Tag Archives: southern california

Passion Fruits

Free-Thoughts Thursdays: Passion Fruits
Olivia of KingdomClothing

Hello all friends, old and new. For whoever still reads, enjoys, follows, and comments, THANK YOU. I took a long hiatus for so many different reasons, but the root reason— the real reason— is that I wasn’t committing myself fully to this work. And by “this work”, I don’t mean just writing here in this blog arena, but I mean I wasn’t fully committing myself whole-heartedly to my passion, which is my business (www.etsy.com/shop/wanggukclothing).
Today’s post is going to be about this kind of devotion to our dreams and why I think some people, like myself, shy away from pursuing their dreams fully. If you have been following us from the start (again, thank you), you know that this blog was intended to be a kind of sister-site to my shop on etsy (wanggukclothing). Here, I share a bunch of my passions with others who like the same sorts of great things: KPOP, fashion, fashion history, occasional brief free thoughts or opinions, and culture questions. This week, as I was staring at my instagram account profile, I noticed my press website (this) was still in my profile, and I felt a tinge of guilt mixed with my usual anxiety triggered by things I feel like I need to do but haven’t, and I thought to myself, ‘Why haven’t I written in so long?’
Well, the surface answer is simple: I’m busy. We’re all busy. We all have “things to do.” In Southern California, where this blog takes place, this is even more true than most other pockets of Earth, I feel. Busyness is a drug for people, coupled with an obsession with productivity. But what I’ve noticed, sadly, is that a lot of our busyness doesn’t really result in productivity. A lot of people, especially here, think they are the same thing: busyness and productivity. But they aren’t. You can be busy with anything. Being busy doesn’t equal being productive. For example, I could be really “busy” eating chips on the couch so when someone texts me and says “sushi?” I have to tell her “sorry girl, i’m BUSY tonight.” I could also be busy painting my nails or shopping at the mall for things I don’t need or trashing up my room and not cleaning up my mess or looking at stupid (or non-stupid) videos on instagram for hours. I could also (as a rather more extreme example) even be busy out slicing someone’s tires or egging a house. Are any of those things directly productive? Minus some arguable grey area, NO. None of them are. But I could be busy doing any number of them, possibly for hours. Many people refer to time as they do currency: spending it, wasting it, saving it. But what I think is the missing ingredient for so many people I observe on a daily basis is enjoying it— making it really worth something.
And don’t get me wrong, wasting time sometimes and not being so productive is healthy. It’s good to just forget about building and kind of just let yourself be for a moment. Days like that are good for us. (Note: days, not whole stretches of time where we do absolutely nothing good with ourselves). And also, sometimes we have to be busy with things that are productive and do matter, even if we don’t enjoy it that much…like a day job that we have to work to pay our bills. That contributes to busyness as well, and it may not be enjoyable 100% of the time (or sadly, for some of us, even 10% of the time), but it’s a necessary busyness.
But I have noticed, in a lot of my friends’ lives after we got out of school and joined the “real” world, they didn’t really enjoy what they were doing. Not all of the people I know are like this, but honestly, a vast majority are. They either accepted the job they’re at now because they liked the benefits, the “security,” the paycheck, the convenience. But when I meet up and have lunch with some of them, they never sound like they actually love— or really even like— what they’re doing day-to-day. I’ve been at jobs like that too; I know what it feels like to be making money or to have some sense of “job security.”
But here’s the thing about lots of money or employer-provided benefits or “job security”… none of it really means security. You can still lose it, your bank can still fail, natural disasters still happen, and benefits most of the time only go so far. Yes, if you have a family already and you’re providing life for someone other than yourself, then you really do have to think a little bit more about your job than just “hmm, but do I like this?” But, if you are still wondering what to do with yourself and you’re tempted to choose a job just for the paycheck or the supposed security you’ll be reaping, I’d advise you to not do it; at least not before you’ve considered what loving your job really feels like. No, I don’t spring out of bed in the morning at 6:30, ready to mold minds at school or drive all groggy to go shoot photos for the shop or help my friends with disabilities. I don’t wake up without an alarm (or 5). But once I’m there, I’m loving myself for choosing my jobs based on how they make me feel inside instead of the steady fatter paycheck I could be making.
The fruits of our labors should be more than just money, benefits, or supposed security. If you’re not absolutely loving what you’re doing or loving the difference your job makes in the world, why do it for years upon years? I think some of us just get stuck. We get comfortable. Whether it be financially comfortable, comfortable within a certain lifestyle or routine, comfortable enough to think “yeah I don’t really need anything else.” I’ve been there too. I know what it feels like to be just comfortable enough not to change. But that kind of comfort is dangerous because it leads to complacency. And then it’s really hard to change your lifestyle, or job, or whatever, once you’re there.
I know I’ve talked about chasing passions in the past, but I kind of want to reopen this conversation. I’m also planning on talking about this again in my next Free-Thoughts Thursday or on future Tuesdays where I kind of just talk about whatever I want. Chasing dreams is a subject that I think a lot of people think about and maybe even talk about, but that the realities of which are sadly overlooked. What do you guys think? Leave thoughts, if you please ❤ 🙂


The Chrome Hearts Story

Fashion History Fridays: Chrome Hearts
By Olivia of WangGuk


Today, on this fine Friday, I’d like to talk a little bit about the luxury brand Chrome Hearts. I used to really not care for Chrome Hearts designs; I thought they were always either too gaudy or too gothic. But recently, I have grown to love the designs that come out of this brand and even more than that, as I’ve learned more about them, I’ve grown to love their story.
So, today, I’m just going to share a little bit about what I know of the story behind the brand and what I like about it.

Chrome Hearts as a label was officially established in 1988, but a few years prior, it was in the fetal stages of becoming a small business. It was started by Richard Stark and a couple of his buddies (Leonard Kamhout, a silversmith, and John Bowman, who made belts). They started as a leather-works business and made leather pieces for their motorcycling friends and others who heard about them. Eventually, some small-time directors in LA heard about them and asked them to do costumes for some of their films. Their first big break was making outfits for “Chopper Chicks in Zombietown,” which was a  B-movie horror film made in 1989. Coincidentally, one of the actors in the film happened to know the Sex Pistols‘ lead guitarist and ended up introducing the Chrome Hearts guys to the band.

From there, tons of connections were made and the business kept building. The Chrome Hearts guys met many high-to-dos in the fashion realm of the LA area and their leather pieces were featured in the likes of Vogue and others. In 1991, Richard Stark bought out his two partners and expanded the label himself, eventually expanding it to the brand it is today, producing unique luxury leather furniture, extremely intricate one-of-a-kind silver jewelry pieces, clothing, and other luxury house ware items.

It is also worth mentioning that, during the late 80s, in those first tender years of the brand’s birth, Chrome Hearts made this small lot of grunge t-shirts, each hand-distressed. The shirts were allegedly worn on the sets of some of the movies in LA that Chrome Hearts designed for. To wear them in and get them uniquely grunged-up, the story goes that the t-shirts were worn by the actors and actresses on set, and after this wearing-in, the shirts were bought by a stylist in LA on the set of one of the films. There were only six made in the lot, and the stylist owned them all. Recently, I was fortunate enough to find one of these incredible shirts on Etsy in a shop called “reSHIFT” (visit here>>http://www.etsy.com/shop/reSHIFT ) and I was able to buy the one shirt that the stylist has currently let go of. Needless to say, for a fashion history fanatic and collector such as myself, I was beside myself at the fulfilled dream of owning such an amazing piece of history.

The brand is now run by the creative director and original founder, Richard Stark and his wife, Laurie Stark. The two live in Malibu, Southern California, and are each others’ business partners. Since its launch, Chrome Hearts has expanded to reach the corners of the world. There are multiple stores in Japan, Hong Kong, Taipei, London, Paris, Honolulu, Las Vegas, New York, and of course, the original factory and stores in Southern California (in LA and Malibu).
Chrome Hearts stores are kind of mystery places that can only be found by those who already know where they are. There are often no signs outside the store locations and the Starks don’t do any advertising. They just produce unique and quality art, and people always come running. The Chrome Hearts silver jewelry pieces in particular have recently become incredibly popular in many fashion scenes in Asia, specifically in Japan and Korea. Many of my favorite Korean pop stars (like the beautiful, more-than-note-worthy G-Dragon) sport many of the lavish heavy sterling silver Chrome Hearts necklaces and bracelets.

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There are many reasons why I have grown to admire this label and the story of Richard Stark. First, I am inspired by the brand’s roots. Some college buddies consider their unique God-given talents and say ‘Hey, let’s start something’? I mean, if we’re looking for a rags-to-riches story, Chrome Hearts is a beautiful one. Starting my own small clothing business on Etsy has been a wild ride— it’s time-consuming, exhausting, difficult, and so worth it. I look at the fashion empire that is now Chrome Hearts, and when I consider that its humble beginning was nothing more than a few guys wanting to use their talents to live a dream, I am able to think ‘Oh, okay, this could work.’ Starting a business is a multi-challenging feat, but having my own business has been like having a baby— I love it more than anything and want nothing more than to see it grow. When I hear stories like that of Richard Stark and Chrome Hearts, I am able to see that there may be a place for someone like myself to make my own way in the vast world of fashion.


I’m hoping to get some Chrome Hearts stuff in the shop soon so stay tuned.

Visit us here>> http://www.etsy.com/shop/WangGukClothing?ref=si_shop

Thank you and Credits to the following for interview and history information and pictures used:










My Story

This is Me
By Olivia

Hi everyone. I need to start out this blog in gratitude and also in honesty. So first, thank you for following and/or reading. Thanks for taking an interest in either me or my business. Second, here’s my story.
So I live in Southern California, in Ventura County. I live in a little town that is perfectly halfway between Santa Barbara and LA. I have lived my whole life here (besides living in Santa Barbara with all of my friends for a few years), and it’s a good little place. I like it. But it is small and it’s difficult to do certain things here…like find jobs. So, I am planning to move to downtown LA within the next six months, where I hope to somehow support myself doing some kind of church/non-profit work in the area.
So, I hope this clears up any confusion there may have been about the location of my business— if that’s what brought you here. Technically, my business has no physical location because it is a shop I run online via Etsy. In case you are reading this and you don’t know, I have a shop on Etsy called WangGukClothing, where I sell unique fashion finds and vintage clothing, and this blog is kind of a sister site that supplements the store. Here is where you’ll find kind of the juices behind the shop—behind-the-scenes stuff from our photo shoots, and extra things like our themed every-day posts. So anyway, yes I do live in Southern California, but no I do not live in downtown Los Angeles yet, which is what it says on my Etsy site.
My shop is something I started because I had just graduated from school, I wasn’t working yet, I had no idea what to do with myself, and I had a bunch of cool clothes that wouldn’t fit in mine or my mom’s closets anymore. Setting up a shop on Etsy is fairly simple (it’s the upkeep that’s the work), so I started it one day in the middle of summer and was shocked when I started selling things. Soon, I began to actually shop separately for things to put in the shop, and I would go on thrifting trips around my area or comb eBay for stellar finds. Pretty soon, I fell in love with it. I loved the customers, I loved being able to make money doing something I loved, and more than anything, I felt like I was doing something I was made to do— almost like God was like, “This is for you.” So I kept at it.
But business is a fickle thing. Anyone who has their own knows that it’s an extremely difficult way to live. One week, I’ll have six orders and the next week I’ll have zero. It isn’t steady. So, there came the time when I needed to find a semi-regular income so that I would be able to buy gas and food. So I started working at one of the thrift shops I frequently shop at so that my income would serve as a supplement to the shop. I also substitute teach, which is good money, but also kind of hit-or-miss because you never know when you’ll get called.
So anyway, this is my life. I graduated from college with good grades and a double major in English and Environmental Biology, I couldn’t find a job, I still can’t afford to live on my own, I don’t really know what I’m doing, I’m constantly trying to be a real adult but I don’t really know what that looks like yet, and I pray every day that God guides me in the right direction. Because I have no idea where I’m going. One day, I’d love to have my own little apartment that’s crappy but incredible because it’s mine, work in downtown LA doing something I really love, and somehow expand my shop in a way that brings me joy and brings glory to the Kingdom of God. I don’t know how to do that yet, so I’m still here in no-man’s land, trying to figure myself out, but I do feel like God’s giving me little nudges here and there that keep me on track. So for now, I’m at His good grace, not quite floating but not quite running in any particular direction yet. I have a dream and I have high hopes, so thank you for taking an interest in this journey and thank you for letting me share it with you.