22-year-old Tyler Lambert grew up in a town of 10,000 people in Wisconsin, but you'd never know that after hearing about how Kylie Jenner has worn several of his pieces for her 147 million Instagram followers.
Lambert is the focus of this episode of In The Know: Next Gen for how he's built himself up as a stylist, designer and business owner who started out taking old denim jackets out of his dad's closet and now counts several famous faces as patrons of his work.
"Fashion to me is, what you want to make of yourself, what you want to be seen as, thought of as, remembered as," Lambert told In The Know. "I think it is an art form. It is you."
It was a slow but steady rise to fame. Lambert started posting his own creations on social media and felt inspired and validated by the positive feedback. Because he was also financially supporting himself, he was trying to create as many side hustles as he could. He would skip classes to focus on artwork and set up his own studio in the basement below his parents' bedroom. He was producing around 50 jackets a week without a website.
"I got a random email one day for a styling request, and two months later I was pumping gas in Lake Forest, Illinois and I was checking Instagram — it was my sixteenth summer, it was — and Kylie [Jenner] was wearing the jacket. And I like, had a whole meltdown at this gas station."
After that, every stylist seemed to come out of the woodwork to work with him. Even as a high school student, he knew that he needed to start building his brand seriously and finally created a website.
"I was learning and understanding and trying to grow myself to be as good as a magazine or an ad campaign," Lambert said. "I feel like I drove myself to that level until I got there."
Lambert insists on not searching for inspiration online or anywhere else. His authenticity in his original designs is what sets him apart from other up-and-coming designers, and also makes him feel confident about every detail and aspect of his work.
"I never looked at the male or female section of clothing stores," he said. "I'm going to wear a female top, if it's in an extra large or whatever it may be — oversized — and I'm probably going to style that same top on a girl or, you know, mass produce it and put it on my website as either male or female. Gender doesn't have to define fashion."
Watch the full In The Know: Next Gen interview with Tyler Lambert above to learn more about his process and how he styles his clients.
"I was just this young kind from middle-of-nowhere Wisconsin. I am just putting out there what I think is dope and what I think is cool," Lambert said. "I'm just trusting my vision."