PUMA and brand ambassador Lauren London’s highly anticipated capsule, Forever Stronger, is finally here. Rooted in authenticity, the collection is inspired by London and her hometown of Los Angeles. Given how personal this collection is, ESSENCE was happy to have had a chance to sit down with London and discuss the process, her definition of strength, and how staying firm in what you believe in is just enough.
With this being the first collection, originality and most important, intentionality was a must. When speaking of the brand, London praised them for their partnership and their ability to let her express her creativity freely. “Puma was really amazing to work with,” she says. “It’s a very respectful work environment. They allow me to be myself and they give me the creative freedom to do what I want. They feel like more of a family than a business partnership—I just love them.”
Effortless is an adjective we’d use to describe London’s aesthetic, especially highlighting her personal style. We asked the Without Remorse star how would she define her wardrobe, and “comfort” was the first word that came to mind. Featuring three pieces: a T-shirt, a hoodie and a classic black and white PUMA suede sneaker with Forever Stronger prominently embroidered in script, the entire collection is a reflection of casual. Most important, the hoodie and tee feature a tiny blue heart, a special representation of Nipsey Hussle, that serves as a reminder of where London came from and where she’s going. The purpose of such a prominent detail does not go unnoticed and speaks to the type of designer London is. She explains: “I like for the clothes to work for me in any moment. I spent years in uncomfortable clothing thinking I had to because of the industry I was in, I had to do that. As time went on I realized I didn’t need to and my style just evolved.”
And while she’s ditched the unnecessary pieces, London made sure the things that matter most, like her love for Los Angeles, was properly portrayed. “When I think of L.A. fashion I think about growing up, going to the Slauson swap meet, buying gold, buying bamboo earrings, buying a track suit and long fly nails with a good French tip. I still rock all of that to this day.”
After eyeing the pieces of the capsule, ESSENCE was curious to know which one had Lauren’s heart. “Out of the three pieces my favorite is actually the sneakers,” she says. “Even though I’m a hoodie girl.” To make the drop even more special, we’re being introduced to fat laces again, a return that is long overdue. London gushed about the throwback feature, stating, “Growing up I used to wear the fat laces, and these sneakers are kind of like an ode to that,” she shares. “Every box comes with a pair of sneakers and with the fat laces.” And if you’re worried about durability, that shouldn’t be a problem at all. “I wear these sneakers everywhere,” London says. “I just love how comfortable they are.”
That emphasis placed on creating a line that lasts parallels the fortitude of London herself. Often modeled as a pillar of strength, and known for her resilience and inventiveness, the actress and mother of three still understands the importance of softness, assuring us there’s strength in crying—especially as Black women. “You don’t always have to be super strong,” she says. “It’s okay to say, Today is not my day, and that’s still being strong, right? Today, I’m just not feeling it. And there’s power in saying and doing that. I want more people to realize acknowledging you’re not having a good day or moment is still an act of strength.”
All things considered, “genuine” is undoubtedly a word that could be used when describing the effort behind this collection’s name and overall purpose. “When people wear any item from Forever Stronger, I want them to know it’s an embodiment of me,” she says. “I want them to instantly feel empowered.” Whether you rock the hoodie yourself or admire it from afar, the brand-new capsule has cemented itself as not only stylish but also captivating.
Releasing today, June 25, the collection will be on PUMA.com, at the PUMA NYC Flagship store, The Marathon Clothing Store, Shoe Palace, Champs, Foot Locker and more with retail prices ranging from $30–$75.