Inside the NYC Studio of Designer Derek Lam

June 20, 2019

After launching his namesake label at New York Fashion Week in 2003, Derek Lam quickly became a hallmark of American fashion. Known for his feminine prints, unexpected-yet-elegant designs, and thoughtful attention to detail, Lam offers easy glamour to the modern woman. With his spinoff label – Derek Lam 10 Crosby – Lam creates elevated staples (think: cinch-waist shirt dresses and the tailored blazers) with a distinct downtown-cool vibe.

Rent the Runway visited Derek in his NYC studio, to get the inside scoop on his collection, personal style, and day-to-day routine.

To start, let’s talk about your collection. What was your favorite part of creating Spring/Summer ’19?

Spring and summer is my favorite time of the year and it’s always my favorite collection to design. I try to evoke all the pleasure and all the fun that comes with the season into the collection itself.

What was the inspiration?

Usually, I try to find that iconic American story, movie, or art piece that becomes an inspiration. For this collection, I fell in love with The Talented Mr. Ripley.

What piece is the most rent-worthy?

I’d say the Ruffle Cami Maxi because it’s graphic, yet subtle, and there’s a sense of sweet femininity to it. The use of color in the stripes and the tea length makes this piece modern and fun.

LEFT:THE RUFFLE CAMI MAXI, CENTER: YELLOW OFF SHOULDER TOP, RIGHT: ASYMMETRICAL MIXED PRINT SKIRT

LEFT: WRAP BUTTON DOWN DRESS, CENTER: HANDKERCHIEF BLOUSE, RIGHT: OFFSET STRIPE DRESS

What is one piece that every woman should have in her wardrobe?


A shirtdress because it’s breathable and versatile. You can dress it up or down depending on what you’re doing. Rent one in a bold stripe or print and even pair it over pants for a fresh take on a more classic style.

We are so excited about your Designer Collective collection. Why did you want to collaborate with Rent the Runway?

My #1 job, besides the creativity, is to understand women and learn what role fashion plays in their life. What I love about the data that Rent the Runway’s customers give in their fit surveys helps me become a better ally to women.

Now, let’s get personal. Give us your bio in one sentence:

An American fashion designer who is inspired by contemporary lifestyle, design and culture.

The first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?

I pour myself a tall glass of water and put a lemon-ginger shot in it which finally wakes me up.

How do you get into the creative zone?

When I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to design for the next collection, that usually doesn’t happen in the office. The most important thing for me is to just walk. I walk all over NYC.

THE DESIGNER IN HIS NYC STUDIO

What’s your go-to work outfit?

A.P.C corduroy jeans, Todd Snyder sweater, Nikes. Socks in the winter, no socks in the spring and summer.

When the day’s over, how do you unwind?

By shutting down my computer, pouring a glass of wine, and reading the New York Times – specifically the Science and Arts section.