Interview with Rio Warner

Rio Warner, a bad ass shop owner with a colorful personality and appearance talks 90's fashion, her career and insane drug addled people prancing on Highland Blvd.

Are there any statements or words you would like to say before we dive into the interview? Well, I guess I should introduce myself...Im Rio, a Los Angeles based designer, I've got a shop in Hollywood called Glitter Death, I've made stage wear for Madonna, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Rihanna, etc. I have a pug and a parrot I love with all my heart, I help run an art gallery called the Rat Factory and I'm starting a print magazine called Lipstick Magazine with my girl Nikki Lipstick, but really all I want to do is spend time with my family and lay around and watch Netflix!

What style influences you right now?

I'm really into hologram and iridescent clothing, see-through, shiny, glittery fabrics too. I love the stripper fabric section of the fabric stores. Actually all stripper clothes in general too, they're so ridiculous I love them.

When did you get the idea to run your own shop?

I was a stylist and designer for years, so I had this immense collection of clothes, shoes and accessories. People would look at my room and say, "Damn! You've got enough stuff to open a store!" So I did.

What does Glitter Death mean to you?

I run the store with my boyfriend of 13 years, Manuel V. He's got a very rock and roll, dirty underground vibe and I'm all about rainbows and colors and shiny things. I'm Glitter. He's Death.


If you could wear one outfit for a week what would it be and why?

Probably a colorful flower 70's dress with a leather motorcycle jacket covered in pins. Cause no matter where you go you look like a badass. 

What films influence you?

One sad thing about being a designer/store owner/busy bitch is I have a VERY demanding work schedule. So when it's time to finally sit down and watch a movie I fall asleep about 96% of the time. But I'd say Clueless (of course), Romy & Michele, The Craft, Showgirls, Jawbreaker, Marie Antoinette, The Fifth Element & Baps.

If you had the chance to meet one person you admire the most who would it be, and what would you do together?

Can I bring Alexander McQueen back from the grave? He is an inspiration beyond words. I'd love to spend a day in his studio and create magic with him. I can't even look at his book Savage Beauty because its way too inspiring. If it has to be someone who's alive, I'd say David Bowie, he's like the Unicorn of rock stars; stunningly beautiful, mystical...Untouchable.

What was your style like in high school? And how has it changed?

Ha....In Highschool I was voted "Most Unique" in the yearbook, I was a colorful punk rock freak, I still wear most of the clothes I wore back then, and I've had colored hair continually since I dyed it purple in middle school. I've just added more designer pieces to the mix, cause I can.

Where do you normally shop?

I'm big on vintage shopping, so of course all the thrift stores, swap meets and estate sales. Wasteland has the occasional scores. I love a good sale at Vivienne Westwood. And I'm obsessed with Ebay.

Having your store on Highland Blvd, which is a busy street, what is the most absurd thing you have seen/experienced?

Eeek....everything. 2 different occasions of PCP naked men walking down the street, Whoopie Goldburg, the Westburrow Babtist freakshow gimps, Jesus rocking out to black metal, Angelyne on the regular, you name it man, Hollywood is fun.

What do you think of the word fashion, How does it make you feel, what’s the first thing that pops in your head when you read that word?

People take it too serious. It's really just another art form and a way to express yourself. I don't give a fuck what season it is, or what their trend may be, I do what I want, when I want. People should learn to be more comfortable in their own skin, fashion is just decorations, our personal style is what really matters.

What do you hope to do with your shop and brand in the future?

I've always wanted to expand the shop, I love our little shop, but of course I'd love a larger one! My namesake collection, Rio Warner, is already expanding into more stores and more production which is very exciting. I'm also working on a print magazine with Nikki Lipstick, we've got a very similar aesthetic and vision, it's very exciting.

Are there any events you want to expand on, such as you have art shows, live bands, and I think an occasional movie screening?

Yeah, we've got an art gallery above the shop called the Rat Factory we run with another amazing artist Cassy Ibanez. We have art shows, bands, experimental stuff, movies, filming/photoshoots, it's a lot of fun!

Is there anything else you would like to peruse in the art/fashion industry?

Ha...yeah total world domination of course. I want to make movies, books, fashion, art, music, sculptures, installations, go to space and have a fashion show on the moon.

Any advice you can give to others on creating there own store/brand?

Just go for it. Head first. Start creating. And GET PICTURES of everything. You'll regret it later if you don't. I have zero pictures of my early work. And don't be above doing free jobs, building an impressive portfolio is priceless.

Reflekt continuously talks about people who wear extravagant clothing, but where would you find such people in real life. Glitter Death is a hot spot for bondage punks, thrift store junkies and queer characters. I highly suggest going to any of there events, or just to drop in. I've met some great people at Glitter Death and put my hand in puke after a punk show there. I give it a A+.