As long time stockists of cult activewear brand, Varley, we sat down with founder, Lara Mead, to discuss what inspired her SS/17 collection (which you can shop here) and how she juggles running a successful business with staying fit, healthy and happy!
You founded Varley in 2015, what was the driving force behind you creating an activewear brand?
Myself and my husband were on holiday in California and we both contemplating the thought of going back to our 9-5’s, we really wanted to build something together and create a legacy. I’d always been hugely athletic and after spending time in LA could see that activewear was becoming a larger part of women’s everyday wardrobes, but there was very little available. VARLEY was born on this trip.
Who is the Varley woman you imagine wearing your activewear?
The VARLEY woman is a plethora of people. VARLEY appeals to women of all ages. My mum and her friends all love VARLEY and they’re in their 60’s. The common factor is the VARLEY woman loves to be active and feels confident and comfortable when doing so. Whether it’s walking the dog or running marathons.
Your new collection breaks away from the prints and patterns we’ve seen in previous collections with more minimalistic block colours – what inspired the change?
The new collection is 1 of 4 collections we will launch this year. It’s not so much a move away from prints, more just an increase in our ‘basic’ offering. We wanted to provide great basics for women who are really focusing on the performance side of their workout. This collection still has a number of the VARLEY classics, but also has really great high-performance pieces that will withstand the toughest of workouts.
As a runner, do you design your products with running in mind?
Running was my childhood passion, but since having a baby I enjoy all types of physical activities now. I love lifting weights, spinning, pilates, boxing, and hiking with my husband and dog in the Santa Monica mountains. These are all such different pursuits and require different needs from garments. We make sure that the items can withstand all of these activities, including running.
You’re London born but now split your time between the UK and LA, how can we see the two different cities intersect in your pieces?
I currently spend the majority of my time in LA as travelling with a toddler became increasingly stressful. However much of my inspiration still comes from European fashion. This combined with the California way of life, creates a perfect combination of elegance and ease.
How do your wellness habits change according to where you are in the world?
They don’t really. Wherever I am in the world I like to ‘move’ at least once every day. In London, I always trained with Lee Mulins at The Workshop Gym at the Bulgari. Training there was a real treat. It’s the most beautiful gym in the world, and Lee and his team really understand how to shape a women’s body. In LA I do more classes; Platinum Pilates, SoulCycle, Barry’s Bootcamp, and Boxing. In London I used to run and walk around the Thames, and now I run and walk along Santa Monica beach.
Busy with two growing offices across two continents, how do you stay on track, motivated and prioritise your wellbeing?
I don’t see my wellness and health as a chore, it’s just a natural way of life for me. Like everyone I occasionally fall off the wagon and have a few too many tequilas, but the next day I’m right back on it. Since having a baby I have become aware of food produce and the quality of what I’m cooking with. I now tend to do all my shopping at the local farmer’s market in LA. The produce is all local without the added preservatives or being wrapped in plastic. I feel this has made a huge difference to mine and my family’s health. I’ve also become less vain and conscious of my body. I now fuel for health and well being, I need all the energy I can get these days.
My husband and I also try and make time to get away just the two of us, whether it’s for a long hike, or a night in a hotel. It’s really healthy to have some time away, and to switch off the phones and emails for a few hours.