Home » GLOBAL DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT » Global Designer Spotlight: Linden from Los Angeles, California

Global Designer Spotlight: Linden from Los Angeles, California


Linden LA Fall/Winter 2013

Linden LA Fall/Winter 2013

 

 

West Coast Wonder. 

 

By: Hina P. Ansari

 

Runway photography courtesy of Saeed Zargham  / www.alfaimagephotography.com

 

 

Thank goodness she saw that play. A play which sparked her creativity at the age of 12, and set the wheels in motion towards a life of style. Born and raised in Los Angeles California, Jennifer Lynn’s fashionable path took her to Chicago’s The School of the Art Institute and UCLA. She presented her Fall/Winter 2013-14 collection of own label Linden – which are all designed and manufactured locally —  at Style Fashion Week LA (check our our coverage here!).  After which, she sat down and chatted with us about the emotion of art, West Coast style and how fashion is such a fabulous medium for story-telling.

 

 

 

Designer, Jennifer Lynn

Designer, Jennifer Lynn

 

 


What made you decide to get into the fashion business?

 

I saw a play when I was 12 and fell in love with how the costumes contributed to the story. I studied both costumes and fashion design, but I love the idea that what we wear says something about who we are, and tells our own story instead of actors telling another story, so ultimately I went with Fashion. It’s all about telling a story and embracing the strength our appearance can give us.

 

 

Who inspired you when you were just starting out?

 

My mother loved art, but her parents would not let her study it in college, she had to do something more practical. Eventually she was able to renew that love and when I was a child, my mother would take painting classes and volunteer as a docent in local museums. Because of her influence, and my admiration of her, I had an unending knowledge of Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Vincent Van Gogh by the age of 7, and to this day when I see a Picasso painting, for example, it has a very strong emotional effect on me.  It was this exposure to art that turned me into the creative mind I am now. Because of my mother, I was able to see the world differently, and notice how something visual makes a lasting impression on people. She inspired me to seek out ways of expressing myself visually, and did not give me the same restriction she had when choosing a college and choosing a major. My mother inspired me to follow painters, painters became film makers and costume designers (Baz Lurhmann, Tim Burton, Catherine Martin, Colleen Atwood) which transformed into fashion designers like Helmut Lang, and Miuccia Prada. I look up to people who seem to see the world in a different way.

 

Linden Fall/Winter 2013

Linden Fall/Winter 2013

 

 

Who inspires you now? 

 

I am still inspired by my mother, of course, but I find great inspiration in fellow designer and mentor Jasper Garvida, and in female rock stars of the world like Debbie Harry, Karen O, Shirley Manson, and Emily Haines. They all share something in common, a passion that drives them, a strong personality, and a unique way of seeing the world.

 

 

Has your sources of inspiration changed in any way?

 

It has matured and evolved over the years. As I was originally inspired by fine artists, I now find myself moved by writers and musicians more than anything, I am constantly inspired by books and music as much if not more than visual artists. I like the idea of taking something as abstract as written (or sung) prose and creating a visual for it.

 

 

Linden Fall/Winter 2013

Linden Fall/Winter 2013

 

 

From where do you gather your inspiration?

 

I gather my inspiration from books, film, music, and fine art. I walk museums until something strikes me, or I just start to imagine shapes and silhouettes while I read a book or sing along to a song I love.

 

 

I see that your current Fall/Winter 2013 collection,  is inspired by The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Marukami. Can you expand on that particular inspiration?

 

I began reading the novel long before I started to design the collection. As I read, I began to notice that the sentence structure was very different than that of native English speakers. The book has been translated from Japanese to English, and I think in an effort to not lose anything in translation, the resulting prose is beautiful and poetic, but also almost unnatural in structure. I loved it. I began to see colors and shapes with regards to the lovely lyrical quality of the words. I began to think of piecing together different parts to make a whole, the way we use words to construct a sentence.

 

Linden Fall/Winter 2013

Linden Fall/Winter 2013

 

 

Your collection is also very LA in terms of west coast sensibilities. Pieces that reflect a certain comfortable, easy-breezy chic vibe to it. Can you expand on that design philosophy?

 

I definitely agree that my collection has a west coast vibe, especially in the sense that I don’t tend to work with very heavy fabrics often have seasonless pieces, like camisoles and t-shirts. I love layering, and I love having clothing I can wear season after season without worrying about the temperature outside. Especially here in LA where it can be 90 degrees downtown, and 70 and overcast at the beach, light layers get us through winter and even summer here.

 

 

How do you unwind?

 

I hate to admit that I watch a ton of tv to relax, escape to another world of someone else’s stress and problems. I do still like to go to museums or hit up a dark cocktail bar here and there. But, for the most part, I really love to cook with my housemates and relax at home.

 

 

Linden Fall/Winter 2013

Linden Fall/Winter 2013

 

 

What makes the fashion scene in Los Angeles so unique?

 

I think it’s our beautiful weather honestly. We have so many temperate days we get to layer and experiment with what we have in our closet year round. We get to mix sweaters and maxi skirts, or button downs with short shorts, and it’s ok, because its almost always nice enough to get away with showing a little skin, or being more conservative in a breezy hippy way. That or the sun is just frying our brains to the point of insanity where we just don’t know what matches anymore.

 

 

How does (if it does) the LA fashion consumer differ from other consumers?

 

We are the home of Forever 21 and American Apparel, so I guess in some respect we all have some of those inexpensive basics mixed into our closets, but we mix those $5 pieces into a higher end wardrobe. I imagine this is happening world wide, with fast fashion becoming what it is, but I feel like instead of seeing Forever 21 and H and M head to toe, you see a more eclectic blend of designer and fast fashion here. Beyond that, our workspace is much more casual than, say, New York, and where others may wear slacks, we wear denim, or even leggings. I guess my point is that in LA we shop for inexpensive basics, mixed with more exciting designed pieces but that everything we own better take us from work, to cocktails to the beach, or it may not be worth our hard earned money.

 

Linden Fall/Winter 2013

Linden Fall/Winter 2013

 

 

What makes the LA woman/man unique?

 

 

The LA woman/man is a lot more about self-expression and a lot less about wearing what we see in a magazine. If we are inspired by the contents of a magazine, we wear it how we want to, make it our own. LA tastes go beyond fashion and into lifestyle.

People here don’t just discuss where they went and who they saw, they also discuss what and where they eat and drink, and the details about their healthy (or sometimes not-so-healthy) lifestyles.

 

 

What are the challenges of the LA fashion scene?

 

I would say the biggest challenge of the LA fashion scene is competing with fast fashion and big labels. Stores here seem to carry a lot of the same brands, which are mostly global brands. It’s hard to get a word of mouth following because it seems the consumer is more interested in buying the brands they already know. LA consumers appear to be wary of brands they are not familiar with, either expecting it to be overpriced imports or poor quality local products simply because the name is unfamiliar. However, the upside is that new boutiques are constantly popping up, challenging this current structure, and supporting up and coming designers. These tastemakers are slowly making names for themselves as their boutiques gain more and more popularity.

 

Linden Fall/Winter 2013

Linden Fall/Winter 2013

 

 

How does social media play a part in your overall branding?

 

Linden is on facebook, instagram, pinterest, twitter and tumblr. We try to reach out through all of these outlets, and for the most part they are all used for sharing information about the brand. We try to be good and post daily either fun facts about Linden or just things we love. Above all we set out to be the voice of a confident, self-aware and worldly woman. Social media allows us to connect with this kind of woman, and give her an exclusive back stage view. We get to reward our customers for their loyalty with previews and discounts, and often they get insight into the inspiration behind the clothes they love to wear.

 

 

What advice would you give to up-and-coming designers and design students who are interested in following this career path?

 

I’ve talked to quite a few design students, and I’ve also had the opportunity of speaking to young adults who are considering changing their path to fashion on a whim, I tell them all the same thing. If you are willing to be a cog in a machine, or a cutter, sewer, or pattern maker on the non-creative side, you will be fine. But, do not become a fashion designer unless this is the only thing you can see yourself doing. If you can imagine being anything else, be that, but if you do not have the love and passion and NEED to design, you wont go far.

 

 

What is the best advice you’ve received and still treasure today?

 

When I started this business, my dad told me “Every successful start up I’ve known, the owner worked at least 90 hours a week to get it going. Are you willing to do that?”

He said the 90 hours may be split up into other jobs in order to fund the startup, but that without that kind of dedication, nothing will come of it.

 

You can connect with the designer in the following ways:


Twitter: @lindenca

Instagram: @lindenca

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/lindencala/

Tumblr: http://lindenca.tumblr.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/lindenca

Website: www.LindenCA.com

 

 

Self portrait courtesy of Jennifer Lynn

Runway photography courtesy of Saeed Zargham  / www.alfaimagephotography.com

 

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