Meet Lyz Olko

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Lyz Olko’s first clothing line started as an accident. Now, she has an impressive list of work that includes a second clothing line as well as working as an art director and producer. She has conquered many creative industries since moving to New York City and there is still so much to do as she’s looking into studying neuropsychology.
 
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  Zara Jeans, Fila Sneakers, Hanes T

Zara Jeans, Fila Sneakers, Hanes T

ON HER MORNING ROUTINE

My morning routine is fairly consistent depending on what time I have to be somewhere. It influences how rushed I am and how early I have to wake up to get out of there! My apartment is on the top floor and I am woken up by the sun every day. It’s cool, but if you’re someone with a lifetime of insomnia and training yourself to sleep longer than four hours then it’s a rude awakening. I put on coffee and turn on the radio to Hot 97. Then I wash my face (Ling Skincare face wash), sometimes put a mask (Ling Ginseng Clay Mask or Oxygen Hydrating Mask) while I check email, yell at my computer, and have coffee. I’ll work and drink coffee (with steamed hemp or oat milk and cinnamon) and eat something like watermelon with Maldon Salt Flakes. I take vitamins in the morning and night. I take Lysine, Megafoods Blood Builder Iron and Multivitamin, Country Life Calcium Magnesium, probiotics, Pure Planet Chlorella Powder, ice herbs turmeric and black pepper, Gaia Golden Milk, Biotin, Pure Planet Spirulina Powder, and Bernard Jensen chlorophyll with mint. I go the gym every morning or go running which is a form of meditation for me.

on growing up in new jersey and moving out

I’m from New Jersey. I love it so much and hold it in high regard. I fantasize about buying a house and having a huge garden in my backyard. I’ve set up shoots at the mall where I worked and hung out in high school, jobs including but not limited to McDonald’s, Cinnabon, and the AMC movie theater. I lived in Philly for a while and took classes at the U of Arts in photography. I mostly just skated though. Then I moved to New York for college and graduated from SVA.

  Trench, Yang Li Men ; T-Shirt, Vintage ; Choker, Vintage YSL ; Pants, Sonia Rykiel
I work as an art director, producer, and content creator for clients within the hospitality and fashion industries. I always had a full time job in college while having a clothing line. I believe each helps the other, although maybe not in terms of time. At certain periods in my life I felt incredibly stressed, anxious, and feared failure. I did a lot of work to eliminate some noise as to not get bogged down, and to recognize what’s within my control.
— on working in several industries

on her origin story as a designer

While in school, I was working for some of my teachers as a PA and also at a clothing store. I learned a lot from everyone and felt encouraged to create my own clothes. I loved the pieces in the shop but couldn’t afford anything, so I learned how to sew a sleeve by studying Preen tops and Bernhard Willhelm.

While sewing a shirt at work, a stylist wanted to buy it for a client. The stylist bought the top for Gwen Stefani. Another stylist saw a photo of Gwen wearing it and was looking for upcoming NYC brands to sell to stores throughout Japan and Hong Kong. She assumed I had a clothing line and asked me to show them my newest collection. One of the guys I worked for at the time said, “Just say yes, and figure it out later!” Then I asked my best friend to sew the first eight samples with me, and I made up a name on the fly. My eyes fell on a painting I had done titled “Obesity + Speed in 15 Refractions” after a Huggy Bear song. I hadn’t expected the name “Obesity + Speed” to stick, but it did. I took a break after O+S, and launched a line under my own name where the ethos was rooted in sustainability and being more connected to who I had become. I felt frustrated with the industry and the large chains I was working with. I needed to figure out who I was outside of this.

on her favorite shops and style

I like Commodities, a health food store on 1st Ave. I think Dover Street is cool. Supreme is a favorite. I love visiting my friends there. I love Angelo Baque’s Awake and look up to him as a designer and creative director. Procell is awesome. I also like select Salvation Army and thrift stores. Tokio 7 is dope. I like to go by and see what turns up. I love finding old Margiela and Comme. My style is mostly defined by a baggy slack, sneakers, and sweatshirt.

  Vintage Rammstein Shirt, Gaultier Denim Skirt, Alexander Wang Boots

Vintage Rammstein Shirt, Gaultier Denim Skirt, Alexander Wang Boots

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Inspiration comes in many forms for me. The primaries are movies, books, my magazine archive, and photographers. I take inspiration from artists like Corinne Day, Nan Goldin, Wolfgang Tillmans, Justine Kurland, Gregory Crewdson, Jessica Craig Martin, everything Alexei Hay shot for Dutch Magazine, Paul Schrader, William Friedkin, Ingmar Bergman, Andrei Tarkovsky, Larry Clark, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Dario Argento, Lynne Ramsay, The Wire, BLESS, Bernadette Corporation, Raf Simons, Comme des Garcons, Junya, Miguel Adrover, Old Preen, “Young Bodies Heal Quickly,” Cruising, Belly, Mean Streets, Paid In Full, Nowhere, Streetwise, and so many philosophers and scientists.
— on her main sources of inspiration
  Vintage Rammstein Shirt, Gaultier Denim Skirt, Alexander Wang Boots

Vintage Rammstein Shirt, Gaultier Denim Skirt, Alexander Wang Boots

on going back to school to study science

About two years ago I developed an interest in psychology and neuroscience. I was obsessed with learning as much as I could about why we are this way. I wanted to figure out how to solve problems for people that could change their lives for the better, find answers, or know when something is unsolvable. Last February I left a full time job that demanded too much energy and I wondered if I had the space to change my goals for the future. I worked on post-baccalaureate applications and began summer classes for pre-requisites. My professors and classes were great and I made awesome friends. It was a funny new experience to have study groups again. I want to put 100% into school, but finding that my life only allows closer to 50% is frustrating. I got into Columbia, but I’m also applying to lower cost options for next fall. I hope to focus on the greater good, solve problems, and be challenged and excited.

on her haircare

I don’t have a hair routine. I wash it every other day and condition every day. I use Davines Oi conditioner and shampoo. I brush conditioner through my hair and that’s it. Sometimes I think about blow-drying it in the winter when I leave the gym with wet hair, but always decide against it because it would take forever. I just tuck it into my jacket instead.

on her nightly routine

I wash my face, obsess over some work shit, brush my teeth, and fall asleep to a movie or SVU. I use Ling face wash, eye cream, and moisturizer. I also like Aquaphor as a moisturizer. I love to make hot cocoa late at night and I’m constantly working on perfecting the formula. I have developed two favorites: raw cacao powder, oat milk or hemp milk, stevia, heated on the stove, and a sprinkle of Maldon Salt Flakes after I whisk it up. Second, adding a teaspoon of chlorophyll to the cocoa which is both healthy and gives a chocolate mint vibe.

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Try your best and learn from others. Utilize every resource that exists in NYC. You have the libraries, galleries, museums, connections to artists, zine fairs, Printed Matter, and knowledge. I have learned the most from people unlike myself and who work in a different industry than me. An ex of mine was an aspiring chef and had stacks of books related to restaurants and cooking that he never read. I picked up his unread copy of “Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain and started reading. It was the first book and autobiography that made me feel like I could do something.
— advice for her 18-year-old self
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on her beauty routine

Ling skincare and facials, Neutrogena makeup pads, Bobbi Brown Foundation, Nars concealer and lip pencils, YSL mascara vinyl couture, and Marc Jacobs liquid eyeliner. I also recommend PRNCPLS Charcoal Peppermint Toothpaste, Givenchy Lip Liner, and Bioderma Sensibio Tonic.

lyz’s favorite movies

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night by Ana Lily Amirpour, The Fits by Anna Rose Holmer, Near Dark by Kathryn Bigelow, Fast Times at Ridgemont High by Amy Heckerling, Morvern Callar by Lynne Ramsay and Trouble Every Day by Claire Denis.

lyz’s favorite books

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari, The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins, Juergen Teller Go-See by Juergen Teller, A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume, Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris

lyz’s favorite places IN new york city

Cookware: Korin, Bowery Kitchen Supplies, Salvation Army in Hell’s Kitchen, Red White and Blue in Passaic, NJ, and for home stuff, John Derian.

To eat: Mission Chinese, The Odeon, The Smile, Lil Frankie’s, Frenchette, Los Primos, Wild Ginger, EN Japanese Brasserie

Hair Salon: Headdress - Erika is the only person I let cut my hair (once a year). Everyone at the salon is so nice too.

Coffee shop: Round K, Ground Support, The Smile, Cha Cha Matcha

My favorite club is the New York Public Library

Workout: Mendez Boxing with Ro the Show; I taught him almost everything he knows

Galleries: 303 Gallery, Printed Matter

Park: Brooklyn Botanical Gardens; I go alone or with my friend Kelly who is a florist every week over the summer

Nightlife: Pyramid Club on Thursday nights, Primo’s backroom secret club

  Lyz Olko White T, Alexander Wang Jeans, APC Boots

Lyz Olko White T, Alexander Wang Jeans, APC Boots

Photography by Sloan Lauritz