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Byron Earnest Lars of In Earnest: 5 Things You Need To Create a Highly Successful Career In The Fashion Industry

A good support team: To earn good support, you yourself have be good support. Although we may work like machines, the key to a good support team is never forgetting that they are human beings, deserving of the respect that you deserve in return.

As part of our series about the 5 things you need to succeed in the fashion industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing IN EARNEST designer, Byron Earnest Lars.

Since by definition IN EARNEST means “existing to a greater extent or more intensely than before” the name of the newly established brand is also its credo.

Co-founded by Byron Earnest Lars and his partner Sheila Gray, IN EARNEST is about women’s advocacy through the product itself. It is not only about making a women look and feel beautiful, but it’s about really tapping into the entire experience she has in the clothes.

The concept about body consciousness means that Byron is ever “conscious” of the woman’s body and how to fit it properly, honoring it as the life-giving vehicle that makes his clothes live and that empowers the wearer.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

In the tenth grade I tried commissioning a gifted classmate to sew a pair of pants for me which I wanted desperately, but she flat out refused and instead offered to teach me to sew in order that I’d be able to make my own. Give a man a fish…

Long story short, the pants were such a success that I decided to move on to designing and making prom dresses for female classmates to earn extra money, since pants weren’t nearly as lucrative as prom dresses. I discovered that what I really loved was the experience my dresses facilitated for my fellow students, as much as or maybe even more than the money I earned from them.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started?

Though certainly not the most interesting, my inadvertent discovery that my body-con aesthetic works amazingly in the plus space was seismic in effect.

In the ’90s the largest size I had ever made was size 12, but while at a Nordstrom public appearance, a beautiful size 14 woman stopped by so enthusiastic to support that she took a size 12 hourglass cotton shirt into the fitting room and emerged looking absolutely incredible to mine and everyone else’s delight and surprise. I knew in that moment my father was right, since he had always encouraged me to make clothes for larger women.

Although the average American woman is size 14, I wouldn’t have recognized that I could successfully make clothes far beyond that size without having first witnessed a woman looking so stunning at that size.

What do you think makes your company (In Earnest) stand out? Can you share a story?

The thing that makes In Earnest stand out most is our obsessive compulsive attention to detail that is always centered around the woman’s experience in the clothes.

My hands-down favorite part of the job is when I see a woman standing in front of the mirror taking in how fabulous she looks in our clothes, when only moments before she may have thought that she wasn’t this enough or that enough, or that she might have too much of this or too little of that to wear us successfully. That is the real payoff, that is absolutely priceless!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I think it is vital for all humankind to realize that occasional burn out doesn’t mean that you’re burnt up, just pooped and in need of a reboot in whatever nurturing form that takes.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I make it a priority to treat all people with respect whether or not in my professional dealings, which is an active breeder of success.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

Eartha Kitt: “If you’re not invited to the party, throw your own!”

While the digital space has arguably accommodated more “parties” than may be warranted in any one point in time, I, like so many others have thrown my own e-commerce party to connect directly with my customers. Though it’s a lot more work, I really like having that direct line to her so she can tell me herself screen-to-screen what of ours is, and what is not working for her.

Do you see any fascinating developments emerging over the next few years in the fashion industry that you are excited about? Can you tell us about that?

The most fascinating development that I see having increased seismic impact over the next few years in fashion and every other industry for that matter, has already emerged, and that’s virtual meeting platforms.

Though they predated the pandemic by several years, without the extreme realities thrust upon us all these past two years I can’t imagine that I’d be nearly as accepting of them as I’ve had to become.

I see the occasional IRL meeting in my future, but only occasionally.

Thank you for all that. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Top 5 Things Needed to Succeed in the Fashion Industry”. Please share a story or example for each.

The top 5 things needed to “succeed” in the fashion industry:

You’ll note the quotes around the word “succeed” since everyone’s definition of what success actually is will vary greatly from person to person and even in a single individual at various stages of their development.

  1. A Vision: You’ve got to have a clear idea of what you bring to the table… and you need to be committed to making it appetizing. Let’s speak in terms of a holiday potluck. If you and two other guests all brought mashed potatoes to dinner, yours had better be the fluffiest, butter-iest, most deliciously garlicy mashed potatoes to have ever graced the Eastern seaboard. Then there’s the whole vision of the marketing it takes to get those delicious potatoes on the right tables.
  2. Tenacity: Fashion is NOT for the faint of heart, so without dogged determination, a body hasn’t got a chance but with it, you can move mountains.
  3. Ample financing: Most designers (including myself) would assess themselves as never having been adequately financed let alone amply so, yet the fact that so many of us have survived in spite of that fact is proof of God’s grace and that an undaunted spirit is a worthy opponent for even intermittent fiscal adversity. Note #1 echoed here.
  4. A good support team: To earn good support, you yourself have be good support. Although we may work like machines, the key to a good support team is never forgetting that they are human beings, deserving of the respect that you deserve in return.
  5. Patience: Rome wasn’t built in a day an neither was any successful fashion business in the history of the industry, so make peace with the (at times) snail’s pace of certain aspects of progressing and remember that in those times you are being proofed and refined for the greatness ahead of you.

Every industry constantly evolves and seeks improvement. How do you think the fashion industry can improve itself? Can you give an example?

I think the fashion industry must truly become inclusive and not just promote inclusion in order to cull the best and brightest among us with the most to offer.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

IG: @InEarnestOFFICIAL / FB: @InEarnest / Twitter: @InEarnestOFFIC

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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