Pop quiz! What do you get when you fuse female empowerment and confidence, a team with progressive values, a relentless co-founder with a vision, and clothing that prioritizes comfort and feels like your second skin? Answer: LNA.
The L.A.-based brand was created from the belief that wearing basics should never feel basic. Co-founder and creative director/designer Lauren Alexander has strived to perfect essentials that her customers can't live without. According to Alexander, she and her team design clothing that feels like a second skin and is multi-purpose.
Her goal is to give the consumer clothing that feels like it was made custom. LNA produces high-quality, everyday essentials with personality for women and men with an array of body types. Executing her vision for LNA to become a brand that would never be governed by trends and withstand the test of time, Alexander has spent roughly the last 15 years improving everything in the label's line-up, from tees to dresses.
More than just a clothing brand, LNA has aimed to empower women by helping them feel more confident. Its pieces embody the effortless cool-girl/chic vibe with easy-to-wear essentials designed to make customers feel sexy whether in a tee (one of LNA's specialties) and jeans or dressing up in a cutout dress.
We caught up with Alexander to learn more about her inspiration, role models, food, and more as part of our (now) weekly '10 Questions' series where we explore L.A. through the eyes of its coolest, most empowered, most innovative, or forward-thinking citizens.
What's your background and what was your inspiration for starting LNA?
I grew up in San Diego as a competitive equestrian but always knew I wanted to be a designer. My uniform at the barn was always a Hanes white tee and I was constantly searching for the best vintage tees at local thrift stores. Years later, when I met my business partner April, we were both wearing white men's tees and instantly knew this would be what we launched LNA with.
Who were your role models growing up or who are they today?
Growing up I never had one specific role model, I had a vision in my mind of what I wanted my life to be and have always chased that vision. My role models today are anyone who's gone after their dreams and not given up. Any woman who's supported herself and done things her way no matter what she's been told.
How does your pup feel about what you're doing and how much you work?
I rescued my amazing husky Ghost this year and bring him everywhere with me! He comes to the office and even out for a glass of wine at night!
Do you listen to music while working? If so, what are your jams currently?
Those who already know me, know how obsessed with music I am! I have a playlist for every occasion or mood. Listening to music is an essential part of my creative process and I create a soundtrack for each collection I design. Right now I have been listening to a lot of music composed by Max Richter while I paint, cook, and to get through work emails. For designing, I have been getting back into Led Zeppelin and the Cowboy Junkies.
Other than running the business, what does your ideal day look like from waking up to falling asleep?
I have a joke that it takes me three hours to leave the house in the morning! I get up very early, usually around 5:45 a.m. I always start my day with a steam shower and then straight to make my signature hemp milk latte. Nothing is happening until I have had my coffee! I love taking my time in the morning and it's also when I am the most creative. My ideal day is waking up, making my coffee, spending time with my dog Ghost, checking in with my team at the office, and then finishing the day hanging with my friends at one of my favorite restaurants, with wine of course!
What about LNA are you most excited about in the next year or so?
I am the most excited about our faux leather category we are launching. We have everything from faux patent blazers, skirts, to pants. I've already been living in them.
Where do you think the industry is heading in regard to using animal products?
We've seen so many of the big fashion houses promote the use of faux leather and really show the consumer how amazing this alternative is. The use of faux leathers and other materials will only get bigger and bigger.
You're sitting down with your 21-year-old and 81-year-old selves. What advice are you giving the younger you and what is the older you congratulating the current you for?
The advice I would give my 21-year-old self is that failing is not failing, it's learning. All of my greatest lessons have come from what I thought were failures. Oh man, how would I congratulate my 81-year-old self? This is a tough one. I would tell her that we did it, it was a wild ride, that everything happens for a reason, and it's never too late to start again.
What's your spirit animal?
A shiny black wild horse!
You're taking a first-time visitor on a one-day tour of L.A. Where are some of your top stops?
Well, I'm such a foodie so I would be taking my visitor on a food tour of L.A.! My favorite spots are Marvin, San Vicente Bungalows, Great White, and Gigi's. If anyone ever needs to find me, I am usually at one of these places!