Lauren Cram is the designer behind VICTROLA, a clothing line for “the girl that’s fearless, confident, and doesn’t give a second thought to what anyone else thinks.”
1| How do you describe your work to people who don’t know what you do?
My clothes are pure combination of pure girlishness with an edge. And, I am a sequin whore.
2| Why do you make/design things?
I really enjoy the design process from beginning to end. I get a great sense of accomplishment over my designs. Every.Single. Time. It’s just part of who I am. I grew up as a competitive dancer, so the creative process has been instilled in me since I was like, two. No, seriously….
3| What do you love about your job?
I love that I have the opportunity to work for myself. It’s a blessing and a curse sometimes, but I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love that I get to call all of the shots. I like having my hands on all aspects- design, production, photo shoots, all of it. Seeing my business grow slowly but surely is a really great feeling.
4| Was being a working artist always your plan or was there an “aha” moment?
I think that I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I’ve never really enjoyed working for the M-A-N. I’ve been there, done that and it just wasn’t for me. Us creative folks don’t strive in 9-5 gigs. It just doesn’t work.
Lauren’s studio space.
5| How do you work, and where?
How do I work?
LOL. By the seat of my pants, I’m afraid. I’m trying to master the art of designing a season ahead, but I have yet to get that far. It would mean giving up a season to do so and that frightens me. I work out of my house and have a pretty great space in my basement that’s about to be gutted and made more fab.
6| If you could swap lives with another artist and live as them without anyone knowing that you were really you and not the other person, who would that person be?
That’s an incredibly difficult question, but I think I would have to go with Isabel Toledo. Her drawing aesthetic is something that has inspired me from Day One and her clothing collections are such an ode to that. Plus, she seems like a cool broad. So, why not?
7| What makes a handmade object valuable?
All of the blood, sweat, and tears put into it. In this day and age where everything is made from China, of plastic, and falls apart within hours, it’s refreshing to have pieces that are truly handmade. People put their heart and soul into their creations, working meticulously to make something of quality and meaning.
8| Using that definition, what’s the most valuable object you own?
Probably my mustard yellow velvet tufted sofa. For years, I searched high and low for one, but they were either too expensive and cheap looking or just not exactly what I wanted. My neighbor volunteered to make me one and it’s fantastic. I always think about how if there was ever a fire, how I could get it out in time because it’s heavy. And, gorgeous.
9| In your collection “Strangeness and Charm” you have some stunning pieces made from hand dyed silk. Tell us about the silk dying process. How do you get the splattered look?
It’s definitely a process for sure! I start with a simple white silk that serves as a blank canvas then dye the base color once, twice, three times, maybe more depending on the desired color that I’m trying to achieve. Once I get the color the way I want it, I hang the silk out in its entirely, serving as a gigantic canvas. I like to keep the second process as organic as possible because it makes the garment, once constructed, individual in its own right. I splatter the dye in a Pollock kind of way. It make seem like there’s no rhyme or reason to it, but there is.
10| What is the best piece of fashion advice that you follow?
To follow trends, but interpret them in your own way. Just be an individual and yourself. It’s so cheesy, but also the absolute truth.
11| What is the most exciting thing about fashion?
What I enjoy most is watching the development of new design techniques and silhouettes transpire. Trend forecasting is one of my favorite things about being a designer. It’s a personal victory when you predict things before they start gaining mass attention. I’m like that with everything, though. Particularly music. I love finding artists before they make it big. First Aid Kit is a prime example.
12| Your Lilac Moto Jacket is amazing. What a stunning juxtaposition of “male” and “female” aesthetics! What was your inspiration for this?
That jacket is one of my favorite pieces that I’ve ever made. I wanted to create something that was hard, but soft. Rock and Roll with a bit of an ethereal undertone. In regards to construction, I’m a sucker for difficult fabrics. I love the challenge of working with fabrics that are notorious a**holes. With the lilac Moto, I used imported leather from London paired with silk organza. Incorporated French and Bound Seams. I love that piece with all of my heart and actually made a more affordable version for all of my boutiques using fleece and vegan leather. Also, a hit.
13| Tell us one true thing about yourself that people don’t believe when you tell them.
I’m actually extremely shy. I just put on a really good front.
14| Give us three more non-crafting-related details about you or your life.
-Fun facts of me…ha. Well, I’m terrified of bees. And, wasps. And, hornets. Essentially, anything that flies and has a stinger. I can’t handle it. If there’s one five feet away from me, I still run away like a bat out of hell.
-I was once a semi-professional cheerleader (even though I hate that word because we were clearly dancers and did ZERO cheering).
-When Florence + The Machine first came on the scene, she did a concert in Saint Louis and we decided to stalk her outside after the show was over to maybe get a glimpse of her. Well, we met her. She complimented my outfit and said, “I like your style”. I then floated away on a cloud for several days.
If you just can’t get enough of VICTROLA,