In the ever-evolving world of fashion, one brand has risen above the fray, crafting a unique niche at the intersection of activewear and leisurewear: HAUS LABEL. Born from a Lower East Side-based showroom and consulting firm, Haus Agency, the label is a marriage of activewear and leisurewear that seamlessly integrates into the pace of modern life. From pilates to work, from cycling to dining out, the label’s versatile pieces are designed to adapt, eliminating the need for a wardrobe change.
Based in the heart of New York City and ethically crafted in Latvia, the brand is designed for the modern woman who values streamlined decisions. She’s ambitious and understands the power of self-expression through style, but she doesn’t have time to deliberate over her outfit choices. Founder Karina Trofimova explains, “That’s why the pieces are pared down in a way. She’s not afraid to jump on a city bike and ride somewhere if she needs to. She understands good style and aesthetics, and it’s important to her to show that with what she wears.”
The core collection boasts an array of everyday basics, including tops, bodysuits, shorts, leggings, and skirts among other pieces that you can throw on for any occasion. Among our top picks, the label’s V-Neck Bodysuit is a wardrobe staple that can be worn on its own or layered underneath your favorite pieces. Elsewhere, the Bike Short and Micro Mini Skirt make for the perfect companion when it comes to crop tops, bras, and slim-fitting tank tops. Just in time for the summer, HAUS’ swim range includes chic pieces like the Twisted Bikini Top and Adjustable Bikini Bottom as well as several more.
During our conversation with Trofimova, she provides an intimate glimpse into her creative muse: the women who inspire her designs. “I imagine someone who’s a strong, independent woman with a lot on her plate. She’s active and not pretentious. She doesn’t care to portray a certain image; she’s confident with who she is and has a quiet confidence.” This guiding philosophy is palpable in the designer’s minimalist, functional pieces that strike the perfect equilibrium between comfort and style.
Central to HAUS LABEL’s identity is the effortless mix-and-match versatility of its pieces. Trofimova envisions her creations blending harmoniously with existing wardrobes, liberating women to express their distinctive style uninhibited by fleeting trends. In embracing this ethos, the emerging brand nurtures connections, fosters a sense of unity, and emboldens women to revel in their individuality.
We caught up with Karina to find out more about how HAUS LABEL started, the design process, and how working with other brands primed her for launching the label. Scroll down to read the full interview.
How did you get your start as an entrepreneur and businesswoman? What led you to launch HAUS after doing years of brand development and community building?
Yeah, so I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. I think I’ve just always known that I want to own my own business. It’s always been a dream. Then in my early 20s, my friends got me into different business coaches and I was just really inspired. I started going to business seminars and learning about having your own business and how it’s actually very much all about people.
You have to really understand and have your heart in the right place. You have to want to help people. Then everything else kind of follows that, so I feel like that was really drilled into me. One thing led to another, and I started the agency. From the agency, I’ve been loving helping independent designers grow their businesses because when we start working together, maybe they’re not as commercial or just having started working with retailers, so we help them with that side of things.
It has just been super inspiring working with different designers. That inspired me to start my own brand as well, but I don’t have any design background; it’s more like a business background, right? So I didn’t want to jump in and pretend that I’m a big designer and crank out four collections a year. I don’t know, I live a very minimalistic lifestyle and quite active.
So HAUS naturally came one day. I was like, “Yeah, this is it” because I wanted to start a brand for a long time but nothing felt right or needed. Then when I got the idea of the activewear that’s also ready to wear, that’s when it felt like I have to do this. I feel passionate about this.
In a sense, did your past roles working with brands prepare you for the role you have now?
First of all, I felt super inspired because everybody that I work with is amazing. All of our brands in the agency have their own story. All of them have a set of values that they truly believe and represent. For me, that really showed me that if I was going to start something, I also need to know what I believe and what I want for this brand. Additionally, it helped me understand what works and what doesn’t work commercially, as well as what’s important for a brand to grow and succeed. I had the privilege to learn from processes that other people have gone through.
When you create clothing, what type of women do you envision wearing your pieces?
I imagine someone who’s a strong, independent woman with a lot on her plate. She’s active and not pretentious. She doesn’t care to portray a certain image; she’s confident with who she is and has a quiet confidence. That’s why the pieces are pared down in a way. She’s not afraid to jump on a city bike and ride somewhere if she needs to. She understands good style and aesthetics, and it’s important to her to show that with what she wears.
How important is it to you that your brand’s pieces can be easily mixed and matched to create multiple outfits?
Very important. That’s also why they’re so basic, so you can picture wearing them with everything. They’re made out of activewear and swimwear fabric, so they’re great for swimming, the beach, or working out. But I’ve seen girls wear our tops the most with their outfits when going out, like our bandeau bra and tube top. It’s important that our pieces can be mixed in with an existing wardrobe because I don’t want people to feel like they have to buy a whole new wardrobe or chase trends.
Bodysuits have become a staple in many people’s wardrobes, especially over the past several years. Can you talk about what inspired the Low Cut Bodysuit?
Yes, we have two bodysuits. One is the V-neck Strappy Bodysuit, which is inspired by the classic summer top that most women look good in. It’s timeless and flattering, with darts in the front and back and seamless straps. The other one is the Cut-Out Back Bodysuit, which reflects my fascination with subtle sexiness. The arms and chest are covered, but the back is all open—a nice surprise. I think that goes back to the quiet confidence I mentioned earlier.
With warmer weather approaching, can you tell us about your swimwear offerings? I absolutely love the twisted bikini top and adjustable bikini bottom!
Yes! So we have one top, the twisted bikini top which has a removable strap so it can be worn either with or without the strap. That one is specifically like swimwear, you know, bathing suit top, but girls again, have worn it under a blazer, which I think is a really cute look too. Then we have a bandeau bra, that one is like a sports bra. It has removable straps, but again, because it has removable straps, it kind of translates into this bathing suit, bikini bandeau as well.
So that one has a multi-use; it can definitely be used to work out but also as a really cute swimsuit top. Then we offer two bottoms. One is our adjustable bikini bottom. It’s super cute, with nice ruching. It goes really well with the twisted bikini top. And then we have the mid-rise bikini brief, which has really nice cutouts and just, you know, accentuates the body in the right way.
You launched your first collaboration with model and DJ Gilly this past month—what made her a perfect pick for the brand and what you all represent?
A big part of HAUS LABEL, the way I envisioned it, is more as a lifestyle, not just a brand. We’re not trying to have new styles every season; instead, we introduce new colorways maybe a couple of times a year. The bigger vision of the brand is to use it as a platform to tell people’s stories and tackle various significant topics.
So our first collaboration was with Gilly. She’s a really great representation of what HAUS LABEL stands for because of her beautiful and kind spirit. She loved the color that we chose, so we named it after her, and since she’s a DJ it made sense to throw a party to celebrate the collaboration. Her story is featured on our website in an interview and a campaign format. Everyone can learn more about her background and how she started DJing and why she’s so passionate about it.
Finally, what’s next for HAUS in terms of new collections or collaborations?
We are relaunching one new style in a few weeks. We’re going to do a micro mini, which can be worn as an underlayer or on its own with our bralette or even our bodysuit. We’re hoping to do another story, featuring someone, telling their story, and launching a new colorway, but that would probably be more towards the end of this year.