Tuesday

ALL ON THE LINE

A couple of people have told me that while my last post was funny it buries my chance of having a respectable design career. You can't make fun of celebs and expect them to wear your clothes. You can't joke about Anna Wintour and expect to be in Vogue. As my friend Kristin said, "do you want to be a personality or do you want to be a designer?" This is something I've struggled with for a while. Tonight my episode of All on the Line with Joe Zee will be on Sundance and it's not particularly flattering. You'd never see Alexander Wang admitting his production was fucked up or Marc Jacobs' mom making one of his dresses. They are serious designers with pedigree and respect.


Me, I'm not that serious. I enjoy making fun of people as much as I enjoy designing clothes. I failed out of Parsons. Thrice. I honestly love designing and I could not be more grateful for the career I've had. But I just can't imagine doing the right thing for the rest of my life: never being self deprecating, never making fun of anyone, never doing reality TV, never tweeting about my boyfriend's balls. But I also don't want to be so insistent that I'm different that I sabotage my career.

So help me friends, what to do? Do I delete the post below? Do I clean up my act so I can have a serious career? Or do I just be me and hope it works out? I've signed up for another reality show - is that crazy?

19 comments:

  1. Your personality is who you are. Your designs reflect the kind of energy you give off. Has any famous person ever gotten anywhere without making a couple jokes along the way? Famous people and designers for decades have lived their lives sabotaging the careers and types of people they're surrounded by; and guess what? We love them anyway. Just because the Royal wedding sucked doesn't mean people wont still talk about. Kurt Cobain said "I'd rather be hated for who I am, then loved for who I am not." if people like your designs, chances are they're going to warm up to you too, whether they like your jokes or not. So give the finger to the snobs who cant take a joke in this world anymore. Your clothes are AMAZING! And if people don't like the person behind them, then they don't deserve to wear them anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love you Leila, and would never say curb who you are for political reasons, but...…yes there is a but. We live in a different world now. Everything is in cyber space now. No one out there knows that I told Susan Davidson to go F-off during one of our battles. Only a few intimates. It would have been political suicide if I did it today and then blogged it. Don't stop being you, you just don't have to share every single thought with the entire world. Save some of the more career devastating items for your close friends. Look at Galliano. Make sure cell phones are off too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Leila - You rock! Don't change :) Make fun, and design clothing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dream=fashion line success. If you want to have a major label/successful apparel line you need to kiss ass. You need to be politically correct, always smiling, and professional to take an apparel line to the majors retailors. That dream would kill me. I don't think you can pull off the kiss-ass parade either. You seem to have some steam to blow off. Do the reality shows. Exposure never hurt anyone.
    Brett

    ReplyDelete
  5. Name one successful designer with their name on a label that speaks unkindly about celebrities and the editors that can catapult their brands to success. Karl Lagerfeld is is running around with Blake Lively for Christ's sakes! Do you think he enjoys this? No. But you would think they paint one another's toenails and have slumber parties. You have what it takes, but there is a game to be played. Play on playa.

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  6. You are a beautiful delicate flower never change, never forget.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Is it career sabotage if you post jokes and comments under a pseudonym? Maybe you should think about having an alternate online persona, I am sure there can be more than one blog contributor, no?

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  8. anne, you realize you just outed yourself! all great advice, i shall continue to search for a happy medium. i guess in the end i'd rather be positive than negative. when you're positive no one reads your blog but people reading my blog doesn't seem to sell clothes. i think i can hold back from making fun of others but making fun of myself - that's just too easy! love you all xoxoxo

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  9. I'm with Anne. Everything online is there forever for all to see and possibly use against you. It is just the way. I think you have to be you, though. So strike a balance. If you need an editor before you make your posts on your blog live, I'm your gal. Free for you, of course.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Playing the game (and playing nice) is surely the easier and safer path to success BUT every industry needs disruption to evolve and it's usually those disruptors who end up standing out and making it big.

    The fashion business is overflowing with self-centered, mean-spirited, spoiled little bitches (male and female) who view the likes of Anna Wintour as role models for how they interact with others. Nevermind that these individuals generally lack the talent, creativity, track record, and business acumen possessed by Ms. Wintour (not that this excuses some of her antics, but at least she can "walk the walk").

    Many people would love to see the dynamics of this industry change and rejoice in seeing undesirable "fashion personalities" be taken to task or poked fun at on blogs like yours.

    I think you can definitely stand out and make a name for yourself by speaking your mind and having the balls to go where most designers (and other people int he industry) fear to tread. However, this has to be done somewhat carefully and strategically or it will make it much harder to grow your business.

    The same holds true when it comes to sharing personal things about yourself and your business. Don't stifle the personality that makes you (and your blog) stand out, but maintain a healthy awareness of whose desk your latest post might end up on.

    For example, I'd be very wary about writing anything publicly that would cause a potential buyer to lose confidence in your ability to produce and deliver a large order or get your fit right. No retailer wants to try out a new line if they think the company is almost broke, the owner isn't focused, production isn't up to par, etc (not saying these things apply to you, just citing them as examples).

    Leila Shams the personality and blogger can be wild, witty, and even a bit controversial, but Leila Sham the company needs to be known for producing and delivering great product on time (every time) that SELLS THROUGH well and develops a loyal following.

    You can get away with a lot once you've proven to the industry that you have the chops to back it up. If you can get to the point where people are walking into stores asking for your product and retailers aren't going to care what you write on your blog (as long as it isn't about them *smile*).

    The thing to be cautious of is burning any important bridges BEFORE you get to that point. This industry is hard enough if you play it safe and kiss the right asses now and then.

    So I would agree with others who say it's a bit of a balancing act. Definitely don't lose the outspoken edge that makes you an interesting personality (and in my opinion, matches the edginess of your designs themselves)... but also know when to show a little restraint and put on your "serious hat" to send the right message.

    Good luck. You have a lot of talent and a great wit. I things work out with Intermix.

    ReplyDelete
  11. so true! thanks so much for your insights!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think you're hilarious and witty and are a born and bred "personality" in addition to a talented designer. Stifling that will make you just mediocre and lost among the million other designers trying to make it. I realize there are bills to be paid and it is taking a chance, but from my own experience, making a living (albeit a modest one) from being exactly who you are is so much more rewarding then following some textbook formula. It's the difference between being a commercial designer and an artist. And commercial designers don't get shows at the met. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIXg9KUiy00

    ReplyDelete
  13. I just saw you on all on the line.

    I love your clothes. You are super talented.

    One day I'll be able to afford them hopefully I can back order some of your peices.

    I love every collection you release. Please don't stop designing Your 1 of the best out there.

    You, Alexander Mc Queen, and Versace are my heros.

    You don't need stars to wear your clothes there are plenty other freaks of nature out there.

    They just have to discover you like I did.

    I'm glad I have Sundance

    ReplyDelete
  14. I just saw you on all on the line.

    I love your clothes. You are super talented.

    One day I'll be able to afford them hopefully I can back order some of your peices.

    I love every collection you release. Please don't stop designing Your 1 of the best out there.

    You, Alexander Mc Queen, and Versace are my heros.

    You don't need stars to wear your clothes there are plenty other freaks of nature out there.

    They just have to discover you like I did.

    I'm glad I have Sundance

    ReplyDelete
  15. Playing the game (and playing nice) is surely the easier and safer path to success BUT every industry needs disruption to evolve and it's usually those disruptors who end up standing out and making it big.

    The fashion business is overflowing with self-centered, mean-spirited, spoiled little bitches (male and female) who view the likes of Anna Wintour as role models for how they interact with others. Nevermind that these individuals generally lack the talent, creativity, track record, and business acumen possessed by Ms. Wintour (not that this excuses some of her antics, but at least she can "walk the walk").

    Many people would love to see the dynamics of this industry change and rejoice in seeing undesirable "fashion personalities" be taken to task or poked fun at on blogs like yours.

    I think you can definitely stand out and make a name for yourself by speaking your mind and having the balls to go where most designers (and other people int he industry) fear to tread. However, this has to be done somewhat carefully and strategically or it will make it much harder to grow your business.

    The same holds true when it comes to sharing personal things about yourself and your business. Don't stifle the personality that makes you (and your blog) stand out, but maintain a healthy awareness of whose desk your latest post might end up on.

    For example, I'd be very wary about writing anything publicly that would cause a potential buyer to lose confidence in your ability to produce and deliver a large order or get your fit right. No retailer wants to try out a new line if they think the company is almost broke, the owner isn't focused, production isn't up to par, etc (not saying these things apply to you, just citing them as examples).

    Leila Shams the personality and blogger can be wild, witty, and even a bit controversial, but Leila Sham the company needs to be known for producing and delivering great product on time (every time) that SELLS THROUGH well and develops a loyal following.

    You can get away with a lot once you've proven to the industry that you have the chops to back it up. If you can get to the point where people are walking into stores asking for your product and retailers aren't going to care what you write on your blog (as long as it isn't about them *smile*).

    The thing to be cautious of is burning any important bridges BEFORE you get to that point. This industry is hard enough if you play it safe and kiss the right asses now and then.

    So I would agree with others who say it's a bit of a balancing act. Definitely don't lose the outspoken edge that makes you an interesting personality (and in my opinion, matches the edginess of your designs themselves)... but also know when to show a little restraint and put on your "serious hat" to send the right message.

    Good luck. You have a lot of talent and a great wit. I things work out with Intermix.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Is it career sabotage if you post jokes and comments under a pseudonym? Maybe you should think about having an alternate online persona, I am sure there can be more than one blog contributor, no?

    ReplyDelete
  17. You are a beautiful delicate flower never change, never forget.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love you Leila, and would never say curb who you are for political reasons, but...…yes there is a but. We live in a different world now. Everything is in cyber space now. No one out there knows that I told Susan Davidson to go F-off during one of our battles. Only a few intimates. It would have been political suicide if I did it today and then blogged it. Don't stop being you, you just don't have to share every single thought with the entire world. Save some of the more career devastating items for your close friends. Look at Galliano. Make sure cell phones are off too.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Your personality is who you are. Your designs reflect the kind of energy you give off. Has any famous person ever gotten anywhere without making a couple jokes along the way? Famous people and designers for decades have lived their lives sabotaging the careers and types of people they're surrounded by; and guess what? We love them anyway. Just because the Royal wedding sucked doesn't mean people wont still talk about. Kurt Cobain said "I'd rather be hated for who I am, then loved for who I am not." if people like your designs, chances are they're going to warm up to you too, whether they like your jokes or not. So give the finger to the snobs who cant take a joke in this world anymore. Your clothes are AMAZING! And if people don't like the person behind them, then they don't deserve to wear them anyway.

    ReplyDelete