Remember that no idea you come up with will be identical to anyone else’s, so lean into that and just do you…I was just talking to a friend the other day about having a clear mind going into the new year / recharging my creativity and how I’m “cancelling out the noise” from social media to too much tv, etc, and he said this
As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shiara Robinson.
Shiara Robinson is a Brooklyn-based Designer. She is the Founder + Designer behind LaSette Lingerie, and a captain of Adidas Runners NYC. A lifelong athlete, she moved to New York after graduating from, and running Track & Field at, the University of Kentucky. Upon moving to New York, she spent several years building a career as a producer spanning, events, activations, shoots, and launches across several industries. After furthering her education and graduating from Parsons with a Fashion Design degree, she began working on LaSette; launching her namesake brand in November 2019. Since the brand launched onto the scene, it has become a staple for women of all shapes, sizes and skin colors.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
My backstory is not the typical route to design, but still quite eventful. I’m a lifelong athlete. After graduating from the University of Kentucky for undergrad as a Track & Field Athlete in 2013, I took the plunge to move to New York — no job, no place — I just felt like there was no better time than the present, and I figured it out. I’m a firm believer in ‘Fake It Till You Make It, while Learning’, so that’s what I did. I got a job in retail and would scour the internet for jobs in fashion everyday. I found a posting for an intern for a photo shoot and my career really took off from there. I was able to merge two passions that had always taken the back seat to sports, events and fashion. I spent the next 6 years working as a Producer. After years of up-cycling my clothing and making one-offs, I decided along the way of my production journey, I wanted to further my education but this time in fashion. So, I studied fashion design at Parsons. When I graduated, I thought I would get a job right away, 6 months or less. That was not the case. I stayed in production, got deeper into running, and after months of the hunt, I decided in 2017 I wanted to start my own lingerie line. 2018 was a whirlwind of designing, patterning and finding a factory. 2019, was samples, fittings, and production, and finally the launch in November. Now, I still run and am a captain for Adidas Runners NYC, and am the Founder + Designer behind LaSette Lingerie.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
I didn’t set out to necessarily be disruptive, I wanted to be different, and showcase reality; which in-turn is why LaSette is disruptive. LaSette’s brand ethos lie in the fact that the industry and society have shown us an extremely narrow window on who lingerie is “supposed” to be for, as well as dictated what it is for. For us, lingerie is just as much for you to feel confident and empowered walking into the boardroom, as the bedroom, or lounging around your place. We want the everyday woman to know that we see her and that lingerie is for her too.
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?
One lesson I learned the hard way was not finding out the status of fabric — if it’s sell through or re-orderable. This is a fashion nightmare, especially for a small designer with limited funds. Imagine making a sample, then going back to get the fabric for inventory and it’s gone…Now, I get what I need from the jump!
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
I have an amazing group of friends around me who are extremely talented and have helped get LaSette off the ground and moving. This group of trusted individuals have been there from the very beginning helping me with things as simple yet grandiose as selecting the official brand name, LaSette Lingerie.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
I am really loving the work period and women’s reproductive health advocates are doing. These are incredible examples of disruption with positive purpose. I think on the flipside, this year we have seen the truly sickening effects of some political disruptors. To me a positive disruptor is disrupting to unearth what is real and true, or to provide something of value to underrepresented groups.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
I think some of the best words of advice I’ve received thus far include:
– Cancel out the noise… not getting caught up in comparison of where other designers are in their careers
– Know your numbers… it’s terrifying when you start talking deals with people, knowing your product is a given, but knowing your numbers is a game-changer
– Remember that no idea you come up with will be identical to anyone else’s, so lean into that and just do you…I was just talking to a friend the other day about having a clear mind going into the new year / recharging my creativity and how I’m “cancelling out the noise” from social media to too much tv, etc, and he said this
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
We are definitely just getting started! We have a new collection releasing at the top of the year and several fun things were working on to really create a 360 experience of LaSette.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
I think women are constantly faced with this idea of validity, in comparison to the privilege of men being taken at face value. We are nitpicked from head to toe based on literally everything besides what we’re talking about — our hair, makeup, skin, clothing, body. Then on top of all of that, our experience is challenged.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
I attended a talk this summer by Harlem’s Fashion Row with Amy Smilovic of Tibi that was not only impactful in reminding me to stay the course and true to what feels right TO ME, but also really turned me on to her personal instagram. She told the story about how the brand started and knowing trends but not being so caught up in them, rather staying true to identity. I really want her to be my mentor, Hi Amy!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire 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. 🙂
Wow what an incredible question, I have so many thoughts crossing my mind…..damn. If I could only change ONE thing, I’d have to eradicate poverty worldwide. There’s so much that needs to be done, but I think that would help alleviate several other issues such as malnutrition, and access to opportunities.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Comparison is the thief of joy. I think that’s pretty self explanatory.
How can our readers follow you online?
They can follow our journey on Instagram at @lasette__ or jump on our website LaSette.Shop
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!