Claudia Cassina

Fashion Entrepreneur and Designer

DISTINCT curator Lauri Firstenberg in conversation with Claudia Cassina of Desperate.

How long have you been in LA?
I moved to LA in September, 2014. Before that I was living in Milano, IT.

What was your first job in fashion?
During my first year of fashion university, Leonardo Bertelli (my current business partner and husband), and I were selected to assist the wardrobe stylist Francesco Casarotto. As you can imagine, these two people changed my life and sculpted my aesthetic.

We’ve worked with Francesco for three years, and in the meantime Leo and I pursued our personal passions as a creative duo for fashion editorials and films.


What was your inspiration for Desperate?
The name comes from the track “Desperate But Not Serious” by Adam and the Ants. 

Our project started in 2014 in Milan with an online magazine. It was composed of a collective of artists, photographers, stylists, musicians and bloggers: www.iamdesperate.net/journal. The blog is actually a continuum of my thesis, in which I was investigating the phase between adolescence and adulthood. 

Tell us about your vision for the store?
We opened our store in August 2016, in order to realize our aesthetic in a physical location and to allow others to experience our philosophy. Our main inspirations are the Surrealist Movement and the Memphis Group. 

We carry clothes from independent designers who reflect our vision and values: Adam Selman, Vivetta, Ohlin-D, Tata Naka, and Sretsis, among others.

All of our pieces are selected with love, care, and a great sense of irony!

How did you pick this location and who is your client?
We really believe in the vision of Cyrus Etemad and the project Merrick Building project. 

Our store is situated in a beautiful 1930 building in East-Hollywood. We are so lucky to share the edifice with such an incredible group of people: Made Solid, 5 Leaves and there-there.

I feel like the women that shop here are very refined and strong—ladies that love fashion and are not afraid to show to the world their characters—and like to talk out loud. People who show their freedom without forgetting to be feminine and romantic.