We had the good fortune of connecting with Julia Layton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julia, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I think the most important factor behind my success is my ability to easily switch gears between creative and technical tasks. Coming from an art and engineering background, I have taught myself how to sort my tasks at hand into either creative or technical categories. I simply see it as two different modes of thinking, and I believe that we can teach ourselves to incorporate both ways of reasoning to optimize our work. A more scientific way of thinking about this is distinguishing the difference between convergent and divergent thinking. Convergent thinking is like problem solving, when logic is used to eliminate other potential answers and arrive at the single best solution. Divergent thinking is like creative brainstorming, when multiple answers or possibilities are envisioned. Convergent thinking can be associated with technical tasks, such as logistical components of a fashion brand that include pricing a product, or building a website. Although a lot of creative people tend to shy away from this aspect of their business, I truly believe that it’s one of the most important elements that help an idea go from concept to product. In other words, this is the type of thinking that brings an idea to life. Divergent thinking can be associated with creative tasks, such as art or design related components of a fashion brand, like designing a dress or creating artwork for a textile print. I imagine that this would probably come very naturally to those who are in the creative field. It’s easier for me to think divergently when I’m relaxed and in a pleasant environment where I can be vulnerable. This is the space where I think of most of my ideas that I eventually end up pursuing. So how do I use these types of thinking in daily life? I try to be aware of which mode I need to be in to get the job done as efficiently as I can. For example, I always approach creation with a level of playfulness. Without this lightheartedness, I always feel unable to think of new ideas. If you let your logical side take over all the time, there’s no element of “this is completely ridiculous and unreal, but I’m going to go for it anyway”. On the other hand, it’s impossible to make quick decisions and resolve logistical issues while thinking so expansively. This is when I know that I need to switch gears and think in a more concise way to reach one solution. With this knowledge, I try to be aware of what type of reasoning I’m using during different steps in the creative process. This has helped me be more productive in developing ideas and solutions. It also makes learning new skills easier because once I start recognizing which types of thinking need to be used, I can quickly recognize a pattern that I’ve used in a previous learning process. I feel that being able to switch gears between creative and technical is a crucial skill in a designer’s career – to be able to envision an idea, then to bring it to life.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Currently, I’m most excited about incorporating technology into art and fashion. In my last interview, I mentioned that I wanted to combine those three subjects since they make up my background. I’m hoping to utilize my skills to resolve some of the issues that I’ve encountered in the fashion industry, including sustainability. One lesson I’ve learned during my journey is that perfection is an illusion. It is actually impossible to reach this perceived perfection, since it is so subjective and different for everybody. Imperfection in art and design can actually be a source of beauty and growth. I would like the world to know that I’m working hard to bring my ideas to life, and I hope to see my goals actualize in the near future. My dream is to create something that improves the lives of others and that has a positive impact on humanity.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I’m an introvert and I enjoy quiet activities like visiting art museums and beautiful gardens! I would probably take my friend to LACMA and the Huntington Library. I also do have an adventurous side, so I might take them scuba diving in Palos Verdes. My favorite restaurant is Fig and Olive on Melrose, but I have been wanting to try the new Gucci restaurant, Gucci Osteria de Massimo Bottura on Rodeo Drive. My favorite coffee shop is Coffee Attic on Melrose, where they have a delicious rose coffee! I also enjoy ballroom dancing, so I would go to my favorite studio, The Westmor Dance Studio, to take a class. My favorite spot to go out is the rooftop bar E.P & L.P.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Thank you to my family and friends for being there to support my dreams!
Photographer: Sienna Benton. Models: Nora and Felix