Natalie Joos has become an LA style icon for those who love everything vintage. She started the JoosTricot collection when she realized she couldn’t find that one piece she so longed for in any of her favorite shops. I recently had the pleasure of stepping into her closet (literally) to check out her very colorful collection up-close and discuss her journey to the LA fashion scene.
Melissa: How did you get to this point in your career, designing this line?
Natalie: Well, I started with fashion in New York kind of right away. In 1997 I worked for Glenn OBrien, and then Craig McDean as a studio manager. He’s a big fashion photographer. I was there for 6 years, so I got to know a lot of people there, went to a lot of parties, and talked to everyone. I knew everyone in the industry. They all liked me because I was young and fun. When I left in 2003, I started my own casting company and I did that until 2013. In 2010, I started the blog because I was kind of bored. Casting had slowed down because of the economy. The blog took off and it was fun. It was also one of the first ones. It was quite new still to do this and people hadn’t figured out that fashion blogs were going to be such a hit.
Melissa: And you focused only on vintage?
Natalie: Yes. I would shop in my friend’s closets, photograph them in their favorite vintage pieces and write the text. It started really small with maybe 6 pictures and one little paragraph. Then I got a new camera, so I was more confident about shooting, I wrote more, and finally the shots became full profiles of 800-1000 words. In 2012, I had to stop doing casting because I kinda had a melt-down. So, I chose to continue with the blog and do casting only for a few old clients. I moved to LA while working on my book and that’s when I had the idea to make this one sweater that I was looking for forever. It was just a skinny fitted turtleneck. Every day, I would go into my closet and think, I wish I had this red fitted, simple piece. It’s sexy but not overtly. You can wear it in the winter time and still be sexy. I couldn’t find it for years, so finally I realized, this is what I need to do. I need to make these. And that’s how I started the brand. Now we’re doing dresses.
Melissa: Where do you get your inspiration?
Natalie: Mostly I get inspiration from vintage and things I want to wear. I look at magazines and other designers. Sometimes it’s just a bag or a button that will inspire me, but when I design my collections, I start with the colors. I choose my colors first. We have one core collection, so I have one yarn I use every time. I choose those colors first and then base the rest of the collection on what I want to make in those colors. Now, we’re working with new yarns which is a new thing.
Melissa: Do you have any muses or style icons that you lean into for style inspiration?
Natalie: Not really. There isn’t one person who’s always on my board all the time. I just type in 70s knit dress and that’s where it starts. Or my own closet. Right now, we’re copying a bunch of dresses from my closet.
Melissa: With all the vintage you’ve collected over the years, how do you organize it?
Natalie: In New York, I had a two-bedroom apartment with a closet that was the full wall…it was like a $4000 closet. I can’t get rid of anything.
Melissa: What’s your go-to accessory?
Natalie: My hoops, I need them every day. I love a shoe and a dress combo. That’s the easiest thing for me to wear.
Melissa: Where do you produce everything and how do you manage that?
Natalie: China and Hong Kong. I started with a different factory and that wasn’t working so well. But these new people…I’m so lucky…I’m so grateful for them. Every day I hold my breath and think “Please don’t leave me!” I’m so lucky. I’m actually going over there to visit them and make sure the factories are legit and doing a good job and people are treated nicely. I worked with a factory here too, but they were very expensive. We moved to China to make production a bit smoother.
Sometimes it’s just a bag or a button that will inspire me, but when I design my collections, I start with the colors. I choose my colors first.
Melissa: Do you travel often, and what’s your favorite place or a place you’d love to go to?
Natalie: I have so many places I want to go. My philosophy or goal is from now on, never to visit the same place twice. I’m going to Bali and Singapore in one trip. I’m also looking to do a volunteer trip to an orphanage in Zanzibar, Tanzania. If I have time, Madagascar. That is the ultimate. I also feel like doing a complete tour of the Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan…I’ve never been to Brazil or South Africa either.
Melissa: How do you unwind? Any self-care regime?
Natalie: To be honest, I’m a TV-aholic. I watch all the music stuff, like The Voice, American Idol and World of Dance. The Bachelor and the Bachelorette. I must stay home every Monday.
Melissa: How was your transition from New York to LA?
Natalie: It was horrible actually. It was really, really rough. But probably because I decided if I’m going to do the West Coast thing, I want to live by the ocean at least. I moved to Santa Monica because I can’t afford Venice. I had just 4 days to find a place. I moved into this cute little apartment. It had sunshine and good vibes and a little balcony, but it was in the middle of nowhere. There’s no one there. I had a really rough time. I thought, if this is LA, how do people do it? But finally, I applied for places in West Hollywood. This was my dream place. When they told me “you’re approved,” I was like “What! Am I doing this?” When I drove from Santa Monica, the energy was just building and building. The joy and happiness and gratitude I felt for just being here. I was like “I can’t believe I get to live here! This is my dream. This is LA.” I was like a born-again person.
Natalie has recently become a volunteer advocate for CASA LA. CASA LA pairs children in the foster care system with volunteers who are there to advocate, support, report and recommend. Natalie is currently paired with a 16-year-old girl living in a group home. Find out more at:
Particularly social: Handles and preferred Instagram filter
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Particular style: What’s your uniform?
Particular adornment: Your go-to accessory
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Particular vice: What is your weakness?
Particularly 70s, 80s, 90s, or 00s: What decade defines you?
Particular high school/college persona: Were you a burner, credit card hippie, prep?
Particular pickiness: What are you finicky about?
Particular passion: What are you passionate about?