Sparkles, sex appeal and a touch of edge…just a few reasons why we heart Lovers + Friends. The LA-based brand is for go-getters and fun-seekers, so we can most-certainly vibe with this one. So off to Los Angeles to meet the woman behind this oh-so-SWELL brand, Raissa…
SWELL: First off, tell us – how did you get here?!
RAISSA: I never went to design school! I went to UC Irvine, thinking I was destined (or so I thought) to become a lawyer. Luckily, I realized that that wasn’t my path. I took a step back to make sure that it was really what I wanted to do, and that’s when I started to design.
A friend taught me how to sew, and I started making and selling vintage remakes on ebay. The line was called Brigid Catiise (after my grandmother). My quantities were so limited (I could only make one of anything!), so in 2010 I teamed up with Mitch, my business partner, and we started L + F. We wanted to create a line that a lot of girls would want to wear and that’s true to us. We’re now in our third year.
SWELL: Any advice for aspiring designers on getting started in the industry?
RAISSA: Make sure you REALLY want it. It’s a hard business. It takes a lot of patience, a lot of money, and a lot of belief in yourself that you can get through it all when you’re super broke.
SWELL: Tell us a little about Lovers + Friends. Who are you designing for?
RAISSA: It’s for girls who really know themselves, who dress for their mood (some days you wake up feeling bohemian, and other days you want some downtown edge), and who work hard and pay hard.
It’s clothes you can wear from day-to-night. You could go to brunch then to the Hollywood Bowl in the same outfit.
SWELL: If you had to pick one quote or saying that voices the spirit of Lovers + Friends, what would it be?
RAISSA: Live Your Life.
Do what is good for you, and trust yourself. We use it all the time around here, for big and little things. Ex: “I want a doughnut”…“Live your life!.” Or big decisions like starting your own line.
SWELL: How has the brand’s LA roots influenced the line?
RAISSA: My roots are in LA, and it will always be a part of the brand. The weather in LA inspires the line quite a bit. (It’s 80 degrees out in November). So when we design, we can’t help but choose fabrics that are lighter…LA is just a sexy place to live…it’s always warm, so naturally you wear less clothes! I’m not gonna lie about that!
SWELL: It’s a perfect, sunny, LA day…If you could go anywhere/do anything, where would you be today?
RAISSA: I would want to be here (at L+F), BUT…
* Brunch in Venice. Maybe Gjelina.
* Then walking and shopping…Funny enough, I still love clothes/shopping after all these years!
* Maybe bike over to the West Hollywood Farmers market for some shopping… then have wine there.
* And maybe a nap somewhere in there, because I never get to do that anymore!
SWELL: ….and what would you wear on said ideal day?
RAISSA: An easy dress and sandals.
SWELL: And for the upcoming Holiday party season…any style you’ll be rocking to at least a few upcoming events?
RAISSA: The Sway Dress (a black body-con with bedazzled shoulders). You can make it girly with a pair of heels or more of a downtown look with a pair of boots. It’s a great year-round dress for going out and girls nights.
SWELL: What would you be doing if you weren’t designing?
RAISSA: I’d probably be teaching at the Bar Method Full Time (Raissa owns a studio in Venice). I would probably own at least a few studios.
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