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Last month, 2006 LA Trade Tech graduate Oscar Lima came to speak to the students about his career after graduation and to impart words of wisdom about the fashion industry.

Oscar Lima has collaborated with stylist Nicola Formichetti on approximately 15 costumes for Lady Gaga, his first collaboration being the cape that she wore to the American Music Awards and then on the Monster Ball tour.

Other Lady Gaga outfits are:

Lady Gaga wearing Olima RTW for the Polaroid Collaboration launch

Beyonce wearing custom Olima for Lady Gaga’s telephone video

Lady Gaga wearing custom bone detail dress on her tour

Lady Gaga wears custom Olima for her concert on New Years Eve in Miami

He’s also created custom outfits for Beyonce, Marina and the Diamonds, singer Robyn, Rachel Bilson, and Nicki Minaj.

Springboarding from his success dressing celebrities, Oscar Lima launched his RTW collection in 2010.  His aesthetic is a muted version of his costumes – incorporating unexpected combinations of soft and hard fabrics – i..e the softness of chiffon with  spikes and leather. Check out his work on OLIMA Atelier, you can also follow him on twitter.

Here are my 5 takeaways from his visit:

  • He highly suggested students get/continue their fashion education at technical colleges such as Los Angeles Trade Tech, FIT, Parsons that teach you technical skills.  He felt that those who graduated with those kind of skills better understood clothing construction and would hire a graduate of LATTC over others. He also thought it was more prudent to use the monies you would spend for an expensive school to fund your business startup.
  • Be prepared to work your ass off.  Not only do you have to construct your garment, but you have to market it (i.e. getting magazines to feature it, the right stores to carry it), produce it, and you have to network network network.
  • Work for different companies to understand how the fashion industry works before starting your business. He worked for Park Pleating for a couple years after graduation, and you can see that influence in his patent leather pleated skirt.
  • While he would love to stay in hometown Los Angeles, he is looking to move to New York City in a couple years. He felt building his brand, networking and building contacts with buyers, fashion magazines, etc is 10 times harder in LA than in NYC.
  • Be prepared to work long hours.  He was approached by Lady Gaga stylist to create a custom cape in 1 day for her AMA appearance.  He also created the bone look in 48 hours, inspired by Haus of Gaga Skeleton headwear. If you want this career badly enough, you’ll do what it takes to get the job done.

It was inspiring to see that pursuing your interests, utilizing your creativity, and putting in the hard work can lead to realized dreams….

Source: OLIMA