Instagram"> clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Phillip Lim's So Cal Roots: A Brief History

Image via Phillip Lim/<a href="">Instagram</a>
Image via Phillip Lim/Instagram

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Before he won over the CFDA, before his covetable clothes and handbags became wardrobe staples for celebs and blogstars alike and before sparking all this Limsanity over his Target collab, Phillip Lim was once an Orange County boy who played tennis and hung out at the mall. As fashion trade pub California Apparel News points out, LA was where the award-winning designer cut his teeth before heading to the Big Apple to start his eponymous line, 3.1 Phillip Lim.

Lim majored in business for three years until he switched over to studying home economics at California State University Long Beach, he told Esquire in 2010. And though his wares can be found at Barneys New York today, the designer once worked the sales floor at the high-end department store's Beverly Hills location. While in LA, Lim also interned for womenswear designer Katayone Adeli, then went on to design for cutesy label Paul Frank before co-founding his own company, Development, "a line of simple duds for women in their 20s," in 2000.

Lim left the City of Angels in 2004 and started 3.1 with business partner Wen Zhu (the numbers represent both their ages at the time). After opening his first boutique in NY in 2005, the designer finally returned to LA in 2008 to open his first West Coast shop on Robertson. And there you have it, folks: the story of how an SoCal kid went on to rule the runways.
· Phillip Lim and the SoCal Connection [CAN]
· 3.1 Phillip Lim [Official Site]
· Collabs [Racked]
· All Limsanity Posts [Racked]
· Inside 3.1 Phillip Lim's Cool-Kid Spring Shopping Soiree [Racked]
· Behold: The 3.1 Phillip Lim x Target Collection Lookbook! [Racked]
· 3.1 Phillip Lim x Target Hits the Beach with LA's Blogstars, More [Racked]