Designer Laina Rauma On How To Stand Out In Anything

With a shop full of metallic sports bras and cut out leotards, athletic wear designer, Laina Rauma, likes to joke: “I sell my panties for money”. In reality, however, her eye for cuts and colors elevate the simple bikini or sports bra, taking her designs to the next level. We talked to Laina about getting her start in the design industry.

Getting Her Start: I made my first “sweater” at 7 years old. After that, I wanted to be a teacher, a writer, a candlestick make. Then I picked it back up when I was about 18. I always used to re-work clothing from thrift stores but didn’t really start making my own until later into my teens and early twenties. My grandma taught me how to make Barbie clothes and I was hooked on that power of creation after that.

Family Tradition: Pretty much my entire family on my Dad’s side consists of artists and musicians. My aunts were always very stylish and beautiful. As a little girl, I looked up to them as supermodels. I would go to thrift stores with them and my grandma, and saw how they would re-work the clothing. My mom used to sew a lot of her own dresses, as well as mine and my sister’s, when we were little. It was inevitable that I would love fashion. And my family is extremely supportive, even though my grandma always says some sly $hit to my face and then whispers to my sister behind my back “oh, she’s going to be famous”. I love my grandma, she’s such a hard ass: just like me!

Style Icon: Right now, Rihanna. Queen RiRi. Can do absolutely no wrong. She has great taste and a great eye (and a great team) and she knows what works on her. She wears the clothes, they never wear her. That’s why she still looks cool in a 7 foot train ball gown. She wears everything like t-shirt and jeans or like she’s at home in her underwear. That’s the key. There is no sexy without cool. So right now, today, Rihanna.

Design Process: I design what I want to wear and it just happens. Every time I go with my gut and design for me, it works beautifully. When I start to think about what other people want to wear, I get lost. For example, I don’t like architectural pieces in clothing. I absolutely respect the work and skill that goes into it, but I would never wear it so I don’t design it. I like clean lines, the fewer the better. Very minimal, even if the print is loud.

Currently Excited About: Right now I’m having the best time designing my new collection, which is called the Country Club collection. sexy and chic and easy. The Laina Rauma girl is a bit of a Barbie, but the Country Club Laina Rauma is really me at the core: sexy and chic and easy. So it’s super easy to design. It’s a lot of things I’ve wanted to create for a while. I was creatively stumped and stuck for a while after my best friend died and I broke up with my ex. Like, I was in a black hole. And when I started to come out of it, I just thought, what do I want to wear this summer? And Country Club was born.

Design Process: I design what I want to wear and it just happens. Every time I go with my gut and design for me, it works beautifully. When I start to think about what other people want to wear, I get lost. For example, I don’t like architectural pieces in clothing. I absolutely respect the work and skill that goes into it, but I would never wear it so I don’t design it. I like clean lines, the fewer the better. Very minimal, even if the print is loud.

Life MottoI just stay in my own lane, in my own head, in my own world. I only have my own thoughts and feelings to work with, really. Gotta stay designing for me.

Wearing For Fall: For fall or any season, comfort. And that doesn’t mean sweatpants or being lazy. Sometimes I am the most comfortable with no bra or panties, in a little slip nightie and 6 inch YSL heels, straight up. But you gotta ooze the feeling that only comes when you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing. Fall in LA is my favorite though, you get to wear boots with little skirts and cool sunnies and jackets without freezing your butt off, but it’s a little chilly so your nipples always look great. It’s a fun season.

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