Q&A With Women’s Fashion Designer Derek Lam

Derek Lam’s contemporary line Derek Lam 10 Crosby seamlessly blends simplicity with sophistication. His latest collection features capes, sweaters with bell sleeves and denim made for living in this winter. I caught up with Lam before he showcased his pieces at Neiman Marcus in Roosevelt Field Mall to talk about his inspirations and today’s biggest trends.

Why did you decide to become a designer?
I studied art when I came to New York and I decided that I wanted to do something that was art and business combined. I was at Parsons, so that’s what led me to study fashion.

What’s the best part of your job?
To be able to go in every day and work with people who have the same kind of passion is really a pleasure. Collaboration for me is really important. The whole process is about being creative. Every season we create products that are inspiring and make a woman feel like she wants to engage in fashion.

What was your inspiration for the Derek Lam 10 Crosby collection?
It has been less and less about a story and less and less about one particular inspiration. It’s really more thinking about how women live and how women want to dress, and getting them excited for the season. It’s very print driven, giving new prints beautiful summer colors but doing it in a very modern way. We’ve also launched our denim collection. It has really evolved into a kind of lifestyle brand, and I think that’s, for me, where the inspiration comes from. It’s about understanding a woman’s lifestyle.  

Fashion ResizedHow did you choose the materials to work with for the collection?
Even though Derek Lam 10 Crosby is at the contemporary price point I think I’m known for using very elevated fabrications. Translating that to the contemporary price point, I think that we spend a lot of time and energy really trying to find these beautiful, beautiful fabrications that maybe you don’t even expect from the contemporary market. And, quality is really important.  

What are some of your favorite pieces from the collection?
I’m really excited about the prints. The prints are really fresh and interesting, and they’re very sophisticated. A lot of times when people think of prints they think it’s floral or bright or something and I think, for me, finding the right prints that are more of a texture than a motif is really important because I think that everybody wants that emotional connection to a garment. And, the denim is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, this kind of twist on the vintage jean that’s sort of outdated.  We also have an amazing camel coat with fur trim on the collar, it’s double face finish so it’s really designer level but we’re able to do it at a more accessible price point. It’s really raising the bar for what a contemporary collection can be.

What big trends should we look out for this winter?
I think that one of the biggest trends is, like I’ve said, print. I think that soft easier shapes are coming back. Everyone’s been talking about the ‘80s, but I don’t think we really touch on those trends. We really try to make it more lifestyle in that one season segues into the next without there being an abrupt different point of view.