Home Interviews Detroit fashion designer Lindsay Alyssa speaks on her brand The Retell Closet

Detroit fashion designer Lindsay Alyssa speaks on her brand The Retell Closet

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What inspired you to become a fashion designer?

My mom inspires me. I remember learning to draw fashion figures in the 1st or 2nd grade. She went to college for fashion, so I went to college for fashion as well. I’ve always seen her fashion sketch books and her drawings were always nice, but she never brought them to life. My first design was something she drew in her sketch book from the early 90s.

What’s your background and how long have you been designing?

I’m 19 years old. I made my first outfit as a senior in high school in 2015. I went to an art school that only focused on painting, drawing, sculpting, etc. I wasn’t really into any of that. One of our last senior projects was to create anything that we wanted. I knew this would’ve been the perfect time to showcase my creativity with something I actually enjoyed, which was fashion. As I stated before, I found my mom’s old sketchbook and recreated one of the designs and brought it to life.

What themes do you pursue in your work?

Each collection I do, I try to think of the big picture. I try to make things as creative as possible from the shoots, to the clothes, to the branding. I try to make each one very different from the last. So far I’ve done satin, neon, vinyl spandex, the LV/Gucci, and earth tone collections. One similar thing that I try to push in each collection is that the items are all statement pieces. I want each outfit to be distinct.

How does Detroit influence your work?

Detroit women have a very heavy impact on what I make. This is my main market right now. In order to cater to that, I have to pay attention to what people are doing and what they like. I’m currently in the process of trying to get involved and meet as many people as possible. That’s how it works in Detroit if you want your brand to pop.

Can you tell us more about yourself? You’re very brand-forward and mysterious.

Lol… I’m pretty plain Jane. Born and raised in Detroit. I work at a blood bank and I make clothes. I just bought a Cannon off of QVC, so I’ve been doing my own photography as well. I went to Eastern Michigan University for a year, and I discovered it was redundant (for me at least). I’ve been working on perfecting my craft since then.

What kind of creative routines or rituals do you have?

There’s only one that comes to mind. When I create work for myself, I don’t have time to play at all. This may sound crazy, but if I’m working on a collection or have some things to ship out, I don’t eat until I finish it. I feel like I haven’t earned a meal until I complete my goal for the day. I hate days when I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything.

Professionally, what’s your goal?

My end goal is to not have to work a 9-5 and being able to live comfortably off of what I’m passionate about: fashion. I want to own a store in a city that drives a lot of traffic. I want to see all the work I’ve put in pay off.

Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?

I’ve done a little bit of graphic design, but I’m not that good. I want to be skilled in that.

What made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?

I found out that I’m always messing up at jobs lol. I can’t think of any other place that I’d like to work at. I only like sewing lol.

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?

My biggest downfall was depending on people. I was waiting on people who said they’d do things for me to do it… It either never got done, or was long overdue. I waited on photographers; they’d take too long and I’d have to push back release dates. I tried to partner up with people who I thought would be potential business partners, but it turns out they weren’t as serious as I thought. To overcome that I started doing everything myself.  Because of that, I bought my own camera, learned about Photoshop a little, found my own models, etc. I stopped depending on people and started moving by myself.

What was the best piece of advice you ever got?

My mom told me “Lindsay, learn to do everything yourself.” That’s what I did. I ended up gaining skills and not having to pay people for things I could’ve done myself.

If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Be patient. It’s ok to struggle a little. I’m still not even where I want to be. Everything takes time. As long as your taking all the necessary steps, you’ll get there.

What habits helped make you successful?

I think me learning to discipline myself and staying so consistent helped. If one thing didn’t work, I tried another.

What mindsets helped make your successful?

I had to learn to stay focused and in my own lane. I started making clothes very young, so I think in terms of building a brand it kind of forced me to mature a lot in this short amount of time. I had a lot of distractions in the past that slowed me down a bit.

Do you have any exciting plans you can tell us about in the coming months?

For the remainder of 2017, I just plan to do a lot of shoots and fashion shows. I’ll be featured in two big shows in November. I’m very excited about that. I’ve also been trying to map out my own show and bring out some other designers in the city as well.

Connect with Lindsay Alyssa at:
Twitter: @LindsayAlyssa_ Instagram: @LindsayAlyssa_

And see her clothing line at:
www.theretellcloset.com

See her designs on the runway at the Raw Artists Fashion Show on November 28th at St Andrews. More info and tickets here: www.rawartists.org/detroit/savor

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