I have met and continue to meet some of the most interesting people through my work, and sometimes I fall in love with them. Phillip Lim is one of those people. I met him through Eva Chen, and I am so happy that she introduced us. He is so smart, soulful, sensitive, and truly talented. I love his energy! And let’s not forget his clothes! They are incredible, so beautifully made, and so easy to wear. I hope you enjoy learning a little more about him.
Did you always want to be a clothing designer? Did you have a mentor or someone who inspired and guided you?
I didn’t go to fashion school, so no, the simple answer is I didn’t always want to be a fashion designer. But I always loved clothes. I was surrounded by clothes because my mother was a seamstress and I was always influenced and inspired by the surf-skate culture in Southern California where I grew up. So I had an eye for fashion and how I personally wanted to dress from an early age. Over time, after internships and early assistant days, becoming a fashion designer became the natural progression of this thing I just innately loved to do.
What inspires you? How do you get inspiration for each collection?
I draw inspiration from my environment, the world outside my window – New York! There is so much energy and hustle happening on every street corner, you just have to look for it. And always from travel, from seeing parts of the world and customs that are different from my own. So I would say I draw inspiration from both the ordinary and the extraordinary.
With the onslaught of Social Media, Instagram, and Direct to Consumer online shopping, has this new world inspired you, hindered you, helped you?
There is a lot of noise to sift through and a lot of smoke and mirrors. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. But what I love about social media is that it is the great connector – there are no six degrees of separation anymore, everyone is connected no matter your walk of life. What this has done is necessitated honesty, transparency. You must be so much more straightforward in how you interact with the customer these days, so much more truthful in your messaging, and that is a great gut-check for me on a daily basis.
How important is beauty in your life? How would you define beauty?
Beauty is life! I use the phrase “romancing reality” quite a lot which, to me, means finding the beauty, the artistry and the magic in the things that seem ordinary to most. There is almost always something beautiful to be found in the utilitarian, in the gritty, in the humble if you just search for it.
What is next for you and/or the brand?
I am grateful every day that the brand is entering its 14th year and that I get to continue this journey. What is next is to stay in business, with my amazing business partner and my tireless team. To keep doing what we do but to keep learning, growing and evolving so that we are always listening to the customer and always giving her the wardrobe that she wants.
Can you tell me a secret, something no one else knows?
Hmm…I am secretly a reality TV junkie!