Today we’d like to introduce you to Diana Ra.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
For as long I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer. This path leads me to Otis College of Art and Design, and I began my design career at Arden B shortly after graduation. I then moved on to designing for Lucky Brand. After a few years in the industry, I was given the exciting opportunity to launch a new brand – Patterson J. Kincaid as its senior designer.
Around the same time as Patterson J. Kincaid, I met Glenn Williams (formerly of Capital Tailors), who approached me to partner with him on a new line he was creating called SNT Workshop. While the new project was taking off, I also freelanced for Frette, which gave me a peek into the luxury market. The creative freedom also encouraged me to take my entrepreneurial step. After successfully launching a couple lines, I finally felt ready to launch my own namesake line dRA. Today dRA is carried in over 200 stores both nationally and internationally, and has been hailed by Bloomberg as one of the “Top 9 Brands Making Los Angeles The Next Fashion Capital”.
The brand counts Beyoncé, Jennifer Lawrence, Elle Fanning, and Jessica Alba as frequent fans. Her first brick and mortar store recently opened at the newly developed ROW DTLA in the Arts District. You can find me working at the store on Thursdays.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The beginning years of dRA were incredibly challenging. I remember being at work till 11pmadding stickers and boxing orders all the time! The hardest though, was trying to balance the financial and the creative. When I partnered with Shawn, it was such a game changer because I was able to focus on just the creative.
Please tell us about dRA Clothing.
dRA is a blend of contemporary fashion with artisanal fabrications and details, packaged together in very wearable and easy shapes. It’s the marriage of the clean and modern with the artisanal and novel that sets us apart.
My parents were born in Korea but moved to Brazil when they were really young. I was born in Brazil, the 2nd largest Japanese community outside of Tokyo so growing up, people called me “japonesinha”. (I thought I was Japanese) We moved to America when I was 10 and spoke 3 languages at home (none of them well) LA has been my home ever since. I think that clash of cultures has impacted and inspired the way I think and design.
dRA has definitely evolved throughout the years and for me, I think my vision for the line became clearer after I had my kids. Becoming a mom has taught me to prioritize and be my most efficient self. In designing a collection, I no longer spend hours struggling over small details. It’s all about “what am I trying to achieve here? What’s this collection about? What’s my point of view?” Knowing the end goal makes designing so much easier and fun!
What were you like growing up? Personality wise, interest wise, etc.
I grew up in a pretty normal family but I think the cultural backdrop to our lives was always colorful.
I love to read and I love learning about history. I love hip hop, which I used to think was a little weird but I realized recently that if you’re a child of the 90s and grew up in LA, you grew up to hip hop. I watched Hamilton last week and I was SO happy! It was all my favorite things… history, musicals and amazing and brilliant lyricists!
- Address: 155 w Washington Blvd suite 1112
Los Angeles ca 90015
- Instagram: @dRAclothing
- Facebook: @dRAclothing
- Twitter: @dRAclothing