Meet Stephanie Libanati, the self-taught creator of namesake sustainable sportswear label, Libanati
. With a focus on handmade and locally produced garments, Stephanie refers to her dual national upbringing between Los Angeles and Buenos Aires to inspire her designs. To learn more about the independent label, we had a quick chat with Stephanie and got a glimpse of her creative process, discovered what sustainability means to her, and found out makes her excited about her work.
Who is Stephanie Libanati?
I am an independent artist and self taught designer.
Can you tell us about your beginnings in fashion and the evolution of Libanati as a brand?
I have a background in fine art and a hobby of collecting vintage clothing, so I combined my hobbies with limited screen printed collections made from upcycled textiles!
What does the slow fashion movement mean to you? How does Libanati incorporate slow fashion principles into its ethos?
Slow fashion is all about getting the most out of your wardrobe! The best quality, durability, and style stem from slow fashion practices. Using materials that already exist, limited production runs, community dying, and attention to detail are some of the many aspects I personally incorporate into my design practices.
How has your attitude towards fashion and your relationship with your clothes changed as you’ve grown?
Choosing to shop small and independent has allowed me to foster a wardrobe that will grow with me instead of being forced to move on from a garment because it is no longer trendy or the piece is falling apart due to lack of quality in materials.
What are life’s small pleasures for you right now?
Our puppy, Creature, wakes us up every morning and we have our morning coffee ritual :) It's the best start to my day!
Can you tell us about the first piece you’ve ever made for Libanati?
My outline tee design was developed when I spent time exploring a new sewing machine and it eventually became the foundation for my label, Libanati.
What does a typical day in the life look like for you?
On a typical day, I work from home 7 days a week. My day starts with coffee with my boyfriend in the morning (who also works from home as a fashion designer with me), followed by a dog walk to the park around the corner, watching movies while sewing, smoking weed and ordering cheeseburgers via delivery. Living the dream!
How do you stay grounded amidst all the pressure to constantly produce as a designer?
I used to be so paralyzed by the idea that I needed to keep up with others! Now that I try to not compare myself, I find joy and inspiration in other’s accomplishments and no longer feel pressure to perform. I am focusing on feeling welcome at the table whenever I feel like showing up :) Smoking weed probably helps with that haha.
How do you inform yourself throughout the day? What are you watching, reading or listening to?
I’m reading the news online 24/7 and it’s mostly depressing so I zone out on funny movies and listen to Soulection while I’m working.
What Libanati piece is your favourite at the moment and why? My Tripper Pants are my favorite because I have not seen any pants out there like them. I love that they are made from dead stock military waste and how baggy they are. The silhouette really does it for me - and to top it all off they are reversible, size inclusive and unisex! What makes you excited about your work with Libanati? I love that I have such a personal relationship with all my customers and stylists and I never tire of the connections I make through my clothing!
"As an artist first, I find so much inspiration in the material itself. I regularly turn to my love of vintage fashion to inspire a new style."- Stephanie Libanati
In the near future, what are you looking forward to most? I am looking forward to my new spring styles that are currently in production! What does your creative process usually look like? I usually sketch on my iPad any visuals for concepts I may be brewing. I then use scrap fabric and make a sample and share it on my story or feed and gauge the response from my followers before moving forward with either a preorder or a production sample.
What item of clothing makes you feel most yourself? My Shoobie Tee is like my second skin and I always get a compliment on it! It's my favorite.
What is something that recently challenged you?
Letting go of relationships that no longer serve me has been the best thing for my personal and career growth.
If you could pick one person you’d like to see wearing Libanati, who would that be?
Teezo Touchdown! I sent a shirt to his P.O. Box and have no idea if he ever received it. We bought tickets to see him live in LA in December and the show was canceled last minute 😭.
What is the legacy you hope to leave on this world? What are you out to accomplish?
My goal is to inspire young artists to pursue the arts and never question their worth based on their experience or budget.