The Shortlist: Laguna’s Designers

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LBM_41_Around Town_Merrilees Swimwear_By Jody Tiongco-17LBM_41_Around Town_Merrilees Swimwear_By Jody Tiongco-10

Swimsuits at Merrilee’s Swimwear

Southern California has inspired a broad selection of local designers, many of whom continue to pay tribute to this coastal town by setting up shop in the heart of Laguna.

Jessica Barkley
Born in Peru but now settled in Laguna Beach, Jessica draws her inspiration from Parisian women to create elegant, sophisticated yet highly wearable dresses ranging from daytime sheaths to formalwear and bridal gowns. (949-338-1408;

Troy Lee Designs
A motocross racer and artist, Troy has built a successful design business from his two passions. His Laguna Beach-based store offers biking, motocross and sportswear apparel for both men and women along with one-of-a-kind painted helmets. (949-715-8142;

Merrilee’s Swimwear, Merrilee Madrigal
Since establishing her business more than 30 years ago out of a suitcase, Merrilee has created something of a local swimwear empire. With locations in Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach, Merrilee’s Swimwear features colorful separates in both contemporary and vintage cuts. (949-497-6743;

Vitamin A, Amahlia Stevens
A Laguna Beach resident, Amahlia designs bohemian bikinis and playful tunics that channel the vintage glamour of 1970s California surf culture. Her line, Vitamin A, is a favorite of locals and celebrities alike, and is sold in local stores such as Diane’s Beachwear in Laguna. (714-975-5559;

Sportkini by ZsuZsi Athletic, Stephanie Kozowyk
Athlete and designer Stephanie set up shop in Laguna Beach with the goal of providing locals with swimsuits that are both fashionable and functional in and out of the water. The designer’s Sportkini products are dependable swimwear staples for athletic, style-savvy women. (949-371-5584;

Check out more Orange County designers on page 48. —K.E.

Beach Boy Music
Denee Petracek.

A Laguna Beach native, 26-year-old Ty Segall has been churning out songs and albums since he got his start with a local underground punk band. He went solo in 2008, releasing eight studio albums (plus numerous EPs), and has appeared on records with several other artists and bands. The young musician’s most recent work, an album entitled “Sleeper,” was released in late August. A departure from his signature lo-fi electric sound, Ty’s latest album consists of 10 acoustic guitar-driven tracks, some with deeply personal lyrics. Not taking any breaks, Ty (who now lives in Los Angeles), also has announced that his band, Fuzz, will be releasing its first full-length album in late 2013. ( —L.D. LBM

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