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- Emails, sketching and appointments with celebrities are all taken care of in the space.
- Ragdoll LA designer Lisa Larson.
- Ragdoll LA design studio.
- Larson stretches the seams on every item to give it the worn look.
- Larson working with one of the Ragdoll LA models.
- Mirror for fittings with bloggers.
- Lounge area.
- Larson in one of the Ragdoll LA staple tees.
- Faded black lace-up sweater.
- The studio features exposed concrete and a skylight.
Silver Lake-based knitwear line Ragdoll LA is only two months old and has already been spotted on major celebs like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Kate Bosworth and Jessica Alba. The brand's Swedish designer, Lisa Larson, moved to LA seven years ago with her film director husband, Björne. Larson had a background in fashion, having worked as a head buyer from one of Sweden's major department stores, but stayed at home with her two model-esque children before launching Ragdoll in March. While she admits that a celebrity following is great for building the brand and store interest, the designer credits bloggers as the promoters who lead to direct sales, "Bloggers are so important; that's really how we market ourselves," she said.
Larson, who designed the line last summer while touring Europe, was looking for the perfect, worn-in tee that she could wear with sneakers during the day or heels and leather pants for a night out. "I wanted to design a sweat line that fits the European girl, too," she told us. The 12-piece collection features tees, hoodies and the line's signature track pants all made of 100% cotton on a neutral, faded color palette. While Larson plans on adding new colors and fabrics in the future, don't expect to see hot pink or electric blue: "They will always be neutral."
We visited the designer at her airy design studio in Silver Lake, located right next to the brand's warehouse, where Larson keeps busy throughout the day with visits from bloggers, buyers and celebrity friends all dying to check out the line.
What was the first step in launching Ragdoll?
"First you have the idea. I just wanted to make the perfect T-shirt and the perfect sweater; really good basic, essential clothes that everyone can wear, but with something extra. My partner and head of production, Nicolai, had to find production that could make the washes I wanted. Everything has been washed, like, 20 times, so the finish of the garment is very important. If you compare my T-shirt to an American Apparel T-shirt, mine looks like you've had it for ten years. We made the fabrics ourselves. Throughout the production process, you have an idea and you have a sketch, but we changed it so many times. I think that's how you have to do it."
Where do you find inspiration?
"From my friends, and I love watching people. I read a lot of magazines but mainly people in the streets. LA is not great for that. If you go to New York you can sit all day and watch people because they look so cool there, or in Paris."
How did you land in Silver Lake?
"We just looked for a cool space—somewhere you can be all day and work and be inspired. That was basically it. I like Silver Lake. I like all the restaurants here and I think it's fun to be in a new area. We don't live here so I love the fact that we've found new places to go. We're close to downtown where we go for work too."
How does the LA girl fit into your brand?
"Ragdoll is all about European chic meets LA lifestyle. I love the way people dress here because you can dress up and down and anything goes. I really like that. You can be super casual and walk into the coolest store and they would never judge you. If you're in Paris and you go in wearing Nike trainers, they will not let you in. I really love that about LA; it's an easy way of dressing."
What is your favorite part of the studio?
"I love being in Silver Lake because it's so understated, it's a total mix of people and I love that. I love how light and airy it is. You get the sun in your face when you're working. I sit at my desk in the afternoon and the sun comes in, you feel like you're in LA."
What spots in the area do you frequent?
"I love Local, it's just across the street, it's a good lunch restaurant. Intelligentsia for coffee. Black Cat is a really good restaurant. I have this vegan place called Sprouted Garden that I go to every day for juice or a wheat grass shot. There are a ton of good places."
Aside from the brand's online store, Ragdoll LA is also sold at Satine, Switch and Fred Segal's Ron Herman shop on Melrose.
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