Create & Cultivate 100: Fashion: Anine Bing

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Photography by  Annie McElwain Photography   Photoshoot skincare provided by  Dermalogica

There’s a lot more to Anine Bing than her perfectly-sculpted eyebrows.

Jealousy-inducing brows aside, the former model-turned-blogger-turned-designer has made her mark on the retail industry with her eponymous clothing line, Anine Bing, which launched in 2012. The brand is inspired by the fusion of “Scandinavian heritage and American spirit,” which draws from Anine’s Danish upbringing and love of Los Angeles, where the brand’s headquarters are located.

If you’ve followed Anine on Instagram for a while, you’ll know that she’s queen of “effortlessly chic” and can wear the hell out of a band tee and blazer. Her style is accessible yet elevated and captures that elusive “daytime to date night” style that fashion editors seem to always talk about. With a sizable blog platform and a fandom of fashion-obsessed shoppers, Anine turned her aspirational looks into a global brand that was an instant hit.

2019 is going to be a big year for Anine Bing. This past September, the womenswear company closed a $15 million series A round of funding with plans to put the money towards retail expansion, digital growth, and development of consumer analytics technology and personnel. Keep your eyes on Anine, because she’s going to continue to make waves in the industry.

How does the Anine Bing brand manage to stay fresh and relevant?

When I started the company, I wanted to make clothes that were effortless. It was really about designing the few pieces I wanted to wear again and again. Everything I design has that feel of being an essential in it’s own way, which I hope will make them staples in everyone’s closet for a long time. But I’m also always looking for new inspiration to spark ideas and keep our brand feeling fresh. Sometimes I’ll see something around LA that sparks a new idea or I’ll get inspired listening to my favorite music. There’s always new ideas we are bringing into the design studio to keep reinventing what basics our women want to wear.

How would you describe the Anine Bing aesthetic?

Our clothes are all about finding that perfect balance between effortless and put together with a little rock ‘n’ roll twist. The women that wear our brand are dynamic and cool and I want our clothes to embody that. Each piece is feminine but masculine and timeless but still cool and edgy so everything can mix and match easily.

What do you think people crave when they get dressed in the morning?

Being able to feel their best with minimal effort. We have such busy lives, most people don’t have an extra hour to pick out what they’re wearing, I know I don’t, so I rely on basics to always mix and match and go together. Over the years I've created a sort of uniform for myself so I could get ready quickly and so many people have been drawn to that, which I think is what makes our company successful.

What should every woman have in her wardrobe?

A great pair of denim, a go-to pair of boots and a classic piece that gets better with time—mine is a leather jacket.

What about your job makes you feel the most fulfilled?

I love working with so many amazing women who inspire me every day. It’s an incredible feeling to wake up each morning and do what I love and learn from everyone around me.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Stay true to yourself. I know it sounds cheesy, but I really believe it! I have a tattoo that says “be true, be you” which is the motto I try to live by. There will be so many people who don’t understand your vision or everything you want to do, but when you know something is right in your gut you just have to go for it.

What’s been the biggest surprise or highlight of your career to date?

There have been so many incredible moments since we started the company, it’s hard to pick one highlight. Opening our store in New York was definitely huge, and the first time we did a really big collaboration was a moment I will never forget, but honestly, so much is happening day to day and I’m grateful for all of it.

Where does your passion/drive come from?

I’ve always loved fashion and being creative. I’ve done a little bit of everything and learned through my career that I’m happiest when I can create things. I am constantly inspired by all of the incredible women around me. They push me to do better. And my family, who supports me no matter what. They keep my drive strong.

What keeps you up at night?

I think more than anything, the pressure that comes with growing this team and company. It’s the most rewarding feeling, and I really feel as though I met my calling doing exactly what I’m doing. But it doesn’t come without its own stress and pressure. Around our five-year mark as a company, we went through a big hiring spree and experienced lots of changes. And with that, of course, comes growing pains and new pressures. Since we went through that big transition, we’ve been stronger than ever, but those transitional pain points can definitely keep a person up at night!

Whose career really inspires you?

I recently saw Diane Von Furstenberg speak at a CFDA event here in LA, and she was so inspiring. I was beaming the rest of the day after I got the chance to see her speak and connect with her one-on-one. She went really deep into the idea that the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself, and that’s something I’ve been working on both personally and professionally, especially lately. Everything about her work ethic and way of life really resonated with me. I also never stop getting inspired by the life and path of Coco Chanel—she will always be a huge source of inspo for me.

What has been your biggest opportunity or biggest challenge?

Going through the motions of seeing our company change and grow was a big challenge, but also an amazing opportunity for me to grow, too… Like I mentioned before, we went through a big transition with the team and bringing on new roles, departments, and new ways of doing things. It forced me to open my eyes in a different way, and open myself up to learning and organizing the company structure very differently from before, when we were a small team of five out of a garage in Silver Lake. We’re in such an amazing place now, but it took a lot of work and sometimes hard decisions to get there. But I learned more than ever about myself both as an entrepreneur and as a designer.

What are the common challenges you've seen among women in the fashion industry?

We’re always trying to do everything: Network, grow, create, take the kids to school, make dinner, say yes to everyone, also take time for ourselves. Women can do so much, but I really feel that sometimes we do too much. I think it’s so important to remember to recharge and take time for us so we can continue to support our companies and our friends and family the way we want to. Lately I’ve realized I most definitely cannot do everything and that learning to say no is a powerful lesson in itself. I’m trying to be more selective with my time and choices, and it’s paying off in a big way.

I’ve realized I most definitely cannot do everything and that learning to say no is a powerful lesson in itself.

Whose style do you love?

I love how effortless Rosie Huntington-Whiteley looks in everything. She’s been an ANINE BING Muse since the beginning. I also love vintage style and Mick Jagger’s rock ‘n’ roll edge has always been huge inspiration of mine.

When you hit a bump or hurdle in your career, how do you find a new road + switch gears to find success?

I try to take some time for myself to reset and refocus. Something small that lets me get centered on what’s important. Sometimes I feel guilty taking this time for myself, but every time I do, I always come back feeling better and more motivated to go after what I want. One thing I recommend is to really sit down and write down your thoughts. Sometimes I write a little story to myself on how I envision the future looking, in an effort to manifest my goals, both long and short term. It really helps me stay inspired and organized and accountable.

What’s next for you? What are you most excited for in 2019?

Our brand is growing every day which is so exciting. We’re adding more people to our team, we are opening more stores, and we’re finding new ways to get our brand out in the world. We’re also coming out with some of my favorite designs yet in our spring collection, which I am so excited about. It’s going to be a big year for us, I can’t wait.

Photography by Annie McElwain Photography

Photoshoot skincare provided by Dermalogica 

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