A sit down with the 20-year-old that caught the Kardashian’s eyes
Coming fresh off his Fall/Winter show, I was able to squeeze some time in with the blossoming designer, Tyler Lambert, at his studio in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago, IL. As we sat in his peaceful white space, giant vases of pink blooms reaching into the air, I couldn’t wait to dive in and learn as much as I could from the forthcoming designer about his creative process and what’s next for him and his brand.
High Fashion Living: You’re headed out to L.A. next week, what are you doing there?
TL: I do personal styling for some YouTubers, I go to appearances with them, and our client, obviously, the Kardashian family.
High Fashion Living: Tell me about that, the Kardashians getting in touch with you.
TL: Last year I used to be in a showroom, a tiny showroom in LA. That’s how the stylist actually found the line, it was actually her assistant that found it. That’s how they started wearing it.
High Fashion Living: How did you end up in a showroom in LA while still living out here in Chicago?
TL: I was taking some major risks. I was in the showroom because I had just moved to Chicago, I was in school, the school was financial aided and would get refund checks and had this money to use, and I was like whatever, I’ll have a showroom. But when I made this huge leap this summer of not going back to school, I didn’t have that funding and was just like “okay” and closed to the studio out in LA.
High Fashion Living: Where did the Tyler Lambert brand originate?
TL: I come from a town where everything was cheap and we didn’t have resources like designer stores we had a Walmart, so we had to be creative. I would take Walmart shirts and cut them apart and put them all together. It’s what I could afford back then, I was making it work out of nothing. That’s where the brand came from and this is what it’s evolved to, this hand work put into timeless pieces of Americana.
High Fashion Living: How have you built upon that?
TL: I’m focused on creating an image and a lifestyle. I want to become a lifestyle brand, a legacy lifestyle, I don’t want to just be like oh here’s a cheap forever 21 copy, I want to be the quality, by hand person that creates exquisite content.
High Fashion Living: How have things changed for you since being recognized by big names such as the Kardashians?
TL: I mean you do get those negative comments, if its twitter or Instagram or emails, it’s more than just the pretty side of what everyone sees of fashion. I think it takes a special person to cope and I think that’s what’s a little different about me. I’ve been sewing since I was 12, I did my first collection at 14. I keep going and going, you have to.
High Fashion Living: How does your creative process start?
TL: Everyone has their own way of interpreting everything, even other’s ideas, and traditions. I think that’s what’s special about fashion, everyone is setting their own traditions and they’re twist on a different tradition. Coco Chanel did grid beading in the 40s, and I’m doing pearl grid beading. It’s like a passed down tradition, iconic fashion and styles and cuts or whatever but every designer does it differently. I think a lot of us have similar ideas, it’s like breathing in the same air, all the events happening around you affect your creative process and there’s going to be some overlapping.
High Fashion Living: Is it weird seeing your name covering a store front window?
TL: Yea, it’s a little friggin’ weird to have your name on a window when you’re 20 years old. It’s really weird to be doing a lot of things when you’re 20. It’s hustling, I feel like I’ve just started. But you’re going to have haters when you hustle and there’s going to be the fans. I like how low key I stay about it and I remember I’ve worked with some amazing people and they’re really special to me. The level of respect I have for these people, I think it’s what keeps me humble, that and remembering where I grew up. In my heart, I know I’ve “made it,” I’m just working to express myself.
High Fashion Living: What inspired your Autumn/Winter collection?
TL: I just have so many ideas, I just keep them in my head and something will trigger one to come back, but when I make a collection I don’t actually have any inspiration. I just start making and one piece inspires the next piece and that piece will reflect the last piece, the next piece will reflect two previous looks. It’s just one piece and it builds. Like my resort collection, I’m building right now, I found fabric at a thrift store and decided “I’m going to build a pantsuit out of this.” For resort, I’m doing some tied and knotted pieces and of course ruffles, like my fall/winter collection, bringing the ruffles back into it to reflect the last collection.
High Fashion Living: Your creative process seems very narrative driven, tell me a bit more about that.
TL: It is! I like to tell a story, you make the story from the clothes. I get an idea in my head for something like an ad campaign video and I want to tell a story with my clothes through it. I have this vision for a video campaign for my shoes that tells this story with several different women, same angle the whole time, of this girl throughout her day, in her room getting dressed, then running down the stairs in the shoe in a different color. I see it in my head, how I want it to start, how it will end. I want it to be this crazy fun shoe and a video to match.
High Fashion Living: Are there any designers you feel the Tyler Lambert brand has a similar energy to?
TL: I feel like my brand is wild, I’m wild. It’s definitely like an eclectic minimalism, I’m like the most in the most minimalist way. The way I presented this collection, in the all-white space, on top of three boxes, there’s not really much to that, but the pieces were just the most. Minimal presentation but looks and concepts that are very detailed and involved. I feel like fashion is taken a little too seriously, I’m not like that, I’m messy, refined, and a little bit extra, and I feel that other brands that kind of have that feel are what inspire a lot of my process. I like this UK based designer called Shrimps, really chic, really fun. I mean obviously, Gucci, but to an extent, I really like what he’s done for the brand but I also feel as though some of it is too much, I need balance, and I feel like that comes back to my need for balance between my minimalism with an eccentric streak.
High Fashion Living: What’s in the pipeline for Tyler Lambert?
TL: Well we have our webstore, I’ll keep adding, I like to switch it up, I’ll put some up and take some down. I want to add some content to the site, like some blogging or YouTube videos. We’re doing a pop-up shop here soon and I’m super excited for this video were shooting for the fall/winter collection, it’s like a lookbook times a thousand. It will be super luxurious and opulent, were shooting in a big old house with the classic romantic, Victorian feel, but were going to make it a little rock star. I want to capsule this collection with the most Victorian punk-rocker feel, it’ll be great.
High Fashion Living: How would you define the difference between fashion and style?
TL: Fashion is anything, fashion anyone can have. Fashion can be anything on anyone but the style is what comes before that. Style makes fashion. My style thought to make this into a hat, for example, that’s on your head. It’s the thought before fashion. It’s what triggers fashion, if I didn’t have my style, then I wouldn’t have created the looks and the fashion that I have.