The Danish model-turned-designer on building a great wardrobe, her grandmother's inspiring style and the advice tattooed on her arm.
By Tessa Trudeau
"Dress the way that makes you shine the most," says Anine Bing from sunny Los Angeles, where she lives and works. The former blogger-model-influencer and now successful fashion designer's own style exudes a blend of LA-cool and Scandi minimalism. That confident contrast formed the basis of her international brand, now available at Nordstrom.
Bing started her self-named fashion label in 2012, based on her personal mix of edgy, vintage-inspired pieces and elevated staples. Soon, off-duty celebrities were spotted in her styles. "I remember when I had just started the brand about seven years ago and I saw Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in our leather pants and leather jacket—that made me really excited," says Bing. "I get as excited each time, no matter if it's a woman on the street or a celebrity wearing the brand."
"The collection has developed a lot," Bing tells us, "but I still go back to the core of my style and what I think every woman should have in their closet." What should we have in our closets? Bing walks us through the pieces she can't do without and how she's stayed true to herself—and her style—since the beginning.
You began your line with denim, a few tees and a black leather jacket. Why those pieces?
I had been on a hunt for the perfect denim for so many years. I have maybe a hundred pairs of denim but none of them were exactly how I wanted them to be. So it was my chance to create my dream denim, and then that perfect white t-shirt that I thought everyone should have in their closet and a great leather jacket.
What other basics should women own?
A good blazer. I love an outfit with a pair of denim, a t-shirt and then a really nice blazer—it really makes you feel put together. And then I think a great pair of boots—whatever those boots are for you—but something that looks cool and comfortable. I love army jackets as well—that's another piece I never get sick of and keep designing. And then of course maybe a couple of blouses and shirts. And during the wintertime I love a good chunky knit.
Do you have any style advice?
I have a tattoo on my arm that says, "be true, be you." It's about staying true to who you are and to yourself and it can be applied to any area in your life. I think for style, really stay true to yourself and don't dress for others—dress for yourself and how you feel the best. The same with work—follow your dreams and don't try to please others. Do whatever excites you and what makes you wake up happy in the morning.
You used to be a model. Is there anything you learned that you've carried with you?
Just the power of a good outfit. It really can change your mood from what you're wearing. When you put on an outfit that you feel badass in and feel like you can conquer the world, then that translates into how you shine and perform throughout that day.
How has your style changed since living in LA?
I've been here almost 15 years, and when I came here I was wearing a lot of vintage pieces and was a little more experimental with my style. Now I've really found out what I feel my best in and am just a little more classic today. Back then I was even more rock 'n' roll and edgy.
Do you have a style icon?
I love Jane Birkin and looking back at all of her amazing outfits throughout the years. And then my grandmother was my style icon. She was amazing. She was a Brazilian woman who came to Denmark when she was in her early 20s. Her style was very unique, and I still get inspired by all the pieces she wore and her amazing handbags and jewelry.
What motivates you in your work?
I just love making pieces that empower other women. There's nothing that makes me feel better than feedback from the women wearing the brand and how it's changed their life and changed the way they feel about themselves.
What's the best thing about living in LA?
The creativity for sure—I love the individuality. You can really be yourself and no matter what it is you want to achieve here there's nobody judging you I feel. And I love the sunshine!