Lilymoon Perez's DEBUT Collection Highlights the Relationship Between Pain and Beauty
As a student at High Tech High Chula Vista in Southern California, Lilymoon Perez fell in love with design while working at a theater costume shop in San Diego. After studying Fashion Design at FIDM, Lilymoon was accepted into the prestigious Advanced Fashion Design program and will be showing an inspired collection at FIDM’s Annual DEBUT Runway Show event, which will live-stream on Thursday, August 12, 2021 at 5:00 PM PDT. We chatted with the designer to learn more about their unique creative vision and journey.
Tell us about your DEBUT collection: My collection is titled, “Domine, non sum dingus,” which translates to “Lord, I am not worthy.” It’s inspired by the image of Our Lady of Sorrows and gothic/baroque/rococo architecture. The image of Our Lady of Sorrows is Mary crying and a sword is piercing her heart. She’s adorned with embroidered laces and silks, and wearing a gold crown. I remember seeing her statue for the first time and feeling disturbed, and yet taken back by her beauty. Her expression shows the pain of her grief in a beautiful way. I took my personal experience with severe depression and trauma to design looks that show the relationship between pain and beauty.
What silhouettes and fabrics can we expect to see? I’m using velvets and brocades in my collection. My clothes are luxurious with exaggerated and asymmetrical silhouettes. My looks are bold and I do a lot of small handiwork that you can see upon closer inspection.
What is your point of view, as a designer? I design bold looks for people who care more about individuality than what’s hot and new — they have a particular sense of originality and sincerity. They collect garments that reflect who they are. I don’t design for a gender; I design a persona. I’m someone who strives to be as authentic and vulnerable as I can. I do my best to face everyday life honestly and truly to myself. Being authentic to myself looks like so many things. It’s getting up the next day feeling defeated but determined to make it to see the dawn of the day after. It’s being honest to other people about my emotions and my needs. It’s being honest with who I am even when I don’t share the same interests and ideas as a lot of people. Not a lot of people I have met understand what I strive to be, but the people who do reciprocate the same sense of vulnerability. Most importantly, I design fashion to bring out the same sense of courage and genuineness from the people who wear my clothes.
How do you hope people will feel when they see your designs? I hope people feel uncomfortable and see the pain in my designs. I encourage them to sit with me through the agony and understand there are beautiful things that come out on the other side of grief and sorrow.
What inspires you as a creative and as a fashion designer? I get inspiration from a lot of things. I look up to designers like Rei Kawakubo from Comme des Garçons and Alexander McQueen, and I also get inspiration from video games. Aside from that, I look for truth and meaning in things and don’t accept the superficial nature of surface level answers that are so easily given. These truths and answers that I find are also what inspires me.
What is a lesson you’ve learned as you’ve been working on your collection? I’ve learned to manage my time between working on this collection and rest. Also, don’t take yourself too seriously.
How is FIDM helping you get closer to your career goals? In maybe 10 years from now, after working in the industry, I want to start my own brand. This program has helped me solidify who I am as a designer. During my AA, I wanted to learn how I could further improve my skills and get to know who the designer in me was. I only had a touch on who I wanted to be as a designer and decided to take it and run with it. I felt a huge sense of potential while applying for DEBUT. Now I feel I’ve tapped into my potential and even challenged myself to take it further.
Any advice for someone considering applying to be a DEBUT student? Have a design journal ready with a lot of sketches and pictures of inspiration. The journal should be personal and not related to school work. When I say a lot of sketches, I mean A LOT. It can be conceptual, partially finished, fully illustrated, or anything in between. Don’t be afraid to go all out in your designs and push yourself. Come prepared for your interview. You have to be ready for deadlines and a huge workload of the program.