Lara Mead – Varley

Founder of the hugely successful and achingly stylish, activewear brand, Varley, StyleNest takes 5 minutes with Lara Mead…

Hi Lara, congratulations on the success of your amazing brand!

You were previously working as a talent agent, had you always dreamt of getting into fashion or fitness or both?

I started running at the age of 10 competitively and spent my childhood on the track and traveling around competing, so lived in activewear. I was also very into fashion and the two combined perfectly.

Where do you even start when setting up your own activewear range?!

It was hard at first, it took time to find the right partners from manufacturers to designers etc. I think it’s a lot like a jigsaw puzzle, and takes time to get all the parts to fit.

What issues were you experiencing with activewear before you created Varley and how did you combat them?

I found it hard to find a brand that lived up to the toughest workouts but also looked cute and that I wanted to wear everyday and also that merchandised with other things in my wardrobe. Hence VARLEY was born.

How have you stood out in a competitive growing market for activewear?

I think we offer unbelievable quality, a product that is science and performance led but also incredible chic.

We seem to be taking a much more varied approach to exercise now and Varley reflects that well, catering for different types of sports, such as yoga, ballet, running.  What is your exercise of choice?

I’ve done all sorts over the years, and I’m very spoilt living in LA as there are so many boutique workout studios and trending training methods. I now love pilates for my body and running for my mind. I run with my dog along Santa Monica beach and it’s my form of mediation. Pilates gives me the long, lean lines I have always wanted.

Which sports/classes/exercise do you think will grow in popularity to fit with modern ‘body goals’?

This is a hard question because everyone is different, everyone’s bodies respond differently to workouts, what works for me might not work for you. And plus people are now training for other reasons not just aesthetics. I think yoga is great for the mind and the body, but others love the burn and buzz from Cross Fit and HIT training.

You have recently had to move from Yorkshire to LA to cope with the international growth, was this a difficult decision to make?

I moved from Cumbria to London in my 20’s and moved to LA a year and a half ago. It wasn’t so much of a decision but a necessity as the business was growing so quickly in LA and that was where our HQ was based due to logistic reasons. For a while I was travelling back and forth but that was tricky with my baby so decided to relocate.

Have you found the LA/London lifestyle gap is getting smaller or is LA still way ahead of us in the fitness stakes?

I’ve recently just spent a week in London and I really feel like it’s moved on since when I lived here…to be honest it hard to compare them. LA has a completely different climate so trends tend to be different, and certain things don’t translate to the UK.

What LA trends to you predict we could soon be seeing in the UK?

Mindfulness, sound baths, crystal healing and meditation.

Thank you!

StyleNest x

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