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Cool & Classic

Anh-Minh Le | October 21, 2016 | Story Fashion

Lauren Podoll had been a regular shopper at AB Fits when—with an interest in becoming a buyer as her impetus—she went to work at the San Francisco boutique. “What I thought was a job that would maybe last six months ended up being a number of years!” the Peninsula native (and Castilleja School alumna) recalls with a laugh. During her four-year stint at the store, she attended trade shows and fashion week events, as well as learned about running a small business, fitting, curating and “the psychology of retail,” as she puts it. And, fortuitously, she met her husband, Josh, through the retail gig. At the time, Josh was making reconstructed vintage T-shirts, which Lauren’s colleague suggested that AB Fits carry. Soon, his goods were in the shop, and the two were dating.

In 2003, they began producing organic cotton T-shirts with their own silk-screened and embroidered designs. They eventually added woven tops, pants and dresses to their repertoire and, in 2009, officially launched their namesake label, The Podolls. According to Lauren, a common thread that runs through their pieces is the quality of the textiles, attention to design and cut, and the craftsmanship behind their clothing. “We try to consider fit and comfort and versatility,” she says. “We have a lot of pretty classic silhouettes that we’ve done season after season; people keep coming back for them.” For example, the Winged blouse, a simple button-front shirt with shirring on the sleeves, appeals to a range of clients.

Three years ago, they inaugurated a brick-and-mortar outpost in Burlingame; a sequel opened last year in San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood, which Josh and Lauren also call home. Now parents to 5-year-old son Dashiell, with a daughter due in October, the couple started a kids’ line: The Podots. Accessories, apparel and housewares by independent artists and designers—Tiro Tiro jewelry, Clare V. handbags, Chimala denim and Ben Medansky ceramics—round out the inventory at The Podolls stores.

The brand’s fall collection, which is rolling out now, marks its foray into sweaters. Among them is a lightweight roll-neck; a cozy poncho; and a handknit patchwork pullover in natural, undyed shades of gray—all are made in Peru from baby alpaca. Additionally, the husband-and-wife team are exploring a new motif for their silk garments: florals, which Lauren describes as “moody and feminine.” She continues: “We like the process of newness—it’s invigorating; it’s challenging. At the same time, though, there’s a beauty to maintaining the relationship with customers, keeping things fresh yet recognizable.”

251 Primrose Road, Burlingame, 650.389.2346

Originally published in the September issue of
Silicon Valley

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