Fashion is rapidly transforming. Do you need a runway when all the hottest influencers shared images of themselves in your clothes? Should you invest in a campaign when your sales spike from getting the right piece on the right girl at the right time? These are questions Orseund Iris have long-since anticipated, and adapted to answer.
The season-less fashion brand, helmed by 25-year-old Lana Johnson, has become an instant favorite among the girls who dominate your feed. Emily Ratajkowski, Bella Hadid, Nicola Anne Peltz and various members of the Kardashian clan are fans along with many others, all driven to the subtle femininity and versatility of the pieces. A knit-take on the corset and reimagining of the boiler suit are the favorites of those investing in the brand — its growing popularity inspiring copy-cats across the globe (helpfully discovered by Diet Prada).
PAPER caught up with Johnson to learn how to attract and maintain momentum in an industry that's constantly shifting.
You've created a cult following of Instagram's coolest girls, how does the brand set itself brand apart from the highly-saturated online landscape of rising designers?
We're playful, transparent and deliberate. That's key. As a young designer, it's important to have a collaborative approach. However, to remain selective, niche and specific. When you do something, or create something, and your coming from a good and sincere place things manifest that way.I want the girls we dress to love the pieces, each one whole. I believe this attracts people, muses and customers alike - searching for something real and authentic to be a part of and to ultimately make them feel amazing.
Game changer. I've had years to perfect, obsess, construct a social media presence with such a personal and distinct point of view. I think it is so important to understand what works and what doesn't work. Constructing a social identity that's completely your own. It's a quick snapshot, a glimpse of a world your creating from scratch. It's free, you'd be silly not to take advantage of it and be as thoughtful as possible when doing so.
We've seen a rise in call-out culture via Diet Prada-types, fans are letting fashion know they're watching — does that add any pressure when sourcing inspiration?
Absolutely. We've been lucky to have Diet Prada have our back on some copycats of our own. However, no one is safe. It's all highly entertaining. I'd be lying as a designer if I said I didn't reference and take inspiration from '90s runway and vintage. Blatant copies I don't support. I do truly believe in the words of Pablo Picasso, "good artists copy; great artists steal." I believe we're all pulling references from everywhere and stealing what we like and applying it to our lives in some form.
It started as a way to afford to produce the line. Launching individual styles, one by one, to alleviate the pressure without the constraints of a timeline. I love it — it's freeing. The process feels like my own, a tailored approach. Not having to abide by the structure of the fashion industry and how it sets you up to sell, sell, sell. It feels like more of an artistic approach too, to create curated pieces and not be concerned about being in season.
Would that ever change, particularly with regards to putting on formal presentations? Or can you see more designers moving in a similar direction?
In terms of in-person, IRL, presentations, I'd prefer doing something off the beaten path, probably not during fashion week. Something intimate. It's hard to say, right now we're so heavily focused on our online experience and creating an extraordinary relationship with our customers. Its obvious e-commerce is the future, buying online. For us, our "presentation" is our online presence whether that be social or our website — we try to capture our pieces on a variety of women and styled in endless ways. The goal is to transcend our website as an in-person experience.
A real woman. Someone who feels what she's feeling. She lives for herself. Strong, independent. Not afraid of who she is. A resilient woman. Unapologetic. Raw and real.
You have so many dream girls in your clothes, is there anyone left that you would spin out over if they wore Orseund Iris?
Damn! Zoë Kravitz, Lily-Rose-Depp, Jorja Smith. I love a muse who has a job that needs to be done whether that be performing or being an artist.
There are so many nostalgic and vintage, even renaissance, themes running throughout the styles. Where does that come from?
It Comes from my love for the past. I play dress up often. The feeling I feel when I'm wearing vintage inspires, I try to replicate that feeling with Orseund Iris. Taking on that persona that one does when playing a character. Designing the corset wasn't a conscious decision, for me, it was heavily focused on the silhouette. A new layering piece that's intentionally exposed, framing and accentuating the form.
Also a real emphasis on breasts! It's pretty overtly feminist. Was that the intention?
Unintentional! I love celebrating women and the female form. I believe its deeply rooted in my DNA. I'm attracted to powerful women. I have an incredibly strong mother and three fierce sisters. I love being a woman and will continue embracing it in my lifestyle and designs.
What would you love to see more — or less — of in fashion right now?
More authenticity. Versatility. More representation. Thoughtfulness. I'd never design for the sake of more, even if the demand is there. Everything should be sincerely made with a purpose, a meaning. I prefer fewer styles, but oh boy, are they epic. More diversity, but in an authentic, this is who we are kind of way. A diversity statement that says, "This is what our brand stands for," rather than, "Look at us."