Alumni Spotlight: Louis Mairone, Menswear ’08

Louis Mairone, Menswear ’08
A/W 2013 and S/S 2013 collections

At the age of 22, Louis Mairone (Menswear ’08) launched Dominic Louis, a label inspired by androgyny, rock ’n roll, and New York City. Mairone’s handcrafted garments blur identity lines and, with the abundance of fur and leather, have an edgy nomadic feel to them. Hear what Mairone had to say about bringing his collection to life–from lugging a suitcase with samples through the NYC subway to creating custom designs for rock legends like Trent Reznor.

I chose FIT because: All I wanted in the world was to move to New York City and work in fashion. So FIT was the first step in that direction.

FIT gem: Professor Gresia. He taught Menswear Tailoring and brought such a real old world feeling to the work. It felt very authentic. He is one of those last real garmentos. Being that my family is from Italy, I saw so much charm in him, his accent and disposition. He referred to me as “Luigi”.

The story behind Dominic Louis: I had been an assistant designer for a company that ended up closing its doors. I was lost. I decided to make clothes of my own and see what happened. I filled up a rolling luggage with the samples and carted my collection up and down subway rails visiting local retailers in the heat of summer. OAK NYC signed on to carry the Dominic Louis Fall 2010 collection. It was the beginning. I was 22 with a suitcase full of dreams.

Aesthetic: Raw like the end of the world, modern like the beginning of time, where art meets fashion and fashion breeds art.

Favorite textile to work with: Skin

Clients: Trent Reznor and Lenny Kravtitz. True rock legends who embody my aesthetic.

Inspiration: This moment in time and how it influences the blueprint which is already in place.

Typical day: Insanity. We work out of a shared studio space on 36th and 8th. We’re doing design concepting and pattern making for the new collection, updating web data, fitting muslins, sourcing, and doing custom work for clients all out of the same space. It’s really kind of a one stop shop for us.

Most treasured possession: Family

Exciting plans: I am currently enrolled in the Designer Entrepreneurs program hosted by FIT and will be presenting my plan at the end of the summer. We’re planning a sales tour for the collection to spread international awareness. We’re always working on some sort of collaborative effort… something very special coming for SS14.

Last word: If you’re in this for the right reasons, it will end up working out. So many people will tell you “no”. You have to tell yourself “yes”.

From WWD April 1, 2013 photo by George Chinsee
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