…Sharing ideas and thoughts with friends. Trust your gut. But also, your friends’ guts.
As part of our series about the 5 things you need to succeed in the fashion industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Laju Choudhury. Laju serves as a celebrity yoga and trainer and a designer for Laced by Laju. The daughter of two National Yoga Champions from Calcutta, India, Laju has been practicing yoga since age two. Teaching yoga at music festivals to worldwide teacher training, Laju serves as a leader in the global yoga community. Laju has also devoted her time to a variety of charity events. Enthusiastic about introducing yoga into youth programs, Laju has worked with a number of non-profit organizations in the U.S. and India to sponsor events and initiatives for children and women. While evolving traditional views about yoga, Laju is using fashion as one catalyst. In August 2020, she introduces Laced by Laju, a women’s apparel line featuring some of the most feminine athletic pieces.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
As a little girl, I was always obsessed with clothing, and ironically, a large part of my childhood was spent in a hot yoga room where people wore nothing but shorts and a top. I was always amazed watching how people left the yoga class feeling better than when they arrived.
As the years went by, I watched the same yoga students change internally and externally. As well as their yoga outfits. I also watched how the fashion trends in, and surrounding yoga culture grew. In the past decade, yoga broke its way into mainstream fashion, breaking all boundaries, and now yoga clothes are commonplace around the world. The yoga pant is now part of urban streetwear. Spandex biker shorts can be worn with high heels. And the ‘sports bra’ is now being worn as a top. As I watched this evolution, I knew that my calling would be this intersection of yoga and fashion — and I see that both yoga and fashion have no boundaries.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started?
When first started, I was wholesaling to yoga studios internationally. When Covid-19 happened and all the studios shut down it greatly affected business. So, I had to transition into the eCommerce space. It was interesting going into eCommerce because it’s all about the consumer, which didn’t play a huge role when I was wholesaling.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I didn’t know that directing content would be one of the most important parts of my job to help my business grow. Having a business in eCommerce means you are constantly thinking about what the consumer is going to see in a photo and understanding how they are going to feel when they see it. Whether it’s a lifestyle picture or a product shot, it’s always about the customer.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
My company stands out because of what it represents and the brand colors I have selected. Pink and Saffron. I believe both colors unify females of all ages. Pink specifically focuses on the young yogis and maturing youth. As the practice matures so does the yogi, transforming from Pink to Saffron. Saffron is a holy color within the subject of yoga. It represents knowledge from experience, wisdom from internal growth. Spiritual color. I believe the two colors unify girls and women of all ages.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Being able to evolve, adapt, and collaborate will preserve freshness and originality in your industry. Sharing ideas with your peers is the only way to grow and survive throughout these changing times.
Also, Social media. Keeping it fresh, new models, styles, looks, locations, content. People love to see new pictures and products.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I always encourage kindness and unity in everything I do. I believe bringing people together and sharing ideas drives innovation and success. I believe teaching yoga has given me a voice and the confidence to use it. I’m lucky because I get to bring fashion into what I love doing, which is teaching yoga. The best feeling in the world is standing on the podium teaching my friends and family while watching them practice in the clothes that I have designed. I want to keep sharing my art and voice in the right way to promote kindness and unity.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
“The setting sun will rise again”
I try to remind myself that every day is different. Just like every yoga class, some days are more difficult than others. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t get another chance to try again. There is no such thing as failure. Only growth. So just because the day is over and maybe you didn’t reach your goal, it doesn’t mean you should stop trying. There is always another opportunity to try again and stretch yourself further in your every day and every yoga class.
Do you see any fascinating developments emerging over the next few years in the fashion industry that you are excited about? Can you tell us about that?
Fashion trends always repeat themselves and I get most excited about seeing the reoccurrence of old trends, with their new modern twists. Fashion always comes back. As a young girl, I was always told not to throw out anything because fashion repeats itself. Thirty years later, I’m realizing this is the truest fact.
What are your “Top 5 Things Needed to Succeed in the Fashion Industry”. Please share a story or example for each.
- What does the consumer in the industry need? For me, it’s workouts and sports. Fabrics, elastic, comfort, durability.
- Trying new things: incorporating lace, which is very sexy, not really seen in activewear.
- Access to production and a strong team to help you grow and move quickly.
- Great marketing and content.
- Sharing ideas and thoughts with friends. Trust your gut. But also, your friends’ guts.
Every industry constantly evolves and seeks improvement. How do you think the fashion industry can improve itself? Can you give an example?
The online shopping experience 10 years ago vs. today is night and day. I am excited to see the continuous improvements, and especially throughout the latest global crisis, with online shopping becoming much more commonplace, I think there is a lot of room for improvement. Shopping through Instagram is now more popular, but there is still a long way to go, and many new platforms will arise to make this experience more fluid and approachable for the average consumer.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Rather than starting a movement, I want to expand the understanding and the benefits of yoga and mindfulness to everyone. There are so many external factors that affect peoples’ lives and there is so much positivity that can come from looking within, working on yourself, and owning your passion. Yoga, meditation, and spirituality don’t have to be these grand themes that seem far-reaching. You can take 5 minutes a day to practice something, and maybe that will change your day.
How can our readers follow you on social media?