Emily Hagan: Designer

Emily (far right) with Mitzi and Claudio

Emily (far right) with Mitzi and Claudio

Meet Emily Hagan, who works with Mitzi as a Designer at Livie & Luca! We picked her brain to find out more about her background, what inspires her, and what she loves about L & L…

How long have you worked at Livie & Luca?

I worked with Livie & Luca as a freelance designer last summer, and started working with them full time in September 2012.

being playful with masks at the livie & luca office

being playful with masks at the livie & luca office

How did your path cross with L & L?

I actually was not even looking for a job when I found this one – it sort of fell into place. Last year I was working as a manager and event coordinator at Oliveto, a local Italian restaurant. I had studied Fashion design at California College of the Arts, and worked in Theater prior to graduating. The restaurant job paid my bills and allowed me a very flexible schedule for my costume designing. I had just pulled back from the world of theater to regroup about where I wanted to go professionally. There are so many things I love about theater, but I was missing all of the hidden detail that goes into designing for fashion.  I received an email from an old professor of mine one day out of the blue, telling me about Livie & Luca and saying I should apply. I did. I met Mitzi a few days later and felt an instant connection to Livie & Luca and their design practices. Like I said above, I freelanced over the summer, which allowed us to get a better feel for each other’s design process and make sure it was a good fit for us both before starting full time.

Where did you work before?

I worked as a freelance costumer at many of the local theaters: San Jose Ballet, ODC Dance, Berkeley Playhouse, Berkeley Rep, Teatro Zinzanni, Santa Fe Opera House, Opera New Jersey, and worked with local choreographers on small projects.

fashion samples

Tell us a bit more about your design training?

I studied Fashion Design at California College of the Arts. They have a very rigorous program that focuses on the conceptual and sustainable side to fashion. They also have a great balance of design and construction, which was really important to me as a designer. I find that in order to be able to design you also need to understand how the pieces actually go together.

 What do you love most about L & L?

I love both the creative freedom I have and the collaborative effort between myself, Mitzi, and our other freelance designers. In the beginning we individually start to pull together our ideas – fabric, colors, pictures. Mitzi might give me some thoughts on shoe ideas she wants to see, and I am also able to draw up any ideas I have of my own. We then meet as a group and look through everything we have, pulling out what works and figuring out how to change what does not. I love our round table discussions where we all throw out ideas. There is definitely a very open and comfortable vibe between us – no idea is a bad idea type thing. It might not be what we use or what works on that shoe but that idea might be what sparks the right idea.

Do you have a favorite shoe?

I love them all….but I do have some favorites that will be coming out in the Fall 2013 line.

Where do you usually find inspiration?

Everywhere. I am constantly finding inspiration around me. I am inspired by vintage/antiques, textiles, by other designers (Viktor & Rolf is one of my all time favorite designers). I am inspired by nature, things found in everyday life, people…the list goes on.

spiraling step

What do you like to do outside of work?

I just started taking ice skating lessons….and I am a big foodie.
I also still work on my own wearable art pieces. There are two art shows I try and enter pieces into every year – World of Wearable art in New Zealand, and Art Prize back in my home state of Michigan.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

For a while I wanted to be a musician. I played the flute throughout middle and high school and was fairly good. I also played the saxophone and violin and was terrible at both. Freshman year of high school I worked on costumes for a commedia dell’arte troupe and was hooked.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Emily!

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