When Alyssa Simone came into C.Madeleine’s with her colorful world of LEGO bags, we knew she’d be instant sensation amongst our collection of fantastical wares. Now officially showcased amongst Madeleine’s repertoire of buzz-worthy names, we had a chance to sit down with the Creative Director of LOLA Always and pick her brain on what it means to be a growing designer and how she got started on creating such unique and playful pieces she refers to as wearable art.
How did you discover C.Madeleine’s and what impression has it left on you as a designer?
My beloved mother Yvette Morrell rushed home one day with pure bliss and excitement of what a grand store she had recently discovered. Truly a special, lasting impression as I have always dreamed about the festive magical garments and pieces found in C.Madeleines… and now my creations are on display there!
C.Madeleine’s knows how much you and your family has loved and always been involved with vintage fashion. Can you go into a little bit of detail of how it’s shaped you as a person and a designer?
Vintage fashion translates to another world of Avant Garde timeless pieces which embodies who I am as a person and a designer; to me there is nothing like true vintage fashion. To this day I still find the beauty in the past and its creations – from my grandma LOLA’s era to my mother Yvette decade, the more I go back in time the more I’m fascinated with and want to learn about each piece’s history, threads, designers and reason for existing. I’ve used that appreciation collectively to learn and delve into creating and letting my own magic unfold with LEGO Art.
Upon seeing your designs, Madeleine was absolutely in love with your work and feels they’re a great way to start transitioning new, fresh designers into our fashion archive. What do you think you will take away from this opportunity, being showcased at “The Fashion Wonder of the World” that is C.Madeleine’s?
The thought of C. Madeleine’s considering and accepting me as a designer has given me a major boost with my company and my confidence. I’m certain having this opportunity as a stepping stone will allow my brand to explode and take off like I never could have expected. Now that I’ll be selling my wearable art at C.Madeleine’s, it will bring a new life to LOLA. Striving for greatness and positive movements from here on out!
When creatives first start off working in ‘fashion’ – whether designing, photography, styling etc – there’s always that one spark that kickstarts them into the business, what would you say your’s was?
First I’d have to say that the “itch” and actually “scratching it” happened at two different points in my life. I’ve always had that itch in me, but it wasn’t until I was working at a top dermatologist office in the States that i realized I wasn’t happy and at peace with myself. I didn’t realized it, but it was at that moment that I realized I was yearning to get back to my artistic roots. And looking back at it now, I’m profoundly happy I did. And here I am, sharing the happiness and spreading the peace while I continue to expand my company.
What initially made you decide that you wanted to start a handbag line?
Almost every woman in my family is a fashionista so that’s where it all started. And I thought, why not?
When designing, what do you use or implement into your creative process?
Sometimes it’s the most simplest things like music, candles, meditation, often times it involves a chat with my grandmother LOLA.
What are the influences and inspirations behind your designs?
My influencers consists of my mother and my grandma. However, just about anything inspires me to create, on the daily. It’s a simple as taking a stroll down a NYC street and catching something out of the corner of my eye. I’ll capture it in a picture on my iPhone or I’ll take out a traveling sketchbook I always carry with me and put pen to paper.
The name of your brand, LOL Always is absolutely cute and quirky, what made you go with this name?
LOL Always actually stands for Live Out Loud Always, which embodies who I am as a designer and a human. I live authentically! I know why I am here, what I stand for, and who I am. Recently however my Romero Britto advised me to include my name to the brand and give it a persona, so LOLA by Alyssa Simone it is!
The lego materials you use for your handbags evoke childhood nostalgia in a beautiful way; what made you even think of using such ‘childhood’ materials to create something so elegant and yet so artistic?
Funny enough, I never actually played with LEGOS as a child. But I really loved the whole “connectors” idea and wanted to evoke that. Not only does this unique material allow me to do that on a business level, but it also helps me connect the dots in my own life.
Using such bright colors and such imaginative materials, how have you found people responding and reacting to your creations?
Honestly, people have been blown away! It’s certainly a conversational piece. I like to call it Wearable Art and I truly believe that it is. The fact that this playful creation can create a discussion around it like, what’s it made of, is the LEGO material authentic, etc. People are always buzzing with questions about it which makes it’s all the more exciting.
Your pieces are without a doubt a conversational piece, has this impacted your design process and how you chose colors, materials, and embellishments to use?
It has in a way, but I still do what comes to me naturally; what I feel and what I can hope will translate for someone else. A lot of it does have to do with emotion though.
Your artist painted bag is an original piece hand painted by a fellow artist. Any collaborations on the horizon or anyone in particular that you would love to work with in creating these one-of-a-kind pieces in the future?
Romero Britto! Wait until you see whats next for LOLA by Alyssa Simone.
What are your goals for the future and do you see yourself expanding the current line into something else?
Of course, expansion in the near future, absolutely!
We see that you’ve recently returned from Caribbean Fashion Week, tell us a little bit more about how you got involved with that project.
My parents were actually born in Jamaica, so when my dear aunt Jacqueline Ashman phone me asking me to participate in the Caribbean’s largest fashion event, I didn’t hesitate. Before we knew it, my team (which also included my mother and my cousin Daniella Lowe) we had created 30 pieces of wearable art that looked stunning down the runway. It was truly a magical moment for me – both personally and professionally.
Any exciting ‘scoops’ or big plans for the future that you can share with us? What’s next, we’re dying to know!
Unfortunately I can’t disclose too much, but I can say that I am collaborating on a collection with Romero Britto that will be available at the Lincoln Rd. Concept Store.
From day to night, your bags are truly versatile pieces, any tips you can share for how to style and wear your pieces?
They’re statement pieces so one doesn’t have to over do it when it comes to styling. Just create a story with your garments and accessories, rock it with a smile and obviously Live Out Loud!
From Nicky Hilton to Erykah Badu, we’ve seen that you’re already making headlines with the fashion elite. Any ‘goals’ on who you would love to see sporting your creations?
Victoria Beckham, Anna Wintour, Anna Dello Russo, Sarah Jessica Parker, Andre Leon Talley, Solange, Rihanna, Beyonce, Zendaya and the list goes on and on.
By your background, we know you’re a huge fan of mixing timeless classics with funky contemporary; how do you go about mixing in a little of the ‘old’ with the new?
I just take a crack at it and hope it flows and let it see what it does. Sometimes I surprise even myself though, because I strive for greatness so I’m constantly pushing myself to go above and beyond.
If you could work with anyone in fashion or design, living or deceased, who would it be?
If you could have any celebrity in the world wear your bag, who would it be?
What’s the one item you can’t live without in your closet?
What’s the most expensive piece of fashion that you’ve splurged on?
A classic Chanel purse.
And lastly, how many legos does it take to make a LOLAlways handbag
Depends on the design but could be up to 100 pieces or more.
Final Last Question: Any last advice you can give to aspiring designers on overcoming the challenges, following their dreams, and sticking to?
Know who you’re, what you stand for, and why you’re here! Live by that everyday of your life and you will figure out your path in this beautiful thing we call Life… and don’t forget to always LIVE OUT LOUD!