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Life and Work with Emily LaBar

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily LaBar.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
RaisingLaBar is a fashion blog that unveils the design process. While many bloggers and Instagrammers focus on the end product, my perspective dives in at the very beginning. It’s all about finding the perfect fabric, developing the tiny details that go into making the design unique and the journey from being a 2D illustration to a 3D wearable garment. I’ve always loved fashion and making crazy ideas that pop into my head come to life. I started making clothing before I really understood how apparel was constructed. I’m the type of person that learns as they go. I’m also the type of person to find out the complexity of a design while I’m in the middle of it. Honestly, I love the challenge and thrill of figuring it out. I find inspiration from almost anything and from there the idea blooms. From my years of being in design school to the present day, my mind designs in overdrive, usually producing way more design concepts than I have time to actually create. My Instagram @RaisingLaBar is just a glimpse into my design world the many stages in the design process.

Has it been a smooth road?
Becoming a designer has not been a smooth road for me. In all honesty, it’s been full of many ups and downs. I have found though if you are constantly hustling, doors open for you that you would never imagine. When I was just starting RaisingLaBar, I was faced with so many conflicting emotions and thoughts. I know a lot of people constantly struggle with the feeling of “I’m not doing enough and I’m not accomplishing enough.” It’s a very easy trap to fall in when you’re measuring yourself up with other designers, influencers, creatives and sometimes even your friends. One of the greatest things I discovered while feeling like this is if I block out all those feelings and concentrate on MY hustle, I can achieve things that I had never imagined. For example, in addition to working my 9-5 design position, I often work 7-midnight and weekends on my originals designs. While it is extremely exhausting, it’s paid off for me in so many ways, allowing me to travel to Stockholm Fashion Week last year to sit in the audience and watch other inspiring designers debut their collections. I made myself the promise that if landed myself a seat at Stockholm Fashion Week that I HAD to design my outfits for each of the days. While walking the streets of Sweden, in-between shows, I had been approached by style bloggers asking if they could feature me in style recaps. Of course, I was wearing everything RaisingLaBar. All of this was because of my hustle. My unpaid hustle. So, don’t ever think “I’m not making money at this, so I’m not going to invest myself into this.” Sometimes, it’s the unpaid self-investment that ends up having the biggest payout! This outlook recently led to me connecting with an emerging brand asking me to freelance design for them as well as a lot of traveling in my near future!

So, as you know, we’re impressed with RaisingLaBar – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I am all about starting from the very beginning. As a designer, personally, I love starting with a new slate and creating something completely from scratch. Usually, I begin with a concept sketched out on paper. DTLA, the NYC fashion district, Mood, as well as collecting vintage fabrics from other people’s Grandma’s are some of my favorite ways to start unique designs. Next, I start draping on my mannequin. Draping is manipulating muslin (cotton woven fabric) around the mannequin to create desired silhouettes, style lines, collars, hemlines, etc. This entails using a ton of pins, markers, scissors and a hand needle with thread to mold the muslin around the body. My brain functions in 3D. In all actuality, I was never taught how to drape on a form. My brain finds it easier than working in 2D on pattern paper. After my initial drape, then I transfer it to pattern paper (2D) and begin with mockups. Mockups are like test runs of your design before cutting and sewing in your final fabric. I’ve already fit upwards of 8 mockups for a single complex design. Cutting corners is never smart when designing, it always catches up to you. During the mockup stage, I concentrate on fitting the garment. I think this is the most important step in the entire process. You can have the most gorgeous design but if the fit is terrible, nobody is going to wear it. It’s also the most challenging step in the design process. Being able to look at a design and know how to adjust the pattern to make the waist smaller or not as tight across the bust takes a lot of practice to master. I love this challenge! The difference between a good fit and a bad fit can lead to people either purchasing your design or not. That’s why I make it the main focus in all my creations. There’s a reason why “it fits like a glove” is a saying! I also love adding special details to each design so the wearer has an intimate connection which each piece. The combination of specializing in fit and incorporating one-of-a-kind details in my work definitely sets me apart from other designers.

Do you think there are structural or other barriers impeding the emergence of more female leaders?
The fashion industry is a majority female-dominated industry, especially when it comes to design. Honestly, I think women can be each other’s worst enemy. Too many times, I’ve seen women degrade other women if they feel threatened or want to prove authority. This is so sad. I’ve had it happen to me and I’ve seen it happen to some of my closest friends. We are at the perfect time in history to rise together, learn from each other and propel each other forward. It sounds like a Kindergarten concept but showing compassion for someone in the industry, regardless of superiority, is so much more inspiring and empowering. We need to encourage each other and teach each other and through this, we will build our own confidence as well as the women around us.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Maxwell Bingham

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