Lyz Olko Studio Visit
The birth of Lyz Olko Clothing was July 1st, 2015. The most recent collection for Autumn/Winter 17 is titled “I Am Fire” . It conjures the ghost of Joan of Arc; a rebel soldier and visionary. The folk heroine saved her nation against all odds, in spite of those who called her just a girl. Olko presented the collection with a performance choreographed by artist Alexandra Marzella . Olko chose Joan of Arc as the heroine of her Autumn/Winter 17 collection to inspire people to rise up against the current political environment, never abandon hope, and foster change through action.
The label focuses on sustainable methods of production, up-cycling materials, sourcing organic cottons and maintaining a strong ethos of “add value when you can.” The cut and sew items are made in between New York and Los Angeles. Since the label’s inception, it has grown to include a men’s collection as well as a kid’s line. It can be found in outlets like Opening Ceremony, Assembly and American Two Shot.
She has collaborated with artists Jeanette Hayes, Alexandra Marzella, Crystal Moselle , Othelo Gevacio, The Wolfpack and brands like Nike, Agent Provocateur , Deer Dana and American Eagle.
On my most recent trip to New York, I decided to pay Lyz a studio visit and learn more about her current collection and why she decided not to participate in this years NYFW.
What inspired your current collection?
A number of things inspired the Spring / Summer 18 collection… I had been exploring the ideas of safety— both emotional and physical — for some time and started to play on different concepts merging how-to survival guides with the ritualistic aspects of our daily lives. I had been asking myself “what do I need to feel safe?”
How to dress for the off-duty apocalypse?
Let’s find out. Lyz Olko’s latest collection explores the illusion of safety and the way we protect ourselves through clothes, through tribes, and through a very shaky world. Olko again uses up-cycled materials and military surplus to form a backbone of the unisex collection, creating garments in materials including ripstop, meant to withstand hard use in the field — but equally suited to the trials of urban life. Graphic tees present the ritualistic aspects of wilderness survival with a humorous, personal undertone, and cut & sewn items incorporate reflective caution tape, polyester safety straps, and mesh netting.
Why did you choose to not participate in this years NYFW?
I had been working steadily and intensely on a zine to go along with the collection, as a way to convey the concept behind the collection but also really convey how much I had learned since my last show, and how much of it came from my friends and people around me I love and admire. I had also realized what made ME feel safe.
I didn’t want to push the zine to be ready in time for fashion week as I was still shooting and collaborating with new people daily and receiving incredible submissions. And I didn’t have the intuitive impulse I typically have to do THIS on this DATE during fashion week. I felt stressed to rush something that is precious to me. The zine was made with love by all who contributed and I felt it deserved that for the release.
I had to fight against the part of myself that felt like a failure for not “finishing on time” but like, what was really the deadline here? And if I rushed something would I be proud of it and would I feel like I had done my duty to my friends? The answer was no. And so I waited. I am so happy with how the mag came out! And holy fuck: what a huge undertaking to put this together. And so worth it. And I got to spend really great one on one time with a lot of the contributors which I loved!
What is your favorite piece in this collection?
The “Be Safe” tee with fire and roses print!
Who is your ideal client?
When I think of ideal, I really just think of all my friends who contributed to the zine and think of how incredible everyone is and how they inspire me so much, pretty ideal! …….. that also includes yourself!
You’re so sweet thank you, I really do love this collection, My favoire is the Tie Dye hoodie with the Practice, Plan, Prepare hand holding rose logo. I love the detail of the hardware instead of drawstring around the hoodie, makes it chic af.
What would you like to see change in the industry?
Many stores want things cheaply made and on the trend of the moment. I’d like to see that change and to see higher emphasis on things made ethically and responsibly.
Who are other designers you’d like to work with?
There are so many I admire. I have always loved Comme, Junya, Raf Simons , Nicholas Ghesquire (most notably for Callaghan one of my favorite collections of all time), Susan Cianciolo, Margiela, Adam Selman (also best personal style), Miguel Adrover, BLESS, also my friend Shayne Oliver who did Hood By Air and now designs for Helmut Lang.
What is your end goal with Lyz Olko Clothing?
I think just creating more creative opportunities and being able to make things not just clothing for as long as I am able to.
That’s a great goal, and definitely see longevity in your brand. I’ve been rocking it since Obesity and Speed days and love watching it grow.
Any news you’d like to share with our readers?
Printed zine is now available!