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Byron Lars

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Information about Byron Lars

Profile image of Byron Lars

Profession

Category:
StyleMakers
Occupation(s):
Fashion Designer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
All Colors
Favorite Food:
All Foods
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Mexico
Favorite Quote:
Even A Broken Clock Is Right Twice A Day.

Birthplace

Born:
1/19/1965
Birth Location:
Oakland, California

Profession

Category:
StyleMakers
Occupation(s):
Fashion Designer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
All Colors
Favorite Food:
All Foods
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Mexico
Favorite Quote:
Even A Broken Clock Is Right Twice A Day.

Birthplace

Born:
1/19/1965
Birth Location:
Oakland
See how Byron Lars is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Fashion designer Byron Lars was born on January 19, 1965 in Oakland, California to Gloria Gardner Bonds and Earnest Lars. Lars grew up in nearby El Cerrito, California, where his mother encouraged his creativity, and his father, who worked in construction, nurtured his interest in craftsmanship. Lars attended El Cerrito High School, taking advanced math classes in preparation for a career in architecture. In the tenth grade, a friend taught Lars to use a sewing machine; and Lars taught himself to make patterns. He designed his classmates’ prom dresses in order to fund a school trip to Europe, and created a gown for his own senior prom date. Upon graduation from high school, Lars completed a two-year fashion program at Brooks Fashion Institute of Technology in Long Beach, California, where he earned first place at the student design fashion show. In 1986, Lars enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, although he left before graduating.

Between 1987 and 1991, Lars used his patternmaking skills to obtain freelance work for Kevan Hall, Gary Gatyas, and Nancy Crystal Blouse Co., among others. He developed his first sample set of seven garments, which he marketed to high end retail buyers. In 1990, Lars received an order for forty pieces of his designs from Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue in New York City. The following year, Lars received orders from Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, and other high end retailers. His collection won widespread acclaim, and Lars was named Women’s Wear Daily’s Rookie of the Year. Faced with a rapidly growing business, Lars signed a licensing contract for his Shirt Tales line in 1995. Lars then entered into a contract with Mattel to design collectible Barbie dolls, and began designing Green T, an affordable clothing line he founded in 1999.

Lars was well-known for his menswear designs, especially men’s dress shirting and pattern mixing, as well as his sensitivity to fit and cut, and his use of draping and sarong-inspired tying. His line, Byron Lars Beauty Mark, which launched in 2001, expanded to include plus sizing. Lar’s Byron Lars Beauty Mark pieces were worn by celebrities such as Angela Bassett and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Byron Lars was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 6, 2016.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Byron Lars' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Byron Lars lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Byron Lars describes his mother's career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Byron Lars talks about his maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Byron Lars remembers his maternal uncle
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Byron Lars describes his father's creativity
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Byron Lars talks about his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Byron Lars describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Byron Lars describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Byron Lars describes his brother's musical talent
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Byron Lars remembers his early interest in art and fashion
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Byron Lars describes his neighborhood in Richmond, California
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Byron Lars talks about his grandparents' experiences of racial violence in the South
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Byron Lars remembers the honors program at El Cerrito High School in El Cerrito, California
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Byron Lars remembers learning to sew
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Byron Lars recalls designing prom dresses for his high school classmates
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Byron Lars remembers his first mentor in the fashion industry
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Byron Lars describes the fashion of the 1980s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Byron Lars talks about his early career aspirations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Byron Lars remembers moving to New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Byron Lars talks about his early fashion ideas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Byron Lars describes his experiences at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Byron Lars describes his experiences at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Byron Lars talks about the changes in the fashion industry
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Byron Lars remembers his search for employment in Paris, France