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The Designer Who Made Vacationing Her Life's Work

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Vacation is designer Anna Laub's full time job. Her line Prism began as an eyewear collection in 2009, which grew to sunglasses, then swimwear and cover-ups, followed by sandals and beach bags, with everything being made in Europe. "I can now say that I can clothe myself from head-to-toe on holiday!" the British designer told Racked.

For most fashion brands, these categories are shuttled into resort collections, reserved for just a slice of the year. Laub has managed to blow out this niche, becoming a year-round source for stylish, well-made, and versatile "vacationwear" pieces. Much like the success of athleisure—the marriage of casual daywear with athletic clothing—Prism cleverly combines smart fabrics and stylish silhouettes to transform items that once would be considered beach-only to truly wearable day-to-day. Espadrilles are sidewalk-ready in smooth, durable leather, a knee-length tank dress designed as a cover-up in a quick-dry material can easily be styled for non-pool days, and one piece swimsuits have elegant necklines and surprisingly rich materials so they can pass as a top under shorts or a skirt.

We got the details from Laub on how she managed to make the clothes and accessories you pick up for a trip her everyday business. Check out our interview with the designer below, plus see her fall mood board and favorite items from the upcoming collection.

Five Questions With Anna Laub

What were you doing before Prism, and how did you wind up launching the business?

I was a journalist for eight years before launching Prism. I was doing a lot of traveling, and working in all different aspects: styling, trend development, editing—I had done it all.

Why were you attracted to optical initially?

I was simply searching for my perfect pair and couldn't find them. I wanted to combine the idea of a functional product with a fashion aesthetic.

Tell me about your growth: what categories have you added, and how did you decide to expand into each.

After optical, I launched sunglasses and swim together. Again, I was concentrating on the idea of functional but fashionable products. I couldn't find what I was looking for in swim, so I set out to make a product that makes women look and feel as good as they can on the beach, with a focus on detail and quality.

From there, I started to fill in the gaps. Espadrilles came from a collab idea with Opening Ceremony. We experimented with different fabrics and leathers and I wound up developing an entire collection. Next came beachwear and bags, now sandals.

You recently became a mother—congrats! Has live as a mom inspired or impacted Prism at all?

I wore Prism beach cover-ups from the beginning to the end of my pregnancy. They were about the only items in my wardrobe that worked the whole time! It gave me an appreciation for another aspect of these clothes.


Prism's fall 2015 mood board

Walk me through your mood board, what are you thinking for fall? (Particularly the horse, bottom left, what's up with him?)

Isn't he so unusual? Amazing color! There were lots of animal inspirations this season, especially for patterns, which inspired the materials for swim fabrics. As with every season, the Prism look is very clean and minimal, with color and fabric being key.

Lightning round!

Favorite vacation spot so far?
Negril, Jamaica.

Dream travel destination?
Borneo or Bhutan.

Song you can't stop playing this summer?
"Nobody Has to Know" by Kranium.

Coffee or tea, and how do you take it?
Iced latte please, no sugar.

8am or 8pm?
8pm (even with a baby I'm still no good in the mornings!)

Denim or dresses?
Dresses—simple, comfortable, easy.

Blue Ivy or North West?
Blue Ivy!

Anna's Fall Favorites