LOROD is the Label Redefining the Utilitarian Uniform

LOROD is the Label Redefining the Utilitarian Uniform

We talk to the designers behind the rising brand about their Americana inspirations.

We talk to the designers behind the rising brand about their Americana inspirations.

Text: Danielle Combs

Since the launch of the first collection for their rising brand LOROD, designer duo Lauren Rodriguez and Michael Freels have been on a hot streak, churning out modern cuts of the classic Americana uniform with an emphasis on tailoring. After the pair met while studying at Parsons, Rodriguez and Freels soon realized they had a similar appreciation for American staples. And yes, uniforms.

For their Pre-Fall ’18 collection, the duo began their design process by compiling key references for the fabrics they intended to use along with researching vintage garments, all of which was ultimately narrowed down to a few select pieces—one way the designers masterfully reinvented classic garments.

This season, they explored the cultural landscape of the American West and the impact of its connotations on the dress. Paying homage to the wide-open road and vast landscape of the Southwest, the collection best embodies the palette of the big blue sky as well as earthy rustic shades. Stylistically, the show made references to the ‘50s rockabilly movement, while patchwork prairie skirts best reflect the free-spirited ‘70s era. To ground the collection, the brand unveiled their first-ever collaboration with famed shoe designer Manolo Blank, making their shoe debut with a sling-back kitten heel and a mod-heeled bootie.

In an exclusive interview with V, we sit down with the rising design duo of LOROD. Read below and click through the slideshow to see their Pre-Fall ’18 collection.

How was LOROD conceived?

Lauren: After I graduated I wanted to start a brand where I could work and collaborate with my peers. I decided to start with Women’s RTW since its always been of interest to me. Michael and I reconnected and realized we shared many of the same references so we decided to hit the ground running!

How did the two of you meet?

We met our first day at Parsons the New School of Design.

Your designs incorporate timeless staples, with vintage-inspired fits and detailed tailoring. How would you describe your overall design aesthetic?

We put a lot of emphasis on tailoring and making modern interpretations of American classics. I love the idea creating timeless pieces that you want to hand down for generations.

I greatly admire that your line is a modern reinterpretation of a uniform. What inspired you to create a line that focuses on that as a whole?

Lauren: Thank you so much! When we were designing our first capsule for SS17 I went back to my closet quite a bit to find holes in my wardrobe. We began creating pieces that I felt were missing from the market, those resulted in this sort of uniform that has become synonymous with LOROD.

Michael: Thank you! I think that this comes from our interest in the way that classic garments have evolved over time. There is also something compelling about the ease and pragmatism that a uniform provides.

Recently, you’ve started expanding into accessories—first with jewelry designer Francesca Grosso of Sorelle and now Manolo Blahnik. How did these collaborations come about? Do you have more plans to expand elsewhere as well?

Lauren: One of the most exciting things about LOROD is being able to collaborate with other artisans. It was an absolute pleasure to work with both Francesca and Manolo Blahnik. Since at the moment our specialty is in RTW, collaborating is an exciting way to make high quality accessories.

Michael: Working with these designers is a way for us to introduce accessories for the brand with a partner that is dedicated solely to their individual craft.

With this collection specifically how did you want to differentiate it from the rest?

Each season will differ thematically. This one felt like a natural evolution from our American-inspired utility pieces.

You explore a lot with construction and alternative pattern-cutting techniques. What is your creative process like when crafting a new collection or piece?

We approach each season by compiling visual, textual, and vintage garment research that we then narrow down to a few key references. From these references [we] drape and sketch into silhouettes and construction details. Exploring pattern-cutting techniques is a natural way for us to find newness in our own iteration of a classic garment.

Your line is considered to be gender-fluid as well and it’s inspiring to see designers become more inclusive. Was that your initial intention when designing?

[We] don’t necessarily want to gender the clothes ourselves as we’d rather leave that for the wearer to decide, but the reality of fit makes LOROD a womenswear brand. Our casting is inclusive and diverse to reflect the community of our peers that wear the clothes.

What was the inspiration behind your Pre-Fall 2018 Collection?

This season, we explored the cultural landscape of the American West and the impact of its mythic connotations on dress. We researched the subcultural appropriation of western wear through photographs by Karlheinz Weinberger and Derek Ridgers, along with images of the physical Western landscape that were interpreted as jacquard knits throughout the collection.

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