Name: Rebecca Lysen
City: New York City
Job: Creative Director, Phear Creative
How she got there: Once she discovered graphic design in high school, Lysen knew she’d found her passion. After working at a few traditional design agencies, she became a freelance art director working on a variety of projects from liquor brands to music. Now at Phear Creative, Lysen oversees a team of designers, delivering forward-thinking content and videos for her long list of clients.
Levo: What’s your power outfit philosophy?
Rebecca Lysen: When I was thinking about my power outfit, I instantly thought of my hair. I call this my “pretty mohawk” because the top is big and voluminous and the sides are slicked back into a pony. This is my rocker hair to go with the black Madewell moto jeans and Matiko boots, but then I softened the look a bit with the flowy kimono. I feel like I could strut into any client meeting and have confidence without looking too abrasive.
It seems like you don’t just stick with one style or trend.
RL: I’m known for having a little bit of a different look every day. Sometimes I’m a little more preppy, sometimes more classic, sometimes more grungy. And I love the rock look with a bit of bohemian infused into it. I see getting dressed as one more creative outlet in my life.
Is there a story to your kimono? It’s so beautiful and delicate.
RL: I tend to shop just like I dress, very eclectically and all around. I saw this kimono in a window when I was walking from the subway to my house in Brooklyn, and I knew it had to be mine. It was speaking to me!
You’re a self-described “jewelry queen.” What are your must-wear pieces?
RL: I’ve never followed that rule, “Take one piece off before you leave the house.” I’m more like, “Put another piece on, who cares?!” I wear a mix of things that are really meaningful, like gifts from people, then I have my wedding ring and my engagement ring, which my husband designed. I also have this bluetooth that looks like a fabulous cocktail ring—it connects to my phone and it vibrates when I have a call, so it’s very functional!”
What a high-tech favorite!
RL: Well, my tattoos are my favorites. I knew when I got them that I’d show them off—and I knew that I’d need to find a job that wouldn’t look down on them. Luckily, Phear is a tatted place. The one that is lowest on my forearm is the Buddhist mantra “Om Namah Shivaya,” which has many different interpretations, but one is to “trust in your inner potential.” The saying was originally on a bracelet that my mom bought for me and my sister, and we all wore the bracelets all the time. Then my mom got uterine cancer and while she was going through her treatment, we decided that when she got better, we’d all get the saying tattooed on us. So it’s a tattoo that me, my mom and my sister all have.
That story is so beautiful and it’s great that you work in a place that embraces your style and tattoos. Has it always been this way in your career, or did you have to work hard to get to this kind of place?
RL: There were many years of grinding that I had to do. So many horrible bosses and bad experiences and working for low pay and just barely making it. But the hard work pays off. I’m very fortunate to be here at Phear. I have awesome bosses, a great team.
Any advice to Millennials who have an alternative style but work in a more traditional environment?
RL: Don’t be afraid to experiment and don’t be afraid to break the rules. It’s fun to try the trends, but also buck the trends and try something different that just speaks to you. Mix and match. Also, I don’t think the best fashion is at the highest price-point. You can get a great thing for cheap and blend high and low. Whatever you pick, just rock it.
Photos: Sam Teich / Levo