Fashion designer (and one time Boston College student) Derek Lam shares how he got his start in the industry, which celebs he considers as muses and his current inspirations during a recent event to benefit the Institute of Contemporary Art at Saks Fifth Avenue Boston.
When did you get the design bug? DEREK LAM: I moved to New York to study art. I was thinking of being a writer and decided it was too solitary. I wanted to do art, a collective way of approaching something artistic, the loop of working with creative people. Design was the perfect opportunity.
What makes you successful? DL: When I started, it was this rebirth of the fashion industry. It was about creative work; people responded to that. There’s a certain level of quality I imbue in my clothing and brand that’s getting more rarefied. What I do feels personal, I’m not thinking about theoretical or museum fashion. I delve into how we live our life, by incorporating style and having a sense of great values.
Who is the Derek Lam woman? DL: These women I admire don’t find a uniform, they understand the innate fun with style. Sofia Coppola is a bit low key, but also made strides as a female director. I love iconoclasts like Cate Blanchett. It runs the gambit, who I feel has incredible integrity and passion in how they represent themselves.
What about your 10 Crosby line? DL: I get to be out of my head and spontaneous. It’s a lot of fun because the client we reach has a different perspective on her lifestyle that I find very inspiring and interesting.
What inspired your Fall and Spring 2019 collections? DL: Fall was interesting, to take something cliché, equestrian and turn it on its head. I wanted to show the passion, but things we love about equestrian clothing. So it’s pithy, a crazy equestrian in love. The perfect example of a great relationship, a woman and her horse. [In] Spring, women dream of weekends, vacations and parties, not what to wear in the city to work. I concentrated on relaxed pieces with color [for] Monday through Friday, but also great dresses and colors for her dreams.