Designer John Byrd-Olivieri talks about music kick-starting his process & not paying attention to the pack


Designer of ByrdOlivieri New York & ByrdOlivieri Atelier

Why I love him: He’s got the It-factor on his side. His clothes are instantly trendy yet aren’t overwrought like so many celebrity labels are. His clothes are wearable by many body types and make his clients look expensive and in the know.

Photo by Luanne Demeo

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

From an early age I knew fashion was something that someone creates. I honestly think it’s downloaded in my DNA. I come from an artistic and fashion-forward family. My grandmother was extremely stylish in her day and my mother is a writer/poet and painter. My grandmother was very lady-like and had more of a conservative style about her and my mother had very edgy and somewhat tomboyish style.  I was always inspired by fashion and I loved how diverse and creative you could be with it. I love the way you get to be creative with the body. I have always been obsessed with the construction aspect of fashion and how things were sewn and put together.


Designer John Byrd-Olivieri

What was your training in design?

I started out self-taught. I used to purchase garments from thrift stores, deconstruct them and put them back together. When I moved to New York, I started working for 224 Fashions Inc. sample studio. While there, my bosses Mrs. Yvonne and Peiyu taught me how to operate industrial machinery and helped me fine tune my pattern making and draping skills.

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

I am not like your traditional designers. My work is heavily influenced by music and it kickstarts my creative juices. First I have to start out by creating my vibes for the collection. I allow the music to create a chill workplace. Once the soundtrack is created, it is time to gather all reference pictures that go with the mood. I spend a lot of time working on my mood board and creating a cohesive vibe. Sketching, draping and pattern making come next and then samples and final pieces follow.

There’s a lot of competition out there. How do you separate yourself from the pack?

I don’t pay attention to the pack. I try to stay focused on the task at hand. I create from the heart and soul. I am an acquired taste, either you love it or you don’t. I’m an artist first before anything else.


Photo by Luanne Demeo

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

Surrounding myself with my audience and drawing inspiration from them because what is important to them is important to me. Ultimately, seeing my audience be successful is my goal.

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?

Hopefully it goes completely digital. Technology is huge in creating trends and cultivating a global society.  I hope that my designs and aesthetic will be impacted by people, tribes or cultures that I never even knew existed, all because technology cultivated those relationships.

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

Priceless! I relate that moment to what I think a woman feels like when she gave birth or when parents see their child off to college. I put love, sweat and tears into creating something and to see the finished product on a body…words can’t describe.


Photo by Luanne Demeo


My aesthetic in five words: Comfortable unexpected intriguing good shit.
My client is… the person who shows up to the party and it appears that it only took 10 mins to get dressed, yet they are the coolest person in the party.
My dream client is… the model Omahyra Mota and Natalie Portman. I love the attitude both of these ladies possess and I feel like they are the epitome of who my woman is.

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