07/19/2024

The success story looks as fantastical as the fairy tales you (probably) grew up with: bold career woman finds herself in the right place at the right time and poof, her fairy godmother mentor snaps her fingers and turns our hero into an overnight sensation who brings home a 7-figure salary and has the world spreading her “you can have it all! ” gospel, while looking great and posting the whole thing on Instagram. Hmmm …… really? Why do we so rarely hear the other side of the story – the false starts, the waves of doubt, the failures and screw-ups? Those late-night worries and the occasional breakthroughs that are so relevant to the rest of us?

Introducing Homemade, Refinery 29’s latest column highlighting the real-life stories that drive success – triumphs, failures and curveballs – proving that there is no one path to getting what you want.
Olivia Anthony started designing LIV streetwear in college in Alabama. It started with a T-shirt and evolved into a full-fledged clothing line after Anthony moved to New York to work as a stylist. Fans of SZA. So is Kehlani. She opened a flash store through the Phluid Project, and her bike shorts were all over the street style galleries of New York Fashion Week. Outside of design, Liv is an internet celebrity in her own right, often going viral for her outfits and parodies.
Refinery29 spoke with Anthony about how the designer capitalizes on nostalgia, the feeling of going viral and how she defines success.
You create pieces that intentionally capitalize on the nostalgia of the 90s. Why do you think that era resonates so much with our culture?
The 90s resonates so much with our culture because during that time, we were being ourselves without apology. We didn’t care what people thought and we were free to express who we were through style, music and art. Our people wore bold crazy nails, thick hair and blonde, which would make the rich jealous.

I lived through that era (hey, get it?) and saw how my sister got through it. She was a complete vibe.
It was also the last era before social media came along. Everyone was real. In 2016, I saw “ghetto” praised on magazine covers and on everyone’s mood boards, and that’s what inspired my series “My Love of Culture”. It plays out around the iconic Freaknik and is a history lesson for those who need it.
What’s it like to go viral? How did you find yourself enjoying making videos?
Going viral is so much fun because it literally happens overnight. It always makes me happy because I like to make people laugh. It’s something I naturally like to do and to keep myself from taking myself too seriously. Many people don’t know that I am a theater major at Alabama State University and a Stingette (the college’s dance team). Apparently, we used to come up with dance routines and skits to entertain people. I’m glad I can incorporate that part of me into my brand.
Your brand makes athleisure look cool and you’ve done pop-ups at Phluid Project and around town, do you think people will eventually notice what you do?
Thanks so much! It’s always a great feeling to see our pop-ups doing well. LIVSTREETWEAR is a movement, not a trend. Events like pop-ups allow me to connect with all the LIV dolls (what I like to call my tribe). It’s a process and building a brand requires consistency. When you finally get attention, I feel like they’re interested not only in the fun aspects, but in the bold pieces I create that can live in any situation and still make you feel free.

In your opinion, what is the definition of a white-knuckle business?
Starting with nothing is putting everything you have into something, watching it grow, and seeing your definition of success become a reality. Money is not everything. People have billions of dollars behind them and still produce sub-standard work. It takes drive and confidence to know that anything you produce is worthwhile. Making the world believe in what you do and having your name respected is starting with nothing.
What qualities do you think you possess that make you a good candidate for self-made destiny?
Staying on my path and dedicating myself to my mission! I know that my destiny is already written by God and I just need to put in the work. I live by it. The peace I get from knowing that everything my heart desires is already set in stone is an awesome feeling. I practice every day, staying patient and learning while I do the moves.
Tell us about a class you’ve been working on and that you hope to eventually master, whether it’s business or otherwise?
I’ve had enough and trust the process. I’m a perfectionist and always have a feeling of wanting more, which I don’t like right now. I rarely take the time to celebrate myself and quickly move on to the next thing. I have to remind myself that I’m the shit! Live in the moment.
Which aspect of your path

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