Dress Up or Down With Lacson Ravello
As a 10-year-old growing up in St. Louis, Mo., designer Kristina Lacson McConnico’s father taught her to use a sewing machine, a skill he had learned from his mother. Making clothes was a family affair. McConnico’s mother operated a dressmaking business in the Philippines. Her own mother and aunt were always making clothing and costumes for McConnico and her sister.
“There was always a sewing project in the works,” McConnico said.
In the summers, she preferred to spend her time planning and constructing her wardrobe for the next season. So it only makes sense that McConnico has dedicated herself to her clothing line, Lacson Ravello.
McConnico brings serious chops to her business. She has worked for such heavyweight retailers as Gap and Bebe, among others, which gave her valuable experience. There are a lot of balls to keep in the air, from production to marketing.
“I gained experience in designing and developing a line on a mass scale which . . . has helped immensely with developing and producing a product on my own,” she said.
However, there is a downside to big business. For McConnico, working in design at a large company meant having one’s initial ideas revised and changed such that they strayed from the initial vision.
“What was once an original idea from a designer’s head may not even be recognizable at the end. As a ‘solopreneur,’ I’m in the driver’s seat for producing my vision. It’s not always a smooth ride, and I have to take ownership for the pitfalls,” she said.
While designing clothing and running a business may be challenging, McConnico is in it all the way. She takes inspiration from a range of sources, such as the people she comes across in everyday life; her childhood in the ’70s and ’80s, French fashion trends; and, of course, there’s that California casual influence. She said her spring 2019 collection is “a fresh take on the ’70s . . . Donna Summer in her ‘On the Radio’ days. Instead of going to MacArthur Park, she takes to the streets of the Marais.” Above all, she said, “The pieces must be versatile and practical as well—and can be dressed up or down. I call it ‘effortless style.’” Eschewing fast fashion. McConnico sources her fabric from all over, importing natural blends, sustainable fibers, and deadstock fabrics from Europe or Asia. She likens it to a “treasure hunt:” It’s fun but challenging, too.
While Oakland may not be New York City’s fashion district, McConnico said, “We are fortunate to live in the Bay Area, which has an existing apparel manufacturing infrastructure . . . It’s great to see that they’re working with both small and big brands. We are also lucky to live within a community of consumers and stores that appreciate and seek out locally made products.”
And although the designer has no immediate plans to open a brick-and-mortar store, she will continue to sell directly to consumers and also via in-store pop-ups. You can take a look at, try on, and purchase Lacson Ravello’s spring line at Dandelion Post in Oakland, Rue Atelier in Berkeley, and Onyx in San Francisco. Or visit the shop online: LacsonRavello.com.