The Industry: Lois Samuels Interview

18 Jul

Designer Lois Samuels in one of her own designs from the Vessel.by lois FW11 Collection

A couple of months ago, we featured the Vessel. by Lois’s FW11 collection and expressed our love for her impossibly chic take on modern classics. In the midst of working on her SS12 collection, the model-turned designer took time to speak with The Black Market via email in an exclusive interview.

The Black Market:  Tell us about your start in the industry as a model and how you made the transition to fashion design.

Lois Samuels:  I was discovered by a scout in Jamaica and had the opportunity to visit agencies in Europe and America.  My first agent in the US was Bethann Management (Bethann Hardison) I had a career that has spanned for many years. With campaigns for Calvin Klein, Banana Republic, Club Monaco and Target as well as editorials for magazines as Marie Claire, Essence and Vogue.  Design itself had been a dream of mine since I was 14, it became my reality 2 years ago. 

TBM: Your collections are decidedly no-nonsense, but also totally of-the-moment. What type of woman do you have in mind when you design your collections?
 
LS:  I see a woman who feels beautiful inside and out, she’s strong, independent and free spirited. The collections present a clean, simple slate of tailored basics, the woman who invests in it will have pieces in her wardrobe that last from season to season . Not a fad.

 
TBM:  There has been a lot of dialogue over the past few years about the lack of diversity in the upper echelons of the fashion industry. What is your opinion about why there are so few black designers that make it onto major fashion editor’s radars and what do you think can be done to change this?
 
LS: I believe there are so many talented fashionistas out there and in some ways more doors are opening and will continue to open for a more diverse industry.  Seeing Olivier Rousteing being selected head designer of Balmain,
 Models Jordan Dunn and Sacha M’Baye for (the) Burberry Campaign,  Simone Bridges the Senior Fashion +Style Producer at The New York Times, Malcolm Harris, fashion designer, creative activist, luxury brand ambassador and humanitarian, to name a few, tells that in all areas there are people of color making an impact in the business. 

I also believe that it would be wonderful if more resources were available to guide individuals with the process. A support system of sorts. Being that I have been in the industry as a model, did a bit of photography, assisted a casting director and was an account managaer helped me incredibly but I have had to learn from my various errors and I am still learning! It is a very difficult and fickle industry. Overall, I remain hopeful that we all become vessels of love and peace and change. And that all industries become a melting pot of creative energies regardless of race, religion or whatever other ridiculous reason that separates us. 

TBM:  Finally, where do you see your label in 5 years? Are there areas of the industry that you want to explore, like accessories, etc? 

LS:  In 5 years, I see the Vessel. by lois as a successful and stable label with a global presence and following. I have already added accessories, http://www.her-tie.com a line of ties for women. And as time progresses, hope to add shoes and possibly totes.

Visit www.thevesselbylois.com more for information and to view the FW11 collection.

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