Ten Questions With Phillip Lim

4 min read

What was your inspiration for your spring/summer17 collection?

Midnight at the Victorian Rodeo.

What are some of the key pieces from this collection?

I am really excited about the denim that we developed for Spring 2017. No one needs another 5-pocket jean, so for me, it was about exploring familiar denim silhouettes and then applying details that make the garments individualised. I also love the footwear – the Nashville flat-form and the Patsy mule are cool and don’t take themselves too seriously. They look great with the denim or a more whimsical pairing like the floral silk groups.

What’s an average working day like for you?

I’m in the office! I start the day with a strong coffee and then go from meeting to meeting, across many different departments. I also try to find some quiet time in my library – some calm in the chaos – to sketch, write, meditate or just reflect. Having that opportunity to recharge, even if it is just ten minutes, is invaluable.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I am most inspired by the world around me; everyday things – people on the street, the vibrancy of New York City, light, noise and color. And also by breathtaking ones – the sky, the ocean, the sun.

How do you transform an idea or inspiration into a collection?

I always like to say that I am an evolutionary designer, rather than a revolutionary designer. And what I mean by that, is I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. I design classic clothes, but with an unusual, unexpected twist. We like to say, our design philosophy at 3.1 Phillip Lim is classic with a sense of madness. That twist has become the brand’s signature and my aim is to apply that into every collection. Sometimes it starts with a place I’ve visited, or an era of music.

What do you think women want from their wardrobes today?

I think women today want cool, easy chic staple pieces that fit into their multi-dimensional lives.

As a young designer how crucial do you think it is to engage the millennial audience and how can luxury fashion brands do this?

Everyone is on social media these days, not just millennials, so I think it is crucial to engage all audiences. It’s not necessarily about turning a laser focus to just one demographic. And I believe the best way to do that is to be authentic and honest in the way you communicate – because the people engaging with brands these days are smarter and more knowledgeable than ever, and if something feels forced, or disingenuous, they will see through it.

What do you do to ensure you remain relaxed and focused? 

I travel, meditate and visit family and friends. I try to maintain my curiosity –towards people, the environment, new places and cultures – it keeps me focused and constantly inspired.

What makes American design so distinct?

Americans live multifaceted, multi-functional, complex lives so I think that American design should reflect those needs.  However, my goal is to create global design; ultimately product for the global citizen who might live their life across time zones, regions, and cultures.

What has been the most valuable lesson on your journey as a designer so far?

Be present, be grateful, live generously and stay curious.

To read our full interview with Phillip Lim pick up a copy of our May issue.