As promised, I have an interesting and eye-opening interview with Leilani to share with you guys today! I have always been so impressed with her and all that she has accomplished; she definitely inspires me all the time, and I’m so excited for all of you to read this. I think you’re going to be in awe of her confidence and how eloquent she is; I know I definitely am! Keep on reading to learn more…
Emily: When did you first become interested in fashion? What are your goals/hopes when it comes to what you want to accomplish in the industry?
Leilani: As long as I can remember I’ve been interested in fashion. When I was around six, I would cut up my mother’s Nine West catalogs and restyle the models, and I was a frequent player of dress up. The moment I knew fashion was for me was when I was about seven or eight and I was watching an episode of my favorite show at the time, That’s So Raven, where Raven was sewing and got a job at a retail store, and after this I began to explore the field. I would go on the home computer and look up fashion designers and I even applied for information about design programs that my mother had to turn down for me because I was so young.
When it comes to what I want to accomplish in the industry the list could go on forever. First and foremost, I don’t want to be labeled as a designer; I want to be labeled as a creative with designer being the first thing that pops into peoples’ minds, primarily because I create emotions and experiences with clothing being the main medium. I plan on bringing the unseen streetwear to the forefront and shedding light on numerous untapped subcultures who do in fact play into popular culture. Additionally, I plan on turning the design world upside down and removing the idea that a designer must adhere to their aesthetic and while they might branch out once and awhile they’ll always come back to their aesthetic. Personally, I think this is a thing of the past. I have so many different aesthetics, that to adhere to one is ridiculous and creatives should not be confined in this way. Also, I plan on rising to the ranks of a small fashion house with my legacy being continued after my death. I plan on being the most involved fashion designer to ever exist, with my toe in a bit of every creative field from film, editing, photography, acting, curation to songwriting. The fashion industry to me is more than fashion, it is culture in every sense, it is economics, it is well rounded creativity, and to be a designer one has to have knowledge of and be good at all of these things, and I will be the one to elevate fashion in this way.
E: Tell us about PDR and the concept behind it; how did you come up with the idea and where did you draw inspiration from?
L: Pas de Regles is the illegitimate love child of my madness, creativity, and numerous ever changing aesthetics. Pas de Regles translating to no rules in French is just that, a brand with no rules or boundaries. It it my excuse to go creatively insane, to set the bar and then break it. It is my personal platform to express societal issues, expose ignorant societal standards/ common knowledge, disseminate a personal message, and as cliche as it sounds, have fun.
I came up with the idea for Pas de Regles my sophomore year of high school. I was actively looking for a name for a clothing line I wanted to drop so I started with concepts, and that lead me to the name. I’ve always seen fashion as an intricate lawless wonderland with sprinkles of authority here and there, but it being rule-less has never changed. SO I came up with the name NO RULES, but obviously that’s hot garbage, so I translated it to my favorite language, French, thus, Pas de Regles was born. The direction the brand is headed in at the current moment is, every collection will seamlessly tell a story, with Mutiny being the first, a story of the revolution against the system, and collections that complete the story to follow. Furthermore, I’m inspired by whatever vibe I’m feeling at the moment, which can be sparked by something I saw on the street or a random thought I decided to look more into. For example, Mutiny was inspired by my disappointment and frustration with the homogenous, cookie cutter individuals of today, publicized by social media. Additionally, as far as inspiration goes, one week it may be medieval times and the next it may be conversation pits; I’m forever changing.
E:Biggest accomplishment thus far?
L: My biggest accomplishment thus far is the Red House Fashion Show. I’ve always known I was going to present in a fashion show but never did I know it’d be so soon. I haven’t even been in school a full school year yet and here I am pursuing my dreams to the fullest extent. I’ve been working so hard on all my garments, making sure things are impeccable. Overall, I’m just inexplicably excited and eternally grateful for this opportunity. I feel like this is the start of my career.
E: What kind of job do you want after college?
L: Ideally I want Pas de Regles to be my job after college; I want it to bleed into my college years. I am working my hardest to make it blow up while I’m in college so finishing college is an option. This is a life long pursuit, and as I stated before it is my child, something I will never abandon and always care for. However, in the case I do have to get a job, I would love to be a designer or atelier assistant for a brand that aligns with my aesthetics such as, Off-White, Dior, Balenciaga, Rick Owens, Y-3, Kapital, Ambush, CDG, the list goes on.
Thank you so much to Leilani for taking time to answer these questions and share her world with us! Make sure to follow her on Instagram @leilanisbell and PDR @pasderegles to stay updated!
Talk to you soon!