Although Aella is named after an Amazonian warrior of Greek legends, the LA-based label proved perfectly-tailored pants for every size are anything but a myth. Unlike other startups, the women-inspired label first landed in shops like Satine two years ago, then worked backwards by going direct-to-consumer only. The major move allows Aella to ditch wholesale markups and offer its workout-inspired, machine-washable wares at more wallet-friendly prices, which range from $42 to $198.
At its DTLA showroom on Ninth Street—not far from other cool A-brands like Acne, Aesop, and the Ace Hotel—locals can try on the locally-produced label's luxe separates made from innovative (and maternity-friendly!) fabrics, like its signature leggings-like work pants, UV ray-blocking blazers, and Feather Skin tees. The brand also offers a hassle-free try-on service, allowing shoppers to order two sizes and send back the second item free of charge.
We sat down with designer Eunice Cho to find out how Lanvin and Lululemon inspired her to create Aella, her favorite summer-to-fall pieces, and what to expect from the brand later this month.
What was the moment that inspired you to create AELLA?
The first time I had to buy a suit for my business school interview—I was 25; until then I had gotten away wearing leggings and ripped jeans—I was kind of horrified. I felt like I was wearing a wool potato sack and everything was so expensive for being so boring. A lightbulb went off when I saw a good friend's mother, who is insanely chic, pair her Lanvin evening tunic with a black pair of Lululemon flared pants underneath. It's all about the fabric and the comfort.
I saw a good friend's mother pair her Lanvin evening tunic with a black pair of Lululemon flared pants underneath.
What's the inspiration for the latest collection?
For AELLA, we always try to make things that are season-neutral and timeless. Any piece within the collection should fit right into your wardrobe. We always look at style icons like Audrey Hepburn, Loulou de la Falaise, Jane Birkin, Lauren Bacall—women with classic styles with that extra attitude.
The latest collection still draws on the idea of that timeless staple (like the Classic Crewneck, and sometimes with a twist (like the Draped Tank and the Draped Crewneck), but since it's the summer, we wanted to imbue some fun inspired by nature. Water with light create amazingly beautiful motifs; and who doesn't want to think about warm water or bright lights in the summer? That's where the hand-dyed patterns came from.
Why the move to go direct-to-consumer?
We can offer a great price without sacrificing high quality. We use LA-made or Italian-made fabrics; and we manufacture here. If we sold using the traditional retail model, our prices would have to double.
What's your favorite AELLA piece for transitioning from summer to fall?
My favorite piece that I wear all the time is the Skinny. In the summer, you can wear it with sandals and flats. In the fall, you can wear this style with ankle booties and a boxy blazer or chunky sweater. I probably wear this more than four days out of the week—a little embarrassing.
What else is in the works for the brand?
We have some very exciting jacket pieces coming up in September, including a convertible trench. We're also working on some very exciting winter range: a new warm material that would be machine-washable and wrinkle-resistant, as all of our other styles.