Chic, feminine and fun? We’ll take some of that please. These defining details make up designer Lagi Nadeau’s debut ready-to-wear Spring 2013 collection, which just so happens to be full of of florals, stripes and pastels. Drawing from influences in art and architecture, Lagi’s designs are refined and feminine with a dash of edgy.
Her first collection was inspired by a Japanese painting which prompted her to create an exclusive oriental print that mixes perfectly against her sorbet and blush-colored pieces.
This up-and-comer graduated from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and was a former assistant designer at Tahari and Ammara. Lagi was one of six designers selected for the 2012 Chicago Fashion Incubator program which gives developing designers the chance to shine and learn the business of fashion. Already featured in Marie Claire, Refinery 29 and Racked Chicago, Lagi is a name to remember. Today we discuss inspirations, challenges and icons with the emerging designer.
What is your personal motto?
Follow your path with an open heart and an open mind.
Industry insiders are saying the web is “democratizing fashion” through massive growth in social media, the power of bloggers and B2C eCommerce. Do you agree and/or what is your viewpoint on this?
I think with social media, there is a change in the way that we view fashion. eCommerce, bloggers, and other social media sites have a huge influence. They add another way to view fashion because fashion isn’t primarily influenced by magazines and publications. While I think those will remain influential, I also think having social media outlets offers a platform of quick communication. It allows people to see how their peers wear certain items and discuss fashion, and can connect consumers to purchase items online.
What’s the biggest challenge you face in your business today?
People seeing me as a new designer and having questions about the quality and fit. From working in the fashion industry in New York for five years at places like Tahari and Ammara, I definiitely concentrate on those factors when designing. These are things that are important to me, which is why I use the best fabrics and work with amazing patternmakers to ensure that the product quality and fit are on point.
Who are your entrepreneurial icons?
Elie Tahari has always inspired me. I think he embodies the entrepreneurial spirit. He immigrated to the US in 1971 and despite financial struggles, he stayed focused on designing womenswear and following his passion. He was one of the first fashion designers to open a boutique on Madison Avenue in the 1970’s. He has created a lifestyle brand that is so successful and continues to flourish. I think he is a true inspiration.
Jason Wu also inspires me. He launched his RTW collection at the age of 23 in 2006. I think it takes a sharp business person to balance growing the business to where he has and staying true to his quality designs. As a young designer myself, I find him to be one of my entrepreneurial icons.
I have no idea what I was doing in this video, it’s slightly embarrassing! But I love this video because it showcases each of the six designers at the Chicago Fashion Incubator before we debuted our spring 2013 collections at Fashion Focus during Chicago Fashion Week. We were able to work with the awesome crew from Glossed And Found and it was a great experience. I love these ladies and this video holds a special place in my heart.
If you could give one piece of advice to your 14 year-old self, what would it be?
Don’t worry about what people think of you and don’t try to be “cool”. I was pretty shy and insecure at that age. I would tell my 14 year-old self not to care so much about other people’s opinions, to be unique and original, and to focus on the people who love you as you are.