Pitzer Spotlights

2005-2006 Spotlight Archives

Micah Cohen ’02
One of “20 Under 30”

Micah Adam Cohen '02

LAist.com is a website about Los Angeles. On June 6, 2006, their "20 Under 30" series featured Micah Adam Cohen '02. The following article is reposted from LAist.com.

Our "20 Under 30" series continues with Micah Adam Cohen, a native Angeleno making a big splash in the fashion world. One day he was just another nice boy from Brentwood who started his own fashion line. Then, he exhibited the line at the Pool Trade Show, a boutique lifestyle trade show showcasing fashion-forward designers. At the show, a Chinese clothing company approached him about designing its men's line. Now Micah designs a full collection and has offices in Shanghai and Los Angeles.

Age and Occupation:
I’m 25 years old & a men’s fashion designer.

How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do you live in?
I’ve essentially lived in Los Angeles my entire life – except for my four years at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA. I grew up in Brentwood and have lived in Silver Lake and Santa Monica. I’m currently living in Downtown.

Why do you live in Los Angeles?
I live in LA for so many reasons. But, mainly, there’s just no better place to live.

I am able to pursue my career in fashion and be close to my family and friends. Of course, the weather is fantastic and there is always something new and different to see/do/experience, due to LA’s most unique attribute — its diversity. And definitely because of the ladies — the most attractive women in the world reside in LA.

How does Los Angeles inform your work as a designer?
LA keeps my aesthetic casual, fun and wearable. “Serious” fashion doesn’t really fit in with the LA lifestyle.

What's the most "LA" outfit you've ever designed or worn?
I don’t really dress or design very “LA.” I try to balance LA casual and NY serious…and I’m probably one of the more tamely dressed designers.

What do you think of Los Angeles Fashion Week?
I’m happy to see it growing — but I still feel that it’s not taken seriously enough.

Do you feel that you get support from the local media?
I don’t know…I haven’t done anything worthy of getting any media support…but I’ll let you know when I do…

What inspires you?
There isn’t one particular person or thing that I draw inspiration from. Everything I experience and have experienced contributes to what I feel can be fashionable and appropriate.

How does your relative young age affect how you run your clothing line or work with employees?
I sometimes feel awkward and guilty delegating responsibility to workers who are older, but at the end of the day things need to get done. I also don’t feel burdened with responsibility yet, knowing that if I fail, I will have opportunities to succeed in the future. This feeling makes my business decisions riskier and more careless. But I also feel that youth (whether in mind or body) is essential in the fashion industry.

What stores do you like to shop in when you are in LA?
Scout, on 3rd St, is definitely the best store in LA. But I also like American Rag and Apartment No. 9 in Brentwood.

What's your favorite movie(s) or TV show(s) that are based in LA?
LA Story – one of my top 10 of all-time.
Collateral – great visuals of LA (especially Downtown).
Chinatown – great film noir in LA.
"Entourage" – the best show on television…wait…it’s not TV, its HBO!!!

Best LA-themed book(s)?
Water and Power by William L. Kahrl
City of Quartz by Mike Davis

What's your favorite beach in SoCal and why?
I love Zuma and Marina Del Rey. My best friend’s grandparents have a house on the beach. It’s never crowded and it’s the cleanest LA beach I know of. Plus, we can always wash up afterward at the house.

What's the best place to walk in LA?
Walk? What’s that? I guess from the car to the Coffee Bean?

Perhaps San Vicente Blvd. in Santa Monica – from Bundy to Ocean…a great grass strip for running.

What is the "center" of LA to you?
The great thing about LA is that there are so many centers and LA truly extends far beyond its city limits. There are tons of different communities in “The Greater LA Area”, each with its own center. The cultural diversity and sprawl of Southern California almost necessitates multiple centers. LA is just too big to have just one. But to someone from the Westside, the center of LA might be, gulp, The Grove (or that area)…

What is the center of LA if you have children?
If I had children in LA, I’d like to raise them on the Westside. Hopefully though, they’d be able to get a good sense of LA as a diverse community and not just the homogenous Westside.

Is there a "Los Angeles child" personality?
I think there are a lot of LA child personalities. The one I find most amusing though (and the one I have a lot of experience with) is the Westside native “child of a wealthy actor / producer / entertainer / Hollywood executive” personality. This child has an overblown sense of entitlement and will probably go into the entertainment industry in some shape or form. Most amusing about this child, though, is that they usually think that they’re more talented than they actually are.

If you could live in any neighborhood or specific house in LA, where/which would you choose?
I’d live in Malibu. Los Angeles escapism at its best.

People stereotype Los Angeles as a hard place to find personal connections and make friends. Do you agree with that assessment? Do find it challenging to make new friends here?
It’s absolutely true. Making new friends and personal connections is extremely difficult because everyone’s trying way too hard to be cool…unless you’re an agent — then everyone wants to be your friend!

The hardest part, though, is meeting women. If you’re not an actor, producer, person with Hollywood-scene pull, wealthy or son of one of those people, good luck in getting one of those aforementioned beautiful women to talk to you. LA can be very cruel.

What is the city's greatest secret?
Downtown. It hasn’t happened yet, but it will.

Where do you want to be when the Big One hits?
Not in LA, that’s for sure.

If you could make one thing be different in LA for your 30th birthday, what would you change?
I wish traffic could somehow be alleviated. I think it is the city's most troubling problem. And it’s only getting worse…much worse.

Reducing traffic would certainly cut the stress we all get from trying to cross the city at 4:30 pm. It would allow people to accomplish more in a day — spend more time with family (or not, depending on your family). If there were fewer cars on the road, air quality would improve (another So Cal flaw) and roads would need less maintenance — requiring fewer tax dollars and minimizing road construction delays. And seeing that there are currently over 12 gazillion cars on the road in LA, getting rid of a few would also reduce oil dependency.

Is public transportation part of the equation? Does the answer lie in ride-sharing, subways, Red Lines, buses or better roads and freeways? Or is it that LA is too big and too populated for there to be an answer to the gridlock? Is that even possible in a city that extends far beyond its own zip codes? I don't know how it will work, but if our Governor can travel from back in time to protect the leader of the rebellion against the machines — he should be able to fix a little bit of congestion.

Having a respectable public transit system could also unify the Southland, like New York — Mayor Bloomberg takes the subway to work — Villaraigosa on a bus? Not in a million years. But hopefully by my 30th birthday.

2006-06-15