Let’s Get Bipolar: Bipolar Gear
Driving down Interstate 405 in Los Angeles can be a maddening experience. It can also be a catalyst for creative and innovative ideas. Just ask LaRae Wilson, CEO and designer for Bipolar Gear. Wilson knows how to take what might appear to be a whimsical thought and turn it into a profitable reality. On a commute to work one day, Wilson started to think, I hate work, but I love money. After a moment of quiet reflection, she envisioned the thought on a T-shirt. BipolarGear soon followed. Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, this mother of two sons had worked in the education field until she decided to pursue her passion for fashion full time. Wilson was gracious enough to chat with Soul & Salsa on her latest endeavors.
Soul & Salsa: What matters to you most as a fashion designer?
Wilson: My voice is what matters to me the most. It took me three years to become the edgy, girly, flirty, ultra-feminine designer people have come to know. The hardest thing is to get people to know what to expect from you without being predictable. Customer service is also important. I like to collaborate with clients to ensure that their visions are represented, as well as that of my own.
Soul & Salsa: How would you define the style your line exemplifies?
Wilson: My collection is inspired by my love for 1950s vintage clothing. My style has been referred to as Chanelesque that often osculates from beautiful to the absurd. My unconventional style comes through with my choice of fabrics and the way I put them together. I take classic cuts and styles, and mix and match prints in a way that is tasteful yet inspired. I like to challenge fashion conventions by adding a funky take on an old classic, like a variation on the hounds tooth coat, or the idea that formal wear has to be a gown. Why can’t casual wear be floor a length dress or skirt?
Soul & Salsa: How would you define fashion in Los Angles?
Wilson: Most people in LA dress for comfort rather than style, because we spend so much time commuting in our cars. So, wearing anything uncomfortable, ill-fitting, or that wrinkles easily after spending two hours on the 405 is not appealing. However, there are pockets of people in the area that enjoy more formal attire. These ladies and gentlemen know how to bring the sexy. Bipolar Gear is there to step in and fill that void by providing the mainstream, woman, or man on-the-go with ready to wear clothing that is comfortable, as well as stylish.
Soul & Salsa: Do you consider yourself an artist?
Wilson: I do consider myself an artist. I believe that anyone who creates things for beauty sake is an artist, and I take my craft seriously.
Soul & Salsa: Who are some of your favorite designers?
Wilson: I have several designers I admire, like Valentino, Chanel, and Dior who are amazing at keeping their brands relevant. But I also enjoy edgier design houses, such as Alexander McQueen, who manages to keep reinventing fashion in such a way that always leaves me in awe.
Soul & Salsa: What are some of your fashion goals with Bipolar Gear?
Wilson: The ultimate goal is to have a commercial line where every woman can find something she likes and feels great wearing. Also, I do have a monthly online fashion magazine, Bipolar Naked, which has had over 2000 views, which I enjoy as well. I like giving fashion advice to those who may have pieces in their closet that they are not quite sure how to put together to make a fabulous outfit.
Soul & Salsa: How do you select your models?
Wilson: I have a great team of people that help me. I am lucky that I have worked with most of the models several times in the past, and who actually enjoy working with me. So, when it’s show time, I have my go-to girls. This year’s 2012 LA Fashion Week was no different. I had several models who insisted on being in that show.
Soul & Salsa: What are some of your future plans for Bipolar Gear?
Wilson: My clothes are already in boutiques in my hometown of Indianapolis, and I have high hopes for Bipolar Gear in Los Angeles, with our first Bipolar Mobile Boutique truck. I’m taking fashion to the streets, highways and freeways on the West Coast. People will be able to shop, ask advice, or simply share their time with me.
Get Bipolar at www.bipolargear.com