The designer, Danielle Ribner.
Danielle Ribners line, Loup, combines tennis activewear with wearable items, blurring the line between performance and fashion. Bradford Shellhammer of Full Frontal Fashion caught up with the New Yorkbased designer recently to talk about her line.
Why did you start Loup?
I started Loup because I felt there was a lack of comfortable, easy clothing out there for women who still wanted to look feminine, stylish and put together, and I thought it would be a great place to build my first collection.
Your line incorporates fashion and tennis. Whats missing from most tennis gear on the market?
I feel that a lot of tennis gear is built for a certain very athletic woman, and I wanted to bring some femininity and softness into the genre. There arent a lot of options for women who want something a little looser, less clingy and more wearable before and after you play.
Why do you find yourself now moving away from strict athleticwear and into more everyday items?
I love athleticwear, but the philosophy behind Loup has always been to make athleticwear more wearable on an everyday basis, so it seems natural for the brand to move toward more ready-to-wear items. Whats still important is making the garment easy to wear, easy to care for, and wearable for lots of different activities.
Did you grow up playing tennis?
I did grow up playing tennis, and my parents still play every week. I was never that great at it, but it was always a fun game to play, especially because you could wear cute outfits while doing it!
What has been your biggest challenge in launching your own line?
The biggest challenge has definitely been wearing all the different hats from designing to running the business to selling the collection. Theres an endless amount to accomplish, so its a constant struggle to make sure it doesnt get too overwhelming.
What athletic brands and designers do you admire?
Well, I love what Stella McCartney does at Adidas and I love what she does in her main line. I also think Cynthia Rowley has made a really cool collaboration with Roxy surfwear this summer. I also admire designers like Alber Elbaz at Lanvin and Phoebe Philo at Celine, who really think about women and what they actually want to wear.
Which tennis player do you think has the best personal style?
I think Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova always look great on the court and they take some chances, which is cool. Two up-and-comers Sydni Katz and Alexandra Mueller both sport some Loup on the courts as well, so of course I think they have great style!
Where can your line be found?
The line is carried at tennis and contemporary boutiques all around the country, including Westport Workout Wear in Connecticut and Envy Sportswear in San Diego. And of course there is the official Loup online store at store.louponline.com, which carries special exclusives as well.
Your blog is a mix of imagery and musings. Why did you start your blog?
I actually started the Loup blog, LoveLoup, last season when my production schedule was delayed a month and I realized that Loup still goes on even when the clothes arent in the stores! There are so many things that constantly inspire the collections and continue to shape the brand, and I wanted to share that with the customers and fans.
Who is your core customer?
Right now the customers range from teenagers to women in their 60s who buy the line equally for tennis and everyday wear, and who all seem to be thankful for a brand that thinks about comfort as much as style.
Contributed by Bradford Shellhammer for Full Frontal Fashion
All images courtesy of Full Frontal Fashion