We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Citron and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
For years before starting my own brand, I had been managing and buying for luxury vintage clothing boutiques in New York City. When I moved to Nashville, I had the opportunity to open my own edited vintage clothing store called, OPIUMvintage. It was a delight, and a dream come true, but I soon felt the strain of having to replenish these one-of-a-kind items when they sell. As a solution, my partner Andrew Clancey, fellow clothing designer for the line Any Old Iron, gave me the idea to find inspiration in my favorite elements of vintage, and reinterpret them with a modern lens. He said, “If they sell, you can create more!” I made a small collection that sold out, and my fashion designing career was born!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Growing up in Louisiana: For me, fashion is fantasy! I grew rural Louisiana with a fabulous mother who kept all of her sequined gowns and metallic jumpsuits from the 70’s and 80’s. Her closet of treasures instantly transported me to a world of fun and glamour, and my favorite past-time was inviting friends over to dress them up in her clothes for my fashion shows! My hope is to elevate and shake up the mundane, every day clothing and lives of my customers and to let feel those same special moments I felt in my mother’s closet! How did I get from there to here? Although I dreamed of working in fashion, I truly thought it was only a dream because I did not know a single soul in Louisiana who had ever worked in the fashion industry. I went to college at Louisiana State University (LSU) to study broadcast journalism. At the time, my cousin was working as producer on a television series in Los Angeles and offered me a summer job at The Tyra Banks Show to see if I would like the entertainment side of tv. After helping out in various departments, I eventually made my way to wardrobe. This is where I realized I could actually make a living in fashion! What came next was the biggest leap of my life. I returned home, applied to the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in NYC, and was accepted! I dropped everything and moved to New York without knowing anyone in fashion, or anyone at all. Many thought I was insane. To me, taking a risk has always outweighed the fear of not taking a risk and missing out on an opportunity! After graduating in NYC, I tried out many different positions in fashion. I worked as a buyer, trend forecaster, stylist, and more. I pinch myself every day that I somehow navigated this illusive career path that brought me to where I am today! The moral of the story? DO WHAT YOU LOVE! Life is too short. If you want something bad enough, go for it!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Nashville is an incredible city and I LOVE showing it off! It’s history is steeped in country music, but it also offers so much more than that! To start with, no trip to Nashville is complete without a stroll down Broadway where the honky tonk bars live! It’s a touristy strip, but locals gather at Robert’s Western World for a slice of real Nashville! It’s where Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn got their start, and their live music is dedicated to old school country.. you’ll hear all those good Johnny Cash hits, and there’s plenty of room for dancing if you’re so moved! Try to catch a concert at the Ryman Auditorium if you can.. they call it the Mother Church. It’s a historic church, turned music venue where the original Grand Ole Opry was broadcasted. For dining, Nashville has excellent southern food, but also showcases one of the most competitive culinary scenes in the US. Monell’s and Arnold’s Country Kitchen will check your “meat and three” box. The whole hot chicken thing has really gotten out of control with too many people trying to cash in, but Prince’s Hot Chicken is the original, and can’t be beat! I live in East Nashville, where creativity and art abound. My neighborhood can’t miss eateries are Mas Tacos Por Favor, Lou, and Once Upon a Time In France. Chopper and Pearl Diver are cool, elevated tiki bars. Barista Parlor is THE coffee shop! As for shopping, *shameless plug* no trip to Nashville is complete with visiting my partner’s newly opened store, Any Old Iron, in Nashville’s famed Music Row! Andrew has become the city’s go-to for dressing musicians, celebrities, and fashion-forward peacocks in his glittery, sparkly, show-stopping clothing! You’ll also find my own collection here, too! We’re a sparkly team!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
After moving from NYC to Nashville, I attending my first Nashville Fashion Week (NFW) two weeks later, and had no idea what to expect. I was BLOWN. AWAY! NFW is a world-class fashion week that features national and international headline designers, while also promoting Nashville’s emerging designer talent. Betsey Johnson, Anna Sui, and Christian Siriano are a few of NFW’s alumni. I have to shoutout co-founders Connie Cathcart Richardson and Marcia Masulla because they believed in me enough to give me my first runway show, which ultimately launched my career! Nashville is lucky to have this organization and these two incredible forces to spotlight the growing community of designers that exist in Nashville!
Daniel Meigs Jason Atherton Nick Verbenec Dylan Reyes Brian Batista