Leyla Piedayesh

First off, tell us about what sparked your interest in fashion.

I have always been interested in fashion as a part of the culture. Fashion for me has been always a way of expressing yourself.

Was it that you launched your brand in 2004 by knitting your own collection? Tell us more about how your career started.

I spent three months in India on a spiritual journey and had time to think. Back in Berlin, I wanted to do something in my life that was valuable. Back then, the fast fashion industry reached its interim peak and the social-ecological consequences of it worried me. Instinctively, I started knitting wristlets and selling my hand-made pieces in Berlin. The items became very popular, and I received more and more requests from customers. In 2004, I presented my first knitwear collection at a fashion fair under the name lala Berlin. Since then, knitwear and high-quality accessories have built the core of each lala Berlin collection.

This fall we will launch a collection that is entirely dedicated to hand-made knitting, together with the expert for high-quality yarns, Lana Grossa. Likewise, we will continue to show our collections at Copenhagen Fashion Week in 2021.

You were born in Tehran and have both German and Iranian citizenship. Does Persian culture influence your work in any way?

Iran, with its oriental culture, handicraft, carpets, decors, flowers, colors, and markets, is stamped into my heart—and especially how Iranians lay a table for any occasion and the way dishes are served at a dinner table. More than any other culture, they pour their hearts into the richness and love of that tradition. It is something that massively inspires me.

The color palette of the Middle-Eastern landscape frequently finds its place in my collections. Lately, the falcon, an animal that reminds me of my Persian heritage, reappears as the key print of the Fall-Winter 2020 collection, which is now available.

What kind of women do you design for?

Strong, confident, and brave women, who dress effortlessly.

What, according to you, is a favorite part of being a fashion designer?

Working with my team and sharing ideas and inspirations. lala Berlin is like a family to me.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? Are there any artists that inspire you?

For me, inspirations come from everywhere. One does not need to travel to a distant country to find it. I personally read a lot, meditate, and listen to many spiritual podcasts, especially in recent months. I also get inspired by my friends and family and the creative people around me. One must not be a famous painter or singer to be inspirational to me. Music, especially; punk inspires me a lot.

How do you stay up to date regarding fashion? What sources of inspiration would you recommend for people who want to step into the fashion world?

The best way is always to listen to yourself and not look at or even imitate others. Of course, platforms like Instagram can be quite a distraction, but one must learn how to use them. I personally draw a lot of inspiration from fashion icons from the sixties, seventies, and eighties. I can tell you that those looks will never be out of fashion. Overall, I tend to have a rather strong unwillingness to follow, adapt, or copy.

You have a new collection coming up—the Fall/Winter 2020 collection. Can you tell us more about the concept and designs? Were there any difficulties in creating it?

The starting point of this collection was the falcon. This print is experiencing a rebirth as the guiding motive of this season. We originally developed this print for Fall-Winter 2012. Now it is the metaphorical central theme of the collection and adorns key pieces in numerous iterations.

Creating a collection is always a conflict between creativity and scalability.

Why do you think the youth is so attracted to art?

Every generation looks for answers, and art apparently provides them. Art expresses the “zeitgeist” and provides guidance.

Most people have a motto that they go by. What is yours?

“Where there is love, there is life.” From Gandhi.

What is the future for you?

For me, the future will hopefully be a place where all cultures, beliefs, gender, and sexes are equally respected. Likewise, all living creatures and resources will be protected to save those from extinction.

What advice would you give to young designers who are just starting?

You should always stay true to yourself.

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