Dream it, do it. That’s the goal, isn’t it?
Today, personal risk taking in college has all but ceased. True, there are the Facebook and Twitter guys who were all college students before jumping into what was back then a highly untested, untapped online market.
But really, aside from gutsy social media creators, we can’t all play it safe. Sitting behind a desk without creative recourse is just brutal!
So with our ambitions running wild and creative juices at a constant flow, a little break from tedious academic lectures or lengthy sit-ins at the library never hurt anyone. And if that break just so happens to be all things Chanel, design, fashion or style-related, go for it. These small deviations could pave the way for bold horizons, as proven by the endeavors of an exciting L.A.-based designer, a board of industry-curious fashionistas and a budding Web site videographer – all determined to make their mark and take over the world.
“My biggest advice is to intern as much as possible. Read a lot on the industry and make connections,” advises Mallyce Miller, a rising fashion designer and creative director behind her hip, Tokyo street style-inspired collection LAEKEN.
A graduate from the USC Marshall School of Business, Miller bypassed fashion school and instead brushed up on the basics of starting her own business.
She says, “Running your own company is hard, but my business and entrepreneur classes at USC prepared me. I interned assisting designers and got to see what it was like working in every aspect of a business.”
Inspired and original, Miller fuses together her love for traveling (Laeken is a scenic haven in Belgium.) with her own personal style to create one-of-a-kind, day-to-night styles, admitting, “so much of my line is me.”
Splashed on the pages of laekencollection.com as well as Revolve Clothing and Oak NYC online stores, her designs have graced the runways of the GenArt and BoxEight fashion shows and were featured on actress Camilla Belle in an issue of NYLON magazine. But with all this hard-earned success, Miller does not intend to stop.
“I’m excited for LAEKEN to grow. I am currently looking for venture capital to expand my business. Design comes from ideas. You have to move past the uncertainty and do it.”
If just doing it and not looking back is the trick, then the Executive Board of USC’s Fashion Industry Association are well on their way. In April, the student organization hosted its 5th Annual FIA Fashion show. With over 500 people in attendance, the student-run, 13-collection showcase boasted towering male and female models wearing fashions from L.A. designers (Marie Le Ford, Kathleen Coltman) and student designers as well. Sara Tsukamoto presented Kealohalani, her line of cute, cropped USC-themed women’s apparel and spring dresses.
Sophia Yoo, VP of Public Relations for FIA, says, “We may be college students, but we were really striving for a professional feel to our show. We made it a point to bring in professional models and designers and combine them with the students. We are always coming up with new ideas because it is up to us to give students a real taste of fashion.”
Sometimes, however, the sureness of an idea originates naturally. Lily Mandelbaum, also a student at USC, and her mother, Elisa, formed stylelikeu.com on the basis of well-nurtured inspiration.
“I grew up being around my mom who works in the fashion industry. I liked the fashion, but I was more fascinated by the personal style behind-the-scenes – the people and their story,” says Mandelbaum.
With so much emphasis on mainstream trends and rules that cater to “a certain look,” stylelikeu.com breaks conventional fashion coverage. The site features stylish people of “all ages, shapes and styles” captured in picture slideshows, pristinely edited video clips and entry blogs from Lily and Elisa themselves.
Dancers, aspiring models, headband-makers, activists, rock stars, free spirits, whoever you are – they’re all here. Aside from a diverse collection of personal tastes, what really drives stylelikeu.com is the mother-and-daughter team’s commitment to their vision and the personal touch they add.
Mandelbaum, who hopes to be a documentary filmmaker someday, explains, “Standing behind a camera is an extreme high for me. It’s what I get most excited about. You don’t have to stop having style when you reach a certain age or if you have a certain body type. People are different, and that’s the cool thing. We want to show that style is really for anyone.”
Fashion at the Forefront: Designer of LAEKEN, FIA and stylelikeu.com
Dream it, do it. That’s the goal, isn’t it?