The New York-based line L.O.R was born out of a desire to challenge the status quo and a look back at the expressionism of African culture. Formed in 2012 by recent Northeastern graduate Dorothy Mensah, the name – coming from the French word “l’or” or gold – symbolizes being rich in confidence, individuality, and quality. The line is inspired by the personalities of NYC with bold cuts and unconventional fabric. It has shown at Plitzs New York City Fashion Week and the 2015 Nolcha New York City Fashion Week Show. Today we chat with Dorothy about challenging the status quo in fashion by creating looks that are as cool as they are quirky and not being afraid to ask for help.
How and why did you start designing?
I was always into fashion but never thought about actually making clothes until I saw a friend of mine create his own line. When I saw that, I said to myself, that is something that I can definitely do. I love sketching and thinking of new designs but I knew nothing about sewing. I had no skills whatsoever. Eventually I learned from a very talented lady, my best friend’s mom, Christine Pottinger. She learned how to sew in Jamaica and came to the states to pursue her dream in fashion. Today she says she’s living out her dream through me and, now, thanks to her, I can design my own clothing.
What is your biggest hurdle building a brand today?
Building a brand is not as easy as it seems. My biggest hurdle was being afraid to ask for help. I always tried getting things done myself, which became so challenging. I hated asking for help but I realized that people are always willing to help out. More help makes things more productive.
What do you think about fashion today?
Fashion today is less pretentious than it use to be. Designers are now connecting more with their customers and there are more opportunities for new designers to bring to life their new ideas and designs.
What is your fashion philosophy?
Don’t be like everyone else. Wear something that makes you stand out.
Where do you go and what do you do for inspiration?
I love travelling, especially to London to see designs that I can’t often find in the States. Since fashion is a bit different in London, I love to get my inspiration from there. My hometown, New York City, is another inspiration. I love the fact that there is so much personality and style in NYC.
Any tips and tricks of the trade?
White is now the new black. Things are changing so stop sticking to what you’re use too.
What is your brand aesthetic?
I would say my brand is very modern and edgy but very chic at the same time. My line was inspired by most of the edgy personalities seen in New York. They are just open to more creativity. To represent those personalities, I used a lot of bold cuts and shapes to represent that cool, quirky edge.
Keep it fresh no matter what city you call home. Follow L.O.R to see when the line goes live!