The Fuel that Drives the New York Fashion Engine

Backstage at OSKLEN during New York Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015 Collections. Photo by Aveda Corporation
Backstage at OSKLEN during New York Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015 Collections. Photo by
Aveda Corporation

Many observers recognize New York as the fashion capital of the world. Have you ever wondered about the people that have helped to create this reputation for the Big Apple? In 2015 there were some special designers that added to New York’s reputation in this trillion-dollar industry.

Kara Laricks is an enormously successful fashion designer, but she did not start out in this profession; not even close. For ten years she worked as a teacher of elementary school children. Although she loved design as a child, she decided to choose a “safe” profession. She was born in 1973, and graduated from Academy of Art University of San Francisco in 2008. She now lives and works in New York City.

Born on May 31, 1986, Jérôme´ LaMaar is a fifth generation New Yorker, of Cuban, Ethiopian and Afro-Portuguese heritage. Born in the Bronx, he began his career in fashion when he was only 15, working as an intern for Baby Phat by Kimora Lee Simons, in 2001. Also uncertain about his career direction, (like Laricks), LaMaar first enrolled at Brown University with the intention of studying Physics. Lucky for us fashionistas he decided to head for the walkway and went to the Fashion Institute of Technology right here in NYC, studying Fashion Design and Fabric Styling. Oh, and we know his birthday from his label: 5:31 Jérôme.

Kim Haller is not a native New Yorker. She was raised in Indiana until she moved with her family to Australia.  In the mid-1980s she came back to the US to attend the Parsons School of Design. Haller joined Calvin Klein in 1989 and within her first year there became their main knitwear designer. She launched her own consultancy business in 1995, Kim Haller Design. Her firm gave concept, design and technical support to up-and-running designers who were anxious to expand and develop their knitwear collections.

The great industry of fashion is fueled by a wide variety of talented, hard-working individuals who are creative, innovative and from an amazing array of backgrounds. From Parsons, FIT and the Academy of Art University, this diverse group is the fuel that keeps the engine of New York fashion running.


James Allenby is the editor of Gowanus Lounge, bringing to his position a vast background on New York, and especially Brooklyn history, culture and lifestyle. Born and bred in the heart of "the County of Kings" James Allenby knows what it means to be a Brooklynite, and imparts this meaning at all times to his readers. Contact James at info(at)