SOLOW Owner, Daniella Clarke Chats Social Distancing Fashion and Community Outreach

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If this quarantine has taught us anything, it’s that no matter who we are in the grand scheme of society, we all put our pants on one leg at a time. For designer Daniella Clarke, perhaps the only different is those bottoms may have a dipped waistline.

After all, Clarke was one of the pioneers of the low-rise jean movement back in the early 2000s when she founded Frankie B. jeans, named after her rocker chic daughter, Frankie whom Clarke shares with husband and former Guns N’ Roses guitarist, Gilby Clarke.

Her cutting-edge crops inspired SOLOW to create lower-rise underwear, and now Daniella Clarke is the creative director and co-owner after selling Frankie B. Her daughter Frankie while not the namesake of Clarke’s current brand continues to be the muse.

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“Every time [a new SOLOW piece] comes out that’s new [Frankie’s] like, ‘uh, hello! Am I going to get some?’ I always looked at her and think, what would Frankie wear? Now and I run everything by her because she’s so young such a cool chick. And once I’ve got my Frankie stamp of approval, it’s good to go,” Daniella gushed on the phone with me. “The thing I love about her look is that it’s not contrived. She marches to the beat of her own drum, which is what I love about musicians.”

While Daniella and I chatted on the phone to discuss SOLOW’s SS20 collection, it was clear that our conversation would go beyond the clothes. Daniella and I are members of different generations and different walks of life (I am very much not married to a rockstar, for instance) but the first words we asked each other were, “are you and your family doing okay during this pandemic?”

“Yeah, we’re all home,” Clarke commented when I ask her if she is sheltering in place with Gilby and Frankie. “Even though we’re all together, we’re also very independent. A lot of times, Gilby’s either in the studio working on something or in the garage working on a motorcycle, which he does pretty much most of the time. If he could just fling his guitar over his shoulder and ride his motorcycle, that would just be the ultimate for him. Frankie is in the studio with him or in her room writing and recording herself, and I’m doing my thing.”

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Her thing is a mixtape of running SOLOW, her podcast “Honest AF” with fellow rocker wife, BarbaraAnne Wylde and providing Coronavirus relief. The Clarke family shares a street with fellow musicians, which gave Daniella the idea to gather them all to virtually record a single together that would raise money for local businesses impacted by the pandemic.

“We know how fortunate we are,” Daniella explains. “Other people are really, really struggling right now, not just struggling financially but struggling physically and health wise, and that’s been the most upsetting part of all of this. It’s the least we can do.”

Hearing all of this, I have a different perspective about her loungewear. It’s not just an aesthetic—it’s an ode to who she and her family are to their core. That’s why the SS20 SOLOW collection contains rocker chic notes inspired by Daniella’s loved ones and her glory days on tour with Guns N’ Roses.

“Being on the road influenced me. Musicians are really free people, especially with the way that they dress and present themselves. Basically, anything goes. Even when we’re invited to a black-tie event like a wedding, when my husband Gilby walks out of the room in a pair of black leather pants and a blazer, I’m like, ‘perfect,’” Daniella mused. “Music, whether current or from my past, has always a huge inspiration. I’m really into patterns right now. Whether geometrical, abstract pattern, even like old-fashioned ones like houndstooth. You’ll be seeing a lot of that in the next collection.”

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When I asked Clarke how she wants women to feel when wearing her pieces, she told me that she wants them to feel supported.

“I want them to feel sexy and empowered. It’s always been my philosophy that you should be able to work out and then still go out and not feel self-conscious about being in sweats,” Daniella explained. “That’s how I feel right now too. I can stay in my SOLOW leggings or joggers and still go to the grocery store and look put together.”

As we human beings all spend more time with our families during this season curled up at home and only going on excursions to the grocery store, we’re clinging more and more to comfortable clothing, myself included. Like my fellow fashion girls out there, I’d like to sport loungewear with some style and edge.

“At first I thought, why am I doing an interview about fashion that’s so silly right now? But then I was like, you know what? People want distractions and a sense of normalcy too,” Daniella said.

This SOLOW ensemble was kindly gifted to me. All views are my own.

Keeping it Krischic, 

Kristin Vartan

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Forward thinker with a Vintage Soul. Editor and traveller with a love affair with words and whimsical wardrobes. Follow me on my journey to amazing sights through the lens of personal style.

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