Heather Franco designs the clothes you want to live in—literally. Comprising resort, swim and loungewear, the Corona del Mar-based brand, LVHR (short for Love Her), partners with ethical factories and dye houses in LA to create collections that are not only sustainable (even shipping materials are 100% recyclable), but cozy, sexy and easy to wear. It’s unfussy luxury in soft, natural colors like white, olive, indigo and rose. Swimwear is vibrant and flirty with a variety of fun botanical prints to choose from.
Q1. How did you get started as a designer?
Heather Franco: I began my journey as a designer by working in my mother's small clothing company in Arcata, California. Growing up there, I learned valuable skills such as sewing and gained a comprehensive understanding of the entire business. I relocated to San Francisco to pursue studies in ethnic dance but found myself enrolling in FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising). Afterward, I had the opportunity to intern and work at various companies, both small and large, where I designed menswear, womenswear, childrenswear, and accessories. Approximately nine years ago, I moved from San Francisco to Newport Beach to oversee a sleepwear intimates' company in Los Angeles. Following its closure in 2018, I ventured to establish LVHR.
Q2. What would you describe as your main source of inspiration?
HF: Typically, I start my creative process with either a captivating print or a unique silhouette. My primary inspiration comes from vacation travel. I envision myself on a getaway, contemplating the items I would love to bring along.
Q3. Let's discuss sustainability. Has it always been a passion of yours?
HF: Having grown up in Northern California, with the magnificent Redwood National Forest as my backyard, I was instilled with a profound awareness of the environment. Following many years in the fashion industry, working within corporate and startup environments, I aspired to establish a supportive, sustainable, and eco-friendly company, led by women. Given my hands-on experience in every aspect of running a company, I am able to empathize with each individual I encounter while working on the brand. Additionally, I personally sew a significant portion of the garments, and I collaborate with a trusted local Levis-approved sustainable factory where everyone receives fair wages and proper care. I aim for every facet of my line, right down to the sourcing of yarn, to be ethical and sustainable. Throughout the production process, we prioritize waste reduction and the well-being of the environment. I exclusively produce limited runs with minimal fabric usage or utilising found deadstock materials, adapting our designs accordingly.
Q4. Currently, which piece is your personal favorite?
HF: At present, my favourite style is the Taylor Jumpsuit in black linen—I practically live in it.
Q5. What inspired you to pursue building your brand and bringing it to life?
HF: Throughout my career, I have played a pivotal role in creating successful fashion lines for various brands, often behind the scenes as the secret designer. Eventually, I took a leap of faith and decided to establish my own brand.
Q6. What were the biggest challenges you faced when launching your brand?
HF: The primary challenge I encountered was self-financing.
Q7. Why do you believe sustainability in the fashion industry is crucial?
HF: Sustainability in the fashion industry holds significant importance because, having been raised with an environmental awareness, I recognize that the fashion industry is one of the major contributors to environmental harm. We have the responsibility to do better; there is no other choice.
Q8. Could you share the most valuable lesson you've learned while working in the fashion industry?
HF: The most valuable lesson I've learned is that life is short, and while we're not curing cancer, clothing serves as an expression of who we are. It's essential to love ourselves, our bodies, and the clothes we wear, and to care about how they are made.
Q9. Can you provide insight into the fabrics and materials you use, as well as the reasons behind your choices?
HF: All of my fabrics are either deadstock or made from organic, recycled natural fibers. I specifically select fabrics that possess durability, and softness, and provide a positive tactile experience.
Q10. What sets your products apart from others?
HF: My clothing stands out because it represents true slow fashion, well-crafted to withstand multiple seasons rather than following fleeting trends. It's not about constant production; instead, I focus on creating timeless styles that flatter and fit various body types.