Feb. 20 2020
Larissa Muehleder knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go for it. At sixteen, she was designing dresses for prom and her friend’s sweet sixteen. Now, she’s got her very own label. How did she dream up her dream job? We asked her.
What is the day to day of a Creative Director like?
I wear so many hats so it depends. Sometimes I’m designing: sketching or going through thumbnails and sourcing fabrics to create samples. Or sometimes I’m doing PR and reaching out to celebrities and sending them samples and engaging with social media to make our audience feel included.
Where do you do most of your work?
We design in Brooklyn and manufacture in Manhattan. We’re manufactured alongside Rag & Bone and Calvin Klein. I’ve been in the industry since I was sixteen, so I’ve been able to develop a relationship with the manufacturers.
Sixteen seems really young. How did you get your start?
Well, I went to The High School of Fashion Industries, which is where I learned my technical skills, and then I went to FIT. In high school, I designed prom dresses and did fashion shows at New York City nightclubs and at different universities. But It wasn’t until college that I started working with boutiques and was lucky enough to get into a showroom.
So you’ve always known what you wanted to do.
Yeah. I’ve always enjoyed making people feel special. Before, when I did custom, it was about making them happy for that special occasion. I don’t do custom anymore, but it still feels so great to be part of those moments.
How has the fashion world changed since you were 16?
I think [young designers] are unintentionally changing the game. When I first started and got into showrooms, they were telling me what my models should look like. But now I can talk to my customers and see what they want. I know my customer best.
Do you ever interact with your customers one-on-one?
Yeah, I still take some of my customer service calls to talk to them and ask them what they think of the brand. Because [Muehleder is] strong enough to be sold direct-to-consumer, it gives us a lot of freedom to focus on pleasing the customer instead of the store or the buyer.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I’m always asking myself: Who are you inspiring? What change are you making? Or, for me as an immigrant: how can I speak to young Nigerian girls and make them feel like they belong? I feel like that’s my responsibility. My parents moved around so much, from Paris to Senegal to Brooklyn… I understand and accept different cultures and body types.