Oh La La: An Interview with Funky Lala's Angela Lowe

Oh La La: An Interview with Funky Lala's Angela Lowe

by Luiza Oleszczuk

In a time when you can find every runway trend at H&M, a boutique that still cares about a woman’s individual style is priceless. Angela Lowe, the owner and head designer at Funky Lala, a glam East Village fashion haven, proves that you can be up-to-date with the contemporary look while not renouncing your fashion personality. CP chitchatted with Lowe about her “modest” beginnings with celebrity musicians, the local New York style, and putting it all together to create a unique fashion consciousness.

Lowe started her a-la-mode crusade with a fanfare, designing clothes for rock behemoths like Aerosmith, Alicia Keys and Nellie Furtado. Then came the ritual of fashion shows and, finally, designing her own line. The website kicked off about 10 years ago, and a slick boutique followed close on its heels.

“I started redesigning and reaching out to other people, not just rock stars,” recalls Lowe. Her boutique now carries over 70 designers’ lines, including Vivienne Westwood, Tashkent, Gary Graham, Lisa Levine and Sissi Rossi. According to Lowe, there is no other East Village boutique that carries such a multitude of designers.

“I don’t think that Funky Lala is about trends, but more about style,” says Lowe, as we perch on a fluffy sofa in the boutique’s ‘relaxation corner.’ Bottles of wine and a plate of cookies are carefully arranged in front of us. “And I think that we don’t shop for trends, we shop for quality. Trends are overcoming the market right now. We try to go more for style. We want to provide great style and fashion, but I don’t buy what’s trendy. I buy what’s good.”

With such a high bar for in-store merchandise, Lowe spares no expense in finding the best designers on the market and getting their lines to Funky Lala.

“I’ll go to Paris, I’ll go to different countries, and I’ll browse the designers out,” says Lowe. “I also read a lot of trade publications; I go to trade shows. Often they would find me. I also see what people are wearing on the street and I’ll ask them ‘What is that?’ ”

As Lowe informed us, Fall fashion will celebrate silhouettes, and motorcycle jackets, big, baggy trousers and plum colors while also enjoy five minutes of fame. For her favorite in-store pieces, she points to a pair of black baggy pants, leather leggings, some chunky jewelry, a Rebecca Minkoff handbag and a cute, skinny plum mini dress.

 “It brings it all up,” says Lowe about the dress, cupping her breasts with her palms and lifting them in an unambiguous gesture. “A stylish person knows how to draw from trends to emphasize her own individual style.”

Every boutique has its bestsellers. If one item flown off to the shelves into the shopping bags of glam femmes, it’s Rebecca Minkoff’s handbags. Lowe attributes their popularity to the high number of celebrities who don their elbows with the luggage-inspired totes. When it comes to shoes, Tashkent is the ultimate highlight, while Gary Graham leads trend-setters in clothing.

Lowe’s careful, piece-by-piece editing of inventory has drawn celebs like Gina Davis, Sarah Silverman and Lisa Lo Cicero to drop by from time to time. Aside from celebs, you can meet a local female crowd, as well as internationals and fashionistas from all over New York, all browsing the items at this East Village staple. While many veteran shoppers are confident, chic individuals, some of clientele is often still unsure—and that’s where Funky Lala’s staff comes in.

“There’s a big number of women to whom their friends’ opinions are important; or who need to be shown how to wear things,” explains Lowe. “That’s a younger market, generally. That’s a woman who is still figuring out her style, and she needs help putting it together. And there’s another type of a woman, who’s very decisive. She knows what she wants to wear, and she knows what looks good on her. She can just come to the store and pull out something in two minutes.”

To enhance the friendly and chic ambience, Funky Lala encourages a loungy factor. That includes the garden sales (Thursdays thru Sundays) with complimentary cocktails and a slick place to hang out with your fashion-conscious friends.

“We encourage lounging just as much as shopping,” Lowe laughs.

Click here for more info on Funky Lala, New York NY


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