Growing up in both Taiwan and Southern California, LCD founder Geraldine Chung was drawn to the casual, nonchalant beach culture of the 80’s and 90’s. There was just something about the odd juxtaposition of “SoCal beach bum meets conservative frump” that compelled her— and still does— to the unexpected and unusual.
Years spent working in the music business in New York, where anything goes fashion-wise, allowed her to explore her unique style further. “I could show up one day in a Stella McCartney cashmere jumpsuit and the next day in plaid and baggy jeans and no one would blink an eye,” she says. Also admitting it was not uncommon for her to roll up to the club in a pair of sweatpants and sneakers.
After five years helping to run the digital department at Atlantic Records, she was burned out and ready for a change. Inspired by friends who had started their own businesses during the recession she decided to move back west and put her creative sense of style to use.
In 2012, after nine months of careful planning, preparation, and shopping she opened online boutique LCD which stands for Lust, Covet, Desire. “The idea was I wanted to be able to offer pieces that you absolutely felt you had to have in your life— not necessarily just basic pieces, but ones that were extraordinary and special,” explains Geraldine.
And finding extraordinary and special is what she excels at. “Usually when I try to buy with someone else in mind those pieces tend not to do as well as when I buy the interesting pieces where I’m thinking, Well, it’s quite possible no one else but me will like this, but I just love this piece so much I have to have it!” she admits.
She is inspired by contemporary art, street culture and menswear and strives to discover and support up-and-coming independent designers from around the world. She wants there to be an energy and buzz around the artist, and looks for those that are doing something interesting with a great story to tell.
In early 2016 LCD opened their first brick-and-mortar on Venice Beach’s Lincoln Boulevard. “I wanted to be on Lincoln because I felt like the “brand” of LCD is not necessarily a mainstream brand, and with Abbot Kinney becoming more and more a destination for big brands and flagship stores, it was important for me to be off the beaten path,” she explains. The space is beautiful, minimal, and perfectly showcases the exclusive approach of the hip company.
Having an actual storefront has boosted business immensely for LCD, as online shoppers tend to have no real brand loyalty when shopping the e-commerce market, always on the hunt for the cheapest deal. “For a small company like mine, it’s almost impossible to compete and make money to live when you’re forced to discount away all your margins to compete with the big boys,” she explains. “The product that I sell is high quality, designer fashion that really needs a personal touch; people need to try the garments on, touch the fabrics, and see the stitching and detail.”
And with the store, her customers get that. They also get an amazing sales staff that takes the time to learn about the designers and share their stories. Which in the end, is what’s most touching for Geraldine. She shares, “It’s just fashion after all— what’s important is the real lives this business affects— the people I employ and the designers I support.”
Oh, and the sweatpants of course… (which she stocks LCD with plenty of).
Lindsay DeLong is the Managing Editor of The Fullest. Find her (in sweatpants) at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media via @lindizzaster.