degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Her creations offer a cornucopia of style, from silk-chiffon layered, 1930s-inspired gowns, to a mod mini dress with handdyed trim. From sketch to stitching to completion, everything is handmade by May.

If hippy chic is your thing, no one does it better than Elyse Originals. Elyse Marino’s beautiful floral print dresses, tops, handbags and hats combine fabrics stitched all by hand. No two are alike. Elyse Originals are a Local Boutique bestseller.

In the accessories department, there are many lines to peruse, and Black Ribbon Society is one of the hippest and most interesting. Design partners Jesse Young and Kristofer Hammes offer funky jewelry and functional handbags; a look that’s both distinct and affordable.

Local Boutique is one of the few such stores that caters to men, too. Nastro carries hip men's designer, Stiska. A San Diego native and graduate of the esteemed Art Institute of Chicago, Stiska says his designs are influenced by the proximity of the Mexican border and also by San Diego’s nightclub scene. Each one of Stiska’s shirts are uniquely stitched with fine detail.

Local Boutique also offers its space to visual artists. Ross McDowell’s collage works in mixed-media photography are edgy and vibrant. McDowell is a graduated of Platt College, where he was trained in web design as well.

Nastro acknowledges it would be easier to sell items by well-known designers—less expensive for the customer and more money for her. But Local Boutique will keep San Diego artists busy and visible.

Details »
  • City: La Jolla
  • Phone: 858-456-1133
  • Name: The Local Boutique
  • Address: 921 Prospect Ave