Wild At Heart: Meet The Designer Behind Lady Gaga’s Custom Biker Jackets

Wild At Heart: Meet The Designer Behind Lady Gaga’s Custom Biker Jackets

Designer Asher Levine talks with V about his exclusive designs for Lady Gaga.

Designer Asher Levine talks with V about his exclusive designs for Lady Gaga.

Text: Danielle Combs

Breaking into the world of mainstream fashion is a tough feat to accomplish, but for Asher Levine, his career was swiftly set into motion when Lady Gaga wore one of his custom leather jackets. Wearing nothing else but underwear, Gaga stepped out in Levine’s long, buckle-laden and straitjacket-inspired trenchcoat that sent fellow onlookers into a tizzy.

Naturally, Gaga’s look made headlines and landed Levine with a roster of heavy-hitting clients all looking to own one of his custom pieces. Today, Levine is Gaga’s go-to for custom leather jackets and the singer continues to abide by her standard of supporting Metropolitan fashion talent.

Describe the first instance you knew you wanted to be a fashion designer.

I first learned to sew in Florida in 1998. Apart from the skewed realities of the south, it was a warm place to grow up. I recently visited my hometown, where I stumbled upon my first outfit, a camo vest, front contrast pockets and matching shorts. I was transported backed to my first sewing class, where I felt the rush of satisfaction from cutting into a 2D surface, and warping it in a way into a 3D object of wearable utility. Design and garment construction became my obsession.

What is your design process like when creating a collection or signature piece?

Designs manifest from a hang of cloth on a form, the way a microscopic texture appears, or an iconic image from time's past. Fashion is the membrane between your body and the environment, not only that protection from energetic particles, but also, the atmosphere of human perception.

You have designed truly incredible leather pieces for Lady Gaga. What was the process like when designing each custom leather piece? Was she hands on throughout the design process?

I began making leather pieces with her, Nicola [Formichetti], and Brandon [Maxwell] in 2010. They [would] tell me what type of piece they wanted and I sketched them options. They would sometimes review them with Gaga and provide feedback or simply give me creative freedom, depending on how short the deadline is.

What was your process like for designing the oversized moto-jacket Lady Gaga wore in Rolling Stone?

This was just after I launched the first collection, laden in leather. Nicola wanted a new take on a biker jacket, so this time I draped an ultra oversized style. I brought it to Milk, which was the first time I met Brandon as well. I made it just in time and she loved it.

Can you describe the overall process working with her as well as her team?

Working with musicians is always an energetic process to deliver a quality product in a short amount of time. It's that ability that allowed me to grow my business in an industry plagued with sizes and designer-manufacturer disconnect.

She's bold, sexy, and sophisticated. My favorite pieces are those that make someone say, "What is that?" and they create their own subjective definition of what avant-garde piece they are seeing. I am so thankful for people like her who dare to wear conceptual pieces and push the boundary of design.

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