2012 July 5
From The Daily Berlin: Oh Lala!
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(BERLIN) One of the highlights of Berlin Fashion Week has become Leyla Piedayesh’s Lala Berlin show, but this year—wait for it—she’s not showing! Naturellement, your Daily stormed the doors of her studio to find out why. And we got much more than we bargained for!
BY EDDIE ROCHE
So the Teletubbies have been very important to you.
Ha! Leyla is my name, but Lala is the name of the company, and everyone asks why. My friend Laura’s daughter calls me Lala, like the Teletubby, and because it’s easy to remember and pronounce, I picked it for the company. It’s especially funny because I occasionally talk like the Teletubbies, even though I never watched the show and I don’t know their names. Except Tinky Winky.
What’s your background?
I studied International Business, and then I worked as a television journalist. First, I covered crime and social stories, and then I went to MTV to make documentaries. The superficial television media didn’t make sense to me anymore. Maybe it had something to do with my age? I was 30. In the beginning I was learning a lot, but then when I knew how it all really worked, I got fed up. Who did you meet during that period at MTV?The over-the-top ones—Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Kylie Minogue, Jon Bon Jovi. Very interesting guy. Just joking. I really liked Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins, although I was never a fan of the band. I didn’t understand the music when I was younger. I could tell that success had really changed many musicians. When I see myself changing, I try to find myself again!
How are you changing?
Behavior, perceptions, expectations…I’m a boss now, so I have to look at things differently. It’s always important, though, to come back down to earth and never forget where you came from. Enjoy success, but don’t be a jerk.
How did you get your start in fashion?
A friend of mine gave me some yarn as a birthday gift, and I started knitting. My first collection was all scarves—one of my first accounts in New York ordered 60, and I thought I was going to rule the world. Then we really began to grow. Now I have around 30 employees.
Are you a tough boss?
I think so. I hope my employees don’t hate me, but I think there are certain times when they would like a more cheery boss. But there are so many things to control and check! Being light is not easy. Want some gum?
We’re good! Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
I'm both. I guess not a pessimist, but I’m very concerned. I’m very optimistic in most of the cases, or else, I am naïve. Once you do something for me, it’s really hard to get me to say, Wow. I always have to criticize first, which can inspire some to go further, but it doesn’t make working with me very easy.
What’s your sign?
I’m a Sagittarius. All the Sags I meet are really nice. I don’t know why. They are very open, warm-hearted, talkative, communicative, and generous. You know, I actually have an astrologist, and even though she’s in Austria, I call her regularly. I always wonder how she knows all these things about me!
I’m really good with money because I can calculate. I know how to handle deals. I forget many of the things she says, to be honest, but sometimes I call her and say, ‘Hey, I want to fly to India. Is that a good idea?’
Wow! So what was your most recent adventure?
I went to Sri Lanka on a retreat. I have no clue if I believe what they say because I came back after two weeks and I wasn’t full of energy. I was empty. You can still hear it in my voice. I had a really bad flu. I really do better without retreats.
Why aren’t you showing your collection?
The date is so early, and everything is changing, everything is moving, and everything is growing. All my responsibilities are becoming bigger. I guess I just wanted to make a stop at some point and concentrate on the collection, the qualities, and the colors. I should take it easy; I shouldn’t have to put so much pressure on myself.
What will we be seeing when you are finally finished?
We’re working with a lot of prints this time since my daughter is fully in love with unicorns and horses. We also did a lot of black and whites for checks and stripes. All of this will be mixed and matched.
Do you consider yourself a success story?
It’s really hard to answer this, but I guess so. I think we did a couple of things from the very beginning that were more correct than others. Since I was not coming out of design school, my introduction was to the whole business and not just the fashion. Then I got into fashion, and now I take my time and do things right.
Do you think you’re missing an opportunity by not showing?
No. Not even if people think I’m dying. I’m not saying I never want to do that anymore, but I just need a break to concentrate. It’s really hard to do a commercial line and a show line all at once. But I’m not afraid. No, not at all. I need a break; otherwise, it will all go wrong. I’m doing it all on my own. I have no financiers, no investors. And at the end of the day, it’s not the show that sells product—it’s the product.
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