That’s what Lauren London calls her Forever Stronger collection with Puma, which drops on Friday, June 25.
“Forever Stronger is an affirmation,” says London over the phone. “It’s just for you to walk around with a message that can remind yourself or somebody else that’s reading your hoodie or your T-shirt. And it’s easy, simple pieces you can wear.”
London started working with Puma in 2019 following the death of artist Nipsey Hussle, her partner and the father of her child, who had an existing relationship with the company through his brand The Marathon Continues. London picked up the baton with a powerful campaign video that was released in December 2019 announcing the partnership. In the video, which was created by London, directed by Danny Williams, and edited by Matt Tolkin, London recites a poem written by Nipsey’s sister Samantha Smith and takes the viewer through the streets of Los Angeles, which is where she’s from and where she built a life with Nipsey.
“Puma was so caring and respectful and very gentle with me and gave me the creative freedom to choose my collaborators and control how I wanted to announce the partnership,” says London. “We didn’t want to make a blank announcement. We wanted it to be authentic and for it to mean something. And Forever Stronger is such a message that is really authentic to me.”
London has done campaigns with Puma over the past two years, but this will be her first collaborative collection with the brand which includes a T-shirt, hoodie, and black and white Puma Suede sneakers embroidered with “Forever Stronger.” As a nod to Nipsey, the hoodie and T-shirt showcase a small blue heart. The line ranges from $30 to $75. London says she’s enjoying growing her artistry outside of acting.
“I think just as an artist, you just, I think it’s natural for us to expand and be creative,” says London. “And as long as it’s in alignment with your purpose and what you stand for, you can unfold in all kinds of spaces.”
Here, London talks more about the collection, what she wants to do outside of acting, and her advice for people wanting to heal.
I was looking at your Instagram and I see with this “Forever Stronger” collection you are presenting a new Lauren London logo. Can you talk about that?
Yes. It’s a new logo. I’ve never extended myself outside of acting before, and I’m evolving, expanding, and unfolding as a human. I’m expanding my brand, and so I needed a logo to represent that. It was designed by someone named Arch. He does a lot of things for The Marathon Continues and he’s home team. So it was really important for me to have someone that’s worked with our family for so long.
Tell me a little bit more about the thought process behind the pieces that you’ve made with Puma?
I’m a really big Suede fan. I’m always telling Puma to just send me Suedes. I wear them every day or almost every day. My style was very comfortable and simple and I just wanted to create pieces of clothing you could wear every day and dress it up and down. I didn’t want anyone to have to think hard about it. You can just put it on and wear it any time. We all love a good hoodie. With the T-shirt you can work out in it or tuck it in your jeans and go out.
And I see you shot the campaign in front of Simply Wholesome, the Black-owned restaurant in Los Angeles. Why was that important?
I grew up going to Simply Wholesome. I think the year I was born was when Simply Wholesome opened. It’s a Black-owned business and you know, after the pandemic, we really wanted to highlight it in the visuals for this campaign. Simply Wholesome was an organic choice for me and I still go to this day. And it was about paying respect to a place that deserves their flowers. It’s a way to pay homage to the health and the welfare they extend to our community.
For someone who has never been, what do you suggest they order from Simply Wholesome?
Now I’m doing the spinach patties with the Calypso sauce. They have some Caribbean wings that are really fire that they don’t always have. And I usually get a salmon salad with Calypso sauce.
I see Jonathan Mannion shot the campaign. Why did you select him as the photographer?
I was shooting a movie in Germany and I was walking downstairs to my lobby and I see a dude with a Crenshaw hat on. It was my first time meeting him and we just chopped it up. It was a genuine conversation. At the time I was like, “I’m kind of just really low-key right now but we have to work together.” And I just respect his photography and he gave me some prints of Nip that he had taken. I usually work with my homeboy, Danny, who directed the original “Forever Stronger” visual. But yeah, my manager was like we should use Johnathan for this. And he really got it and he understood. So it was a full circle moment from the Germany conversation.
What more do you want to do with Puma?
They’ve been so kind with me and so loving with me and caring. Like I love them. And always say that Emory [Jones] is like a brother to me. I’m definitely working on a larger collection, and you know working on the development of that and the creative behind that and playing with textures. It’s a new space that I’m in, but I’m really grateful that they believe that I can do it.
I feel like you have hit the nail on the head with the messaging and making it very meaningful.
Thank you. That means a lot because so many times in our meetings, I’m always like, you know, I just want to be authentic and I want this to lend a message. I don’t want it just to be empty out there.
What’s going on with acting? I know you just did “Without Remorse” with Michael B. Jordan.
I love acting. I really do. I think that, you know, life is so large and that I just don’t want to box myself up in that anymore. I don’t want to just be an actress. Because what I’ve heard is that life will throw some things in your face and you have to be much more than what you do for a living. And so yeah, I’m just very intentional with the work that I’m taking, because I want to make sure that I’m not just doing it to work, but that I’m doing it with an intention to really give something true to what I’m working on. And I’ve been acting since I was 20 years old. Now I’m 36. I haven’t always been able to do that.
And so you have this new Lauren London logo. What more do you want to do with it?
I think healing is really important for me. I would like to extend whatever tools I’ve picked up on my healing journey and that I am picking up still because it’s a journey, I would like to extend that and offer that to my community in any way that I can, whether that’s producing a project that gives this type of information or I would, I think eventually, I would like to speak about my experiences. I don’t know how that’s going to unfold. I know my intention moving forward in my life is to reach out and give information and knowledge of what I’ve picked up along this healing journey.
What’s your advice to someone who is looking to heal from something?
Go within. When it seems so chaotic around you, inside, silence is really important. You know, breathe. Take it one day at a time. All that stuff sounds really cliche, but it’s like really what it is, right. But for me those were things that I was told that when I was in the depths of my soul, those were the things I could grab. You know, be silent. Be still. Breathe. Write. I’m always telling people about freewriting, because it’s helped me. I just write whatever I feel. It doesn’t matter. And then I found like, three things I was grateful for every day. Whether it be as simple as clean socks. I would find three things to be grateful for because then you open yourself to gratitude and being grateful for something and that opens your world and gives you more things to be grateful for.