As soon as we heard about Lauren Antos and Jennifer Baron, the duo behind the fashion line Lily & Migs, we knew we had to feature them on Lux & Concord. Why? Because Lauren lives in Boston, and Jenn lives in Chicago (just like us!), and they’re making their mark on the fashion communities in both cities. We got a chance to chat with Lauren at Christina K Pierce, the showroom that reps the line on the east coast, about interning at Betsey Johnson, starting a clothing line and having a business partner that lives halfway across the country.
FIRST THINGS FIRST. HOW DID YOU TWO MEET?
Jenn and I met while interning at the Betsey Johnson NYC showroom in 2008; I was a retail intern and Jenn was a design intern.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO START A CLOTHING LINE TOGETHER?
After our internship ended we were asked back to help with Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. We lived together in Brooklyn while we were helping to put on the Spring 2009 show for Betsey Johnson. After the show, I received an offer in the sales office at the showroom and needed to decide whether to take the job and move. I talked to Jenn a lot during that time and after going through the pros and cons of taking the sales position, we decided that, since we clicked so well, we should get started on a line together instead.
SO NOW YOU OWN YOUR OWN FASHION LABEL. IS THAT REALLY AS AWESOME AS IT SEEMS?
Yes and No. It is always a blessing and a joy to do what you love as work, but this is a seriously competitive industry; not for the faint of heart. You don’t just put out a collection and earn a million dollars. It’s like any other small business start-up…It’s hard.
YOU LIVE IN DIFFERENT CITIES. HOW ARE YOU ABLE TO WORK TOGETHER?
In a word, technology. Skype, email, FaceTime, internet, etc. make this work. We still fly to each other’s respective city at least once or twice a year, but things during the initial design process and fittings take place “together” with each of us sitting in our own homes. We also make trips together to NYC or LA for showroom visits, photo shoots or fabric shows.
WALK US THROUGH THE DESIGN PROCESS. WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION? WHICH OF YOU DOES WHAT?
Initially, we shoot one another a very large pdf of ideas, pics, colors, prints etc. and then schedule our first meeting via phone which usually lasts anywhere from two to three hours. Then, Jenn will make initial sketches and we’ll schedule another phone conference to go over all the tweaks, cuts and color story as well as prints and fabric.
After these are narrowed down we allocate the colors/prints and fabrics to each decided piece. Jenn will then make a rough linesheet and we’ll talk again about tweaks and cohesiveness of the collection. First samples are made in muslin and we’ll do a fitting via FaceTime with our fit model Laura. There are usually two fittings per collection. Then, fabric is ordered, sample makers and production are set up and lookbook and editorial shoots are done. After this, the linesheets and editorials are sent to our showrooms and they are ready for market and trade shows.
We pull inspiration from things such as people watching, travel, but mainly our own closets. We like to design what we are missing in our personal wardrobes that we really want to have to wear. As far as designing a specific piece, we’re very much normal women. So when we design, we test our clothing and ask ourselves if we would wear it. We want our pieces to be practical and beautiful but pay close attention to being body conscious.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR CLOTHES?
Sexy, wearable, comfortable, feminine and versatile, with and equal touch of trend and classic fashion.
DO THE CITIES YOU LIVE IN INFLUENCE YOUR AESTHETIC?
Jenn would probably tell you that Boston has absolutely nothing to do with my style and if you met me you would possibly think that I lived in LA or New York City. I think that both of us are very confident and sure of our own personal style whereas to not let the cities that we live in highly influence the aesthetic of our line. This said, of course we people watch and find inspiration in Chicago and Boston, so I would say our cities don’t intentionally influence our collections, but they unintentionally do.
IN TERMS OF FASHION, DO YOU SEE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BOSTON AND CHICAGO? IF SO, WHAT IS IT?
Boston and Chicago are very different. Boston has the nerd chic look: skinny leather jeans, wedge sneakers, oversized t-shirts, chunky knits and jewel tones. In Chicago, there’s more of a retro, rock-n-roll feel, i.e. rolled jeans with brogues, vintage dresses from the 1950s or local band tees. Things that I see fading out are floral prints, neon accessories and items that are studded. That said, my belief is that you can rock anything, “in or out”; it’s all about confidence.
WHAT DOES 2013 HOLD FOR LILY AND MIGS? ANYTHING NEW OR EXCITING IN THE WORKS?
Hopefully big things! We have been taking baby steps little by little and have lots of things in the works that we definitely do not want to jinx. We look forward to our upcoming Fashionably LATE runway show at the Liberty Hotel on March 21st to preview Autumn/Winter 2013 as well as being offered soon on Sears.com.
Photos by Andrew Wang for Lux & Concord