I’m a firm believer in yelling out in excitement when a piece of clothing moves me to my core. Cow-haired mules, pasta-printed puffers, and lacy neon-green underwear have all elicited sharp yelps from when I saw them in person. The phenomenon, as I’ve now learned to call it, is the Gah effect—the Lisa Says Gah effect, more specifically. What it is that moves me, I can’t quite articulate, but it’s a sharp, unified collective in the girl world. Just ask Lisa Bühler—she built an empire off of it.
Enter stage left, Lisa Says Gah—the low-waste, high-joy retailer that’s revolutionized the way kitschy, exciting, and innovative fashion has entered our mainstream. You’ve probably seen its viral pretzel nipple shirts plastered all over your Instagram feed. Or perhaps its printed Robyn jeans transported you to a world of Aperol spritzes and yellow umbrellas on the Amalfi Coast, all from your teensie New York Apartment. The brand is cool as they come among the younger fashion crowd, but it wasn’t always so easy to dress to your weird-girl heart’s content.
In 2015, Bühler decided to start a radically slow fashion business, relying on years of experience within the fast-paced fashion industry built on exorbitant waste and trend cycles so minuscule you could blink your eyes and miss them. “I wanted to start something pro-community, focusing on independent designers,” she told Who What Wear. Back then, the idea to create an online retail space devoted to low-waste, high-quality female-led independent fashion brands was far fetched, but since then, Lisa Says Gah has emerged as one of the few to really push the needle forward. The retailer was one of the first to sell Paloma Wool, eventually adding other It brands such as House of Sunny, Ganni, Dauphinette, and Allina Liu into the mix. Now that the brand has expanded to a brick-and-mortar store, Lisa Says Gah is in full-send mode.
As for the venture into an in-house brand, Bühler and her team worked with local factories in San Francisco to bring the vision to life, relying on dead-stock fabrics and intentional production cycles to minimize as much frivolous waste as possible. For their upcoming anticipated print that launches later this summer, they’re working with teams based in Los Angeles only a few months in advance, making sure to be thoughtful about the launch’s output. If you’re sad to have missed out on the best-selling Italian Summer capsule, the projects in the pipeline won’t disappoint by any means. Rest assured you’ll probably yell out Gah! in excitement.