We love celebrating strong, successful women here at The Caviar Spoon, which is why we’ve created ReBelles. These are the women who are working it and owning it in life, work, and everything in between. Our newest #ReBelleBoss is Lindsey Mallon, the LA-based founder and designer of conscious luxury brand Nadjarina.
Like all of our best connections, we met Lindsey Mallon through a chain of other #rebellebosses around the world!
Lindsey is the designer and founder of Nadjarina, a conscious luxury brand driven by the desire to bring mindfulness and depth to the fashion landscape. In a world of fast-moving trends and consumerism, Nadjarina is part of the slow fashion movement – every garment is lovingly handcrafted in Los Angeles and made with conscious manufacturing practices. Every step of the design and production process is approached with consideration about the impact it will have on the natural world.
We love that Lindsey has painstakingly constructed her brand around ethical practices, using high-quality natural materials, and sourcing locally when and where possible. It’s not easy (and she goes into more detail on that in her interview!) but it’s admirable and definitely a #rebelleboss move.
In fact, we hit it off with Lindsey almost immediately and through Whatsapp chats and conference calls, we not only connected her with writer Erin Van Vuren for a #caviarcollab (we can’t say too much right now but let’s just say it’s going to be pretty fab!), but also had Pra wear one of her gorgeously minimalistic dresses to a Teens Unite Fighting Cancer Charity Ball in London!
Finally, there’s this note you’ll find on the Nadjarina website:
“Should you decide to part with any of our pieces, please consider returning it as we will recycle the fabric, or donate it in an effort to empower other women in our local community.”
It’s the Caviar way and the only way we know – women supporting women and connecting faces, places, and brands wherever we go.
Please tell us about your career to date.
I graduated from Rhode Island School of Design (the first art school in the US which started to compete with the UK textile trade – fun fact!), with a V Magazine feature. From there I moved to NYC. I had the mindset that, if I wanted to run my own brand, I needed to understand every position – design, development, production…- so I took positions where I could learn those things.
A couple of years into NYC, I realized my love affair with the city was like that first love – you’ll never forget him, but he’s just not the one – and set out to move to LA in search of a better balance between city life and nature. With boxes packed, I found out I was pregnant, so I took some downtime to embrace that new role, before moving out to LA.
From LA, Nadjarina began.
When did you have your “AHA!” moment with your business concept?
There was always something unsettling to me of the apparel industry – the ego, the mindless consumption – and a desire to marry conceptual runway with functionality. I think motherhood really filled in details – what I wanted to present as a woman in business raising a little woman, the idea that style needed to be flexible enough to move between meetings, picking up groceries with a child in tote, happy hour, fashion as a sense of expression, and everything in between.
Who has inspired you the most in your journey and why?
The modern female. We are such magnificent creatures – we are the muse, we are the life-givers, and today we are (finally) leaders, our own bread-winners. We are no longer just the beauty, we are the mountain movers. That chameleon aspect of femininity is so inspiring.
What’s been the biggest reward to date being a businesswoman and entrepreneur?
As a creative, having a platform to present a certain vision of visual expression. The feedback and excitement from people are so profound, humbling, and encouraging.
As a woman, to bring a sense of family and humanity to the workspace. Having gone through the rings of how the industry has conditioned the workforce to be so brutal and inhuman to each other, it is so exciting and gratifying to find and slowly build a team of like-minded people, who are passionate about their craft. Everyone should do what they love and be appreciated for it.
And the biggest challenge?
Being a female. The art of dressing a woman is, ironically, male-dominated.
We (female business owners) still have a long ways to go, in general, in any industry. I’ve had some intense moments of “no f***ing way would you try this on, or say this to, another guy in a business conversation”.
What do you do to get inspired?
Drink wine? Kidding…Inspiration comes when it comes. It’s anything that lingers on my mind, from an emotion or concept or the awe-inspiring details of nature. Textures really grab my attention, so flowers, nature…or old architecture give me a lot of inspiration.
How do you measure success?
Living the life you want, and (as a momma) creating the world I think everyone should live in.
The biggest learning lesson since founding Nadjarina?
Oh gosh… Always have signed agreements. No matter how close you are to somebody…business can bring out a different side of people.
What advice would you give to women looking to succeed in the workplace or with their own business?
Be graciously YOU. We don’t need another version of somebody or something else out there. And I say graciously, because there’s a time and a place to be bold, and there’s a time and a place to step back and learn, and we should honor each.
Also, follow your instinct. And really sit with that instinct when you need to, because sometimes our instinct and our hopes can compete. But instinct will always guide you to where you need to be.
What makes the Nadjarina woman? Who would you love to see wearing your designs?
She is cultured and expressive, typically urban. She is the dynamic modern female – the nurturer, the muse, a progressive thinker, and a powerhouse.
Who would I like to see in my clothing? All the badass woman out there!
Who are some style icons (past or present) you look to for inspiration or appreciation?
I don’t look at other people’s style for inspiration or other clothing in general…but female icons whose creative voices I connect with:
Solange, she plays with some of the more conceptual sides of fashion
Florence Welch always dresses beautifully and has such a presence, and her music
Olivia Wilde as a powerhouse with a sense of humor and focus on ethical consumerism
There are so many others…I’m so terrible with names though. There’s a few other lesser-known artists and creatives I follow that I adore…
What does your process look like, from concept to creation, when designing a new collection?
It starts with an emotion and inspiration. From there, sketches. Finding fabrics really brings it to life. Sometimes fabrics will inspire a look. From there, patterning, fitting…Some styles, I’ll wear around a bit and really get a feel for how they move and the different demands for a piece.
Can you give us a glimpse into what went through your mind when creating Mary’s dress for the Teens Unite event? Tell us about the material(s) and design!
The material inspired it all! A simple silhouette with just enough “wow” factor to really showcase the unique fluidity of the metallic dusting through the pleating.
Are there any pieces in your collection that are in constant rotation in your own closet?
That’s like asking a mother of multiple children which child is her favorite!
How does running a conscious luxury label differ from a regular luxury line, if at all?
I think it’s a lot more thought and in some ways a bit more effort. We are still in our beginning stages, but knowing the sources of materials, working towards a more perfect model of good synergy through every phase. As a business model, as well, it differs because we are not just about numbers and profits. It’s about the relationships I have with the people who bring everything to life; it’s about the stories people tell who wear the brand.
In 24 months’ time, Nadjarina will look like this…
I am hoping we have a showroom built out as a community space. I really want to create a showroom with a kitchen and a living room ambiance where people can come and spend time, share stories, and build relationships with our community whilst they preview collections.
When the going gets tough, you…
Focus on the bigger picture
What’s your one piece of advice on how to achieve a good work/life balance?
I don’t know if there is a perfect recipe for a work/social life balance. For me, I include my little one as often as possible, and when I come home, I make sure to be present as much as I can. We make dinner together, eat together, get ready for bed together…I haven’t perfected it, but I do try to spend conscious time with her each day. And I’m super lucky my friends come to me most often – I love to cook, and there’s always wine.
What do you do to unwind, refresh, and recharge?
Well…I have my daughter who is an abundance of sunshine… and the beautiful California sunshine…Yoga, fresh air, friends, cooking… and wine!
3 words to describe your clientele
Independent, inspired, progressive
3 words to describe you
I think it would be more interesting to ask somebody close to me, what their 3 words to describe myself are!
One woman in business who deserves a shout-out…And why?
Any woman running or leading a business. Any woman who fights the tides and challenges of being a female in business. She’s a f***ing badass goddess!
Your motivational quote
Que sera, sera – “what will be, will be”…It reminds me that sometimes we cannot control the way things unfold, but that the path will always get us to the bigger picture, so that idea reminds me not to get too hung up on things.
Your business mantra
A mantra? I don’t have a specific mantra, but the concept of “bring your ideas, not your ego, to the table” would be how I lead.
Is there anything not covered above that you want to share with us? Developments, upcoming projects, something we should keep an eye out for?
We have the sleepwear collab with [writer] Erin Van Vuren coming!