“We work for brands, but it’s all about establishing your personal brand as well,” says Rebecca Lysen. As Senior Creative Director at New York City advertising and production company Phear Creative, she oversees a creative team to produce cutting-edge content for clients in spirits, beer, fashion, beauty, music, travel and entertainment.
Much of Phear Creative’s work centers around rock ‘n’ roll and whiskey; Lysen recently designed the album artwork for the agency’s client Kings of Leon (Phear Creative’s CCO Casey McGrath oversees all creative direction for the band including their live show), and is working on St. Patrick’s Day promotions for Jameson Irish Whisky (fun fact: Phear Creative also boasts its own spirits label, Barking Irons Applejack). As such, Lysen’s personal brand is an expression of the creativity she brings to each project. A self-proclaimed style chameleon, sometimes she’s a little rock, sometimes bluegrass, sometimes classic black, sometimes crazy colorful. A new mom, she’s as likely to grab a hat to hide a less-than-ideal hair day as she is to roll up her sleeves to show off her lower arm tattoos.
For Lysen, a typical OOTD (outfit of the day) might include a favorite pair of black leather boots, hair slicked back and puffed up like a Mohawk and perhaps her grandmother’s vintage dress (“it’s unexpected but feels totally me,” she explains) or a touch of velvet (because even great texture can be a source of inspiration).
“Being a creative, a lot of it is telling stories—whether it’s of a brand, a band or my own story. I want to tell the story of the day through my outfit. It’s about expressing what I’m feeling in that moment and what my true self is, on the outside. I want to feel strong,” Lysen says.
Since that moment is subject to change on a whim—in a typical work day, Lysen may be found building and painting on set, steadfast on her laptop, leading a team brainstorm or backstage at a concert—so does her clothing. “Having a transformative wardrobe gives me flexibility; I can feel comfortable at a meeting or standing all day at a shoot,” she adds.
And like an evocative ad, there’s more to a given look than meets the eye. “I have fun mixing hard and soft elements. For example, I have a little ring that looks like a delicate gold ring, but on closer examination it’s a snake. I like things that when you examine them closer, they have a bite or edge to them.”
In an industry that’s all about visuals, what is on the outside can provide subtle clues to the work to come. “You, being the spokesperson, are selling that idea to a client. What you wear is often the first impression,” Lysen says. “I feel like it would be harder for me to not dress creatively. It’s something that’s very intuitive to me and essential to my being.”
Do you know someone in the industry with a signature style? We’re calling for nominations to feature industry style mavens in our ongoing series. Please send all nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.