Take two former American Vogue editors Meredith Melling and Valerie Boster and add Rag & Bone alumna Molly Howard and it's no wonder La Ligne is fashion's hottest new label...
Inspired by a lifelong obsession with French stripes, La Ligne is split into two collections. ‘The Essentials line’ which is available year round and features pieces such as T-shirts and cashmere sweaters and ‘The Edition range’, which will launch twice a year. We caught up with the three founders in New York to talk motherhood and style…
Go to www.lalignenyc.com
When did your love of fashion begin?
Meredith: Well I was a total tomboy as a little girl, and then at around 13 years old something switched and I became obsessed with clothes. I would dress up my friends in my own clothes and have them glide down our front stairwell as I provided commentary on their looks. My mother has these “fashion shows” recorded and stored somewhere and I pray they are never recovered!
Was it a big decision to leave your jobs at VOGUE/Rag & Bone – what inspired the move?
Meredith: It was a difficult decision to leave our positions for a new venture, but the concept for La Ligne has been in the pipeline for years and we are thrilled it’s finally come to life in a way that feels true to our initial vision. It wasn’t until Molly decided to come onboard and applied her experience in scaling a retail brand to this vision that the brand really came to life.
Can you tell us more about the decision to launch La Ligne, an accessibly priced collection inspired by French stripes. Did you see a gap in the market?
Valerie: Stripes are a classic design with a versatility that allows for endless interpretation. No matter the season, stripes have proven to be timeless and classic staples. With La Ligne, our goal is to become synonymous with the stripe and continuously explore its possibilities. When customers are seeking stripes – whether it’s a classic design or new interpretation – we want La Ligne to be their go-to destination.
What about the decision to make La Ligne a predominantly direct-to-consumer brand? What are the main benefits of this?
Molly: Selling directly to consumers via LaLigneNYC.com allows the brand to completely own the entire customer experience: product, service, and most importantly our relationship with shoppers. Through this model, we’re also able to adapt quickly and not necessarily adhere to a strict fashion calendar. We can introduce products when consumers are desiring them most.
What, in your opinion, have been the biggest changes in the fashion industry over the last decade?
Molly: The fashion industry has faced major changes in the last decade, especially in retail, with more customers buying directly from brands online than ever before. There are difficulties that come with being a traditional fashion brand that are different than the difficulties of being a direct-to-consumer company. While I was at Rag & Bone, the physical retail stores were where the fashion was pushed. You’d see things in stores that you wouldn’t find elsewhere, and that was a big part of the business that you lose online.
Having a successful career and raising children has its challenges – what’s your approach to doing both and how do you manage it?
Meredith: I think women can have it all – a thriving career and full home life – but in order to strike a healthy balance between the two I have learned to cut myself some slack. There will be days that I am going to need to work late and I won’t be home to kiss my children goodnight. And sometimes I’m going to miss a work meeting because I need to be at a parent/teacher conference.
Stylist Jeanann Williams
The Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine and art director Sofía Sanchez de Betak
Did having children change your career or how you felt about your career?
Valerie: It certainly has given me a new appreciation for being able to do something I love. It has put my life into a narrow focus and I realize that anything that takes time away from my son has to be nothing less than totally extraordinary and inspiring.
Do you think you’re born with style or it’s something you learn?
Meredith: I think style is something you absorb from your surroundings and it evolves with time.
What’s your personal approach to fashion – what do you wear time and again? Do you pre-plan outfits?
Molly: My favorite way to dress is in something that can take you from morning to bed if you wanted it to – comfort and versatility are essential.
What three items does every woman need in her closet?
Valerie: A crisp button down, a languid pant and a pair of heels you can dance all night in.
What is your favorite social media platform?
Molly: Snapchat for sure.
What is your approach to health and wellbeing?
Valerie: I try to exercise at least once a week to keep toned. I’m a big fan of Tracy Anderson Method. As far as diet, I eat what I like, keeping everything in moderation.
What is your definition of success?
Molly: Without being cliche, for me success is just finding something you love to do, regardless of how traditionally “successful” you may be in that field. In respect to La Ligne, I felt success before we even launched, because creating something from the ground up with two women I admire, in an industry I love, was an incredible accomplishment.
What’s it like all working together – do you all have very different roles in the business?
Meredith: La Ligne’s vision is a product of all three co-founders—collectively we have more than twenty years of experience in the luxury fashion business and each bring a different perspective on the industry. We’re learning something new every single day and excited by the challenges that launching and building a brand comes with.