Entrepreneur Lizzie Grover Rad Pivots to Fashion That Cares

In 2022, a woman’s body will be liberated? Based on the fall of Roe v. Wade the answer is a resounding no. But even before the Supreme Court’s devastating reversal, Lizzie Grover Rad was pondering the issue and its implications, as the basis for her fashion brand Grover Rad’s inaugural collection, which launched this spring. Titled Collection 001, the debut line isn’t afraid to tackle risky issues like reproductive freedom, physical autonomy and what it means to be an open-minded woman in today’s world. “It wasn’t a safe choice for me, but it was an important part of my creative process,” she says Cultivated. “I researched historical text and imagery about how women were treated in the past and contrasted what I found with our current reality. History repeats itself.”

The Los Angeles-based designer has always had an interest in fashion and art, but her career path has been anything but linear. “It hit me halfway through my freshman year at the University of Colorado Boulder: I liked architecture and design, but I wasn’t doing well in school and I wanted to get through it,” she says. Grover Rad transferred to George Washington University, which unlike other programs did not require advanced training. There, with several classmates, she founded Zoom Interiors, a virtual interior design service that, after being renamed Hutch, grew into a wildly successful startup, where Grover Rad oversees over 100 designers around the world. However, Hutch proved unfulfilled, and during the pandemic, she parted from the service. Self-taught, Grover Rad decided to take her aesthetic passions in a different direction and switched yet again to launch her eponymous fashion brand.

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A woman leans against a wall next to a sculpture.
Lizzie Grover Rad, founder of the Grover Rad fashion brand.

Grover Rad’s strictly edited first collection intelligently and subversively combines the interests of its maker, offering a mix of tailoring, denim and silk. Trompe l’oeil Tops and leggings in blue and dark red depict the body of a topless woman, while a denim shirt and trousers set features a mix of recipes once believed to be witchcraft, collected from women burned at the stake in the 16th century became. One of the more eye-catching pieces is a voluminous red chiffon dress that hosts an etching by Hester Prynne The Scarlet Letterr by Mary Hallock Foote from the second edition of the book. “Having an artist published back then was pretty revolutionary,” explains Grover Rad.

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But perhaps the plays that have garnered the most attention are in collaboration with comic book artists Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Sophie Crumb, who are mother and daughter. “They’re autobiographical artists who created a four-page comic based on memories of their abortion stories over the course of 40 or 50 years,” says Grover Rad. “It’s the first time two comic artists have worked together.” You find those stories on a reversible opera coat as well as on a plaid denim coat, a silk dress, a scarf and a t-shirt. They exude a raw honesty that drew its fair share of anger on social media in connection with the issue. But the designer was prepared: “I didn’t mind at all.”

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This confidence in the face of risk has always driven Grover Rad to pursue new ventures, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be judged by how her lineage will perform in the future. She currently releases two collections a year, with the second due out this fall. “I want to try to find a middle ground between tradition and things that feel right to me,” she says, not planning to get into the fashion week fight just yet, if at all. “I’m pretty antisocial and prefer intimate situations.” Spoken like a real fashion designer.

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