Today we’d like to introduce you to Lakyn Carlton.
Hi Lakyn, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’m a 28 year old fashion designer, originally from Texas, but I’ve called LA home for six years, now. I’ve worked as a stylist, as well as a freelance costume designer and custom clothing designer in the past, but now, I’m on my way to establishing a real brand (along with a podcast).
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Overall, God, no. I mean, when my mom died, she left me with a lot of debt and absolutely no money to speak of, so I pretty much drained my savings just to get out of the woods. When I finally got my own place and back on my feet, I was still overdrawing my account just to get fabric and taking the worst gigs just to pay bills. Of course, the stress knocked me back down again with a flare up of my autoimmune disorder. But over the past year, it’s actually been easier to at least explore my creativity. Being immunocompromised and going through a pandemic hasn’t been easy at all, but in terms of my art I would say at this point I’m my biggest barrier. In terms of everything else, though, I’m still trying to get over a few humps, so to speak.
My brand in its current iteration was completely born from the health crisis. I was on a completely different path, sort of just making clothes for people just to get by, and mostly focused on making my rent rather than making anything I was really proud of. I had spent the previous year essentially homeless and dealing with the loss of my mom, so I was ready to get somewhere stable, I guess, I just didn’t know how. COVID threw everything into perspective. I’ve been designing and sewing for most of my life at this point but I didn’t really know who I was as a creator. I’m still searching but being able to just take my time and only produce when I truly want to has literally saved my life.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a fashion designer specializing in women’s ready to wear. I’m pretty big on sustainability, so everything I do is not only made to order, but I also source my fabrics locally and try to produce as little waste as possible. I also tend to create things that are more timeless but also transformative. If something is meant to be in your closet for years, I believe it should be able to grow and change with you, so I’m a fan of things that can be belted, tied, undone, or worn multiple ways. I’m most proud of my newest collection, which is launching in the current months. I think overall, there’s a lot of very pretentious designers who call themselves anti-fashion but, I think my approach is as anti-fashion as it gets. I mean what kind of fashion designer actively encourages people to buy less?
Do you any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
Getting my first sewing machine was truly, I think, the day that changed my life. It was the weekend of my 10th birthday and my mom called me into the living room to open some presents. She had sort of lead me to believe I wasn’t getting a machine at all, so I wasn’t expecting it. I got like some pants or something and went back to my room. But, later that day, I went into the kitchen and it was sitting on the table. Except, I didn’t notice it at first because I am woefully unobservant. But when I walked past her bedroom back to my room, she yelled out “did you see your present?” and I was like “what?” So I went back in and there it was.