Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Polyvore #WCW Spotlight: Lola Plaku

You may not know her name, but you definitely know her work. Meet girlboss, Lola Plaku, the woman behind some of the biggest names within the Hip-Hop and music industry today (cough, cough, Drake, The Weeknd, cough). We’re HUGE fans of Lola’s and have been dying to get to know more about how she got to where she is today. Read on to learn more and why she is our WCW this week. 💋

Photo: Christina Hayles/@chrrislowe 

Tell us about yourself...
Well I was born and raised in Albania and moved to Canada with my family when I was 14. I learned English here. I also speak Albanian and Italian. I started off in the music industry as a hip-hop journalist and then moved on to promoting events, then concert production and promotion, artist and brand marketing and development, artist booking and now artist management. I have worked with artists on music editorials and fashion editorials. I’ve also worked with small streetwear brands and have seen some cool designers go from working on one or two campaigns to having a fully successful and popular brand out and in high demand. I have worked with artists like French Montana, Big Sean, A$AP Rocky, The Weeknd, Puff Daddy, Drake, Kehlani, and many others!

How did you first come across Polyvore? What do you love most about it?
Well like everyone in this community, I love shopping online. If you’re an online shopper like me, then going on Polyvore is a must. I also work in marketing and music and fashion so it’s kind of my job to know. However, I think the fantastic thing about Polyvore is that I can look at the sets that members have created and draw inspiration from them, or just search for an item or brand I want and find stores that carry it without spending hours searching online.
 
How did you get into artist management?
In the early stage of my career, I spent a lot of time doing research. I had a hunger for knowledge. If I had to interview someone I wanted to know everything about them. I wanted to make sure I had my facts correct and spent hours upon hours just finding out information. I always wanted to know who was doing what and where and in what capacity. I became like an encyclopedia of information on artists, concerts, venues, fans, media, brands, fashion, other journalists, photographers etc. I just never stopped gathering information. Eventually, whenever I was presented with an opportunity to connect people together or make something happen, I would. That made me essential to the music scene and soon people started coming to me because I was always in the know of what was hot, or what fans and media were looking for. I decided that I wanted to be there for artists from the beginning of their career and see it through to their success. I decided to find people I truly believe in and utilize all my resources into making them successful. So here we are!

Photo: Christina Hayles/@chrrislowe 


What's been your career highlight or favorite professional moment?
Career highlight… I would have to say producing the first show for Trinidad James in New York back in 2012. His song “All Gold Everything” was one of the hottest records and we killed that show. Everyone in the music industry was there, wanted to be there, or was trying to get in. His signing to Def Jam was announced the very next day. To this day when I take meetings at labels or with the press, they say: “That Trinidad show at Santos was one of the most memorable shows for the NYC scene.” I get goosebumps every time. Favorite professional moment… Seeing The Weeknd perform his first show live at the Mod Club in Toronto in 2011. I stood on the balcony overlooking the crowd singing every song word for word and I had tears in my eyes. I was working that show so it meant a lot to me.

What is the best piece of advice anyone has given you?
My big brother, mentor, and current manager to The Weeknd, Tony Sal has said to me: “Work smart, not hard.” He has said that over the past 7+ years we’ve been working together and I try to remember that every time I try to do too much or be all over the place.

What's your favorite part of your job?
Honestly, everything. I don’t really like the paperwork, but I like being out there in the world doing things and connecting with people and running around. But if I had to pick one thing I would say the roll-outs. Whenever an artist is ready to release something or announce a project -- the work that comes with that announcement. The press, the photo shoots, the brand partnerships, the tour set up to support the album. I love putting things in motion and seeing people work together!

Photo: Christina Hayles/@chrrislowe 


Which artist can you not stop listening to?
Right now, French Montana’s “Unforgettable” is on replay. One of my favorite records of the summer. Right now is work mode for me so I’m listening to the artists I’m working with. Belly of course and the two new artists I’m managing Safe and Lemin. Their projects are going to be amazing.

Favorite designers/brands?
Ah, there are so many. My personal style is very tomboy with a sprinkle of sexy. I prefer sneakers over everything, but I also like dressing up so my favorite brands vary from Rick Owens, Alexander Wang, Maison Margiela, YSL, Yeezy, Adidas, Puma, Topshop, Zara, RtA, etc! I am blessed that brands send me stuff so I get to go home and clothes will already be there waiting for me after my travels.

What influences/inspires your personal style?
My work schedule. If I’m flying on a red eye from LA to NYC (6hr flight), I’ll most likely be wearing my Fenty slippers, some sweatpants, and probably an oversized hoodie (preferably RtA, their hoodies are super comfy!) But if I have to work a show or do tour management, or run around to get stuff done, I don’t always have the luxury of dressing up in high heels. I tend to mix cute and sexy with sneakers. I want to look good, but I also want to be comfortable. I’ve even partied in a club in slippers before because I’ve been exhausted and had no time to change.

Photo: Christina Hayles/@chrrislowe 


Working in the music industry, how do you see music and fashion intersecting?
Ahh, it goes hand in hand. If you look at one of the biggest artists of our time today, Rihanna, she is a style icon! Artists have the power to really make brands very, very popular just by posting them on their Instagram, or even being seen wearing them. I think that artists who really do understand fashion and appreciate it and exude it in their everyday life or at their shows are not just affecting the musical landscape, but the culture; be it underground or popular culture. Artists like A$AP Rocky have really put some brands to the forefront of popular culture because when you look at him, you see style. He talks style, he wears style, it’s part of who he is. Designers love him, fashion magazines love him, so when he wears Gosha Rubchinskiy before anyone else does, it helps niche brands like that get more recognition and become sort of a trend.

What's one piece in your closet that you can't live without?
\Well my Chanel Chance perfume and my Fenty slippers. Chanel stays in my purse everywhere I go and I even have extra bottles at my house in Toronto and in NYC. And when I travel I want to be comfortable, so I always take my Fenty Puma slippers with me since they have to be the most comfortable shoes ever! Thanks, Puma x Riri!

What makes you feel most confident?
My personality, and a good tan! And knowledge… knowledge is power.

Now that you know why Lola is such a badass, make sure to follow her on Polyvore’s IG Stories this Friday, May 26th! She’ll be giving us the behind-the-scenes look at a day in her life. Until then, here’s where you can find out more about Lola:

Polyvore: iluv-lola
Instagram: iluvlola
Twitter: iluvlola
Facebook: iluvlola

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