On July 3rd, FAJO Magazine, hosted a “Fashion, Business and Beyond” event in Toronto. The intention of the seminar was to educate emerging fashion designers to understand the importance of the business side of being a designer.
Sunny Fong, a familiar name if you’ve watched Project Runway season two, successfully won the contest with his label VAWK. Although he doesn’t need to use his television fame assist in creating opportunities anymore, he does acknowledge how many doors it opened for him along the way. The underlying theme throughout his lecture was getting to know the woman (or man) you’re designing for. Not just how exactly who is wearing your designs, but her disposable income, fashion preferences and where to save or spend.
It’s common for designers imagine a confident twenty-something woman wearing their designs, it’s supposed to be the best time of your life and can only be strengthened if surrounded by beautiful clothing. As this ideal vision unfolds, there is an unfortunate and often forgotten about disconnect. The twenty-something age group doesn’t usually have a disposable income for clothing in the hundreds or even thousands per piece. This is one of the key reasons why fashion designers fail. Sunny knows his woman and understands she what she needs in a garment and doesn’t tailor to an age group that isn’t purchasing his designs.
The next thing to know about your woman is her preference for fast versus sustainable luxurious fashion. For Sunny, it’s the woman who craves a deeper sense of luxury. The pieces he designs are expensive, made with quality fabrics and an intricate design, often by hand. This kind of detailing and design cannot be replicated by fast fashion.
Finally, knowing when to spend and save on your business is vital. While it’s lovely to spend money on silk linings for sample pieces as an example, it isn’t practical. Silk doesn’t look any nicer than polyester as far as a sample piece goes. Spend money on your customer, not your sample pieces. Also, if you can achieve the same look and feel with two similar products, one less expensive, choose the less expensive option.
Clearly, these principles are what Sunny built VAWK on and is the reason why he is a success. A little planning, dedication and projecting business sense into the future will help bring your label to the top.