Erin Murphy



Brooks College - AA

Erin Murphy was a fashion designer before she even knew such a thing existed. Wielding a needle and thread by the age of four, she was already seasoned when a friend's mother suggested a career in fashion when she was twelve. Years later, and almost totally by accident, Erin turned her passion into a vibrant children's line. While she'd planned to start a contemporary women's brand with a friend, Erin couldn't let the opportunity pass her by.

While Erin was successful designing colorful overalls and jumpers, the urge to get back to women's design never faded. So after 20 years of creating pint-sized fashions, Will and Fame was finally born. And Erin now takes pride in designing garments she'd buy herself. "I absolutely love working with color and developing the print motifs that go into my fabrics." For Erin, Will and Fame is proof that you can't put time limits on "making it."

I have to remind myself all the time how lucky I am to go to work every day and do what I love to do!

What inspired you to pursue a career in fashion design?

I started sewing by hand when I was just four years old. A good friend’s mother told me I should be a fashion designer when I was 12. I had no idea what a fashion designer was or that one could make a career out of sewing. That was the moment I decided that I wanted to be a fashion designer.

What then made you decide to launch a children's line, Baby Lulu, and now years later, Will and Fame?

My first job after design school was with a women's brand called Carol Anderson. I worked with the company for three years as a design assistant and textile artist. I left to start a contemporary women’s brand with a girlfriend. At the same time, to help make extra money, I began hand-painting children’s overalls and started selling to better boutiques around Los Angeles. A sales rep from the LA Mart found out about what I was doing with the children's line, asked to represent the collection and it took off from there. Ultimately, I decided to pursue the children’s business and let the women’s line go. Now, after 20 years of designing children's clothing, I just had to get back to designing women's clothing. I'm basically my own customer.

What does your job involve on a daily basis, and what types of responsibilities do you have in your position?

I spend most of my day working on designing the line; from developing the prints to the working of the body styles to figuring out how to best construct the clothing so it can be sewn for production. I also work on photographing the models myself, laying out all the catalogs and brochures and preparing the images for my websites.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I absolutely love working with color and developing the print motifs that go into my fabrics.

What challenges keep you awake at night?

Not having enough time in the day to complete what needs to get done.

Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

This is always a challenge, but I find exercise makes everything work. If I miss a week of exercise, my life does not run as smoothly. I also find that doing a juice fast for three days every month is very calming.

Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I can't believe I have this job?" What was it?

I have to remind myself all the time how lucky I am to go to work every day and do what I love to do!

What are some of the rules you live by?

I don’t think I have any set rules I live by, but I am told that I'm normally very calm, patient and focused. I try to maintain balance by making time to surf, run, ski, bike and enjoy time with my kids and close friends.

What qualities does one need to possess to be successful in your line of work?

You need to be prepared to work around the clock to get it up and running. And once it's up and running, you can never rest on your laurels.

What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?

I would tell them to be prepared to not make any real money when starting off in the garment industry and to not put any time limits on how long they will give themselves to "make it."

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

What comes to mind first is that my daughter will have graduated from high school and hopefully be in college and my son will be a senior in high school. I trust that Will and Fame will have found its customer and be sold across the country. And that I'll find myself surfing and traveling more!