Thanks to their popular fashion blog and their new covetable clothing line, Gillian Mahin and Laura Hall are already creating quite a buzz in the fashion world. Longtime friends from Jackson Hole, WY, the young design duo’s recipe for success is centered on making killer clothes based on their personal styles. Recently, the girls opened up to Corridor40 about their experiences both establishing the For Love & Lemons brand and designing their FW10 collection, “Film Noir”. -Michelle Chase
C40. How did the For Love & Lemons brand get started?
FL&L. Our collection came first. We lived in Australia for about a year, working with the designers behind Bec & Bridge and One Teaspoon—and got so inspired by the Australian lifestyle and the personal styles of those who lived there that we were sketching ideas constantly, and started designing; as soon as we arrived back in the States, we started hand-sewing our very first collection. We have always been into fashion, personal style and creating garments and accessories that reflect our own personal tastes, and working in Sydney was the gateway that got it all started.
C40. Why did you decide to go into fashion?
LH. I graduated college with a marking degree, but have always loved fashion and wanted to be in this industry. While working with another label, I decided that this is what I want as my career. It’s so captivating and challenging; I just love it!
GM. I just wanted to create clothes that reflected my personal style. I really couldn’t find anything I wanted in stores that was a fit with my casual, comfortable and edgy look. I wanted to fill that hole in the market for the girls like me who are into fashion that’s a little free-spirited and uninhibited. I went to FIDM to learn the fundamentals of sewing, pattern making, fashion sketching and so forth so I could really get into it and give it a go. Before I knew it, Laura and I were combining our creative powers and were in full force with For Love & Lemons.
C40. What inspires you?
FL&L. Everything! It’s hard to nail down a couple of specific things; it changes with every collection. But, of course, fashion inspires, old movies, old stories, photography, friends, family and—most of all—our small town roots. We are from a small western town—Jackson Hole, Wyoming—where the cowboys and Indians used to roam, and still do today. We love to pull little details and trims from their cultures and guises and put those into our collections.
C40. Describe your personal styles.
LH. My style is pretty casual. Don’t get me wrong; I love dressing in all of our fun, flirty dresses and leggings, but you could just as easily catch me in jeans and a tee.
GM. I am all over the place—a little more daring than Laura, but it all depends on my mood. On the norm, you will usually catch me in mostly black; I live in our detailed leggings paired with a sheer top and some super-high Jeffrey Campbell wedges. I throw on some vintage belts and a leather jacket, and I am good to go! Laura and I both love to be effortlessly-chic, because—when it comes down to it—we really don’t have much time to contemplate our outfits every day.
C40. Overall, what message do you want your collections to send to your customers?
FL&L. We want our audience to be able to relate to the lifestyle of For Love & Lemons—that it’s not just a dress or a pair of pants, but a form of expression, of individualism. Every girl who wears For Love & Lemons is like a Jennifer Love Hewitt in that moment in Can’t Hardly Wait where she steals the scene, but in a cool, not-so-cheesy-slash-hair-blowing in-the-wind type of way. The message is to stand out, be yourself and feel beautiful and comfortable, all at the same time.
C40. What was your inspiration for your FW10 collection?
FL&L. Our inspiration started with the buckles. We wanted something different and stand-out. As the line evolved, our inspiration started to focus on “film noir”; think “stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations”. It’s an elusive phenomenon, dreamlike—and slightly strange, erotic, ambivalent and cruel.
C40. What are you goals for the For Love & Lemons brand?
FL&L. We want to create a lifestyle, and produce clothes girls just can’t live without. Our plan is to make our garments exclusive and not as easy to come across so they are more special to their owners. We just want to continue creating unique pieces and bringing fresh ideas to the fashion world!