Fashion > Modern Fashion Designers > INTERVIEW WITH LEANA PARHAMI OF LEANA TANK TOPS BY SHABNAM REZAEI
Demi Moore to Baywatch's Traci Bingham (left),
this famous tank top not only debuted
at the MTV Movie Awards but has been a major hit with fashionistas
from California to New York. This week, we had the chance
to speak with Leana Parhami, the savvy creator of these
delicious tops. The 24-year old entrepreuner,
her design career four years ago with her famed teen
accessories aptly named Chugbuds. Since then, she has
been designing for a more
mature and well-heeled crowd. Her couture tank tops have
made headlines in many major fashion magazines and shows. Below
is an excerpt from our discussions
did you grow up?
was born and raised in Albany, New York, which is where
my parents settled after leaving Iran before
the revolution. My father practiced medicine there
for over 20 years. It was a great place to grow up
but there were not many Persian families there. I can
count maybe about 10 families in all. We were pretty
close to them since their kids were
all around the same age as
me and my sisters.
PM: Where do you live now and what made you
live in Los Angeles with my whole family. I did not
really want to go to LA at first. As my parents are
getting older, my family wanted to
live in a place where
weather was better. We also have a lot of family in
LA. We moved here about five years ago.
did you come to design clothes and what made you choose
got started in fashion when I was 20 years old, which
was several months after our move to LA. I always
had ideas for accessories and clothes growing up but
not much of a fashion outlet in Albany. My studies
were in Psychology but on the side I started making purses
and accessories and selling
them to local stores, like every other designer, right?
I didn't want to keep doing that forever so I decided
approach Rampage with my ideas. I got my first purchase
order from Rampage a few months later and it all
started from there. They started selling the flower
a huge hit. Windsor, Fred Segal and many more stores
followed after that. We got a lot of press from magazines
like Cosmo Girl, Teen People, Source and
the like. I would set up my own appointments and go meet
of any chain I could think of.
kinds of clothes do you design today, and who are some
of your clients?
I am designing Couture Tank Tops after 3 years of doing
accessories for the teen market. It was getting difficult
to make a living off of accessories because the stores
would not pay much. Also, as I get older
I want to do something that is more sophisticated
was always wearing ribbed cotton tank tops so I decided
to take them to another level. As of right
now our tank tops are selling in over 100 boutiques
around the US. We just also started distribution
in Canada. Some
celebs that are enjoying my tank tops are Nicole
Richie, Traci Bingham, Janet Jackson, Ashlee Simpson,
has influenced your work the most and what do you admire
was always more inspired by young entrepreneurs like
Dina from Hard Candy and other young women who have
accomplished so much. I do enjoy Cavalli and Versace
but I'm not really a hard core fashion person. I
just like to make products that are chic but comfortable
and fun! I admire people in general
who are hard working and kind more than anything
because that is hard to find. I have been very
you been to Iran and what do you think of the Islamic
dress code in Iran?
have been to Iran twice, once when I was too young to remember
and another time when I was 14. I thought it was a beautiful
place, although I would not want to live there because
of the dress code. It was nice seeing family and just
about how rich and beautiful our culture is.
The highlight was a trip to an underground club, which
I didn't even know existed.
people were dressed just like the clubs here in the States.
Overall, it was a great experience and I hope to take
my children one day. As far as the dress code goes, I
personally don't agree with it being forced. If
it is one's personal choice to be covered then
it is ok but a lot of girls wear clothes just like
we do here in America underneath their chador. There is
obviously a lot of girls wanting to be free to express
themselves and I think it is just a matter of time
before things change.
are you working on next?
am planning to focus on expanding the classic ''Ribbed
Tank Top'' and really branding myself with that. Leana
Couture Tank Tops will be releasing new designs every 3
months. I think fashion goes too fast and I really don't
pay attention to what other people are doing. I think people
should take the time to absorb each individual design.
More than anything I don't care about success or money
of that nature. I just care about being happy and staying