The Vena Cava Girls On Their Dream Costco Collaboration & More!

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We’re still buzzing (no, not like that) after our no-holds-barred fashion fete with Rand + Statler and Vena Cava last Thursday. And, if you’re itching to see the visual result — have at it. In between sips of Lorenza Rosé and stuffing ourselves silly with Sift cupcakes, we managed to snag a minute with the lovely duo behind the quirky line. Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock sat down with us to talk about everything from their dream collab to the evolution of the brand and even favorite rappers. Not only did we learn a lot about the girls, but we walked away itching for a trip to Costco? How so, you ask? Read on to find out!
So, you guys recently celebrated your 10-year anniversary. How have you seen the Vena Cava girl change over time?
Lisa: "Our first collection has a special place for me, and a lot is still really valid. There was definitely a dress thing happening, we were both really into them, but we’ve grown up and so has the collection. And, there’s a lot more separates now. We’re thinking of it as more of a wardrobe and we want to cultivate more of a method of dressing."
Vena Cava has definitely expanded into a lifestyle brand, and now you have ‘Zina Cava. What is the inspiration behind the latest issue?
Sophie: "The latest issue is about housekeeping and that came from the idea of loving housekeeping and home magazines like Martha Stewart and vintage issues of Good Housekeeping. We wanted to make something that was basically directed toward our friends."
Do you have any home-décor idols that you look up to?
Sophie: "My home-décor idol is my great aunt, who I think is an artist that was never allowed to be an artist. She has a black and white condo! One half is black and one half is white. You will literally go shopping with her and she will find something black and be like, ‘this is for the black side.’"
Lisa: "For me, it’s more like people who did interiors. People in the ‘70s that are very minimal and kind of modern — Ettore Sottsass, who founded the Memphis Collective, is kind of my personal hero because his stuff is beautiful but funny at the same time, which is always great. It’s like our goal with Vena Cava, it is beautiful but it’s not too serious, so I really relate to that."
Speaking of humor, you guys worked with Lena Dunham pre-Girls. What was she like to work with?
Sophie: "Really nice. She writes so much about female friendships, you could tell when you worked with her that she knows how to have girlfriends and she is a girls’ girl in her own way. She was really sweet and loved the clothes, and was not a diva. She was just a really nice, genuine, unaffected person."
Since we're on funny girls, we loved the film you did with Lizzy Caplan. Do you intend to do a sequel to that?
Sophie: "Definitely, yeah! That’s the big joy and pleasure of watching that whole thing come together and have it take off the way it did. We never expected that it would have the impact that it did."
Do you feel like it was a pretty accurate representation of some of the fashion videos out there today?
Lisa: "Totally, and with Viva Vena, even more than Vena Cava, it embraces humor. So, to do something that was comedy-based for that was just a natural fit."
Speaking about your lower-priced line, Viva Vena — what was the inspiration for it?
Lisa: "For so many years we’ve have had a lot of fans, even a couple girls here tonight, who when I ask if they own any pieces, they say ‘No, you know, I’m saving up.' And it was kind of a pattern that we saw a lot. It felt like all these things kept pointing to the same idea that we needed to create this offering."
We heard that your ultimate collaboration is with Wu Wear? Is that true?
Lisa: "That was kind of a joke, but I feel like a lot of our ideas start out as something we’re joking about, and then they kind of become real, so maybe! I think it would be hilarious to do something like that."
Sophie: "The realistic one that might happen is with Costco. We’re big fans of Costco, and we’d love to be able to design some dresses that you can buy while getting your off-price salmon! It’s the most democratic way to shop, or the truly low-brow, anti-department store, and I think it would be so fun and cool to make something for Costco shoppers."
So, since Wu Wear is such a dream team-up — who are your favorite rappers?
Lisa: "Lil’ Kim could represent. Generally, a lot of female icons. I just want to say that our thoughts and our prayers are with Weezy. Just want to put that out there and make sure he is okay. My taste in hip-hop is pretty classic. I loved Snoop Dog before he was Snoop Lion."
You guys originally bonded over thrift shopping. What is one tip you can share?
Sophie: "I would say that the best vintage or hand-me-down things are the ones that are unexpected. Maybe the things that you wouldn’t normally wear. I think that’s how you truly get authentic style."
Lisa: "Also, shopping in the men’s section when you’re at thrift stores. So much great stuff is in the boys' or men’s sections, and a lot of people ignore them."
What's next for you guys?
Sophie: "We are going to continue to make our ‘zines and we’ve just launched Viva Vena in a bigger way, and that’s a huge focus for us right now. Ideally, we want to create a Vena Cava world. And, we see Vena Cava not just as clothing but also as a world that exists and includes home items, clothing, food, and books."
Photo: Courtesy of Vena Cava

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