Countless origin stories are set in garages. The germ of the idea for Apple came while the founders were hanging out in Steve Jobs’ garage. Bands from Weezer to the Ramones used them for early jam sessions. For Anine Bing, her Silver Lake garage space generated not a personal computer or a series of radio hits, but a fashion line that would travel further than her wildest dreams.
“I didn’t have plans to have a bunch of stores around the world” at the outset, she says. Instead, she wanted to design the kinds of clothes she would wear: 10 simple pieces. “I thought everything was so overcomplicated,” Bing explains. She took a page from L.A.’s rock ’n’ roll history with faded, vintage-feeling rock tees and whittled-down leather pants that looked straight out of Daisy Jones & the Six. She just wanted to make clothes “you could throw on, and feel good in.”
People who’ve since thrown on, and felt good in, Bing’s designs include Meghan Markle, Taylor Swift, and current Anine Bing campaign star Kate Moss. The groundswell started when celebrity stylists suddenly began making pilgrimages to her garage to pick out looks for their clients. Then buyers got interested. Since then, Bing has opened 21 stores worldwide. (“I can barely keep track.”) She says she wants the spaces “to feel warm and welcoming.…The thing I don’t like about the fashion industry is when people are cold and not kind. I don’t want that in our stores.”
Part of the label’s appeal is that it’s built around a personality. Like other
influencers-turned-designers—Emily Oberg of Sporty & Rich, Matilda Djerf of Djerf Avenue, or Elin Kling of Toteme—Bing is the best billboard for her brand, and her 1.2 million Instagram followers covet her lifestyle just as much as they do her clothes. She even comes by the rock ’n’ roll thing honestly, with a past life as a musician, during which she wore pretty much what she designs now. Her Danish background “shaped me as a person,” she says, and she spent family vacations visiting relatives in her grandmother’s homeland of Brazil. She’s inspired by both places, but particularly by her adopted city of Los Angeles, where she moved 20 years ago. (She now lives in Markle-beloved Montecito.)
If there’s one item that has become synonymous with Bing’s look, it’s the oversize blazer, so immense it almost veers into power-dressing cosplay. She shrugged one on right before our interview, in fact, because “I knew I was going to talk to you, and I feel good when I throw on that blazer.” (She’s also relentlessly on brand, clutching an AB logo coffee cup.) Whether you’re working from home or in the office, “it feels good to put on something you feel good in, and then you do a better job and feel more confident,” she says. I mention the idea of enclothed cognition, or the way what we wear influences how we feel and behave, and she nods. “Yeah, it’s a powerful thing. It’s a real thing.”
So powerful that in 2018, the brand received $15 million in Series A funding from Index Ventures, Greycroft Partners, and Felix Capital, VC firms that have also invested in companies such as Goop and Glossier. She recently expanded her reach to the Chinese market, and she’s made inroads into new categories, namely candles and fragrances. What’s next? “I love the beauty space, and it would be a big dream,” she says. “It’s nothing we have planned quite yet…but one day I would love it. I love makeup.” And as with her clothes, she says, “If I do it, I want to make it super-easy, not overcomplicated. Just a few products.”
This article appears in the December 2023/January 2024 issue of ELLE.
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Véronique Hyland is ELLE’s Fashion Features Director and the author of the book Dress Code, which was selected as one of The New Yorker’s Best Books of the Year. Her writing has previously appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, W, New York magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and Condé Nast Traveler.