Self-Expression in the Time of Corona

For those of you who see everything as an avenue for self-expression

who agree that true beauty emotes from the inside out

who reveal more about yourselves through your details

who appreciate luxurious materials against your skin

who understand that sometimes the accessory is the outfit

who feel most powerful when you are being your authentic self

I created Lalita for you. 

La|li|ta: Hindu Goddess of Bliss, “she who plays”

My inspiration for Lalita was years of pole dance classes. In these intimate rooms I saw the immense power and beauty present when women unabashedly expressed themselves through not just their movement, but also their clothing and accessories. These items almost became totems that supported women in their journey to self-discovery. What they wore gave them permission to fully express themselves thereby gifting us with their authenticity. In witnessing these moments the idea for Lalita was born.

From there what began as a packaging concept with a garter clip quickly evolved into something bigger: martini picks, tank tops, jewelry, lingerie, clothing, and accessories. A whole fashion brand all with the same through line, a seductive twist on your classic styles. We do this by juxtaposing luxuriously soft bamboo fabrics with hardware accents. 

Soon after our launch celebrity support, music videos, and magazine covers quickly followed, but I’ve always remembered my roots. Lalita is a personal experience. All of our products are handmade with lots of love and once worn embody their own significance for the wearer. They are pieces designed to evoke sensation in the body so that you feel present and alive in whatever sense that means to you.

When this pandemic struck I was in the midst of launching new lines. But then reality quickly set in, the new materials were not going to arrive in a now broken supply chain. Decisions had to be made. As a small company I didn’t have any wiggle room or budget to explore. Pushing through and attempting to sell clothing and handbags during a global pandemic didn’t feel right or realistic either.

I had to figure out what was within my power to offer the world. My expression comes through designing. I see things in my mind and have to make them. This lead me to a natural conclusion…

I made masks for Lalita. I realized I could use the infrastructure I already had in place to offer a stylish and comfortable alternative to more utilitarian masks on the market. If I was going to wear a face mask, I wanted one I could feel good in - both physically, because the material felt incredible, and emotionally because it was a style I wanted to rock. I wanted to hold on to that piece of myself that may be out in sweats but still wants something to reflect my style. I knew that if I was feeling the need for something beyond basic, I could not be alone. After reaching out to several friends and customers, I knew that it wasn’t just me; they all asked me for one so they too could feel a little more themselves at a time when we need to be uplifted.

Rena Andrews, Designer, CEO Lalita

 

Selling these fashion statement masks also gives me the ability to produce basic masks for donations financed through sales. A portion of each mask sale will go directly to creating free masks for those in need during this crisis. Fashion is meeting function.

The masks are not only signature Lalita, but they also offer greater protection as a consumer mask for outside errands where social distancing is maintained and medical grade is not required. Our bamboo fabric has innate wicking, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial properties plus it’s a heavy, yet breathable, weight. Because its stretch was potentially problematic, I added a third layer of 100% cotton for additional filtration with the added benefit of holding the bamboo jersey in place. All our masks can be washed and reworn when needed.

Aside from using top notch materials, nothing short of meticulous will work for the line and so much love goes into each handmade piece. Mask sales allow me to give back and keep people employed. By purchasing our masks you are helping my contractors stay (safely and voluntarily) employed, allowing additional basic masks to be produced and donated to those in need. My incredible contractors and I have so much pride in our work and are overjoyed with each email/post/personal encounter from customers sharing how much they enjoy their Lalita and how beautiful, seductive and powerful it makes them feel.

I believe that no matter what circumstances are taking place, humanity will still yearn to express its creativity. Happiness and prosperity are not pre-requisites for art. I believe that in tough times our ability to create and express becomes even more relevant so that we can maintain a connection to our joy and our human experience. If we are forgoing certain modalities of self-care, something new must emerge that allows us to express ourselves when we step out in the world, no matter how briefly and from what distance.

Self expression will always find a way.

Thank you for your time and stay safe.

Rena Andrews

Designer, CEO

15 comments

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