West Africa is definitely alive in her prints and her use of African patterns has, up to this point, contributed to her identity as a designer. After graduating, Lake went to work for her mother’s boutique, Dem Two Hands, working with inventory and and also designing and selling her own clothing items there.All the money that she made over the next few years went into the business and all the necessities behind launching her brand.
“I knew I had to have a website, and I knew I had to make samples for production, which is a bare minimum of what I needed, so I worked with what I had,” she said.
On the publicity end, Lake allowed her work to speak for itself. Word of mouth ultimately got her called to contribute pieces for a video shoot, where she met Erykah Badu. After handing over one of her creations to the eclectic songstress, Lake got her first big publicity hit when Badu wore that piece for a Giant magazine photo spread. “I didn’t even know she was wearing it. Someone just called me, and said ‘I saw your stuff in Giant Magazine.’”
Since then, Lake has gained a traction of followers.
You can find Solange Knowles often wearing her stuff. The ubiquitous music video director Melina Matsoukas is a fan of Lake’s line and plugged her gear in her videos including Rihanna’s Rudeboy and the yet-to-be released Alicia Keys and Beyonce’s “Put It In a Love Song” video, which is exclusively styled by Lake.
Considering that the video was shot in the African-influenced region of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Lake’s new Resort Collection was a complementary choice. The full debut line evokes not only Africa but also pays homage to African-American icon Josephine Baker, who melded European influences and her African-American background to become an international star performer in a time when segregation was law. In essence, the revolutionary undertones of Baker’s career and legacy manifest the spirit of Lake’s designs.