The “about” section on LOROD’s website says the following: “LOROD creates modular, modern interpretations of American classics. Emphasizing construction over ornament, a dedication to detail, and an inclination for the understated, LOROD believes utility can be refined, and the familiar can be alluring.”
As I sit at my computer reading this statement, I’m thinking HOW CAN ONE BRAND SPEAK SO DIRECTLY TO MY SOUL?! The allure of the familiar. I’ve never conceptualized of my own personal aesthetic with those exact words before, but I relate to them so much.
Anyways, all this is to say that LOROD is a super cool brand, whose philosophy I really respond to and whose clothes I really want to buy. And Lauren Rodriguez, the woman behind it all, is just as a cool, stylish, and relatable as you would expect. We caught up with her the other day at her Canal St. studio to chat and take some pictures…
What is your ideal outfit or uniform?
Something really comfortable. Usually I wear jeans, and an easy vintage sweatshirt or top, but something always with color. I try to avoid wearing all black.
Does your work at the studio influence what you wear on the day-to-day?
I’m on my feet all day here, so I’m usually sort of looking like a mess. But yes, my work does influence my style for sure. I always try to wear some LOROD. But, it’s easy vibes in here, so something comfortable and casual.
You have such a clear and particular brand as a designer. How did you develop that and what are you influenced by?
It’s just my taste, I think, it’s my aesthetic. I’m definitely inspired by a lot of vintage garments and constructions. I think that’s where a lot of the color references, prints, and things that are really…not pop-y…but bold, come from. It’s definitely the construction of old garments that we care a lot about. The way things are made and the durability. That’s the reason why we have a lot of things made in the US, in New York, because of the level of construction. That’s a big part of it.
I also think always being tied to workwear is important. Every season I go back, sometimes to the same images. It may not be a specific garment, but you can sense a mood from it, and it’ll set the tone for the collection. Maybe it’s about women’s sports, or deconstruction, or maybe it’s about this one painting that I’m inspired by and that palette. It’s good to be grounded in utility, because it keeps us really focused.
It’s important to me for a customer to be able to go back to a brand, and say, ‘Oh, I know this brand always does this shirt really well, and I want to buy it again.’
I noticed that, I think a lot of people have noticed that. Your brand is kind of unisex–men can wear it. Is that something that you’ve consciously tried to develop, or did it just happen naturally?
It’s just kind of how I dress, for the most part—sort of a boy-ish aesthetic. I’m comfortable in pants, easy tops, easy shirting. That fell into the early days of LOROD and designing our aesthetic here.
And then we realized that a lot of men were buying into the clothes anyway. And we would get those questions a lot: ‘Are you doing menswear?’ ‘Do you mind if men wear your clothes?’ I love when guys wear our clothes, it’s so cool.
I love menswear, but because we’re doing women’s tailoring, fit is so important to us and we’re fitting on a female model. Things like darts and pleats in places for the female form makes it so that it’s not really menswear. But, this past season we introduced two or three silhouettes that were designed for men, but also look really amazing on women, just a bit easier and more relaxed. It’s worked really well for us.
What is most important to you: comfort, beauty, or innovation?
Somewhere between comfort and innovation. I think comfort in terms of dressing, for sure, just because you want to feel like yourself. There’s nothing worse than getting dressed up for something, getting there, and feeling like, “Oh no, why did I wear this?”, and not feeling like yourself. But also, innovation because what’s the point of making clothes…there’s so much out there, if you’re not adding something to the conversation then it’s somewhat pointless.
What is your most treasured item in your closet?
Probably heirloom jewelry passed down from my grandmother and great-grandmother. I’m a super sentimental person, so those things mean a lot to me. Clothing is not as sentimental to me. We take it for granted. We see it coming in and out of the studio all day, that makes it feel less serious. But, the jewelry means a lot. I think growing up and seeing your grandmother wear something everyday, and your mother wearing it… you being a child and seeing your mother wearing it…
What are you excited about in the fashion industry right now, if anything?
I’m excited about all the young brands that are popping up. Maybe because I am a young brand, and I’m seeing my peers, but with all the awful things happening in the world, there’s a lot of young designers that are dedicating themselves to sustainability and to diversity–to things like casting a show of really amazing, diverse models of men and women, queer people, and trans people.
It’s exciting, and I feel like a lot of these older brands are trying to encapsulate what youth culture and young brands are doing because they think it’s “cool.” And it’s exciting to see how it’s actually real for the younger people. It’s thrilling to forge bonds with these people. I love meeting new, young designers. We can commiserate together and ask each other for advice, and be a part of this thing together—sort of ending this catty conversation of what fashion used to be.
Any style icons or people who influence your style?
Oh, André 3000.
Oh, that’s a good one!
André 3000, and I love Linda Rodin. A lot.