Discover more insider guides in SUITCASE Volume 20: Homelands.

SUITCASE has been championing Olivia Lopez of blog Lust for Life since featuring her in our Trailblazers section back in 2015. Making the art of the Instagram aesthetic look effortless, anyone who follows her would agree it encompasses the most stylish aspects of modern culture. We want to be her best friend.

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Olivia is the go-to-girl for chic ensembles, covetable interiors and eye-capturing compositions. Although her blog overflows with shoots, tips and highlights from various trips around the world, it’s LA she calls home. Here, she shares her favourite spots to relax, shop and get inspiration, while highlighting the city’s ability to transcend its old tinsel-town reputation to reveal the innovation and arts bubbling below.

How has being based in LA influenced your lifestyle and work?

LA is going through an exciting rebirth at the moment. It’s become a lot more international over the past few years, but I’ve always seen it as a city with hidden design inspiration, and world-renowned for it’s light. When I started interning for newspapers when I was a teenager, I was on a mission to explore the different cultural aspects of the city I grew up in. The city has informed my lifestyle, as the West Coast has always represented freedom and a disregard of traditional conventions – my varied interests are receptive to that.

Where’s your favourite place to recuperate when arriving back in the city from a trip?

I really love my neighbourhood haunts in downtown LA. I like picking up my daily rations at Grand Central Market, grabbing a meal at one of the four Josef Centeno restaurants on my block, grabbing cocktails in Silverlake or going for a weekend drive across town.

What part of the city do you live in and why did you choose it?

I live in the historic core in downtown LA. I chose to live here because I’ve always been drawn to loft living and loved the history and architecture of the area. It’s the oldest neighbourhood in the city and you feel a special energy walking down the street.

Where do you like to shop and why?

I love supporting my friends’ stores, namely Alchemy Works in the Arts District, Mohawk General Store in Silverlake, Shop Super Street on La Brea and The Apartment by The Line.

We want to get an excellent meal at an affordable price – where would you recommend?

Kazu Nori for fresh cuts of sashimi, or any shopping mall taco stand – no kidding, those are always the tastiest ones.

And for pre-dinner drinks? Or post-dinner activities?

I love Cafe Stella and the Ace rooftop for atmospheric pre-dinner drinks, and Tenants of the Trees for a night out.

Do you think LA is underestimated culturally and artistically?

I think it’s finally shedding it’s vapid stereotype, which was completely misrepresentative and characterised by one neighbourhood out of dozens. I think over the past few years LA is rightfully coming into its own.

Where should we explore to get a good sense of LA’s artistic identity? Any favourite galleries or concept stores?

LA’s artistic identity is in the architecture. I love the Stahl House, Neutra VDL and the Eames House. The most interesting galleries are cropping out of the fringe of the Arts District and Boyle Heights, what used to be an industrial has-been which has transformed old warehouses into the most fascinating conceptual spaces.

Olivia Lopez was interviewed by Camilla Sampson.

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