2013.021.010 Oral History with Phillip Lim
Phillip Lim is a Chinese American fashion designer who immediately began his career in the world of fashion. He began to take courses that would provide him with the basics of fashion designing as well as networking at a very early stage in his career to get him the connections he was fortunate enough to stay in touch with today. Phillip Lim also expresses his individuality and his culture through a free flow of his creativity. He uses his culture to inspire him to think outside of the box and to remind people of the influences of his designs rather than using it to simply to visually show his culture. He keeps a close knit relationship with his company and society and always finds a way to effectively bring them together to create a statement worth remembering.


PHILIP LIM: More and more I question the whole idea of like you know just like where were you born? For me, it's more about what runs in my blood and I'm Chinese.

PHILIP LIM: I grew up in Southern California in um Orange County. In the suburbs. The real O.C.

PHILIP LIM: And I majored in home economics just because they -- that department uh had sewing classes, you know? Had a fashion merchandising uh class. And while I was figuring out what to tell my parents, I took courses that kind of felt natural to me and that kind of like changed the course of my future.

PHILIP LIM: It's never apparent, you know? It's like--I'm not like creating um qipaos or like you know what I mean? Or like dragon embroidered on satin, you know? I think that what I do is just create um uh sportswear, you know? Or actually, not even-- I wouldn't even call it sportswear. What I do is just create clothes. Being Chinese, I guess the way it would influence the clothes is just through the thought. Through the humility, through the, um, integrity. Through the, um, tenacity. You know, it's like in the culture, what's more important is the stuff that's not said. You know, and I think that's how it reflects through our clothes.

PHILIP LIM: It's um hard to pick two looks that kind of say it all. These two looks are the closest snapshots to kind of what we do. You know, where we are as a company. You know, I think that, uh, these two looks kind of represent the modern uniform. If we talk about how clothes relate to, to culture, it's really um kind of in my mind connected to these two looks because it's very multifaceted, it's, it's unconventional but at the end the outcome is somewhat normal.

PHILIP LIM: It's hard to like talk about something that's like so natural like it's how--it's like asking me, uh, how do you breathe? [laughter] You inhale, you exhale.

PHILIP LIM: For me, fashion is the only medium that neutralizes and can change, and can cross social, cultural, and economic, um you know, status, you know. And it's the one neutralizer and, and, on any given day, you can feel any way you want and you can look the part. You know, and I think that more and more it might be--more and more people might be in tuned to that.

PHILIP LIM: I'm honored to be included in this group of Chinese American designers. This project is really special. For me, I'm just a link in a chain. There are ones that paved the way for us and we will pave the way for others. I'm just so grateful to be part of the process.

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