Entrepreneur Lizzie Grover Rad turns to fashion that cares
In 2022, is the female body liberated? Based on the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the answer is a resounding no. But even before the devastating reversal of the Supreme Court, Lizzie Grover Rad pondered the issue and its implications as the basis for her fashion brand’s inaugural collection Grover Rad, launched this spring. Titled Collection 001, the first line isn’t afraid to tackle risky topics like reproductive freedom, bodily autonomy and what it means to be an outspoken woman in today’s world. “It wasn’t a safe choice for me, but it was an important part of my creative process,” she says. Cultivated. “I researched historical texts and images of how women were treated in the past and juxtaposed what I found with our current reality. History repeats itself.”
Fashion and art have always interested the Los Angeles-based designer, but her career path has been far from linear. “Halfway through my freshman year at the University of Colorado at Boulder, it hit me like a ton of bricks: I loved architecture and design, but I wasn’t good at school. and I wanted to get it over with,” she said. Grover Rad transferred to George Washington University, which, unlike other programs, did not require extensive training. There she co-founded Zoom Interiors with several classmates, a virtual interior design service which, after being renamed Hutch, has grown into a wildly successful startup with Grover Rad overseeing over 100 designers around the world. However, Hutch proved unsatisfactory, and during the pandemic she parted ways with the service. Self-taught, Grover Rad decided to take his aesthetic passions in another direction, once again shifting gears to found his eponymous fashion brand.
Grover Rad’s carefully edited debut collection fuses its designer’s interests in a clever, subversive way and features a mix of couture, denim and silk pieces. Optical illusion dark blue and red tops and leggings depict the body of a topless woman, while a denim shirt and trouser ensemble showcases an amalgamation of recipes once mistaken for witchcraft, collected from women who have been burned at the stake in the 16th century. One of the most eye-catching pieces is a voluminous red chiffon dress that features a print of Hester Prynne from The scarlet letterr by Mary Hallock Foote from the second edition of the book. “For a female artist to be published at that time was pretty groundbreaking,” says Grover Rad.
But perhaps the pieces that garnered the most attention were done in collaboration with mother-and-daughter comedy artists Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Sophie Crumb. “These are autobiographical artists who have created a four-page comic strip based on memories of their abortion stories throughout 40 or 50 years,” says Grover Rad. “This is the first time that two female comic artists have collaborated.” You’ll find these tales printed on a reversible opera coat as well as a plaid denim coat, silk dress, scarf and tee. There’s a raw honesty to them, which when coupled with the topic has proven to garner its fair share of ire on social media. But the designer was prepared: “It didn’t faze me at all.”
This confidence in the face of risk has always driven Grover Rad to embark on new adventures, but that does not mean that it is not measured by the evolution of his line in the future. Currently, she releases two collections a year, with the second due out this fall. “I want to try to find a happy medium between tradition and doing things that suit me,” she says, not planning to enter the fashion week fray just yet, if ever. “I’m quite antisocial and prefer intimate environments.” Spoken like a real fashion designer.
Subscribe to the Cultural newsletter
Of course, we can be close friends. Unfiltered access awaits.