Style Stud: Lafayette Kanard

CaptureIf I remember any advice my Nana gave me, it was, “never wear a logo because a brand isn’t paying you to be a walking billboard.” From then on I avoided logos at all costs. Well … I did fall down the Abercrombie and Fitch rabbit hole for a brief period before college. I mean hey, we all makes mistakes.

I love a good t-shirt, but what makes me swoon even harder is a t-shirt that is not only original, but handmade with care and precision by a true artist. You can see why I was immediately drawn to local designer, Lafayette Kanard’s designs that Emily Goulet of Philly Mag’s Shoppist so immaculately raved about. After reading her article, I had to socially stalk him (which I did successfully, a-thank you) and get to know him more.

Please enjoy getting to know him as much as I did. He’s absolutely a Philly talent to keep your eye on.

What inspires you?

Life. My experiences, both struggle and success, mainly struggle though. Also, the people I love.

Describe your design aesthetic.

LEFT. Organic. Substance.

Tell me about your partnership with BelaShehu. How did it happen, how did you collaborate for the collection at Joan Shepp?

The collab with Bela and I was fate, very organic. We both worked with Craig Von Schroeder CEO/Founder of Commonwealth Proper a while back, but never crossed paths and formally met. Then one day while strolling through Rittenhouse I noticed her, called her name (startling her) and a few weeks later she invited me to the Ninobrand atelier. We vibed out, shared personal experiences, and connected. I remember telling her about a collection I was working on at the time called “LESS.” The conversation(s) & questions of “less is more,” “more is less,” came up and “LESS vs MORE” was birthed.

I never collaborated with Joan Shepp, (maybe something is in the works) but I have been blessed with product placement for KUSTOMS by LK in their retail space since October of 2013. I love Joan and Ellen, that’s family.


Do you hand-paint all of your designs? What goes into hand-painting fabric?

YES! I hand-paint, and will continue to hand-paint every single piece that goes onto each garment. I am fusing art with fashion so when someone purchases my product they know that my hands actually created this art piece.

Hand-painting fabrics isn’t for everyone. There’s many different elements that goes into it. It takes 10,000 hours of tedious love/passion, precision, calculation, and vision. You also have to know what fabrics work well with paint(s) and which paint(s) work well with fabrics & textures.

How did you get the idea for “left” shirts? What does it mean?

By going LEFT, literally. After graduating, well technically graduating from Architecture + Design High School (CHAD) I took a year off instead of going straight to college. I then received pressure from my grandmother & others to go back to school. I completed a semester at CCP and then transferred to The Art Institute of Philadelphia. Majoring in Graphic Design, a goal at the time, I was in my drawing class and my teacher stopped the entire class one day during a live portrait and said, “Lafayette! Why do you keep coming to my class? Your drawings are amazing, clearly talented, you’re always stylish. Change your major to Fashion Design and don’t come back to my class.”

I left the class puzzled as hell, like what the fuck is she talking about! During my computer science class, it hit me, I had this feeling of her being right. A feeling I couldn’t explain. I walked out that boring C.S. class and never went back. I dropped out (very Kanye-esque). Of course my grandmother and others disagreed with my choice, they told me it wasn’t the “right” way of doing things, that if I didn’t obtain a degree I wouldn’t be successful in life (man were they wrong). I didn’t follow the typical, mediocre way of society’s “right way” to make it in life. I went “LEFT,” I followed GOD and followed my heart & that formula has been working every since. LEFT is my right, it means to follow GOD & follow your heart.


What is your favorite t-shirt and why?

My favorite t-shirt would have to be my unreleased ‘L-K’ tee which will drop SS15. Reason being is because, not only does it represent my name, inspiration from one of my favorite brands, but even more because of a suggestion that my girlfriend’s brother gave me before he passed away from cancer back in November. May he rest peacefully knowing that I applied his advice.

Who is your favorite designer and why?

YOHJI YAMAMOTO and the cross collab with Adidas Y-3 ^_^ Why? Because he’s an O.G. & his attention to detail, simplicity and quality is spot on. The overall aesthetic of his draping, to his comfort back to the ninja-like inspiration of the Japanese culture. Also because not everyone can afford it nor knows too much about the brand. It’s not over saturated.

What is next for you? Where can people buy/view your other pieces?

Next… just have to wait and see. People can not only purchase my pieces from Joan Shepp located 1811 Chestnut St. Philadelphia PA. but also at The Geisha House in Old City, Philadelphia. I’ll have an e-commerce site launching in 2015. Stay updated by following my brand on Instagram: @kustomsbylk and my personal Instagram: @lafayettekanard

Any advice for aspiring Philly designers?

Follow your heart! Put your 10,000 hours in. Remain humble, work hard/smart, love what you do, do it with passion, do it with purpose!


Fashion’s Night Out Philly … Bring Your A-Game

I’ve been pleading with the fashion God’s since the first Fashion’s Night Out to let Philadelphia take part. And after many prayers, many weird and exotic dances to the God’s of designer goods … my prayers have been answered and it is happening Sept. 6 … tomorrow night! Excuse me when I say, Eeeeeeee!

So with so much going on all around the city, a Philadelphia fashionista needs to stay organized and on their toes, and luckily … well, duh … there is a FREE mobile service for that called Chinoki to help us with that. This service allows us busy ladies to sign up for discounted offers ONLY at the restaurants and retailers we would look to hear from. You know how you get Groupon/LivingSocial updates in the morning for inane things like back waxing and fungus removal? Ick. No … 120 retailers in the Philadelphia area are participating and you have the power to control which ones you want to hear from. How fantastic is that?

Why do Philly Fashion’s Night Out attendees need this? Well … these discounts and promotions get text messaged to you instantaneously, meaning you can choose the retailers you would like to visit tomorrow and get up-to-the-minute updates on their FNO deals and when they are happening, keeping you calm, cool and organized. No one likes a glammed out spazz, now do we?

Now here are some great Philly stores who are listed on Chinoki that are having must attend FNO events tomorrow night worth getting text messages about their promotions and sales, ahem:

  • Nicole Miller -Miller-tinis, sweets from Pamcakes Bakery, a step and repeat ready for the paparazzi to take your photo, free goodies, and the latest designers from Nicole Miller fall 2012.
  • Joan Shepp – Looking for some new bling? This boutique will be partnering with The Accessories Council for a jewelry extravaganza with music, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
  • Knit Wit – Enjoy an exclusive line-up of locally designed ready-to-wear brands, champagne, music, and the chance to get styled by Knit Wit fashionista’s themselves.
  • SA VA – Get a sneak peek at the fall/winter 2012 collection and get styled by Kristel Closets fashion stylist, Caroline Kohler.

This doesn’t even begin to skim the surface of all the fashion exploding all over the city tomorrow night in well know Philadelphia retailers. But first things first … Step 1: Sign up for Chinoki, I sure as hell did. You want to be one step of all those crazy broads only participating in FNO for the free goods and celeb sightings. Step 2: Reference the FNO Philadelphia Facebook page to plan out your fashion attack on Philadelphia. Never attend FNO without a plan, ladies. This isn’t amateur hour.

I couldn’t possible be more excited for this, in fact I’m getting goosebumps thinking about it. Tomorrow night is all about stimulating this dismal economy, praising all the greatness that is fashion, getting amazing deals … and oh yeah, scoring some pretty cool free stuff too. In the same respect, have fun, be safe … and don’t be one of those ladies who make me cringe that will push, shove and act a fool to get to the free goods.

Let’s show New York City how Fashion’s Night Out is REALLY done, Philadelphia. God speed and HAPPY FASHION’S NIGHT OUT :::::jumps in mid-air::::!