GRL FRNDS: Meet the Self Taught Brooklyn Brand Keeping Fashion Simple, Chic, and Socially Responsible

What is the item of clothing you find yourself constantly searching for? Everyone has their something, their holy grail of high waisted pants or vintage purses or shoes that go with anything, the sartorial white whale that they would live happily ever after reaching for again and again. We’re always on the hunt for the pieces that will age and evolve along with us, the keys to wearing your outfit with the comfort and confidence of a second skin. We love the thrill of the chase as much as the next person, but why is it that the classic silhouettes we crave are the ones that always seem to elude us the most? Enter frnds of ours, an emerging Brooklyn-based clothing brand determined to bring to life the kind of designs that haunt your daydreams, inspired by the timeless elegance of the creative arts and the pieces that they and their friends are never able to find.

Founders Sonora Goldman and Annie Carlson are childhood best friends with no formal fashion training but an eye for effortlessly elevated design and a passion for socially responsible clothing made honestly and ethically. Their debut collection is full of pieces that feel instantly classic: simple shapes and flattering silhouettes in soft fabrics and lush hues, special without being complicated, trendy without trying too hard. The best part? All their clothing is handmade with the highest quality material in Brooklyn’s own garment district. Fresh off a well-received debut at New York’s Capsule Show, we chatted with Sonora and Annie about their unusual career path, how their love of art ties into their designs, and their ultimate style icon. Shop the collection here.

Q&A

Live FAST: Tell us a little bit about how frnds of ours came to be. What is the vision behind the brand? 

We’ve known each other since the 2nd grade. We both grew up in creative households and have always wanted creative careers. At 24, we started to explore what it would mean to turn our love for the arts and fashion into a career and start our own brand. From then on we learned as we went. We started drawing up designs, sourcing fabric, and created frnds of ours. Although we have no formal design background, we both studied business and come from entrepreneurial families.

frnds of ours is about designing for ourselves and our friends. Items we can never find. We pull lots of inspiration from vintage pieces and past decades. We strive to incorporate the creative arts into our line by collaborating with artists and creating photo and video projects that run parallel with the clothing, enhancing the line into more than just the garments themselves.

LF: When designing, do you have a creative process or philosophy?

Instead of dropping two to three collections a year, we add piece by piece to our collection, always designing and shooting new items. This way, we are not constrained by current trends or industry guidelines.

LF: Who or what inspires you?

Our friends inspire us constantly, hence our name. We are always turning to them for inspiration by asking what they look for in their own search for clothing. What have they never been able to find or what will make them feel the most comfortable and confident? We often turn to past decades in search of an idea or something that we think could be brought back to life. Our first collection was heavily influenced by 1970’s fashion and architecture.

LF: All of your clothing is made in Brooklyn, and social responsibility is a big aspect of your ethos. Tell us a little bit about your passion surrounding this. Do you feel that the industry is moving away from fast fashion?

We choose to be made in the U.S. for many reasons. It’s special to be able to go to the facility multiple times a week to pick up inventory and maintain a high level of quality. It is also important to us that we are a socially responsible company and that each person who has a part in making our clothing gets paid and valued fairly. So many jobs and skills are required and the fundamental art of it all has hardly changed. However, taking it overseas has diminished the magic of the garment districts right here in the U.S. The people who sell us our buttons, fabrics, thread, make our patterns, and ultimately sew our clothing are part of the process and we want to know them. It is important to us to support the local economies that were once bustling with energy.

There is definitely a move in this direction and we meet designers and buyers every day who care just as much as we do. We are very excited to see how the industry shifts in the next few years.

LF: Your pieces evoke the elegance of the creative arts. What does this mean to you? 

There is something so powerful and beautiful about a woman who is passionate about or in some form part of the creative arts. We design for those women.

LF: Who is your style icon?

Joan Didion.

LF: What is your preferred form of self-care?

Annie: I like to paint and recently got into baking bread, which is an art within itself.

Sonora: I like to make things with my hands, dance, and cook for people.

LF: You’re self taught and learning as you go. What advice would you give to your younger selves?

Don’t rush and don’t be so hard on yourself!

LF: What’s next?

We are starting our second collection and want to incorporate accessories and knits!

LF: How fast do you live?

It’s hard to not live a fast paced lifestyle in NYC but it is important to take days to slow down and enjoy the small moments.

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