February 16, 2021

Black History Month Fashion Heroes: A Letter To Byron Lars

Photo via wwd.com

In honor of Black History Month, in lieu of fashion tips, we wish to highlight pioneering Black fashion designers that left an indelible mark on fashion history. In this particular case, designer Byron Lars greatly impacted the next generation of designers, including Meg herself. 

Dear Byron,

I have been meaning to write this forever, but this year in particular has underscored the importance of intentionality, connection, and ensuring that your heroes and mentors know their impact! Nobody does this entrepreneur thing alone, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without your inspiration, guidance, and infectious enthusiasm.

First I have to sing the praises of a brilliant woman whom I am fortunate to call a friend, Ming Kew. She let a doe-eyed and inexperienced young Meg be her pattern making assistant (I didn’t even know how to use pattern scissors when I walked into that room) and led me to your studio after seeing my gumption and drive. This was the start of undeniably one of the most exciting times of my life- working alongside all the young talented people like Jurgen, Maggie, Adriane, John! I think of you all often.

But I digress...we all worked day and night on each collection, bringing to life the wild and intricate pieces of art concocted in your brilliant mind. I sometimes find myself yabbering about the lengths to which we went in order to create these spectacular shows. My job often consisted of finding all the little knickknacks for the art pieces like Christmas ornaments in July, which was actually an impressive feat pre-internet if I do say so myself. The truth is I would have done just about any job for the privilege of being in the same room as these brilliant creative minds! One sleepless night after some 1AM Chinese food takeout in the studio, I asked you,“Byron, how did you do it?” Of course, I was referring to your path to fashion entrepreneurial success; we see the household names, and we see the design school resumes, but the steps in-between eluded me. Naive young Meg was looking for a how-to book, because no one really tells you what happens in-between. Well, you told me! You said put together a collection and try to sell it. So that month, that is precisely what I did and the story of Meg began: 1,000 rejections, countless disappointments, some wins and lucky strikes that I parlayed into the birth and growth of my brand, you know the story.

It seemed fitting at this moment and during Black History Month to add my voice to the chorus of those who applaud you, a trailblazing and inspiring Black designer who I happen to call a mentor and friend.

Sincerely, 

Meghan Kinney Xx

Check out this stunning Byron Lars show that Meg worked on in the 90s. The beauty! The nostalgia! 

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