I wonder at times how many millions of designers struggle to get to the top. At Jo7a I work with novice and aspiring designers working tirelessly to put their lines together.
I sometimes forget that I have the same struggle, and too often leave my line on the back burner. I feel bad that I’ve let my Shoes line slip, but then I look at designers I am helping, see the excitement in their eyes, and it makes it all worth while.
Today was just one of those days, I had a whole bunch of meetings scheduled with designers, who are eager to launch their lines. There are few who are serious, and few who aren’t. What bothers me is that when I met with someone who is not serious, I get very upset when they waste my time. I take this business seriously.
The problem with the fashion industry is just that. Many don’t view it as a professional occupation, the discouragement from others affect designers tremendously, causing them to give up on their dream.
After my first meeting, I headed down 7th avenue, on my way to my next.
I walk into a large building and headed to the 4 the floor. I see a spa and was extremely confused as to why I was here… we don’t represent cosmetics, at least not yet. But in the corner of my eye to the left, I spot a small woman with an amazing amount of energy jumping up and down and waving. “Athena! Athena!” I turn to my left and there is Winnie, standing in the corner with a little desk and a few samples on a rack.
Winnie is a representative for a private label clothing company WR9000. The company hails from China, where a young woman once wanted to live the dream of designing her own garments. The company was founded 25 years ago, after a clothing factory worker in china saved up her own money to open up her own factory. With 25 years experience, Winnie says that the company always gives a chance to help Independent Designers.
I was excited to meet a company in which I know my designers’ can utilize from. There in the small show room on 7th avenue, Winnie was having a small sample sale, she wanted people to get to know the designs of WR9000. The great thing about them is because they have their own factory, not only does WR9000 create their own garments, but they provide sample making, and pattern making services to small Independent Designers, just like most of the people we represent.
“We want to give everyone a chance [to live their dream]” Winnie said to me.
They offer small minimums, and very reasonable pricing, because they were once in the position a lot of our designers were. But it started with just a dream, and now WR9000 is providing services to thousands of people.
I was given a few samples of their clothing to show the quality of their work, and I was amazed.
One thing I want to point out, which is totally off topic, is the secrets hidden away on 7th avenue and just off it (no pun intended.. Hehe) all those large, old bulidings and freight entrances hold amazing garments, designers with dreams, Couture galore… you just need to give them a chance. At any given day, walk into a building and wander the floors. You will come across dozens of show rooms, that are the hidden gem of our city.
I’m not talking about Chanel, and Hermes, I’m talking about people like you and me, with dreams of one day being premier. I’m talking about designers who put every minute of their day into making their brand one of a kind. Samples of clothing made with love and hope.
Walking down 7th avenue, I realize why I live in New York. It is the Mecca of Fashion, The Fashion capital of the world. We have so much potential, so much talent, and the sad thing is it’s hidden away.
Everyone should give independent designers a chance to show the world who they are. In this day in age, people are blinded by celebrity wear, and the need to “fit in” to such a small, expensive bracket. Allow your mind to explore. Itlay, Greece, France, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, China, Japan, India, Phillippines… It doesn;’t matter where your garment is made, as long as it’s made with love. The pricing and popularity of the garment should not have to do with the name, nor the place of orignin, but the love, quality, hard work and creativity put into designing it.
I always adore my walks down 7th avenue, and if you’re a buyer, own a boutique, or are just an eager fashionista, while your walking down the ave, hop into that building to your left or right, and explore the magic within.