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Arts + Lifestyle

From The Desk Of... Varley's Lara Mead

With a love of movement and a passion for creating timeless, modern pieces to suit the multifaceted lives of women, Varley founder Lara Mead takes inspiration from the elegance of London and the laidback lifestyle of Los Angeles.

As her family-run athleisure label is about to reach new heights, we talk to Lara about all things work – including what sparked her interest in activewear, her travels, and the exciting new update for Varley.

How do you start your days?

I wake naturally at around 5.30AM…I drink a large carafe of warm water and lemon which I have by my bed. I then make myself a coffee or matcha with cashew milk and lots of cinnamon. I usually check emails and catch up on anything that’s happened overnight in the USA office while listening to BBC News. Once my two children are up, I make breakfast for us all. They love porridge and I tend to have Greek yoghurt with nuts and berries. Mornings are usually chaos getting them dressed for school before my nanny arrives. Most mornings I work out or walk my dog, then head to our office in Soho, London.

What’s your go-to uniform?

I love comfy pants so you’ll often find I’m in a pair of Varley Double Soft pants which I dress up with a nice knit and pair of boots. If I have meetings and need to look smart, I wear a trouser suit. For my morning workouts, I’m always head-to-toe in Varley. As it’s been so cold this season, I have been living in the Payton Puffer Jacket; it almost doesn’t matter what you have underneath, it’s so warm.


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Describe your workspace…

I have an office at home which is in the eaves of my house. My good friend Tom Cox from Ham Interiors helped me create the space. It has beautiful raspberry-coloured Gucci wallpaper and antique furniture. The space is so beautiful and it really helps me be as creative as possible if I need to work from home.

Define your aesthetic…

Elevated, classic, cool.

Identify something in your workspace that’s special to you…

I have all the Varley lookbooks on my desk from the past 8 years! Even our very first one. It’s amazing to remind myself how the brand has evolved.

What are your workplace essentials?

My laptop, a carafe as I drink loads of water and a table lamp (I hate overhead lighting).

What time of day are you at your most creative?

Between 5.30AM and mid-day, I’m a morning person!

Work takes you most frequently to…

LA as we have an office there, but I also travel to NYC equally as much.


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What’s your go-to lunch order?

In London: The Good Life Eatery frittata and courgette soup is my current fave.

What is the most rewarding part of the job?

Seeing products come to life on photoshoots, plus seeing women around the world enjoy the brand – and look confident and stylish in it.


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And the most challenging?

Keeping up! We have so much going on at the moment, especially as we are opening a flagship store in London this Spring. It’s all so exciting but is constant. I struggle to switch off.

What did you study in school or university?

I went to Manchester Business School and got a BSC in Business Management.

Where are you from originally?

The Eden Valley on the edge of the Lake District.

What was your first job?

I worked for the professional footballer’s association at university.

What first sparked your interest in activewear design?

I was a track runner from the age of 10 and competed at club level. I trained every day from a young age so active clothing was part of my every day.


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Do you have a mentor or inspirational figure that has guided or influenced you?

I’ve had a few through different stages of my life. My father-in-law, Peter Mead, has been a huge inspiration to myself and my husband (who I also work with) and has supported me professionally and personally over the last 14 years. More recently Ron Dennis (who is an investor in Varley) has been a huge inspiration and guidance. I’m also lucky to have a small group of wonderful female friends who all work and/or run their own businesses.

What are you working on right now?

The opening of the flagship store in London.

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