21-year-old designer Casey Lamb is a full-time student living in a small town outside of Vancouver Canada. Within just two years of creating her line, KSLAM, she has developed a celebrity following with the likes of Kali Uchis, Tinashe, and Rita Ora spotted in her designs. We sat down with Casey to discuss inspiration, goals, and the surrealism of celebrity.
Kode | What inspired you to start designing?
Designing for me was something I always wanted to do. I have had the weirdest fashion taste and always stood out in high school in terms of my outfit choices. I recognized early on that my vision for fashion was unique, and that I had a sense of creativity that couldn’t be expressed through visual art. It got to a point that I literally thought “Fuck it!” and that’s how I started KSLAM.
Kode | Who is the KSLAM girl?
The KSLAM women is unapologetically themselves. They are constantly pushing boundaries, confident, but also androgynous and fluid. I think we are in a time where everyone is trying to fit in somewhere, but my brand shows that you don’t have to.
Kode | What is your fashion philosophy?
To take aspects from both past and the current decades, by utilizing both new and used materials, to create clothing that is one of a kind for the women/person wearing it.
Kode | Is there a particular time in pop culture that inspires your designs?
My inspiration comes from different decades mostly. I really love the 70-90s. I think it was an influential time in fashion, with trends constantly changing. The denim collection is 90’s and early 2000’s inspired, while my new collection takes more from the 80’s.
Kode | You’ve developed a celebrity following with pop stars like Rita Ora and Kali Uchis in your designs. How does it feel seeing your designs on stage and red carpets? Who would you love to dress/design for?
Its crazy honestly, but until I see them physically, right in front of me, in my designs, I don’t think it will feel real. Social media allows us to disconnect, which makes the reality that these people are wearing my clothing unbelievable. If I could design for anyone (of course) it would be Rihanna. How she represents herself and continues to redefine fashion, makeup, and music. She is what I believe to be the ‘KSLAM girl’.
Kode | Most of your designs are reworked denim. Why Denim? What other fabrics would you like to begin incorporating into your designs?
I started with denim as a way to rework used materials. Sustainability is really important to me, and when creating my brand, it was no different. The amount of clothing waste that is created from fast fashion companies and high-end retailers is detrimental to both society and the environment. Denim was the most accessible and abundant material that I could find when vintage/thrift shopping, so I just ran with it. Now, as I start my new collection, I am no longer using denim. Although I am still including reworked materials in my work, I am using brighter colors, to try and incorporate my individual style.
Kode | What has been the biggest challenge in your creative process?
I don’t know that there is really any stand out challenges. I never went to school for fashion design or business, so constructing the garments is probably the biggest challenge. It’s also hard for me to separate and good ideas from the bad, so I am constantly scrapping garments.
Kode | In addition to designing and running your brand you’re also a full-time student. How do you juggle your fashion career and school? What are your plans for after graduation?
People always ask me this! I have gotten so used to time management and spending less time on things that don’t positively benefit either. I often block off periods of time to focus on one or the other and try to stick to it. After graduation, I hope to move, most likely to the States. I want to use what I learned throughout my four years of university and put it towards building KSLAM.
Kode | How did growing up in Vancouver contribute to your interests in fashion? Do you think that you would have a different point of view towards fashion if you grew up in the US?
I live in a small town outside of Vancouver. It is one of those places that no one ever leaves. I never was in that small-town mindset, so that pushed me towards my career in fashion. Vancouver’s art & fashion scene is still on the rise, but the beauty and environment of the city really inspires my art. If I grew up in the US, I think my perceptions would be similar, but its hard to know. The US has a lot more competition, and people striving towards careers in fashion, so it would have probably made me more doubtful of taking that leap.
Kode | When you get an idea, what is the first step you take before bringing that idea to life?
My process is so minimal, I usually think of my ideas when I am working out or am thrift shopping. I will usually just jot down a few words that describe the piece, but I never draw or draft it. I have a vivid imagination, so usually I can picture it clearly before I make it. After that, I usually just draw up a pattern or change ones I already have to fit what I want to make. Once the basis of the design is made, I do fittings and adjustments constantly, to try and make them one of a kind for the woman wearing it.
Kode | Where do you see KSLAM in the next 3 years?
I never know how to answer this question. I really believe that my journey will unfold how it is supposed to. I want to just keep creating and be able to do this full time. Showing my collections at fashion weeks across the globe is the goal, while working with diverse groups of talented women. I want to be able to inspire, lead, and really change the climate we currently live in with my brand. In 3 years, people will know the name KSLAM.