As a pioneering lifestyle and resort wear brand, Lisa Marie Fernandez knows how to build an empire which stands the test of time.
In this day and age, more and more lifestyle brands are launching thanks to the explosion of social media. Having become a saturated market, it’s difficult to stand out. But for Lisa Marie Fernandez and her eponymous swimwear and destination wear line, she’s stood out from the beginning because she was the first one in the field doing what she’s doing.
In other words: she launched an Instagram-worthy brand before Instagram was even around.
While Fernandez has now been running her own label for 13 years, she began her career as a Market Editor for Elle. With a clear love for fashion and creating images, she eventually became a fashion editor for Vogue and Numéro France.
It was this that naturally led her to launch her own brand in 2009, which was a direct reflection of her own lifestyle. “It was super simple and very personal,” the designer tells Emirates Woman of her transition from editor to fashion designer. “I was living a life of travel and exploration and created this whole world for myself – I just brought my own lifestyle to the brand.”
As for why she launched it was simple: there was nothing on the market that offered what Fernandez was looking for. “There was not one lifestyle brand that was approaching the customer to elevate their style in regards to travel and holiday,” she explains. “The only offer was a simple caftan and a triangle bikini. I would always love to get dressed for the beach – it is the best time to get super glamorous with little effort.”
So, the LMF brand was born. It all started with swimwear, pioneering the neoprene trend along with surf-inspired designs. These have since become staples in her collections over a decade on. As for how the ideas for the innovative designs came about, Fernandez reveals the brand “began looking at swimwear in a completely different light”.
“Our swimwear is approached as one would with ready-to-wear,” she explains. “We create all of our own fabrications and use a lot of ready-to-wear details. We began in 2009 with a new luxurious neoprene, then developed the terry cloth, and continued from there with seersuckers, jacquards, denim, PVC – so many new fabrications.”
After a few years in business, testing many different fabrics and designs, Fernandez took the luxury lifestyle brand to the next level by launching resort wear – or as she refers to as destination wear. “I refer to it as destination wear as it is clothing to take you to your next destination,” she says. “And that destination wear would be no different than your ready-to-wear except that it would be in more sensual, effortless fabrications that were mix and matched with your swimwear to get that LMF look.”
Since its inception 13 years ago, women all over the world are now wearing Fernandez’s designs including many notable names in fashion, too – Victoria Beckham, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner, Beyoncé, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, just to name a few. “I think every celebrity has been spotted in LMF,” Fernandez says.
As for her favourite, she admits she loves how Rihanna is able to put her own spin on her designs. “I love to see how the celebrity expresses themselves in LMF, such as Rihanna,” she says. In fact, the brand has become so popular, Fernandez has had to, on more than one occasion, call out fellow brands for creating knock-off designs. Including Victoria’s Secret and Triangl.
The designer was even forced to call out model-turned-swimsuit designer Emily Ratajkowski a few years ago after the launch of her line Inamorata. Fernandez filed a cease and desist against the line in 2017 in federal court in New York, accusing Inamorata of copying key LMF designs.
However, Fernandez puts the recognition of calling out knock-off designs down to the community and fans of the label. “Our followers are super loyal and, in many cases, they are the ones to bring it to my attention,” she admits. “They are very protective and get very angry.”
As for what the future holds, Fernandez is continuing to draw on her own experiences in order to create cutting-edge designs everyone wants, just as she has done for the last decade. “For the last 10 years, we have always managed to continue to innovate with new fabrications for the swimwear that is interesting but at the same time super flattering on the body,” she says. “The inspiration for my brand comes from my own personal experience – past and present – in many places and in many cultures.” And this, we guess, is what keeps consumers coming back for more.
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