StylePortfolios: Michael “MYKO” Lin
Michael is a hands-on creative thought leader with a passion for innovation, product + conceptual storytelling and team mentoring.
What is your employment status?
ML: Self-employed-ish [laughs] Currently seeking permanent roles due to the pandemic.
What is your official job title?
ML: Creative Director/Design Director
Please summarize your professional career in 1 to 3 sentences; what should everyone know about you?
ML: I’m a hands-on creative thought leader with a passion for innovation, product + conceptual storytelling and team mentoring. With over 15+ years of fashion styling, collection creation, design strategy, and innovation experiences, I have a unique background of having worked for both brands and vendor as well as partnering with premium brands and leading retail giants such as Target, Nordstrom, Converse, Zara, Sesame Street and Saks Fifth Avenue. Passionately driven by curiosity and the creative process, I love finding purposeful solutions to complex problems that meet evolving needs and I thrive in getting my hands dirty doing it.
What steps did you take to become a designer?
ML: I didn’t go to school initially for fashion design nor was I super artistic growing up. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in Neurobiochemistry and working in pharmaceutical research for a while, I found fashion to be the creative outlet I craved as I began to take weekend and night gigs as an assistant stylist for fashion shows/shoots/trunk shows. Eventually I was encouraged to pursue it [fashion] full-time by multiple mentors in the industry and decided to go to Otis College of Art and Design to get my B.A. in fashion design. I’m forever thankful for all those along the way that helped me get to where I am today.
What is the best/most challenging part of your job?
ML: Straddling the creative and the strategic
If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
ML: I honestly don’t want to be anything else! But, with my obsession with travel and learning about other cultures, perhaps a travel writer.
What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?
ML: People think it’s all models, designing, travel, shopping, and fashion shows all the time. It’s not. It’s a tough and demanding industry that often requires a lot of long hours and lots of sweat and tears.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
ML: The pandemic has really impacted our industry. Retrospectively, a couple of years later, perhaps we can say it was for the best as it allowed for a much needed reboot. Currently, I am excited by the innovative solutions that have come from these challenging times and how they can drive sustainability and future systematic changes. Also, as we begin to examine our own consumption habits, the idea of “remake/recreate” or upcycling fascinates me.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your career?
ML: Stay humble and grateful
What advice would you give to young designers?
ML: Lead with your passions, be open to learning anything, and never stop asking questions. Oh, always carry a notebook and write everything down.
Are you superstitious or do you have any rules you live by?
ML: I am not superstitious at all and despite the accolades and accomplishments throughout the years, I’ve never thought of myself as a naturally gifted designer. I’ve just worked really hard at it. So, if there’s any one thing that drives me besides my passion for design is my strong work ethic.
Neurobiologist turned fashion designer, Michael “Myko” Lin is a 15+ year veteran in the fashion industry. Having worked with such premium brands and leading retail giants such as Target, Nordstrom, Hurley, Zara, EA7, Sesame Street and Saks Fifth Avenue, he is well versed in all-categories design and merchandising and have deep understanding of product life cycles from Menswear to RTW and from Boys to Girls. Passionately driven by curiosity and the creative process, he loves finding purposeful solutions to complex problems that meet evolving needs and thrive in getting his hands dirty doing it.
Having spent the last seven years living and working in Shanghai, Myko is currently back in Los Angeles.