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Meet Erik Murray in Downtown LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erik Murray.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Erik. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Growing up, I never thought I would be a fashion designer. My mother is an interior designer, so I grew up with fabric swatches all around the house and was always going with her to various showrooms. I didn’t quite understand interior design like I now do, but I was intrigued with fashion and the world it created. Fast forward to college and I actually went to school for economics and finance. I still very much enjoyed fashion but never thought about making a career out of it.

One thing leads to the next, one job lead to another and I realized I enjoyed the clothes I was wearing to work more than the actual work I was doing. A few months later, I left the world of finance and moved to LA to pursue a career in fashion. I used my background to literally work my way into corporate fashion, enrolled in night classes, learning design and patternmaking, all while building out the foundation for ERIK MURRAY. I was also a fit-model for some of the largest fashion companies in LA that really helped me learn how to fit a garment. It was intense and a rollercoaster few years, but I always told myself I would never quit before going to bed every night.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Of course, not. You learn a lot about your industry when you finally make that jump, but I believe you learn even more about yourself in the process. I think the main struggles were remaining positive and confident in my creativity and work. I am creating a brand that has sophistication and meaning in its DNA and not everyone can understand that. Being able to emotionally disconnect from my work allows me to better critique my own work. Being able to hear people’s dislike or criticism and respond with love and positivity has helped me stay on track.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about ERIK MURRAY – what should we know?
ERIK MURRAY is a high-end menswear label that shows the beauty of the story of being saved from isolation and despair to connection and purpose. It’s the emotions that I went through in trying to find happiness and purpose in life and looking everywhere and in anyone but myself and my own true desires. I tell my story because not only does it help me process certain emotions that I used to numb away with drugs and alcohol, but it shows others that they are not alone in the negative emotions society tells us to keep to ourselves. It creates a conversation with the label and our customers.

Certain emotions are always the starting point for a chapter and then, I build out a collection from there. It really sets us apart because I am not afraid to build a collection around a negative emotion, which in turn actually exposes the beauty of such emotions. I have had industry people tell me to reel back a bit and be careful, but I have also had someone tell me that a good friend of theirs took their life a few days ago and they have found solace in the story the label is telling.

I look at silhouettes and designs as emotions. My early sketches are always done in black and white because I feel that color and trim should be final touches, not the reason any emotion is felt at all. So, I work within proportions and how the fabric drapes before anything else. This allows me to really push myself as a designer.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Focusing on the small victories. There are so many reasons to quit that I have to remain focused and positive. It is very easy to get distracted and tempted to hop on the most recent trend. I truly believe that nothing can last like something that was built on authenticity. Staying true to the DNA and values of ERIK MURRAY is critical to the future of the label.

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Image Credit:
Ronald Carter

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