The holidays are fast approaching and sometimes finding the right gift can be quite the quest. We found just the thing for those who love history and/or are looking for a fashionable addition to their cosplay – Lorica.
Lorica, launched by revolutionary designer Elena Hutchinson, features a line of sustainable fashion for your hardcore history-loving heart. Using real medieval suits of armor to create modern apparel for everyday wear. Armor-inspired clothing designed to slay, wherever you take the fight!
We spoke with Elena about her inspiration and how the clothing line has the environment in mind.
Why Medieval? What draws you to it?
I grew up on myths and legends where knights rode through dark forests to slay evil beasts and claim crowns. Swords, shields, and shining armor have always been romantic images of a time where humanity had begun to learn to shape metal and stone in ways that had never been attempted before. There’s certainly something a little icky about our culture’s fixation with European history and iconography to the exclusion of all others, but I can’t help but be captivated by the gleam of steel and the majesty of stone palaces.
You’ve featured Henry VII’s armor. Any plans for upcoming historical figures you can talk about?
As of this writing, I’m heading up to New York to catch The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s show on the life and influence of Holy Roman Emperor Maximillian I! There’s doubtless amazing objects that will spark my imagination!
Your products incorporate used water bottles (which is super cool!). Before starting your line, was doing something positive for the environment important to you?
Lorica was actually my first step into making conscious choices about my footprint. At the time, I chose this recycled fabric because I liked its feel the best of my options, plus I too thought it was super cool that it saved plastic bottles from the ocean. Since then, as I’ve educated myself more and more about the environmental impacts of our consumption, I’ve made more mindful decisions in my daily life. I compost, and feed my small garden with that compost; I eat less meat; I swapped paper towels for washable kitchen rags; and I buy my fashion basics secondhand when I can. These are small things that will in no way “save the world” by themselves, but if we all made tweaks in our lives such as these, maybe we’ll collectively start to make a difference.
Looking over your website, you feature a variety of models and sizes. How important was/is it to you to have clothing for all bodies?
It’s always been a goal of mine to make my pieces accessible to as many people as possible. Our made-to-order production process really allows us to stay nimble, and provide a high level of customization so we can offer a wide variety of options. Made-to-order means longer lead times, but I think in an age where you can order something on Amazon and have it on your doorstep in a few hours, we be reminded that some things take time. If you’ll regret purchasing it in a few weeks, did you really want it that much in the first place? This way, we make sure we only make clothes to match demand, so excess inventory doesn’t end up in landfills the way it does in so much of the fashion industry.
For more information on Lorica, read on:
About: Originally launched as a Kickstarter campaign back in March of 2017 with the hope of raising $10,000. Instead, Elena went on to raise almost $200,000! Due to that success, the clothing line expanded its sizing to include plus sizes and men’s fits. Each marvelous design is based on a real historic suit of armor. Some of which are on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“Lorica” is Latin for body armor; in Christian monastic tradition, a lorica is a prayer of protection.
What makes Lorica unique: They are the only athleisure brand that can have you looking like a real historical knight at yoga class. The pieces are not just inspired by real armor, but designed to replicate them in exact detail, down to the number of rivets. In addition to bringing epic medieval fantasy vibes to your daily life, it gives women the chance to try on armor. Traditionally an icon of male authority and power, the adaption of armor for women is an extraordinary part of the brand.
Henry VIII design: Particularly satisfying for Elena was adapting Henry the VIII’s armor, infamous for his sequence of wives (divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived). Giving modern warrior women the chance to wear his armor to yoga class, the grocery store, or the club. His suit of armor was also the first to catch her eye at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and make her think, “I would totally wear that.”
The Henry VIII design has been available in leggings, men’s fit, and plus size since the Kickstarter. The new pieces added to the line are the one-piece, skater dress, and sports bra. As it’s the most popular design, it was a no brainer to provide more ways to be adorned in armor!
“This dress is fierce! I never thought that I could wear something that makes me feel so powerful, confident, and feminine at the same time…” – Liz, ★★★★★ (skater dress review)
“…The fit is fantastic, the knee of the image falls in exactly where my knee is, the waistband is not too tight and not to loose, they are just so comfortable! Dare I say it, they are even flattering, which is always a concern.” – Alyson, ★★★★★ (leggings review)
Sustainable fashion: Each garment is made in the USA by female-owned businesses with fabrics derived from recycled bottles. Lorica’s dedication to slow fashion and sustainable fabrics help the eco-conscious customer buy smarter. About 25 plastic water bottles go into each pair of Lorica leggings. Every piece in the line is made with recycled materials.
87,600: approximate number of plastic bottles recycled in the making of Lorica leggings (as of July 2019)
About the owner and designer, Elena Hutchinson: Growing up Elena devoured her brother’s Dungeons and Dragons Monsters Manuals. From that seed, she’s grown her love for all things medieval. Frustrated that she couldn’t stride around daily in pauldrons and chain mail, she created Lorica. A fashionable yet functional line of clothing for warriors, while providing the comfort of yoga pants. A year after the Kickstarter, there was so much demand she left her job as an art director in advertising to pursue Lorica full-time.