Rising fashion label, Lucila Safdie, has rapidly made a name for itself in the last eighteen months, releasing three collections, each building upon the previous one. The brand gained a cult following from its distinct style that focuses on trendsetting designs with delicate feminine details. Since its inception, the brand has gained a slew of famous faces wearing the clothing which led to every fashion lover left clamoring for their newest releases. 

Their latest A/W 24 collection, I Desire The Things That Will Destroy Me In The End, embodies ‘50s glamour for the modern girl. A vision of polka dots, florals, and ruffles, the clothing reflects an awkward, but stylish transition from girlhood to womanhood. Silhouettes like polo shirts and hot pants are mixed and matched to represent the trouble embracing the constrictive role of womanhood set for women of the time. Model Alana Champion became the face of this collection as she embodies the fresh-faced beauty and rebellion that the clothes inspire.

GEN V chatted with the woman behind the visions of girlhood, Lucila Safdie, on the brand’s ascension, sources of inspiration, and future plans. 

GEN V: What was the driving force behind starting your brand?

Lucila Safdie: So actually, it wasn’t really thought through. I just finished Uni, [and] I quit the job that I was doing and that I really didn’t like. I thought ‘Okay, I’m going to make some clothes and put them up on Instagram and sell them.’ So I put a team together to create the imagery, and it just went well. So I started going along with it, but it wasn’t that I was like, ‘okay, I’m going to make a brand’ because I don’t have any business training or anything like that.

GEN V: Your first collection, ‘lick the star’, struck lighting with fashion lovers due to its distinct, feminine style. How did you craft the strong aesthetic that made your brand so immediately recognizable? 

LS: I love different visual stuff, [and] love reading, watching movies, photography, and fashion, so it came out as a mix of everything I like and the style I work with. [It all helped] create the identity, in a way. 

GEN V: What challenges did you face entering the fashion industry as an indie designer and what lessons have you learned after putting out three collections?

LS: I guess the biggest thing is money. It’s usually that and how to make the collection commercial enough without losing yourself, which I think is kind of the classic thing that happens to designers. For the second collection, I was like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to repeat any of the old shapes. I want to do something completely different.’ But then I understood that it is nice to bring back things that people like, but also renew it. I don’t want it to be just money-focused because then there’s no fun for me in it. Being super organized and collaborating with people that are interested in the project and want to be part of it, and also becoming really good at negotiating [are some lessons I’ve learned]. It’s these little things that help grow your business and keep the core without being a sellout.

GEN V: Lucila Safdie has been seen on numerous stars such as Sexyy Red, NewJeans, and Devon Lee Carlson. What was your reaction to first seeing celebrities taking a strong liking to your label?

LS: It was so exciting. I love that also it’s a big range of different styles of celebrities, which all of them I really like. But I think that aligns with my idea of not wanting to do one specific style, but it’s more like a complexity of different things I’m into and I feel because it has different edges. I love Sexyy Red so much so I was excited to see her wearing it.

GEN V: I saw that the latest collection is inspired by Sylvia Plath’s writings and her novel, The Bell Jar. Where do you frequently find inspiration for new designs?

LS: So for designs, I do a lot of archive fashion research. I love spending time on Vestiaire and vintage and looking at different shapes. And then if possible, ordering and looking at the pattern, cutting, and then modifying it, but inspired by what my concept is. So there’s a side of research in terms of fashion and then there’s the more conceptual and visual stuff that I get inspired by. So for example, for this collection, I was looking a lot at the 50s and [the] shapes and fabrics from [that era], but then adapting it to designs that I find relevant or that I’m interested in.

GEN V: What is it about Plath’s work sparked this vision of a woman rejecting society’s constraints through fashion?

LS: I love reading and Sylvia Plath has always been one of my favorites. And I think her writings, The Bell Jar or her poems or her diaries, they have always been key to me growing up in a way, it’s always so melancholic and sentimental. And it all started for me when I reread the novel in the summer and I was very interested in the part of the main character having insomnia because I feel like I have insomnia. A lot of my friends think having insomnia is kind of a girly thing. So I wanted to do something related to insomnia and then I thought Sylvia Plath is kind of like a perfect reference and at the moment I’m super into the ’50s aesthetic as well, so it made sense. And I always love that quote of hers, “I desire the things that will destroy me in the end.” So I was like, ‘Oh, that will be a perfect title.’ It’s like these characters that reject their environments and the rules and do their own thing, but in their own way, it’s not like the classic rebel element.

GEN V: Model Alana Champion was the star of this latest campaign. What was your experience working with her and what do you look for in the Lucila Safdie girl?

LS: She was super, super sweet. I really like her. Usually in the teams I work with, everyone is super sweet and fun and we make jokes. So the environment feels really light and Alana was like that as well, so that was nice. For the Lucila girl, I don’t know, I really think that there are different Lucila girls in a way, but for me personally, it’s [about] smart girls that like watching movies and reading and also having fun and they overthink. They have this kind of melancholy to them in a way. That’s what I imagine when I think about it. I think a lot about what I like and what my friends like and also when I was a teenager. Also, I feel other girls may be interpreted in a different way. And I’m super happy for them to do that as well.

GEN V: Collection three takes the brand’s staples, like the ruffle shorts and lace bodysuits, from the previous two collections and breathes new life into them by incorporating new prints and silhouettes. How do you see your classic styles evolving as the brand continues to grow with each new collection?

LS: I like the idea of grabbing elements that work in the past and repeating them but changing them, kind of how it works with archive pieces but also with designs. I grabbed the shape that people like and adapted and used details and elements and finishings that make sense with the concept of the new collection. That’s why, for example, with the ruffle shorts, the first one said 01 but in the third collection, it says 03 and I’m thinking of doing different versions, updating the numbers, and adapting it to the concept.

GEN V: Where do you see the Lucila Safdie brand headed in the upcoming years?

LS: I would love to at some point do a fashion show when the brand is big enough. I would keep doing interesting imagery. And so I guess if the brand grows, the budget will be higher and I’ll be able to make more exciting like big budget elements. Although I do like that there’s this kind of like B-movie element like energy to it, but it will be fun to have a lot of money to do really cool shoots. And yeah, in the upcoming years, I just I guess want to grow, sell in more stores, and get celebrities or artists that I really like. Also, something else that I would love to do is some kind of conceptual book that has writers and photographers, and artists that I like that understand the concept of the brand and collaborate, and make something a bit more artistic.

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