It’s always an amazing experience to be able to connect with the variety of people that make up Atlanta’s creative identity.
As a grassroots effort, THE LAB brand was founded by artist, fashion designer, certified Yoga teacher and Georgia native, Lindsey A. Barnett. Representing a message of strength, truth and freedom and rallying for love, WETHELAB.com is a curated lifestyle publication and shop.
I recently had the wonderful opportunity to have a lovely, warm evening with Lindsey Barnett, founder of THE LAB, over wine and cheese at her home studio in downtown Atlanta. Through our conversation, I gained some truthful insight on the super cool and uplifting brand that she has been pouring her heart and soul into for years! She believes that through art, Yoga, and words, we may all help each other heal and achieve balance, which ultimately creates a more peaceful and high vibrational life.
Here’s a peek into Lindsey’s creative world and her brand mission. Enjoy!
Learn more and shop her brand at:
So we are live with Lindsey Barnett, in THE LAB.
We started off with a couple of “Ohms” and we’re feeling very zen right now.
Lindsey has a wonderful selection of cool apparel that’s well inspired and pretty awesomely artsy, a niche of her own.
Awe, my heads getting bigger by the second, thank you!
So kind of scratching the surface here, first question!
What is THE LAB?
So THE LAB is a brand. L-A-B are my initials and some people recognize that immediately and some people don’t. It’s okay, regardless of what they know about it, but they are my initials, Lindsey Anna Barnett.
So when I founded THE LAB, I simply just wanted to create a professional way to sign off on all of my freelance art, which I started doing about 5 or 6 years ago now. What happened was that it turned into me creating a private label for freelancing to help me get my foot in the door with new experiences in the Atlanta area in order to create, create, create. So my tagline was “THE LAB, a place where creative things happen.” So it started as an experimental ground.
It’s a place where my heart goes to when I need to get some creative juices out on my own. It’s a pretty big concept, but most people know it as fashion.
So we have THE LAB, and we know what THE LAB is, but what got you into starting THE LAB?
I always knew I was going to be a fashion designer since I was about 7 years old. My mom has some sketches I did from when I was tiny, and I have NO idea where I got the idea from. I think I was just born to be a fashion designer. I went to school for fashion design, I graduated and went into the corporate world, but it just wasn’t really what I had dreamed of. “The devil wears prada,” is real, and there are just a lot of fiery people out there trying to battle it out for creative control. Unfortunately, corporate America is just being stuffed into a desk doing the grunt work for this brand that has already been created. So you’re not able to be creative at all when you’re working for a big fashion label.
There’s a lot of greatness and experience that can come out of working for a huge label, but when you’re a young creative soul who is just dying to get creativity out, it really is not a conducive environment. So that’s why I started it. I didn’t start it thinking I was going to create something insanely huge, however, I will tell you that when I was creating the name, THE LAB, to harness this concept for my freelance work, I felt something special with it. I felt like, “okay there’s some magic and fire under this,” you know?
I thought to myself, “hmm, maybe I’ll even create other brands underneath THE LAB name.” I thought these thoughts 5 years ago, but I never verbalized them because, it’s almost like, you feel super vulnerable starting something of this caliber by yourself. Furthermore, you’re like, “holy shit this could be something bigger than myself; this could be a positive platform for other artists too!”” Also, I felt like the results of my fiery efforts were going to show up somewhere in the future. I felt, and still feel, this insanely powerful need to break a lot of boundaries with it and beat a lot of norms.
So, backing up here on my timeline: when I was right out of college in 2008, the economy crashed again. A lot of change to our entire globe started happening while I was in high school and college, but I wasn’t wrapping my brain around all of that, because I was too immature. I wasn’t thinking on that level, but looking back, that was another reason I ended up starting THE LAB. I felt like people weren’t doing life right, and I knew that you didn’t have to be miserable going into work everyday. You didn’t have to have meetings about meetings about meetings. You didn’t have to email each other when you’re sitting in the same room. I just knew there were better ways, and corporate was so wrong on so many different levels. I think humans just needed a change. Of course I didn’t think I was going to change the world, but at the same time, I felt in my heart that had to start making an impact on even a small level.
If you don’t mind me asking you, what corporations did you work for? Will I get sued if we talk about this? (This has been looked into, no worries everyone (: )
Let’s see, when I was in college, I interned for Macy’s Merchandising Group, where I worked for a private label in Manhattan. Then, when I graduated college, I worked for Victoria’s Secret’s sub label, Pink. I worked in Product Development on the knits and intimates design teams. It was fun and a great resumé booster for sure! Outside of work, people smiled whenever I’d say the words “Victoria’s Secret,” because you think of hot girls and pretty lingerie. It’s what America knows Victoria’s Secret as. It was great, and then I worked for Spanx here in Atlanta. I got kind of shoved into the intimates world and I’m not really sure why. Ha! I sort of fell into it… I didn’t search for that, it just kind of happened.
So, then I realized that if I stayed in Atlanta and continued to do fashion and/or any type of creative branding or whatever, then I would definitely need to start my own thing; because the fashion label headquarters choices are extremely limited here in Atlanta.
So outside of THE LAB and more into Lindsey Barnett, is there any other kind of deviation from THE LAB? Any other projects or maybe people you like to work with/for?
Yeah! So now the evolution of THE LAB has basically become an umbrella brand for a lot of projects that I do. THE LAB kind of is essentially me in a way, you know? It’s a place, it’s a person, it’s me, but it’s also a brand and a label. It’s a lot of things in one.
There are some futuristic fashion sub labels under THE LAB brand that I’m waiting for the right time and resources to come along to start.
Then there are also a ton of collaborations that I always have going on behind the scenes with various other artists I’m brainstorming with. I’m constantly working with musicians, all up and coming. That’s one of my biggest passions because music is such a high vibration for any type of creation, and I need music while I create, it’s huge! So when I’m working with musicians, those projects just kind of turn into EPIC creation parties! Epic. Creation. Parties. Styling, merch work, event planning, etc.
So despite what I may know, what are these bands that you’ve worked with and/or are currently working with?
Let’s seeee. I’m picking my brain a little bit. I don’t know when I started working with musicians. I think I was in New York actually, and another project I had before THE LAB was a little fashion label I created with a friend. It was called Sweet Tea, and we would work, not necessarily with musicians, but we would work around musicians a lot. So we were doing fashion shows, selling in restaurants all around NYC.
So I think that was the spark of working with music for me. Music became part of my creation process on an intimate level. When I came to Atlanta, I kind of carried that here. So when I started THE LAB, I started going to a ton of arts and music festivals, and that’s when I started to meet more mostly independent musicians and artists.
I worked with a girl out of Asheville, NC and her name is Laura Michaels. She’s a folk artist. I did a ton of her merch shirts; they were very sweet and pretty.
Then, of course everybody in Atlanta knows Trash Panda now and I worked with them somewhat recently.
I’m also now starting to work with Indee, formerly Indee Killed the Pop Star. She’s my freshest creative spark!
I like to work with just one musician at a time. If you start to do these creative branding projects all at once, then their aesthetics start looking the same. I want to end up styling each of these unique musicians with distinct, separate and clear directions, because that’s what they deserve.
So currently, yeah, I’m with Indee.
Whaddup, Indee! She’s my homegirl!
We sat here on my loft bed and hashed out ideas until 3 o’clock in the morning one night! It was great.
Oh, that brings up an interesting question. So you mentioned the word “inspiration” a lot. Are there any other designers, artists, painters, anything of the sort that has inspired and molded you into how you yourself create?
Yeah, of course! So I’m always digging through magazines. I’m always browsing through Vogue, and that’s been one of my favorites lately. I’m just trying to sophisticate some taste levels in my life all around. So Vogue is a big inspiration, and from that, I always find high-end designers and musicians and whatnot in ads. Apple just put out this really cool ad for iTunes where they did this whole-like fashion spread, and every fashion designer spoke about why fashion and music go hand-in-hand and I was so stoked! It made me feel like I really wasn’t the only one, which of course I wasn’t, but when you see your inspirations in a high-end fashion magazine, you feel like you’re on the right track. It’s just a good sign.
Specifically, I’ve been gravitating towards, Alexander McQueen, who has passed now, but his brand still lives on. His work has always been super dark, and I’ve always been known to be super bright, bubbly, and super tie-dye, but to be honest with you, I got a little burned out. I still love and have it here in my studio, and that will always be a part of my soul, but I love the dark side of fashion and music too. I think that’s why it was refreshing to work with Trash Panda.
Everyone loves a little dark side. Alexander McQueen has brought balance into my life and has left me gravitating more towards that kind of work.
So do you line yourself up more with Darth Vader, or Luke Skywalker?
God, neither! What about Princess Leia?! I like her haha.
Real fast now, I’m making it a point to ask everyone this question. Do you have a favorite TV show that might inspire you?
Uhm, I gave TV up actually. I have not owned a television in a very long time. So, no. The answer is no. I’ll become a normal person again after I leave this whole “woman cave” that I’m in right now, but for now, no television. I’m just all about the moon and the stars.
I’m gonna wrap it up here now… Is there a message behind THE LAB that you want people to understand, or maybe feel, or resonate with better? You’ve mentioned communities, self expression, wanting to reach out to more empathic women, so is there anything you want to say to those people?
Yeah absolutely. So my messages are always changing and evolving a bit just because that’s the way life is, right? However, there’s one message that seems to constantly shine pretty brightly, and that’s just 3 short sentences:
“Be Strong. Be True. Be Free”
The reason why I think this message is super important is because for me personally, building THE LAB brand as a whole has been such a process that it is truly where I derived the message.
The number one reason people fail at starting any type of business is because of emotional turmoil. Not because of money, or labor, or limited resources even. You could list a million reasons for why a business would fail, and the number one reason is emotional turmoil.
So if you can help yourself through any type of endeavor in life, just remember those 3 things, and you’ll feel so much better about yourself. This is where the yoga comes in.
The word Yoga means: to align your true and authentic self with your personality, your ego.
If the whole world would just stop for a second, sit down, maybe do some ohms, or not, maybe just breathe, and connect with that freedom that is totally accessible to you right here and now, no matter what you’re going through, or what chaos is happening around you or maybe you’ve created, if you can connect with that free freedom through strength and truth you will very much be where you want to be. That is really my ultimate message from THE LAB probably for forever.
Thanks again for reading, cheers!
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Written by Anthony Prince