After living in L.A for a couple of years, Swedish designer Lisa Larson set out to create a loungewear brand that was all comfort but with a rock n roll twist. Seven years on, we chat with Lisa about her career highlights, what keeps her inspired, and her go-to spots in L.A.
Lisa Larson, founder of Ragdoll LA
When and how did Ragdoll LA come about?
I had been living in LA for a couple of years and I was missing a lounge wear brand that was more rock ’n’ roll. All the brands back then were very colourful with a lot of prints, like Free City. There was not a pair of black sweatpants or a cool vintage looking tee to buy - only if you were lucky at the flea market. I had one vintage tee that I loved so much and I thought what will I do if I lose it or it gets ruined!? If I could make this tee in multiple colours that would be amazing! That’s how Ragdoll came about in 2012. I started with a small collection of vintage tees and hoodies plus sweatpants in black, army green and bone white - basically to never run out of my favourite essentials.
How would you describe the Ragdoll LA customer?
I don’t think there is a typical Ragdoll out there when it comes to age or shape - it’s more about her individuality. She wants to look chic even if she is in sweatpants or something loungy. She is coming to us to be comfortable with a feminine and sexy fit and for our unique colour palette.
Any advice you would give to someone thinking of starting a brand?
There are a few things that I have learned along the way: Production is key! So do your research to find the best partners and create a common understanding of your vision. Start small and work hard - it took me a long time to grow a bigger team and I still do all the design and production myself. That way I have control over fabrics and fit.
What’s your design process and is there anything you do to help to get the ideas rolling?
I constantly look at trends and what people are wearing. I love watching all the shows and that’s when I think of new shapes, textures and colours. A collection can start with a new fabric or the search for a certain texture and then I decide what shapes I want to make. Every piece usually starts with the fabric. I always put together a special colour palette for every season with new colours that you can’t find everywhere.
Lisa at Home
What inspires your collections and aesthetic and how do you keep it relevant?
I look at movies, art exhibitions and interior trends. Shapes and materials like stone and furniture can play a big role. Ragdoll has had the same aesthetic since the start but it will always evolve with the current trends. Sometimes it's more rock ’n’ roll and sometimes it’s more romantic - all depending on the mood.
Do you have a favourite style that you’ve created over the years?
The vintage tee in faded black is definitely my favourite item. I wear it going out with a cool skirt or leather pants or with denim during the day. It’s the right amount of cool without trying.
What is something not that many people know about you or your brand?
That we are an LA based brand but I am from Sweden. Most people think it's an American brand. I think the mix of LA lifestyle and European chic and feminine allure is what makes Ragdoll special.
What has been the absolute highlight of your brand / career to date?
Every time I see someone I don't know who is wearing Ragdoll in the street I get excited. When the founder of Juicy couture bought my sweatpants online that was also a great recognition. Another highlight from a business perspective was when we had just started our online shop and Fred Segal contacted me to buy the collection, that was definitely a pinch me moment.
What are you listening to right now?
I usually love to listen to podcasts on my way to work or when I walk our dog - this way I get some me time in and catch up on topics that I don't have the time or peace to read about at home. When I listen to music it's while I cook or at the office - so currently I turn the volume all the way up for Spandau Ballet and my favourite song right now is “New Light” by John Mayer - reminiscing driving up PCH in Malibu!
What are you watching at the moment?
La Casa del Papel has been our favourite show this summer. Love all the characters and the plot.
Describe your style in three words:
Chic, feminine and effortless…but you tell me :-)
What’s your daily go-to outfit?
A vintage tee in black or white, worn denim and an eclectic pair of shoes.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
My dad always said, if you just try something and work hard to learn it it will be fun.
What should every woman have in her wardrobe?
A good pair of denim, a cashmere sweater and a perfect tee.
What’s your favourite thing about living in Los Angeles?
The mix of people and the random meetings you have. I also love that it's so anonymous - especially coming from a small city like Stockholm.
Can you share with us any of your local hidden gems?
I love an evening at the Chateau Marmont. Sushi at Matsuhisa and lunch at Joan’s on Third. The Melrose flea market on Sundays is always a fun thing with the family.
Joan's on Third, Los Angeles
Where is your favourite destination of all time and why?
Paris!! I love walking around the narrow streets, looking at the pretty architecture - and it’s such a romantic city.
Where to from here, what’s next for Ragdoll LA?
I think with everything going on in the world and everyone working from home I am always wondering about the ultimate items to wear in the house. Pieces that make you feel chic and comfortable.