Breaking into the vast world of fashion can be intimidating to an aspiring designer. The constant emergence of clothing lines in the market makes it imperative for designers to carve out their niche, and consistently appeal to their target customer. Today’s muse, Larika Page, made a bold decision to take a leap of faith and pursue her dream of launching a fashion line for stylish and professional women. Larika Page The Collection is a women’s wear brand, fashioned to convey opulence in modern apparel. It offers trendsetting classic and investment pieces to be interchanged between the seasons by a woman who understands fashion as a statement to be seen, yet unspoken. We had the opportunity to catch up with Larika to learn more about the inspiration behind her line, and how she found the courage to step out her comfort zone and turn her dream into reality.
What is the boldest thing you've ever done and what inspired your decision?
Larika: Leaving a great career in accounting and taking the route of pursuing the fashion industry. I already had a full family and a comfortable lifestyle. However, I didn’t feel fulfilled in my job; it wasn’t challenging. From a young age, I always knew that I wanted to have a career in fashion. I was admitted into fashion school in Long Beach California, but I always looked at it as a hobby. After the birth of my daughter, I had an epiphany. I realized I wasn’t get any younger and I needed to make a jump for it and make it happen. I figured that if it didn't work out, hey, I at least gave it a chance.
What have you enjoyed most about your career choice?
Larika: Being able to see my brand grow from where it started from my design esthetic and how it has evolved. How the business model is sustaining itself and being true to that and catering to the needs of today. In building my business it is a very slow movement, but I see what it’s going to be in the long run. I cater to my cult following because they will be loyal and support my brand. My clothes are meant to be staples in your lifestyle. These pieces are going to be classic and the quality is there, you’re going to get great usage. Also, there is a contemporary price point. My line targets a working class woman, professional, stylish and has vision of herself and isn’t timid in expressing that.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
Larika: There were two bits of advice that always stick out in my mind:
When I saw Kelly Cutrone at SCAD on her book tour, I liked what she said about the fashion industry and up and coming fashion designers. She said that we want to get our lines in big department stores, but the brands are not always making money. Her advice was to focus in on your customer base and go at it on a smaller scale and build your cult following. Stay independent as long as you can, go get a couple of your friends and invest in opening a small boutique and selling your pieces. Keep the money in your pocket and invest in your brand.
The second instance was after my husband and I created my business plan. As we began to reach out to investors for funding, we reached out to Tory Burch’s husband, a hedge fund manager. To our surprise, he responded. It felt really great! He looked at my line and said, “Everything looks great. Do what you’re doing and build your cult following. You want longevity, you don’t want to be the next trend."
What’s your personal motto or favorite quote?
Larika: La Belle Epoque – The Beautiful Era
I love beautiful things, and am constantly trying to incorporate beauty into pieces. This quote speaks to our fast instantaneous society, and bringing back the old world romanticisms. Women used to take pride into pieces that they wore and the designers always put couture quality into their designs. My designs mirror the three senses-I make sure everything is visually appealing, feels luxurious and I like for the fit to be immaculate; that makes a woman feel amazing.
How do you find inspiration?
Larika: There is no particular thing, it can be color, music, whatever catches my attention. With my first complete collection for Charleston Fashion Week in 2010, my inspiration started with John Legend; the music reminded me of the 50s, and the Rat Pack era. While I was designing the spring line, it took me to Miami Beach 1950s. I researched the whole look and feel. I was recently inspired by my son, who is a skateboarder. The skate parks and curvature of boards inspired my line for Spring 15. I always know when it’s my inspiration because it never leaves my mind, so I start building on it. I’m inspired by any and everything, even smell. God always reminds me, it’s something that pops up that let’s you know that it really is your purpose.
How do you feel you have evolved during your career?
Larika: I’ve learned to get things done quicker. I used to take a lot of time because I’m a perfectionist, whether it be my pattern making, fabric sourcing, I would do lots of price comparison. It took a lot of research and time to make sure measurements were right. Now, I know exactly what needs to be done and where I need to go, to get this information. I have a better understanding of the business, and know how to approach things when I meet with clients who don’t know what they’re looking for. You learn what’s important and what's not. You learn how to shift your focus to things that matter the most.
What constitutes success?
Larika: If you are able to do something that you love and there are people supporting you, it fulfills you. You don’t have to be the richest person, the most famous person, or the most known brand. There is a quote by Rachel Roy that says "if you’re doing what you’re doing for money, you’re never going to be happy and you’re never going to have enough money."
What’s your favorite book?
Larika: The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkerson. It gives you a different perspective on how to look at things in life.
What song do you listen to when you need inspiration?
Larika: Depends on my mood. Jhene Aiko, John Legend, Beyonce. I typically like to turn on Jhene Aiko radio on Pandora and listen to it through. It gives me the span of music. I love anywhere from Alternative to R&B and hip hop. I love Corrine Bailey Rae.