Photo credit: Courtesy of Wayne Lee
Before launching her own line, Wayne Lee was a former buyer at Barneys, who was known to arrive to work wearing designs of her own. We caught up with the designer at Fashion Week to talk about creative collaborations, her aspiration as a short-fiction novelist and how she spent her first pay check on Prada shoes.
What is your best all time fashion moment?
I would have to say this time. I had a baby and it was just really nice to be able to see everybody after the show. It was a great moment of knowing that I just had a baby and a really wonderful show. I would say that is my best moment so far.
What inspires you?
I'm really drawn to things that are more different, interesting, things that stand out. Whether it's words or paintings or pictures, I let life dictate that. Sometimes it inspires me for my next collection. Whatever life gives me, my everyday surroundings.
What is your first fashion memory?
A long time ago when I was in grad school in San Francisco, I had a part-time job at Club Monaco. With my first pay check I went to the Prada store and bought a pair of shoes I saw from the window, with my entire pay check. And it was one of those moments where I was like 'Wow! I just spent my entire pay check on a pair of shoes.' And that stood out as a big fashion moment for me, in the beginning.
Person you would most like to collaborate with...
I've been collaborating with a lot of artists and I really want to go in that direction each season. Just continue with the collaborations, whether it be a print or jewelry or hand carved objects used for the runway. I know that next season I would like to collaborate with someone on a different scale. This time I collaborated with a painter, last time I collaborated with a sculptor, so maybe I can find an artist who works in other mediums. I like keeping it new and refreshing and interesting.
If you weren't a designer, what would you do?
I guess if I weren't doing design, I guess I've always wanted to go into writing short fiction novels. That's something that I thought about in undergrad, but just never had the guts to pursue. For me it's something I consider luxurious. Maybe later on in life, I can do something like that.
Who is your style icon?
I don't really have a particular one. My style icon is someone who is very independent. She knows what she likes and she's very knowledgeable. She's very spirited and intellectual.
What is the best piece of fashion advice you've ever been given?
Never restrict yourself. Always try new things. I always try to convey that to my customers things. Don't restrict yourself in what you want. You have more freedom than you think you have. Always do what your heart wants you to do.
When you aren't designing, what do you like to do?
Now that I have a kid, we'll be spending a lot of time! I enjoy spending summers at my boyfriend's parents' house at Cape Cod. They have this little cottage on the beach. I like to lull around the beach, collect my thoughts, collect myself, especially post-show
Name three things you can't live without.
My laptop, this bracelet I've been wearing for 20 years!, and I can't live without my family.
Fashion should be more...
Fashion should be more free. You should really be able to express yourself a lot more. There are moments when people hold back. I think life is too short for that. You should try new things and let yourself go. It is spiritual for me to let go and not hold back.
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