Yesterday I had the unique opportunity to chat with David Lerner, an up-and-coming fashion designer, whose fans include the likes of Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton. Below, Lerner talks to me about the story behind his success, his celeb client base, his mom, and more. We even played an impromptu game of word association…check it out.
Name: David Lerner
Education: NYU / Real Estate Major
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Designer: Martin Margiela
Band/Artist: Jay-Z, Coldplay, Wale
Drink: Red Bull
Non-work-related Activity: playing with his Maltese, Einstein
TV Show: True Blood
Time of Day: not the morning
Campus Socialite: Can you tell me a little bit about your background? How did you get into fashion in the first place?
David Lerner: I grew up in New York City, went to NYU, and didn’t take one fashion class. I graduated with a degree in real estate (that was my family business) but after college I moved to LA and decided to follow my creative ambition – to do something aside from what I felt I was “supposed to do.” I started designing stuff for friends and family and it just caught on. There have been a lot of people that have influenced me over the years. I’ve been lucky to have people like Max Azria and Marc Jacobs mentor me.
CS: It seems like you became a really big name, really fast. How’d you do it?
DL: It started with a couple of pairs of leggings at exactly the right time. To me, you need to have three things in order to be successful: the right price, the right product, and a big celebrity following.
CS: You definitely seem to have all three. Tell me about what it was like the first time a celeb was spotted wearing your designs?
DL: I was at the Alice+Olivia party last summer in the Hamptons and Paris Hilton was there. We knew people in common, so I introduced myself, told her about my clothing line, and sent her some leggings. One week later she was in Denmark at a handbag launch and she was photographed all over the weeklies wearing my legging with the 7-inch zipper. That launch was a very big day for me.
CS: That must have been an incredible rush. What inspires you?
DL: Women. Women have always my inspiration. I love women. I’ve always looked up to the women in my family. My mom, my sister, my aunt, heck, my uncle for that matter.
CS: Speaking of women – what’s it like to work in a predominantly female-driven industry?
DL: Being a guy in this industry is so much fun. Almost everyone in my company is female – my design team, PR girls, the showrooms, even my production. If there’s one thing I am good at it’s getting along with women.
CS: Your line has really blown up with young girls. What about your collection appeals to female college students?
DL: College girls love my brand. It’s perfect for college. The leggings and t-shirts are the perfect chill gear that girls look really attractive in. But my brand can range anywhere from ages 15 – 60. I have high school girls wearing my clothes, and my mom and all of her friends wear it too…but maybe it’s because it’s my mom and all her friends?
CS: But you have to admit – there are a lot of leggings out there. What makes your stuff different?
DL: The quality. I don’t think there’s anything else like it on the market and my customers and my stores will attest to it. The quality is far superior – the fabric is from Brazil and California, and it’s produced here in the USA. The fit is crucial. My clothes make girls look and feel great.
CS: Things seem to be moving so fast for you. What’s next?
DL: I have a men’s line coming out – I want to wear my own stuff everyday. I made some early samples that are amazing. There are five different t-shirts, one long sleeve t-shirt, and one long sleeve hoody. I’ve been in meetings every day to find the perfect fabric. In September, I’m launching lingerie and dresses.
CS: Ok, David. Let’s play a quick game of word association. I give you one word, you write the first thing that comes to mind when you hear it.
Alexander Wang: next generation
Miley Cyrus: Millions of Milkshakes (Milkshake Bar in LA)
Socialite: Gossip Girl
Sexy: Megan Fox
Metrosexual: DL men’s line
David Lerner: Sexy, amazing, brilliant, sophisticated, and single…just kidding
Check out David Lerner’s collection at www.DLCollection.com
Check Back with The Campus Socialite tomorrow for Part 2 of our EXCLUSIVE Interview with David Lerner!