How Superstar Creative Strategist & Branding Savant Julia Lang Built Her Empire
When the time came around for us to do our “Women We Love” issue, we knew we wanted to include a bonafide international boss with killer style, effervescent personality, and a fearless spirit. Julia Lang definitely checks the box in all those categories. She’s a doggedly determined entrepreneur with a multifaceted agency that executes creative strategy, branding direction, image consulting, and event production for a slew of fashion and lifestyle brands, and individual clients too. We invited Julia to our 71 Greene flagship for an all-encompassing conversation about her humble beginnings, present career, and future aspirations.
First off, you wear many hats: creative consultant, branding expert, styling guru, production maestro—to name a few. Can you tell the people exactly what you do and also some of the notable brands and people you’ve worked with?
[Laughs] That’s funny, because I literally also used to wear hats almost everyday. But after I cut my hair, not so much anymore. I started my own creative agency back in 2012 when I used to live in Berlin. One of the biggest department stores out there, which would be comparable to Saks 5th Avenue here, asked me to launch and creative direct their digital appearance, as well as their event production. After that, I got approached by international talents to direct and boost their digital platforms since it’s so crucial to have strong digital branding these days. Fast forward, I work with many celebs. I often have to sign strict NDAs, but one name I can definitely drop is Biggs, Co-Founder of ROC-A-FELLA Records and a legend himself in many fields. I also currently work with Hubble Studio and its merch line Hubble, Im Nom Uh Nit, Onygo, Cncpts, Solebox, and Equinox, as well as many others.
We always see you with flawless outfits and your stylish looks at fashion weeks all over the world. We imagine it didn’t all happen overnight. Can you briefly tell us how it all started for you?
Umm, it actually did happen over night if you are referring to my looks. At the age of four, I asked my mom to tailor dresses for me and even then, I was quite specific. In 2009, I went to my first Fashion Week. The whole environment and energy was something that I gravitated to and from that day on, it became something that I made sure to be a part of.
What were some of the biggest challenges in the early years building your business?
Finances, time, and contacts. I’ve been constantly investing in myself and my business. Plus, the work never stops. There are no weekends or vacations… But that’s fine. I’d rather work extremely hard now and enjoy the fruits of the labor later on. I also had to constantly fight against people’s opinions. I still have to. Strangers, friends, and family. Everyone has something to say.
At this point, you probably have an amazing network of industry connects and friends. Networking is a really important craft in this industry; what is your own special sauce for making new fruitful connections in this game?
Be yourself. Be fearless. And position yourself at the right places at the right time. Be very alert about what’s going on and what has a momentum.
You’re often photographed out and about with Kareem “Biggs” Burke; what’s your relationship with him and what does your collaboration entail?
I started to work with Biggs about a year ago. We launched his digital platform together. Since the first meeting, what can I say…. I traveled the world with him since then. From international Fashion Weeks, to SoleDXB in Dubai to many other places. He is a blessing to be around. Every single day that I am around him is a lesson itself. But let’s not lie, I am sure he learned one or two things by working with me too.
Let’s dig into your background a bit. Tanzania, Germany… please give us some more insight into your origins?
I was born in East Africa. My parents worked there as missionaries at the time. My birth wasn’t the smoothest, because back then, the hospitals were still far more disadvantaged than in Europe or the U.S. We then moved back to Germany, where my parents are from. I am 100% German. I was almost four then and spoke fluent Swahili. A group of men broke into our house one night in Tanzania and almost killed my dad and took most of our belongings. It still breaks my heart to this day, since my parents basically worked for minimum wage, just to help people in need. My mom hid my brother, who was a newborn, and me under the bed with her laying on top of us. It’s sad, but we then moved back to Germany… But it also taught me to forgive people and their circumstances. My parents went back to visit Africa many times after that incident. Although I am a caucasian German woman, I never felt like that deep inside. Part of me always felt like a “sister.” To this day.
What would you say is your greatest source of inspiration? Also, what would you say to young women out there trying to emulate your career?
Inspiration is everywhere. My biggest inspiration comes from traveling and individuals. My most important advice is to bet on yourself! Follow your guts and do what you love no matter what other people are telling you. People often try to put a boundary on what’s achievable and what’s not. But that’s not your own reality. You can be whatever you want to be in this world. Is it easy?! No, it never will be. You have to sacrifice a lot and work very hard.
Do you ever see yourself slowing down from your jet-setting career and settling down to start a family?
I am ready to have a family. I’ve actually been ready for a while now. Do you guys want to act as a matchmaker? But all jokes aside, I never really understood the concept of either having a career or having a family. Not to say that having your own family isn’t another full time job, but I’m fully aware of that and ready. I would give my all. I guess us passionate individuals are constantly giving everything our all. I am confident that I want to have a family and a career. And I can’t wait!!
Have you ever had any situations in the past when people in power ever tried to dismiss you as just another pretty face? If so, how did you prove them wrong?
That’s a given. And I am almost expecting it by now. But you teach people how to treat you. I believe that my work speaks for itself. I am very ambitious and always go the extra mile for my clients. Yet, I also take care of myself. I am into beauty, fashion, and all kind of nice things. If that’s stopping a company or a talent from working with me, then it’s simply not the right fit.
Last question: what projects do you have coming up for the end of the year and what do you see as the continuing evolution of the Julia Lang brand?
It’s a constant growing process. Becoming a better version of myself each day. I have a couple of great new projects going on. But why don’t you just follow the journey and watch for yourself…?!
You can check out Julia Lang’s Instagram here.