Lorod reorganizes its strategy by selling antiques, work clothes and exclusive items for the home
Anyone who’s ever walked into Lauren Rodriguez’s New York studio knows designer Lorod has impeccable taste. A natural wood table is the center of the space, gorgeous rugs are layered underneath, framed by a twiggy plant that you know you’d kill in your own apartment, but Rodriguez’s sunny space still seems to thrive. We drank water from a glass that a layman could only describe as a container. After each visit to see her new collection, I decided to reorganize my own life and living space into a place of serene and obscure beauty, but it has obviously never worked so well.
“Setting up my showroom for sales and all those moments when I was like an interface with people who did not immediately know Lorod, I wanted to do it so that they see like this world of Lorod”, explains the designer at during a video call from its highly organized setups. “I spent a lot of time setting the scene: an old table, a vintage sofa and the crockery on the table with the fruit next to the clothes. You lose that when you sell clothes online or sell to a retailer who can market however they want.
After taking a pandemic-induced break to design a new ready-to-wear, Rodriguez and his brand are back with a new strategy; rather than selling singular items, she will sell this vast world of Lorod. The idea is tripartite: a ready-to-wear collection inspired by denim workwear recalls the brand’s roots and Rodriguez’s own history (his grandfather owned a factory that produced uniforms for the United States Army during the Second World War). Lorod’s e-commerce will also sell antiques handpicked by Rodriguez on his numerous scouting trips across the United States as well as one-off furniture collaborations with artists. The first is a quilted fiberglass shelf “that looks like it melts” by Rodriguez’s friend, Minjae Kim.
Rodriguez’s business overhaul came holistically to him during his family’s home foreclosure in California. “I grew up in a family of collectors, maybe even collectors,” she laughs. After months of sorting out his home with his mother, the idea of integrating things around Lorod with the essence of Lorod started to make more and more sense. “It was like a whole moment where, cheesy as it is, I realized that I had been drawn to this practice for a long time and had this very deep connection with it,” she says. “I don’t know if I would have ever gotten to that moment of peace where I knew what I was supposed to do with the brand and the company if I hadn’t had this experience.”
Rodriguez and I are talking in one of the little windows between supply trips – she’s been to New York City, Texas, and California for the past month or so. “It really turns me on,” she says of finding the perfect antique item. “I’m going in, my heart is pounding, my palms are sweating… In Texas, I was at Round Top. It doesn’t open until 8 a.m. My mom and I were there at 5:30 am, waiting for the bells to ring and everyone to rush. I live for this kind of situation.
His first drop of antiques includes tiny silver vessels, Murano glass vases, and pearl metal baskets; more is slated for an upcoming pop-up store in Los Angeles later this month. Freed from the rigors of the seasonal fashion cycle, Rodriguez says she hopes her new strategy will continue to evolve smoothly and serve as a way to bring people together both online and in person. As simple as it sounds, building a tight-knit community around shopping, without marketing jargon, is becoming increasingly rare – one need only look at New York’s decimated retail landscape to prove it. Thinking about his future, Rodriguez summons Paula Rubenstein’s eclectic boutique on the Lower East Side. “I would love to have a shop that looks like Paula Rubenstein with trinkets, furniture and cocktails. I miss that feeling; it doesn’t really exist anymore. Personal procurement has also become a more important part of the business, finding things for specific people, ”she says. Here she tackles not only the future of her business, but perhaps the future of fashion: after everything got too big to fail before the pandemic, a new generation of creatives is rethinking the lifestyle brand as something small-scale, intimate and based on strong personal taste. Lorod leads the way; Hopefully others will follow in its wake.
Originally appeared on Vogue