Social Encore: She+Lo launches summer line
BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Los Angeles-based handbag line She+Lo will introduce its Summer 2015 collection this weekend with brand co-founder — and Kailua native — Laura Darrah making the trip to Honolulu.
Darrah never thought she would end up in fashion. The 1996 Punahou graduate wanted to spread her wings after high school and ventured away from the islands. After settling in California and graduating with her bachelor’s degree, she landed a job at a marketing firm but wanted to pursue her MBA.
SHE+LO SUMMER 2015 COLLECTION
Hosted by co-founder Laura Darrah
» Where: Nordstrom Ala Moana
While trying to obtain her master’s degree, she met her surfer boyfriend (who is now her husband), whose thirst for adventure lead him to give up everything he had in California to travel the world.
Inspired by his courage, she decided that she too was going to save all the money she could, finish graduate school and meet up with him on his world travels.
“I sold everything that I had and went to places likes Australia and Southeast Asia,” she said. “It was the best experience of my life.”
While traveling, she kept a journal and wrote daily. As she took time away from home and put the responsibilities of the real world on pause, traveling helped her discover her dreams, aspirations and most of all, herself. By day three of writing in her journal, she knew she wanted to be her own boss but just needed to find her niche.
She wrote her business plan on the beaches of Bali and found that by exporting from Asia she could make it work. She found floral printed handbags, belts and accessories and knew there could be a possible market for it in the United States. Using the little money she had left, Darrah bought what she could and sold them when she returned home.
During Darrah’s first fashion venture, she met She+Lo co-founder Sheila Nazarian at a mutual friend’s wedding. Nazarian already had a good handle on the fashion industry, and when the two met they formed a strong relationship. Within six months they started designing their own handbag collection.
The name She+Lo is based off both founders’ nicknames, and although the namesake line is still in its first year, the duo have almost a decade of fashion handbag experience under their belts. They were the masterminds behind luxury handbag line Treesje and Joelle Hawkins, which they sold in 2011.
“Aesthetically, the bags design fits well with girls in Hawaii,” said Darrah. “Girls here are very casual so you can wear these bags with jeans, shorts, or a white tank … and having a handbag that has a lot of detail completes the outfit.”
Celebrities such as Olivia Munn, Emmy Rossum and Nikki Reed have been spotted sporting the She+Lo line. Designed in Santa Monica, Calif. and headquartered in New York, the contemporary bags are made from genuine leather. Even though the bags are designed in California, Darrah said Nordstrom Ala Moana is one of the brand’s top performing stores.
“What we try to do is capture a thoughtful design bag that is fresh,” Darrah said. “What you’ll find with our bags is an added cool factor and practical effects to it inside, like pockets.”
The brand offers an array of styles that are simple, edgy and affordable. The black and white weave details of the Make Your Mark drawstring bag ($248) give a unique style with classy embellishments. The bag’s design may not look completely different from others, but its integrity creates added value.
She+Lo has bags that are versatile yet chic. For more information, visit www.sheandlo.com.
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.