Though most classes have already let out for summer vacation, it feels like a brand new school year just began at the CFDA Fashion Incubator! As an orientation of sorts, the new designers taking up residence at the Incubator invited press and buyers for a meet and greet of sorts to show off their latest, greatest, and brand new studio spaces.Arielle Shapiro of Ari Dein, Daniel Vosovic, Doug and Ben Burkman of Burkman Bros, Christian Cota, Emanuela Duca, Luis Fernandez of NUMBER:Lab, Reece Solomon of Reece Hudson, Ricky Hendry and Marc Daniels of Isaora, Timo Weiland and Alan Eckstein of Timo Weiland, and Whitney Pozgay of WhiT make up the brand new fashion class – and have already populated the third floor with their own inspired spaces and creations, from lingerie to menswear to accessories and beyond. Glam caught up with the designers to talk about the learning curve!
“We’ve learned so much already about presenting a very focused idea of what we’re trying to accomplish. It was like going back to school. These mentors, in the best way, have very high expectations, and I infinitely thank them to have [placed] that added pressure on me. You can get in a groove – in a good way or bad way – and we’re constantly learning to be more and more focused on everything, whether it’s a production cost issue or an interview where you’re trying to put out there who your girl is.”
“You can have great product, great design, all of those boxes are checked and people respond to it. But let’s be honest — the market is so saturated, you have to scream pretty loud to be heard these days. You have to have everything in place, but then you have to be okay with some self promotion. That was a learning lesson over the past two years. Everyone wants new; everyone wants fresh. You have to raise all those things equally, and if one thing is higher than the other, it derails it. Continue to create great product, continue to excite the editors and buyers and customer, but at the end of the day, have a platform to showcase it.”
“What it comes down to it, it’s being organized and running the business the way you want to see your business, not the way that you’re able to. [It's about] thinking bigger and thinking down the future. For us, we were always thinking of the collection that we were working on, but being in this mentorship has us thinking about where we want to be in five years and thinking about yourself in a growing future sense as opposed to what you have to get done that day. The big picture lesson has been the best.”
“I’ve been talking to Gary Wassner, who does a lot of the fashion financing, and I sent him this huge email asking, ‘How do I solve this problem?’ His response was say, this is your term and don’t make a big deal out of it. Just the opportunity to have people supporting you and trusting your gut and being taken seriously is so helpful because you can be so unsure of what to do without the right advice.”
“We’re doing a lot of branding and we got really lucky with our mentors. We’re really identifying ourselves and coming more into our own – becoming more recognizable in our own brand.”
“Coming from the art world, I think I always felt intimidated by the fashion world. When I was selected by the CFDA and when they gave me the feedback and how much they saw in me, it was eye opening. It just made me feel like I can do this. We worked out the business plan with the MBA students, and I learned just to give a price to your creativity. I’ve learned the ability to see the collection besides just the cost of the metal, the stones, how long it takes to create – it’s about how the design is perceived and the creativity.”