We posted this article a couple days ago, but the Teen Vogue site has since posted photos and a video from the interview. Super cute! Make sure to look out for it in the February 2011 issue. We also posted more photos from the interview here in our gallery.
Teen Vogue — I can’t say I’m enthusiastic about the recent celebrity-turned-designer trend. In fact, I’m a skeptic. Too often I feel people are expected to drop a couple hundred dollars just because X celebrity was good in Y sitcom, thus somehow making X’s design abilities top-notch. So, though a fan of Gwen Stefani’s music, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I entered the L.A.M.B. studio.
Gwen and I went straight to posing for the photos you see here, while discussing hair coloring, Heathers, and the time we’d previously met (it was supercool that Gwen remembered me a year later!). When the photographer suggested we look more active, Gwen would say things like, “Let me show you this purse!” in a sarcastic way that poked fun at how awkward it was to create the illusion of natural conversation through midsentence expressions. Even better was when she pointed to a botched sample bag and smiled for the camera, uttering through clenched teeth: “See these little dots? They make me want to punch someone.” Her dryly humorous but composed anger reminded me of her attitude in the video for No Doubt’s “Just a Girl.” This isn’t to say she wasn’t stoked about the collection, just smart enough to care about the conditions of her designs. Excited to show it to an outsider and receive feedback, she had stories behind each piece, many of which gave African-inspired fabrics a streetwear shape. A few of my favorite things (Gwen’s not the only one who can reference The Sound of Music!) included an optic bag, a butterfly-print dress, and deconstructed jeans.
In discussing how the brand came about, she said she didn’t want to name it after herself and that she hopes those who buy her clothes do so for the garments, not her celebrity. As Gwen showed me different ways she’d style a pair of what she nicknamed “jailbird pants,” an old video I’d seen on YouTube came to mind: Gwen is 22, pre-fame, and showing the camera a DIY “jailhouse dress.” That use of personal identity is what makes her designs not derive from tabloid appearances but act as a further reflection of her as an artist. Like her music, they embrace a side of her that is unabashedly unique, whether she executes it through kaleidoscope prints or by singing a friendly reminder: “It’s my life!”