I consider myself a very optimistic and a "glass half full" kind of person. My passion is to venture into the world and fit independent designers with boutiques and clients that I believe are perfect for their lines. Lately I've been a little discouraged and I need to shake it and move forward ("half full, half full, half full . . .)
One huge difference I've found between independent fashion and established labels is simply name recognition. True story, I had a client say to me "why would I buy a handbag for $300 from you when I can get one for a little more that says Louis Vuitton?" My answer to her was, nicely "because you make your own way and your own style and that's what sets you apart." The quality, time, value, craftsmanship, and uniqueness in independent designs are second to none. Not to say that I wouldn't fall over for a Valentino gown in his signature Valentino Red BUT there are only certain fashion houses on the entire planet (Valentino being one) that can truly boast Haute Couture and the art of it. So in a way Valentino can kind of relate to independent fashion. Personally I decided to help independent accessory and fashion designers with getting their name out there because I don't want what everyone else has. I thought more people felt the way I did but I'm running into brick walls at every turn (and I am a very likeable person!!) with boutiques.
IndySwank in Indianapolis, Indiana has welcomed us and Catherine Fritsch's line, Sweet Revenge Lingerie, with open arms. Jennifer Von Deylen owns this wonderful boutique and really focuses on special pieces and independent designers (as well as the most fantastic Vintage). I contacted her and she immediately replied and set an appointment. I realize not all business transactions are this easy - I guess I just hoped everyone would fall in love with my designers as fast as I did and it would just be that easy.
One boutique (I'm not naming names) said to me after I had contacted them regarding one of my lines "oh we don't buy independent designers so we're not interested." I said "may I ask why?" They said "just past experience we've had with them and their stuff takes too long to get here and it's usually one piece here and there and it was just a headache." I said (again, very nicely) "I'm sorry you've had bad experiences with independent fashion in the past but not all independent designers operate in that fashion." Needless to say they still wouldn't budge. Fashion is completely and absolutely personal so I have to understand the way they feel. It's unfortunate, though, that they are missing out on so much talent and so much creative genius that lives right under their nose.
I bring all of this up for one reason and one reason only. I'm not a quitter and my designers are so awesome and I believe in each and every one of them to my core - or I wouldn't be so vested in their success! Before I take on a line or designer I literally have to fall in love (going back to the whole fashion is personal thing again) with them. Every line and every designer we represent I would wear personally. You have to have a very open mind and not follow the crowd when it comes to expressing who you are through your own style. It's funny but looking back at my 34 years on this earth I find that fashion has been a constant for me. Something that always got me through good and bad times - an outward expression of who I was/am at certain times in my life. One can be insecure about many things in life but when you have your own style and feel confident in who you are and what you do - your insecurities don't show and no one would ever know about them and isn't that the point?
Independent fashion is me, it is Aesthetic Design Style, and it will be in your closet - THAT I am taking full responsibility for right now! So, ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE but I am also saying that ONLY THE STRONG WILL THRIVE and that's us!!
Until Then: "Make the most of who you are for that's all there is of you anyway."