This 25-year-old B.C. artist built her own independent fashion brand
Casey Lamb, owner of KSLAM, founded her company at 18
This story is part of the CBC Creator Network series. The Creator Network amplifies the voices of the next generation of Canadian storytellers and connects them with CBC platforms, where they tell compelling stories and share unique perspectives that reflect the country in all its diversity. To check out more from the Creator Network, tap here.
In six short years, B.C. fashion designer Casey Lamb has built her own high-end fashion brand, creating outfits for the likes of Canadian popstar Carly Rae Jepsen, triple threat [can sing, dance and act] Keke Palmer and American rapper Saweetie.
Lamb is the owner of KSLAM, a play on her name, where she makes one-of-a-kind, sustainable pieces. She founded it in 2016 at the age of 18, knowing little about running a business.
"I'm strongest when I'm just sewing and creating," she said. "First and foremost, I'm an artist making garments and coming up with new designs."
Her work is now available in a selection of boutiques on the West Coast, and she sells her products directly on her website, where she can ship her clothes worldwide.
A self-taught designer, Lamb says she started becoming involved with art in high school. While pursuing a career in sociology at university, she started screen printing T-shirts featuring some of her art.
"I feel like I've always been such a hands-on person," she said.
Early on, she says, she started going to thrift stores looking for items that would otherwise be tossed aside to find a way to give them new life.
She's since designed collections out of old reworked belts and even knives.
"I think the sustainability aspect starts with me," she said.
"I'm one person making my clothes. Using deadstock [surplus] fabric is a good way to utilize materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill or overseas somewhere."
Lam feels her clothing embodies confidence and independence, things she strives for in her personal life, too.
"It's just about being original and creating what I think is true to myself."
She says she does all the sewing herself — which means pieces can take weeks to create depending on what the buyer is looking for.
KSLAM has been featured by Vancouver Fashion Week and in magazines, which Lamb said were big ego boosts for her but didn't result in more sales — but she's OK with that.
"Because I'm making everything it would like, kill me. It's just so exhausting."
She could hire a publicist or a social media manager or other staff to help out, but she says she's happy with the way her business is going.
"For me, it's just become more about me just figuring it out on my own and kind of following more what I believe rather than listening to someone else," she said.
"I think as my business grows, I'm also growing."