It’s hard to talk about women’s streetwear without talking about the LA-based Hellz Bellz and its sister brand, BOTB (short for Belle of the Brawl). The unapologetically in-your-face, naturally cool labels are the brainchildren of Lanie Barcena, a Pilipina American designer. Also known as “misslawn,” Barcena gave us a sneak into her life and her daily grind.
What was it like starting Hellz Bellz?
Starting Hellz Bellz started pretty organically. I didn’t go into it thinking or even hoping it would turn into a full on business. I was young, super creative and busting in the seams to simply design product that I loved… to put it simply, Hellz Bellz started out as a hobbie and from an honest place, which is why I truly believe it became successful.
Hellz Bellz is a brand known for being bold, strong and dynamic. Who/what inspires you as a designer?
I’m inspired by music ranging from hip hop to punk to ska to even classical and jazz. Music is always the soundtrack to every collection. In addition to music, I’m heavily inspired by cultures I’ve either encountered, studied or have been immersed in. All which is very broad BUT I tend to pick out elements that I relate tor gravitate toward, and it’s usually the anti / aggressive / strong yet empowering elements that catch my eye.
Describe the quintessential Hellz Bellz woman.
She’s a fashion forward, street savy, non-apologetic boss who sticks to her guns and gives fellas a run for their money. She has a voice and isn’t afraid to use it, using it to inspire, motivate and empower… and did I mention she’s sexy as fuck both inside and out?!
What is it like being a female in the male-dominated streetwear industry?
There was a time when it was a bit daunting but now it’s not even something that I think about. However, it is pretty nice to know that I can hold my own amongst all these guys.
What has been the most memorable moment of your fashion career so far?
There isn’t one moment in particular. This whole rollercoaster ride that I’ve been on since 2005 has been memorable. Seriously, it’s been the best and worst time of my life all at the same time BUT I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world.
But ok, if you were to twist my wrist and make me choose one… I’d say the night of my Hellz Bellz x Vans release party in NY a few years ago. It was such a monumental moment being able to finally release a project I had worked so diligently on for over a year with a company I so greatly admired to not only fashion editors, bloggers and celebs BUT also to people that I’ve looked up to forevvvver. That was really an amazing night and milestone in my fashion career.
What can we expect to see Hellz Bellz in the coming years?
Hopefully bigger and better things.
Describe yourself in ten words or less.
Creative. Controlling. Petite. Passionate. Silly. Loyal. Short Tempered. Loving. Ridiculous.
Name your style icons.
Favorite piece(s) that you’ve designed:
Belle of the Brawl Stadium Jacket
Vans x Hellz shoes (all of them)
Mata Hari x Hellz Bellz Speedy Satchel Bag
Black Scale x BOTB Stadium Jacket (coming soon)
Life motto or words you live by:
If you don’t grind, you’ll fall behind.
Life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.
(Photo credit:Grant Yoshino)