In this episode I interview Lois Eastlund, vegan fashion designer of her eponymous brand in New York.
Lois has loved fashion since she was a child and knew at the age of 11 that she wanted to attend NYC’s Fashion Institute of Technology. After gaining her degree from there several years later, she entered the industry, working in Manhattan’s Garment District for more than 30 years as a designer in menswear, womenswear, junior sportswear and tween clothing.
During this time she also ran her own shop in the East Village and leveraged her line of streetwear, wholesaling to vendors throughout Europe, Asia and the US, including New York City’s Patricia Fields.
In 2008, after years of freelancing, vending at weekend markets and participating in an independent designer co-op in NoHo, Lois opened her eponymous boutique on the Lower East Side. For five years, the store stocked her line of men’s shirts and women’s dresses that embodied her signature aesthetic – bold patterns and flattering tailoring – which continue to define her brand to this day.
In 2013, Lois made a strategic decision to close her physical store and focus on online fashion to reach a broader audience for her designs, which are aimed at the modern woman who is young at heart, while taking advantage of also showcasing her wares at local pop-up events.
Lois and her designs have appeared in a number of media outlets including The New York Times, Women’s Wear Daily, CBS News This Morning, and many more, and she is the co-founder of digital vegan fashion magazine La Fashionista Compassionista.
While Lois went vegan in 2011, her fashion line has always been animal-free, sewn by hand, by her, from cotton and cotton blends.
Most recently she has been making print-on-demand t-shirts and other accessories which she sells on Redbubble and Amazon.
In this interview Lois discusses:
• How not knowing what you are doing when starting a business can be a bonus
• How an incident early on in her business taught her to eliminate ‘middle men’ and to deal directly with manufacturers and suppliers
• A strategy she uses to keep the cost of fabrics down and how this influences her designs
• Why she closed her physical store in 2012 and moved into running an online-only fashion brand
• The pros and cons of being involved in high-profile fashion events such as New York Fashion Week
• Why she chooses to continue to make all the garments herself (and how this can be a good selling point in a business)
• And much more
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