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Lauren London on New L.A. Love Story Puma Collection, Honoring Nipsey Hussle, and Working With Hype

Lauren London has become a beacon for authenticity, and she’s carrying that energy into her second collection with Puma named L.A. Love Story dropping Nov. 11.

The footwear and apparel collection is inspired by Los Angeles, the city that raised her, and celebrates London’s love for her hometown, and the community that shaped her into who she is today. The items also feature an ode to her longtime partner, the late Nipsey Hussle, who had as much love and fervor for the city as she does. Some pieces in the collection are also emblazoned with a motto the rapper taught her: “It’s not on you, it’s in you.”

“LA is where I was born and raised and it really is such a thick stitch in my quilt,” London tells Complex. “The ‘Love Story’ part is just my love letter to LA in this clothing. And mostly on every piece, there is a quote that Nip would always say to me. And so that’s another honor and piece on the clothing that is dedicated to him.”

“As cool as the clothes are, it’s not even about that. It’s about who’s wearing it,” she adds. “And for me, just in my life, I owe so much to Hussle and I just always want to honor him and all that I do.” The L.A. Love Story campaign was photographed and creatively directed in collaboration with London and Hype Williams, which also transported her back to her roots. “I used to model in music videos. That’s how I started,” she says. “So to have Hype Williams, a legend and icon, actually shoot my campaign for a collection that my name was on, was a full circle moment for me.” The unisex collection is for everybody, she says, and it includes a mix of streetwear infused with her style, with prices that range from $22 to $110. It also features footwear and apparel pieces including a track jacket, track pants, hoodies, shorts, and men’s and women’s boilersuits, with a color palette inspired by the Los Angeles landscape.

Puma and London’s L.A. Love Story will be available exclusively first on the Puma mobile app starting Nov. 11 and will be available globally in select retailers and online at beginning Nov. 13. Complex chatted with London ahead of the release and she talked about her partnership with Puma, how her personal style inspired the new collection, her upcoming movie You People and more. Check out the exclusive photos from the campaign and our interview, edited for length and clarity, below.

I’m really excited. In fact, I’m nervous, which is rare. I don’t really get so nervous anymore. It means a lot to me. I put a lot of my time, a lot of my energy. I was extremely intentional with this release. And I feel very vulnerable with these pieces, because I really was heavily into designing and picking out fabrics and what these pieces mean and the name of the collection and who we used for pictures. So yeah, I’m extremely excited, because of the hard work and love I put into it.

We have to talk about the new collection’s name, L.A. Love Story. We know how much you love LA and how much that has shaped you, but what does this name, specifically, mean for you?

Well, I just wanted to stay authentic with just who I am, especially this being the first cool collection we’ve seen of me ever. LA is where I was born and raised and it really is such a thick stitch in my quilt. And then the love story part is just my letter to LA, my love letter to LA in this clothing. And mostly on every piece of the clothing there is a quote that Nip would always say to me. And so that’s another honor and piece on the clothing that is dedicated to him. The quote is, “It’s not on you, it’s in you.” Can you talk about what that quote means to you and what you feel when you see that stitched in these pieces?

Well, what it means to me is that no matter what we adorn ourselves in, your inner light is really what shines. Who you are inside really is what shines, your core, your values, your morals, and just who you are as a person, how your soul is made up. That’s really what you are and who you are.

So it doesn’t matter what you put on and whatever mask you cover up with, it’s what is inside of you. It’s not what’s on you, which I think is really dope to have on a piece of clothing as well. Because as cool as the clothes are, it’s not even about that. It’s about who’s wearing it. And for me, just in my life, I owe so much to Hussle and I just always want to honor him in all that I do.

How would you say that LA, growing up in LA, influenced your personal style? And how much of that will fans be able to see in this collection?

So this collection is really about my natural basics. I think LA, growing up for me, I was really laid back. I lived in a sweatsuit. I lived in a tracksuit. We have jumpsuits. It’s a unisex line. And that was very important for me too, because I wanted men and women to feel a part of this collection.

So really the laid-back style of the collection, the colors, just makes me feel like how—it is pieces I have in my closet that I would put on any day and every day. I just wanted to stay true to who I really am and not pretend to be anybody else.

Image via Puma/Hype WilliamsWe see you as being feminine but with an edge. Do you feel like that represents who you are as a woman?

I wouldn’t put myself in a box in that way. I feel like me, women and people in general, we’re ever-evolving. So I don’t put myself in that box. I think I put on what’s comfortable, what makes me feel good about myself, and however that shows up, that’s where I’m going to lead with. Working with Puma on this partnership, how was it teaming up with them to create the pieces that you’ve made together?

It’s been a beautiful partnership. They have really allowed me to be fully creative. They really are into my input and how I feel and things that really line up with who I am. It’s become a family to me at this point. We spent almost three years on this collection. Image via PumaWhat do you hope that when people wear these pieces, how do you hope that it makes them feel?

Good inside. I hope that people feel good and I hope that they feel intentional. I hope that they can look at the message on the pieces and remind themselves that it’s all about what’s in them, not on them. Some joy, some peace, and just a piece of me with them. People see you as someone who exemplifies what it means to put your best foot forward, even in the worst-case scenario. And then seeing you working on this collection is really inspiring, I think, for everybody.

Yeah, we can’t give up, right? Because we don’t know what’s on the other side. We got to keep going. Do you feel like working on this collection has given you a spark to be like, “OK, this is where I’m going to focus my energy”?

It definitely helped with being more mindful in my process. And I think being mindful in whatever process gives you a sense of purpose. And I think that’s important. Big or small. It doesn’t have to be a huge collection. It doesn’t have to be in front of a world stage. But I’m a huge firm believer that being mindful and intentional in anything that you do, does give you a sense of purpose. And I think having a sense of intention and purpose gives you the strength to put your best foot forward.

Then it shows in the product that you’re making. Oh, thank you. I love it. I legit wear, I have worn every piece in this collection. I’m not just throwing something out there. I’m extremely intentional about this collection and it feels really good in my soul. And I created it with Puma. So I’m just hoping that it is received in the way that it was given.

Do you have a favorite piece? I don’t. I knew that was going to be a question to ask and I contemplated, I thought about that last night. I said, “I know someone’s going to ask me, do I have a favorite piece?” And so I wanted to be honest about that. And I don’t. Only, because it depends on how you feel when you wake up. Or how you feel before you go out. So I feel like every piece, it touches over the mood. You know what I mean? I live in every piece.

If you like the product that you’re selling, that’s always a good thing. Listen, there were a couple of things in the collection that we thought we loved and by the time it got to sampling, we didn’t and we scratched it. So that’s what I mean. It’s so intentional. I did not want to put anything, I didn’t want to ride behind anything I couldn’t ride for, for real. I had to really love the piece in order for me to really back it up. This is who I am. Image via Puma/Hype WilliamsThat’s beautiful. Anything that you do, everybody’s waiting with open arms to celebrate with you. Oh, I hope so. Thank you. I think you’re going to love it. I hope so. There’s a piece and everything for everybody. And it is unisex. And Hype Williams shot the campaign photos and it was remarkable. He’s an icon in the culture for music videos and photography. How was it working with him on this? I saw a preview of the photos.

It was amazing. It was a dream of mine. I come from doing music videos, so it was a real full-circle moment for me. I used to model in music videos. That’s how I started. So to have Hype Williams, a legend and icon actually shoot my campaign for a collection that my name was on, was a full circle moment for me.

People are also eager to see you getting back into acting. We saw you in Without Remorse and now I know you’re working on You People. What more do you have in store and what kind of roles are you looking for in the future for your career? I’m just in the flow of life right now. I don’t have any set out goals as far as career-wise. I’m going with where God is leading me and I’m going with his expansion over my life. And if that’s acting that I love and whatever kind of movies that align with my spirit, I’m just in the flow right now. I’m really in the flow right now.

How do you know, as an artist, as an actress, or even with this [Puma] partnership, how do you know that this is the right step for you or the next move for you? I sit time. I meditate and sit still with myself. And it’s like a nudge. It’s a silent nudge and I just trap to trust it and move forward. With You People. Can we talk more about that?

Oh, for sure. Oh yeah. So that’ll be in January. It was an incredible time. I’m not sure of the dates or anything like that, but it was iconic for me, another full circle moment to work with people that I looked up to and was inspired by as far as Nia Long, Eddie Murphy, Kenya Barris. It was just like I was a full observer and I soaked up all of the gifts that were around me. It was a great project to work on. And I’m not just saying that. It’s really funny too, they’re comedic legends.

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