Like all of the best creative minds, Tyler Lambert is self-taught. "I think there is something beautiful in just organically building yourself and just letting it all happen and not pushing too hard," he tells me over coffee in Greenwich Village; it is fashion week and Tyler has been busy running from show to show. Six years ago, Tyler started his fashion career by piecing together scraps of fabric from his grandmother at the age of thirteen. Now, he is rubbing shoulders with fashion industry giants and seeing his clothes on the likes of Kylie Jenner, India Love, and Ashley Moore.
"I was thrown into the fucking dark, I don’t have a manager or an assistant. When you’re thrown into the dark, when your talent is open for a global scale, without the help of anyone else, it is so incredibly rewarding," Tyler says. "That is when genuine talent and voice is important." Voice is something that Tyler has clearly thought a lot about, and looking through past lookbooks (also shot and styled by the designer himself), it is clear that he has a strong understanding of his aesthetic vocabulary and what Tyler Lambert: The Brand looks like, feels like, and means. Working with scrap fabric and even reconfiguring drapes, Tyler learned to sew by means of reconstruction and deconstruction; this is evident throughout his work. In his newest collection for Spring 2017, shown just a few days before our meeting in New York, Tyler also made use of one of fashion's favourite themes, duality, calling the collection Carrara, meaning "a marble that is very soft but it is [still] considered stone."
The collection played on this juxtaposition while referencing Tyler's perennial theme of deconstructed textiles. "We used a lot of denim which we reference as a very hard fabric – it is literally one of the hardest, toughest ones out there. Lace is kind of the opposite, so it’s a complete juxtaposition... it’s light, it’s white, it’s airy."
What strikes me the most about Tyler's work is how naturally it comes to him - talking about showrooms, patterns, and collections, that is. Couturesque has long set out to disprove the notion that as young people, our creativity lacks a thoughtful point of view, or that 'mature,' real fashion is reserved for creatives above a certain age bracket. At 19, Tyler is just as dedicated to his craft as any of his contemporaries. "I think it has forced me to grow up a lot younger than a lot of others my age would. You learn things like invoicing and taxing when you’re like 17. I don’t worry too much about people not taking me seriously, because I think there are so many people like me out there." Most of Tyler's high profile clients are also young creatives themselves, making careers out of social media or art on the Internet. "When we were born computers were just starting, we went through the recession that impacted a lot of people and so we learned how to live a certain way," he muses. "Now we are out of high school and have seen so many world events. I think it has made us even edgier, more forward. We are not afraid to put rips in pants; mom doesn’t have to approve that ... I think we have a lot more balls than the generations before. We have a lot of life events to prove what hard work looks like."
What Tyler says rings true, as the fashion industry switches its focus towards targeting millennial and Gen-Z customers, searching for ways to be relevant to a diverse generation of savvy teens. "We’re modelling even younger now, and larger luxury houses are using youth models and youth culture," Tyler reflects. Excitedly, he cites 23 year old photographer Petra Collins' recent appearance in an ad for Gucci. "It’s just fun, and they’re all young, and there’s more representation of gender... we are bringing relevance to historic, iconic brands, alongside the small guys because our generation is the queens of mixing high and low - a lot of people are used to going to the mall, buying a head-to-toe look, and being comfortable being plain. We’ll wear Gucci shoes and ripped up jackets."
Before we part ways, I ask Tyler what is next for him. He's headed to another show - this time, with backstage access. But what about in the longterm? "I’m just waiting for the right time for someone to see what I am capable of and to pick that up." We don't think he will have long to wait.