Huey Lu wants his name on your radar — or, more accurately, on your attire.
“Just think: Huey Lu and Jimmy Choo,” said the aspiring fashion designer.
Lu, a senior majoring in fine arts at the USC Roski School of Art and Design and minoring in marketing at the USC Marshall School of Business, discovered his passion for fashion during his sophomore year at USC, when British retailer Superdry selected him as a brand representative.
“I wanted to introduce a fashion-minded awareness at USC,” Lu said, adding, “Plus, I got so many free clothes!”
Since then, Lu has filled his resume with highly coveted industry internships ranging from assisting celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe to television styling for reality star Patti Stanger of Bravo’s The Millionaire Matchmaker. Lu said the practical knowledge and associated perks make the challenges worthwhile.
“The experience of working on wardrobe, or on production, is very intense. I’ve had tough situations,” Lu said. “But it’s really fascinating and fun. I got to go to a Harper’s Bazaar photo shoot with Rachel and a Bravo event with Patti.”
In December, Lu received another feather in his sartorial cap — this time from the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF), a nonprofit dedicated to furthering fashion education through scholarships and career programs.
Design area head Haven Lin-Kirk had urged Lu to compete for the organization’s $5,000 scholarship.
“The scholarship was perfect for Huey,” Lin-Kirk said. “He likes to see design applied, and he has a really good eye. I advised him to play on his strengths with visuals.”
To enter the competition, Lu had to create a case study for JC Penney. The project entailed crafting a business plan for marketing and execution of a company rebrand to attract millennial customers. In addition, after researching JC Penney, its demographics and competitors, Lu designed a contemporary menswear line complete with nine looks arranged into storyboards with accompanying color schemes.
“Not only did Huey have good ideas, but he was able to visually communicate them in a very impactful way,” Lin-Kirk said. “I’m so proud of him.”
Lu’s efforts paid off, earning him a spot among FSF scholarship winners and a plane ticket to New York City for the awards dinner. Beyond the monetary prize, YMA notably grants awardees stellar opportunities with top fashion retailers.
“It’s much more than the money,” Lu said. “I qualify for internships with Neiman Marcus, Barney’s, Saks — and those organizations pair you with a fashion mentor. I feel lucky because it is very selective.”
Lu plans on investing part of his winnings in his blossoming T-shirt line, which he said plays off of the Brian Lichtenberg Homiés collection. The garments bear high-end fashion animal puns and accompanying cartoons such as “Alexander McQuail,” “Croco Chanel” and “Boarberry London.”
In the meantime, he continues to augment his extensive portfolio through styling work for Afterglow magazine and his job as a style representative for an online British retail brand. However, in addition to his countless work experiences, Lu said that the theory and practices gleaned in the classroom are invaluable.
“There’s a taste factor that we’re taught here,” he said. “That makes my job easier because I know what details to look for, and more importantly, I can focus on the larger audience and my message.”