You know the feeling of turning onto your favorite street? Of being almost home? Of driving through memories? Streets are the veins of your city and WHERE you are is a part of who you are. WHERE Clothing is not just another clothing company – it’s an identity and state of mind, founded by two kick ass teenagers who care not only about clothing but also about giving back. We sat down with Natasha Hunt Lee and Tyler Makhani to learn more about WHERE and to understand why they stand up for the Times Up Legal Fund.
- How did you come up with your own fashion brand and the brand name WHERE?
We came up with the idea to start a fashion line when we graduated high school and started driving around the greater LA area. As two kids who grew up near Santa Monica, it’s so easy to stay in one place, especially as kids. But, when we finally ventured out, we were amazed by the variety of culture and landscape the city had to offer. Within LA, there are the greener, more groomed areas, buzzing, cement heavy neighborhoods, charming beach towns along the coast, mysterious hilly residences, young bohemian communities, and the urban grit of downtown… And, this is all beyond the sprawling suburbia that we belonged to. This new appreciation excited us! We already loved LA, and that was when we only knew the smallest sliver of it. Separately, we had always shared a love for fashion and the clothing industry — how cool it is to take a necessity like clothing and turn in into a piece of art. So, we drove Downtown, and to Vernon, and Huntington Park and the City of Commerce, running on excitement. Eventually, we committed ourselves to creating a clothing line that we named WHERE, rooted in our fascination of the city we were born and raised in.
- What is the intention and message behind WHERE Clothing?
We always planned on expanding to loungewear, specifically hoodies and sweats because, more than anything, that’s what we love to wear. Every day wear. Garments that aren’t necessarily fancy, but are actually more valued for their ease and consistency in your wardrobe. These are the kind of pieces you can wear to dinner or on the couch. The ethos of our brand, beyond street names, is rooted in celebration. From the places we grew up in, to causes, art and attitudes that excite us, we use our clothes as vehicles to wear what we love. That’s what WHERE really is and what we are emphasizing in this new line — the celebration of anything that moves us.
- WHERE just dropped its Repose Lounge Collection. Can you tell us more about it?
Repose means “a state of rest.” It’s essentially just a fancier word for relaxation, but we liked how uncommon it was. The REPOSE collection consists of 4 hoodies and 4 sweats, all developed, sourced, and created in Los Angeles. We spent about 6 months developing our blanks. We wanted all of our garments to have that vintage feel, the way a hoodie feels after years of wear. We then moved onto the more exciting (but no less important) stage of development: detailing. We are lucky enough to work with some of the best sewers, embroiderers and printers in LA who help us bring any stitch, texture or graphic to life. On the finished garment, all of these features come together to make something eclectic and unique. So, the Repose Collection is our first go at loungewear, done the WHERE way, created in and by the artisanal culture of Los Angeles.
- 51% of profits from key pieces of the latest Collection will be donated to the Times Up Legal Fund out of respect for other female artists. Why is this important to you?
This is important to us for so many reasons. The work that the Time’s Up Organization and Legal Fund is doing to end sexual assault, harassment and inequality is imperative. Their platform is massive, and it’s so important to support their ability to fund legal representation for the victims of these crimes. [Natasha:] As a woman, specifically in the entertainment business, I am appalled by the way various powerful figures have taken advantage of their position by asserting themselves over so many, a majority being (but not limited to) women. In addition, there is a discrepancy in women’s pay, authority in the work place and our opportunities, benefits and representation. I am excited by and grateful for the work of the Time’s Up Organization towards creating a safer and more honorable community.
- Are there any plans and project ideas for the nearer future that you want to share with us?
This is just the beginning for us and we can’t wait to keep going. We will continue to perfect our fit and feel while bringing new ideas and inspirations to the table. We have so many designs ready and we’re so excited to share – from more creative capsules like REPOSE, to new city specific collections like our New York Series set to launch next year. Additionally, we are working on some collaborations and partnerships with other brands that uphold similar values and aesthetics. With every collection, we learn so much. It’s so fun for us to take that knowledge and invest it into our future.
- At BELLA we believe that Beauty is Defined by You! How do you define beauty?
We define beauty as anything worth celebrating. Beauty is confidence, happiness, excitement. There is beauty in exploration, in working hard, in sweating the details and the small pieces that come together to make the beautiful final product. In our case, we have also found beauty in organizations fighting for equal representation, art, expression, boulevards, roads, and moreover, that intangible feeling when you know something is really special.
By Alissa Zarrabi