With New York Fashion Week just a few days away I’m excited to bring you a little slice of fashion here. I met The Podolls about five years ago when I worked at Erica Tanov. I remember when they first started out with their organic cotton t-shirts – let’s just say, all of us were obsessed with the graphics. Fast forward to now and the Lauren and Josh Podoll have made a huge name for themselves in the ready-to-wear industry. Who doesn’t love silk pants in stunning prints? Or blouses you can throw on with a pair of jeans and feel put together. They have created an effortless line that carries you through from one season to the next.
I was thrilled to have the chance to sit down with both Lauren and Josh to hear about the two masterminds behind the brand. Photographing their beautiful workspace was so inspiring – I wanted to walk away with everything in sight.
1. What inspires your work and how is that manifested in your workspace?
One of our favorite things about our studio is the garden access. The home office is small but has double doors to the deck and garden for moments when we need to take a break to ground ourselves, or brainstorm without the buzz of computers and cell phones in our faces. The greatest ideas often pop up when you allow yourself some time to relax, breathe and be quiet.
2. How would you describe your style and brand?
The Podolls has been making handcrafted garments here in the USA since 2004. We have remained committed to sustainability and our motto is ‘tread lightly on the earth without sacrificing the delight of creativity.’ We aim to design versatile, modern silhouettes that fit well, last a long time and bring the wearer some joy. Textiles are an obsession of ours and we choose natural fibers, often hand spun and hand woven, to make our clothing. We design our own prints every season to create supple sand washed silk dresses, tops and pants, which have become a signature. The woman we design for is discerning, conscious, and young at heart.
3. What is your favorite piece of decor in your workspace?
Lauren: The Astier de Villatte white owl who watches over us.
Josh: Our Dan Attoe painting.
4. How was the transition from an out-of-home studio, to an in-home office?
It was a bit challenging at first to down size from our spacious studio in the Dogpatch, but ultimately we embraced the practicality of working from home with a young baby. We miss that space and how it enabled us to separate work and home life but appreciate how a home office supports flexible hours around Dashiell’s schedule. In reality, when you have your own business you’re always working anyway and there’s a great deal of overlap between work and home.
5. How has living in San Francisco influenced your career?
A huge influence! We met here, started our line here, and continue to manufacture the collection here. The Bay Area has such a long history of entrepreneurship and is generally super supportive of local businesses. There must be something in the water here that supports such amazing innovation in technology, food, design, etc. We just feel fortunate to be part of such a thriving creative community.
6. What do you want people take away from your design and your brand as a whole?
The ultimate goal is making our customers feel comfortable, confident and happy in our clothes. We try to make effortless, beautiful garments that simplify dressing rather than complicate it. Life provides plenty of challenges; getting dressed doesn’t need to be one of them!
7. What is your design process like? How do you begin and bring your ideas to life?
For us, the design process doesn’t have any set parameters. We might be inspired by a trip to Kyoto (Spring 2011) or a visit to the textile collection at the Deyoung (Fall 2013.) We also like to hang out and people watch at interesting cafes like Intelligentsia on Sunset in LA or The Mill on Divisadero in SF. We’re very inspired by street fashion and the way people put themselves together.
8. Aside from your office, is there anywhere you go to get inspired and get work done?
When we’re starting to design a new collection we love to step out of the office and visit a museum or botanical garden or simply take a long drive together and brainstorm. Inspiration truly is everywhere. It helps to create space for it to strike.
9. What have you learned from being small business owners? Do you have any advice for people who are just starting out?
The value of perseverance! Stay focused on your own ideas and goals and as cliché as it sounds, believe in yourself.
10. What are your future plans or dreams for the future?
We’ve been dreaming for awhile about opening our own retail store for The Podolls and we’re happy to announce it’s coming true! We just signed on a space in Burlingame and are in the midst of the build-out. We’re so excited about this new chapter for our brand. The brick & mortar store will give us an opportunity to interact with our fans directly and merchandise our collection the way we envision it. And there are a few other fun projects in the works scheduled to coincide with the opening . . . think childrens’ wear and collaborations and exclusives. Come visit us in October for the grand opening!
A big thank you to The Podolls for letting us get a glimpse of their workspace. If you live in the Bay Area be sure to keep an eye out for when their store opens this October!
Photos by Caitlin Flemming