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How La Forma Is Combining Art & Athleisure

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Love your Nike and Under Armour but looking for something new? Meet La Forma, an athleisure brand that combines high-tech fabric with sustainable processes to create luxury clothing to wear when you’re active. Rather than using classic or trending prints, La Forma highlights international artists and turns their work, whether it’s a sculpture, photography, or textiles into a fashion piece.

From clothing for running, yoga, or swimming, La Forma’s clothing is made with anti-odor and shrink-resistant fabric and practices sustainability using sublimation, in which no water is wasted during the process. Thus, you have a brand that combines sustainability, artistic style and a community emphasis all in one. Below, co-founders Jonathan and Kellen Maloney discuss their advice for someone wanting to follow in their path and what makes La Forma so special.


Where did the inspiration for La Forma come from?

Our past careers were based in experiential and fashion design along with high-performance sports apparel manufacturing. In experiential design, we would constantly curate artists to cross collaborate with on a variety of projects. We realized that highlighting artists and their work always made a project more unique and created a higher level of success. Yet, while working in the fashion industry it became clear that many of the true artists behind fashion do not receive the credit they rightly deserve, especially in sports apparel. So we quickly came to the realization that our high-performance clothing could act as the perfect canvas to collaborate with artists. Our goal was to create an athletic collection with one-of-kind pieces that supported artists and connected the wearer to the maker.


What sets La Forma apart from other brands?

We believe that clothes shouldn’t just feel good, or perform well; they should be an outlet for each individual to express themselves. From our artist pieces to our custom college collections, every garment is made in small batches with limited availability and a percentage of each sale goes directly to the artist whose work is featured or a charity aligned with each collection.

These exclusive small batches are possible because unlike most brands who outsource a majority of their design and production, we are a completely vertically integrated company. That means we design, develop, produce and deliver our garments in-house. This gives us the ability to remove outsourcing costs and return it to the garment itself. We create some of the highest quality and most environmentally friendly athletic apparel there is and we feel secure in that statement because our team works on every step of the process.


Who are some of your favorite artists? What about favorite color schemes or pieces of artwork?

We are a huge fan of two of our newest artists; Joe Papagoda and Jess Findlay. Joe’s abstract works just pop off the canvas and clothing, and Jess’ nature photography has translated to some of the most beautiful swimsuits I have ever seen. But truly, every artist that we’ve worked with so far has been incredible, they are true virtuosos and we are humbled to work with them. When it comes to incorporating different patterns and color schemes, every season we look for pieces to compliment each other to bring the overall La Forma collection together, but our main goal is to always stay fresh and let each artist’s work stand out. La Forma is not about adding another bland piece to your closet, our artist’s work is unique and the garments are meant to be statement pieces you’ll love forever.


What’s La Forma’s mission? What about long-term goals or dreams for the brand?

We believe that the greatest communities are the ones that promote individualism and thrive off the unique. So, it’s our mission to bring that individuality to our clothing and give our customers a one of a kind piece that is as unique as they are.

We have this vision where our clothing is sold side by side our artists’ exhibits in art galleries. As La Forma develops and grows, nothing is off limits in where we see this going. Our entire brand is based around innovation and creativity; these core ideologies will always be essential motifs in our current and future endeavors.


Which items are some of your faves? What makes them special?

It’s hard to choose favorites. We will always have a special place in our heart for our original pieces like the Mosaic Set and the Wander Free Set that we launched the brand with, but every time we create something new it’s hard not to love it.


How do you feel art and clothing/apparel work together?

We like to think of La Forma as a gallery. You walk into one of our pop-up shops or you scroll through our pages online and you feel like you are at an art show. There will be pieces you like, pieces you don’t, and hopefully a piece that really speaks to you! Fashion and art are very common ways for people to express themselves so combining them gives people the opportunity to show off who they really are.


You also are dedicated to giving back. How important is that to your business/mission?

We are passionate about art in many forms and we believe that giving back to organizations that inspire and influence art are vital to our community. Art has a special way of telling a story and bringing people together so it’s important that we constantly promote organizations that insure artistic growth in neighborhoods, schools and communities. We also believe in giving back to our environment, so we choose to manufacture with a process called sublimation because it produces zero water waste. Do you know that the average dyed t-shirt wastes over 2,700 liters of water to color it? Sublimation does not use a drop.


You also are dedicated to giving back. How important is that to your business/mission?

We are passionate about art in many forms and we believe that giving back to organizations that inspire and influence art are vital to our community. Art has a special way of telling a story and bringing people together so it’s important that we constantly promote organizations that ensure artistic growth in neighborhoods, schools and communities. We also believe in giving back to our environment, so we choose to manufacture with a process called sublimation because it produces zero water waste. Do you know that the average dyed t-shirt wastes over 2,700 liters of water to color it? Sublimation does not use a drop.


What advice do you have for someone to break into the business?

Jon: Show as many people as you can what you are passionate about and admit you don’t know everything. You will be surprised how many people will want to help you. Because I believe the only way you make it any business; is with a lot of help. That and try to solve problems for people, you’ll quickly become indispensable.

Kellen: If you plan out everything, you’ll never actually get started. Sometimes you just have to put the cart before the horse and test it out. You’ll be surprised how much you learn from just putting it to the test and getting out of your comfort zone.


What advice do you have for someone to break into the business?

Jon: Show as many people as you can what you are passionate about and admit you don’t know everything. You will be surprised how many people will want to help you. Because I believe the only way you make it any business; is with a lot of help. That and try to solve problems for people, you’ll quickly become indispensable.

Kellen: If you plan out everything, you’ll never actually get started. Sometimes you just have to put the cart before the horse and test it out. You’ll be surprised how much you learn from just putting it to the test and getting out of your comfort zone.

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  • COLLEGECANDY Writer
    Wanderess. Stamp collector. Writer. Has most likely already stalked you on Instagram and will show up if there’s cheese.
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