Sander Lak’s secret to juggling a nonstop schedule? Time management, but also, “a Diet Coke, a piece of chocolate and some licorice.” “It’s like a push and pull I have to do this but I also have to do 50 other things that are equally important,” said Lak, the designer behind the New York-based Sies Marjan. “It’s literally nonstop. It’s never one thing. It’s always 50 things at one time.”
The designer jetted to Chicago to host a cocktail reception Friday evening at The Gwen for 10 of Nordstrom’s best customers, top-level members of Nordy Club, the retailer’s loyalty program. The cocktail was followed by a fashion show at Nordstrom Michigan Avenue, showcasing 12 looks from the collection.
Lak wanted to spend the weekend in the Windy City, doing touristy stuff, like the architecture boat tours, but due to his busy schedule, that will have to wait until a trip planned for September.
“I have to split my time, not only my time, but my energy,” said Lak, whose current to-do list includes working on the women’s show in September, women’s shoes, the women’s collection for December, men’s collection for January, women’s show in February, collaborations and marketing. “I have an amazing team of people who take care of everything when I’m not in the office—it’s really about managing time.”
The designer, whose celebrity fans include Beyoncé and Zoe Saldana, said the brand has a close relationship with Nordstrom and tries to do any type of activation and customer-facing event.
“I always love talking with customers and sale associates,” said Lak. “I’m so in a bubble in my office in New York so it’s always nice to get out and meet people and understand about their lives and see what they like and don’t like. I always find it really fascinating to go to stores and understand how they work and the dynamic of the people who work there. It’s my job as a creator and creative director of the brand.”
To see the business from another angle is also nice, he said.
“To come into another organization and understand how they do it — it’s fascinating to see that part,” said the designer, who did an event with Nordstrom in Seattle last summer and hopes to do one in New York when the retailer’s women’s store opens in October. “We’re doing good business here and the Nordstrom customer is really excited to have us.”
Post fashion show, guests shopped the collection and top-selling items included the designer’s watercolor satin pieces, brightly colored knitwear and pinstripe wool suit.