You started Hood By Air in 2005 with Shayne Oliver, which has become an iconic moment in fashion history. What prompted you to create your own brand?
“Shayne and I grew up in environments similar to queer minority kids in Brooklyn, so he always understood me on a deeper level. I’m so proud of everything we’ve accomplished together at HBA, and we’ve started an incredibly inclusive movement, but it was time for me to tell my own story.
How would you describe the aesthetics and ethics of Luar?
“Luar is for someone who feels good about themselves and can express it through their clothes. It’s for everyone, and you can find specific pieces for certain people, but it gets thinner with age, and this season I felt like I was opening up more, because I have more confidence in myself.
How important is business success to you?
“Extremely important. You need your money makers [in order] become sustainable, and that won’t happen if you’re just a bonkers designer with a new figure that all the posts go crazy for. Sell your art, so that you can make more art.
You took a three-season hiatus from NYFW – why is it so important to take a break and what did you discover during that time?
“It’s crazy that I haven’t had a break for all these years. I was depressed and my mental health was deteriorating. In a way, the pandemic was a gift because it taught people that they can actually take a break. You can always come back; it’s not so bad.
With the new season came a new bag, which not everyone can get enough of. How does that make you feel, and did you intend to create such an impactful accessory?
“I had the idea of making this bag for 10 years and it is named after my mother. It is a good bag and very well made. I remember showing Telfar [Clemens] the design and he said, “Bitch, you’re about to get out of the stadium.” When the bag fell, we went to dinner and sautéed some champagne. We grew up together, so having my friend – whose job I really respect – be proud of me, was a highlight. “
Dua Lipa and Troye Sivan broke the internet carrying their Ana bags. Who else would you like to see wearing your pieces?
“I think people like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian would be amazing because it just seems fair. But I also want to see people like Meryl Streep, Diana Ross and Michelle Obama wearing it too. Plus, everyone went wild for this photoshopped photo of Jane Fonda that I posted, so it obviously would be.
There is a lot of pressure to keep pace in the fashion industry. What are you going to do next to maintain a healthy balance?
“I didn’t control everything for the first time this season, and it really showed me that it’s a healthier way to work. From now on, I will relax and do things at my own pace.
What advice would you give your young self knowing what you know now?
“Find an accountant and go to business school, period.”