As one of Los Angeles' hottest up-and-coming labels, Cotton Citizen is made by no other than founder Adam Vanunu.

Blessed with an eye for detail, colour and design, Vanunu's designs have garnered a following of at least 32,000 on Instagram - including retailers like Free People and Saks Fifth Avenue. Whether it be a hoodie or a tracksuit in shades of Nickelodeon neon green or bone white, it's no secret that Vanunu turned Kristen Stewart and Caroline Vreeland into lifelong fans.

Vanunu and I chat about the evolution of Cotton Citizen, what really happens behind the scenes and the biggest surprise that changed his life.


Five years ago, you started Cotton Citizen in your family's factory and started with t-shirts. What made you want to launch a clothing line?

It was a way to tell the factory story and showcase family passion for manufacturing clothing and doing it in LA. It was me paying homage to the hard work, and intense dedication/drive my dad had to keep innovating the industry with wash treatments. Starting with t-shirts was simply just a first canvas to run a test on. Everyone wears t-shirts and everyone is always looking for their new favourite t-shirt. I wanted to be that and then transition into your favourite brand. We are constantly evolving the brand offerings.

You are well-known for having a strong eye for colour, finishes and dye effects. How did you develop your approach to fashion?

The attention towards colour and dye treatments comes from a pure passion. I have always been infatuated with strong/bold colours and the mix-matching of colours. My interest in colour and design has always been there. I look at older fashion photography quite a bit, a lot of stuff from the nineties, and I'm very inspired by contemporary art. I've also recently been travelling quite a bit and I take a lot of inspiration from what I see in different cities and cultures. All of this inspires the colour story I want to tell every season. From there, I get in the studio and experiment with dyes and finishes by hand until I get it just right.

I read somewhere that each design goes through 8 to 10 different processes. Can you tell us a bit more about the process? Which step in the process is the most challenging to achieve?

The final process of each garment is something I try to keep at a maximum of an 8-10 stage technique. As you know, we produce everything in our own factory. So, the capabilities to keep on layering techniques and applications is endless. Each step adds more life to the dye treatments. The distressing stage of the garments are always the most labour intensive; although, the dye stage is the most sensitive. Each colour/treatment on each fabric is processed completely different in order for them to be cohesive and have the same look but at the same time stay unique to its form.

Lately, you've expanded your line to include ready-to-wear from dresses, hoodies and jeans. How did Cotton Citizen grow from t-shirts into a full line?

The collection will continue to evolve. As we are building a lifestyle and a community around the brand, we have continued to add on styles fitting for that season or even add more essential items to our daily wardrobe. The brand will grow into more RTW, an undergarments collection, and a home collection which will include bedding sets.

Everyone from Liam Hemsworth to Caroline Vreeland are wearing your designs. Since you cater your line for men and women, who motivates you to create clothing that can appeal to both sexes?

There is not one specific person or customer I look to target. I simply create off of my current vibe. I look at myself as the ultimate consumer of this generation we are in. I am a high fashion advocate combined with that daily/classic style.

For men, you name each article of clothing after musicians (e.g. Cobain, Lennon and Presley) whereas for women, you name it after cities (e.g. Milan, Melbourne and Marbella). Where did you develop this concept and what made you want to apply it to your clothing?

For men, I feel it is important to recognise style icons and reference them in your day-to-day look. For women, I want to globalise the style trends around the world to showcase the uniform and colour stories for what makes Cotton Citizen.

While more than a handful of young designers had a university degree, you mentioned that your father wanted you to work in the factory instead. What were some things that you were able to learn from him?

I truly don't know how to begin to explain what my father taught me. The experience I gained from being side-by-side with him daily is not your usual fashion education. It's actually not fashion education at all. I had the opportunity to learn hands-on how to manufacture all types of products. I also was in the position to completely understand how to run a factory and manage a large staff operation. But all of this is secondary if you don't have vision. That gift was in my genes. I have the same attention to detail and drive my father had when it came down to being innovative and curious when developing wash treatments.

Congrats on launching your first brick-and-mortar store! I read that you are planning to open more concept stores and release a home line in the future. Which one will you start with and why?

Thank you, we are currently planning our next few steps on expanding our retail experience. There will be more concept stores in various cities. Our strong focus on direct-to-consumer brand experience, which is always enhancing with more and more activations.

Lastly, what's the biggest surprise that has changed your life?

Ever since my father has passed away. It was the worst surprise but, it got me thinking in a new way and got me to direct my focus onto only positive actions. I can smile knowing he's proudly watching my brother and I continue his legacy.

For more information on Cotton Citizen, head here.