It takes boatloads of courage to act on your gut and it takes an even bigger heroic dose of bravery to say f-ck no to everything else. The path is dark and full of the dreaded unknown, yet you proceed any way. Sure, from time-to-time you’re tempted by a false sense of security, of a “job” and an actual paycheck and all the glittery shiny things it can buy.
But this is not the way of the creative warrior, the emerging designer.
No. You hold out.
You just keep building. You just keep creating. You just keep going. You do anything to make it happen.
You hold the standard. Your standard.
This is what bootstrapping a business feels like and what it means to only say hell yes to what you really want.
I’ve been closely involved in the behind the scenes development of fashion brand Orseund Iris for the past two and half years and I am so immensely proud of Alana Johnson, one of my four remarkable bad ass daughters.
I’ve worked with many big brands but nothing compares to the rapid growth I’ve witnessed with the power of social media.
10 Celebrity-Approved Contemporary Labels That Made It Big in 2017
Alana Johnson’s New York–based label, Orseund Iris, was launched several seasons ago, but 2017 was the year it really took off, making the rounds on social media and the street style circuit alike. What began as a collection-based brand that soon developed into a non-seasonal model, it has become a celebrity-approved go-to for reworked classics. Its claim to fame is the corset, which gave way to the three-dimensional bra tops that are every bit as much a hit; whatever the case, both have molded the famous curves of models such as Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski.
Here are three super important tips for new fashion designers to follow –
1. Build your social media following every single damn day. Your business will only be as big and beautiful as the number of people who find you.
2. Press won’t come until you build your own gorgeous content and start confidently shining your own light. So take those snaps, share those stories and connect with your favorites on Instagram and Facebook first.
3. Wear your own designs before you finalize the details., before you cut that first pattern and before you grade. We know you’re inspired by what’s out there, but what make’s it an original – your design – is the very touches you add that no one else can.
Forge on brave one and hold the standard.
xo Madeline Johnson
Inspiration to Execution was hosted by Afingo and moderated by Britt Aboutaleb, Style News Editor of Elle.com last night at the Soho House in NY.
Afingo is the ultimate designer resource, helping designers and retailers gain access to expert content with insider tools and industry connections to take your ideas from sketch to sale. Their sister site, Shoptoko gives independent retailers the power to access exclusive merchandise at the majors’ pricing with no minimums.
Panelists discussed the pitfalls and promises of taking an inspired idea and transforming it into a functional, profitable fashion collection.
The big question: How do designers hone their creative process and ideas to a more manageable, sellable, marketable product?
Feeling inspired to launch your own collection? Than read these words of wisdom from those who have been there and back. Evidentially, if you are a designer and have made it past four or five seasons, than you’ve learned most of your lessons.
- Liza Deyrmenjian Co-Founder and CEO Afingo and Shoptoko
- Meredith Kahn, Designer, Made Her Think (see Sword accessory collection photo today)
- Bethany Mayer, Designer, Surf Bazaar
- Duncan Quinn, Designer of bespoke men’s apparel by his name
- Cynthia Vincent, Designer, Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent
Tips and Advice from the experts-
- Clothing is one of the most labor intensive products on the market, begin domestically with 12 to 15 merchandised pieces that tell a strong story. Producing stateside will empower you with maximum control.
- Listen to your buyers and your customers to produce the most marketable collection possible.
- When producing overseas (India, Portugal, China, wherever) don’t leave anything open to interpretation. Yes, it is possible to get a three-legged pant sample back.
- Making things elsewhere is fun (read: exotic travel) but you lose control along the way. If you are not perfectly clear, you may not get what you want.
- Find a great agent and remember, the cheapest source is not necessarily the best.
- Find the right people/company who can translate your dream. Cynthia has produced in almost every country in the world. Some just do certain things better. India for silks, Portugal for wovens, Brazil for leather, etc.
- Make sure all details are written down and included in your tech pack and be sure to work off a time and action calendar.
- Before you decide where to produce, look domestically. There are many hidden costs when producing overseas, including shipping, travel and sampling.
- New word alert: “To Skive” is to cut into thinner layers to bring down production costs. For example: Skive down a shoe design.
- Find your garment cost by choosing something similar in your closet and dividing the retail price by 4. Use this number as a guideline.
- Reinvent your best sellers, as this is your bread and butter. Stop producing them for a season or two and then bring them back in different colors or with a new design element.