Photo: courtesy of Lorod

Photo: courtesy of Lorod

The idea for New York-based label Lorod started over a broken sewing machine. It belonged to Lauren Rodriguez, who, at the time, was assisting an artist and working on projects that put her freshly acquired Fine Art degree from Parsons to use. However, all along she’d been interested in fashion and when she graduated, her desire to make clothing only grew. After running into fellow Parsons alum Michael Freels at a Halloween party — and asking him to fix her broken sewing machine — the two decided to team up and start their own fashion brand. In 2015, the designer duo took on an investor and launched Lorod, a riff on Rodriguez’s childhood nickname.

Freels recalls that moment as serendipitous. “I couldn’t turn away the opportunity to make clothing with a friend from scratch,” he says. After studying womenswear at Parsons and interning for Narciso Rodriguez, The Row and Derek Lam, Freels was on a path to work for another designer, but his connection with Rodriguez on a creative level was already clear. “There was a lot of overlap with our references and things that we were both interested in, whether it be a certain era, vintage Americana or workwear,” says Freels. “We started with a tank top, and then it became a jean, and then it became a jacket and then a collection.” 

Currently, Lorod releases collections on a pre-seasonal timeline; it’s a better fit for Rodriguez and Freels, as well as the fabric mills and factories that they work with. Not to mention, that means their garments have more time on retail sales floors than traditional spring and fall collections would. They refer to Lorod’s small range of Spring 2017 pieces — 10 styles total — as more of a trial to show to select retailers. “We didn’t want to wait another six months to make a collection,” says Rodriguez. “So we were just like, ‘Let’s put this out in the world and see what happens, and then we’ll start making pre-fall.'” Opening Ceremony instantly picked up the brand, as did Assembly and Shop Super Street. According to the duo, Opening Ceremony quickly sold out of its stock and had to reorder.