Something you might not know about Philly is that we have a vibrant fashion scene. From Philly Fashion Week to the The Made Institute, there is no shortage of incredible designers and stunning fashions in our city.
One of these up-and-coming Philly-based designers is Lane Odom, founder of Vane. Lane and I had the chance to chat over Zoom, where I learned about his incredible career in fashion and his exciting plans for his brand. He’s someone you meet and think, “You’ve already accomplished all of that?!” He’s the kind of person who inspires you to create and take risks.
As fate would have it, Lane and I met in person that same week at Moore College of Art and Design’s Senior Fashion Show (which was incredible). It’s been such a pleasure to get to know him – keep on reading for Lane’s interview, and to see his work.
Vane is derived from the word “vain” – a very fun play on words.
Vane is a contemporary clothing brand, developed from a global perspective to offer its own take on modern aesthetics. The brand paints a hopeful future, fueled by what we know of the past, with unique updates on classic silhouettes and engineered style lines.
To begin, could you share a bit of your background and how you began in the world of fashion and design?
I grew up in Philadelphia’s western suburbs; with an amazingly loving family, aunts, uncles, and a good group of cousins. My dad was a journalist, and my mom is a marketing and communications strategist, with a passion for art. So I grew up engrossed in politics and performances. I think they are two mediums where you observe a lot, and this shaped my thinking as I made my way through school and sports. I loved sports as a kid and played year round all the way through high school.
My journey into fashion started my second year of university. I was playing lacrosse at Johns Hopkins and was feeling a bit stuck in an environment that felt more and more repetitive; my buddy on the team and I talked about wanting to be entrepreneurs, so we’d always be broadening our horizons on a day to day basis. I found fashion was a mix between creativity and business (which was part of my major). I started teaching myself Illustrator, eventually applied and got accepted to Parsons School of Design, and I’ve been laser focused on fashion and design since.
Can you tell us more about the launch of your first collection?
It is really a special project; I was selected to participate in a fellowship put together by a brand called ONE432. The fellowship offers Black designers an opportunity to develop sales samples with their production team and artisans in Pakistan. On top of that, they do a lot to support girls’ education in their home country, so they are really focused on having a positive impact.
As for the collection, I am referring to it as “derivatives of sportswear.” Either through fabric choices or exaggerated design details, the pieces take on a different identity than sportswear, while all the garment categories are based on sportswear essentials. I designed it while I was still working for a sportswear company in Switzerland, Mover Sportswear, so there is a lot of influence from my time spent there.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
It depends honestly, sometimes it can come from a single shape and other times it can purely be about a need for a specific product. Overall, I really enjoy looking at people, subcultures, and ways of life, then exploring how to infuse or juxtaposed elements with classic garment making. Oftentimes it’s a gut feeling so it can be difficult for me to elaborate. Beyond the clothing my hope is to build a business that can have a positive social impact and be an example or even an educational funnel for black and brown kids in the U.S.
Are there any designers who have impacted or inspired your designs?
Virgil Abloh, rest in peace, obviously had a profound impact on the whole world and his journey gave me the confidence to go after my own. My favorite designer is Kim Jones, I love his aesthetic, and I see a lot of my own work in his work. I’m chasing him for sure.
As an entrepreneur, how do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?
Keeping promises to myself is an important part of the process; a friend taught me that. It builds confidence and with that discipline it keeps me accountable. Then it helps that my goals are larger than just benefiting myself; like others have done before me, I want to have an impact beyond just numbers and profits. Not only is Vane about my personal journey as a designer, but I want to establish a business that is going to foster its community and make its corner of the world a better place.
What makes Philly an exciting town to be a fashion designer in?
Philly is exciting because it really has its own identity and agenda. It’s not a label heavy town and when you mix that with the pride and passion we have for our own, it’s awesome to collaborate with people here. Also it seems like the city and the creative scene within it are on the rise, so it’s special to feel as though we have the opportunity to grow alongside the ecosystem so to speak.
Thank you so much Lane, I’m so excited to see what you have in store next!
Philly (and entire world) – Lane will be one to watch.