Ciara’s Fashion Brand Is About More Than Clothes

House of LR&C, which encompasses three different lines, is on a mission to change fashion from the inside.

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When Ciara set out to add fashion designer to her long list of titles and accomplishments, it wasn’t about checking a box or building up her personal brand. It was about creating something that could lead toward a more sustainable fashion industry. For her, The House of LR&C Fashion — which encompasses her women’s brand LITA, her husband Russell Wilson’s brand Good Man Brand, and their gender-neutral line, Human Kind — was about a larger mission.

“We wanted to take a different approach. We talked about democratizing fashion … We knew our mission ultimately was to impact people through it.” Ciara exclusively told InStyle after her panel discussion at the United Nations Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network Annual Meeting last week, co-convened by the Fashion Impact Fund and the United Nations Office for Partnerships. “Even starting with the name, ‘Love, Respect, and Care.’ Those are very, very important words to us,” Ciara explained, adding that she and Wilson came up with it together. She was at the UN along with the brand’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Therese Hayes, and Chief Marketing Officer, Janelle Shiplett, to discuss how her brand has put sustainability into the foundation of the business.

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“We started up top with the game-changing mindset. We were very bold about it and stern about it,” she explained. “Our goal to impact is a unique thing. It is not common amongst most fashion brands to necessarily have that drive of impact.”

About that impact: The company is B-Corp certified, meaning it has met strict standards for transparency and accountability in terms of social and environmental performance. They have a code of conduct for their manufacturers and work with several different auditing partners to ensure it’s being met. And they work on small collections using materials like organic cotton and recycled wool, and encourage product longevity with their customers. They also give 3% of profits to their Why Not You Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to education, children’s health, fighting poverty, and empowering marginalized youth.

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Hayes, the House of LR+C’s CSO, explained that because the brand started in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, it actually allowed them to take their time in finding the right partners to achieve these goals. “We work with a third-party audit firm called Elevate that goes in and sort of checks the checker and makes sure that we’re actually doing the things that we say we’re going to do — which I think is very important in this time with Greenwashing — to be able to not only create and try to do those things, but to make sure they’re actually getting done,” she said.

On the marketing side, Shiplett said that communicating honestly is also part of the sustainability mission. “It’s progress over perfection,” she said. “I think it’s that balance of making sure that we are really open and sharing and that we’re also giving a place of where there’s a double click, where we’re really honest about what we’re doing and what our commitments are and where we’re at.”

While addressing fashion’s problems with unfair labor practices, waste, and reliance on toxic materials were always among the goals, Ciara admitted she had a learning curve. “All I knew was fashion. That’s how I expressed myself in my world and what I do. It’s all about the look. You’re not thinking about those other things,” she said. She also said learning about fast fashion helped her understand that her prices needed to be a little bit higher in order to have better materials and factories. (LITA ranges from around $200-$1000.)

Regarding design, function was an important element in every piece — something she said she learned in her “other job” as a musician. The collection consists of comfortable suiting — Ciara wore a yellow blazer and coordinating flare pants to the panel — and her team had on different variations of their leather products. The leather leggings, in particular, “give your tushy little lift,” she said. They also have black combat boots that she said were a favorite, and and easy boiler suits that feature an office- (and U.N.-) friendly tuxedo silhouette.

One thing that is for certain: Fashion is a complicated business, and while it is one of the greatest forms of expression, it is also the cause of so many environmental and social problems. And that’s something that brands can no longer ignore. “I’m just excited for what the future of fashion, I’m very proud to be at the forefront of it with our team at The House of LR&C because we really are passionate about what we’re doing, and we believe in what we’re doing,” the singer said, adding, “The world wants better.”

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