Leyla Piedayesh is the founder of lala Berlin. As the Creative Director, she is responsible for all designs that leave the house of the young Berlin fashion label. Today, thirteen successful years after being established in 2004, Leyla Piedayesh and lala Berlin have made a name for themselves internationally, too.
Established in 2004, opened the first boutique in 2006, nominated for the New Generation Award at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin in 2007 – and today an international flagship of Berlin chic. Leyla, how has this rapid success changed your life?
Sometimes, you feel like you're in a hamster wheel, as the entire fashion industry moves at a very fast pace. It's a balancing act between creation, management and communication. Success has brought me a lot of positive things, but time and again I am also doubtful, because I am very critical of myself. You shouldn't take success as being so important. You simply have to be more relaxed. I try to not think about it too often. Thinking about things too much spoils life, that's why I have given it up. I don't mull over the past, and I don't lose any sleep over the future, I try to live in the here and now, because I have noticed that this makes me happier. There is no doubt, however, that the level of speed in the fashion world has changed my life.
How do you ensure that you still have enough headroom for creativity despite all the things that you have to take charge of, such as choosing models, organising the shows, new employees, and the growth that you aspire to? From where do you draw inspiration?
I find my inspiration in daily life, in my surroundings and my circle of friends, but especially in my daughter Lou! Of course, my insanely brilliant team feeds my imagination as well. However, the influence of social media and the feedback that we get there also plays a part.
You were born in Tehran and have both German and Iranian citizenship. Does Persian culture influence your creations, i.e. the propensity for profusion and playfulness?
I left Iran when I was nine years old; I speak Farsi and learned a lot about the culture from my parents. Despite this, it was not until my first trip back to Iran in 2016 that I really became aware of how much of an influence my background has on my collections. The colours, the mosaic, the rugs – all these things are very deeply rooted within me. But I participate in fashion holistically. You are, after all, a melting pot of your experiences.
In the past, you have labelled yourself apolitical, but following the election of Donald Trump that has obviously changed. At the beginning of the year, you took a clear stance on the travel ban. Can fashion even be apolitical in times like these?
I have always strictly separated fashion from politics in my mind, but now we are living in very different times, where politics affects us more than ever before. We must pay attention to current world affairs. In the end, it's about how we all live, and we must start taking responsibility for the world and to look at where we can start helping.
I don't mull over the past, and I don't lose any sleep over the future, I try to live in the here and now.
Your autumn/winter collection 2017/18 goes by the motto 'Think, Change, Revolution', among other things. If you were to lead a revolution, what would you change? In Germany or in the world?
Climate change, population growth and the resources that we use per capita. I would like us to act in a more sustainable way. We have advanced too quickly in all branches of industry without reflecting upon it. And the fashion industry is not excluded from this – you can feel the movement here as well. Less is more!
You are a mother to a small daughter. Has becoming a mother perhaps changed your view of these things and of the fashion industry too?
I think becoming a mother has changed many things and views. When I look at my daughter, I become aware of what is really important in life.