Lauren Alexander | LNA Clothing

Image by LNA

I am the co-founder and creative director of LNA Clothing - currently working out of our new office space in downtown LA. We just moved our headquarters from Culver City so it’s been a pretty major change. 2016 marks ten years in business for us and also seems to be a time for big changes. I think it’s important to push past our comfort zones as a company and try new things. The unfamiliar is always a place where I grow as a designer and business owner.

My interest in becoming a clothing designer dates back to 1995! I’m 32 now, so for as long as I can remember, it’s always been about clothes. I’ve uncovered old school projects with essays and stories about a fantasy career in the fashion world. I feel incredibly lucky to have had a passion for something at such a young age. My path to where I am today was probably unconventional and had a lot to do with persistence and luck. I never went to college and I’ve never had a mentor. Trial and error is really how I learned about this business and became a designer.

"Being a young female entrepreneur is something I always felt made me stronger and more ambitious - I love proving people wrong or surprising them."

Owning a business is full of struggles. It's funny, every year there is a new issue - you tackle one problem and another one pops up to take its place. Right now we are thinking about the future of LNA - how, after ten years, can we stay relevant and innovative? How do we set ourselves apart from everyone else? As a designer I take my work really personally and it can be emotional; it’s hard not to compare myself to other designers and feel insecure sometimes.

One thing I’ve definitely learned is that I am only as good as my team. LNA’s success has been built by our team, not me alone. Having a team that knows how to execute your vision is just as important as the vision itself. Surrounding myself with a kick ass team is always #1.

Inspiration is something that can be super literal and other times it’s more of a feeling that gets interpreted into a collection. If I had to pinpoint a specific source of inspiration I would have to say it comes from just listening to music and drawing from my life in California. A west coast sensibility is something that is in our DNA.

Image by LNA

Being a women has never been an obstacle for me in the clothing world. Don’t get me wrong, lots of people thought I was an assistant in the early days of showing up to meetings, but I always just shook it off. Being a young female entrepreneur is something I always felt made me stronger and more ambitious - I love proving people wrong or surprising them.

I have a Steve Martin quote on my wall that says “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” I’ve had this on my wall for as long as I can remember and it makes me smile every time I read it.

My advice to women starting out would be: Dream as big as possible, take risks and don’t be scared to fail. Mistakes happen. Know how to recover quickly and gracefully... and don’t forget to ask for help along the way!


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