Q&A | Lady White Co.
Lady White Co. has been that one brand, standing in LA against the strong currents of fast fashion trends and bad quality since 2015. Being intrigued by their minimalistic inspired approach to quality core basics the past year, I finally got the chance to visit their first store and project, County LTD. this past summer. Located on Hyperion blvd. in Silverlake, CA, there sits the subtle and natural looking County store, Phil Proyce and Taylor Caruso, 1/2 of County Ltd.’s first project. From housing mid-century european designed chairs to collected out-of-print coffee table books on various design and art, the quality core brand Lady White Co. was showcased on the upper back-deck of the store. After speaking to Raymond, an employee and friend of the store, he explained that the guys were gearing up to launch a full-fledged Lady Whte Co. brick and mortar just right up the street. I was intrigued to hear from the minds that have had this late 80’s-early 90’s sterile, japanese-minimalistic, inspired store in the works for a couple years now. I spoke with Phil and Sarah Proyce at their Lady White Co. opening reception, to understand the creative process of their store on September 27th.
Starting from the beginning, when did you guys know you wanted to pursue Lady White together and start your brand slowly?
PP: I primarily was working on the brand myself, for how long? For a year and half to two years?
SP: Yeah a year and a half.
PP: just for the fact that it couldn’t be sustained by just one person, I could barely finance it myself. So, it started with super slow growth, so once I got to the point where I needed help, she was the first one. I mean she was helping long before she was ever getting compensated haha. Basically, from the beginning, better yet day 1, we have been building it together. Taylor’s been there and other friends have helped along the way. It’s been a group effort.
Taylor told me you guys have known each other forever going way back and both from Illinois?
PP: A suberb outside of Chicago. We are like brothers at this point.
Did you guys know thee 2 other gentlemen you formed County LTD. With beforehand as well? How did those relationships form?
PP: So, I knew Kirill by working together at a place called Union made, for about 6 months or so. They ended up shuttering and we moved on. He had a little brand of his own and I had Lady White in the works at its beginning stages, so it led to the idea of creating the shop on Hyperion (County LTD.) and blending the two together. Now we are at the point where both brands have grown to have grown to the point to have their own flagships.
Was it always in the back of your head eventually launching a Lady White Co. brick and mortar of its own?
PP: I always wanted that. To show the world we are trying to build beyond the clothes. It’s been something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s nice to officially open the Lady White Co. flagship in the same space that has been our office, headquarters, and house basically. We don’t need to disrupt the neighborhood too much just seamlessly blend in without having a massive neon sign on the corner per say.
Can you take us through the creative process and interior design direction of the store? What references were the main inspiration behind what we see tonight on opening night?
PP: Very sterile environments. A lot of elementary and high school designs from Tokyo ranging from the 80’s to the early 90’s. The Furniture is all custom built that my friends and I designed together. From the tables and the rails of the interior, to the colors, the aesthetic comes from sterile offices from those era’s I just mentioned.
Was was the importantance to incorporate the plants/green life into the stores interactive experience as well?
PP: Definitely, we left what plants and cacti were there from the previous owners but cleaned them down. The main point of leaving them and minimally preserving them was to show the separation of the interior and exterior of the Lady White Co. store. The direction of the overall design is wanting customers to walk in and get the sterile feel while inside but still have a connection to the outside. That is the meaning behind the large front windows and back-house section, to still see the cactus’s and giant pine trees outside. All having some sort of connection to each other, utilizing what’s already on our grounds. Instead of bring plants inside the space.
Any advice you couldgive to someone at home looking to launch their own brick and mortar independently?
PP: This took so long planning this. We are genuinely so lucky to have this location. I think a lot of people open or move into super high foot-traffic areas for the wrong reasons. Thinking that the more foot-traffic the better, all while dealing with insane rent fees. Just find something that is reasonable, somewhere where you don’t mind being for years. You don’t want to wake up a couple months later and be over it.
As County Ltd. Intended to do first, how is Lady White Co. further representing the community of East Los Angeles?
PP: Everything is made from a 5-mile radius of this shop. So, we are trying to give people the option to not only obviously support our brand but support the people who are working inhouse production and manufacturing for us. Creating this brand all in East Los Angeles at the most reasonable price, which by all means is not cheap. We keep things as low as we can by still having the standard of quality.
A special thank you to Taylor Caruso for setting up this interview, Philip Proyce, Sarah Proyce, Lady White Co. and County Ltd. Congratulations on the new store.
View their AW19 looks here: https://ladywhiteco.com/looks/