What drives someone to become a fashion designer at the age of nineteen? That’s the question burning in your mind right now, and what prompted you to read this article.
Above: Louca Bell (in gold-copper dress) backstage at a fashion show.
Well, for Miami-based designer Louca Bell, it’s love and a burning passion for the craft. At fifteen, she was taking sewing classes at school, and from there she gained some headway by participating at various fashion shows. “Now I’m focusing on growing my business as a brand and creating new pieces for my next collection,” she tells me.
Her latest collection is a combination of attitude and charm.
Kreyolicious: When did you realize that fashion design was your true path?
Well, I’ve always been creative in that aspect. For me, it wasn’t about “realizing it” but more accepting myself as an artist, and making the decision to commit to designing as a full-time career.
Kreyolicious: There’s a story behind every name. What’s the story behind your brand?
Since my brand is a reflection of me—Louca Bell is constantly evolving. When I grow as a person and as a woman, my brand flourishes with me. It begins where I begin.
Kreyolicious: When you first started were there times when you felt like, “Maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Let me leave this alone?” How did you handle and overcome such times?
Not only when I first started—I still struggle with that from time to time. But, I remind myself that I am doing what I love for a living, and I can’t give up on myself. This path is the path I chose. Therefore, I have to keep going no matter what obstacles get in my way.
Kreyolicious: What would you say out there to those who want to become entrepreneurs, but who are afraid of failure, harsh criticism and skepticism from family, and even the fear of wasting time and money?
I would say, as long as you believe in what you’re doing and you focus on your goals nothing should get in your way not friends, family or negative comments if you keep applying and developing whatever it may be that you are working on everything and everyone will fall into place. You shouldn’t be afraid to fail, its part of the experience you just have to learn from your mistakes to not repeat them that’s more knowledge to you. As for criticism you have to remember there’s always going to people out there with negative opinions but still take them into consideration and see if they apply to you because sometimes criticism can be constructive.
Kreyolicious: Who has influenced you the most?
My sister without a doubt! Her work ethic is amazing and watching her has taught me how to be extremely diligent in what I do. Because of who she is, she’s surrounded herself with like minded people and in return I have been able to do the same. Being around artists who understand my creative language allows me to grow as a designer and business woman. Sounds cliché, but surrounding yourself with people who are into the same things as you are, does wonders for your career.
Kreyolicious: what are some of your proudest career moments?
I think my proudest career moment would have to be when I had my first solo show in November of [last year]. I can definitely say that putting on a production is no easy task and is nothing but hard work, but I had a good team behind me. The show came out great, so all the sweat and dedication was worth it. My second proudest career moment was [this past] March. I had a show at the Marriott hotel in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Not only was I proud to have had the opportunity to collaborate with other amazing artists out of Haiti, but it was also the first time my parents came to see one of my shows. It was an exciting moment for me because they finally got a chance to actually see what I do for a living, and they had nothing but positive feedback.
Kreyolicious: Take me behind-the-scenes of your creative process and how you go about creating a piece.
The first step to any creative process is inspiration. For any piece that I am making, I have to find something that inspires it, which can either be influenced by African fashion, a friends sense of style, anything I might have seen on the streets or social media. Then we hit the fabric store to find the perfect material that’s fitting to my image. After that, I cut and stitch pieces together to bring that piece to life, and hope it fulfills the purpose it was created for.
Kreyolicious: Where do hope to take Louca Bell?
I would love for Louca Bell to grow into a successful business and a brand of clothing that everyone can feel comfortable and stylish wearing. I also hope to open an atelier somewhere in Haiti to produce all my material. I would really love for all the pieces to be made in my home country.