We had the good fortune of connecting with Lika Steel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lika, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I see risk as opportunity. Beyond the external opportunity and recognition risk-taking can bring, it also provides an opportunity for internal growth. The greatest lessons of my life have been learned through taking risks. I moved from Europe to Israel after college, without family or friends, and had to build my life from scratch. When I met my husband seven years ago in Tel Aviv, we didn’t speak each other’s language. He spoke English and I spoke four different languages but not English. I learned to communicate without words, that expression of emotion is the underlying purpose. I launched the LIKA STEEL brand three months after my family and I moved to Austin Texas, I wasn’t sure if I will succeed, but I had a strong passion to design and to step in to the American market. To succeed, one must manage their fears and begin the journey regardless of the assurance of a successful outcome. All those are big lessons, that become part of my life wisdom and continue to guide me every single day. I am proud to own these lessons, I could not have learned them from a book or a lecture. I’ve been willing to take on the risky challenges when other people told me “You are crazy”. It’s my opportunity to try things out, to fail, to grow and to explore. Most people tend to see risk as dangerous and sometimes unwise. But while some risks certainly don’t pay off, it’s important to remember that some do, and failure is not the opposite of success but a stepping stone to success. I am definitely a risk-taker and, at the same time, I understand the importance of implementation and follow through, I try to calculate my risks and build an appropriate plan. Do you know those lucky few that great things “just happen” for them? If you dig deeper you can see that things are not just happening for them, they are taking risks and reaping the rewards. If you want to achieve your dream or make a change- you always have to take a risk and be ready to deal with positive or negative results. Sometimes the pain of failing can make you think that there is no reward, but let me tell you, the reward is overcoming your fear, experiencing different possibilities and growing in resilience. I will always encourage people taking calculated risks, to test their limits, and go beyond what they believed was possible. It is truly better to take the risk and experience life than to remain safe and slowly stagnate to death.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
LIKA STEEL is a women’s wear brand, offering one of a kind handmade evening and cocktail dresses made in US. I am embracing slow fashion which considers the processes and resources required to make clothing. It encourages slower production schedules, fair wages and minimum waste. I pay close attention to every single detail of my designs, and I am deeply passionate about each piece. To be honest, for me it is much more than creating a beautiful dress. LIKA STEEL philosophy is articulating UNIQUENESS and INDIVIDUALITY through personalized design. I have a hard time seeing how mass market commercialization de-emphasizes quality and creativity for the result of easy and convenient- fast food, fast relationship, fast fashion. This is the reason I chose to stay a niche brand, I want to stay unique and authentic, and I want to provide that expression to my clients. LIKA STEEL started in mid-2016, but my artistic character was built long before that. Art has run through my veins for as long as I can remember. I have always been creating and working with my hands: painting, glass designing, and restoring furniture. When I found creative ways to express my emotions, it resonates within me and I never stopped creating. In my designing I visualize the entire process even before beginning. When I am designing a dress I can close my eyes and see the model walking on the runway, each and every detail. I know what emotion I want to transfer to the audience. When an image I have imagined in my mind come to life through my creations and the transformation happens, I feel fulfilled. I love to see this transformation.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Austin is a unique place and has a lot to offer. The Texas State Capitol has a lovely interior, antique furnishings, paintings of past governors, and its beautiful grounds. Highly recommend this place due to its historical importance to Texas. Also it can be fun discovering Austin on Segway nighttime tour, riding through downtown and seeing Lady Bird Lake, Austin Convention Center, the 6th Street Entertainment district, Moonlight Towers, and more. Barton Springs Pool- a huge spring-fed, beautiful blue-green natural pool, is the perfect place to be on a hot day! I thoroughly enjoying this unique and cooling experience in Austin. Worth every cent, if only to sit and marvel at the natural wonder of it. Refreshing! Mount Bonnell is highly recommended on a sunny day, it’s a perfect place to get an overview of Austin and catch a breathtaking sunset. I was very impressed with the view visiting there my first time. One way you are looking at the city of Austin in the distance and immediately below you there is a wide lake in the Colorado River with some spectacular houses dotting the shoreline. Lake Austin boat tour definitely worth a try. Clear water and intimate setting, making for the most beautiful scenery for pictures. For dinner I would recommend one of the most popular restaurants in Austin- Red Ash. The food is unique and delicious. Super fun place. It’s a nice atmosphere with an ambiance that transports you to another space.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are too many people to thank there but I would not be where I am today without my family support, their love and encouragement. They give me the strength I need to keep chasing my passions. My daughter is my biggest fan, she loves to watch me when I am creating. She also attends all of my fashion shows. Seeing her excitement, her big smile at the show makes me push myself to bigger challenges.
Austin Fashion Week, Doug Douglas
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