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Meet Milana Shapira of Life of Consequence in Between Downtown LA and Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Milana Shapira.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Milana. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
The idea for Life of Consequence came about while I was at Stanford business school, and was motivated by my prior experiences working at a startup in Berlin. As a young, ambitious woman trying to work my way up the ladder, dressing for work was always a challenge. When I tried the male uniform of a t-shirt and jeans, I didn’t feel powerful; when I tried my blazers from my prior days in banking, I felt overdressed. And more than just a feeling, I was aware that as a woman, I would be judged on my appearance, so I was conscious of ensuring I looked the part.

At business school, I realized this feeling was widely shared, and that dressing for work has become a giant cognitive burden for women. Many women feel that traditional workwear brands are stale, don’t represent them, and don’t cater well to more casual needs. As workplaces become increasingly casual, the problem only worsens.

As someone who had experienced the problem first hand, and who has always been in-tune with the consumer psyche, I was excited to work on this problem. Along the way, I also rediscovered my creative side and my love for aesthetics and design, which my previous career choices had not allowed me to explore.

For the first time in a while, I felt genuinely passionate about my work and was compelled by a deeper mission: to alleviate women of the challenge of dressing for work, so they can focus on actually getting stuff done. On leading a life of consequence.

How will I do this? By designing clothes specifically for business casual environments with an emphasis on comfort, and functionality, without compromising on professionalism, style, or femininity. In doing so, I hope to build a brand which is real, celebrates working women, and genuinely cares.

Immediately after completing business school, I came to LA to start fulfilling my vision. LA was the most obvious place for me to get off the ground, because it has everything in one place, from fabrics, to sample makers, to small-scale production capabilities. It might possibly be the last place in the US that one can do this in.

So here I am today. It’s been a crazy few weeks running around fabric stores, finding zippers, coordinating production, but I’m proud to say that Life of Consequence is finally live. With its first ten pieces, it’s humble beginnings, but I really hope it’s a small step in making women’s lives a little easier while bringing them joy through their work clothes.

Has it been a smooth road?
Working in fashion is tough in so many ways. The first challenge is finding the right people. Fashion more so than any industry I’ve worked in is all about the people. You don’t just want someone who will fulfill your request in a sterile manner. Ideally, you’ll find someone who believes in your vision and in you, and so is willing to go out of his or her way to help you — whether it’s building on your initial designs, suggesting better materials, or working tirelessly to get something done ahead of time.

I truly count my lucky stars that I met exactly such a person – my new friend Moustapha. He’s spent hours with me perfecting my samples and has also introduced me to so many amazing people who have been pivotal along the way. A few months ago I knew nothing about fashion – now I know people, I understand the process and I feel like DTLA has become my new home.

Another challenge is managing timelines. As someone who is just starting out and with limited resources, there is a pressure to move fast. But fashion takes time. From finding the right materials to waiting your turn for people to work on your stuff, things can take months. I’ve found little ways around this, like sourcing my fabrics locally rather than waiting two months to get a cool fabric from Japan. And here is where the people come in again. Many of those that I’ve met have gone above and beyond to help me. They see that it’s my first time, that I make mistakes (but am more than keen to learn), and that this isn’t just a side-hobby for me.

Most of my challenges have been production-related so far because that has been my greatest focus. The next set of challenges will be marketing.

Retail is a crowded space, so I’m now spending a lot of my time thinking of creative ways to reach customers and get the word out.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Life of Consequence – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Life of Consequence is a workwear brand for the modern woman. We offer women comfortable, functional, and professional clothes. The idea is that the designs make women feel and look good. In doing so, the goal is that women feel more confident and ultimately perform better at work. Our clothes have pockets galore so you don’t always have to lug a bag around, are easy to care for so you don’t have to worry about dry-cleaning, and are feminine so that you don’t have to conform to the male standard of work clothing. Most brands out there push out clothes every season following the latest trends but it’s not clear how they have the user – the working woman – at the heart of what they do. If they did, they wouldn’t try to sell us such garbage. Life of Consequence wants to change that. We’re designed by a real working woman for real working women.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
LA has everything I need to see my vision through. It has the people, the skills, and most importantly, the hustle. I thought I had seen it all having worked very long hours in banking, but it’s next level in the LA fashion industry. People truly love what they do, and so work becomes all-consuming. For me, being among people who are constantly coming up with new ideas and projects is such a motivation. I can hands-down say that I wouldn’t want to start this company anywhere else in the world.

What I like least: I’ll be boring on this one, but it’s true. The traffic in INSANE. I don’t understand why the city hasn’t invested in public transportation. I love public transportation. LA desperately needs some!

Pricing:

  • Prices range from $75 for tops (with hidden pockets) to $215 for coats.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Milana Shapira and Kim Tran

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