Fashion designer Anine Bing has been bringing Scandi-cool to Los Angeles since launching her eponymous label, ANINE BING, in 2012. From a wardrobe of basics to a diverse and eclectic collection that includes metallics, prints, and lace bras that are divine. But what does it mean to bring a Scandinavian aesthetic to a brand created outside of Scandinavia? And how will it be interpreted by its home market?
We spoke with Anine about how she infuses Scandinavian style to her Los Angeles brand, from womenswear to accessories to her kids’ line. Here’s what she has to say:
When did you launch your label? Tell us about to lead-up to that.
I launched my brand in June 2012. I’ve always dreamt of having my own brand. When my husband and I moved to LA, we decided the timing was right. We found a small garage in Silver Lake where we set up our office. We launched a simple website with a small collection consisting of two leather jackets, denim, t-shirts and a dress. With zero marketing budget, I used my social media channels to spread awareness of the brand and I started posting outfits that tied back to our new arrivals and the latest styles that we launched weekly. We saw traction really quickly and the company started growing. It was such an incredible time and so exciting to see my vision come to life.
What do you think the American, or Californian at least, perspective on Scandinavian fashion is? Do you think this perspective has had an effect on the way your clothes are received?
I think a lot of Americans admire the Scandinavian style because it’s always chic. It’s simple and effortless with that little bit of edge, which I also think is very California. I would have started the brand either way, but I was, and am, so inspired by the California aesthetic and lifestyle. It made more sense for us to come here to grow the company.
How should a person wearing your clothes feel?
Confident, always. Effortless, cool, and never trying too hard.
Do you think your clothes fit within the Scandinavian aesthetic? Why or why not?
Definitely. Most of the pieces in the collection are versatile. Scandinavians are supreme at looking cool without trying, similar to the French. That’s been our north star since day one.
Is there crossover between Los Angeles and Scandinavian style?
I think there’s definitely overlap because people who are into fashion in LA and Scandinavia are both looking for those wardrobe essentials that elevate any look. Something that makes them feel cool, relevant, edgy, but never trying too hard.
Explain the production process for your clothes. Where is the textile sourced and where are your clothes made?
Our clothes are manufactured in Turkey and designed here in our LA-based studio. We have several teams: design, production, planning, and then of course the manufacturers, that keep the process efficient and streamlined.
From a creative perspective, I’m always trying to stay inspired. I love going to antique markets and hunt through vintage treasures. Sometimes I’ll get inspired by an old print or a vintage silhouette, it just depends on that first interaction.
You’ve recently launched your first fragrance, Savage Rose. Tell us about that process and why fragrance is important to you. How similar or different was the process of fragrance design from clothing?
It took a while to find the perfect scent for Savage Rose. I grew up in Scandinavia and spent so many days at my grandmother’s house in her rose garden.
So rose is a scent that I love and wanted to chase for the brand’s first fragrance. But it didn’t happen overnight. I was super selective about what kind of rose I wanted; I didn’t want anything precious and I ultimately added a note of black pepper. Creating clothes and fragrance are very different processes, but they are both sensory and based on things that inspire me from my past and my present.
You’ve recently collaborated with Gina Tricot. What was it like to work with a brand on that scale? Have you collaborated with other brands, and if so, how did that go?
This was the brand’s first big collaboration, and it was wildly successful and so fun. When we got together with Gina Tricot initially, it was just this creative incubator where we tossed around ideas. My design team, their design team, all of us just had these magical conversations about what we wanted to achieve and how we wanted to marry the two brands but also stay authentic to our own.
It was a really incredible process and a really important step into the collaboration space. It’s on our radar to pursue more of these types of partnerships, and there are a few in the works that I can’t talk about just yet…
You’ve recently launched BING KIDS. Tell us about that and why it was important to you.
Being a mom of two kids, I wanted to create an extension of my brand that kids could enjoy too. So many moms love the brand; our sweet spot is ages 35-45. From a strategy perspective, it made sense because so many of our moms had kids in that 2-10 year old range that were looking for something similar for their families.
We set out to create a collection for kids that was rooted in comfort and versatility. It’s a unisex line and it makes getting ready that much easier and also more fun for the kids. My daughter Bianca always wanted to “dress like mommy” so that’s really where the idea started. She and my son Benjamin have been the best focus group out there!
Who are some fashion designers you admire, or who inspire you?
I’ve always been a huge fan of Coco Chanel and what she did for women’s fashion. I also love jewelry: I can’t get enough of Jen Meyer’s jewelry line. Since I launched ANINE BING, I naturally dress in our clothes, but I’ve always loved going to flea markets for vintage pieces. That’s where I get most inspired.
When you originally created your line, it was about the basics that every woman needs in her wardrobe. Do you feel you’ve stuck to that foundation, or has the nature of what you’re creating changed?
We definitely stay true to that. We want to make it easy and fun for women to get dressed in the morning for any occasion – work, errands, days with the family, date night. But as a brand we are going in different directions all the time. Sometimes we play with metallic statement boots, sometimes we play with bold prints. It just depends on the season and what we find inspiring.
You don’t currently have any stores in Scandinavia. Is that something you’d like to do in the future?
Yes! We just traveled to Stockholm and Copenhagen to promote the Gina Tricot collaboration and the response was just incredible. I’m so grateful to see how people responded to the brand and the clothes. We’re growing our retail presence a lot this year and next, so we certainly have our eye in that market!
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