Do you need a preview of what I will be wearing this fall? I am fitting and shopping the Byron Lars Fall 2014 lookbook this week. The fabulous Byron Lars, is being honored at the Pratt Institute Fashion show + Cocktail Benefit tonight with the Fashion Visionary Award. He is a designer who is beloved by many celebrities for his fantastic fit and impeccable construction. His success was not easy. It came with hard work and tough lessons along the way. The new class of fashion designers can learn a lot from his wisdom:
Ms. FABulous: What are your favorite memories of studying fashion in school?
Byron Lars: I can't believe I'm saying this because, I'm pretty sure I didn't see it this way back then but looking back, my favorite part of studying fashion in school was pulling all-nighters by stowing away in the lab, hiding from campus security by turning out the lights as they made the rounds.
This was the only truly focused stretch of time that I remember having to really get your hands in the work and keep them there...well till sunrise anyway.
Ms. FAB: What is one piece of advice that you could have used at the start of your career that most people don’t tell you?
B.L.: What ever that might have been would more than likely have sent me running for the hills because, many of the realities of this and any industry I would imagine need to be revealed at a point when it's too late to turn back. I guess Winston Churchill said it best, "If you're going through hell, keep going.".
Ms. FAB: What advantages do this year’s fashion school graduates have that they should take advantage of?
B.L.: Every fashion student should take full advantage of as many internships as they possibly can (even if that only ends up being only one) to make their first professional contacts.
Of course this means that you need to give your absolute all every day while interning. This might even mean being relegated to running for coffee and little else BUT, if that ends up being the case, make absolutely sure that each and every cup of coffee you deliver is hot...unless of course it's ice coffee.
Doing a great job without complaining will get you noticed in the best way by somebody which may just lead to your first paying job in the industry.
Ms. FAB: In a tough industry or job market, what would you tell a frustrated fashion designer as part of your pep talk?
B.L.: We'd never have any sweet delicious lemonade without the sour lemons required to make it, right?
So often, it's the struggles incurred during the toughest of times that summon and rouse the muse in ways that no other state of being ever could. The business of fashion is by nature mercurial but never more so than it is now, so these times are about adjusting ones thinking to become ever more responsive to the many rapid fire changes occurring daily.
Ms. FAB: Thank you Byron Lars!
photos by Noah Chen, Mariana Leung