Throughout the year, we've had the opportunity to interview multiple Portland-based individuals, designers and brands who are making a name for themselves and building something unique in the fashion community through our Industry Interviews series. After multiple interviews, here are 6 key takeaways from our interviews with three-Portland based designers.
"It's smart to have a long-term goal and vision for your brand, but it's also important to take it slow. Many new designers want to have a whole line as soon as they launch and it's very unsustainable. Launch with a narrow focus on one type of item and then build once you have some momentum. Focus on the things that make your brand unique and exciting."
"Most people don't understand the process involved with creating clothing and why independent designers charge the prices they do. Prices aside, many people are not aware of the many benefits that come from buying clothing from an independent designer. Designers have a huge impact on the world in almost every way possible. What designers create and how they create it can affect the environment, politics, economy, human rights, culture, and much more."
"To be successful in any field, real world experience is necessary. I cannot stress the importance of internships! I learned more practical things from [my internship] in our six months together than I had in much of my schooling."
"There will be a lot of voices telling you to take a particular opportunity, make your collection "safer", take the job, be in a specific show, etc. Listen to almost none of these voices. I've learned that you have to listen very carefully to your inner voice and not allow people to pressure you into making decisions. Not every job, show or exhibition is the right one for you or your brand, and that's alright!"
When it comes to social media, "engage, have curated content and be consistent. People need to know what your brand looks and feels like. It needs to have a voice. That all comes from giving them content they can rely on. You never know when a follower is going to come, so they better be able to look at your pages and see exactly what you represent. Take the time to comment everyone back, and engage when people are engaging with you."
"The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that it’s a long road. Brands that you see and know have been around for years and years. You can’t just expect that right off the bat it will be easy. You have to stay in the game and really invest in yourself. The road is challenging but fun."