Laia Garcia is the girl you want as your BFF. She’s like the coolest girl in any room, and definitely has the best style references. This thanks to her childhood in Puerto Rico, an eclectic taste in designers, and the experience developing a point of view at some of the most interesting editorials that exist. Since joining the team at Yahoo Style, Garcia has sharpened her writing skills and recently attended her first shows in London and Milan – Jonathan Anderson is leading her fashion pack at the moment. Between her personal blog, Geometric Sleep and daily articles for Yahoo – we still can’t get enough of Laia Garcia!
How would you describe your fashion background? Did you study fashion? Self taught?
I guess I would say mostly self taught. I was always interested in fashion. My mom would buy Vogue every month, so from the age of 9 or 10 I was reading and re-reading her issues and like, memorizing everything. Growing up, I wanted to be a fashion designer, so I was always drawing – I have tons of sketchbooks back home – and I initially went to college for Fashion Design. After two years I was like “I’m no McQueen, what’s the point?” so I switched to Graphic Design thinking that my real love lay in magazines. So I finished with a degree in graphic design and a concentration on fashion design/magazines. So yeah, I would say mostly self-taught although some formal studying has occurred.
You’re from Puerto Rico – what’s the fashion culture like there?
Puerto Rican women are very fashionable, I think, in their own way. Women wear heels all the time, and you know, my grandma will put on a full face of make-up to go to the grocery store. There’s not that pajama-dressing sensibility that I think is more prevalent in America, at least that was one of the things that shocked me the most when I started college, seeing girls in their pajamas in class, like that would not happen in Puerto Rico. Women just want to look beautiful all the time basically, we love shoes, the higher the better, the more colorful the better.
How does it influence your point of view or aesthetic when styling?
I don’t think it does? Perhaps my love of color is a by-product of growing up in PR, but the beauty/fashion aesthetic there was certainly never mine. It’s all very voluptuous women, tight dresses, high heels, and I’ve always been much more of a tomboy, I think, I mean Gwen Stefani was my #1 fashion icon growing up, so I don’t really think that it’s influenced me. But maybe someone else might differ?
You’ve done a lot of work with Rookie Mag – are you close with founder, Tavi Gevinson?
Tavi and I met a long time ago, before Rookie and before blogs became a thing that people were interested in and making millions from. She is like my little sister. It’s so amazing all the things she’s accomplished and it’s crazy to think that the little 12 year old munchkin I met is this incredibly smart and talented woman.
In what ways has Rookie changed as she’s gotten older?
I think Rookie is more comfortable tackling more difficult subjects. Also Rookie keeps growing and including more varied points of views, which is also very important. But the core values remain the same, I’m sure they always will.
What’s it like over at Yahoo Style?
It’s really, really fun. The team is so amazing, and honestly, everyday I wake up stoked to go to work like “what will today bring?” I couldn’t be more pleased. The pace is really quick which I love, I think it forces me to be a better writer in a way, like, I can’t dilly-dally or procrastinate, it just needs to get done!
Was it tough transitioning to a more mainstream audience?
Not really! I don’t consider myself to be completely esoteric in my subject matter or anything, so it’s just like, adjusting what I’m writing about but I think my style remains the same. It’s cool to see what kind of things they respond really well, like, Tilda Swinton will not get any negative comments, which is kind of incredible? Her amazingness translates to all audiences.
We follow you on Instagram and loved your fashion week ‘grams – was this your first time to the shows in Europe? What was it like? How is it different than NYFW?
Thank you! It was my first time attending shows in London and Milan and omg it was so incredible! In London they make pains to note that “shows actually start on time,” which I thought was hilarious. In a way it’s all the same, the street style circus is always there, no matter where you go, but also over there it felt a little bit more personalized. Like, many shows put the names on the seats or in the program which feels really special. I think they put a bit more effort with the presentations over there, in London, Faustine Steinmetz turned this tiny room into a cabinet of curiosities, and it made you immediately fall in love with her and her work, and also understand her point of view. It’s not so much like, here’s a room and models are standing there, it was a bit more cerebral. In Milan we saw a great presentation of a jewelry brand where they had incorporated the pieces into these large-scale illustrations, sort of collage style, which was very cool. It was a bit more intense there in a way, because Dora, our Market Director, and I went to every show, and in New York the shows are split among the team. So we would leave the hotel in the morning and it would be non-stop until we got back to the hotel at like 11pm, and then it was time to write. It was very thrilling though, I’m not going to lie. It’s like, everyone is tired! We’ll sleep when we’re back in New York and it’s all good.
Top five favorite designers?
Jonathan Anderson is my current everything. I love what he does at J.W. Anderson and at Loewe. Being at the J.W. Anderson show in London was definitely one of the highlights of the season, his brain is just on another level, I think he can do no wrong. I love Proenza Schouler and I think I always will. This season I thought was so, so good and weird. I love when they go weird! Phoebe Philo at Céline, of course, who doesn’t love Céline? Her Fall collection was so sensual, god knows I would wear all of it head-to-toe if I could afford it. Nicolas Ghesquière, I will follow anywhere, and Miuccia Prada. She is my forever goddess.
Top five favorite designers to wear?
I wish I could afford to wear my favorite designers…but at least there are many websites where I can indulge without going broke (I’m looking at you, Yoox!). I still try to get my hands on as much Proenza and Céline as I can, which Yoox is good for. On eBay, I look for vintage Prada and Miu Miu and pretty much anything else that I loved when I was in high school but could not get my hands on for obvious reasons. I wear a lot of Acne and recently have become totally obsessed with Trademark, everything in that store, everything in their collection, I WANT. All of that gets mixed in with all my Zero + Maria Cornejo (where I worked for two years), and some cool things from that & Other Stories store that just opened in Soho, they have SO much cute stuff there. Is that five? That may be more than five, sorry!
How would you describe your personal style?
Tomboy for sure. I am a wannabe minimalist but I love color too much. I never met a man-shoe I didn’t like, so I think, a button down, a cropped trouser and a man-shoe is my ideal look. I do love an a-line skirt in a nice print, and you know, sneakers. Like I said, Gwen Stefani was my style icon growing up and some things you just can’t shake. What’s Gwen Stefani meets Phoebe Philo? I think I’m at the center of that venn diagram (or at least I aspire to be).
What’s the best part of your job?
Probably the people that I work with, it’s good to be surrounded with really awesome people that you feel like you have a lot to learn from. Also traveling, meeting cool people and picking their brain, getting to go to places I always wanted to go. Writing every day! That’s pretty sweet considering it was never part of my plan! Honestly, I have a lot of fun at work, everyone is just really funny and chill and I am just so, so lucky to do it. I do not ever forget that for a second.