The Interview — Lena Baranovsky, Partner and COO of Hunting Season
Welcome to Talking Top 10, a recurring series in which we feature the founders, CEOs, creators, and leaders who are shaking up their industries. Ahead, read our Q&A with Partner and COO of Hunting Season, and keep scrolling to shop her Top 10 must-haves.
Lena Baranovsky is the partner and chief operating officer of Hunting Season. Her career in the fashion industry began over a decade ago, working first as a stylist and later in wholesale for the fashion-forward retailer Intermix. Combining both her creative vision and business insight, Baranovsky joined Hunting Season in 2011 to expand the brand’s global visibility and usher in the next phase of growth.
"My career in fashion began a decade ago, working first as a stylist and later in wholesale for Intermix. Working across functions allowed me to gain invaluable insight from multiple perspectives within the business, enhancing both my creative and strategic skills. Alongside my time at Intermix, my dearest friend, Danielle Corona, founded Hunting Season. Her vision for the brand was as precise and thoughtful as her designs, and I really admired her unique approach to production. With an aesthetic shaped by Danielle’s impeccable taste, and underscored by an unwavering commitment to quality, I knew that Hunting Season was truly a one of a kind, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to build a brand with my best friend. In 2011, I formally joined the company, and I’m proud to share that in the years since, we have established our own factory in Bogotá–where all Hunting Season pieces are produced–and now employee over fifty people, along with a team in New York, who bring our designs to life every day. It’s such an honor to support the brand’s evolution, and a true privilege to do so alongside my best friend. At its core, Hunting Season celebrates women, and I’m proud to contribute to this mission in every way I can."—Lena Baranovsky
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Walk us through your career and experience. How did it lead you to Hunting Season?
I started my fashion career at Intermix in 2010 as a stylist working on the retail side of the business and later became involved in the wholesale aspect; both very valuable experiences. At the same time, my dearest friend and now business partner Danielle Corona founded Hunting Season. I was very impressed with her impeccable taste in design and commitment to quality. I was inspired by her unwavering vision for Hunting Season and could not resist the opportunity to work with my best friend to build a brand and a business that we would be proud of.
Can you tell us the story behind the name?
Hunting Season is our constant search for expertly skilled craftsmen, ethically sourced materials, and essential silhouettes in a woman’s wardrobe.
View Lena's Essentials
What makes Hunting Season bags different from other designer bags?
Hunting Season is created for women who appreciate luxury but value discretion and are not defined by a logo, instead, they choose pieces based on the craft and story of whom and how it was made. To the Hunting Season woman that is the ultimate luxury. We are very proud of our story and the factory we have built in Colombia where we employ 53 people with the majority of them being women heads of household. Not only is it rewarding to provide employment/training opportunities it also allows us to have full transparency on production and material use, quality, and pricing.
What inspires Hunting Season’s design process?
My partner and Hunting Season’s creative director Danielle is inspired by nature, films, books, travel, people, and of course her passion for beautiful materials and high-quality workmanship. The designs are minimal, allowing for the craft to speak for itself, removing everything but the essentials.
If you were to recommend buying one bag from the brand, which one would it be and why?
The Top Handle is definitely one of my “go to’s”! It is classic, timeless, and feels like a modern heirloom. I appreciate the versatility of this shape as it works for various lifestyles. It is a piece that can be worn with a pair of jeans, a work suit, or an evening gown!
What goes through your mind when you see celebs carrying Hunting Season bags?
We feel very proud and grateful when we see celebrities wearing Hunting Season… it never gets old! In a world and industry where there are limitless options, we are always thankful to be chosen. This has been a very organic process for us through our industry relationships and the support of amazing stylists such as Kate Young, Leslie Fremar, Julia Von Bohm, and Andrew Mukal which we feel very lucky for!
Tell us about your personal style. What items in your closet do you wear the most?
I would like to say that my personal style is effortless. I tend to dress in what I'm comfortable and confident in. I like keeping a bit of mystery in the designers that I choose to wear and select items that are not overly saturated with retailers. Lately, I have been obsessed with the “hunt” for vintage pieces on First Dibs and The Real Real, I love a rare find and a bargain!
What winter fashion trends are you most excited for?
I honestly don’t follow trends too much, I find them a bit daunting and I think provides an opportunity for consumer overconsumption. I am looking forward to the winter season of cozy sweaters, boots, and great coats… that I already own!
What’s your advice for someone who wants to pursue a career in fashion?
My advice for someone who wants to pursue a career in fashion (or anything else they may be passionate about) would be to turn down the volume of your inner critic and take the first small step forward. There is a quote from Ijeoma Umebinyuo that I love:
Start where you are.
Start with fear.
Start with pain.
Start with doubt.
Start with hands shaking.
Start with voice trembling but start.
Start and don’t stop.
Start where you are, with what you have.
What’s next for Hunting Season?
We are focused on growing our factory and our direct to consumer business. We hope to expand into other lifestyle categories in the future and create consciously sourced pieces that will continue to be relevant in a woman’s wardrobe for years to come.