Self-taught designer Larry Lee talks bringing his line, ItsKarma, to life

LARRY LEE

Designer of ItsKarma, Charlotte, N.C.

Why I love him: His clothes enable the man wearing them to make a statement; they facilitate the wearer to be strong, confident and a trendsetter, not a follower.
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Photo by Kevin Rice Photography – Model/Stylist: Larry Lee

When was the first time you noticed that fashion was something someone created rather than just something you bought and put on?

My first fashion show that I attended while in college was when I noticed fashion was something someone created. My friends put on an amazing production with projection screens, with “Kill Bill” movie references that combined different scenes with segments of the show. It amazed me to see specific garments standout on the models. It also impressed me how styling can create a different vision of how a garment can be worn.

What was your training in design?

I did not have formal training in design. I had one course about apparel construction in college, and that’s when I found out I was able to sew. All my techniques were self-taught. I can say my abilities were passed down unknowingly from my grandmother and mother.

When you begin designing new garments, what is the starting point for you?

The thought process is usually a quick brainstorm of what I want to do, get my fabric and start cutting. I am able to just look at a person and their body shape to determine how my fabric should be cut. Although, there are times when I do sketch my garments, especially if I don’t want to forget what I came up with. Those times when I do sketch is when I have custom garments, am coming up with new products and making specific garments for fashion shows.

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Designer Larry Lee – Photo by Kevin Rice Photography

From season to season, how do you keep yourself from burning out?

I don’t overwhelm myself with keeping up with what others do. I work at my own pace, release things when I feel it needs to be release and stick to my schedule.

The internet has changed the fashion industry in numerous ways. How have you utilized it and social media to get your work and your brand to a larger audience?

Social media has been the forefront of promoting and marketing for my business. I embraced the popular sites and utilized them to increase awareness, revenue and partnerships. Internet friends are great for spreading the word about my brand to others.

Fashion blogs and style bloggers are front row at Fashion Week, something that didn’t happen ten years ago. Ten years from now, what do you hope the fashion industry looks like/is headed?

I hope that more people will embrace their individuality and welcome unisex creations openly. I hope the fashion industry will enlighten people to understand that fashion evokes your personality.

What was it like the first time you saw someone wearing your designs in real life?

Oh my…it was an awesome and fulfilling feeling. I was so excited! I still do get excited when I see people out and about or on social media with my designs on. I just appreciate the fact that people believe in my vision enough to want it.

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Photo by Billy Maloy Photography. Models: Leon Berry & Pheonix Meadows; MUA: Lo Bell; Stylist: Larry Lee

FAST FASHION FACTS

My aesthetic in five words: Urban, unisex, confident, handmade, quality.
My client is… that 25-45 year old that loves exclusivity, is very confident in their own skin and appreciates handmade garments that are made with love.
My dream client is…Ciara. I’ve always been a fan and I am just enamored by her physical beauty, inner beauty and effortless style. I feel she wears every garment with confidence and I’m sure anything that she does wear looks great on her. She seems like a great person who would know exactly what she wants. I know it’ll be so much fun to work with her.

To purchase Larry’s work, head to www.itsmkarma.net!

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