When you think of the word utility, it doesn't sound very sexy. You might think of some dumpy looking overalls, or some straight-leg pants in that itchy poly blend fabric. You might be like me: guilty of having slipped into K-Mart in search of some classic Dickies work pants, which let’s face it, they didn't fit you too well. Or you've bought some vintage men's overalls and spent way more on tailoring them to fit your body, than the garment itself. Well, you might want to get to know our friends LOROD—the All-American utilitarian workwear brand that fits.
Started by two Parsons Fashion and Fine Art grads, Lauren Rodriguez and Michael Freels, the brand was born out of obsession for vintage workwear from different decades throughout the twentieth century. The duo shared a desire to make classic work styles better in fit and quality, while making styles that feel relevant to the working woman of today. I chatted with them to get to know more about the New To OC brand that’s determined to redefine utility and workwear as you currently know it.
Do you have any favorite traditional Americana brands you go to for inspiration?
L: We look at a lot of vintage. A lot of Lee denim, a bit of Carhartt and Levis.
M: A lot of no-name pieces, missing tags—unbranded stuff that we find while vintage shopping
L: A lot of the stuff we look at is wartime, World War I and II utilitarian uniforms. Some pieces we find have lasted almost a hundred years.I think there’s a lot to say for the craftsmanship.
Since your inspiration is American-made workwear, is your clothing made in the US?
L: Yes. We feel strongly about being able to maintain our production here as much as possible.
M: We would love to be able to source all our materials in the US, but unfortunately not everything is here anymore. All of our denim is from Cone Mills located in North Carolina, the company has existed for over a hundred years. But we also need knits from Italy, or tech fabrics from Japan. but yes, our mission is to support American manufacturing.
Do you personally own any vintage pieces that inspire you?
L: I have a bit of an affinity with vintage, so a lot of the time we’ll hunt through my closet or go sourcing to our secret rag houses.
Do you have any spots you really love to go sourcing or are they secret?
L: We have a guy in New York we go to who is great at archiving.
M: I think we’re interested in the way garments have evolved over time, so going to someone who’s so knowledgable about the history of a garment and how it’s evolved. Like a 5-pocket jean or a denim jacket—hearing the stories of the details is really inspiring. We’re interested in modernizing all the old details.
Are there any films that have inspired your clothing?
L: Saturday Night Fever we’ve looked at. I’m really drawn to ‘70s clothing. We try and tie in a little more of a work wear vibe so it’s not super retro.
M: I’m drawn to more recent interpretations of certain eras, like Cry Baby by John Waters. It does the rockabilly ‘50s look really well even though it was made in 1990.
Photography Shriya Samavai | Art Direction Lauren Rodriguez | Michael Freels I Makeup Marcelo Gutierrez | Talent Danielle Gordon @ IMG |