June 6, 2024


Not Just Any News Media

The strip mall is L.A.’s high-fashion hangout where art, style and daily life collide

The strip mall is L.A.’s high-fashion hangout where art, style and daily life collide

This is Out Here, an insider’s look at the everyday beauty of exteriors — architecture, façades, urban design, blueprints for a brand new world.

The strip mall, as Myriam Gurba writes in “A witch goes to a strip mall and…,” is a place that people in Los Angeles can count on for highly effective magic. Once you arrive — having freshly jumped off the Orange Line or having finished a long stroll from home or, perhaps, having just parked after waiting patiently for that elusive parking spot — there’s a feeling of possibility on the premises that’s in the air.

The energy of a strip mall is unlike that of any other commercial space in that it mimics the flow of the architecture: It passes through like a gust when the front- and backdoor are open. Easy in, easy out. Though the energy keeps coming in waves.

A person in a blue suit stands below a strip mall sign for 1900 La Brea.

Sissòn wears the Row sunglasses, Marni top and bottoms, Bottega Veneta shoes.

A person in a blue suit, crochet crop top and blue cap stands in a convenience store.
A person, pointing their finger ahead, walks past a laundromat.
Sissòn wearing a tie-dye blue suit and a headpiece.

Sissòn wears Matek headpiece.

The thrill of the strip mall is how relentlessly people move through it and bring their unique experiences and style with them. How they present themselves. How they bring who they are to whatever they’re doing. There are so many reasons one might enter a strip mall. Laundry. Loitering. Getting their nails did. Refilling their water. Dining at a restaurant. Having a hem taken in. Picking up a package. No matter the type of outing, a strip mall is for pulling up with purpose.

A person wearing teal silk pants and a flowery shirt walks toward a strip mall.

Sissòn wears the Row sunglasses, Balmain top and bottoms and Bottega Veneta shoes.

A person, wearing green hair and sunglasses, smiles.
A person leans over an ornate barrier on the second floor of a strip mall.
A person sits on a rock in a strip mall structure in Koreatown.

Photographer Nichelle Dailey and artist Sissòn — with the help of our fashion director at large, Keyla Marquez — spent a day exploring the high-fashion hangout that is the L.A. strip mall. They bounced from spot to spot, from fit to fit. As the light changed from morning to evening, so did the mood. Energy can be a tricky thing to document, but what unfolded in front of Dailey’s lens was nothing less than supernatural. This photo essay is a testament to the fact that great things happen when you put it in park and hop out. Sometimes you just need a little space to cook.

A person sitting on a blue bench looks straight at the viewer in red-tinted sunglasses.
Sissòn uses a cash machine at a laundromat.

Sissòn wears Bottega Veneta bag.

A person in a baby-blue outfit stands next to a handwritten sign that says "Liquor parking."
A person stands in the parking lot of a strip mall, with colorful signs reading "Cleaners" and "Nails" in the background.

Producer: Siya Bahal
Model: Sissòn
Hair and makeup: Aurora de León