When it comes to accessories and blankets, Malibu natives Amber Laforet and Barbie Herron have their hometown covered — including with their first collaboration, Indian Summer Resort, with Malibu Magazine.
What happens when two self-described “hippie-bohemian-beach-cowgirl-punk personalities” come together to form a business that draws inspiration from their Malibu hometown roots? Head Regal, a lifestyle brand conceived by natives Herron and Laforet who met as students at Colin McEwen High School. After re-connecting two decades later, the women finally put their plan into action, launching their home and travel-savvy line of blankets and bags. Now, just in time for fall, they have partnered with Malibu Magazine to launch the Indian Summer Resort collaboration — a color-soaked, dip-dyed raw denim blanket collection, inspired by their coastal hometown.
“As much culture and diversity as Malibu has to offer, it’s the ocean, sunset and mountains that set the pace for a more laid-back beach culture that we all come back to. We feel that through color therapy, we are tapping into that with our dip-dye blankets.” Launching the week of Aug. 11 on malibumagazine.com, the limited-edition collaboration boasts covetable queen-size blankets in a number of colors, dip-dyed on one side, and covered in plush fuzz on the other.
The duo’s line not only takes cues from the founders’ Southern California lifestyle but also their commitment to family, which was emphasized when both founders simultaneously emerged from divorces. “Over sushi one night, we decided to join forces after discussing the importance of not losing one’s individuality after having children and, furthermore, focusing on keeping family tradition in the home after divorce,” explains mother-of-two Laforet, a photojournalist whose work has taken her around the world, including stints living in New York, Kentucky and Prague. “With five children between the two of us, we had to figure out how to start a company and actually become designers.”
Their inspiration came in the form of another group of business-minded females: the village women of Rajasthan, India, known for sitting together in circles and swapping stories as they sewed one-of-a-kind kantha blankets from saris during the 1970s. Drawn to the handcrafted aesthetic and the blanket’s signature running stitch, the Malibu moms set about making plans for bag and blanket designs as well as reversible slipcovers and headboards. The duo also connected with a family in Jaipur that purchases the kanthas from surrounding villages and puts them in the hands of the Head Regal team. In 2012, Head Regal made its debut.
“The idea for us was always simple: to be able to set the styles and simply switch the materials out each season,” explains Laforet. “We spent the second year presenting our creations to mamas in Malibu at private sales and getting into local private boutiques,” she says of the line, which is now carried locally in Malibu boutiques such as Pistol and Lucy, Babakul and Malibu Market & Design as well as 30 locations around the country, and online. “The connection between us, our products and other women was kinetic.”
But it wasn’t just women who fell in love with the products. Earlier this year, the women launched Cozy Courage, a nonprofit dedicated to providing blankets to children undergoing treatments for life-threatening illnesses — a cause all-too-close to Herron, a mother of three whose son, Lyon, was struck with a rare form of cancer 18 years ago. The diagnosis prompted her to explore the world of alternative medicine for potential cures, which lead her down the path of ayurvedics. This resulted in the born-and-raised Malibu native opening Malibu’s Wildflower Spa.
Alongside Laforet, Herron’s entrepreneurial and healing spirit continues to guide her toward helping people in the form of Cozy Courage blankets, made by five female seamstresses in Mexico, who, in turn, are able to support their own families with the money they make. Currently, 10 percent of all online sales for Head Regal are earmarked for the nonprofit; 10 percent of sales from the new Indian Summer Resort collaboration with Malibu Magazine will benefit Cozy Courage, too.
In addition to the upcoming project with Malibu Magazine, the duo is also hard at work on a soon-to-debut Native California line, which brings together design elements such as Japanese denim with lasered feathers, tie-dye, corduroy, leather and patchwork.
“All of what we create is inspired by our creative friends, loved ones, children and, quite simply, how we live,” says Laforet. The two strongly believe that to live the Malibu way of life does not mean that you just go to the beach every day. It means that you love to travel, love being at home, love your people, love mama nature and love the creative mind.
by Lesley Mckenzie