An Interview with Designer, Lily Luong of LilyL

By Melissa Ann Fasano

Published at Inspirer Magazine, August 2011 Issue


A few years ago as I was researching trends to write about in my style blog (http://www.iammelissaann.com), I came across a fabulously sweet designer named Lily Luong.  When I first started to mull through her website, I entered into a world full of originality and poise.  Some of the first things that I noticed was that her garments were enriched with such specific detail in a way that was impossible to ignore.  Each item was sewn meticulously with each stitch in place.  While some were full of beautiful lace or ribbon, others were garnished with edgy studs and silhouettes that could only be achieved by those who put the one thing into their work that some may forget: Heart. 


I became fascinated with Miss Luong’s collection.  Each time she debuted a new piece, I found it that much more exciting.  As I learned more about Lily, I also became interested in how young she was.  It reminded me that age is just a number in the scheme of things, and that anyone can achieve success if they work hard enough. 


Years, and many conversations later, Lily L and I finally met at the Blue Bottle Coffee Co. in San Francisco to talk about our passions, and more importantly, how she’s come to be such an inspiration herself, to many others. 


M: How old were you when you created your first piece?

L: “I was taking classes when I was 14, I draped it- I didn’t know how to make patterns at that point, really. But my first real piece that I designed was when I was 18.”


M: How old are you now?

L: 21


M: How would you describe your personal style?

L: “I love vintage--I’d say that I’m inspired by a lot of different things, eras and genres. So I try to mix things to make something unique and fun, that feels right.  I really like timeless things that could be from the 20’s, or the 60’s.  I love summer and dresses (as well).  [My style] is all over the place-- I could dress really grungy one day, and then in the 30’s the next day.” You have to have fun and dress how you feel.


M: Who would you say is your #1 support/fan?

L: “Definitely my mom. My dad’s great too-- both of my parents are really supportive of me.” 


M: Would you consider yourself a stylist as much as you are a designer?

L: “I’d say definitely- When i was 18 I decided that i really liked doing photo shoots and my mom would do photography and I would come up with concepts to put together outfits. I enjoyed doing that. I love styling, it’s a big part of my life as well.”


“..Being in front and behind the camera, and being a stylist- it’s interesting to get all of the perspectives [so that] when you work with a big team you know how to communicate better.”


M: If you could give 3 words of advice to an aspiring stylist or designer, what do you think they would be?

L: “Work really hard, Perseverance, Determination.” “If you have that you never give up, and you’re really determined you’ll probably be able to get somewhere. It takes a lot. [to break through]  I try to stay focused and make all of my work as good as I can make it- Try to get it out there.  I try to focus on everything that I can do to make myself successful in what I want to do.”


M: What is one rule or moral value that you govern yourself by?

L: “Thoughtful- thinking before you act or react.  It’s always been important for me to not be emotional [in my reactions] and be sure that I say and do the right thing that’s going to be the best for everything that’s going on in the situation.”


M: When did you decide that Designing Clothes was your career path?

L: “I was always creative in all different ways.” At the age of 14 she attended a pre college course in Fashion Design but it wasn’t until the end of High School that she was advised to pick a focus.


M: Is there anything that you love as much as or close to your love of fashion?

L: “Well, I play drums- people always seem to laugh at that but I love it.” Also heavily influenced by films and film making.  Directors like Sophia Coppola [The Virgin Suicides, 1999] and novelists such as Sylvia Path, and J.D. Salinger.


M: What is your favorite part about your designs or design in general?

L: “All of it--sketching, designing and sewing, and “of course seeing the final product on someone.”


M: Are there any “Perks” to what you do?

L: “I would say that once you become really successful, there are material perks. But for now, [for me] just being able to do something that I love is really the best perk that I could ask for. To be passionate about my work is the best--I see so many people who can’t have that.”


M: Has there been anyone “famous,” or in the public eye that has called you/asked you to design anything special for them? Who/what was it?

L: “As far as people who have worn my things, I’ve made a few custom pieces for Hanna Beth. She wore a custom dress of mine to the Young Hollywood Awards in 2010. One of the first dresses I designed was in a music video for Hey Monday and The Cab [Take My Hand, the Remix] in 2008. It was the first “Circus Dress” that I made and Cassadee Pope from Hey Monday wore it.”


M: Are there any sacrifices that you have made for your work?

L: “There’s definitely been a lot. But to me, I never really think of it too much as a sacrifice. I just want to get to where I want to be.  I wouldn’t be happy any other way.”


M: What is the personality type of girl/woman/man that you hope wears your clothes?

L: “The person that wears my clothes is multifaceted, thoughtful, introspective, fun-loving but driven, and very creative.”


M: Do you have a specific trademark or phrase that you use when it comes to your clothes.

L: “What you wear should be a preview to who you are.--I always think in film sense. Do what you love and express yourself in your Style.”


For more information on Lily Luong or to purchase any of her current items, visit her website at http://www.lilyl.com/.

© WMG 2009. The Cab's video for 'Take My Hand (Remix)' from The Lady Luck EP featuring Cassadee Pope of Hey Monday - available now on Decaydance / Fueled By Ramen.