Leah grew up traveling from one unique destination to the next. So to start a swimwear line inspired by travel and wanderlust seemed only natural. The sexy yet simply line is the perfect travel companion; easy going and completely adaptable. The designer/stylist talks design inspiration, beach bag faves and what’s next for Drifting Arrows.
Where are you from?
I was born in Swaziland, which is in Southern Africa, and lived there and in West Africa until about age 5, when my dad's Peace Corps contract was over. Next I spent my grade school days living in Seattle, until moving to Maui just before high school.
Where do you live?
I have been living back in Seattle for almost 10 yearsnow. I love the size and ease of the city, as well as being surrounded by water and the rich music scene here. I do seriously miss Maui, but luckily I get back there about twice a year for extended visits with family and friends.
Why launch a swimwear collection? Have you always been into swimwear?
I got to a place where I was really ready to just do my own thing. Starting a swimwear line felt like the most natural thing to do. I have always loved bathing suits - buying them, wearing them, designing them – and I really felt like I could develop a line that would appeal to women. I also feel like there is still a need for modern, high-quality swimwear lines in the market.
What is Drifting Arrows all about?
The concept behind Drifting Arrows is travel without a set destination. It is all about the freedom of following an unknown path and seeing what happens and what you find along the way. It's all about the love of discovering unique, remote and interesting corners of the planet and having an unconventional attitude about travel.
What inspired the look and feel of this collection?
I wanted to create styles that feel really easy and un-fussy. Pieces that you can wear over and over, that are simple but inspired, versatile and wear well layered-over for outings after the beach.
As a stylist, how has that helped you create this line?
As a stylist I am always looking at combinations and balance. There has to be a point of interest but you never want something to look over-designed or over-styled. I wanted to be sure that my collection had a signature but that it was also understated and refined.
What keeps you inspired as a designer? Who are some artists and designers that inspire you?
I am always inspired by what people create, whether it's sculpture, architecture, music, or fashion. I love being surrounded by artists and designers and consider myself very lucky to have such talented and creative minds around me.
I am particularly inspired by the Japanese master-mind Yohji Yamamoto, the Swedish label Acne, and Danish designer (and peformer) HenrikVibskov.
What are some of your go-to designers that you wear?
Many of my staple wardrobe pieces come from Acne, Robert Geller, Karen Walker, and A.P.C. I always love and covet Raquel Allegra and Rachel Comey's collections as well.
When will this collection be available?
This collection, which is the first offering from Drifting Arrows, will be in select stores between April and May 2012!
What's next for Drifting Arrows?
First on the list is to introduce some prints into the line. Then at some point I'd love to offer eyewear and other beachy accessories like big carry-all bags and beach blankets.
Objects of desire.....
Never leave the house without....A dropper of liquid Vitamin B12....energy in a bottle! That, and bobby pins.
Beach bag must-haves....A light SPF, wooden hair comb, rosewater spray, cheek/lip tint, coconut water, a cotton sarong and a good book or magazine.
Favorite accessories...Karen Walker eyewear, Deadly Ponies leather goods, and Vim Beget jewelry
Favorite beach bag....French market basket from Siréne
Favorite cover-up....A vintage cotton slip-dress that is almost thread-bare, which is my favorite article of clothing. It even appears in my look book.
Favorite beauty products....Kiehl's avocado eye cream, rosewater spray, Diptyque fragrances, and Oribe texturizing spray.
Currently listening to...Youth Lagoon, Cass McCombs, Little Dragon, Junior Boys, Sibylle Baier...
Favorite book....currently reading....I am about to finish "Unfamiliar Fishes" by Sarah Vowell, all about the tragic history of Hawaii. Before that I devoured "Just Kids" by Patti Smith, and I am considering re-reading it next, it was that good.
Favorite destination.....next stop....Heading back to Maui early next year, which is always rejuvenating and inspiring for me. I really want to go to the Seychelle islands someday, that is my ultimate destination.
Words to live by... The worst that can happen is being too afraid of failing at something to give it a try.